E-Trade vs. Fidelity: It’s a Close Call

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    Fidelity Investments and E-Trade come up a lot in conversations about which online broker to go with when trying to find the best savings for your investing. Which one passes muster for which kind of trader? Which one has the lowest rates and fees?

    Read our review to find out.

    Features, Fees & Ratings Comparison Table

    FeaturesE-TradeFidelity
    💰 Account Minimum$0$0
    💸 Commission Fees$0 for online stock, ETF, and options trades. Additional fees may apply.$0 for online stock, ETF, and options trades. Additional fees may apply.
    💼 Investment OptionsStocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, and CDs.Stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, options, and CDs.
    🤖 Robo-AdvisorYes (E-Trade Core Portfolios)Yes (Fidelity Go)
    📊 Research and AnalysisExtensive, including independent research reports, screeners, and tools such as E-Trade’s LiveAction scanner.Extensive, including independent research reports, screeners, and tools such as Fidelity’s Stock Screener.
    📱 Mobile AppHighly rated for both iOS and Android, with advanced trading tools and features such as Face ID login and Touch ID.Highly rated for both iOS and Android, with advanced trading tools and features such as fingerprint login and Touch ID.
    🏦 Retirement AccountsTraditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs, as well as 401(k) and pension rollovers.Traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs, as well as 401(k) and pension rollovers.
    🎓 IRA AccountsYesYes
    📈 Trading PlatformYes (Power E*TRADE)Yes (Active Trader Pro)
    📞 Customer Service24/7 phone and chat support, email and fax support, in-person support at branch locations.24/7 phone and chat support, email and secure message support, in-person support at Investor Centers.
    📚 Educational ResourcesExtensive, including webinars, articles, and in-person events.Extensive, including webinars, articles, and in-person events.
    🌕 Fractional SharesNoYes (minimum investment $1)
    🌱 Socially ResponsibleNoYes, through Fidelity’s Sustainable Investing
    🌎 International InvestingNoNo
    💳 Cash ManagementNoYes, through Fidelity Cash Management Account
    🔍 Margin TradingYesYes
    ⚙️ Options TradingYesYes
    ₿ Cryptocurrency TradingNoNo
    🛡️ Account SecurityTwo-factor authentication, fraud protection, and account monitoring.Two-factor authentication, fraud protection, and account monitoring.
    💹 LeverageNoNo
    ⚖ RegulationE-Trade is regulated by the SEC, FINRA, and SIPC in the US, and the FCA in the UK.Fidelity is regulated by the SEC, FINRA, and SIPC in the US, and the FCA in the UK. Fidelity also has regulatory oversight in other countries where it operates, such as Australia and Canada.

    E-Trade vs. Fidelity: A Comprehensive Broker Comparison

    Welcome to our comprehensive comparison of E-Trade and Fidelity, two leading brokerage platforms in the world of investing. In this comparison, we will provide you with a detailed overview of each broker, their pros and cons, and a conclusion to help you decide which platform is the best fit for your investment needs.

    E-Trade

    E-Trade Logo

    E-Trade is a well-established online brokerage platform that offers a wide range of investment products, including stocks, ETFs, options, futures, and mutual funds. Founded in 1982, E-Trade has a long history of providing user-friendly trading tools and educational resources to help investors navigate the world of investing.

    Pros
    • Diverse investment options
    • User-friendly platform
    • Comprehensive research and educational resources
    • No commissions on stock and ETF trades
    Cons
    • Higher fees for some services
    • No fractional shares

    E-Trade has over 5 million customer accounts and offers investors a user-friendly platform with a wide range of investment options and comprehensive research tools. However, investors seeking low fees for options trading or those interested in fractional share trading may find better options elsewhere. E-Trade’s extensive educational resources and commission-free trading on stocks and ETFs make it a suitable choice for both beginner and experienced traders looking for a well-rounded platform.


    Fidelity

    Fidelity Logo

    Fidelity is a well-established brokerage firm that offers a range of investment products and services, including stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, and more. Founded in 1946, Fidelity has a long-standing reputation for providing innovative investment solutions and exceptional customer service.

