E*Trade® Review 2020

James Royal is a reporter covering investing and wealth management. Before joining Bankrate, he worked as a writer for NerdWallet and a stock analyst for The Motley Fool. He holds a doctorate in literature from the University of Florida.

About our Review Process

Bankrate reviews brokers and robo-advisers based on how well they’re able to help consumers achieve their financial goals. Here's how Bankrate makes money.

E*Trade Logo

Best For

  • Active trading
  • Robust trading platforms
  • No-transaction-fee mutual funds

E*Trade brings a high-powered offering to the brokerage marketplace — competing well across most factors — and should especially appeal to active traders. The broker provides a discount to high-volume options traders, and brings the heat with a strong complement of research, high-quality trading platforms and a solid range of tradable securities. Even less-active investors may find something to love in the broker’s wide array of funds without transaction fees or commissions.

E*Trade at a glance

Star Rating

4
  • Affordability: 4 of 5
  • Usability: 4 of 5
  • Tools & Research: 4 of 5
  • Mobile: 4 of 5
  • Scalability: 4 of 5
  • Minimum Balance:
    $500
  • Cost per stock trade:
    $0
  • Cost per options trade:
    $0.65 per contract or $0.50 per contract with 30+ trades per quarter
  • Promotion:
    Up to $2,500 cash
  • Commission-free mutual funds or ETFs:
    All
  • No-transaction-fee mutual funds:
    4,600+ NTF mutual funds
  • Securities tradable:
    Stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, options, futures
  • Customer service:
    Email, phone, online chat are all 24/7, 30+ branches
  • Account fees:
    $25 fee for partial transfers/$75 for full transfers, though E*Trade will waive the fee if more than $5,000 remains in the account after the transfer
  • Mobile app:
    E*Trade offers the “E*Trade Mobile and Power E*Trade” apps on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store

Features you’ll love

Power E*Trade: Power E*Trade is the broker’s flagship trading platform, which it brought over from rival broker OptionsHouse, acquired a few years ago. The well-regarded web-based platform provides more than 100 technical studies and more than 30 drawing tools to help investors analyze the trading action. It also provides a tool that overlays technical patterns on the chart to help you understand what’s going on.

Other tools include a snapshot analysis, which provides a visual representation of the risk and reward of an options trade. Similarly, a spectral analysis tool offers visual representations of potential options scenarios. The platform also offers streaming of Bloomberg TV right onto your desktop.

Power E*Trade mobile app: Available for both iOS and Android, the Power E*Trade mobile app offers interactive charts and technical studies, though it’s not as fully featured as the flagship web-based program. But you will be able to enter orders – including complex options trades – on a single ticket. You’ll also get streaming news, quotes and a customizable options chain.

Where E*Trade rocks

Tradable securities and fee-free funds: E*Trade offers the standard range of investment options, including stocks, bonds, ETFs, options and mutual funds. That’s the core for most brokers, but E*Trade also offers one of the lesser-traded asset classes – futures. That offering puts it among a handful of brokers who allow customers to trade one of the fastest-paced and high-risk securities in the market.   

The broker sits near the top for fund investors, too. E*Trade offers more than 4,600 no-load, no-transaction-fee mutual funds, among the most (if not the very most) in the industry. E*Trade offers all its ETFs commission-free, adding a solid complement to the wealth of mutual funds. Of course, while these funds are free to trade, investors still must pay the fund company’s expense ratio, which is deducted seamlessly from the fund itself.

Discounted commissions: Like most of the industry, E*Trade’s basic commission for stock and ETF trades has been slashed to $0. But unlike many rivals, the broker does offer a discounted commission for options trades. The standard price is $0.65 per contract, but if you make more than 30 stock, ETF or options trades each quarter, the options commission declines to $0.50 per contract. So there’s definitely some incentive for high-volume traders to operate here.

Trading platforms: The real standout here is E*Trade’s flagship platform, Power E*Trade, but the broker’s base platform, called E*Trade Web, offers a solid package, too. It’s for investors who don’t require all the advanced trading analysis but are still looking for a platform that helps source ideas.

The web platform provides streaming quotes, charts and market commentary. Its screeners will help you select the stocks, bonds or funds that meet your needs. You can analyze options trades and backtest trading strategies.

And for mobile traders, the broker offers E*Trade Mobile, the base trading app. It’s available for both Apple and Android devices, including the Apple Watch. The app allows you to trade stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds and multi-legged options, and you’ll be able to access Bloomberg TV, research and news as well.

Research: E*Trade gets high marks here, too. The broker provides its own daily commentary on the markets and offers third-party research. Independent research includes stock reports from Thomson Reuters and Moody’s, technical analysis from Market Edge and fund analysis from Morningstar, among others. It’s a broad array of research that’s offered to clients at no additional charge.

 

Quick comparison of Brokerage options:
Brokerage Overall Rating Avg. Cost Per Trade Usability Rating
E*Trade logo
$0 4 of 5
Robinhood® Review 2020 logo Read Our Review
$0 4 of 5
Fidelity® Review 2020 logo Read Our Review
$0 4 of 5
TradeStation® Review 2020 logo Read Our Review
$0 3 of 5

Where E*Trade could improve

Trading commissions: The discounted commission structure for options is a good addition for high-volume traders, but infrequent traders may feel less satisfied. E*Trade’s basic commission for options is right in line with the middle of the pack, albeit pricing has fallen as the industry has slashed prices. That pack includes Merrill Edge, TD Ameritrade and Fidelity.

Account minimum: E*Trade’s account minimum of $500 is not a deal breaker, but with so many rivals moving their minimum to $0, the broker could really be more competitive here. However, E*Trade does offer no minimum for IRA accounts, so it makes a slightly better choice there. Still, virtually every other major broker has taken its minimum to zero for non-IRA accounts as well, and it’s probably a good time for E*Trade to consider doing so, too.

Bottom line

E*Trade offers many things that active traders should be looking for and some features that will likely appeal to even infrequent traders:

  • A discounted commission structure and robust trading platform should attract frequent options traders.
  • E*Trade’s selection of no-transaction-fee mutual funds is among the best in the industry.
  • Standard commissions for stock and ETF trades, at $0, are in line with the best in the industry.

Investors looking for even more trading discounts should check out Ally Invest, which offers a lower standard commission for options trades. Those looking for a strong selection of no-transaction-fee mutual funds should also look at Fidelity Investments, TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab, each of which offers at least 3,000 such funds.

If you’re in the market for an online broker, check out our 2020 brokerage reviews.

How we make money

Bankrate is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. Bankrate is compensated in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. This compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear. Bankrate does not include all companies or all available products.