ETrade – reviews and review of the global financial trading platform

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  • Great financial resources
  • Commission-free trades
  • Excellent mobile app
  • Ally Invest View plans
  • TD Ameritrade View plans
  • Fidelity View plans

How We Reviewed E*TRADE

1 top-ranking company

3 weeks of research

15 trading sites compared

E*TRADE Review

E*TRADE was one of the first online brokerages and helped introduce beginner and regular investors to the trading market. The brokerage firm’s $0 commission for all options, ETF, and stock trades are a great incentive for ordinary and advanced traders. E*TRADE’s investing resource library and comprehensive trading platforms make it easy for investors of all experience levels and portfolio sizes to actively manage their portfolios.
Morgan Stanley announced the purchase of E*TRADE in February for $13 billion to expand its wealth management and investing services. E*TRADE will continue to accept new accounts until the deal, expected to complete by the end of 2020, gets regulatory approval and is approved by E*TRADE stockholders. By merging, the two companies will have $44 billion in revenue and 8 million customers with over $3 trillion in assets. With its commission-free options and vast financial tools, E*TRADE is a reliable trading platform for novice and skilled investors.

Product Overview

  • Suitable for new and experienced investors
  • Access to vast financial resources
  • $0 commissions on stocks, ETFs, and options
  • $500 minimum deposit for Core Portfolios
  • No international index funds

E*TRADE’s Services & Features

Price Free for stocks, options, and ETFs
Standout features Access to all investment types
Commission-free trading
Excellent mobile app
Online trader community
Large offering of financial resources
Services Stocks
Mutual Funds
Fees $0 on stocks, options and ETFS
$0.65 on options
$1.50 on futures
$25 on broker-assisted trades
Terms $0 account minimum for Brokerage Accounts

A great perk of selecting E*TRADE to conduct trades is the plethora of trading options at your disposal. E*TRADE also provides access to nearly every investment tool needed to conduct trades across a wide variety of markets, with the only exception being international index funds. Even futures, options, and forex markets, which can be difficult to find at other brokerages, are available with E*TRADE. So if it’s variety you’re looking for, or if you don’t want your choices restricted, E*TRADE would make a solid choice.

Being a full-service broker is at the heart of what E*TRADE delivers. With a variety of other resources, like small business tools, retirement planning, and college savings plans, E*TRADE caters its services to serve the needs of every investor.

The Competition

E*TRADE ally Invest TD Ameritrade Fidelity
Our review Our review Our review
Mutual Funds
Futures X
International X X X

*Offers commission-free or transaction-free trading

E*TRADE vs. TD Ameritrade

Both firms offer similar services and $0 commissions on online stock, ETF, and options trades. TD Ameritrade has a broader range of trading options than E*TRADE, including foreign exchange and cryptocurrency trading. While both companies charge $25 for broker-assisted trades, E*TRADE is a better solution for frequent traders since the commission for over-the-counter (OTC) trades (outside of stocks, options, and ETFs) is lower than TD Ameritrade after 30 trades per quarter.

E*TRADE vs. Ally Invest

E*TRADE and Ally Invest both offer low-cost online trading platforms, but E*TRADE’s research tools and mobile apps are more comprehensive. Ally Invest may be a good choice for a beginner investor — there are no account minimums, many trades are free, and options trading contracts are only 50 cents. Make sure you’re aware of the $9.95 fee for buying and selling no-load mutual funds. E*TRADE also requires a $500 minimum to open a ‘Core Portfolio,’ and options contracts are a little higher at 65 centers, but it doesn’t charge when you buy or sell a no-load mutual fund.

E*TRADE vs. Fidelity

Comparing these two highly-rated firms comes down to the investor’s end goals. Fidelity is the more robust option, offering financial advice and wealth management through its physical branches and advanced online tools. Regular traders can find everything they need from E*TRADE, including an excellent mobile app with Bloomberg streaming live and third-party ratings. More experienced investors wanting to diversify their portfolios internationally will prefer Fidelity, which offers Forex trading in nearly 20 currencies and 25 global marketplaces.

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You can start trading on E*TRADE once you have put funds into your account and they have cleared. If you’ve used the online money transfer tool, it usually takes about three business days for funds to clear. Check deposits can take four business days before those funds become available for investment. As for wire transfers, the cash from those funds are available on the same day.

After you sell a stock, it generally takes about three days for that money to become available. You can then transfer it to your bank account, which will take another two to three days depending on the time of day you initiate the transfer. All in all, the whole process can take as long as six days.

