Is E*TRADE free?

E*TRADE is in fact a zero-commission broker when it comes to buying and selling US stocks. Zero commission is especially useful if you trade relatively low volumes, like buying stocks for less than $500 per trade, because you won't be hit with any minimum fees the broker might charge.

We should note that the payment-for-order-flow model, which is used by some zero-commission brokers to generate income (rather than relying on commissions), could potentially create a conflict of interest between you and your broker. This could result in trade execution (like routing your orders to specific market makers) that might be unfavorable for you under certain market conditions, especially when using market orders (as opposed to limit orders, which seem to be less affected).

Keep in mind that at some brokers, you could incur non-trading charges like withdrawal or inactivity fees. If you want to trade options, bonds or futures, then a transaction fee may also apply. Also, if you trade on margin, the margin rate charged by brokers can differ wildly. In the next chapter, we'll find out what these charges are at E*TRADE and how they compare with fees charged by its closest competitors.

If you want to read our full review, including fees, deposit options and other platforms (like web and desktop) then skip to the E*TRADE review.

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E*TRADE fees
Overview of E*TRADE fees and charges

It's safe to say that E*TRADE's fees are low in general. They either don't charge a brokerage fee for things that other brokers do, or they only charge a small amount.

Here's a high-level overview of E*TRADE's fees

E*TRADE Fees snapshot
Assets Fee level Fee terms
US stock fee Low Free stock and ETF trading
EURUSD fee - Not available
US mutual fund fees High $19.99 per trade; ca. 4,500 free mutual funds
Inactivity fee Low No inactivity fee

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E*TRADE fees
E*TRADE fees explained

Online brokerages in general charge much lower brokerage fees than traditional brokerages do - this is largely because online brokerages' businesses can be much better scaled: from a purely technical standpoint, it doesn't make that much of a difference for them if they have 100 or 5,000 clients.

This is not to say, however, that they don't charge any fees at all. They make money by charging you various rates for various actions or events. Usually you need to keep an eye on the following three types of fees:

  • Trading fees - these are brokerage fees that you pay when you actually carry out a trade, like buying an Apple share or an ETF. What you pay is either a commission, a spread or a financing rate. Some brokers apply all of these.
    • A commission is either fixed or based on the traded volume.
    • A spread is the difference between the buy price and the sell price.
    • A financing rate or overnight rate is charged when you hold your leveraged positions for more than one day.
  • Non-trading fees. These are usually related to some operations you carry out in your account, such as depositing money, withdrawing money, or not trading for an extended period.

We compare E*TRADE fees with its closest competitors, Charles Schwab and Fidelity.

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E*TRADE fees
E*TRADE trading fees

E*TRADE's trading fees are low, which makes it suitable for you even if you trade often (i.e. several times a week).

Let's break down trading fees according to the different asset classes available at E*TRADE.

Trading fees

E*TRADE's trading fees are low.

Stock fees and ETF fees

E*TRADE has low stock trading fees.

Stock fees of a $2,000 trade
E*TRADE Charles Schwab Fidelity
US stock $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
UK stock - - $12.6
German stock - - $22.8

Fund fees

E*TRADE fund fees are high.

Fees of a $2,000 fund purchase
E*TRADE Charles Schwab Fidelity
Mutual fund $20.0 $24.8 $37.5
EU mutual fund - - -

Bond fees

E*TRADE has low bond fees.

Fees of a $10,000 bond trade
E*TRADE Charles Schwab Fidelity
US Treasury bond $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
EU government bond - - -

Options fees

E*TRADE's options fees are low.

Options fees for 10 contracts
E*TRADE Charles Schwab Fidelity
US stock options $6.5 $6.5 $6.5
US stock index options $6.5 $6.5 $6.5
UK stock index options - - -
German stock index options - - -

Futures fees

E*TRADE's futures fees are average.

Stock index futures fees for 10 contracts
E*TRADE Charles Schwab Fidelity
US micro e-mini stock index futures $15.0 $15.0 -
UK stock index futures - - -
German e-mini stock index futures - - -

Margin rates

E*TRADE margin rates are high.

E*TRADE margin rates
E*TRADE Charles Schwab Fidelity
USD margin rate 9.0% 8.3% 8.3%
EUR margin rate - - -

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E*TRADE fees
E*TRADE non-trading fees

When it comes to non-trading fees, E*TRADE is a rather cheap broker.

Non-trading fees include various brokerage fees and charges at E*TRADE that are not related to buying or selling assets. This can be a withdrawal fee, deposit fee, inactivity fee or account fee.

A high-level overview of how E*TRADE stacks up in terms of non-trading fees
E*TRADE Charles Schwab Fidelity
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0
Inactivity fee No No No
Account fee No No No

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E*TRADE fees
E*TRADE deposit fee

Usually, brokers don't charge anything for deposits, and E*TRADE is no different.

E*TRADE deposit methods
E*TRADE Charles Schwab Fidelity
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No No Yes
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0

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E*TRADE fees
E*TRADE withdrawal fee

E*TRADE generally doesn't charge a withdrawal fee.

E*TRADE withdrawal fees and options compared
E*TRADE Charles Schwab Fidelity
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No No Yes
Withdrawal fee for bank transfer $0 $0 $0

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E*TRADE fees
E*TRADE inactivity fee

E*TRADE does not apply an inactivity fee, which is great because your account won't be charged even if you do not trade for an extended period (like several months or years).

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Author of this article

Ádám Nasli

Author of this article

Ádám is a motivated finance expert with over two years of experience in banking and investment, and a professional degree in this field. He's eager to help people find the best investment provider for them, and to make the investment sector as transparent as possible.

Ádám Nasli

Broker Expert

Ádám is a motivated finance expert with over two years of experience in banking and investment, and a professional degree in this field. He's eager to help people find the best investment provider for them, and to make the investment sector as transparent as possible.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

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