E*TRADE offers several platforms that appeal to a range of investing styles and interests. Their flagship web platform at ETrade.com has been remodeled to be easier to navigate, while the acquisition of OptionsHouse several years ago has given them some top-notch options tools.
E*TRADE currently ranks in the following categories:
Their services are geared to active traders and the mass affluent, which is defined as investors with more than $100,000 in tradable assets.
The Power E*TRADE platform, has great tools for options traders
The mobile apps include a ladder for futures traders, which is fairly unique
Integrated third-party research offerings are high quality
You may have to use more than one platform to find all the tools you’d like to use
Margin interest rates are above average
You’ve got several choices after logging on to the E*TRADE website. You can stay on the website itself, or launch Power E*TRADE, or download and run E*TRADE Pro. The main website is aimed at investors who are just getting started, while Power E*TRADE is the place to go for options traders and charting. E*TRADE Pro is designed for very frequent traders. On all three platforms, you’ll find a ubiquitous trade ticket with streaming real-time data. You can place orders from a chart and track it visually.
E*TRADE works with multiple market centers for end-to-end control over orders to provide the highest speed and quality of execution. The way a broker routes your order determines whether you are likely to receive the best possible price at the time your trade is placed. This price improvement (a sale above the bid price, or a buy below the offer) is important to E*TRADE, which regularly reviews the market centers to find the right blend of execution price and speed. Their advanced order routing technology seeks the best execution available in the market. Unfortunately, their price-improvement statistics put them just below the industry average.
There are some customization options available to clients, such as preferred account and market information. Other news and information resources can be set up in a layout determined by the user. The website is being modernized and updated to make the overall experience easier.
Mobile and Emerging Tech
Each E*TRADE platform has its own mobile app. Power E*TRADE includes futures trading, including a ladder and additional research and charting. Watchlists are integrated across platforms, and the full range of tradable assets is accessible on the mobile apps. The workflow is smoother on the mobile apps than on the Etrade.com website.
Range of Offerings
E*TRADE offers nearly 4,500 no-fee mutual funds. In addition, there are 12 ETFs you can trade around the clock Monday through Friday. Options trading capabilities on Power E*TRADE and E*TRADE Pro are flexible. Fixed income traders can build bond ladders, or look for debt issued by a particular firm. There are no international offerings, nor can you trade forex.
News and Research
Recognia technical events are built into charts, and offers education on technical analysis while you use them. The best tools for options traders are on the Power E*TRADE platform, where you can analyze options trading ideas using TradeLab. TradeLab starts with relatively simple analytical techniques and gets more complex as you scroll down the page. StrategySEEK, also on Power E*TRADE, is a visual tool that helps clients find trading opportunities, starting with market outlook and how much you want to invest. Each resulting strategy is spelled out in terms of risk profile, uses of the strategy, and overall risk. The LiveAction widget in Power E*TRADE lets clients scan the markets on specific technical patterns using live, real-time data.
Portfolio Analysis and Reports
On Power E*TRADE, you can look at your overall portfolio risk as well as your asset allocation. You can manage on an individual account basis, or if you have multiple accounts, analyze them as a group. The risk slide feature looks at risk across various ranges in price and volatility to show you where you are most vulnerable to market changes. You can’t consolidate assets held at other financial institutions to get a picture of your overall assets, though.
Customer Service and Help
E*TRADE has been improving its online and telephone help capabilities. Customers with larger accounts qualify for priority service, additional research, and professional asset management. E*TRADE's Complete Protection Guarantee covers any fraudulent use of a customer's account, and offers additional security software on demand.
E*TRADE’s education center is accessible to everyone, whether or not they are customers. It offers investor education in a variety of formats and covers topics spanning investing, retirement, and trading.
E*TRADE eliminated its base trading commissions on equities, ETFs, and options in the U.S., effective October 7th, 2019. Options trading is $0.65 per contract, though customers who trade more than 30 times per quarter, or who have more than $250,000 in their accounts are eligible for $0.50/contract commissions. Margin interest rates are near the top of the brokers we surveyed.
What You Need to Know
The integration of the OptionsHouse technology provides E*TRADE with a major upgrade to its options analysis and trading capabilities in the Power E*TRADE platform. The website continues to be streamlined and modernized, and we expect more of that going forward. E*TRADE is best for options analysis and trading, and for mobile app users who want analytical power. Less active clients who prefer a more passive approach to investing might be happier elsewhere, or using E*TRADE's Core Portfolios robo-advisory service.
With an impressive mobile app, vast educational resources, and the customer service to back it all up, E*TRADE is an excellent option for those just getting into the world of trading and investing. See how they compare against other online brokers we reviewed.
E*TRADE Broker Review 2019
Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of online brokers. Our reviews are the result of six months of evaluating all aspects of an online broker’s platform, including the user experience, the quality of trade executions, the products available on their platforms, costs and fees, security, the mobile experience and customer service. We established a rating scale based on our criteria, collecting over 3,000 data points that we weighed into our star scoring system.
In addition, every broker we surveyed was required to fill out a 320-point survey about all aspects of their platform that we used in our testing. Many of the online brokers we evaluated provided us with in-person demonstrations of their platforms at our offices.
Our team of industry experts, led by Theresa W. Carey, conducted our reviews and developed this best-in-industry methodology for ranking online investing platforms for users at all levels. Click here to read our full methodology.