E*TRADE Review

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E*TRADE is an online discount trading house that offers brokerage and banking services to individuals and businesses. One of the first brokers to embrace online trading, E*TRADE not only survived both the dot-com bubble and Recession — it thrived. You can choose from two different platforms (one basic, one advanced). E*TRADE is a suitable broker for traders of most skill levels, whether you want to buy mutual funds and hold them for decades or dabble in options swing trading. E*TRADE offers a library of research and education materials to help you out.

Best For

  • Active traders
  • Derivatives traders
  • Retirement savers

Pros

  • Sophisticated trading platforms
  • Wide range of tradable assets
  • Exceptional customer service

Cons

  • Limited currency trading
  • Higher margin rates than competitors
  • No paper trading on its standard platform
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Benzinga’s 2021 FinTech Awards Listmaker for Best Brokerage for Beginners

Why E*TRADE Brokerage Over Others?

E*TRADE offers an abundance of account types, tradable asset classes and tools that can empower you to trade or invest. 

E*TRADE has also made it a focus to give back to the community. The broker launched a number of initiatives to promote customer welfare, such as a $1 million donation to the Equal Justice Initiative and NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a fintech scholarship to support African-Americans seeking financial degrees and a “Day of Action” initiative to promote employee involvement in social issues.

  1. Best mobile trading: E*TRADE offers 2 different mobile apps, each available for iOS and Android. The standard E*TRADE app offers a terrific starter, with accessible features and a short learning curve. Both day traders and buy-and-hold investors can make use of the standard E*TRADE Web app. You may want to leverage the Power E*TRADE app if you’re an advanced trader, which brings advanced charting tools and sophisticated analysis right to your smartphone screen.
  2. Exceptional customer service: E*TRADE offers 24/7 customer support easily reached from a number of different avenues. Whether you prefer chat, email or phone, E*TRADE has your back when you need help. E*TRADE also added a COVID-19 Resource Center last year to further help clients deal with financial challenges brought on by the pandemic.
  3. Platform tutorials: Few brokers offer E*TRADE’s robust tools for educating clients about using its platforms. Each platform (E*TRADE Web and Power E*TRADE) offers tutorial videos about how to make different types of trades, use various screeners and manipulate stock charts. These tutorials will have you up and running on the platform quickly. Even veteran traders might learn more through the video section.
Why E*TRADE Brokerage Over Others?

E*TRADE Fees

E*TRADE has joined the $0-commission revolution and charges no fee to trade stocks, ETFs and most mutual funds. Options contracts cost an industry-standard $0.65, but that price drops to $0.50 if you make more than 30 trades per quarter. Futures contracts are $1.50 per side, which is cheaper than E*TRADE’s biggest competitor, TD Ameritrade. Margin rates are also cheaper at E*TRADE than TD Ameritrade, but still fairly expensive compared to Vanguard.

StocksFree
ETFsFree
Mutual FundsFree, unless a $19.99 transaction fee is noted
Options$0.65 per contract $0.50 per contract if you make more than 30 trades per quarter
Futures$1.50 per side
Bonds$1 per bond, Treasuries free
Margin RatesStart at 8.95% for less than $10,000

E*TRADE Usability

E*TRADE leverages multiple platforms, 2 different mobile apps and a variety of account types and financial services to provide an inclusive brokerage experience. Most brokers aim their platform toward a specific type of investor, but E*TRADE offers a little something for everyone. Does this overburden the trading system? Not at all. 

E*TRADE wisely splits services into E*TRADE Web and Power E*TRADE platforms, which gives advanced traders the tools they need without overwhelming those who just want to fund their retirement accounts.

In 2020, E*TRADE’s platforms and website received a major facelift: 

On Power E*TRADE, the Complete View and Trade Ticket were redesigned to streamline customer activity. New order types, like trailing stops, are now available. 

E*TRADE also wanted to enhance its options trading operation, so the Risk Slide now allows simulated options trades from within the client’s main portfolio. You can see how a specific options trade would impact the rest of your capital by adjusting a few simple numbers. 

The Probability Calculator and Strategy Optimizer also received sleek redesigns. As a bonus benefit, clients can now exercise their options contracts without the assistance of E*TRADE support by utilizing the Online Options Exercise.

