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Etrade Review: Get Up To $600 Cash Back!

This Etrade review covers how they might help you meet your investment goals. Read how you can get up to $600 by opening an Etrade account today!

Etrade has been in the online broker space for decades and is one of the most well-known online brokers. This Etrade review is meant to help you determine if their products and services are ones that can help you meet your investing goals and needs.

Due to my experience in the online brokerage industry, I’ve been able to deal with many of the major brokerages out there. Etrade is one of those I have extensive experience in working with and dealing with their platform. If you would like to check out some of my previous brokerage reviews, you can do so below:

As I have shared in past brokerage review posts, there are many online brokerages to choose from and they all have offerings that set them apart from the next. Many of them claim to be among the best online brokerages but some do not measure up when you look under the hood. Ultimately, if you’re looking to invest in stocks and have a fairly simple approach, then it really just comes down to price and other tools they have to offer.

Now that we have some of the background out of the way, let’s get on with the review of Etrade and how they might be able to help you with your investment needs.

Etrade Features

 

The Trading Platform: The trading platform at Etrade as one of the best platforms available in the industry. It is intuitive and user friendly when it comes to placing trades and finding the information you need. At $9.99 per stock trade and $9.99 plus $.75 per options contract, its prices are competitive within the online brokerage space.

Free Streaming Quotes: Like Scottrade, Etrade’s streaming quotes are free. Once you open the account and fill out the necessary paperwork (which takes maybe five minutes at most) you can access free real time quotes. As someone who likes to have that feature, it’s nice to access without having to pay some sort of fee to have access to them. Since I like to watch the stock market, I will generally not invest with a broker who charges for streaming quotes.

Forex/Futures Trading: This is a nice little feature that is not offered at every online brokerage. I will caution that Forex and Futures trading is not for everyone and does have its own unique set of risks associated with it. However, it’s a great feature that I think helps set Etrade apart from some of the other brokerages in the industry.

Advantages of E-trade

 

Powerful Trading Tools: Not only is Etrade’s trading platform user friendly, but they also offer a good amount of research and tools that can help you with retirement planning. Their free educational offerings can help you better assess what kind of strategies to put in place in order to better manage your investing needs. Etrade has also been recognized by publications like Kiplinger’s for having some of the best tools and education available in the industry.

Solid Offering of Mutual Funds: If you’re looking to invest in mutual funds then you’re going to be happy with E-trade. They’re very competitive in regards to mutual fund offerings as they offer over 8,000 mutual funds, of which, 1,300 are no load, no transaction fee funds. If your mutual fund of choice does have a commission associated with it then it’s competitively priced at $19.99 instead of $50, which is what you’ll find at other major brokerages. I will also point out that if you need help determining which funds to invest in, Personal Capital offers a free tool that allows you to find the lowest fee funds available. I love and use it myself.

Customer Service: Having worked in customer service for a number of years I recognize good customer service when I see it. Every time I have interacted with someone from Etrade I’ve had a great experience. They’re also open 24 hours a day, which unfortunately is not all that common, and have a nice chat feature. Etrade also has a branch network of several dozen branches throughout the country that are open to help you with your account problems or investing needs.

Low Initial Minimums: Etrade is among the best in regards to the minimum amount needed to open an account. If you’re opening a standard account then the minimum is $500 or $2,000 if you’re looking to open a margin-enabled account. Having worked in the industry myself, that is among one of the lowest minimums needed to open an account there is. Other brokers, like Motif Investing allow you to start as low as $250, but Etrade is among one of the lowest requirements in the space.

Access to Foreign Markets: Along with the aforementioned Forex/Future trading this also really helps set Etrade, apart. They have access to stock trading in Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the UK. I am not terribly certain how competitive their pricing is in relation to that, but it is a great feature to have if that’s something you’re looking for.

Disadvantages of Etrade

 

Commissions: The only issue I have with E-trade is their commission structure, as it relates to stock trades. Like I said earlier, $9.99 is definitely competitive, but there are others in the online brokerage space that are cheaper. That said, there is always the option to try and negotiate the commission. They do offer a lower commission structure at $7.99 per trade, but you have to place a certain number of trades each quarter to qualify for that. With that in mind though, I always like to look at the value being delivered and in the case of E-trade there is good value for that price.

