Recommended for investors and traders looking for solid research and a great mobile trading platform
E*TRADE is a US-based stockbroker founded in 1982. It is regulated by top-tier financial authorities like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
E*TRADE is considered safe because it has a long track record, is listed on a stock exchange, has a banking background, discloses its financials, and is overseen by top-tier US regulators.
In February 2020, E*TRADE was acquired by Morgan Stanley. To find out more about the motives behind the acquisition and about the wider market context, check out this article we wrote about the deal.
We selected E*TRADE as Best broker for bonds for 2021, based on an in-depth analysis of 70+ online brokers that included testing their live accounts. Check out the complete list of winners.
E*TRADE pros and cons
E*TRADE offers low trading fees, including free stock and ETF trading. In addition, it has one of the best mobile trading platforms on the market, and has plenty of high-quality research tools such as trading ideas and strategy builders.
E*TRADE's product portfolio only covers US markets, and forex trading is not available. E*TRADE doesn't accept credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money transfers. In addition, live chat support is slow.
|• Low trading fees (free stock and ETF trading)||• Only US markets, no forex|
|• User-friendly mobile trading platform||• Only bank transfer|
|• Great research tools||• Slow live chat|
|🗺️ Country of regulation||USA|
|💰 Trading fees class||Low|
|💰 Inactivity fee charged||No|
|💰 Withdrawal fee amount||$0|
|💰 Minimum deposit||$0|
|🕖 Time to open an account||1-3 days|
|🎮 Demo account provided||Yes|
|🛍️ Products offered||Stock, ETF, Fund, Bond, Options, Futures, Crypto|
E*TRADE offers free trading of stocks, ETFs, and some bonds and mutual funds. Non-trading fees are also low. On the negative side, fees for mutual funds that aren't free are high.
|• Free stock and ETF trading||• High fees for non-free mutual funds|
|• Some mutual funds and bonds are free|
|• Low non-trading fees|
|Assets||Fee level||Fee terms|
|US stock||Low||Free stock and ETF trading|
|Mutual fund||High||$19.99 per trade; ca. 4,500 free mutual funds|
|Inactivity fee||Low||No inactivity fee|
How we ranked fees
We ranked E*TRADE's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.
First, let's go over some basic terms related to broker fees. What you need to keep an eye on are trading fees and non-trading fees.
- Trading fees occur when you trade. These can be commissions, spreads, financing rates and conversion fees.
- Non-trading fees include charges not directly related to trading, like withdrawal fees or inactivity fees.
In the sections below, you will find the most relevant fees of E*TRADE for each asset class. For example, in the case of stock investing the most important fees are commissions.
We also compared E*TRADE's fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, Charles Schwab and Fidelity. This selection is based on objective factors such as products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc. See a more detailed rundown of E*TRADE alternatives.
To have a clear overview of E*TRADE, let's start with the trading fees.
E*TRADE trading fees are low. Let's see a breakdown of the various asset classes.
Stock fees and ETF fees
Stocks and ETFs are commission-free, which is superb. This is part of an industry-wide trend that's taken hold among many US brokers since 2019.
If you prefer stock trading on margin, check E*TRADE margin rates.
Margin rate is charged when you trade on margin. This basically means that you borrow money or stocks from your broker to trade. On this borrowed money/stock, you have to pay interest. It can be a significant proportion of your trading costs.
|USD margin rate||9.0%||8.3%||8.3%|
E*TRADE's financing rate is volume-tiered. It applies a base rate plus a premium/discount depending on the financed amount. The base rate is set at E*TRADE's discretion and may be readjusted from time to time; at the time of our review, the base rate was 6.45%.
|Debit balance||Rate %||Base rate +/-|
|$10,000 - $24,999||8.70%||+2.25%|
|$25,000 - $49,999||8.45%||+2.00%|
|$50,000 - $99,999||7.95%||+1.50%|
|$100,000 - $249,999||7.45%||+1.00%|
|$250,000 - $499,999||6.95%||+0.50%|
|$500,000 - $999,999||6.45%||0.00%|
|$1,000,000 or more||5.45%||-1.00%|
E*TRADE fund fees are generally high, at $19.99 per trade. On the positive side, E*TRADE does not charge a commission for ca. 4,500 mutual funds. If you sell these no-transaction-fee funds within 90 days after the purchase, though, a $49.99 fee is charged.