Yes, you can trade commodities like gold, silver, metals, and currencies through E*TRADE’s futures trading platform. Keep in mind, you’re not actually buying the physical gold; you’re purchasing a fund based on the price of gold with the hope that it will increase.

E*TRADE has opened trading in bitcoin futures from the Cboe Futures Exchange and CME Group. However, your futures account must be prefunded in order to trade in bitcoin futures. Just be aware that bitcoin futures involve tremendous risk. If you’re just starting out, it’s important to consider your risk tolerance and ability to sustain financial loss before committing.

The Bottom Line

E*TRADE may be the best trading platform for new and frequent investors interested in free trades to save money on commissions. The firm’s mobile apps, Power E*TRADE Mobile and E*TRADE Mobile are user-friendly and packed with features. You’ll be able to enjoy mobile charting, live streaming of Bloomberg TV, third-party research ratings, and a customizable dashboard where you can get real-time updates of the stocks you’re watching — all from your mobile device.

The pioneer in online trading provides high value for beginner and advanced traders. The only drawback at this time is what the future holds for E*TRADE when it’s transferred to Morgan Stanley in the fourth quarter of 2020. There’s not much news at this time on how the brokerage’s current business model will change, but the company should still be able to provide tools and access to trading markets.

E*TRADE Review

Founded in 1982 as one of the first online brokerages in the United States, E*TRADE understands what investors need to succeed in the market. E*TRADE highlights include $0 trades, two excellent mobile apps, and the Power E*TRADE platform, which is great for options trading.

Top Takeaways for 2020

After spending five months testing 15 of the best online brokers for our 10th Annual Review, here are our top findings on E*TRADE:

  • In our testing, we found that E*TRADE shined most in two areas, mobile trading and options trading, finishing No. 1 overall in both categories.
  • E*TRADE also finished Best in Class (top 5) for Research, Education, Active Trading, Futures Trading, and IRA accounts.
  • Thanks to the sleek designs and overall usability of E*TRADE’s Mobile apps and the Power E*TRADE platform, which is our favorite web-based platform for 2020, E*TRADE is also a winner for beginners.

Overall Summary

Feature E*TRADE
Overall 4.5 Stars
Commissions & Fees 4.5 Stars
Offering of Investments 4.5 Stars
Platforms & Tools 4.5 Stars
Research 4.5 Stars
Education 4 Stars
Mobile Trading 5 Stars
Customer Service 4.5 Stars
Ease of Use 4.5 Stars

Commissions & Fees

Thanks to a pricing war in the beginning of October 2020, regular stock and ETF trades are now $0 (previously $6.95) and options trades run $0 + $.65 per contract (previously $6.95 + $0.75 per contract).

However, despite $0 trades, when trading during pre- and post-market hours, an ECN fee of $.005 per share is added to the regular commission rate. There is also still a $6.95 charge for trading penny stocks. As a result, we do not recommend E*TRADE for these two styles of trading.

E*TRADE pricing summary:

Feature E*TRADE
Minimum Deposit $0.00
Stock Trade Fee (per trade) $0.00
ETF Trade Fee $0.00
Options Base Fee $0.00
Options Per Contract Fee $0.65
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $19.99
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $25.00
Commission-Free ETFs all

Platforms & Tools

Built as a web-based platform, Power E*TRADE innovates and delivers speed, ease of use, and the tools needed for traders to succeed. Once again, in our 2020 Review, Power E*TRADE won our award, “Best Web-Based Platform.” E*TRADE also took our top spot for options trading.

Charting: Power E*TRADE’s charting engine is powered by Chart IQ, an excellent third-party provider of HTML 5 charts. Highlights include extremely smooth panning and zooming, integrated Recognia technical analysis, 119 optional technical indicators, and 32 drawing tools. To uncover flaws, we had to get picky. For example, running multiple charts at the same time can be a bit cumbersome, versus say the preset grid functionality offered by TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform.

Options trading: For casual and active options traders, Power E*TRADE offers the perfect blend of usability, excellent tools (screening via StrategySeek, scanning via LiveAction), and seamless position management (custom grouping, real-time streaming greeks, risk analysis, and more). And, for newer investors, there isn’t a better platform than Power E*TRADE on which to learn how to trade options. For example, using the Snapshot Analysis tool, not only is Risk/Reward translated with smiley faces, but key events to watch out for are also listed alongside a P&L chart. It’s a work of art.

Futures Trading: Like options trading, Power E*TRADE also provides a great experience for trading futures. Multiple futures ladders can be run at once, orders can be fired off with ease thanks to the Quick Trade widget, and like options, managing positions is a breeze.