You Need to be an Active Trader to get their best Platform: Their most robust platform, Etrade Pro requires you to place at least 30 stock or options trades per quarter. That may not be an issue for many, but if you don’t trade often enough then it won’t be an option for you. Again, if you don’t trade often this should not be a concern, but if you’re wanting to not deal with that minimum trade level, you can look at platforms like OptionsHouse as a justifiable alternative.

This Etrade review covers how they might help you meet your investment goals. Read how you can get up to $600 by opening an Etrade account today!

etrade review – my take

 

I think for most, Etrade is a relatively good option to consider if you’re looking for a place to manage your investments. They do have a solid amount of offerings and have high quality tools to use. Etrade offers a good number of mutual funds and 80+ commission-free ETFs to choose from. The other thing I like about Etrade is their maturity allows them to offer a number of different things you won’t be able to find at most other brokerages.

If you’re looking for a great online brokerage that has solid offerings, then Etrade may be for you and you can usually have your account opened online within 10-15 minutes. One nice thing to keep in mind is that Etrade does offer promotions for opening a new account such as free trades at account opening or even a cash bonus if you start with different deposit amounts.

Open an account with Etrade now and qualify to get up to $600 cash back and free trades for 60 days!

 

 

Who do you invest with? What do you typically look for when deciding on a broker?

 

Summary
Reviewer
John Schmoll
Review Date
Reviewed Item
E-trade
Author Rating
5
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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to U.S. News & World Report, Investopedia, Credit Karma and more. If you're wanting to learn how to monetize your blog, check out my blog coaching services to see how I can help you take your site to the next level.

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38 Comments

  • If you do not have enough money to max out your 401k type accounts, does it make sense to have an eTrade account and invest outside of the tax protections of a retirement account?

      • I’d agree with Greg. You should be contributing at least 15% first to your 401k or Roth 401k before venturing into online trading accounts!

        Great post, John! I’ve used Etrade in the past, but am turned off by the high fees.

        • John says:

          That is a good point Charlie, but what I was referencing was not just putting everything into the 401k, but looking for tax diversification along the lines of a Roth IRA and not just a non-retirement account. If the 401k plan does not have good choices to choose from, I’d argue that the investor might be better served by opening a Roth to go along with the 401k and investing in some solid index funds. That said, it is hard to give a definitive answer not knowing the entire picture.

          The high commissions do hold many back and I completely understand that.

          • John says:

            I have a Roth IRA in my own brokerage account in addition to my employer 401k. I wanted to invest on my own and have more options.

            I think 401k contributions only need to go as high as the employer match. The other percentage can go into an IRA since we all should be setting aside at least 10%.

    • John says:

      That’s hard to say FMM not knowing your entire situation. Are you doing any investing outside of your 401k? If no, then I would say a Roth could be a good option as you also want to remember about a tax diversification as well. If you are investing in a retirement account outside of the 401k then I would not be as quick to say yes. If you do want to take advantage of the up front tax savings then I would say, generally, stick any extra in the 401k.

  • I have not used eTrade simply because of the commission structure. If I’m going to use an online broker, why not go with one with the lowest (or at least lower) commissions?

    • John says:

      That is a very valid point Greg, which is why I always try and negotiate the commission. That said, you also need to look at the value you’re receiving for that commission and look beyond the price tag.

  • I am similar to Greg and have actually looked at Etrade before so I could trade US listed companies, but I decided against it due to the higher commission structure.

  • AverageJoe says:

    the emphasis on trading to get into ETrade Pro is my biggest beef. I can’t be a “buy-and-hold”investor if I’m making that many trades a quarter. Focusing on making “enough trades” promoted bad investing habits.

    • John says:

      As it is mine Joe. That seems to be their best platform and I think that barrier is just too much for many investors and can induce bad habits that’ll cost money now and in the long run.

  • With all the competition, I’m very surprised that they don’t have the $7 trades like most of the advertisements seem to push. Maybe the talking baby costs lots to hire, and I’m sure superbowl ad slots aren’t cheap!

    • John says:

      I agree Kim. I worked for one of their main competitors and the argument was always we provide value with that price. I understand the value and think it’s very important, but being on the outer edge of competitive does cause them to lose clients.

