Etrade Brokerage Account Review

by Investing School on March 19, 2009

Etrade Review

Some of you know that I’ve been a long time customer and fan of Etrade Financial.  In fact, I also own their stock (ETFC) due to my believe that they offer a superior product versus its competitors.  While the stock for sure hasn’t made me any money, I continue to be impressed by its brokerage services.  This Etrade review highlights why.

Etrade Brokerage Account and its Seamless Integration with its Banking Unit

I’ve written before that I almost use Etrade’s online savings account as though its a cash sweep account.  The reason why I do this is because transferring money between my taxable investment account and my online bank is instant.  This gives me maximum flexibility as well as a fat yield while I’m not using the funds.

Etrade Brokerage’s Fast Execution

I never recommend executing market orders, but E*Trade is so confident with their execution rates that they have a 2 second guarantee on market orders for S&P 500 stocks and ETFs.  What happens if the execution doesn’t happen within 2 seconds?  They let you trade the stock or ETF for free.

The advanced routing also helps with limit orders, because it means that your orders have a higher chance of executing at the prices you specify.

Also note that if you use their Power Etrade Pro Platform, you can route your orders through any specific ECN or exchanges you prefer as an option.

Etrade’s DRIP Treatment vs TD Ameritrade

I also have access to TD Ameritrade’s brokerage account (through my wife) and the way TD Ameritrade handles DRIPs drives me to Etrade even more.  With ETrade, DRIPs are distributed to you the day they are supposed to and reinvested that same day.  With TD Ameritrade, there was at least once where they didn’t give me the dividend until two weeks later and thus reinvested two weeks late.  That’s absolutely wrong in my opinion, and another reason why I rather deal with Etrade.

Etrade’s User Interface and Website Availability

In the many years that I’ve been their customer and logging on pretty much everyday, I have never seen an outage.  Actually, I would think this is a basic requirement for an online brokerage but I’ve heard horror stories of other brokerages (read TD Ameritrade) going offline during market panic and a time when you absolutely need access to your account.

On the user interface front, I’ve gotten so used to using it that I will be bias.  What I can say though is that it easily displays all your accounts (IRAs, bank, taxable etc) all in one convenient screen while not confusing you which account you are on.

The other thing I love about Etrade is actually the fact that they let you do almost everything online.  For example, they have a pretty comprehensive online service center that has many of your questions answered.  They also let you enable and disable DRIPs for any of your stock positions within their online system while many other brokerages require you to call in.

Power Etrade Pro

etrade proIf you are a high frequency trader and want maximum control, then Etrade’s Power Etrade Pro is for you.  Basically, it is a trading platform (which is written in Java so it works in any operating system like Windows, Mac and Linux etc) that gives full screens of trading tools including:

  • Nasdaq TotalView (over 20x more liquidity than Live Level 2 Quotes)
  • Streaming Option Chains
  • Real Time Account Positions
  • Speed Keys for Quick Navigation and Trading

While I’ve played around with it (mainly because I thought it was cool), I can honestly say that the website already does what I need it to do.  For professional traders though, the platform is definitely worth looking into.

Global Trading with Etrade

Etrade is also one of the few brokerages that provide trading in foreign exchanges.  With an Etrade account, you can trade stocks in Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and the UK.  If you don’t want to sleep, they even offer free real time quotes!

Etrade is Right for You

Like I keep telling everyone, I love Etrade and think it’s a solid contender as your brokerage of choice.  Smart Money agrees with me too because they rated Etrade Financial as the #1 discount stock broker in 2008 after its review of the user interface, customer service, trading technology and other categories.

Bonus: They are also offering a bonus right now that gives you 100 free trades!

Click Here to Check Out the Details and Get an Account Today


Other Brokerage Reviews from Investing School:

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica March 19, 2009 at 8:58 pm

I buy ETFs and stocks with my etrade account. I really like their research tools and how I can drill down to each company and do all my work within their system.

I highly recommend them as well.


Jimmy March 22, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Power Etrade offers more sophisticated tools for investors than other cheaper alternatives. For most investors, they should look at different options before deciding where to put their money.

