Scottrade vs Fidelity, Etrade and TD Ameritrade

Comparison of trading and investing fees, IRA (Traditional, ROTH, SEP) accounts, stock/mutual fund/ETF pricing, and brokerage service differences.

Scottrade vs Fidelity, Etrade and TD Ameritrade: Cost

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
TD Ameritrade $0 $49.99 $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Scottrade $0 $17 $0.70 per contract $0 $0
Etrade $0 $19.95 $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Fidelity $0 $49.95 $0.65 per contract $0 $0


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade vs Etrade vs Scottrade vs Fidelity: Overview

Most investors have probably heard of Scottrade, Fidelity, E*Trade, and TD Ameritrade. These are some of the most heavily-advertised firms in the industry. Let's take a detailed look at these brokers and see how they stack up against each other.

Commissions and Account Minimums

Trading stocks and ETF's at E*Trade, Fidelity, Scottrade and TD Ameritrade costs $0. For options, E*Trade, and TD Ameritrade clients pay an extra $0.65 per contract. Scottrade charges $0.70 for the same security.

Placing a trade with a human broker at TD Ameritrade is $25, while doing the same at Fidelity is $32.95, Scottrade charges $32, and E*Trade is the lowest at $25.

Brokerage accounts at all firms have no maintenance fees or inactivity fees. Fidelity and Scottrade require a minimum initial deposit of $2,500, while E*Trade is at $500, and TD Ameritrade has no minimum. IRA's are available at all firms without any account fees.

Mutual Funds and ETF's

TD Ameritrade clients can trade more than 11,000 mutual funds. Of these, nearly 2,000 have no load and no transaction fee. Transaction fee mutual funds are $49.99 at the broker.

Fidelity provides over 10,000 mutual funds, of which less than one thousand come with no load and no transaction fee. Funds with a transaction fee cost $49.95 to buy.

E*Trade offers over 8,000 mutual funds. Approximately 1,300 are available without load and transaction fee. Traders pay $19.99 for transaction-fee funds.

At Scottrade, investors have access to more than 14,000 mutual funds. Nearly 3,000 have no transaction fee and no load. Transaction fee funds cost $17.

E*Trade offers 118 commission-free ETF's, TD Ameritrade has 101, Fidelity provides 84, and Scottrade doesn't offer any.

Research and Education

At Fidelity, investors have access to free third-party equity reports. The broker maintains a web-based learning center where clients can access material on a wide range of topics.

E*Trade also gives its clients helpful educational resources on its site. Investors have access to free stock reports from multiple analysts. The broker has several screeners for all securities.

TD Ameritrade customers receive free equity reports from several independent analysts. The broker also provides useful educational videos on its site.

Scottrade has fewer educational resources than the other three brokers. The firm offers no stock reports for its clients.

Customer Service

At Fidelity, customer service representatives are available 24/7. The broker also has over 180 brick-and-mortar locations throughout the United States for investors who want more personal service.

E*Trade has 30 branch locations. The firm offers telephone support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

TD Ameritrade has customer service reps on the phone around the clock. The firm has a nationwide network of branches. Currently, there are more than 100 locations.

Scottrade has more than 500 branches. Unfortunately, phone service is not available around the clock.

Trading Tools

E*Trade's web site is easy to navigate. The broker provides advanced trading platforms, in both browser and desktop environments, but only for frequent traders.

Fidelity offers a handy trade ticket on its easy-to-use website. The broker also offers a sophisticated trading system for active traders. Fidelity recently launched an app for Apple TV.

TD Ameritrade has three platforms. The most basic is the regular web browser. A step up is Trade Architect, a Java-based platform. Finally there is thinkorswim, a sophisticated desktop system. There are no active trader requirements for any platform. The broker also provides paper trading on thinkorswim.

Scottrade’s website is the least advanced. The broker does offer a more advanced platform, Scottrader Streaming Quotes, at no cost. Scottrade's most sophisticated trading system is ScottradeELITE, available to active traders.

Mobile Platforms

Fidelity has apps for Android, Apple, and Windows Phone 8. Features such as mobile check deposit are available. Live steaming of Bloomberg business news is free of charge.

E*Trade has platforms for Android phone and tablet, Windows phone, iPad, iPhone, Amazon Fire phone, and Kindle Fire HD. Users will find charts, videos, and mobile check deposit.

TD Ameritrade has three separate apps. They can be used on Apple and Android. The standard app can be used on Windows 10. Live streaming of CNBC is available at no cost.

Scottrade customers can trade on Android, Apple, and mobile web. Options research and market news are available. Disappointingly, some features are missing, such as the ability to make a mobile check deposit.

Banking Features

E*Trade offers a checking account with a debit card and checks at no cost. The broker reimburses ATM fees for accounts over $5,000.

TD Ameritrade provides a checking account with checks and a debit card free of charge. There are no account fees, and ATM charges are reimbursed. The account is insured up to $500,000.

Fidelity has the Cash Management Account. It comes with checks and a debit card at no cost. The broker reimburses all ATM fees, and the account is insured up to $1,250,000.

At Scottrade, a checking account comes with a debit card and checks. Investors must have $500 in a Scottrade brokerage account to open a bank account.

Scottrade Update

Scottrade was acquired by TD Ameritrade last year. TD Ameritrade plans to fully integrate Scottrade by the end of first quarter. For this reason it makes more sense to open an account with TD Ameritrade directly and skip possible transition inconveniences. New customers could take advantage of TD Ameritrade's bonus offer that allows them to trade for free for two months and gives up to $600 bonus.


TD Ameritrade: Trade stocks and ETFs for free + get up to $600 bonus.

Etrade: Get $2,500 cash bonus when you open an account with $1 million.

Fidelity Investments: Get 500 free trades with $100,000+ deposit.


Top-notch trading software, free Level II quotes, and free virtual trading, earns TD Ameritrade a recommendation for active traders as well as for forex, futures, and penny stock trading. The broker is also excellent for anyone new to investing, for individual retirement accounts, and for do-it-yourself investors.

Fidelity Investments is suggested for customers wanting to invest mostly in Fidelity's own family of mutual funds and ETFs.

Etrade is our recommendation for IRA accounts (Traditional, ROTH, SEP).

Much more information about each company is available in detailed broker reviews, including firms' pros and cons, all commissions and important fees, trading tools overview, and promotional offers:

TD Ameritrade (learn more),

Etrade (learn more),

Fidelity Investments (learn more).