Etrade vs Firstrade


Compare Firstrade versus Etrade - which is better in 2020? IRA/Roth accounts, online investing fees, stock broker mutual fund rates, and differences comparison.



Overview of Firstrade and Etrade


With zero commissions on stocks and ETF’s, E*Trade and Firstrade may appear to be similar brokers. But a more detailed analysis reveals these two investment firms differ widely in many areas. Take the following categories for example:


Cost Comparison


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Firstrade $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Etrade $0 $19.95 $0.65 per contract $0 $0


Services Comparison


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


Promotions


Firstrade: Get $0 commission in ALL trades!

E*Trade: Get zero commission on stock and ETF trades.



Trading Software


E*Trade customers get a well-designed website where most investments the company provides can be traded. Futures need to be traded on Power E*Trade, the broker-dealer’s free browser platform. It has many powerful features, including an advanced order ticket and a simulated trading mode. A more advanced desktop platform delivers even more.

Firstrade investors get a basic website. The brokerage firm does not have a browser platform or a desktop program. What Firstrade does have that E*Trade lacks is a trade bar. It sits at the bottom of the browsing window and delivers an order form for stocks, closed-end funds, ETF’s, and options. Missing at Firstrade is live streaming of financial news, which is available at E*Trade (courtesy of Bloomberg).


Firstrade versus Etrade


The first category is awarded to E*Trade.


Mobile Trading


E*Trade has two mobile apps. The first is the basic app. It offers alerts, a watch list, Level II quotes, option chains, charting, and an order ticket for stocks, ETF’s, mutual funds, and options. Mobile check deposit and Bloomberg video news are major highlights.

The second app is a Power platform, modeled after the company’s browser software. It delivers multi-leg option strategies, time & sales data, and futures trading.

Firstrade has just one app. Integrated is a watchlist. There are no alerts. Also missing on the platform are mobile check deposit and streaming financial news. During our investigation, we did find an option trading tool; but there are no complex strategies.

Our pick is E*Trade once again.


Etrade or Firstrade


Available Investments


E*Trade offers its clients a large range of tradable assets. This selection includes equities, options, ETF’s, mutual funds, closed-end funds, bonds, and futures contracts.

Over at Firstrade, we found stocks, mutual, closed-end, and exchange-traded funds, option contracts, and fixed-income products. The brokerage house does not offer trading in futures.

Pretty close here.


Security Research & Education


Firstrade’s website has a section that delivers basic information on a range of financial topics, such as derivative trading and the impact of inflation on investing. Stock profiles on the broker’s site are Morningstar replicas. Firstrade has effective screeners for the investments it offers.

Over at E*Trade, we found analyst recommendations from TipRanks. There is market commentary in both article and video formats. Information on foreign markets is included. Elementary topics such as “What is a dividend?” are discussed in video and article formats. And we found E*Trade’s screeners easy to use.

E*Trade wins again.


Mutual Funds


E*Trade’s mutual fund screener returned 9,266 products open to new investments. Of these, 4,700 have neither load nor transaction fee. The brokerage house offers 149 funds that are All-Star Funds, products that are pre-screened by the company’s investment professionals.

At Firstrade, we found 8,340 mutual funds open to new investors. Unlike E*Trade, the broker doesn’t impose a transaction fee, and 3,213 funds have no load.

Since all mutual funds are free at Firstrade it wins this category.


Other Services


E*Trade offers a large range of account types, including a solo 401(k), a profit-sharing plan, and several IRA types. There is no 401(k) option at Firstrade, and the broker’s IRA offering is smaller than its rival’s.

Both brokerage firms in this survey offer automatic investing in mutual funds. And both companies also provide a free DRIP service.

Options trading with advanced tools is available at both firms in this contest. Although Firstrade doesn’t offer a robust trading platform, it does provide OptionsPlay, a sophisticated derivative trading tool that will meet the demands of many traders.

Although Firstrade doesn’t offer any type of investment management, E*Trade customers have access to both robo and traditional management services. The same situation exists for banking services.

E*Trade is the outperformer here.


Firstrade or E*Trade


Our Recommendations


For newbies, we suggest E*Trade over Firstrade. Only E*Trade offers 24/7 phone support. And Firstrade has scaled back its human chat service (its robo service remains, something that E*Trade doesn’t have). E*Trade also has branch locations.

Both brokerage firms offer the same commission schedule for ETF’s; but we like E*Trade’s fund resources better.

For stocks, we again suggest E*Trade over Firstrade. Power E*Trade is a better stock trading platform than anything Firstrade offers; plus E*Trade provides more analyst ratings.

If you plan to open a retirement account or take a long-term view, go with E*Trade. The company’s customer service and suite of portfolio managers outperform Firstrade by a mile.


Promotions


Firstrade: Get $0 commission in ALL trades!

E*Trade: Get zero commission on stock and ETF trades.



Results


Although both brokerage firms in this challenge deliver $0 commissions, E*Trade offers it only on equities but not on mutual funds or options. So if you invest in mutual funds then go with Firstrade, otherwise E*Trade is the better choice.