Intro: E*TRADE vs Ameritrade


When you think of investing and trading, two names come to mind: E*TRADE vs Ameritrade. 

But when it comes to these two powerhouses, which is better? Which brokerage offers the best in services and promotions for 2016? This overview will take a look at Ameritrade and E*TRADE fees as well as the current E*TRADE and TD Ameritrade promotions.



What is E*TRADE? (E*TRADE vs Ameritrade)

For over 30 years, E*TRADE has provided digital trading and investing options to individual investors. The financial services company was founded in 1982 and conducted its first online trade one year later. Now the company has two national and 30 retail branches across the United States, but most E*TRADE customers prefer to do business online. The company is headquartered in New York City.

Image source: Bigstock

If you would like to visit an E*TRADE branch, you can find them in:

  • Arizona – Scottsdale
  • California – Brentwood, Costa Mesa, Cupertino, La Jolla, Palo Alto, Roseville, San Francisco, and Torrance
  • Colorado – Denver
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Florida – Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa
  • Georgia – Atlanta
  • Illinois – Chicago
  • Massachusetts – Boston
  • Michigan – Farmington Hills
  • Minnesota – Minneapolis
  • New Jersey – Morristown
  • New York – Garden City, NYC Park Avenue, NYC 6th Avenue, and Scarsdale
  • North Carolina – Charlotte
  • Oregon – Portland
  • Pennsylvania – King of Prussia
  • Texas – Dallas and Houston
  • Washington – Seattle

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What Does E*TRADE Offer? (E*TRADE vs Ameritrade)

When comparing E*TRADE vs Ameritrade or other firms, consider the types of services offered. With E*TRADE, you can choose from stocks, options, mutual funds, IRAs, and ETFs for your portfolio, whether investing, trading, or planning for retirement.

E*TRADE provides financial education to its customers, in-person and online, and even won Kiplinger’s Personal Finance “Best of Online Broker’s Survey” with four stars for advisory services.

E*TRADE’s website features the brand’s tools and services customers use to plan out their portfolio:

  • Free analyst research – insight and analysis from outside sources like Thomson Reuters and Capital IQ.
  • E*TRADE mobile – you can now grab investing opportunities on the go with the press of a button on smartphones, tablets, and the new Apple Watch.
  • Guidance and advice – access to financial consultants and E*TRADE Capital Management to help you manage your money and invest wisely.
  • Web seminars – financial education regarding market volatility, market corrections, tax bills, bonds and interest rates, stocks, and more.
  • E*TRADE Pro – streamlined platform for busy traders that analyzes strategies and assesses risk.
  • Market commentary – up-to-date reports and in-depth projections for the market and economy.
  • My Virtual Advisor – based on your risk assessment and goals, the Advisor suggests possible allocations to reap the greatest possible return on your investment.
  • Retirement planning calculator – simply input your goals, how much you already have in savings and accounts, and when you want to retire to receive a free calculated plan.

2017 E*TRADE Fees (E*TRADE vs TD Ameritrade)

E*TRADE account fees vary depending on the services you need to grow and diversify your portfolio. The following is a breakdown of the pricing and rates for 2016:

  • Stocks, options, and ETFs – $9.99 (after 150 trades in one quarter, the price drops to $7.99 for up to 1499 trades and $6.99 for more than 1500 trades during a quarter)
  • Options contracts – 75 cents
  • Futures contracts – $2.99
  • Bonds – $1.00
  • Margin rate – 7.44 percent on $50,000 or more debit balance
  • Broker assisted trades – additional $25
  • Complex options/options – $9.99 plus 75 cents (options contract fee per contract in all legs and $7.99 plus 75 cents after 150 trades in one quarter)
  • Complex stock/options – $9.99 plus $9.99 plus 75 cents (options contract/contract and $7.99 plus $7.99 plus 75 cents after 150 trades in one quarter)
  • Options exercise/assignments – $19.99

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The E*TRADE fees for bonds are zero for U.S. Treasury Auction and U.S. Treasury Secondary Trades Online. E*TRADE charges one dollar per bond with a minimum of $10 for online secondary trades (maximum $250). Rep assisted trades are charged online secondary pricing plus a $20 commission.

E*TRADE does not charge you a fee for no-load, no-transaction-fee mutual funds. Transaction fee funds are $19.99.

Other E*TRADE account fees include:

  • $25  for early retirement withdrawals taken before the age of 59 and ½
  • $25 for excess contribution removal
  • $25 for recharacterizations (changing a contribution from a Roth IRA to a traditional or vice versa)
  • No account minimums for IRAs
  • No annual charge for IRAs

The company’s website keeps a list of E*TRADE account fees, including checks returned, electronic transfer returned, fed call extensions, and other miscellaneous fees.

Image source: Bigstock



What is TD Ameritrade? (TD Ameritrade vs E*TRADE)

The flip side of the TD Ameritrade vs E*TRADE coin is the online brokerage firm known as Ameritrade. The company was founded in 1975 as First Omaha Securities and took a chance at offering discounted commissions to individuals. A few years later the company became TD Ameritrade.

