E*TRADE Review 2024: Pros, Cons and How It Compares

E*TRADE excels even outside of its $0 commissions, with superb educational resources, portfolio-building tools and a large mutual fund selection.
Andy Rosen
Chris Davis
By Chris Davis and  Andy Rosen 
Edited by Arielle O'Shea

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Our Take

4.4

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

E*TRADE has long been one of the most popular online brokers. The company's $0 commissions and strong trading platforms appeal to active traders, while beginner investors benefit from a large library of educational resources.

E*TRADE
Fees
$0
per trade. Other fees apply.
Account minimum
$0
Promotion
Get up to $1,000
when you open and fund an E*TRADE account
Learn more

on E*TRADE's website

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easy-to-use tools.

  • Excellent customer support.

  • Advanced mobile app.

  • Commission-free stock, options, mutual fund and ETF trades.

Cons

  • Website can be difficult to navigate.

  • Low interest rate on uninvested cash.

Compare to Similar Brokers

Current Product

NerdWallet rating 

4.4

/5
NerdWallet rating 

4.9

/5
NerdWallet rating 

4.3

/5
NerdWallet rating 

5.0

/5

Fees 

$0

per trade. Other fees apply.

Fees 

$0

per online equity trade

Fees 

$0

per trade

Fees 

$0

per trade

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Account minimum 

$0

Promotion 

Get up to $1,000

when you open and fund an E*TRADE account

Promotion 

None

no promotion available at this time

Promotion 

1 Free Stock

after linking your bank account (stock value range $5.00-$200)

Promotion 

None

no promotion available at this time

Learn more

on E*TRADE's website

Learn more

on Charles Schwab's website

Learn more

on Robinhood's website

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on Interactive Brokers' website

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Full Review

Where E*TRADE shines

Something for everyone: Whether you are a beginner or an advanced trader, E*TRADE has a platform and a mobile app for you. The E*TRADE Web platform and the mobile app offer real-time quotes and market commentary, stock and exchange-traded fund screeners and a good deal of account management. More active traders can turn to the Power E*TRADE platform and app to get technical studies, drawing tools, customizable options chain views, trading ladders and other features for complex strategies.

Tradable securities: E*TRADE offers a wide range of investment choices, from stock, bonds, ETFs and more than 4,000 no-transaction-fee mutual funds, to futures and advanced options strategies.

Educational resources and support: The educational resources and support options on offer from E*TRADE are some of the best. You can watch webinars on diversification and technical analyses as well as on more-complex topics like options trading. There are online investing courses that cover a host of topics, and a thematic investing section covering how to invest in companies that align with your values.

Where E*TRADE falls short

Website transparency: Our testers examined E*TRADE's website and were unable to easily find the company's guidance on how to close an account, which should be readily available.

Default sweep interest rate: At 0.01%, E*TRADE's interest rate on uninvested cash is among the lowest of all brokers we review. As interest rates went up in 2023, some brokers increased their default sweep interest rates, but E*TRADE did not.

E*TRADE is best for:

  • Frequent traders.

  • Beginner investors.

  • Research and data.

  • Retirement planning assistance.

E*TRADE at a glance

Account minimum

$0

Stock trading costs

$0

Options trades

No base commission; $0.65 per contract (volume discount available)

Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity)

No annual or inactivity fee. $75 full transfer out fee.

Interest rate on uninvested cash

0.01%

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds

More than 4,000

Tradable securities

• Stocks • Bonds • Mutual funds • ETFs • Options • Futures

Trading platform

Two platforms available for free to all customers: • E-Trade Web • Power E-Trade

Mobile app

Two apps: • E*TRADE mobile • Power E*TRADE Available on iOS and Android.

Research and data

Free and extensive, with several external providers available at no cost.

Customer support options (includes how easy it is to find key details on the website)

Phone, email and chat support 24/7; 64 local and 2 national branches

More details about E*TRADE's ratings

Account minimum: 5 out of 5 stars

E*TRADE's account minimum is $0. This is typical of brokers these days — the vast majority of the brokers we review don't require a minimum to open or maintain an account. Keep in mind that some investments, such as mutual funds, may require a minimum initial investment.

Stock trading costs: 5 out of 5 stars

In 2019, E*TRADE dropped its once-high $6.95 trade commission to $0 for online stock, options and ETF trades. Many other brokers did the same, and now free commissions are standard in the industry. You'll still pay a fee to trade certain securities, including futures, as well as a per-contract fee for options trades (see below).

Options trades: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Options trades are commission-free, but they still carry a contract charge, which is $0.65. E*TRADE offers a discounted fee of $0.50 for active traders (defined as those who trade 30 or more times per quarter).

Account fees: 4 out of 5 stars

E*TRADE charges no annual or inactivity fee. There is a $75 full transfer out fee, though the company has eliminated its $25 partial transfer fee.

Interest on uninvested cash: 1 out of 5 stars

Don't count on getting much of a return on the free cash in your brokerage account. Interest rates range from 0.01% to 0.15% — both well below the rates offered by high-ranking competitors.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds: 5 out of 5 stars

In 2022, E*TRADE eliminated trade commissions and early redemption fees for all online mutual fund trades. E*TRADE’s analysts regularly update a list of highlighted mutual funds called the All-Star Funds Report with the top no-load funds and ETFs offered.