  • I have heard good things about etrades platform, but as others have indicated, their commission fees are kind of high and fees in general. I don’t like fees, so I would rather have little. Good review John.

  • I’ve used ETrade for many years and really like its website. I tried Scottrade too and found it far less sophisticated. My only beef with ETrade is an “advisor” keeps phoning me even though I’ve told him repeatedly thanks but no thanks, mainly because I don’t want to argue with him about how much money we should have in equities. Fortunately his number shows up as an 866 call on my cell, so I don’t pick up. He never leaves a message. :)

    • John says:

      It’s great to get that perspective from an ETrade client. I have heard great things about their platform and like what I have seen of it. I hear you on their “advisor”…that drives me nuts. I’ll let you in on a little something you likely already know. They’re not really advisors, but a salesperson wanting to get you into a managed product or convince you to bring other outside brokerage accounts over to them.

  • Mr. Bonner says:

    I use Firstrade and it has decently priced commissions. Unfortunately, they don’t offer nearly as many commission-free ETF’s as some of the other sites, but they do cover the major indexes, so that fits my needs. Plus, now it looks like you don’t have to go through any hoops or approvals anymore to sell cash-covered puts, which is my preferred method of purchasing stocks/ETF’s

    • John says:

      I have heard of Firstrade but not a whole lot about them. That’s cool they’re going to allow you to do some cash-covered puts. I have been wanting to do that for some time and just need to start doing it.

  • I really don’t trade that much, so the relatively high commission fees aren’t that important to me. With that being said, I also would rather NOT pay higher fees if I don’t have to. I have my 401k and employee stock purchase plan through Fidelity so I use them for now, but I’m open to testing out some other brokerages.

  • I have been a long time Scottrade user and wouldn’t switch. Etrade has a lot of great features, but just the fact that they have higher fees makes them more unattractive to me.

    • John says:

      We moved some of our accounts to Scottrade a year or so ago and really do like them. I agree that the higher commission is a big detractor for many.

  • John says:

    I’ve used both Etrade and OptionsXpress. While etrade cost more per trade they offered more tools and a better user interface. OptionsXpress was cheaper but didn’t have as many report tools and the interface took some learning. I haven’t used either in 5 years though so it might all be different now.

    • John says:

      That’s exactly what I have been talking about John…price isn’t always the best indicator of a good brokerage. I think it’s a much fuller picture that you need to take. In regards to OptionsXpress, I believe they’re the ones who were taken over by Schwab recently so I am not certain how much they have changed.

  • I’m with you there. My only concerns are the pricings. Clean interface and easy to use.

  • I’ve used Etrade, Scottrade, and Zecco before. Pretty much consolidated everything into my Etrade account because they had the best options, easy management, good interface, and decent customer support. Scottrade was nice as well, and has local offices, but I was trading some penny stocks that they wouldn’t trade (smartly) and I moved stuff to Etrade to be able to trade them. The $10 isn’t so bad if you are doing larger monetary transactions. Supposedly Etrade has some of the fastest order executions. Zecco sucked, don’t use them.

    • John says:

      Consolidation is definitely the way to go, especially if you have multiple accounts out there. Glad to hear that it has worked out for you with Etrade.

  • K says:

    I don’t actively trade but want to put some money into buying some shares and leaving it alone for a while. Is e trade the right place for me?

    • John says:

      That’s a good question K! Not knowing the particulars of your exact situation, I’d say that it’s possible that they are. They have a great platform, plenty of tools and free educational resources and reasonable commissions.

  • Hang says:

    Just out of curiosity does e-trade sell penny stocks as well

    • John says:

      Thanks for stopping by Hang! To answer your question, yes they do allow you to trade penny stocks. In fact, most online brokerages do.

  • Clair Gold says:

    I want to invest in penny stocks along with other stocks later on perhaps. Do I have to trade a certain number of stocks if I go with e trade? At this point, I am only wanting to buy not trade…need some clarification of such terms…
    Clair

  • Tim Seidler says:

    Well I sure wish I had seen this a few days ago before I signed up for Scottrade. Do you know if you can manage portfolios at two separate trading sites legally? Not sure if it’s against the terms of service to use both.

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