E-Trade

ABOUT: If you’ve watched any TV at all in the last few years, it’s highly likely that you’ve come across a commercial for E-TRADE. Unlike some of its major competitors, E-TRADE is a highly advertised and fairly well known online brokerage, even outside financial circles. E-Trade is one of the oldest online brokers, founded in 1982 and offering its services on the very first internet providers including America Online and Compuserve. The company has been focused on growth ever since, most recently through the $725 million acquisition of trader-oriented broker OptionsHouse at the end of 2016 in a bid to take its platform to the next level.

E-Trade’s $6.95 trade commissions aren’t the lowest among discount brokerage firms, but the broker offers value to both beginner investors and frequent traders with a library of educational resources, easy-to-navigate trading platforms, and tools to help assemble a risk-appropriate, balanced portfolio.

Still, with a very in-reach discount model available to traders and a large menu of commission-free ETFs, there are a few ways to keep your costs down. And even if you can’t get under standard pricing, the broker’s hands-on tools may be worth it to many investors.

PLATFORM: E-Trade has three trading platforms, E-trade Web, OptionsHouse and E-Trade Pro, plus two mobile apps. E-Trade Web offers free streaming market data, free real-time quotes, live market commentary, analyst research stock screeners and more. From the dashboard, you can track your accounts, create watch lists, view streaming market data and make trades, even complex option strategies.

E-Trade bought the robust trading platform OptionsHouse in 2016, and it’s now fully integrated and available for free to all E-Trade customers. If you’re eager to trade, rather than buy and hold, then OptionsHouse is for you. The platform offers real-time data, dozens of charting tools, more than 100 technical studies, streamlined trade tickets, customizable options chains and more.

All traders have access to the basic research center, which features real-time quotes, interactive charts, and even tax advice. More active traders (30+ trades per quarter) are automatically upgraded to the E-TRADE Pro platform. This gives you additional tools like customizable watch lists, which centralizes all your investments and trading information into one place. E-TRADE Pro also comes with extended trading hours that begin at 7am EST. E-TRADE’s website is easy to navigate and has a great built-in investor education center. There’s also the option to reach out to a broker or even open a managed portfolio with a financial advisor if you want to take a more hands-off investment approach. All this makes E-TRADE an easy-to-use online trading platform for even the most novice of investors.

FREE DEMO ACCOUNT: Unfortunately, Etrade does not offer a free demo account.

WITHDRAWAL: If you want to move cash from an E-Trade securities account to an external financial institution, the broker offers several easy methods to do so. The first, although not the quickest, is the broker’s Transfer Money Service. This is simply the government’s ACH transfer system. The process takes up to 3 business days. There is a convenient online form on the E-Trade website that makes the cash transfer simple. There is no fee at E*Trade to withdraw money using ACH.

Money can also be moved between E-Trade accounts using this method. If you’re moving funds to an external financial institution, you’ll first need to establish a link between it and your E*Trade account. Doing so is fairly straightforward on E-Trade’s website.

The other choice is to move funds via a wire transfer. This method can be used to move funds to a financial institution outside the U.S. The wire can be submitted either electronically or in paper format. There is a $25 fee for each outgoing wire. If the wire is sent in a foreign currency, E-Trade charges a forex fee of up to 2.25%.

E-Trade takes 5 days to release funds for withdrawal after a sale. It takes approximately 3 days for funds to show up in your bank account after initiating a withdrawal.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT: E-Trade does not offer customer support through live chat. Luckily, there is still a way to get a real human being to help you with your E-Trade customer service problem, and that’s by calling them on the phone.

E-Trade does not address customer service issues through Twitter as far as we know.

E-Trade does not have a customer service email address.They have help forum where you can get targeted tips, help from customers with the same problem, reminders and more.

They said about E-Trade

* I have absolutely no idea why people here are complaining about E-Trade. I have used the company for several years, and have never had a problem. Customer service is excellent. Trades are accomplished quickly. Data regarding companies and stocks is comprehensive. I couldn’t be happier with E-Trade.

* I was also surprised by the Account Verification process, but it went very smoothly for me. I am not sure if this is due to the bank I use or changes at E-Trade.

* This is an economical way to trade stocks. I have had excellent support when I have called staff for assistance. I have used this company for years and have no plans to change brokers.