You can also tap into:

E*Trade’s Forex Trading
  • User-friendly interface: You can view account balances, screen for securities and access fundamental and technical data with just a few clicks (or taps if you’re on mobile). E*TRADE Web has all the basic aspects most investors will need, but Power E*TRADE opens up the advanced charting features, backtesters and trade analyzing tools to more seasoned traders.
  • Simple sign-up and trade execution: The rise of retail traders was a major story in the bull market of 2020 following the COVID crash. E*TRADE wants to reach this new generation of investors by further simplifying the onboarding process. All you need to sign up is a simple application and a link to your bank to fund your account via ACH. 

Buying and selling securities doesn’t require a scavenger hunt. Just type in your stock ticker and click on either the bid or ask price. Choose your order type and hit “send.” You just made a trade. E*TRADE prides itself on lightning-fast order execution to ensure clients get the best possible prices on their trades.

  • Powerful analysis tools: Power E*TRADE remains the platform of choice for sophisticated traders, thanks to a bounty of charting tools, screeners and studies. Power E*TRADE offers over 100 technical indicators, 30 different chart-drawing tools and 16 oscillators for studying securities. It also offers an analyzer to help you weigh the risk and reward of each trade. 

Don’t know technical analysis? It’s explained in plain English right on the chart — even the Greek letters in options trading. 

E*TRADE Education

E*TRADE offers multiple avenues for providing clients with research and education to improve not only their trading acumen but to better understand investing and markets. E*TRADE will walk you through the process of trading on its platform in a way no other broker does.

Earnings Move Analyzer

E*TRADE’s powerful earnings analysis tool through Power E*TRADE allows you to quickly assess upcoming expected earnings moves and visualize historical earnings moves to identify options strategies. E*TRADE’s Earnings Move Analyzer tool analyzes actual and implied historical moves, provides insightful chart details and features an intuitive options trade builder — all from the same view.

You can track past earnings moves to compare implied and actual volatility. From here, you can choose the direction and timeframe of your trade using simple categories and build multi-leg chains with a variety of options strategies. 

For example, if you have a neutral view of the stock, you might choose to implement the Short Iron Condor strategy. Designing options trades around earnings reports has never been easier, but E*TRADE takes time to explain how each strategy works before you execute anything you don’t understand.

You’ll get market commentary from a varied assessment of sources, tools to help you learn more about derivatives like options, and advanced order types like trailing stops and OCO orders. One new Power E*TRADE widget isTrend Watch by LikeFolio, which allows E*TRADE clients to track social media sentiment and mentions of stocks on networks like Twitter. You can search for trade ideas based on trends like health and fitness, technology disruptors or streaming services. Trend Watch provides not just company reports, but information on what influencers and consumers say about products and companies.

Video Tutorials

E*TRADE’s video tutorials don’t overwhelm you with technical trading jargon or economic minutiae. The narrator breaks down how to trade stocks, options, use screeners and adapt your trading style to the mobile app. You’ll find 13 tutorial videos for the E*TRADE Web platform and 12 for the Power E*TRADE platform.

Market Research

E*TRADE offers market research available from both fundamental and technical perspectives. Detailed fundamental stock reports give you data like P/E ratio, dividend yield, annual revenues and EPS stats. MarketEdge provides more advanced technical data like Beta, MACD and RSI numbers. E*TRADE recently added Argus Equity and Options Research to further enhance its research offerings. Argus provides not only esteemed market commentary but actionable trading ideas for both stocks and options. 

Still want more? You can get equity research from Morgan Stanley, another recent add by E*TRADE to boost its economic and financial news sources.

Investor Education

E*TRADE is far from intimidating when you’re a new investor. Not only is the platform easy to learn and use, but the new investor education materials can quickly bring you up to speed on how the market works. The investor library breaks down topics by asset class (stocks, options, ETFs), taxes, retirement planning and current events. Options trading is more popular than ever and E*TRADE knows many customers lack experience dealing with derivatives. E*TRADE partners with you to help you learn the risks of trading options and how to use them responsibly.

Investor Education

E*TRADE Customer Support

E*TRADE offers our favorite customer support feature — 24/7 live chat! Volume delays are common, especially on days when the market whipsaws. Phone support is available for brokerage and banking customers, with separate lines for businesses and employers with sponsored plans.

The COVID-19 Response Center was a new addition to the E*TRADE customer service arsenal this year. Clients with investing, banking or other worries can reach out with pandemic-related questions. Mobile check deposit limits have also been increased to 0,000 to help customers access their funds more quickly.

