The E-Trade Financial Corporation is known as E*TRADE may not be the cheapest broker around, but it does provide straightforward online trading platforms, plenty of learning resources and a range of useful tools. Established in the USA during the 1980’s, this broker has honed its niche in online trade investing and has sustained a healthy level of growth ever since.
Being one of the earliest brokerages to make the move online, E*TRADE has amassed a powerful selection of trading tools and products available on it. These include futures, stocks, and options, as well as managed mutual funds and bonds. The acquisition of OptionsHouse in 2016 took its operation to the next stage, making it the ideal trade broker for active traders who are tired of passive strategies and position trading.
To increase their chances of making a profit, traders can click the website’s Knowledge tab to gain a deeper understanding of the industry. E*TRADE has a mobile, desktop and advanced platform, each designed to meet the diverse needs of active traders who want to access their portfolio from wherever they happen to be. Clients can view numerous charting tools, real-time data, and technical instruments, as well as managing their trades. Like most well-established brokers, E*TRADE takes care of its client base through reliable customer support. That support includes a range of local contact numbers for their international account holders and a busy Help Centre.
Products and trade offers info
Our E*TRADE review found the broker offers customers access to a huge range of investments, with futures trading being one of its biggest attractions.
- Stocks –Buying stocks is like purchasing a very small part of a company. Shares can be bought in organizations covering a wide range of industries, meaning clients with an in-depth knowledge of certain sectors or businesses can use that valuable insight to make a profit.
- Futures –By investing in futures, clients can select a specific trade and retain the set price for when they buy it in the future. This is a cheaper option than the investment itself, so it is possible to manage a sizable contract with little cash.
- Options –Similar to futures, options allow clients to sell or buy a future investment at a fixed price. That enables them to safeguard their capital from movements in the market and also to take on larger risks.
- ETFs –For clients who are seeking a collection of managed bonds and stocks, ETFs are ideal. They are intended to equal the success of a whole market or strategy.
- Mutual Funds –Another selection of investments managed in one place by financial experts, mutual funds are designed around an individual strategy. Clients can speak to their fund manager to find out how the portfolio is performing.
- Bonds –An investment which works like a loan, bonds allow clients to advance an amount of money to a company. Bonds pay out regularly, and better still, by the time they mature most investors will have received back 100% of their investment.
Broker Commissions and fee charges
|E*TRADE||Fidelity||Merrill Edge||TD Ameritrade|
|Standard Stock Trade||$6.95||$4.95||$6.95||$6.95|
|Broker Assisted Trade||$25.00||$32.95||$29.95||$44.99|
|Mutual Fund Trade||$19.99||$49.95||$19.95||$49.99|
|Options Per Contract||$0.75||$0.65||$0.75||$0.75|
|Options Base Level||$6.95||$4.95||$6.95||$6.95|
E*TRADE can boast a competitive collection of online trading services, including free portfolio management for twelve months, zero commission on prebuilt portfolios and selected commission-free mutual funds and ETFs. They do not charge any annual fees, and there is no fee for inactivity, which is unusual. However, in general, they do not provide hugely discounted commissions to low volume investors. For people who are willing to place more frequent trades, this forex broker review discovered there are some perks.
- Stocks, ETFs, and options –$6.95 per trade.
- Options –An additional $0.75 is added to each options contract.
- Futures –$1.50 per futures trade.
- Bonds –For online secondary trades, the charge is $1.00.
- Frequent trader rate –People who place 30 or more trades in any three-month period, will pay $4.95 for each stock and options trade, along with an extra $0.50 for each options contract.
What others say
- “The biggest drawback is its commissions.”–In their forex broker review, Nerdwallet refers to the company’s fees which are significantly higher than many investors would expect. The discounts for active traders make the fee slightly more palatable, but for those who are unable or unwilling to meet the set criteria, they are not much use. This reviewer correctly identifies that the most concerning aspect of this brokerage is its adherence to higher prices.
- “While some brokers have cut services to keep costs down, E*Trade is committed to using its fees to fund useful tools and research products that assist investors.” –At Bankrate, the E*TRADE review touches on pricing, but from a different angle. Brokers are just like any other business; they need to make a profit in order to stay afloat. By keeping their charges relatively high they can do that, and also lay on a range of helpful support services.
- “I found the individual analyst breakdowns below the chart – which includes a headshot, rating, and article link, if available – to be a distraction.” – At Stockbrokers, their E*TRADE broker review picks up on a common issue which affects many broker websites. In its haste to include as many functions as possible, E*TRADE may have made some areas too cluttered. That can be a drawback, but here the problem is alleviated with the minimize feature.
Many account holders measure the reliability of a new broker based on the way it treats them when they have a query, or when something goes wrong. Fortunately, at E*TRADE they are likely to be completely satisfied with the support team and the available methods of getting in touch. By clicking on the Contact Us link account holders can find the broker’s physical address if they wish and write a letter, or they can send an email via a secure form or give the support team a call. Most international callers are provided with free-phone numbers, and 140 different languages are catered for.
