E*Trade is one of the oldest and well-known online stock brokers in the US. E*Trade is an award winning brokerage firm and offers a wide variety of investing tools, resources, and features that place it among the leaders among both full service brokerages and discount brokerage firms.
More importantly, E*Trade is affordable, with a commission and fee schedule that is good for both active traders and long term investors. Let’s take a look at some of E*Trade’s features and why they are a solid brokerage account for a diverse group of investors.
E*Trade Online Brokerage Account Review
E*Trade Features. E*Trade is a full service brokerage firm, offering a full banking service in addition to its brokerage account, mortgages, and other financial products. E*Trade offers multiple service levels to meet different investor needs.
E*TRADE Complete Investment Account. The E*TRADE Complete Investment account is their entry level offering, but don’t let that fool you – there is a lot of service and value in this plan. You have the ability to open an E*Trade bank account which can be integrated into your investment account, making it easy to make quick trades and transfer funds. The E*Trade banking account comes with free unlimited checking, a debit card, free online bill pay, and Free ATM fee refunds. But that’s just the bank – the brokerage offers the following:
- Investors can buy stocks, bonds, mutual funds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), and even participate in IPOs,
- There are over 1,300 no-load and no-transaction fee mutual funds,
- Over 80 commission-free exchange-traded funds (ETFs),
- Free access to investing tools (see below for more information),
- Free web seminars, tutorials, videos, and other educational resources,
- IRAs – no annual fees or account minimums,
- Complimentary retirement guidance from Chartered Retirement Planning Counselors
- A suite of state-of-the-art investing and planning tools
- The minimum balance to open a standard trading account is $500.
Power E*Trade Account. The Power E*Trade Account is the next level service and is automatically available to investors and traders who make at least 10 trades per month or 30 trades or options in a quarter. It offers more advanced trading tools, advanced charts, analytical tools, screening tools, and access to the Power E*Trade Pro platform.
E*Trade IRAs. There are no fees or minimums to open or maintain an IRA through E*Trade.
E*Trade Trading Platform and Investment Tools
E*Trade offers customers a wide variety of trading tools to help make informed trades and investment decisions. Some of these tools include streaming stock quotes, charts, Stock, Fund, & ETF Screeners to find investments that meets your requirements, and an investor resource center where you can conduct research, read articles, and communicate with other investors. E*Trade also features E*Trade Mobile Pro, an app for the iPhone, iPad, and Blackberry. Visit the E*Trade website for more information about their offered investment tools and services.
E*Trade Commissions and Brokerage Fees
The current commissions are $9.99 per trade. Options trades are the same as standard trades, plus the cost of each contract. There are additional items of note for certain types of traders. I recommend visiting the E*Trade website if you have more specific inquiries regarding trade prices.
|Stock & Options Trades||$9.99|
- IRAs – no fees & no minimums
- Mutual Funds: over 7,600 available and over 1,100 with no load and no transaction fee
- Broker assisted trades are $45 for either plan
How Does E*Trade Compare to Similar Brokerages?
E*Trade Customer Service
E*Trade has award winning customer service, with phone support available year round – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You can also contact customer support via a secure email form within your account and receive a response within 48 hours, which is great for those times you have a question, but don’t need an immediate response.
E*Trade Awards and Recognition
E*Trade has won numerous awards and has been recognized by a variety of third party sources. Here is how E*Trade finished in annual rankings by SmartMoney Magazine and Barron’s:
- SmartMoney Magazine, May 2010 Broker Survey: Trading Tools (5 stars), Customer Service (5 stars), Banking Services (5 stars), Mutual Funds & Investment Products (4 stars) and Research (4 stars).
- SmartMoney Magazine overall rankings: #2 in 2010; #1 in 2009, 2008, 2007; #2 in 2006.
- Barron’s Annual Ranking of the Best Online Brokers (Based on Trade Experience, Trade Technology, Usability, Range of Offerings, Research Amenities, Portfolio Analysis & Reports, Customer Service & Access, and Costs): E*TRADE overall ranked #11 in 2010; #10 in 2009, 2008; #8 in 2007; #6 in 2006.
Current E*Trade promotions:
- Trade Free for 60 days, Plus get up to $600.
- More details on the E*Trade Cash Bonus and Free Trade Promotion.
Final Thoughts about E*Trade
E*Trade is not the cheapest discount broker on the scene, but they offer some of the best value. Their full service bank and variety of other free resources and features make E*Trade one of the best discount brokerage firms on the market. For more information or to open an account, visit the E*Trade website.