Scottrade vs Fidelity, Etrade and TD Ameritrade

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


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Ally Invest $0 $9.95 $0.50 per contract $0 $0
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
Ally Invest
TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade vs Etrade vs Scottrade vs Fidelity: Overview

Most investors have probably heard of Scottrade, Fidelity, E*Trade, TD Ameritrade and Ally Invest. 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.

Update: Scottrade was acquired by TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade has fully integrated Scottrade and discontinued it.

Commissions and Account Minimums

Trading stocks and ETF's at E*Trade, Fidelity, Ally Invest and TD Ameritrade costs $0. For options, E*Trade, Fidelity, and TD Ameritrade clients pay $0.65 per contract. Ally Invest charges $0.50 for the same security.

Placing a trade with a human broker at TD Ameritrade and E*Trade is $25, while doing the same at Fidelity is $32.95. Ally Invest charges $20.

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

Ally Invest takes this category.

Mutual Funds and ETF's

TD Ameritrade clients can trade more than 13,000 mutual funds. Of these, nearly 4,200 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 3,500 come with no load and no transaction fee. Funds with a transaction fee cost $49.95 to buy.

E*Trade offers over 10,000 mutual funds. Approximately 4,200 are available without load and transaction fee. Traders pay $19.99 for transaction-fee funds.

Ally Invest has over 12,000 mutual funds and the lowest commission — $9.95 per trade. Even though the broker does not offer NTF funds, the funds you actually want to own will likely not be on that list anyway.

ETF investors won't be disappointed with any of the four brokers — they are all commission-free.

Ally Invest is victorious in this category.

Scottrade vs ameritrade vs etrade

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.

Ally Invest has fewer educational resources than the other three brokers. Security profiles on the Ally Invest site lag behind the broker’s rivals in the amount of information available.

This category is a three-way tie for Fidelity, E*Trade, and TD Ameritrade.

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 450 locations.

An Ally Invest representative can be reached 7am-10pm ET, 7 days a week. Besides phone service, the broker also provides a chat function on its website. There are no local branches.

TD Ameritrade wins the category.

Trading Tools

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

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 two platforms. First, is the regular, easy-to-use web browser. Second, there is thinkorswim, a sophisticated desktop system. There are no active trader requirements for any platform. The broker also provides paper trading on thinkorswim.

Investors who want to use a trading platform have access to Ally Invest LIVE, a browser-based program that is fairly simple. Charting comes with technical studies, comparisons, and multiple graph styles. There is no desktop platform here. The broker does provide a trade bar, and orders can be placed on it.

TD Ameritrade wins this category.

Ally Invest Live

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.

There is one Ally mobile app, and it can be used for both banking and investment purposes. The brokerage side has watchlists, positions, market news, and option chains. Charts are also available, and the software has some technical indicators.

TD Ameritrade wins again.

Fidelity Mobile App

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.

Ally Bank checking, savings, or money market accounts are easily linked to an Ally Invest account. Transfers between bank and brokerage accounts are instantaneous. The firm offers one of the best rates on savings account today: 1.25%.

Fidelity wins here.


Ally Invest: Up to $3,500 cash bonus + $0 commission trades.

TD Ameritrade: $0 commission stock and ETF trades.

Etrade: Get zero commission on stock and ETF trades.

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


Ally Invest is our recommendation to customers new to investing or for IRA accounts.

TD Ameritrade is a great broker for traders and anyone looking for the most advanced trading tools.

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).