The broker endeavours to answer all online correspondence within a few hours, but as they are based in the US, it may take a little longer at certain times of the day. Members of staff are on hand seven days a week. Between Monday and Thursday, their hours are 7 am to 1 am, Sunday to Monday it is 4 pm to 1 am and on Friday they are available between 7 am and 6 pm, Eastern Standard Time. The team can usually clear up matters quickly and always in a professional manner, but for traders seeking immediate answers outside of the allotted times, there is also an FAQ section with a wealth of information on common issues.
Platform features and tools
The broker’s most popular platform is E*TRADE Web. It is ideal for people who want a basic experience including the ability to manage their portfolios, track their trades, construct watch lists and place trades. The software is designed for ease of use, so individuals who have recently opened an account or are completely new to online investing will be able to toggle effortlessly between charting tools, real-time data, and technical guides. Our forex broker review found this to be a good entry platform with plenty of customizable elements, so traders can quickly build the kind of interface they prefer.
For investors who are ready to take their trading career to the next level, the online stock broker has its desktop E-Trade Pro platform. To use this version, account holders must maintain a minimum balance of $250,000, or the equivalent, or they can choose to place 30 trades on stocks or options each quarter. The lack of inclusivity might appear ungenerous, but for those who do qualify, the more advanced platform is notably sleeker and is crammed with inspirational tools. The Strategy Scanner, live streaming from Bloomberg TV and advanced charting from Chart IQ are coupled with back-testing tools and the ability to customize the user interface. Stock trading is conducted through the MasterCaster feature, and there are more than 20 trading tools to consider ranging from those able to stress test portfolios to others for improving order management. The only minor drawbacks are the inability to save indicators individually and the lack of alerts on charts.
Portfolio Analysis Tool
Reserve Order Tool
E*TRADE has worked hard to deliver a condensed version of the desktop platform in the mobile app. This means web and mobile platforms share the same tools and provide a similar user experience. By taking advice from experienced traders, they have developed an excellent product for people who like to use their mobile devices for trading. Complex and simple options trading is available; along with ETFs, equities and futures. The ETF and stock screens provide ample filtering opportunities, but charts, real-time quotes, and even educational materials can also be surveyed on the go. Some clients may prefer more vertical alignment, as swiping up or down is easier on a smaller screen, but other than that minor issue, it is difficult E*TRADEto find fault with the smart app.
If traders are keen to try out automated trades, they can link up with some industry-standard providers at E*TRADE. Members can begin by exploring the Application Programming Interface from which they can use their own automated software or try out a number of professional solutions.
They include TradeLens, which has been developed by Lumineye and is ideal for people who find it difficult or time-consuming to write lines of code. They have produced a drag and drop setup where traders can build a new strategy in minutes, then request an alert when the conditions are ideal for a test run. Another notable application that is aimed at all levels of trader is ionDESK designed by Gambrell Software. It includes the ability to practice for free, placing trades in response to live market data. It is an excellent entry point for trading beginners who want to learn more, and experienced investors who are new to systematic trading.
Research and learning section
Our E*TRADE broker review found many opportunities for traders who want to learn more and improve their profit margins. By clicking the Knowledge tab on the homepage, account holders can take part in online trade education courses which span the full gamut of online trading, from taking the first steps, to more complex explanations of each product and how to use analytical tools. From here, investors can begin to build a trade portfolio that takes into account their personal preferences and investment aims.
Under the New to Investing tab, E*TRADE has produced a step by step guide to becoming a member, with advice on establishing a plan and beginning to invest. It includes plenty of written information on their online trading services, a short video and a link to opening an account. The amount of research provided by third-parties is considerable though some may notice that it is not as extensive as that provided by some of E*TRADE’s peers.
E*TRADE follows a number of US regulations to give its clients the best possible experience and to safeguard their interests, be they financial or personal. Primarily, they adhere to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule on customer protection that states that the company’s funds are always kept separate from those of the clients. E*TRADE is also a member of SIPC, which ensures customer funds are protected up to $500,000. The online stock broker has also bought additional cover from an insurance provider which delivers an extra layer of security for clients up to $150 million.
|E*Trade Pros||E*Trade cons|
|Useful Tools||High Commission Rates|
|Low minimum deposits||Access to advance platform is limited|
|Volume trades are rewarded||Lack of stock reports|
|Great customer service||Margin rates are high|
With decades in the market trading industry, E*TRADE can deliver all the wisdom of experience. They have crafted a brokerage that doesn’t rely on gimmicks or offers but instead draws in a steady stream of members who appreciate all the extras. The trade platforms are reliably intuitive, and the mobile app is a continuation of that, with copious opportunities for research, auto trades and general investing. The educational section is similarly well-organized and easy to navigate, with a focus on professional guidance to enhance the experience.
Our E*TRADE broker review confirmed that the rates of commission at E*TRADE are some of the highest around and the best deals are often geared toward volume traders. For clients who can make just 30 trades per quarter, some discounts are made available, and this level of trading also grants access to the innovative E-Trade Pro platform.
Overall, E*TRADE presents an excellent opportunity for high volume investors, but also novices who want a first-time broker they can trust.