Tradable securities: 4 out of 5 stars

E*TRADE allows investors to trade stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, options and futures.

Its bond offerings include core bonds, corporate bonds, ultra short-term bonds, municipal bonds and short-term municipal bonds.

The company does not offer forex trading or cryptocurrency. It also does not offer fractional shares of stocks unless you're buying them as part of E*TRADE's automated investing program.

Fractional shares are becoming more common in the industry; they let investors purchase stock based on a dollar amount they select rather than the price of a whole share. This may be particularly advantageous for investors who are working with limited money, but want to build a highly diversified portfolio.

Trading platform: 3.5 out of 5 stars

E*TRADE has two trading platforms — E*TRADE Web and Power E*TRADE. Both are free and available to all customers, with no trade activity or balance minimums.

E*TRADE Web offers free streaming market data, free real-time quotes, live market commentary, analyst research stock screeners and more. From the dashboard, you can track your accounts, create watch lists, view market data and make trades, including complex options strategies.

And for truly active traders, there's Power E*TRADE, the result of the company's acquisition of OptionsHouse several years ago. The web platform offers real-time data, more than 100 technical studies, streamlined trade tickets, customizable options chain views and trading ladders.

E*TRADE offers its customers the ability to buy into IPOs, and it does offer over-the-counter trading, though at a higher price than some competitors. Commissions on OTC trades start at $6.95 and go down to $4.95 for frequent traders.

Users should also note that E*TRADE accepts payment for order flow, which can potentially incentivize brokers to route orders to market makers based on how much they'll make — rather than the best price for the investor. But many other online brokers do the same thing.

E*TRADE says its execution quality is 95.25% for S&P 500 stocks and 96.16% for equities outside of the S&P 500.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The average execution quality of all brokers we review was 97.4% as of Aug. 31, 2023. That means 97.4% of orders sold for at a price that was at or better than the National Best Bid and Offer. Executing at or above the NBBO means you may receive a price improvement or a better share price than you were originally quoted.

Mobile app: 4 out of 5 stars

Our star rating here is based on how iOS and Android users score the broker's mobile apps. E*TRADE has two free mobile apps, available for iOS and Android. The E*TRADE mobile app allows you to easily manage your account, place trades and get real-time quotes and news, including Bloomberg TV. It offers advanced mobile features like stock and ETF screeners, as well as multi-leg options trades. The E*TRADE app is available for Apple Watch as well.

The Power E*TRADE app offers many capabilities on the go: Traders can access the customizable options chain, a selection of popular technical studies, charts, streaming quotes and news. The app can be used for trading complex strategies, including four-legged option spreads, and futures traders can enter futures orders directly from the futures ladder.

Research and data: 4 out of 5 stars

To earn five stars in this category, brokers must offer at least 15 third-party research providers at no fee, as well as a strong selection of research tools. E*TRADE doesn't quite reach that level, but the broker's analytical tools are user-friendly for both retirement investors and active traders, and they're available free of charge. E*Trade's lineup of research offerings include Moody’s, Morgan Stanley, MarketEdge and Morningstar.

Customer support options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Customer support is available 24/7 via phone, email and chat.

E*TRADE also has strong in-person customer service, with 29 local and two national branches staffed by financial consultants.

If you'd rather skip learning and cede investment decisions to the experts, E*TRADE’s robo-advisor service, E*TRADE Core Portfolios, will manage your portfolio for you for an annual advisory fee of 0.30%. The minimum investment for that service is $500. Robo-advisors are computer-based investment advisors who build and manage client investment portfolios.

E*TRADE IRAs

E*TRADE offers both Roth and traditional IRAs, which are tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Experts typically recommend investing for retirement in a tax-advantaged account, which will allow you to get a tax deduction on your contributions or take money out in retirement without paying taxes. You can have an IRA in addition to other investment accounts, like a brokerage account.

E*TRADE IRA
Learn More

on E*TRADE's website

E*TRADE IRA

4.4

NerdWallet rating 
Learn More

on E*TRADE's website

Fees

$0

per trade. Other fees apply.

Account minimum

$0

Promotion

None

no promotion available at this time

Retirement investors will find a lot to love with E*TRADE’s IRA offering, including no fees for stock and ETF trades, a large line-up of no-trading-fee mutual funds and an extensive library of retirement advice and tools. Beginners will also appreciate the broker's extensive educational offerings, including courses and webinars.

Pros

  • Extensive research and tools.
  • Commission-free stock, ETF and options trades.
  • Large selection of no-transaction-fee (NTF) mutual funds.
  • Impressive educational offerings.

Cons

  • Low interest rate on invested cash.
  • Website can be difficult to navigate.
Read full review

Is E*TRADE right for you?

E*TRADE’s investing tools, educational resources, large selection of no-transaction-fee mutual funds and innovative trading technology will suit all types of investors. Active traders will love the $0 commissions, and beginners will easily get up to speed with the company's deep educational resources.

For U.S. residents only.

How do we review brokers?

NerdWallet’s comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. brokers by assets under management, along with emerging industry players. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgments on which ones will best meet your needs. We adhere to strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

We collect data directly from providers through detailed questionnaires, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. The questionnaire answers, combined with demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists’ hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each provider’s performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor (one star) to excellent (five stars).

For more details about the categories considered when rating brokers and our process, read our full methodology.

Learn more

on E*TRADE's website

Frequently asked questions