E*TRADE has low bond fees. Bond fees vary based on the bond type. We calculated the fees for US Treasury bonds.
|US Treasury bond||$0.0||$0.0||$0.0|
Similarly to Charles Schwab and Fidelity, E*TRADE charges no commission for Treasury bonds. For other bonds, such as corporate bonds, the commission is $1 per bond; a $10 minimum and a $250 maximum apply.
E*TRADE options fees are low.
|US stock index options||$6.5||$6.5||$6.5|
E*TRADE charges a volume-based fee, The fee is $0.65 per contract for the first 30 trades per quarter and $0.50 per contract above that limit.
E*TRADE futures fees are average.
|US micro e-mini stock index futures||$15.0||$15.0||-|
Futures fees are volume-based, at $1.5 per contract. However, futures pricing is not tiered, meaning you don't get a discount if you trade frequently or in high volumes.
E*TRADE has low non-trading fees. It charges no inactivity fee and no account fee.
There is no withdrawal fee if you use ACH transfer. Withdrawals to other banks using wire transfer cost $25.
Account opening at E*TRADE (only available for US clients) is fully digital and user-friendly, but the account verification process is slow.
|• Fully digital||• Slow account verification|
|• No minimum deposit|
Can you open an account?
E*TRADE is a US stockbroker for US clients.
Similarly to Robinhood or Webull, the retail brokerage branch of E*TRADE is available for US-based clients only.
What is the minimum deposit at E*TRADE?
The required E*TRADE minimum deposit is $0, which is great if you would like to start investing with a low amount.
The minimum deposit can be more if you want to trade on margin or use E*TRADE's asset selection services.
|Trading preferences||Minimum deposit|
|E*TRADE Personalized Investments||$500-$150,000|
*You trade with money borrowed from the broker, also called trading on leverage.
E*TRADE provides a lot of account types.
|Account type||Short description|
|Individual account||The account is owned by a single individual|
|Joint account||Two or more account owners|
|Business account||The account is owned by a legal entity|
|Retirement account (Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, etc.)||Individual retirement accounts|
|Pension account||Accounts for self-employed individuals and small businesses|
|Education Savings Account||Allow you to save for kindergarten through graduate school|
|Custodial accounts||Special accounts for custodial purposes|
|E*TRADE Personalized Investments||Accounts for trading portfolios managed by E*TRADE|
In this review, we tested the Individual Brokerage Account with the basic option level. E*TRADE offers 4 different levels of option trading. If you are looking for uncovered option trading, you need a margin account and level 3 or 4 upgrades. You can find further information about the different option levels here.
How to open your account
The account opening process is user-friendly and fully digital. After completing the online account opening form, you can easily upload a copy of your ID card of choice and your SSN. Although online application only took some 15 minutes, account verification was very slow, as it took us 7 business days.
Steps to open an E*TRADE account:
- Choose the account type
- Add personal information and other details needed to verify your account, such as your Social Security Number, residency and employment status
- Select your investment profile and margin trading preferences
- Review your application and create your E*TRADE account ID
- Set up funding preferences
Deposit and withdrawal
E*TRADE charges no deposit fees, and transferring money is easy. On the flip side, you can only use bank transfer, and a high fee is charged for wire transfer withdrawals.
|• No deposit fee||• Credit/Debit card not available|
|• User-friendly||• High fee for wire transfer withdrawal|
At E*TRADE, the only available base currency is USD.
A convenient way to save on currency conversion fees is by opening a multi-currency bank account at a digital bank. These usually offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates, as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. Opening an account only takes a few minutes on your phone.If you have a personal bank account in a currency other than USD, then you will be charged a conversion fee.
