TD Ameritrade and Etrade are two low-cost brokerage firms who advertise frequently and offer investors
an array of investment and banking products. Investors of course will want to know which of the two is the better choice: Etrade or Ameritrade? Let's find out.
Fees and Account Minimums
TD Ameritrade’s standard charge for trading stocks and ETF’s is $9.99, while Etrade charges the same amount. Etrade offers a discount of $2 per
trade for investors who place more than 150 trades per quarter. TD Ameritrade has a discount for active traders too but it doesn't advertise it -
active clients simply call the broker and negotiate better rates. For options, both firms charge an extra $0.75 per contract.
Placing a trade with a living, breathing, broker costs a very steep $44.99 at TD Ameritrade, while doing the same at Etrade incurs a $25 charge.
Both brokers offer slightly more than 100 ETF's commission-free.
Brokerage accounts at both TD Ameritrade and Etrade carry no inactivity fees or account maintenance fees. The minimum initial deposit to open a brokerage
account at Etrade is $500, while TD Ameritrade has no minimum.
Both brokers offer no-fee IRA's.
It's a dead heat in this category.
Etrade offers its clients over 8,000 mutual funds, of which 1,300 are no-load and don't have transaction fee. Mutual funds that carry a transaction fee are $19.99.
TD Ameritrade has access to more than 11,000 mutual funds, of which nearly 2,000 carry no transaction fee and no load. Transaction fee funds carry a very pricey $49.99 charge.
Overall, TD Ameritrade and Etrade are pretty even in this category, too.
Research and Education
Etrade offers an array of educational resources for its clients, consisting of on-demand videos, articles, and in-person seminars. Various topics are covered, such as fixed-income, options, beginner investing, and IRA’s.
TD Ameritrade offers in-depth research for stocks, options, ETF’s, and mutual funds. Customers have access to free stock and ETF reports from Credit Suisse, TheStreet.com, Morningstar, S&P Capital IQ, and others.
Investools is an educational service owned by TD Ameritrade. It offers courses at the beginner, advanced, and expert levels on a variety of financial topics, such as forex, options, and stocks.
This category produces another dead heat.
TD Ameritrade has phone service staffed 24/7. Representatives are available certain hours of the day who speak Spanish, Cantonese, or Mandarin. The brokerage has more than 100 brick-and-mortar branches located across the United States for old school investors who want more personal investment assistance.
Etrade has physical branches, but only 30. The broker offers 24/7 telephone customer service.
TD Ameritrade comes out on top in this category.
TD Ameritrade offers several different platforms all with free Level II quotes. First is the standard web site, which is user friendly. Next is
Trade Architect, a Java-based platform launched from the web site. Finally, there is
Thinkorswim. This platform is a stand-alone program. It offers stock analysis, market
news, account info, and order entry. All platforms are free to use with no frequent trader requirement.
A great tool that TD Ameritrade offers is their paperMoney, a practice platform within Thinkorswim that allows traders to simulate trading with virtual currency.
Etrade's web site is sophisticated and user friendly. The broker's Total Trade Ticket can be used to place orders for stocks, options, and ETF’s. Advanced platforms
are available here, but only for frequent traders. E*TRADE Pro is a desktop application, and E*TRADE
MarketTrader is a browser platform.
This category also goes to TD Ameritrade.
Etrade has applications for Windows phone, iPad, iPhone, Android phone and tablet, Amazon Fire phone, and Kindle Fire HD. The iPhone app has the most features. The interface is easy to navigate. Users will find charts, a trade ticket, mobile check deposit, educational videos, and many other useful features.
TD Ameritrade has three different apps: Mobile App, Mobile Trader App, and a Thinkorswim app for investors with different experience level (beginner, mid-level and
advanced). They can be used on iPhone, iPad, and Android. he Thinkorswim app has paperMoney for customers who want to practice trading on a mobile platform.
Etrade and TD Ameritrade are pretty close in this category.
Cash Management Features
TD Ameritrade offers a checking account with free checks, a free Visa debit card, and no monthly account fees. ATM fees are reimbursed nationwide. The account balance is deposited in up to two FDIC insured banks, doubling the default $250,000 insurance.
Etrade has an FDIC-insured bank that offers a checking account with the standard $250,000 protection. The account comes with a Visa debit card and checks. It can be linked to an E*Trade brokerage account.
Etrade rebates ATM fees for customers who have a minimum balance of $5,000, or who have combined balances across all Etrade accounts of at least $50,000.
TD Ameritrade is the winner here.
TD Ameritrade offers forex trading, while Etrade does not. Both brokerage firms
offer futures trading. Etrade charges $2.99 per contract while TD Ameritrade charges $2.25.
TD Ameritrade wins here, too.
There were four ties, TD Ameritrade (read review) was victorious in four categories, and
Etrade (read review) failed to win a single category. The winner is TD Ameritrade.
Updated on 2/8/2017.
Discount online brokerage firms comparison: Etrade or TD Ameritrade? Review differences between investment companies. Recommendation for stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds investors. TD Ameritrade versus Etrade for beginner
investors, long term, individual retirement accounts, active/day traders. See which stock broker service is better, cheaper, offers lower fees, costs, rated higher and easier to use.