ETrade Online Stock Trading
Fueled by its aggressive marketing campaigns, particularly on television, E-Trade has established itself as one of the top 5 online brokers in the United States, but there's more to E-Trade than appealing advertisements. With millions of customers to its name, E-Trade's status is largely due to its user-friendly site and mobile app which allow for a good experience with this service's industry-leading web interfaces.
E-Trade was among the first brokerages to establish an online presence and has been at the cutting edge of the industry ever since. The company's intuitive, accessible website and mobile app make it an ideal choice for new investors and frequent traders alike. E-Trade offers significant trading tools and an advanced trading platform for frequent traders.
While entering the vast world of financial investment can appear daunting, E-Trade's user friendly interface eases users into some of the intimidating factors. Setting up an account takes about 10 minutes and you can explore the site at your leisure. E-Trade offers an assortment of trading opportunities such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options and futures. E-Trade's customer service is top-notch as well. While there are only local branches in 17 states, E-Trade offers 24/7 support over the telephone as well as live chats and e-mail. In addition, there are a number of tutorials, webinars and classes, such as ETF Best Practices and Stocks 101, for anyone seeking to learn more about investing and trading.
However, you won't be able to start trading until there are funds in your account. Most accounts can be opened with a relatively low deposit as well. A $500 deposit is required for a cash non-IRA account, $0 for an IRA cash account and $2,000 to begin trading using a margin account.
It must be noted that margin accounts require that you deposit a minimum of $500 in cash or securities within 60 days of opening your account. If you fail to do so, it's possible that your account will be closed. Most accounts do not require a minimum deposit, though.
E-Trade's greatest strength may be its assortment of tools and research options. The company offers tools and charts which allow you to track your performance. And there are tools which allow you to screen stocks before deciding if they fit your needs prior to purchasing them. E-Trade also helps investors develop personalized strategies by analyzing your experience, goals, and risk tolerance. These tools are invaluable to a novice or experienced traders.
Additionally, E-Trade provides analytics tools. The portfolio analyzer tool automatically scans for portfolio diversification options by sector, style, stock type and world region. Moreover, the risk analyzer evaluates your risk and rewards and charts your performance compared to market indexes. The risk analyzer runs a variety of hypothetical scenarios and evaluates the worst-case scenarios for each.
E-Trade Pro is the company's primary trading platform and is an ideal choice for experienced, savvy traders who do their own research and make their own trades. E-Trade Pro provides investors with real-time quotes and instant execution of trades. In addition, E-Trade Pro also offers flexibility in setting up charts, graphs, newsfeeds, research inputs, account monitoring, watch lists, and stock and option screens. E-Trade Pro also includes a live link to CNBC as well as archived CNBC videos on demand.
The company's second platform is E-Trade 360. E-Trade 360 is a dashboard for retail investors who want to view summaries of their accounts, portfolios, create watch lists and make trades from the same page. The best part about E-Trade 360 is that it is easy to use and customizable. Everything you need is easy to find but if you want to organize things differently, it's done by just dragging and dropping to a new area. And if you don't like something at all, you can delete it. Like E-Trade Pro, you are also stream CNBC live from every page.
These platforms come with hefty price tags, though. To receive free service, investors must make a minimum of 30 trades per quarter or $99.95 for a monthly subscription fee.
E-Trade's mobile app is another perk. Available on Android phones, iPhones and the iPad, the app enables you to monitor your stocks, trade options, watch lists and track your positions, and those are just some of the basic options.
The app also includes a check depositing feature which allows you to take a picture of a check and have it deposited directly into your investment accounts. The app also includes a barcode scanner. This nifty feature allows you to scan barcodes on products and receive details on the company associated with the product.
The E-Trade app's primary flaw is that it doesn't offer any virtual trading. Even consumers with active accounts are unable to test strategies prior to making real moves using the app. Of course, there are such tools available when using the website, but this would be an added bonus.
E-Trade also offers a Google Chrome plug-in which scans web pages for stock symbols. When it comes across one, the extension displays their current price and other relevant data in real-time. In addition, users can search for symbols themselves and place trades without navigating away from the page.
While E-Trade's service is top quality, its fees and prices are a bit high as was noted earlier. The prices may lead many, especially those who are not frequent traders, to look elsewhere when deciding on a broker. But if you are, or hope to be, a high-volume trader, E-Trade offers the tools you need to make the most informed decisions. Frequent traders will likely see appeal in E-Trade's tiered pricing options as well.
Verdict - Good
The quality of E-Trade's web interfaces are hard to beat and easy to use, and their tools provide an investor with the information he or she needs to trade intelligently. The price of their service is a little less competitive than some of their rivals but if you value a smooth experience, it may be worth it.