Deposit fees and options
E*TRADE charges no deposit fees. You can use check, ACH and wire transfers to deposit cash.
Unfortunately, credit/debit cards and electronic wallets are not accepted, similarly to E*TRADE's closest competitors.
*If you have access to E*TRADE's banking services, E*TRADE credit/debit cards are accepted for deposits.
We tested ACH transfer and it took 2 business days.
You can only deposit money from accounts that are in your name.
E*TRADE withdrawal fees and options
E*TRADE charges no withdrawal fees if you use ACH withdrawal, but wire transfers cost $25.
How long does it take to withdraw money from E*TRADE? We tested the ACH withdrawal and it took 2 business days.
You can only withdraw money to accounts that are in your name.
How do you withdraw money from E*TRADE?
- Log in to the account
- Go to 'Accounts'
- Select the 'Transfers' menu, then click 'Transfer money'
- Choose your E*TRADE account in the 'Transfer from' field and your previously linked external account in the 'Transfer to' field
- Add the amount you wish to withdraw and set the frequency and date of the withdrawal
- Preview and initiate the withdrawal
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Web trading platform
E*TRADE has a great, user-friendly web trading platform, offering a clear fee report among others. On the negative side, it cannot be customized.
|• User-friendly||• Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)|
|• Clear fee report|
|• Two-step (safer) login|
|Best for||Investors looking for easy execution||Traders looking for sophisticated research|
|Tradable products||Stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, options||Stocks, ETFs, complex options, futures|
|Web trading platform offered||Yes||Yes|
|Mobile trading platform offered||Yes||Yes|
|Desktop trading platform offered||No||No|
There is also a legacy desktop trading platform called E*TRADE Pro. However, E*TRADE doesn't promote this platform to new clients.
We tested the E*TRADE web platform in this review, as it is the default trading platform. It is available in English and Chinese.
Look and feel
The E*TRADE web trading platform is user-friendly. On the flip side, the platform is not customizable.
Login and security
E*TRADE provides two-step authentication. To use it, you have to download the VIP Access mobile app to your device.
In addition, when you first log in on a new device, you have to register the new device by a security code or call. After registration, you can access your account using a simple ID and password combo.
The platform's search functions are good; you can search by typing both a company's name or an asset's ticker.
There is also an auto-suggestion feature that shows relevant results.
There is a good selection of order types to choose from:
- Market on Close (MOC)
- Trailing stop %
- Trailing stop $
To get a better understanding of these terms, read this overview of order types.
There are also order time limits you can use:
- Good 'til Day (GTD)
- All or Nothing (AON)
These are more sophisticated order terms and limits than what you will find at most brokers. For example, All or Nothing (or All or None) is a type of order limit that instructs the broker not to fill the order unless there are enough shares available (as specified by the order).
Alerts and notifications
You can set up alerts and notifications by searching for the keyword 'alerts' in the keyword search bar in the top right corner. It will take you to the 'Set & Manage Alerts' page, where creating alerts and notifications is a breeze.
Portfolio and fee reports
E*TRADE has clear portfolio and fee reports. You can find them in the 'Accounts' > 'Portfolios' menu.
It is great that you can easily customize the report by choosing from some 100 different columns, such as commission, Net Asset Value, Dividend, etc.
Mobile trading platform
E*TRADE's mobile trading platform is one of the best on the market. It's very easy to use and offers a lot of features.
|• Good search function|
|• Good variety of order types|
Similar to the web trading platforms, we tested the E*TRADE mobile application, but a Power E*TRADE mobile application is also available.
It is available for both iOS and Android. We tested it on iOS. The mobile trading platform is available in English, French, and Spanish.
In functionality and design, it's almost the same as the web trading platform. The E*TRADE mobile trading platform is user-friendly; has a great search function; offers a wide range of order types, and you can easily set alerts and notifications. However, two-step authentication is not available. E*TRADE only allows two-step to login via a VIP Access App for their web platform.
