E*trade vs Wells Fargo Investing

ETRADE vs Wells Fargo


2018 Wellstrade or Etrade - which is better? Compare IRA/Roth accounts, online investing fees, stock broker mutual fund rates, and differences.



Overview of E*Trade and WellsTrade


E*Trade is more widely known than WellsTrade due to the former’s heavy advertising. Nevertheless, WellsTrade has a suite of competitive investment services. Let’s compare these two brokers and see which is better - E*Trade or Wells Fargo?

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Etrade $6.95 $19.95 $6.95 + $0.75 per contract $0 $0
Wellstrade $5.95 $35 $5.95 + $0.75 per contract $0* $0*

Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Etrade
Wellstrade


Research and Education Tools


The E*Trade website has a lot of educational materials that would help new investors learn more about trading securities. There are videos and articles that discuss many important financial topics. Webinars are held on the E*Trade website every week. The broker provides free stock reports from multiple analysts. There are also screeners on the E*Trade website that can search through various financial products.

WellsTrade recently added a stock screener to its website. It is not nearly as advanced as E*Trade’s, which offers more search criteria. WellsTrade does provide good market commentary from Wells Fargo financial advisors, however. While the broker does provide investing in fixed-income products, the E*Trade website has more in-depth information on bonds.

E*Trade is the victor here.


Trading Technology


The E*Trade website is nicely designed and is easy to use. Side menus combined with drop-down selections at the top of the site make getting around fairly simple. Unfortunately, there isn’t a trade bar on the website. E*Trade does have good charting tools, however. A graph can be detached and displayed the width of the screen. Technical studies and comparisons can be utilized. The broker also has a desktop platform for active traders (read Etrade PRO platform review).

WellsTrade does not have a desktop platform for any of its customers. There is also no trade bar on the website. Little material appears on the WellsTrade site, compared to the amount of material on E*Trade’s. Charting on WellsTrade’s site has some good customizations, but a graph cannot be shown full-screen.

E*Trade appears to be the better choice here.


Mobile Platforms


Investors who don’t qualify for E*Trade’s desktop platform can buy and sell securities on the broker’s mobile app. It can be used on Kindle Fire HD, Amazon Fire phone, Windows phone, and Apple and Android devices. Notable features include charting and mobile check deposit. CNBC streams live for frequent traders.

The WellsTrade app is not available for Amazon devices. The broker also doesn’t have a platform for Apple Watch, which E*Trade does offer. Charting on the WellsTrade app has fewer features compared to the E*Trade app. Video news is not available.

WellsTrade fails again.


The Cost of Trading


E*Trade recently lowered its stock and ETF commission from $9.99 to $6.95. On top of that, clients who place more than 30 trades per quarter will receive a $2 discount. Derivative contracts are just 75¢, while active traders receive a 25¢ discount.

WellsTrade charges $5.95 for equity transactions. Like E*Trade, the broker offers a $3 discount to certain clients. To qualify, the company requires at least $25,000 on deposit with Wells Fargo Bank. Options at WellsTrade are $0.75 per contract on top of a $5.95 base charge.

A brokerage account at E*Trade has no annual fee, but requires a $500 opening deposit. A WellsTrade securities account can be opened with nothing, but it does carry a $25 annual fee. This fee can be avoided by maintaining a $5,000 account balance.

This category is a tie.


Fund Trading


The E*Trade mutual fund screener shows 9,083 products that are open to new investors. Of these, 4,421 have no load and no transaction fee. This selection is very large by industry standards. If one of these NTF funds is sold in less than 3 months after purchase, the broker assesses a $49.99 fee. There is a $19.99 charge for transaction-fee funds. It is applied to sales, purchases, and exchanges.

WellsTrade’s mutual fund screener generates 9,805 funds that are available for purchase. Only 2,549 come with no transaction fee and no load. Wells Fargo funds are available. Surprisingly, some of them have loads and/or transaction fees. The broker imposes a $35 charge for sales and purchases of non-NTF funds.

ETF’s are available at both brokers. E*Trade has a list of 105 that are available without commissions. There is a short-term redemption fee if one of them is sold in less than 30 days after purchase. The charge is $19.99. WellsTrade does not offer any ETF’s commission-free.

E*Trade wins once again.

Customer Service


E*Trade has associates on the phone around the clock. Clients who prefer on-line chat can use the broker’s website instead. The firm also operates a network of brick-and-mortar locations. There are 30 branches in 17 U.S. states. The broker also provides an international phone number for customers who travel globally.

WellsTrade also offers phone service 24/7. However, the broker’s website does not have an on-line chat function, and there are no WellsTrade locations. There are some Wells Fargo Advisor locations, although these are strictly for clients who pay for investment advice.

E*Trade is the better choice here, too.


New Account Promotions


Etrade: At E*TRADE, get $6.95 trades + 65₵ per options contract.

WellsTrade: none right now.


Banking Features


As most investors are aware, the parent company of WellsTrade operates a large FDIC-insured bank. But E*Trade is also owned by a larger financial holding company that provides banking services.

E*Trade Bank offers two different checking accounts. One of them is a basic package that has no minimum balance, no fees, and no ATM fee rebates. The other has a $5,000 balance requirement to avoid a $15 monthly fee, but offers unlimited ATM fee reimbursement.

Despite its affiliation with Wells Fargo, WellsTrade doesn’t have a good cash management option. By default, a brokerage account doesn’t have checks or a debit card. Traders can request them, but they cost $100 per year.

Looks like E*Trade is the better choice here as well.


Wells Fargo vs Etrade - Summary


There was one tie, and E*Trade (read E*trade Review) won all other categories. With its new commission schedule, the broker is a great value.

Despite the result of this survey, WellsTrade (read Wellstrade Review) may be a good choice for Wells Fargo Bank customers who would like to access all their financial accounts with a single login.