Etrade Review


Etrade Commissions, Fees, and Minimum Deposit


ProductPrice
Stocks and ETFs $9.99 ($7.99 if making 150+ trades per quarter)
Stocks and ETFs broker assisted $34.99
Options $9.99 + $0.75 per contract ($7.99 + $0.75 if making 150+ trades per quarter)
Mutual funds $19.99
Futures contracts $2.99 per contract, per side + fees
Fixed Incomemarkup or markdown and any transaction fee will be included in the price quoted
Bonds$1 per bond (minimum $10, maximum $250) for online secondary market trades. Includes Agency bonds, Corporate bonds, Municipal bonds, Brokered CDs, Pass-thrus, CMOs, Asset Backed Securities.

Investments stocks, bonds, mutual funds, futures, fixed income, options, ETFs
Etrade minimum deposit to open account $500 for a non-retirement account, $0 for a retirement account, $2,000 for a margin account
FeesEtrade fees
Promotion and login linksEtrade login, Etrade promotions and Etrade referral


Etrade New Account Setup

Etrade new account online registration takes around 10 minutes to complete. It is well-organized, though the forms are not as clean-looking as they can be. The company offers several sweep options (where your money is held until you invest it) and the default is the E*TRADE Financial Extended Insurance Sweep Deposit Account, which offers tiny daily interest and FDIC insurance up to $1,250,000. Other sweep options do not specify what interest (if any) they provide.

The company gives customers access to free debit card and check writing, although a minimum balance of $1,000 is required for that. What we also like is that right away all documents are set to electronic delivery, and there is a $2 fee for each document the customer chooses to have delivered through regular mail - let's not forget about environment.

After we finished the application, we were given four options for funding an account: wire (1 business day), ACH (3 business days), check (5 business days) and account transfer (8 business days). We chose ACH, completed the bank information, and clicked the submit button. A message appeared saying "You have requested access to a customer-only feature". This is apparently an error and it is definitely confusing to users. But when we logged in into our new account, everything was fine - all the information has been saved.

Funds deposited through ACH will appear to be available almost immediately - the Net Account Value on the main Etrade screen will show the transferred amount. But in reality it will become available for trading three business days later. A customer service representative will call on that day and offer assistance.


Etrade Mutual Funds Review


Slightly more than 7,400 mutual funds are available to buy and sell on the Etrade website. Approximately 6,300 have no transaction fee, and more than 2,000 have neither transaction fee nor load. Using Etrade's advanced screener helps to narrow down some of the fund choices. Pre-defined screens, such as actively managed funds, are available. Users can also search according to asset class, Morningstar rating, distribution yield, fund category, and expense ratio. The broker's website presents detailed information on each fund, including fees, performance history, ratings, and portfolio composition. Charting for mutual funds is also very advanced and includes technical studies.

Different funds have different minimum purchase amounts. Some funds have a $0 minimum. Required initial purchase amounts for funds in an IRA also vary. Etrade doesn't charge anything for mutual funds with a small balance. However, there is a $19.99 charge for transaction-fee funds. Unfortunately, the fee is applied to purchases, sales, and exchanges.


IRAs


Etrade offers many different types of IRA's. These include Traditional, Roth, Rollover, OneStop Rollover, SEP, SIMPLE, IRA for Minors, a Beneficiary IRA (in Traditional and Roth formats), and a Complete IRA. This selection is one of the largest in the industry.

An Etrade IRA has no setup fee, no inactivity fee, and no annual fee. Even better, there is no minimum to open a retirement account with the broker. However, there is a $25 fee for early withdrawals. There is also a $25 fee for removing excess contributions. A final $25 fee is for recharacterizations, such as when a Roth conversion is switched back to a Traditional.

Investors will find many IRA resources on the Etrade website. For instance, there is a useful Rollover IRA tool that leads users step-by-step to decide if changing an employer-based plan to an IRA is a good idea or not. There is also an inheritance tool that determines if an estate should be converted into an IRA. A handy required minimum distribution calculator estimates the amount that must be withdrawn, if any, from an IRA in a certain tax year. Besides IRA calculators, the broker also provides articles, videos, and web seminars on retirement topics.


Etrade Website/Trading Platform/Tools Review


Website

The broker's website is well-designed and attractive. Users can place trades, read market news, and conduct security research. Etrade’s Total Trade Ticket is a convenient web-based trading system for stocks, options, and ETF’s. Conditional orders can be placed on the website. These include such strategies as one-triggers-all, contingent, and bracketed.