On the other hand, you can use TouchID, which is a convenient feature.
Though the web and the mobile trading platforms are quite similar to each other, we assign a higher weight to simplicity and ease-of-use when scoring mobile trading platforms. That is why the E*TRADE mobile trading platform has a higher score than the web trading platform.
Desktop trading platform
We did not test the E*TRADE Pro desktop platform in this review, as it is not available for new customers.
Markets and products
You can trade plenty of asset classes at E*TRADE from stocks to futures, but only on the US market; in addition, forex trading is not available.
E*TRADE has a good product range, but it doesn't stand out in any category, with the possible exception of bonds. Elsewhere, its selection is average or below average.
Stocks and ETFs
Similarly to its closest competitors, E*TRADE covers the US market only.
|Stock markets (#)||5||4||22|
You can trade stocks on the following stock exchanges: NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, OTCBB, OTC (other).
E*TRADE's fund selection is OK, but somewhat lagging behind those offered by rivals Charles Schwab and Fidelity.
|Fund providers (#)||520||600||550|
You will find funds from the biggest fund providers such as BlackRock or Vanguard, but also from smaller ones.
E*TRADE has a good bond selection compared with its closest competitors.
The bond selection covers both government and corporate bonds.
At E*TRADE, you can trade options on the major US exchanges, like CBOE. This selection is similar to its competitors.
|Options markets (#)||5||8||9|
E*TRADE's futures selection is smaller than what its most immediate competitors offer. You can trade futures on three exchanges: CME Group, ICE US and CFE. In addition, you can trade Bitcoin futures.
|Futures markets (#)||3||8||-|
E*TRADE offers several types of portfolios, which is great if you need help managing your investments. You'll get a recommendation either from an expert or E*TRADE's robo-advisor technology. We liked the wide product range and the fact that the portfolios are highly customizable and easy to modify.
|Prebuilt Portfolios||Core Portfolios||Blend Portfolios||Dedicated Portfolios||Fixed Income Portfolios|
|Underlying product(s)||ETFs or mutual funds||ETFs||ETFs and mutual funds||Stocks, ETFs and mutual funds||Corporate and government bond portfolio|
|Minimum deposit||ETFs: $2,500; Mutual funds: $500||$500||$25,000||$150,000||$250,000|
|Annual advisory fee||0.0%||0.3%||0.65%–0.90%||0.95%–1.25%||0.35%–0.75%|
|Risk management||3 preset categories||5 preset portfolios||Customized portfolio||Customized portfolio||Customized portfolio|
|Rebalancing?||No||Yes, robo||Yes, expert||Yes, expert||Yes, expert|
E*TRADE has great research tools: fundamental analysis, strategy building, handy tools for options trading, and a whole lot more.
|• Good interactive chart||None|
|• Trading ideas|
|• Data on asset fundamentals|
Research tools can be found on both the E*TRADE and the Power E*TRADE web trading platforms.
While the E*TRADE web trading platform is best for research related to basic investment topics like stocks and ETFs, the Power E*TRADE platform is best suited for researching complex products like options or futures.
E*TRADE provides trading ideas and recommendations for stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds.
Some stock trading ideas come from third-party providers, including analyst outlooks from TipRanks, SmartConsesus, Thomas Reuters, MorningStar and MarketEdge, among others. E*TRADE creates a shortlist from these trading ideas (mainly including commission-free ETFs and mutual funds), called All-star Funds.
E*TRADE offers fundamental data, mainly on stocks. You will find data such as financial statements for the past 5 years, as well as basic performance and rating metrics under the 'Fundamentals' menu. Further financial information is available under the 'Earnings' menu.
E*TRADE has good charting tools. You can use about 30 technical indicators. The charts are easily editable in both E*TRADE platforms.
The news feed is great. It is easily readable, and provides good visual information, mainly using charts. It is provided by third parties such as Briefing.com or Morningstar. You can also reach Bloomberg TV from the front page.
