TD Ameritrade 300
Etrade rating

Etrade Pros and Cons (2022)

Etrade pros and cons, benefits and perks offered, and complaints. Is Etrade good or bad? Etrade individual/joint account advantages and disadvantages for 2022.

Etrade Pros

Large broker: Etrade is one of the five largest online brokers in the U.S. with millions of customers

No inactivity fees: The firm does not charge account maintenance or inactivity fees

Great trading tools: Etrade offers powerful trading tools and an advanced trading platform for active traders called Etrade Pro (review). Unfortunately, Etrade Pro is only available for free to clients who execute at least 30 stock or options trades during a quarter

No IRA fees: There are no individual retirement account fees, and no minimums with electronic statements and confirmations

Low minimum to open: Most accounts could be opened with low minimum deposit - $500 for a non-IRA account, $0 for an IRA account, and $2,000 for a margin account

Investing advice: One of the main Etrade benefits is that it offers clients an investing advice by phone or in person

No surcharges: The brokerage does not impose additional commission on large orders or penny stock trades

Investment research: Etrade offers investment research information from S&P, MorningStar, Credit Suisse, and Smart Consensus

Thousands of mutual funds: Another one of Etrade pros is a very broad selection of products: 10,000 mutual funds, all ETFs, over 30,000 bonds, and over 4,200 no-load, no-transaction fee mutual funds

Etrade Cons

High commissions: The main Etrade con is that the firm charges higher commissions on mutual funds than some competitors: $19.99 per transaction versus $0 charged by Firstrade.

High margin rates: Another major Etrade con is high margin interest rates on borrowed cash

Expensive robo-advisor: Etrade charges 0.35% of assets annually to use its robo-advisor service which will cost an investor a fortune over time. In contrast, M1 Finance has $0 fees

ECN fee: There is a $0.005 per share surcharge on extended hours trades (ECN fee) which many active traders will not like

Etrade Pro availability: Etrade Pro platform is available at no charge only to customers who execute at least 30 stock or options trades during a calendar quarter

Etrade Promotion

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Overview of E*Trade

A wide range of investment services are available to E*Trade (member of SIPC) customers along with some exciting changes. The company responded to a recent price war in the industry, acquired OptionsHouse, and has added some new technical features. Let’s review E*Trade in detail, see how it performs in vital categories: where it outperforms and where it fails.

Research & Education

Etrade Research Rating

E*Trade’s website has a large section devoted to financial education. These are videos, infographics, and articles that cover a wide variety of topics, such as the broker’s trading tools, retirement, financial planning, fixed-income investments, funds, options, futures, and stocks. Some of the videos are from Morningstar. The materials on the E*Trade site are categorized by experience level. These include basic, intermediate, and advanced.

News articles are available on the broker’s site as well. These pertain to the economy as a whole and individual securities. The articles are provided by Morningstar,, Trefis, and MarketWatch. E*Trade recently added live streaming of Bloomberg Business News to its website and mobile app. There is no charge for this really nice service.

Etrade Recommended Stocks

Detailed information on U.S. and foreign markets is also hosted on the E*Trade site. Market movers, indexes, statistics, and a market calendar can all be found. Also not to be missed is important data on individual sectors.

Option traders have lots of tools to scan the derivative markets in search of profitable trades. The broker offers an income backtester, strategy optimizer, and options chains, among other research tools. Moreover, equity and fixed-income traders have good research tools. Free stock reports are available from several analysts, including Thomson Reuters and MarketEdge.

E*Trade Commissions, Fees, and Account Requirements

Etrade Fees Rating

E*Trade lowered its equity commission to $0 during the 2022 broker price war.

Option contracts cost an extra 65¢, and frequent traders receive a 25¢ discount here. Placing a trade over the phone with a live representative tacks on another $25.

E*Trade is one of the few securities brokers to also offer trading in futures. Contracts cost $1.50 per side. U.S. Treasury bonds carry no commission, although E*Trade acts as principal on these transactions, which means there is a markup on purchases and a markdown on sales. Corporate bonds on the secondary market cost $1 each with a $10 minimum and $250 maximum.

