Last Updated: October 27, 2022
SEC and FINRA
$0 (for stocks)
Brokerage, Retirement, Managed portfolios, Small business retirement
Researching E*TRADE reviews is the best way to determine this electronic trading platform’s viability in 2021.
In brief, E*TRADE offers various tradable financial assets like stocks (common and preferred), futures, options, mutual funds, and even fixed-income investments. While this brokerage doesn’t offer direct cryptocurrency trading, a bitcoin investment option is available through a futures contract.
But we know that assessing a trading platform goes beyond listing the supported investment products and features. So in this E*TRADE review, we will also look into:
- Platform and mobile app functionality
- Account types and requirements
- Customer service quality
- Competitive positioning
Read on to decide whether E*TRADE is your future investment venue of choice!
What is E*TRADE?
The E*TRADE platform is part of the E-Trade Financial Corporation — a subsidiary of investment services giant Morgan Stanley. This backing alone provides it with a significant credibility boost in the trading world.
Yet, E*TRADE is fairly solid on its own and has a stellar reputation. It’s one of the best trading platforms for beginners, but experienced users can also tap into it when looking for stocks to invest in.
How to Use E*TRADE?
The next task of this E*TRADE review is to cover some of the platform basics for new users and those who are still on the fence. You can also use this as a platform-specific stocks for beginners 101.
What are the account requirements?
Opening an account with E*TRADE is simple and straightforward. You can do it via phone or email. But the most convenient option is filling in the online application form. The platform will ask you to provide some personal information, such as your Social Security Number (SSN), residency and employment data.
But this is all quite standard. What you probably want to know is the E*TRADE minimum balance. For non-margin brokerage accounts, it’s $0. Margin accounts, on the other hand, require as much as $2,000 of minimum deposit.
For Core Portfolios, the E*TRADE robo advisor, you must have at least $500. Since robo-advisors are a breakthrough concept in today’s financial world, this feature might be a selling point.
How to start trading?
Those interested in E*TRADE stocks would be glad to learn just how easy it is to start trading on the platform. Once your account is verified, you need to fund it. You can choose from four options, depending on your payment and speed preferences:
- Transfer money — takes up to three business days
- Wire transfer — same business day
- Transfer an account — 10+ business days
- Deposit a check — up to five business days
After having a funded account, you can proceed to the order-entry platform. There you click on the stocks tab and enter the order type and the number of shares you’d like to buy. Stock symbols make the E*TRADE app interface visual, which lowers the margin of error even further. In other words, this is one of the simplest ways for you to purchase stock.
What can you trade?
Currently supported E*TRADE asset types are:
Those interested in E*TRADE options also have a chance to commit to this particular asset type. Trading in cryptocurrencies is also possible, albeit not directly.
E*TRADE also offers Over-the-Counter (OTC) stocks. These are securities that are not listed on major exchanges in the US. Their ineligibility to be listed stems from the fact that many of the companies are small and do not meet the threshold to be listed on a formal exchange.
They are therefore traded via a dealer-broker network.
How to Buy OTC stocks on E*TRADE
In case you have been wondering how to go about this, the process is somewhat similar to buying regular stocks.
If you already have an E*TRADE account, the first step will be to deposit funds. Once you are ready to buy a stock, select your favorite option and use the E*TRADE order entry platform to place an order.
To be on the safe side, review and double-check your order before completing the trade. You can check the status of your account by logging in and following the activity on the dashboard.
Which tools are available?
E*TRADE features risk analysis, profit and loss, pricing calculators, trading strategy tools, and simulators.
But on the list of available tools, the most prominent place goes to those included in the platform’s premium service. Our E*TRADE Core Portfolio review can’t go without mentioning the robo-assisted option, which aims to make trading simpler for beginner traders.
How does E*TRADE work?
The platform functions in a simple and straightforward manner. First, you pick the type of account you want. Then, you choose one of the four ways to fund the account. Next, you leverage online tools to develop an investing plan.
From that point on, you should be on the lookout for investment ideas, monitor your accounts and assets, as well as watch the markets. You can start with all of this as soon as you have your E*TRADE account.
How to withdraw money from E*TRADE
Most online brokers offer several withdrawal options. However E*TRADE is less flexible and only offers bank transfer.
Notably, when you sell a stock, you can choose to buy another asset on the spot. However, you will be unable to withdraw the money immediately. The platform holds the money for one to three days for regulatory reasons.
To withdraw your money, you will first log into your account and click on the “Transfers” option on the menu and select “Transfer money”
Key in the amount you want to transfer and enter the account. E*TRADE allows you to withdraw your money once or schedule payouts.
From there, you can preview the transfer and if everything checks out you can submit your request.
Is there a client portal?
In terms of a client resource center, E*TRADE has quite a bit to offer. The platform’s users can access free web seminars and participate in the communication center.
In fact, we’ve analyzed numerous E*TRADE reviews and came to the conclusion that the plethora of available online courses on the E*TRADE University is one of the platform’s strongest selling points.
One of E* TRADE’s best aspects is that its fees are either low or non-existent. Individual users and day traders can avoid keeping minimal account deposit, which is also a massive plus.
Still, an E*TRADE review needs to cover as many different costs as possible. So here are some:
- The E*TRADE fees for stocks are $0 per trade.
