E*TRADE Review

E*TRADE is firmly entrenched near the top of the industry by offering every resource that any level of investor would need. Although the costs and fees are among the highest around, E*TRADE compensates by providing a great user experience along with exceptional trading tools and technology.

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The Good

Best all-around account view with E*TRADE 360

With the E*TRADE 360 view, you can view a summary of your accounts, portfolios, and watch lists and even make trades all on the same page. Nothing is difficult to find, but if you don’t like where things are, you can just grab a section and drag it to a new area. If you really dislike something, you can delete it right off your page. The customizable options from this view are endless. This is by far the best Web-based experience in the industry. You can watch CNBC live from the very same page where you transfer funds. If for some reason you don’t prefer the E*TRADE 360 view, you can navigate and make trades the same way that you would with other brokers by using the top navigation bar.

Access to all investment products

One of the major bonuses of selecting E*TRADE as your broker is that your trading options are not limited. E*TRADE offers access to every investment product that you would want to trade. That even includes futures, international, and forex markets, all of which are difficult to find at other brokerages. If it’s variety you’re looking for, or if you don’t want your choices restricted, E*TRADE would make a solid choice.

Superior mobile trading app

The mobile app is so thorough that it feels like you are essentially holding E*TRADE’s regular trading platform right in your hand. You have access to educational videos, CNBC videos, market news, and real-time quotes. In addition, E*TRADE Mobile has a barcode look-up feature so you can scan a product while shopping and see what publicly traded company owns that product. To top it off, the app also has a check deposit feature so you can fund your account on the run. E*TRADE Mobile is available for iPhone, iPad, Android phones, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry. If you want to take advantage of the most features and best app, the iPhone or iPad is the way to go.

Online trader community

E*TRADE has all of the standard features provided by other brokers, but one feature that stands out is their trader community. You can connect with other traders, analyze opinions, read the community sentiment, and see what stocks are being actively traded. It adds a social element to trading, which is really cool if you’re sitting at your desk alone and bored.

Large offering of financial resources

When it comes to offering financial resources in addition to trading and investing, E*TRADE has it covered better than most. They offer all kinds of banking services, including credit and debit cards, and access to a variety of other resources, like small business tools, retirement planning, and college savings plans. E*TRADE doesn’t just fall into the category of full-service broker; they help define it.

The Bad

Monthly charges to use advanced trading platform

You must make 30 or more trades per quarter for free access or pay $99.95 for a monthly subscription. This is a bit disappointing because several of the other brokers offer trading platforms that rival the E*TRADE Pro platform and they are completely free to use. Others have a similar method of charging, but the $99.95 or 30 trades per month is a pretty steep cost in addition to the already high trading costs.

High costs and fees

E*TRADE may not be the cheapest broker around, but you’ll be hard pressed to find another that offers access to so much and is this easy to use. Investors and casual traders will get their money’s worth, but if you’re an active trader, you’re probably better off trading elsewhere. You can take advantage of E*TRADE’s 60 days of free trades if you deposit $10,000 or more when you open an account.

No virtual trading for web platform or mobile app

Traders who want to test out E*TRADE’s mobile app or web-based platform will be disappointed to know that they don’t offer any virtual trading. Even if you have an account with E*TRADE, they don’t offer the option to test your strategies with paper trading either. So if you don’t feel comfortable using real money off the bat, you may have to look elsewhere.

The Details

Trading Costs and Fees

  • Broker Assisted Trades: $25
  • Futures Contract Fee: $2.99
  • Maintenance Fees: $25/quarter
  • Margin Rates: 3.89-8.44%
  • Minimum Account Balance Fee: $0
  • Mutual Funds Fee - Load: Varies by fund
  • Mutual Funds Fee - No-Load: $19.99
  • Options Contract Price: $0.75
  • Options Flat Fee: $9.99
  • Stock Flat Fee: $9.99

Other Fees

  • ACH/EFT Withdrawal: Unknown
  • Bounced Check: $25 - $40
  • Check Withdrawal: Unknown
  • Domestic Wire Withdrawal: $25
  • Forced Margin Sellout: $9.99 + $25 broker fee
  • Full Account Transfer: $60
  • IRA Annual Fee: $0
  • Partial Account Transfer: $25
  • Stop Payment on Check: $25
  • Telephone Orders: $9.99 + $25 broker fee

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