EmailForm on client homepage
Phone800-387-2331
ChatChat widget linked at the bottom of each webpage
In-Person SupportClosed due to COVID-19

E*TRADE Offerings

E*TRADE offers all the asset classes you’d expect from a major broker: equities, options, forex, futures and bonds. You’ll find a variety of ETFs and mutual funds but fewer options for trading futures and forex. For example, you can only tap into 9 currencies on E*TRADE. You can trade using Bitcoin and Ether futures, but you can’t own coins directly. 

E*TRADE is an exceptional platform for trading stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and options, but you might find more diverse offerings with other brokers.

E*TRADE Stocks, ETFs and Mutual Funds 

You can trade stocks, ETFs, and (most) mutual funds for free on E*TRADE. You won’t pay anything for mutual fund and ETF screeners, even if you don’t have an E*TRADE account. Search through over 2,300 ETFs and 9,000 mutual funds sorted by asset allocation, leverage, expense ratio, Morningstar rating and more. Use the advanced search feature to look for securities based on risk profiles and technical indicators. 

E*TRADE Options 

Options trading on the Power E*TRADE platform remains one of the broker’s best features. You can tap into options contracts for stocks, indices and futures (if you don’t mind paying extra). Equity options cost $0.65 per contract, but that gets reduced to $0.50 if you make more than 30 trades per quarter. Options on futures cost $1.50 per contract. E*TRADE offers 4 options trading levels, including a strict Level 1 that only allows covered calls and buy-writes. Long calls and puts require Level 2 approval. You can make any type of trade, including naked calls and puts, if Level 4 status is granted. You can also use up to 4 legs on options trades when using E*TRADE’s platforms — a new feature this year.

E*TRADE Futures 

E*TRADE offers futures trading in 8 different markets: equity indices, energy, interest rates, currencies (including Bitcoin and Ether), metals, grains, softs and livestock. Futures cost $1.50 per contract and trading is available 24/6. Only a few basic currency futures are available, and bitcoin futures carry a $2.50 contract fee.

E*TRADE Mobile App

E*TRADE’s standard E*TRADE mobile app and Power E*TRADE remain free to clients on both iOS and Android, but they serve different purposes. E*TRADE Web mobile is aimed at the buy-and-hold, “set-and-forget-it” type of investor, while Power E*TRADE mobile seeks out the day trading and derivatives crowds. 

One of the biggest drawbacks to E*TRADE mobile offerings had been the lack of paper trading choices, but the company has rectified that issue this year by finally bringing paper trading to the Power E*TRADE app. (Paper trading can also be accessed through the web version).

E*TRADE Mobile

E*TRADE’s first mobile app is reliable and uncluttered, with a simple design and sleek interface. Major index quotes and market news greet clients as they open the app. New users won’t have any trouble finding their account balances and holdings or navigating their way to the trading widget. Trades are executed as easily as the web platform and still come with E*TRADE’s speed guarantee. Charting and analysis tools are present on this app, but not nearly at the levels found on Power E*TRADE. Also, by popular demand, it’s finally here — Dark Mode has arrived on E*TRADE mobile!

E*TRADE Mobile App

Power E*TRADE Mobile

Derivatives traders will appreciate Power E*TRADE’s ability to compress all the bells and whistles of the desktop platform into a smartphone version without losing functionality. All chart patterns and analysis tools convert from the desktop to the smartphone screen without any hiccups. The LiveAction tool can scan for volatility and market moves without needing to enter tons of criteria into a stock screener. Power E*TRADE also allows for complex trading techniques, such as multi-leg options chains, writing puts and calls and even the purchase of bitcoin futures.

Power E*TRADE Mobile

Feeling overwhelmed by the Power E*TRADE Mobile app? You can test the different features of the app (along with your trading skills) by utilizing the paper trading function. Paper trading is a great way to hone your technique without putting any real capital at risk and you can reset your paper capital at any time. You can access all education and research materials through both apps, along with customer service features and important documents.

E*TRADE Overall Rating

E*TRADE remains a powerhouse broker and its Power E*TRADE platform can go toe-to-toe with thinkorswim and its options and futures fees cost less than many competitors. 

E*TRADE’s technology doesn’t overwhelm new traders. No matter which platform you prefer, trading on the go is possible with a paired E*TRADE smartphone app and customer service chat help. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

How long does it take for me to transfer money to E*TRADE?

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How long does it take for me to transfer money to E*TRADE?
asked
A
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It takes 3 business days electronically and 6 business days by check. 

 

answered
Q

What are the drawbacks of using E*TRADE?

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What are the drawbacks of using E*TRADE?
asked
A
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You pay higher margin rates, cannot practice trading and only get limited currency trading.

answered

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