Etrade Futures Trading Etrade rating

E*Trade Futures Trading: Margin Requirements Intraday, Pricing, and Power/Pro E*Trade (2022)

E*Trade futures trading spreads pricing, CME, ICE US, CFE, Emini, oil futures fees, Power/Pro E*Trade. Futures margin requirements.

E*Trade Futures Trading Overview

Investors have many brokerage options for futures trading in 2022, but understanding which choice is best can be a challenging experience. There are numerous factors that futures traders must consider, and the best futures broker will be the one that best satisfies the needs and expectations of the trader. Keep reading to see what we think about E*TRADE as a futures broker.

E*TRADE Futures Trading Overview

Trading futures at E*TRADE, an investor can take advantage of price movements in currencies, commodities, equities, digital assets, and interest rates. Futures allow traders to respond to, and benefit from, a never-ending flow of information, both domestically and globally. Whether you are interested in futures trading for speculation, hedging, or diversification, E*TRADE’s long list of futures products should easily satisfy whatever strategy you have in mind.

Apart from the 70+ futures contracts available at E*TRADE, there are also many other tools that investors will enjoy. E*TRADE has in-depth trader education centered on futures and futures trading. Whether you are completely new to futures trading or are a seasoned vet, you will find some useful information in E*TRADE’s guides.

Another positive aspect of E*TRADE’s future trading experience is the low fee structure. Active futures especially will enjoy E*TRADE’s rates.

E*TRADE Futures Margin and Fees

Margin requirements at E*TRADE are set by the exchanges and the broker does not discount them. There are two types of margin to consider when trading futures. There is the initial margin and the maintenance margin.

E*TRADE Futures Initial Margin

The initial margin is the amount of money that you must have in your trading account in order to open a position in the futures market.

It is important to note that the initial margin requirements are different for each product and are based on the notional value of the contract itself. If a contract (like the S&P 500) has a notional value of $250,000, you will need at least $15,000 in your account just to establish a position. Once you have a trade on, however, it is possible to add more contracts at a much lower rate.

In many cases, margin requirements play a significant role in contract selection. CME’s micro contracts have initial margin requirements that are 1/10th the size of the regularly sized contracts. On the other end of the spectrum, contracts like Bitcoin futures require an initial margin of over $60K.

E*TRADE Futures Maintenance Margin

Maintenance margin is the amount of money that must remain in the account while a futures trade is active.

The initial margin is usually about 10% higher than the maintenance margin. So, it is good to watch your position and ensure that you do not dip below the margin threshold in the event that your trade become unprofitable. If it does, you will need to either close the position or add funds to your trading account.

E*TRADE Futures Fees

The fees per contract at E*TRADE are quite attractive. While there are certainly lower rates elsewhere, $1.50 per contract, per side (buy or sell) is lower than many other full-service brokers. Fees for cryptocurrency futures are higher, however. Buying and selling Bitcoin or Ethereum futures will cost you $2.50 per contract, per side.

If you trade a lot of contracts and would like to find lower commission rates, it is best to go with a futures-only broker.

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Available Futures Contracts

As we have already mentioned, investors at E*TRADE have access to more than 70 futures contracts. You can find futures from several exchanges, such as CME, ICE US, and CFE. Whether you are looking for short-term exposure, longer-term swings, high liquidity, or seasonal trends, E*TRADE brings everything to the table.

Here are some of the most popular futures symbols on E*TRADE’s trading platforms:

Equities - S&P 500 (/ES), Nasdaq (/NQ), DOW (/YM), Russell 2000 (/RTY) S&P 500 VIX (/VX)

Energy – Crude Oil WTI (/CL), Natural Gas (/NG), Gasoline RBOB (/RB)

Interest Rates – Eurodollar (/GE), 10-Year T-note (/ZN), 2-Year T-note (/ZT), 30-Year T-bond (/ZB)

Metals – Gold (/GC), Silver (/SI), Copper (/HG)

Grains – Corn (/ZC), Soybeans (/ZS), Wheat (/ZW), Soybean Oil (/ZL)

Softs – Orange Juice (/OJ-M), Cocoa (/CC-M), Coffee (/KC-M), Sugar (/SB-M)

FX - Euro (/6E), Japanese Yen (/6J), Australian Dollar (/6A), British Pound (/6B)

Cryptocurrencies - Bitcoin (/BTC), Ethereum (/ETH)

Micros (10x smaller) - Micro S&P 500 (/MES), Micro Nasdaq (/MNQ), Micro DOW (/MYM), Micro Russell 2000 (/M2K), Crude Oil WTI (/MCL), Micro 10-Year Yield (/10Y), Micro Bitcoin (/MBT), Micro Ethereum (/MET)

Market Data

Investors at E*TRADE do not have to pay for market data fees in most situations. To get free market data, account holders do need to have at least $1000 in their trading account.

In some circumstances, market data is not free.

Soft commodities, like sugar, cotton, and coffee, trade on the ICE exchange which is not included in E*TRADE’s free market data subscriptions. If you are looking to invest in softs, you will need to pay for an ICE market data feed.

In addition, traders who are deemed to be professional cannot take advantage of the low market data rates.

ETRADE Futures Market Data Subscription

Futures Trading Application and Agreements

To trade futures at E*TRADE, you must first be approved for futures trading. To gain approval, you should navigate to the futures trading application form via ‘My Profile’, then ‘Account Preferences’. Scrolling down will bring you to ‘Additional Trading Features’.

ETRADE Futures Permissions

Selecting ‘apply’ brings up a message stating that you are about to open a new futures account.

ETRADE Futures Application 1

After filling out the online application form, submit your request and wait for a reply. It usually takes a day or two to get approved if you meet the minimum requirements.

ETRADE Futures Application 2

Platforms Available for Trading Futures

E*TRADE offers many ways for traders to access the futures markets. There is some quirkiness to the broker’s approach, however.

Although E*TRADE allows futures trading on two different mobile apps, Power E*TRADE, and the broker’s web interface, many traders would prefer to use the professional trading software (E*TRADE Pro). You will notice that there are some hoops to jump through in order to access the platform.

First, you must have a minimum balance in your brokerage account to be able to turn on livestreaming market data. Once market data is active, you will be able to request a download link for E*TRADE Pro.

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Pros of Futures Trading at E*TRADE

  • Over 70 futures contracts to choose from
  • Free market data
  • Good selection of trading platforms to choose from
  • Great customer service

Cons of Futures Trading at E*TRADE

  • Cumbersome platform download process
  • Minimum account balance required for free market data
  • Limited third-party indicators for advanced charting (compared to competitors)


TD Ameritrade is another securities broker that also offers futures trading. The broker charges $2.25 per side, per contract, and passes on exchange fees just as E*Trade does. TD Ameritrade offers an advanced platform where futures can be traded, along with futures education. There is no charge for either service. However, TD Ameritrade does not currently have any futures promotions.

tastyworks customers pay $1.25 per contract per side for futures trades. The broker-dealer does pass on exchange, clearing, and regulatory fees.

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Updated on 4/25/2022.

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.