E*TRADE was one of the first online brokerages and helped introduce beginner and regular investors to the trading market. The brokerage firm’s $0 commission for all options, ETF, and stock trades are a great incentive for ordinary and advanced traders. E*TRADE’s investing resource library and comprehensive trading platforms make it easy for investors of all experience levels and portfolio sizes to actively manage their portfolios.
Morgan Stanley announced the purchase of E*TRADE in February for $13 billion to expand its wealth management and investing services. E*TRADE will continue to accept new accounts until the deal, expected to complete by the end of 2020, gets regulatory approval and is approved by E*TRADE stockholders. By merging, the two companies will have $44 billion in revenue and 8 million customers with over $3 trillion in assets. With its commission-free options and vast financial tools, E*TRADE is a reliable trading platform for novice and skilled investors.
- Suitable for new and experienced investors
- Access to vast financial resources
- $0 commissions on stocks, ETFs, and options
- $500 minimum deposit for Core Portfolios
- No international index funds
E*TRADE’s Services & Features
|Price|| Free for stocks, options, and ETFs|
|Standout features|| Access to all investment types|
Excellent mobile app
Online trader community
Large offering of financial resources
|Fees|| $0 on stocks, options and ETFS |
$0.65 on options
$1.50 on futures
$25 on broker-assisted trades
|Terms||$0 account minimum for Brokerage Accounts|
A great perk of selecting E*TRADE to conduct trades is the plethora of trading options at your disposal. E*TRADE also provides access to nearly every investment tool needed to conduct trades across a wide variety of markets, with the only exception being international index funds. Even futures, options, and forex markets, which can be difficult to find at other brokerages, are available with E*TRADE. So if it’s variety you’re looking for, or if you don’t want your choices restricted, E*TRADE would make a solid choice.
Being a full-service broker is at the heart of what E*TRADE delivers. With a variety of other resources, like small business tools, retirement planning, and college savings plans, E*TRADE caters its services to serve the needs of every investor.
*Offers commission-free or transaction-free trading
E*TRADE vs. TD Ameritrade
Both firms offer similar services and $0 commissions on online stock, ETF, and options trades. TD Ameritrade has a broader range of trading options than E*TRADE, including foreign exchange and cryptocurrency trading. While both companies charge $25 for broker-assisted trades, E*TRADE is a better solution for frequent traders since the commission for over-the-counter (OTC) trades (outside of stocks, options, and ETFs) is lower than TD Ameritrade after 30 trades per quarter.
E*TRADE vs. Ally Invest
E*TRADE and Ally Invest both offer low-cost online trading platforms, but E*TRADE’s research tools and mobile apps are more comprehensive. Ally Invest may be a good choice for a beginner investor — there are no account minimums, many trades are free, and options trading contracts are only 50 cents. Make sure you’re aware of the $9.95 fee for buying and selling no-load mutual funds. E*TRADE also requires a $500 minimum to open a ‘Core Portfolio,’ and options contracts are a little higher at 65 centers, but it doesn’t charge when you buy or sell a no-load mutual fund.
E*TRADE vs. Fidelity
Comparing these two highly-rated firms comes down to the investor’s end goals. Fidelity is the more robust option, offering financial advice and wealth management through its physical branches and advanced online tools. Regular traders can find everything they need from E*TRADE, including an excellent mobile app with Bloomberg streaming live and third-party ratings. More experienced investors wanting to diversify their portfolios internationally will prefer Fidelity, which offers Forex trading in nearly 20 currencies and 25 global marketplaces.
You can start trading on E*TRADE once you have put funds into your account and they have cleared. If you’ve used the online money transfer tool, it usually takes about three business days for funds to clear. Check deposits can take four business days before those funds become available for investment. As for wire transfers, the cash from those funds are available on the same day.
After you sell a stock, it generally takes about three days for that money to become available. You can then transfer it to your bank account, which will take another two to three days depending on the time of day you initiate the transfer. All in all, the whole process can take as long as six days.
Yes, you can trade commodities like gold, silver, metals, and currencies through E*TRADE’s futures trading platform. Keep in mind, you’re not actually buying the physical gold; you’re purchasing a fund based on the price of gold with the hope that it will increase.
E*TRADE has opened trading in bitcoin futures from the Cboe Futures Exchange and CME Group. However, your futures account must be prefunded in order to trade in bitcoin futures. Just be aware that bitcoin futures involve tremendous risk. If you’re just starting out, it’s important to consider your risk tolerance and ability to sustain financial loss before committing.
The Bottom Line
E*TRADE may be the best trading platform for new and frequent investors interested in free trades to save money on commissions. The firm’s mobile apps, Power E*TRADE Mobile and E*TRADE Mobile are user-friendly and packed with features. You’ll be able to enjoy mobile charting, live streaming of Bloomberg TV, third-party research ratings, and a customizable dashboard where you can get real-time updates of the stocks you’re watching — all from your mobile device.
The pioneer in online trading provides high value for beginner and advanced traders. The only drawback at this time is what the future holds for E*TRADE when it’s transferred to Morgan Stanley in the fourth quarter of 2020. There’s not much news at this time on how the brokerage’s current business model will change, but the company should still be able to provide tools and access to trading markets.