    Pros
    • Diverse investment options
    • Advanced trading tools
    • Exceptional customer service
    • Educational resources
    Cons
    • Higher fees for some services
    • No fractional shares

    Fidelity is an excellent choice for investors seeking a diverse range of investment options and advanced trading tools, backed by exceptional customer service. However, investors seeking low fees for options trading or those interested in fractional share trading may find better options elsewhere. Fidelity’s educational resources and commission-free trading on stocks, ETFs, and options make it a suitable choice for both beginner and experienced traders looking for a well-rounded platform.


    Features & Primary Uses

    On the whole, E-Trade and Fidelity serve identical purposes — to provide low-cost online trading and investment solutions for investors of all stripes, particularly active investors who are just getting started and want a low barrier to entry.

    Fidelity Investments and E-Trade both have incentives for active investors; for example, Fidelity works a lot with active wealth management, handling this through a number of financial advisory services, asset management programs and online tools.

    Fidelity’s major feature is that it gives traders the ability to trade internationally, letting traders trade in 16 different currencies across 25 international markets. E-Trade can’t quite match that level of diversity, but makes up for it in other ways, including their online platform.

    E-Trade’s advanced online platform, E-Trade PRO, is customizable. Featuring an assortment of great features such as options screeners, customized charting and strategy scanners, advanced traders are able to get a nice leg up on the competition.

    The big problem, however, is that the requirements to qualify for E-Trade PRO are pretty steep. You need to either make at least 30 trades every quarter (not every year, every quarter), and/or accumulate a balance of $250,000 or more. This can make beginning traders feel a little left out, as they don’t want to invest that much in something they’re still getting a handle on.

    However, traders of all types do get to enjoy E-Trade’s standard web-based interface and their mobile app, each of which have plenty of advanced options like tracking your accounts and watch lists, stream live market data, and making trades.

    Fidelity, meanwhile, has much smaller restrictions to use its advanced trading platform, Active Trader Pro; no minimum balance is needed, but you just have to make 36 or more trades in the space of a year. What’s more, they provide virtual trading (allowing you to make simulated trades in order to test strategies), something which E-Trade lacks.

    When it comes to their mobile apps, Fidelity beats out E-Trade with some more advanced features. On it, you can pay bills, access your normal Fidelity account, transfer from Fidelity to non-Fidelity accounts, place trades, contact customer service, and so on. Since it’s a bit more robust than E-Trade’s app, those who do most of their trading on the go might find it convenient.

    Trading also requires a great deal of research, and both firms provide quality options for traders to make informed decisions about their trades. E-Trade provides Market Edge, Thomson Reuters, S&P Capital IQ and Morningstar research, among other third-party providers; Fidelity offers much of the same research tools, plus a virtual learning center to help beginner traders educate themselves with videos, webinars and articles on many pertinent online trading topics.

    Features-wise, Fidelity wins out just slightly ahead of E-Trade. While E-Trade PRO is a perfectly admirable trading platform, the buy-in is just a bit too rich for many people’s blood unless they’re dedicated investors. That said, big-time traders might benefit from their advanced features, as well as their superior research tools.

    Investment Options

    Both E-Trade and Fidelity Investments place a sharp focus on providing varied asset classes for their traders to work with. They both provides stocks, options, ETFs, bonds and mutual funds, and E-Trade also provides futures and forex trading (Fidelity does not).

    When it comes to commission-free ETFs, E-Trade provides 118 no-commission ETFs, which beats out Fidelity’s 85. Fidelity also offers cost-effective index funds that are designed to be low-risk and have historically provided stable returns, with some of the lowest rates on the market.

    Mutual funds are an important part of most trader’s investment portfolios, and Fidelity offers over 6,200 no-load funds, which is more than the over 4,400 provided by E-Trade. Overall, Fidelity beats E-Trade for mutual funds with more than 13,000 (as compared to E-Trade’s almost 7,500 mutual funds).

