E*TRADE Review: Get Up To $600 Cash Back!

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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!

E*TRADE is one of the most well-known online brokers in the industry. This E*TRADE review will help you determine if their products and services are ones that can help meet your investing goals and needs.

Due to my experience as a stockbroker, I’ve been able to deal with many of the major brokerages out there. E*TRADE is one I have extensive experience working with and dealing with their platform.

There are many online brokerages to choose from and they all have offerings that set them apart from the next. Many claim to be among the best online brokerages though some do not measure up when you take a closer look. If you simply need a place to invest in the stock market then it often comes down to price and tools they offer to determine which brokerage is best for you.

With that out of the way, let’s get on with the review of E*TRADE and how they might be able to help with your investment needs.

E*trade Features


The Trading Platform: The trading platform at E*TRADE as one of the best platforms available in the brokerage space. It is intuitive and user friendly when it comes to placing trades and finding the information you need. At $6.95 per stock trade and $6.95 plus $.75 per options contract, their prices are competitive within the online brokerage space. They just recently lowered their price from $9.99 per trade, so it’s good to see movement to a lower price point.

Free Streaming Quotes: Like other brokerages, E*TRADE’s streaming quotes are free. Once you open an account and fill out the necessary paperwork you can access free real-time quotes. This is a great feature to have if price movement is something you like to watch. 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 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 helps set E*TRADE apart from some of the other brokerages in the industry.

Advantages of E*trade


Powerful Trading Tools: Not only is E*TRADE’s trading platform user friendly, but they also offer a lot 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. E*TRADE 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 want to invest in mutual funds, you will 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. Beyond mutual funds, E*TRADE also offers roughly 110 commission-free ETFs to choose from.

Customer Service: Having worked in customer service for years I recognize good customer service when I see it. Every time I have interacted with someone from E*TRADE I’ve had a great experience. They’re also open 24 hours a day, which is not all that common and have a nice chat feature. E*TRADE 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: E*TRADE is among the best in regards to the minimum amount needed to open an account. If you open a standard account the minimum is $500 or $2,000 if you want to open a margin-enabled account. This is among one of the lowest minimums needed to open an account there in the industry. That being said, if you open a retirement account with E*TRADE they have no minimum balance requirement.

Access to Foreign Markets: Along with the aforementioned Forex/Future trading this also really helps set E*TRADE apart. They have access to stock trading in Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the UK. I’m not 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 E*trade


Commissions: The only issue I have with E*TRADE is their commission structure, as it relates to stock trades. Like I said earlier, $6.95 is definitely competitive, but there are others in the online brokerage space that are cheaper. I will point out there is always the option to try and negotiate the commission. They do offer a lower commission structure at $4.95 per trade, but you have to place a certain number of trades each quarter to qualify for that. With that in mind, I always like to look at the value being delivered and in the case of E*TRADE there is value for that price.

You Need to be an Active Trader to get their best Platform: Their most robust platform, E*TRADE 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 Ally Invest 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!

e*trade review – my take


I think for many, E*TRADE is a 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. E*TRADE offers a good number of mutual funds and 110+ commission-free ETFs. The other thing I like about E*TRADE 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 need a good online brokerage that has solid offerings, then E*TRADE 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 E*TRADE 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.


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


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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

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  • Free Money Minute says:

    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?

    • Greg@ClubThrifty says:

      I would say no.

      • says:

        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.

  • Greg@ClubThrifty says:

    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.

  • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank says:

    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.

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar says:

    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.

  • Grayson @ Debt RoundUp says:

    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.

    • John says:

      They do have a good platform, but those commissions are a sticking point for many, which I completely understand.

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor says:

    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.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money says:

    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.

    • John says:

      I completely understand DC, which is why finding that value for what you’re paying for is very important.

  • Sean @ One Smart Dollar says:

    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.

  • Mike@WeOnlyDoThisOnce says:

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

  • thepotatohead says:

    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…

    • John Schmoll says:

      Good question Clair! No, there’s no requirement to buy a certain number of shares – whatever you choose to go with is just fine. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  • 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.

    • John Schmoll says:

      You most certainly can Tim, there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Many people do in fact, I have accounts at 3 different brokerages actually. Thanks for stopping by!

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