• Easy to understand and use
• Free educational and research resources
• 24-hour customer service
• Comprehensive mobile app
• Best commissions are only for active traders
• Pro features only available to certain clients
The best deals here at E*Trade Financial are for active traders and if you trade only infrequently you may find the commission structure steep. However, E*Trade gives you a website that is extremely easy to use, with a good set of research articles and an excellent mobile app. Most investors will find something to like in the E*Trade Financial set-up.
E*Trade Financial has certainly got the heads on other brokerage firms with over 20 years in the business. The E*Trade name is fairly common currency and the 4.3 million customer accounts worldwide attest to success. But is E*Trade the best broker for you? We looked at the pros and cons of E*Trade Financial to see where it works.
The E*Trade 360 platform is this broker’s user-friendly trading tool that is filled with features. The platform is set out on one page which has links to tools for tracking the market, managing your investments, trading and accessing streaming quotes (which are available to all clients.) Create watch lists so you can keep an eye on the performance of your stocks and use the fully integrated trading ticket to place orders. You can also get a quick snapshot of all your balances along with your current and past performance.
If you are what E*Trade calls an “elite trader” (meaning you make a lot of trades every month) you are eligible for the Pro Elite program with access to the E*Trade Pro Platform and a set of extra tools and features. You need to trade more than 30 times a quarter to be eligible. Tools included in this package include options analytical tools, a sector and industry tracker, and a powerful screener and scanner. The E*Trade Pro platform is the all-singing, all-dancing dashboard and the other tools, while valuable, are simply not as impressive as the ones here.
Commissions & fees
A standard stock, option or ETF trade is $9.99 - a little on the expensive side, with $0.75 per contract. However, if you make more than 150 trades a quarter you can benefit from a lower rate of $7.99 – good news for active traders, who will find a good deal here. Futures contracts are $2.99 and the margin rate is 7.44%. You’ll pay a maintenance fee if you have an account with less than $10,000 in it, and $10,000 is the minimum amount you can open your account with meaning E*Trade is not necessarily suited to the casual investor.
E*Trade Mobile is an advanced app that Works on your Blackberry, iPad, iPhone, Android, or Windows device. We liked this app and found it to be one of the most easy to use and useful of those offered by similar trading sites. You can do pretty much everything on your mobile that you can do online. Extra features in the mobile app include barcode scanning to get all the details on a publicly traded company, voice recognition, mobile check deposit (not available to all clients), and a time versus performance check on all major indexes. We noticed that E*Trade Financial is regularly updating its app so the technology reflects what is available currently on the market.
Ease of Use
We like the E*Trade site and found it to be easy to use and intuitive. The navigation around the various components is simple and clean, the real-time quotes are easy to access, and the processes for ordering and placing trades are also simple to use. Even the more advanced features in the E*Trade Pro dashboard are straightforward and easy to understand.
The education centre at E*Trade contains a good variety of quality topics, although the range of educational materials is not as great as with other brokers. That said, there are a number of articles in the trading section including "How to protect your portfolio" and "How to use margin responsibly." Third-party reports and analysis is provided by Standard & Poor's, SmartConsensus, , MarketEdge and Thomson Reuters with mutual fund resources provided by Morningstar. The topics are presented in different forms including demos, tutorials, three-minute educational videos, on-demand webcasts, and articles. In addition, E*Trade runs live courses and events from classroom-based courses to bigger live events.
For access to the customer support team, E*Trade offers live chat, and phone numbers that can be used 24-hours-a-day. You can also contact customer support by email and get help from 20 local branches.
With its decades of experience in the market, E*Trade Financial certainly knows a thing or two about trading, and you can take advantage of that knowledge. E*Trade is a dependable and professional broker that offers both experienced and beginner investors good value and reliable features. Especially if you are an active trader, E*Trade offers a good deal.
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