Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

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UPDATED: Sep 18, 2020

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Trading Platform
Research Tools
Investment Choices

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E*Trade is a full-service online brokerage house that carries themselves as such; as a result, they also charge like one. With their standard $9.99 ($7.99 for active traders with over 150 trades per quarter) stock & options trade commission per transaction ranks them amongst the highest in the online discount brokerage industry.

E*Trade does, however, offset these high stock & option trade fees with very competitive and low-cost mutual fund commissions and broker-assisted trades. Mutual fund transaction fees are $19.99, significantly less than the $49.99 collected by TD Ameritrade and Fidelity, and even more discounted when compared to Charles Schwab’s $76.00 commission on certain mutual funds.

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Table of Contents

Trading Platform

Like most online brokerage companies, E*Trade offers a web-based trading platform, a desktop program and mobile apps for smartphones and tablets.

E*Trade’s web-based platform (E*Trade 360) is an easy to use, no frills trading tool designed for the casual trader. This platform offers some functionality & a customizable experience allowing traders to create and monitor their watch lists. Traders enjoy minimal lag time and free streaming quotes (sometime offered only with “professional” platforms within other firms).

E*Trade’s version of the “professional level” platform is their E*Trade Pro. To use this advanced desktop platform, account holders must make a minimum of 30 stock or option trades quarterly and/or have an account balance exceeding $250,000. If you as an E&Trade account holder does not to meet these requirements, E*Trade Pro can still be accessed for $99 a month.

The benefits of E*Trade Pro over their free, web-based platform E*Trade 360

  • Fully customizable with snap-grid functionality
  • Live streaming of CNBC
  • Strategy scanner working in real time
  • Access to market studies
  • Access to in-depth analytics and data graphing
  • Level II quotes- real time sales
  • Trading prior to market opening
  • Back testing
  • Enhanced option tools (strategy optimizer- strategy scanner)

E*Trade offers mobile tools and applications for iphone, ipad, Android phones and Android tablets, Kindle Fire and Windows phones.

E*Trade mobile apps features

  • Barcode scanner provides company information on publicly trades companies
  • Voice recognition for quotes, options chains, data and market news
  • Check deposits made vie E*Trade bank with the application
  • Account management
  • Free charts, quotes & news on ALL devices
  • Stock, ETF & option trades anywhere

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Retirement Plans

E*Trade offers a range of retirement plans both for individuals and small business. Whether you are currently employed, looking to rollover an old 401K, self-employed or operate a small business with multiple employees, E*Trade has retirement options for you.

Here are the Retirement Plans offered by E*Trade:

  • Traditional IRA (Individual Retirement Account)- Tax deferred
    • 60 days free trades with an initial deposit of $10,000 and up
  • Roth IRA- Future tax-free withdrawals
    • 60 days free trades with an initial deposit of $10,000 and up
  • Rollover IRA- Roll old 401(k), 457 or 403(b)- allow it to grow tax-deferred
  • Complete IRA- over the age of 59½
  • Beneficiary IRA
  • IRA’s for minors

Below are the Small Business Retirement Plans offered by E*Trade:

  • Individual & Roth 401(k) – Retirement account
  • SEP IRA plan – Tax deferred retirement account
  • Simple IRA plan – Tax deferred retirement for small business
  • Profit-sharing plan – Variable contributions of company’s profits to its employees
  • Investment only (non-custodial) plan

Banking Features

E*Trade bank offers all features one needs and expects from any bank and allows convenient access to all brokerage accounts. This includes easy money transfer between banking and investments. These services, however, come at a cost in the way of account minimums and fees.

Max-Rate Checking Account

  • $100 minimum initial deposit
  • $5,000 average monthly balance to avoid monthly service fees
  • $15 bank check request
  • Online bill pay at no cost
  • Unlimited ATM fee refunds
  • Visa debit card

My opinion is to bank somewhere else.

Customer Service

E*Trade’s customer service is about par for the course, but remember E*Trade is teeing up with the top dogs in the online brokerage game.

When calling E*Trade’s 800 number you will be prompted and pushed towards an automated service, however a couple properly pushed buttons will put you into contact with a living customer service representative (CSR). In addition to contacting E*Trade via telephone, they pride themselves on their excellent email response time. An experienced financial advisor is also available 24/7 via E*Trade’s live chat for all account holders.

800-ETRADE-1 – E*Trade securities & banking
800-838-0908 – Employee stock plans

In addition to online and phone support, E*Trade provides its account holders access to a number of branch locations providing personalized assistance for those who prefer face-to-face interaction.

Branch locations offer:

  • Personalized guidance from professional financial consultants
  • Product demonstration for mobile apps & web/ desktop based platforms
  • Live investment seminars

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Bottom Line

E*Trade is most likely known for its entertaining marketing campaign with their talking, stock trading baby. However, it is important to recognize there is depth within this brokerage firm, not just fancy commercials.

E*Trade’s market research and tool offerings are amongst the best in the business. This information is made readily available and is easily viewed by its end users through intuitive & functional web & desktop-based trading platforms.

E*Trade, when compared to other key industry players, drops the ball with their banking service. There is a simple solution; invest here if you like, just bank somewhere else.

At the end of the day, E*Trade is backed with a solid trading infrastructure capable of offering novice and professional traders a trading experience sure to excite. They continue to lead the market with access to data, market research and analytics, news, reports, speculations and strategies. For the serious investor looking for information available at the click of a button, E*Trade may be a good choice. Just remember the trading fees are a bit higher than other online brokerage firms that have similar tools.

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