    When it comes to investment options, Fidelity and E-Trade differ the most in this category. If you want to go with stocks, options or ETFs, E-Trade E-Trade meets these criteria. The same goes for futures and forex trading, as Fidelity offers none. However, Fidelity beats E-Trade hands down when it comes to mutual funds. Choosing a platform comes down to which assets you want to focus on in your portfolio, really.

    Fees

    When it comes to paying commissions and fees, both E-Trade and Fidelity Investments can boast some fairly good deals. Fidelity, for instance, has a consistent $7.95 charge per commission for stocks and options (for options trading, an extra $0.75 fee is tacked on per contract).

    At first glance, E-Trade’s fees are higher at $9.99 per trade (they also have a $0.75 fee for options trading), but they offset that with a tiered fee system that is designed to reward you commensurate with the amount you invest. In fact, if you trade often enough, active traders can enjoy fees as low as $6.99, which is a steal when considering E-Trade’s existing features and infrastructure.

    When it comes to account minimums, E-Trade wins out here as well — you only need a $500 minimum to maintain your account, while Fidelity asks for $2,500 to keep your account going. In this respect, those looking for the most cost-effective solution from trade to trade would be wise to choose E-Trade over Fidelity.

    Asset Allocation

    Asset allocation is always an important element to getting the most returns from your investments — diversifying your portfolio in the right way can mean the difference between profit and loss.

    E-Trade’s asset allocation tools include detailed, personalized modules like My Virtual Advisor — which recommends asset allocations based on what kind of assistance you want in your portfolio diversification (based on your risk level, investment goals, etc.).

    Fidelity’s robust, curated asset allocation funds, however, are created by Fidelity experts who perform quantitative, fundamental and macroeconomic analyses on the best assets currently available. While this might seem a bit more automated than E-Trade’s options, they also result in reputable, high-quality portfolios with premium asset allocation.

    In this respect, Fidelity wins out for those traders who want to trade like the pros. That said, those who prefer greater customization and control might want to try E-Trade’s tools instead.

    Which Should You Pick? Who Is Each Good For?

    There’s a lot to like in both E-Trade and Fidelity Investments for most investors — their commissions are low, they provide great features, and above-average customer service. Still, there are a few things to keep in mind that might weigh your decision one way or the other.

    On the whole, active traders would do well to choose E-Trade. Their three-tiered commission system and fee structure heavily favors more active traders, as they can easily reach that $6.99 fee level and save just that much more than Fidelity.

    In addition to that, E-Trade still boasts high-quality asset allocation tools and a great trading platform (if you have a high enough balance), so if you’re all in on investing, this is another option for you.

    Fidelity Investments is best for traders who want to stay similarly active and access an advanced platform in a cost-efficient way. Furthermore, they’re better for traders who are focused more on mutual funds, due to their overall greater selection and wider range of no-load funds.

    Fidelity’s comparatively low barrier to entry is a plus for those investors who have never traded before — there’s a greater sense of automation that takes some of the more complex decisions out of traders’ hands, such as with their asset allocation. Combined with the lower requirements for their premium trading platform, and Fidelity might just better suit the needs of the budget investor.

    Whether you go with E-Trade or Fidelity Investments, they’ve got the basics you need to get your investing career off to a good start. Their differences and advantages are a matter of degrees, so just be sure you know what kind of trader you want to be before making your choice.

    Conclusion

    When deciding between E-Trade and Fidelity, consider your investment goals, preferences, and experience level. E-Trade is a great option for investors seeking a user-friendly platform with a wide range of investment options and comprehensive research tools, while Fidelity is a strong choice for those who require advanced trading tools and exceptional customer service. Both brokers offer commission-free trading on stocks and ETFs, but E-Trade may be a better choice for options traders seeking low fees, while Fidelity may be more suitable for those interested in a wide range of mutual fund options.

    In conclusion, both E-Trade and Fidelity have their unique strengths and appeal to different types of investors. Consider your specific needs and investment goals when choosing the platform that is the best fit for you.


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