In 1988, the company introduced touch-tone phone trading as a first in the industry. Now, Ameritrade has moved online as a digital brokerage firm and competes with other heavyweights in the market like E*TRADE. On average, 400,000 trades are done using Ameritrade per day.

TD Ameritrade was recognized by Barron’s as number one for usability and as the number one online broker in five major categories; however, you can also find local Ameritrade branches with financial investment consultants. There are over 100 branches in 34 states across the nation. You can find branches in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

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What Does Ameritrade Offer? (TD Ameritrade vs E*TRADE)

Ameritrade provides customers with trading tools and retirement resources as well as platforms to make managing your money easier. You can diversify your portfolio with equities, bonds, CDs, options, non-proprietary mutual funds, forex trading, commission-free ETFs, and more.

Winning awards for usability, Ameritrade has powerful tools and trading platforms in a variety of levels:

  • Web Platform – access the basics of Ameritrade with planning tools and financial educational resources.
  • Trade Architect – access stock and option screeners to assess the market and watch CNBC live and streaming.
  • Thinkorswim – professional platform for serious individual traders with advanced analysis and strategies.
  • Mobile Trading – make trade selections on the go with TD Ameritrade’s app for smartphones, mobile devices, and the Apple Watch.
  • GainsKeeper – keeps track of gains and losses for taxes in an easy-to-use format.
  • Professional support – experienced and trained representatives can give you financial advice to help you grow your portfolio and allocate to better investments.
  • Courses and webcasts – to keep you informed about the market and the different types of investments as a TD Ameritrade bonus.
  • Third-party research – another way Ameritrade bests E*TRADE is with research and analysis from outside resources.


2017 Ameritrade Fees (TD Ameritrade vs E*TRADE)

Ameritrade fees are shown as simple, no nonsense pricing on the company’s website.  The following is a list of prices for common services offered by Ameritrade before any TD Ameritrade promotions are applied.

  • Trading unlimited shares using the Internet for stocks and ETFs $9.99
  • Trading unlimited shares using an IVR phone system for stocks and ETFs $34.99
  • Trading unlimited shares broker-assisted for stocks and ETFs $44.99
  • No fee for commission-free ETFs and no-transaction fee mutual funds
  • No-load mutual funds $49.99
  • Load mutual funds have no commission fee
  • Equity or index options using the Internet $9.99 plus 75 cents
  • Equity or index options using the IVR phone system $34.99 plus 75 cents
  • Options exercises and assignments $19.99
  • Equity or index options broker-assisted $44.99 plus 75 cents
  • Treasuries at auction bonds $25
  • Bonds and CDs are on a net yield basis
  • Futures and options on futures $2.25 plus exchange and regulatory fees
  • Certificate withdrawal is $500

You can find other fees on the company’s website.

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E*TRADE and TD Ameritrade Promotions (TD Ameritrade vs E*TRADE)

Promotions are the business-getters for E*TRADE vs Ameritrade. For 2016, E*TRADE is running a promotion that pays you. When you open an account with the digital brokerage firm, you will receive $200 plus get 60 days of free trades if your deposits are $25,000 or more. The reward comes in the form of a cash or securities credit based on deposits or transfers made within 45 days of opening your new account. After the initial 45 days, your account will be credited the $600 plus free trades.

Below is an explanation of the amounts of credit you can earn during your initial 45 days:

  • Deposit $10,000 to $24,999 and receive free trades.
  • Deposit $25,000 to $99,999 and receive $200 plus free trades.
  • Deposit $100,000 to $249,999 and receive $300 plus free trades.
  • Deposit $250,000 to $499,999 and receive $600 plus free trades.
  • Deposit $500,000 to $999,999 and receive $1,200 plus free trades.
  • Deposit $1,000,000 or more and receive $2,500 plus free trades.

​​TD Ameritrade’s promotion is similar to the 2016 E*TRADE promotion, except the deposit amounts are slightly different. Instead of a 45 day window, Ameritrade provides you with a 60 day window.

TD Ameritrade promotion for 2017:

  • When you deposit $3,000 or more, you will receive free trades.
  • When you deposit $25,000 to $99,999, you will receive $100 plus free trades.
  • When you deposit $100,000 to $249,999, you will receive $300 plus free trades.
  • When you deposit $250,000 or more, you will receive $600 plus free trades.

Choosing between E*TRADE vs Ameritrade is a personal choice, but keep in mind the E*TRADE fees and TD Ameritrade promotions. Ameritrade gives you access to their trading platforms from the moment you sign up, while E*TRADE requires 30 trades before you receive free access to the platform.

You can make similar investments between E*TRADE vs TD Ameritrade, although E*TRADE focuses a great deal of education and resources on retirement planning. You can receive advice and recommendations from financial consultants and third-party sources at both brokerage firms.

Research and compare both companies to see which is right for you and your financial goals. Use a retirement planning calculator to assess your risk and to figure out which company would be the best for your portfolio.

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