An investment account at E*Trade costs nothing to open and there are no on-going fees, such as annual or inactivity charges. The broker-dealer does require a $500 deposit to open an account.

Paper statements cost $2 each, although there are many methods to get them for free. Pro Elite customers (those who trade 30 times per quarter) receive them at no cost. The brokerage house will also waive the $2 fee for accounts that have $10,000 in assets.

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Customer Service

Etrade Customer Service Rating

An E*Trade associate can be reached anytime of the day or night, 7 days a week. Besides phone service, there is also a helpful on-line chat feature on the broker’s website. This too is staffed 24/7. There is limited service in Chinese.

The brokerage firm has a variety of phone numbers for different purposes. For instance, there is a phone number for the company’s retirement desk and a different one for stock plans. Clients who are temporarily outside the U.S. also have an international number they can use.

The E*Trade website has a lot of useful self-service features where clients can perform their own customer service functions. For example, there is an on-line form to upgrade to option trading status, sell fractional shares, order checks, and request a wire transfer.

There is an internal messaging service after logging into the broker’s website. This is another method of reaching out to the company. E*Trade also accepts communications via fax and snail mail.

There are 30 E*Trade branch locations in the U.S. They are spread across 17 states. Some of these offices host live seminars and in-person events.

Trading Tools

Etrade Trading Tools Rating

After E*Trade bought Optionshouse (read review), the former incorporated the latter’s browser-based trading platform into the E*Trade website. This rather simple trading system is free for all customers. It launches from the website into a separate window and offers several nice features. For instance, it shows unusual market activity, such as abnormal options volume, trading at 52-week highs and lows, the day’s biggest gainers and losers, and more.

Etrade Optionshouse Platform

The OptionsHouse platform also has a watchlist and market news. The news articles are courtesy of Reuters and CNBC and pop-out into separate windows. The platform's trading ticket can handle multiple legs, and a snapshot analysis displays maximum gain, maximum loss, and break-even points for a potential trade. There is a graph for these points in addition to the numerical values.

Charting on the platform is fairly advanced. There are ten graph styles and over a hundred technical studies. Events can be added, such as splits and dividends. The price history for Ford only goes back to 2012, which certainly isn’t much of that company’s stock history.

More advanced software can be found with the broker’s desktop platform, E*Trade Pro. The program features a technical analysis screener, advanced options tools, streaming market data, and a backtesting tool.

Etrade review: advanced trading

The website itself can be used for trading. User-friendly buy and sell buttons appear on a stock’s profile page. Clicking on one of them produces a new page where orders can be submitted. Missing in action is a trade bar, which some of E*Trade’s rivals do have.

Etrade website review

Mobile App

Etrade App Rating

Besides all the trading resources mentioned above, E*Trade customers also have access to the broker’s mobile app, which is compatible with Apple and Android tablets and phones. Besides stocks and ETF’s, the app can buy and sell options and mutual funds, a nice feature that not all brokers offer.

Security research is possible on the app. Stock research includes minimal financial information and free reports in pdf format. Highs and lows for the trailing twelve months are shown along with news article that pertain to a certain stock. The articles are courtesy of Dow Jones. Earnings information is also available. The E*Trade app provides ARCA Level II quotes at no cost, which may be of value to equity traders.

Etrade app review

Alerts can be set for securities, and they can be added to a watchlist. Market news is on the app, and indexes are shown. These go up to 2 years. E*Trade has replaced fee-only CNBC streaming with Bloomberg at no cost.

Funds transfer, bill pay, and mobile check deposit are all available free of charge. The broker-dealer also provides a platform for Apple Watch.

The order ticket for stocks includes six order types: market, limit, stop on quote, stop on quote limit, trailing stop $, and trailing stop %. The term can be set to several possibilities, including extended hours only. Orders can also be saved.

Option chains are shown on the app after entering a stock’s ticker symbol. Unfortunately, there are no complex strategies shown—just calls and puts. Many expiration dates are available, however.

