E*Trade is one of the most popular brokerages in the world, boasting more than 3.1 million total brokerage accounts as of July 2014. Here’s what you need to know about account costs and its three main stock trading platforms.
Opening an E*Trade Account
The basics of E*Trade are very similar to those of TD Ameritrade: the account minimum opening is $500, each trade costs $9.99 and there are no annual account fees. At E*Trade, all customers are charged an additional $25 for broker-assisted trades. In addition, option contract commissions are $0.75 each in addition to the basic trade commission; futures contracts are $2.99 each; and the margin rate for debit balances of $50,000 to $100,000 is 7.44%.
E*Trade 360 — the company’s most basic, customizable online investing dashboard — enables you to view all of your investments on a one-page site featuring streaming, real-time quotes. A graphical accounts view displays all accounts, balances, allocation and performance. The platform also allows you to track the performance of your favorite stocks in real time with its watch lists feature.
E*Trade 360’s fully integrated trading ticket enables customers to place all orders directly from the platform. The page features a retirement planning calculator to help you figure out how much you need to save, create an action plan and track your progress. You can also track your portfolio’s total gain and loss, receive account alerts and transfer money for free.
Users say 360 offers intuitive and user-friendly features, but doesn’t have the technical tools for more advanced traders. It’s a great option for more casual traders looking for an entirely web-based platform that offers free real-time data streaming.
Read our full E*TRADE 360 Review here>>
Pro Elite E*Trade clients have free access to E*trade Pro, the company’s more advanced trading software. Pro features extended trading hours starting at 7 a.m. at no additional cost. The Strategy Scanner features real-time strategy recognition and streaming alerts, predefined strategies by market outlook and visual back-testing. You can also find the top performing sectors, industries and companies with the Sector & Industry Tracker. Pro features a number of options tools and analytics including an options screener and options strategy optimizer. A fully customizable charting package enables users to spot trends and manage risk. Streaming news and watch lists are customizable. Pro also includes live-streaming CNBC TV, including international feeds, and Video on Demand.
If you want to upgrade to Pro from the basic 360 account, you’ll have to pay an additional monthly fee of $99.95 to use the platform. The only way to bypass this fee is by making 30 or more trades per quarter or possessing $250,000 in account holdings.
Customers and reviewers say E*trade Pro, with its expanse of advanced tools, is best for active traders because there’s no additional charge to use the service if you meet the quarterly trade quota. If you’re a more casual user, the software will come at a price. One of E*Trade’s top competitors, TD Ameritrade, includes its premium trading platforms, Trade Architect and thinkorswim, free for all account holders. Reviewers and customers alike criticize E*Trade for tacking on a high monthly fee for the software.
The free E*Trade mobile app provides tools to manage your accounts on the go. You can place trades anywhere – stocks, options, complex options, mini options, exchange traded funds and mutual funds. Users receive real-time quotes, news, alerts and a range of charts including performance over time and comparison.
Additionally, the mobile app features barcode scanning, which allows you to snap a photo of a barcode to get details on the publicly traded company associated with the product; voice recognition, which enables users to speak to get stock quotes, options chains, company data and more; Level II quotes; educational videos; CNBC on demand; analyst reports; a shares calculator; economic calendar; stock and ETF screeners; as well as mobile check deposit and bill pay.
All mobile app features are available on Android and iPhone for free. The app for tablet and Windows Phone users has more limited capabilities.
Read our full E*TRADE Mobile App Review here >>
Reviewers overwhelmingly tout the value of E*Trade’s mobile application and its wealth of tools for those active traders who need access anywhere. The app has four stars on Google Play and three-and-a-half stars on iTunes.
Promotion: When you sign up with E*Trade with an initial $10,000 deposit, you can receive 60 days of free trades (up to 500 free trade commissions for stock and options).
To compare E*Trade to all other brokerages, use our brokerage comparison tool.
Stock graph image via Shutterstock