E*TRADE has great 24/7 customer service, giving relevant answers. However, during our most recent live chat test, we encountered extremely long waiting times.
|• Phone support||• Slow live chat and phone|
|• Live chat|
|• Relevant answers|
You can contact E*TRADE via:
- live chat
E*TRADE's phone support left us with mixed feelings. When we last tested, no agents were available.
The email service was quick and relevant, we got our answers within 1 day.
We also experienced massive waiting times on live chat. On two separate occasions, we had to wait 50+ minutes for an agent. On the other hand, the answers were clear and helpful both times.
We liked that the E*TRADE support team is available 24/7.
E*TRADE offers good educational materials, such as videos, articles and free webinars. On the other hand, the demo account is available only for Power E*TRADE platform.
|• Trading platform tutorial||• Demo account is only for Power E*TRADE|
|• Educational videos|
|• Good production quality|
At E*TRADE you can learn in the following ways:
- Platform tutorial videos
- General educational videos
- Quality educational articles
- Demo account for Power E*TRADE platform
E*TRADE's educational materials are high quality overall and cover a wide range of topics.
Videos and educational articles offered by E*TRADE are suitable for beginners and offer useful content.
Webinars focus on various subjects, at different experience levels. If you miss them real-time, they are also available for later viewing. You can find them under the 'Knowledge' > 'Events' menu.
E*TRADE is overseen by top-tier US regulators, and you are protected by a high investor protection amount, but there is no negative balance protection.
|• Majority of clients belong to a top-tier financial authority||• No negative balance protection|
|• High level of investor protection|
|• Banking background|
Is E*TRADE regulated?
Yes, it is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
E*TRADE is based in the US and was founded in 1982.
Is E*TRADE safe?
To be certain, we highly advise that you check two facts:
- how you are protected if something goes wrong
- what the background of the broker is
How you are protected
This is important for you because the investor protection amount and the regulator differ from country to country. At E*TRADE, this is not an issue as all customers are handled by E*TRADE Securities LLC and are covered by the US investor protection scheme, called SIPC.
The SIPC investor protection scheme protects against the loss of cash and securities in case the broker goes bust. The limit of SIPC protection is $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash. This is substantially higher than what most other investor protection schemes provide.
Not all investments are protected by SIPC. In general, SIPC covers notes, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment company shares, and other registered securities. It does not cover instruments such as unregistered investment contracts, unregistered limited partnerships, fixed annuity contracts, currency, and interests in gold, silver, or other commodity futures contracts or commodity options.
E*TRADE does not provide negative balance protection.
E*TRADE was established in 1982. The longer track record a broker has, the more proof we have that it has successfully survived previous financial crises.
E*TRADE Bank, an affiliated company of E*TRADE Securities LLC under E*Trade Financial Corporation, has a banking license, and as such, it is subject to tougher regulation than brokers. In February 2020, E*TRADE was acquired by investment giant Morgan Stanley, under which it will continue its brokerage services.
E*TRADE Financial Corporation is listed on the NASDAQ, which is a big plus for safety as E*TRADE releases financial statements regularly and transparently.
Having a banking license, being listed on a stock exchange, providing financial statements, and regulated by a top-tier regulator are all great signs for E*TRADE's safety.
E*TRADE is one of the biggest US stockbrokers, and is regulated by top-tier authorities.
At the end of 2019, riding the commission-free trading trend in the US, E*TRADE introduced zero commission on stock and ETF trades. E*TRADE's research functions are of high quality and channel a lot of tools, including trading ideas and strategy builders. We liked the easy handling and the customizable features of the mobile trading platform.
E*TRADE has some drawbacks though. It doesn't accept credit/debit cards and electronic wallets for money transfers, and its product portfolio covers only US markets. In addition, live chat support is slow.
As trading fees are generally low, research tools are great and no inactivity fee is charged, you should feel free to try E*TRADE.