Investing and trading is serious because you can lose or make a lot of money in a hurry. I would advise everyone give each one a spin before you commit all your capital.


Jorge June 10, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Etrade just won the Smart Money 2009 top broker award. I think it’s already 3 years in a row. It’s definitely the best broker out there today. While it’s $9.99 a trade, it’s okay if you don’t trade that often since the tools and integration with its banking services are top notched.

If you are an active trader, you can possibly get $7.99 a trade too and take advantage of Power Etrade, which is those trading platforms for the die hard traders.


Bill Harrigan June 11, 2009 at 4:42 pm

In your level 1 streaming quote window, how many stocks can I monitor at once? I would be looking for Symbol/ Yesterdays close/ Last price/ % change/ Volume. I presently use TD Ameritrade “StrategyDesk”, and they are reducing the number of stocks that can be followed at once


Investing School June 12, 2009 at 9:03 am

I opened Power Etrade Pro today and played around with it. I don’t think there’s a limit because I added 20 stocks to the watch list and there’s no signs of any restrictions. TD Ameritrade have always been a little weird and other than the fact that they do great advertising, I never understood why they had any customers.


etrade September 14, 2009 at 9:26 am

Etrade allows its traders to take control of their investments and get a greater value for their money. Traders can also get unbiased market analysis and insights from a trading network of pros for free. Its web user interface gives traders with ease in navigating through its online platform.


Matt S September 17, 2009 at 3:45 pm

I have put nearly 100 symbols into a watchlist without any problem. Probably the better your computer, the more windows and symbols you can support. Everything is updated in real-time, so it’s doing a lot of computation when it runs.


Doug Park February 1, 2010 at 10:20 am

I’ve found Power E-Trade Pro to be quite glitchy, even moreso with the new version introduced in JAN 2010. I’d list some of the problems, but frankly I wouldn’t know where to start. The platform is very useful — I’ll give them that — and yes, I do still use it. I’ve just had to learn to live with the glitches.


Denny March 27, 2010 at 2:28 pm

Do you have any problems with an intermitent connections in Pro like I am experiencing?


Will May 12, 2010 at 7:05 am

I’m a huge fan of eTrade, I’ve started to play around with the Power eTrade pro because of the 60 days of free trading – I gotta tell you it’s a little bit too advanced for the normal investor.

Heck if you watch the tutorial I think you’ll end up being more confused that when you began.

I agree with you using the site as-is is probably the best bet for 99.99% of investors out there. If you’re doing some light day trading you’re probably OK on the standard eTrade and using yahoo for some real time quotes.


George May 23, 2010 at 5:21 pm

I have both TD Ameritrade and E-Trade accounts. In TD Ameritrade’s StrategyDesk, you can create custom technical trading criteria for buy, sell, alert, etc. This is good ir you want to do say 200 trades a day automatically. It’s just not possible to do that with E-Trade Pro, it’s impossible to manually enter that many limit order trades before the opportunity slips away. Even E-Trade Pro’s technical alerts lack customization. For example, suppose you want to program a buy (or even get an alert) when the low point of the bars in the last 5 minutes is less than 3 standard deviations (Bollinger Band) of the last 20 trades. It’s a one-line command in StrategyDesk and not possible to do at all in E-Trade Pro. StrategyDesk isn’t nearly as flashy as E-Trade Pro, but StrategyDesk’s charting and programmed trading are better.

As for stock and mutual fund screeners, I use both because each have strengths and weaknesses. I often double check what a custom screener turns up with TD Ameritrade against a comparable E-Trade’s screener or vice versa.

If you are the usual small, individual investor, then either is okay. If you are a day trader making a large number of trades a day, then TD Ameritrade’s StrategyDesk is a better choice. For news, tickers, etc., I generally use Yahoo Finance and CNBC Market web pages up while I’m trading.


bubba June 7, 2010 at 1:25 pm

If they could ever get the buying power to update in real-time, I’d agree with most of what is written here.

