Wednesday, 5 August 2020

E-Trade Review 2019

E-Trade Review 2019
22 Jan

E-Trade is an online discount broker known for its clever commercials featuring the E-Trade baby. But E-Trade doesn’t have billions of dollars under management just because of its quirky marketing. The broker can attribute its popularity mainly to its robust trading platforms and user-friendly interface.

E-Trade makes it easy for beginning investors to get their money into the market. Not only does E-Trade make comprehensive educational information available, but it also provides support via phone, email, chat and in more than 30 local branches spread across the country. Its two easy-to-navigate mobile apps and a choice of online trading platforms also make managing money a pleasure, no matter your knowledge level.

But while E-Trade has a lot going for it, it isn’t perfect. Its commissions for trading aren’t the lowest among discount brokers and you must have a relatively high minimum deposit to get started investing with E-Trade. You also won’t get much of a bonus for moving your money to E-Trade — unless you have tens-of-thousands of dollars.

If you’re looking for a choice of mobile and online platforms, you’ll frequently be trading, or you’ll primarily be making commission-free investments, E-Trade is an ideal choice. But E-Trade isn’t necessarily right for everyone, so it’s important to know exactly what this broker is offering.

Who should consider E-Trade

E-Trade has something to offer both beginning and advanced investors.

Beginning investors will like the option to use E-Trade’s streamlined trading platform, along with many choices for commission-free ETFs and mutual funds to make diversification cheaper and simpler. And, for those who want a little more help, E-Trade provides pre-built portfolios.

For advanced investors, E-Trade offers customizable trading tools, ample charting options, and discounted commissions if you make more than 30 trades per quarter. A full range of investment choices including stocks, options, and futures also allows advanced traders to take diversification to the next level.

E-Trade fees and features

Current promotions

For customers who deposit at least $10,000, E-Trade offers up to 500 commission-free trades for each stock or options trade executed within 60 days of funds becoming available.
For new accounts with a deposit of at least $25,000, you'll also receive a cash bonus, which can range from $200 to $2,500 depending on the amount deposited. 

Stock trading fees
  • $6.95 per trade (less than 30 trades per quarter)
  • $4.95 per trade (more than 30 trades per quarter)
Account minimum
Tradable securities
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • Options
  • Futures/Commodities
Account fees (annual, transfer, inactivity)
  • $0 annual fee
  • $75 full account transfer fee
  • $25 partial account transfer fee
  • $0 yearly inactivity fee
Commission-free ETFs offered
Mutual funds (no transaction fee) offered
Offers automated portfolio/robo-advisor
Account types
  • Individual taxable
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Joint taxable
  • Rollover IRA
  • Rollover Roth IRA
  • Coverdell Education Savings Account(ESA)
  • Custodial Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA)/Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)
  • Custodial IRA
  • Solo 401k (for small businesses)
  • SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees)
  • Trust
  • Guardianship or Conservatorship
Ease of use
Mobile app iOS, Android
Customer support Phone, 24/7 live support, Chat, Email, 30 branch locations
Research resources
  • SEC filings
  • Mutual fund reports
  • Earnings press releases

Strengths of E-Trade

  • No-Cost Investment Options: E-Trade offers 250 commission-free ETFs and 4,400 no-load mutual funds, which rivals or beats many other discount brokers, including Ally Invest, that offers only around 100 commission-free ETFs.
  • Robust mobile and online apps: E-Trade offers two mobile apps and a choice of multiple online trading platforms. These apps and programs offer customizable account management, real-time quotes, and access to news on demand. E-Trade’s purchase of OptionsHouse in 2016 also means skilled traders can easily access technical studies, charting tools, and simple trade tickets to make high-volume trading easy.
  • Customer support: E-Trade has more than 30 branches for those looking for local support. Online chat is quick and easy to use, with knowledgeable customer service representatives providing answers to questions within minutes. And, you can speak with customer service agents or retirement specialists via phone to get help with account management, IRA rollovers, or even retirement account options.

Drawbacks of E-Trade

  • High minimum deposit requirements: For taxable brokerage accounts, you’ll need to make a minimum deposit of $500. Other brokers, such as Fidelity, have no minimum deposit requirements at all. The good news is, you won’t be subject to this requirement if you open an IRA.
  • Higher commissions for low-volume traders: E-Trade charges $6.95 commission for trades unless you make more than 30 per quarter. This exceeds the cost from many other discount brokers, including Ally Invest and Fidelity, both of which charge just $4.95 for trades regardless of low trading volume.
  • High minimum deposit required for account opening bonus: While you can earn free trades if you deposit at least $10,000 when opening your account, you won’t receive any cash bonus unless you deposit at least $25,000 — and even then you only receive $200.

Is E-Trade safe?

If you’re looking for a safe place to put your money, you have no worries with E-Trade. E-Trade bank accounts are FDIC-insured and they are compliant with all registration and license requirements. E-Trade is also an SIPC member, which means your account is protected for up to $500,000 in cash and securities.

Of course, while your accounts are protected if E-Trade faces financial troubles, this doesn’t mean you can’t lose money in investment accounts. Stocks, bonds, and other securities can decline in value and there’s always a risk associated with investing. That’s why it’s so important to understand any investments you buy.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking for an online discount broker that offers some of the best mobile apps and trading tools around, E-Trade is a good choice.

The slightly higher commission for low-volume traders — compared to its competitors — may not bother you if you’re planning on investing in the hundreds of commission-free ETFs or thousands of no-load mutual funds E-Trade has to offer. Of course, if you’d prefer to pay the minimum in commission and fees, competitors such as Fidelity or Ally Invest could be a better option for you as both charge only $4.95 per trade.

With no minimum deposit required to open an account, getting an Ally Invest account started might also be easier. If you decide to go with E-Trade, remember that you’ll need $500 to get started.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Christy Rakoczy


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