Excellent research for securities is also available on the website. Buy, hold, and sell recommendations can be found from several independent sources, such as Thomson Reuters, S&P Capital IQ, UBS, and Deutsche Bank.

MarketCaster is a platform that displays real-time trade information for watch lists and account positions. Columns can be customized to display different types of data, such as price, volume, bid size, 52-week high, and market value. A trade button takes the user back to the website to execute a buy or sell order.





Trading Software

The Etrade Developer Platform allows clients to construct their own trading platform. The broker recommends using PHP, Java, or JavaScript. Users will then be able to access Etrade account and position information, market data and place trades from the platform. Users can also cancel or modify orders, and check the status of an order. The platform can display a security's or index's vital information and receive important messages from Etrade.

The broker's own advanced platform is also available. Etrade Pro is a desktop system and can be used to trade stocks, ETF's, options, and futures. As the name implies, it is the broker's most advanced platform. It has Level II quotes, market news, security search, and a margin analyzer. Unfortunately, the software is only available to traders who complete 30 or more trades per quarter, or have at least $250,000 in an Etrade brokerage account. In comparison, Charles Schwab requires only a $1,000 account balance to use its advanced platform, and TD Ameritrade has no requirement.





Mobile Trading

Investors with busy lifestyles should check out the suite of mobile platforms that Etrade has to offer. The broker has platforms for iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, Android devices, Windows phone, Amazon Fire phone, and Kindle Fire HD. The interface is intuitive and simple to use. There is a trade ticket and many other vital features, such as charting, educational Etrade videos, and mobile check deposit. There is also a CNBC video archive. This library is available at no charge. However, live streaming of CNBC news is only available to frequent traders or to customers who are willing to pay a very expensive $99.95 fee, per month! The apps got high, 4 star rating in both Google Play and iTunes.





Etrade Pros


  • No account maintenance or inactivity fees
  • Large and well established company
  • Powerful trading tools
  • No IRA account fees, and no minimums with electronic statements and confirmations
  • Low minimums to open accounts: $500 for a regular brokerage account and $0 for a retirement account
  • Investing advice is available by phone or in person
  • No surcharges on large orders or penny stocks
  • Great research amenities from S&P, MorningStar, Thompson Reuters, Credit Suisse, and Smart Consensus


Etrade Cons


  • High commissions on stocks, ETFs, and options
  • High margin rates
  • $0.005 per share surcharge on extended hours trades (ECN fee) and on trades executed through E*TRADE Pro at an ECN during both regular market and extended hours sessions
  • E*TRADE Pro platform is available at no charge only to customers who execute at least 30 stock or options trades during a calendar quarter


Recommendations


Etrade is one of the few securities brokers to also offer futures trading. At just $2.99 per contract, Etrade's regular brokerage customers can also trade futures at a reasonable cost. The firm is also one of the few brokers to offer an IRA that is professionally managed - the OneStop Rollover. Retirement savers who don't want to manage their own nest egg should give Etrade a call.


Etrade Review Summary


Etrade is one of the best-known and largest online brokerage firms in the country, and it is a publicly traded company. When it was founded in 1992 as the first online discount brokerage, it revolutionized stock market trading. Since then, many other companies have followed the same business model. Based in New York, the company is winding down its mortgage-plagued bank activities to focus fully on its brokerage services.

Etrade's commissions are some of the highest among discount brokers: $9.99 per stock or ETF trade, and $9.99 plus $0.75 per contract on option trades. Mutual funds are priced much more attractively at $19.99 per transaction. There are 1,300 no-load, no-transaction fee mutual funds available through the company.

Etrade offers some banking services to its customers - two checking accounts and mortgages. One of the things we like best about an Etrade account is the variety of options for accessing funds when needed: ACH transfer to another bank account, debit card to make a purchase or withdraw cash, or writing a check. One of the benefits of using Etrade debit card is that they do not charge a fee for withdrawing money from most ATMs.

Etrade customers have access to more than 30,000 bond issues. Clients can invest in Agency, Corporate, and Municipal bonds, Brokered CDs, Pass-thrus, CMOs, and Asset Backed Securities. The pricing for investing in bonds is very good at $1 per bond with $10 minimum and $250 maximum.

Etrade offers a lot of valuable services to the clients but it is very expensive. For example, the firms' main competitor and one of the largest brokerage houses in the U.S. - Scottrade - charges much lower commissions: $7 for stock and ETF trades, and $17 for mutual funds. Also, while most of Etrade's competitors have at least one area where they are the best in the industry or which is unique just to them, Etrade didn't manage to create anything like it.


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E*trade reviewed by Brokerage-Review.com on . Rating: 4


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