That said, I have a margin account, that has nothing but unsettled cash in it, and my buying power is less than 10% of the account value. Would be great for ETFC shareholders if they would let myself and others trade as often as we should be able to. Got my Optionshouse application ready to go. Sorry E*Tard.


Ashton October 19, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Etrade seems fancy, but they have too many complaints and bad reviews that by that fact I can’t trust them. You need $500 to open an account. Seems fine except it’s not known upfront. I can’t tell you where you can find this on the website, but you need to transfer $500 before you can trade…


MAS October 23, 2010 at 6:04 am

Gents , whenever am trying to logg in to their website , its never working …
Pls advise.


Stephanie November 28, 2010 at 6:59 pm

I was going to open an etrade account, but after searching reviews of them through google I changed my mind. I found hundreds of disturbing and discouraging reviews that ultimately made me not open an account.


Daniel Sparks January 30, 2011 at 6:24 am

Great post on E*TRADE. I think I am actually going to switch back to E*TRADE from Zecco. This post really helped me with my decision.


jGervasi April 7, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Power Pro platform is a deal for active traders. Each watchlist can store and stream real time info on up to 200 stock symbols simultaneously.
Plus the lvl 2 Market Depth and was of chart customization leave me unable to complain. E-Trade is becoming more liberal as they realize the ever growing popularity of the penny stock market. They now allow shorts on stocks $1 and above. Still far from the best broker for shorting E Trade and It’s Power Pro Platform offer more than adequate tools for average traders to get the job done.
And yes trading real time requires a decent computer at the very least.
WE stream 600 symbols+ and run 24 lvl 2 windows at one time on a McBook Pro 4Gb without much trouble. Top tier internet speed helps.


Jeff May 4, 2011 at 8:10 am

Be very careful with E-trade. I was a customer for 5 years and had 5 accounts (taxable, Roth IRA, traditional IRA, my wife’s IRA and a savings account) with them worth nearly 300K. I found out that when I transferred my Roth that they had mistakenly set it up as a traditional IRA. Since I didn’t notice this immediately they refused to do anything about it and stated it was my fault because I didn’t notice it soon enough and that it was to late because it was already registered with the IRS. Wasted my time filing a complaint with the SEC to no avail. If this is how E-trade treats a 5 year customer with multiple accounts how do you think they will treat you?


Tan May 25, 2011 at 3:00 am

I am residing in Asia and joined Etrade after ameritrade closed down my account without explanation. Have to say I agree with most of the points in the review as I found Power Etrade Pro to be the best platform I have used so far. Ameritrade was ok but lots of down time and they do not reply to asian customers as quickly. etrade customer service has been excellent as well so far and very different from the negative reviews I have read. I would highly recommend Etrade for intermediate investors.


asdf August 3, 2011 at 9:52 pm

If you’re an average “day trader” (most people), E*trade is great. Their platform really does get it done, best value for the money, plus its free with only 30 trades per quarter, which is a joke. I use it myself all the time, never had it crash or any glitches. I think the complaints may come from users with an inadequate PC, or JAVA software that isn’t current. If you’re running an office you probably need lightspeed trader platform, but then again you already know that.


D Jackson December 11, 2011 at 4:40 am

I’ve been with Etrade for over a year now, and been using MarketTrader for about a month now. I have a top of the line computer, but the MT has been having daily issues after running more than 5 hours. It is even showing trades not in real time. If I use it for more than 5 hours I have to clear Java cache and do a total shutdown. Afterwards it’s a toss of a coin if it starts back up error free at all. I have to rely on a second source (CNBC Website) just to make sure the stock price is current in MT.


Bob December 21, 2011 at 7:24 am

Avoid ETrade; very poor service. Can’t resolve issues and trying to get to an individual is nearly impossible. Another MF Global in the making.


Guy April 12, 2012 at 3:33 am

Etrade has been working pretty well for me. I’ve been using an older PC lately because my good one crashed. Their site trading works wonderfully and is very simple to use. As with any site software, I recommend you update your Java, etc. to make sure you are getting the best performance and security.


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