ETrade Review: Best Stock Broker For Online Investors

Thanks to some amusing commercials with an investment-savvy talking baby, a lot of us are aware that ETrade can help us grow our wealth. But beyond the advertising is a pretty well established online stock broker that is highly ranked for their customer service and investment tools.

First thing to note is that ETrade is highly awarded by the financial media, having received top awards from Smart Money (as the #1 Online Broker over the last few years). Barron’s and Money Magazine have also praised ETrade in the same way.

A Place To Trade Stocks, Options, and Futures

For those interested in stocks, a Complete Investment Account can get you started. With it, you can invest in stocks, bonds, options, mutual funds, and more. There are more than 1,000 no-load no-transaction fee funds to choose from. Check out some of the features and services you’ll find at ETrade:

Low Commissions: At ETrade, you can benefit from an asset allocation tool, financial advisors, and various cash management features. Commissions range from $7.99 to $12.99 a trade depending on your balance or trading frequency. To qualify for $9.99 stock and options commissions, you need to have $50,000 or more in combined assets or average more than 30 trades per quarter. With a bigger balance and more trades, you’ll be eligible for $7.99 a trade.

If you’d like to apply for an ETrade account, you can check here for more details. To qualify for 100 free trades, you’ll need to open a Power ETrade account with at least $1,000.

Options: An options-enabled account will give you access to in-depth options analytics, a dedicated options team, options charting, and more tools.

Futures: Investors interested in futures can choose from more than 200 futures products, use the TT-Trader platform, benefit from electronic trading on the major exchanges, and find tools specific to their needs. The futures contract commission is $2.99 per contract, per side, plus applicable fees.

Mutual Funds & ETFs For Your Investment Portfolio

Just like Scottrade, which is another well known discount broker, ETrade has a comprehensive inventory of mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). You can diversify your portfolio by investing in these vehicles. Here, you can choose from more than 7,000 mutual funds and all available ETFs.

If you want to whittle down your choices, you can study the All-Star Funds List. There are more than 60 funds on the list, among them the Dodge & Cox Income (DODIX) and Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax Exempt Fund (VWITX). Or you can make your own picks with the help of a mutual fund and ETF screener.

ETrade also offers excellent services such as an automatic investment plan and an online advisor. They also have an investment resource center with articles, market commentary, webcasts and seminars, analyzers, and more.

How much are mutual fund transactions? Transaction fees for funds are $19.99 per transaction, and broker-assisted trades add $45 to the standard online commissions.

To open an ETrade IRA account, here’s where to go.

Bonds & Fixed Income Investments at E*Trade

A lot of investors like bonds and fixed income securities because of their relative safety — and these investments are likely to offer tax benefits as well. Thanks to the Bond Center, you can select from more than 30,000 fixed income securities. There’s also a tool called the Bond Fund Selector that asks you a few questions, then recommends bonds based on your answers.

Pricing for the bonds isn’t too complicated either. For online secondary market trades, ETrade charges $1 per bond, for an order with a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $250. Other rates apply if your order falls outside of this range. Additional fees and commissions may apply, so check on those before you commit to any purchases.

If you have specific goals in mind for the bonds you want, there are screeners, tools and research material to help you make your picks. You can also call upon professional advice in the form of portfolio reviews from a financial advisor or pay for the services of a full portfolio manager.

Going International at E*Trade

Global trading is another option with ETrade. You can trade foreign stocks, invest in international equities and also explore investments in five foreign currencies. Features of the global trading platform include global watch lists, advanced global stock charting, research from independent analysts, and access to free real-time international quotes.

Now commissions for global trading vary by country, so investors might want to learn more about levies and fees before investing.

Additional Benefits of Investing at E*Trade

If you have more than one ETrade account such as ETrade’s high yield savings account in addition to your broker products, you’ll be able to manage all of them from one integrated page. And if you want to manage your account away from the computer, then you should take advantage of either Mobile Pro for the iPhone or BlackBerry.

With ETrade, there are plenty of additional financial tools to help you build and assess your wealth: charting tools, quotes, investing tools like a risk analyzer, an income estimator, and more.

ETrade is one of the best online brokers around and if you’d like to give them a try, you can do so by visiting this link.

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