E*TRADE is firmly entrenched at the top of the online stock trading industry because it offers 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.

The Claim

E*TRADE promises to give every type of investor the tools they need to succeed in the online stock world. “At E*TRADE, every trader and investor gets access to powerful, yet easy-to-use tools to research ideas, test strategies, and take action,” its website states. What’s more, it’s “all backed by specialized support and guidance when you need it.”

Is it true?

Yes. In our full review of the best online stock trading platforms, we found E*TRADE to have the most impressive collection of tools and resources of any platform on the market. If you’re new to investing, E*TRADE has a considerable library of educational videos, articles, and webinars to help you learn the basics of investing. And, for the more seasoned trader, E*TRADE also provides in-depth financial reports, market news, and investing commentary from its expert analysts.

It’s also true that E*TRADE backs its service up with excellent customer support. It employs Financial Consultants who are available 24/7, free of charge for one-on-one assistance. You can also book an appointment to visit a local E*TRADE branch at any time if you’d rather chat face to face.

Product Overview

Best for

Investors new to online stock trading

Not for

High-volume investors looking for the lowest commission fees

Features

Price 0–29 trades/QTR: $6.95 per trade

30+ trades/QTR: $4.95 per trade
Standout features Access to all investment types

Excellent mobile app

Online trader community

Large offering of financial resources
Ratings Barron’s: 4/5

Kiplinger: 3.5/5
Services Stocks

Bonds

ETFs

Options

Mutual Funds

Futures

Forex
Fees Broker-assisted trades: $25

Account transfers: $25 for partial transfers, $75 for full transfers
Terms $500 account minimum

Access to all investment types

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 nearly every investment product that you’d want to trade, with the only exception being international index funds. That even includes futures, options, 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.

Excellent mobile 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. That’s been backed up by user reviews, too — the E*TRADE app has an impressive 4.7* rating on nearly 20K reviews in the App Store, and 3.9* on over 10K reviews in Google Play. The app gives you 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.

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.

Possible Drawbacks

Higher commissions

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. If you are a more experienced trader, 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.

Minimum balance requirement

E*TRADE requires a $500 minimum investment balance on all new accounts. That might seem like a lot for a novice trader, but you’ll need to commit at least that much to see significant returns. And when compared with the sums required to get in the door at traditional brokerages, $500 is a fairly reasonable number.

The Competition

E*TRADE
Ally invest
TD Ameritrade
Fidelity
Stocks
Bonds
ETFs
✔*
✔*
✔*
Options
Mutual Funds
✔*
✔*
✔*
Futures
International
Forex

*Offers commission-free or transaction-free trading

E*TRADE vs. Ally Invest

While we think E*TRADE’s excellent educational resources make it the best option for those just getting their feet wet in the investing world, Ally Invest is a better choice for traders who don’t need as much hand-holding. That’s because they have just about the cheapest fees we saw in our evaluation — $4.95 a trade, with no extra charge for an inactive account. Ally also doesn’t require an account minimum, so it’s a great option for low-volume investors.

E*TRADE vs. TD Ameritrade

On the surface, these two online stock platforms look a lot alike: Both charge $6.95 per trade, don’t carry an inactivity fee, and boast extensive libraries of investment tools. However, TD Ameritrade has the edge in its two world-class investment platforms, Trade Architect and thinkorswim. Trade Architect is designed with the beginner in mind, featuring a simple, easy-to-navigate interface and investment tools. Thinkorswim, on the other hand, is a favorite of expert traders, with features most brokerages would charge a fortune for. Despite its higher commissions, TD Ameritrade is a fine option for both beginners and experts, though we still preferred E*TRADE’s educational tools for those new to investing.

E*TRADE vs. Fidelity

If you’re a seasoned investor looking to gain the next edge, Fidelity impressed us with its best-in-class research. It partners with over 20 firms, including Recognia, Ned Davis, and McLean Capital Management to bring you insights that are usually only available to traditional brokerages. This is clearly a platform designed with serious investors in mind — you’ll need a minimum of $2,500 just to open an account.

E*TRADE FAQs

Can you roll over a 401(k) to an E*TRADE account?

Yes. If you’d like some more control over your retirement funds, you can roll over an old 401(k) into an E*TRADE IRA account. You’ll just have to get in touch with your former plan administrator and have them send over a check to E*TRADE. You can find more information about the specific steps on E*TRADE's website.

How long does it take to withdraw money from E*TRADE?

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.

Can you buy commodities like gold on E*TRADE?

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.

The Bottom Line

E*TRADE stands out as one of the best online stock trading platforms for anyone who’s new to the trade. It has the largest collection of educational resources we saw, with a platform that’s simple to navigate for beginners. And while its $500 minimum account balance and $6.95 trading fees aren’t the absolute lowest around, we still think it’s a great option for beginners.