Mutual Funds

Etrade Mutual Funds Rating

E*Trade has recently increased the number of mutual funds it offers. The broker’s screener returns 8,340 investments that are open to new investors. Of these, 4,190 come with no transaction fee and no load. Many of E*Trade's rivals, including Merrill Edge and Fidelity, offer fewer no-load, no-transaction-fee funds; although some have much more total funds. If a mutual fund isn’t on E*Trade’s NTF list, there is a $19.99 charge to buy, sell, or exchange.

Many criteria are available on the mutual fund screener for searching purposes. Morningstar rating, total assets, Sharpe ratio, return history, and expense ratio are just a few that can be used. There are also pre-defined strategies, such as top performing target-date funds and international equity funds.

Etrade Mutual Funds Screener

E*Trade provides a list of funds called the All-Star List. These securities have been pre-selected by E*Trade financial advisors who believe they have a bullish future. The funds are all no-load, although some do have a transaction fee.

A fund’s profile page includes a lot of detailed information, including the prospectus and annual report. Morningstar ratings are also presented.

Etrade Promotion


Etrade ETF Rating

E*Trade hasn’t forgotten about ETF traders, either. As with mutual funds, there is an All-Star list for exchange-traded funds, and the broker provides an advanced ETF screener. There is a comparison tool along with a method to find ETF’s by sector and investment style.

An ETF’s profile page includes lots of important data. News articles relating to a particular fund are displayed, and options chains are available if a fund has derivatives trading. Portfolio breakdown is shown by geographic region and market cap. Some of the more popular funds may have pdf reports from Morningstar and E*Trade.


Etrade IRA Rating

E*Trade has some useful retirement resources. It provides solo 401(k)’s for clients who are self-employed. It also has a suite of Individual Retirement Accounts, including Roth, Traditional, SEP, and SIMPLE varieties.

Etrade IRA review

The broker’s mobile app presents an assortment of asset allocation options for retirement accounts, and there is a link to open an IRA or rollover an employer's plan.

The E*Trade commission schedule applies to retirement accounts as it does to regular brokerage accounts. However, there are three $25 fees that retirement savers should be aware of. Early withdrawals (those before age 59½) are assessed the fee. Removing an excess contribution also costs $25. And a recharacterization (when you change a contribution from a Roth to a Traditional, or the other way around; or when a Roth IRA conversion is changed back to a Traditional) incurs a $25 charge. Not all brokers charge fees for these services, although E*Trade does not have an IRA closeout fee.

Financial Advice & Managed Accounts

Etrade Managed Account Rating

While the bulk of E*Trade’s business comes from self-directed clients, the brokerage house does provide investment advice and portfolio management for a fee. E*Trade, living up to its name, has a robo-advisory service, and it costs just 0.30% per year. It requires a $5,000 deposit to start. The major competitor in this area, M1 Finance, provides robo-advisory investing completely free.

Human advisors are available, although they’re slightly more expensive. One package requires $25,000 to begin and costs between 65 and 90 basis points. Unlike the robot, this service includes mutual funds in addition to low-cost ETF’s.

Paying between 0.95% and 1.25% will get you stocks. This package, however, requires a steep $150,000 to qualify. There are no commissions charged on trades.

Investors who live near an E*Trade branch could benefit from the financial advice the broker offers, as some of the advisors are located at these offices.

Cash Management

Etrade Cash Management Rating

E*Trade hasn’t forgotten the banking needs of its clients. In fact, the broker-dealer operates its own FDIC-insured bank. There are two checking accounts that can be linked to a brokerage account. The first comes with no monthly account fee, although it pays no interest. The first checkbook order is free, and the Visa debit card also comes at no charge.

The second bank account does pay interest (between 1 and 5 basis points), but comes with a $15 monthly fee. This can be avoided by maintaining a balance of $5,000 or more. A direct deposit of at least $200 will also evade the charge. Perhaps the most important difference between the two accounts is that the second option reimburses ATM fees, while the first does not.

Both accounts come with on-line account management, wire transfer service, and a $100 opening deposit requirement.

E*Trade Pros and Cons Summary

As we showed in this 2022 brokerage review, E*Trade has a lot of financial services, most of which are competitive with its rivals. Nevertheless, in every category the broker underperformed at least one competitor. Although E*Trade used to be weak in the fund category, recent changes have made the broker a very good choice there.

E*Trade Promotion

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About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.