E*Trade Review

The Good:

etrade logoE*Trade FAQ Snippet

Q: When can I start trading after I open an account?
A: You can start trading within your brokerage or IRA account after you have funded your account and those funds have cleared.

Q: How do I withdraw money?
A: You can securely transfer money between E*Trade accounts and to and from other financial institutions using our...READ MORE.

• E*Trade has branches all over the USA, so if you find yourself in a situation where you’d rather meet face-to-face with a representative rather than via phone or email, the option is available to you. The fact that they have been around so long is also a good indicator that your money is safe with them—they wouldn’t be in business this long if they were stealing from their clients. Click here to locate a branch near you.

• Another nice feature of E*Trade is their no-fee transfer policy. This means they will not charge you any fees should you decide to transfer your account to a different company. They also do not charge any fees for account inactivity. These might seem like standard features, but trust me: they are not. There are also no annual IRA fees and no account minimums. Click here for a complete rundown of E*Trade's fee structure.

Having been in the game longer than most of its competitors has given E*Trade considerable time to perfect their trading platform, and they have done just that. Their online platform is perhaps the best in the business, featuring a very user-friendly layout and a countless number of analytical tools to help you in your research. Featuring Level II access, you will be able to see just how many shares are on the bid/ask, and for what amount, giving you a serious advantage in your buying and selling of stocks. See screenshots below.

etrade platform etrade platform

The Could-Be-Better:

When it comes to commission fees, E*Trade is not as competitive as other online brokers. They charge $9.95 per trade for the first 149 trades you make in one quarter (three month period), and $7.95 for all trades after 150. In comparison to most banks, these rates are lower, however as mentioned, there are considerably cheaper brokers out there. This is something that can really add up over time, especially if you don't have a lot of money and/or intend on trading cheaper stocks. Click here for a complete rundown of E*Trade's commission structure.

E*Trade does not offer virtual, or practice trading. One of the things most experts recommend is to practice trading before depositing any money into an account, so this can be a big drawback. This is not a big deal if you already have an idea of what you’re doing, but some beginners like to have the option of practicing buying and selling stocks before they make a deposit and do the real thing.

Their customer service, depending on who you ask, can be improved. Again, for the purposes of this review I will only speak for myself, and I have no complaints. I guess it depends on who you deal with and what your expectations are, but for my money I have nothing bad to say about the level of service I received from their agents. Just be wary of the fact that there are a great deal of people out there who have had bad experiences with their level of service.


E*Trade offers one of the better trading platforms in the business, have been in business for a long time have learned a thing or two along the way in terms of analysis tools.  However, there are considerable drawbacks when comparing their high commission rates to its competitors, and if you're going to be an active trader these fees will definitely add up over time. At the end of the day, unless you have a LOT of money to invest and already know your way around a trading platform, you'd probably be better served by going with a low-commission site like OptionsHouse. But of course, to each their own.

Not sure if E*Trade is right for you?
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