E*Trade lower options fees

Negotiate Lower Commissions at E*Trade: Reduced Fees on Options and Futures Trades

Negotiate Lower Commissions At E*TRADE

If you invest at E*TRADE and have wondered if there was a way to reduce costs, you’ll be happy to know that it is possible. One way to secure cheaper trades is through commission negotiation. While there is no guarantee that it will work, you can often work a deal with the broker under the right conditions.

Types of Commissions at E*TRADE

As a commission-free broker, you might be asking yourself why you would need to negotiate lower commissions. The short answer is that most brokers, E*TRADE included, are ‘zero commission’ for U.S. stocks and ETFs.

Some go further by offering commission-free Pink Sheets and options, but most limit the free commission schedule to stocks and ETFs.

E*TRADE charges commissions on options, bonds, OTC securities, foreign stock, and futures. Here’s what you can expect to pay without any reduction.

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Current Commissions at E*TRADE

Options: $0.65 per contract can be reduced to $0.50 with 30+ trades per quarter

Bonds (online secondary): $1
Futures: $1.50 per contract, per side (buy and sell). Cryptocurrency futures are $2.50 per contract per side
OTC (OTC Pink, Grey Market, OTCBB, Foreign Stock): $6.95 per trade can be reduced to $4.95 per trade with 30+ trades per quarter
ADRs: $0.005 - $0.05 per share

E*TRADE Commission Negotiation Process

As mentioned, it is possible to negotiate lower rates if conditions are right. However, it is helpful to remember that E*TRADE already offers a reduced commission rate for higher frequency traders. Getting an even lower rate is certainly not guaranteed. Here’s how we approach commission rate negotiation.

The first thing that you will do is make contact with a customer service rep at E*TRADE. You can reach them from the U.S. at 800-387-2331. (Optional information may not be ‘timeless’) Depending on your goals, you will be connected to a broker specializing in your situation. I was transferred to the active trading desk when I attempted to lower my rates.

E*TRADE Competitor Commissions

Broker Review Promotion
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Firstrade Get 2 FREE stocks and $0 commission in ALL trades! $0 $0 $0 $0
Ally Invest Up to $3,000 cash bonus + $0 commission trades. $0 $9.95 $0 $0
WeBull 12 FREE stocks valued $34-$30,600 give-away at Webull. $0 na $0 $0

Are Lower Commissions at E*TRADE Possible?

As mentioned, the ability to negotiate lower rates is decided on a case-by-case basis. While it is possible, the process is not exactly easy.

When I called to lower my commissions, I was asked the following questions:

What is the account size you will use to trade?
How many trades do you plan on making per quarter?
Will you use margin?
Which products do you usually trade?

My answers highlighted a particular type of margin use (options and futures trading) and account size in the 5-digit range. I also let them know that I trade multiple options contracts regularly.

Unfortunately, the information I supplied E*TRADE with was insufficient to entice them to strike a deal. However, I did learn from their vetting process what I need to do to get a better deal in the future.

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Here’s What I Learned

If you are going to contact E*TRADE for lower rates, here are some things you want to keep in mind.

First, remember that timing is everything. The broker will be much more responsive to your requests for lower rates if they know you are ‘invested’ in your relationship with them. For that reason, it’s best to make your request after you have been with the broker for a while. One year of trading activity should be sufficient to show the broker you are serious.

When the time is right to negotiate your commission rates, there are some specific things that you should ask. Start by asking what the requirements are. Does your account need to be a particular size? Do you need to make a certain number of trades per month/quarter? Which rates are negotiable? Finally, you’ll want to ask how much of a discount you can get.

Remember that commission negotiation is unique to each person, and the rates you get will be specific to your situation. There is always a chance that E*TRADE will not agree to reduce your rates.

E*TRADE May Not Agree to a Reduction in Commissions

Some of the reasons your broker may not agree to your request can include (but are not limited to) the age of your account, your success in trading, the frequency of your trading activity, and your account size.

If your request to reduce commissions is not accepted, remember to ask what you will need to do in the future to meet the broker’s requirements.

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Updated on 6/24/2022.

Ben Wright
About the Author
Ben Wright is an investor, a trader, an educator, and something of an explorer. He spends his days in the markets when he is not teaching or spending time with his family. Ben writes about stockbrokers, markets, investment vehicles, promotional offers, and tools that help investors make the most of their time in the markets.