- Futures per contract fee is $1.50
- Mutual fund trade fee is $19.99
- Broker assisted trades are $25
- Minimum account deposit is $0
- Margin accounts require a minimum account deposit of $2,000
- Core portfolio costs $500
- Access to Pro Account requires a $250,000 account balance
- There is no inactivity fee
- Full Transfer-out fee is $75
E*TRADE Mobile App
The next item on the list is the E*TRADE mobile app review.
This company has not one, but two mobile platforms available — E*TRADE Mobile and Power E*TRADE Mobile. Either stock trading app is available on iOS and Android devices.
E*TRADE Mobile is the more beginner-friendly of the two. It’s an app that provides users with access to portfolio management, market research tools, trading options, watch lists, and quotes. The ability to streamline and customize lists is also a huge advantage compared to some rival stock market apps.
Power E*TRADE Mobile is meant for advanced users. The multi-legged options training and the ability to set predefined strategies deserve mention in our E*TRADE app review. They help your portfolio gain a lot in terms of responsiveness. The Live Action feature also allows its users to leap on potential investment opportunities.
E*TRADE Customer Service
Customer support is the one thing that is praised universally in all reviews of E*TRADE. This is a huge factor for potential customers, still on the lookout for the best stock trading platform.
In terms of customer support options, E*TRADE has several available assets. First, it has a great FAQ page that provides information on various topics and resolves the majority of issues on its own.
E*TRADE has several different phone numbers that you can contact, depending on whether you want to talk to E*TRADE Securities, E*TRADE Bank, stock plans, or designated brokerage team.
E*TRADE customer support also offers an online chat for stock investing situations that require this kind of quick assistance.
Lastly, the E*TRADE customer service offers email support and traditional mail support. The latter even has regular mail and overnight mail options. This ensures all potential E*TRADE complaints and queries go through.
The best way to put the real value of E*TRADE software into perspective is to compare it to some of the field’s closest competitors. Each of these four deserves its place on the list of the best day trading platforms available.
Let’s see why!
E*TRADE vs. Robinhood
Both E*TRADE and Robinhood have a reputation for being affordable day trading platforms. Neither of the two requires an account minimum, and both are commission-free. The biggest difference lies in the fact that E*TRADE charges a fee for options ($0.50-$0.60/contract), while Robinhood offers free option trading.
Still, recent platform outages and negative publicity have dampened trust in Robinhood. In this regard, E*TRADE accounts seem to be more reliable.
E*TRADE vs. TD Ameritrade
When comparing these platforms the first thing to keep in mind is that both require a $0 account minimum to register and start trading. In terms of fees, there are some differences, though. When looking for cheap stock trading options, both platforms will work since they have $0 stock trading fees. Options trading prices are also comparable, seeing as how TD Ameritrade has a fee of $0.65 per option contract. In this regard, you have a chance to get a better price with E*TRADE.
While E*TRADE has a sleek interface, most users agree that TD Ameritrade’s desktop version is superior. This is something that every E*TRADE review for beginners needs to mention.
E*TRADE vs. Fidelity
In terms of pricing, Fidelity is similar to E*TRADE. The account minimum is not necessary, and the cost of options trade per contract is $0.65. Since the cost of stock trading is $0 for E*TRADE and Fidelity, both are at the top of the list of cheap stock trading platforms.
While E*TRADE commission is comparable to Fidelity for almost every available asset, there are some differences between the two. Fidelity supports Forex and fractional shares. Both of these are unavailable on E*TRADE.
The very point of stock trading software reviews is to help you compare the good and the bad. E*TRADE reviews are not an exclusion.
In a nutshell, unless you seek a direct crypto investment venue, you should consider E*TRADE. Users praise its low or non-existent fees and beginner-friendly tools. There are also two great mobile platforms and outstanding customer support, making E*TRADE one of the most convenient day trading platforms in general.
- Free stock trading
- Two mobile apps
- Intuitive and sleek interface
- No direct crypto trading
- High minimum balance for automated investment
- No fractional trading
Is E*TRADE good?
Yes. E*TRADE is an affordable trading platform with two great mobile apps and low (or non-existent) commission fees. Add to this the fact that E*TRADE is beginner-friendly while also having advanced trading options available. What you get is truly extraordinary trading software.
How to short a stock on E*TRADE?
Shorting stocks on the E*TRADE online platform requires you to have a margin account. The minimum margin account deposit is $2,000.
How to close an E*TRADE account?
To close an E*TRADE account, you need to input a request through an internal message, online chat or mail. The process is fairly simple and costs $0. You will only incur costs when you transfer funds from your account. E*TRADE charges $25 for a partial transfer and $75 for a full transfer.
Is E*TRADE safe?
All E*TRADE checking accounts are FDIC insured, which ensures your funds’ safety while trading. In addition, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) regulate the platform.
Does E*TRADE have paper trading?
Yes. E*TRADE paper trading capability is one of the brokerage’s advantages. Available on both the desktop and mobile platforms, this type of trading requires its own registration.
Is E*TRADE good for beginners?
Yes. When listing advantages, most customers state in their E*TRADE reviews that this platform is incredibly beginner-friendly. Still, just because it’s great for novice investors, this doesn’t mean that the platform doesn’t have a lot of features that would be useful for advanced traders.
Can you buy fractional shares on E*TRADE?
No. E*TRADE doesn’t support direct purchase of fractional shares. However, the platform offers two alternative ways investors can access fractional shares.
First is through the dividend reinvest program on E*TRADE (DRIP) which allows investors to purchase fractional shares. The other is through the Core Portfolios robo-advisor platform.