E*Trade Online Brokerage Account Review

by Ryan Guina

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 Online Brokerage ReviewE*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.

E*Trade Commissions Commissions
Stock & Options Trades $9.99
Options Contracts $0.75
Futures Contracts $2.99
Margin Rate 7.14%
Bonds $1

Additional rates:

  • 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:

E*Trade has the following offers and promotions available for new customers:

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.

Published or updated January 29, 2016.
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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 GBR Briana

Thanks for this info Ryan. I recently posted on the Personal Dividends forum about stepping into the investment world and had no idea where to start. About a year ago I went to the E*Trade site and was immediately confused and intimidated. I’m going to give it another whirl.


2 Ryan

Briana, E*Trade is a great option for almost anyone. However, you may find something that is a better match for your specific investment needs. Check out this list of Best Brokerages for a Roth IRA. This article details some of the differences between the mutual fund houses and discount brokerages and the pros and cons of using them for different investing styles. E*Trade is included in the list because I believe they are one of the top brokerage firms out there. Best of luck!


3 Kurt @ Money Counselor

I’ve been using E*Trade for years and like it a lot. Unfortunately I’m being forced to move all of my and my wife’s accounts elsewhere. We moved to Canada in 2009. Though we’re US citizens, E*Trade is now telling me that it’s not licensed to handle our accounts unless we have a US address. Apparently the company’s unwilling to spend the money on Canadian licensing. So I’m searching for a new firm to handle our accounts that’s not so stingy and set to work with US citizens residing in Canada. Any suggestions would be welcome.


4 Ryan Guina

Kurt, this sounds like something that would be handled on a case by case basis by each brokerage. I do know that USAA handles investment accounts for many people who live overseas, so they might be worth looking into. USAA has a full service bank (checking, savings, etc.), as well as an excellent brokerage service (trades are $5.95, or $8.95). USAA also has their own mutual funds and they offer financial planning services. You can learn more at their site: USAA Brokerage Services.


5 Carlos

Any thoughts about their debit card?


6 Ryan Guina

Carlos, if you are already using E*Trade for banking, then the debit card is a nice feature. Personally, I like to separate my banking / spending accounts from my investing accounts. This barrier makes it more difficult to transfer money from investments to my spending accounts. But as long as you don’t have any issues with that, then the E*Trade debit card is a nice feature.


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