While E*TRADE’s research experience is thorough and provides investors with nearly everything they need to succeed, some aspects that left us wanting more.

Good stuff: For investors who value analysts’ recommendations, E*TRADE offers consensus ratings from multiple third-parties, including breakdowns from individual analysts via TipRanks. Also, charting on the website includes the Trefis price estimate right on the chart, with a quick link to view Trefis’s full analysis.

Bad stuff: When it comes to usability and modern design, E*TRADE’s screening and quote experiences do not stack up to the hand-crafted designs of Fidelity and Charles Schwab. Also, while E*TRADE provides in-house market commentary and analysis (articles), it trails its closest competitors in quality, depth, and quantity. Finally, live broadcasting is absent, which is an area both TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab excel.

Customer Service

To score Customer Service, partners with customer experience research group Confero to conduct phone tests from locations throughout the United States. For our 2020 Broker Review, 280 customer service tests were conducted over ten weeks.


  • Average Connection Time: 1 – 2 minutes
  • Average Net Promoter Score: 8.9 / 10
  • Average Professionalism Score: 8.4 / 10
  • Overall Score: 8.62 / 10
  • Ranking: 6 th (14 brokers)

Mobile Trading

In our 2020 Review, E*TRADE once again placed first because its apps, E*TRADE Mobile and Power E*TRADE Mobile, are easy to use and feature-rich. My recommendation: use E*TRADE mobile for stock trading and Power E*TRADE Mobile for options trading.

Mobile features: Both apps are supported in iOS and Android, while E*TRADE Mobile also supports the Apple Watch. Furthermore, E*TRADE Mobile has a handful of features few other brokers offer. Unique features include streaming live Bloomberg TV, customized stock screening, third-party research ratings, and a customizable dashboard, among others. In our testing, the modern designs of both apps, which are built for speed, shine.

Mobile charting: Charting is a clean experience on Power E*TRADE, thanks to the fact that ChartIQ, the same engine that runs the charting experience on web-based Power E*TRADE, is used. That said, depth varies by app. While Power E*TRADE Mobile provides 40 indicators, E*TRADE Mobile offers ten. Indicator differences aside, panning, zooming, and conducting high-level analysis are all extremely user-friendly.

Offering of Investments

E*TRADE provides everything an investor would come to expect from a full-service brokerage. All investment vehicles offered, from stocks and options to bonds, banking products, and financial-planning services.

The only notable offerings E*TRADE lacks include international trading and forex trading, both of which are uncommon among US-based brokerages.


Relying mostly on third-party content providers, E*TRADE provides a thorough selection of educational content. All investing topics are covered, from stock trading to retirement, and at least 12 free webinars offered each month.

However, overall, E*TRADE’s learning experience left us disappointed and wanting more for beginner investors. As part of E*TRADE’s website overhaul, all educational content is now organized by topic in a “Library.” Once you select a topic, there are no preset flows or progress tracking. Yes, there is a lot of content, but if you easily can’t find what you’re looking for and it isn’t engaging, then it won’t get used.


Besides trading, E*TRADE also offers essential banking services with 30 branch office locations across the US. Banking services include checking accounts with no ATM fees, high-yield savings accounts, and debit cards. E*TRADE Bank is a registered member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which insures bank deposits up to $250,000.

Compared to leaders Bank of America Merrill Edge and Chase You Invest Trade, E*TRADE doesn’t come close to competing. That said, FDIC-insured banking is rare in the online brokerage industry.

Final Thoughts

E*TRADE is an industry leader in its mobile and options trading (thanks to Power E*TRADE) offerings and continues to innovate each year. Overall, E*TRADE provides a well-rounded offering.

Regardless of your investing style, E*TRADE is a reliable, full-service broker that gives its competitors a run for their money.


Headquartered in New York City, E*TRADE was founded in 1982 and, like its closest competitors, was also one of the first online brokerages in the United States (1). E*TRADE acquired online broker OptionsHouse in September 2020 for $725 million, paving the way for what is now branded as the Power E*TRADE platform (2). As of December 31st, 2020, E*TRADE had 4.9 million brokerage accounts and processed over 280,000 online trades per trading day (3).

2020 Review Methodology

For the tenth annual best online brokers review published in January 2020, a total of 3,540 data points were collected over six months and used to score brokers. This makes home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) for an annual update meeting. Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.

E*Trade stock trading platform review

E*Trade is a long-standing player in the stock trading platform industry that grows with the investor over time.

By Tamsin Oxford 20 February 2020

Our Verdict

The competition for your stock trading attention is fierce and E*Trade is all about making their offering as competitive as possible. The site is constantly showcasing special offers that are designed to entice you to spend but the design of the site won’t make it easy for you to source the information and investment options you need. However, E*Trade’s a leader in the market for good reason – it’s one of the first platforms of its kind, it has a good presence in the market, and its offering is varied.

  • No commission charges
  • Extensive investment portfolio
  • Excellent mobile app


  • Beginners may struggle
  • Some may find the website difficult to navigate
  • No Forex options

E*Trade: What you need to know

E*Trade has been in business since 1982 and has used that time to cement its offering, investment portfolio and reputation to become one of the best best stock trading platforms. The company is regularly voted as one of the top ten in reviews and in education materials and is considered to be a sleek and efficient stock trading portal for the more advanced user. It’s not ideally suited to the beginner, however, even with the research and education tools, because the platform can be complex to navigate and understand. That said, if you can leap the initial learning curve hurdle, it’s worth it for those who want to invest in their financial future.

E*Trade: Tools and services

  • Varied account choices
  • Plenty of tools and services

E*Trade’s investment tools are among the best on the market and very easy to use. The Power E*Trade platform includes research and trading tools plus its available as a slick mobile application. You are only charged for active trades that exceed more than 30 per quarter and you get to customize your investment options using the app’s multiple features and tools. The E*Trade Web platform is the simplest platform encountered in our tests. From here you can invest, track markets, and learn new techniques from a central space. It’s the original platform offered by E*Trade so isn’t quite as sparkly as Power E*Trade.

There are two mobile platforms available from E*Trade – the basic E*Trade mobile app and the Power E*Trade app. Both are available on the App store and Google Play, and both come with some impressive functionality. They’re easy to use and work neatly in tandem with your chosen platform.

The one thing that does bring E*Trade down, however, is a lack of visibility and access to information about markets and brokers. The information may be on the site, but we couldn’t find it and soon gave up as we circled the same page for the fourth time. It’s not great, especially considering the vast swathes of information and transparency of competitors such as TD Ameritrade.

E*Trade: Trading options and Forex

  • Long and varied list of investment products
  • Trades require a broker for $25
  • Securities trading only in the US and Canada
E*Trade: key specifications

Account minimum amount: None
Commission fee: None
Account fees: Transfer fees may apply
Investment products: Stocks, Options, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Futures, Bonds and CDs and IRAs, managed portfolios, retirement portfolios, small business, bank and brokerage

You can go simple or you can go complex, the choice is yours and E*Trade is ready to help turn your financial vision into a reality. The investment choices overview gives you a quick and instant snapshot of what each investment type does and what it means, (helpful for those starting out) and you can quickly open an account and get started. In fact, E*Trade is one of the most accessible when it comes to getting started, with account buttons on every page along with special offers and accessible contact and support buttons.

The E*Trade premise is that they don’t want you to feel shoved into an investment box. When you create your account, you can choose from any one of their different types, ranging from brokerage to core to premium savings and more. Each one is targeted at a different investment type and goal. It does feel a bit confusing at first – are the accounts customized? Can you create your own? Is this a set investment plan? But the application process fine tunes this for you and you’ll find it easy and painless to get started.

It should be noted that there are no Forex options available through E*Trade, though.

E*Trade: Research, education and customer support

  • Impressive education platform
  • Poor customer reviews

E*Trade doesn’t do well when it comes to customer reviews on Consumer Affairs. It received a one-star rating from 30 reviews over the past year and the general overview of the comments was that the website was too complicated and the systems convoluted. This is the general view of most users and reviewers so it should probably be on their list of things to fix, sharpish.

That said, the education offering is excellent. So excellent, in fact, that your best bet is to make a cup of coffee and set aside a long, long time to read through it all. If you’re starting out, this is where you begin with your research. If you’re au fait with investment, this is where you go to refresh your memory or expand your skills. You can learn about everything from the basics to advanced trading to retirement and tax planning.

E*Trade: Verdict

E*Trade has exceptional mobile apps and platforms, helpful customer support teams that are actually responsive, an impressive (and free) education resource, and some superb investment products. While its portfolio is not as extensive as some of its competitors it is a solid and reliable stock broker platform that has a long-standing presence in the market. You won’t enjoy the website, it lacks transparency and simple navigation, but you can get past most of its problems using the excellent search feature. E*Trade is a good place to go if you’ve got experience in investing or if you’re a confident beginner with some understanding of the market.

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