Sharebuilder vs. E-Trade: This One’s a Close Call for Many Traders

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    When you’re looking for a reputable online broker to start (or progress) your investment portfolio, E-Trade and Sharebuilder (now known as Capital One Investing) are two of the names that most commonly come up. Here, they take a look at their features and fees to see how they compare.

    Features, Fees, & Ratings Comparison Table

    FeaturesSharebuilderE-Trade
    💰 Account Minimum$0$0
    💸 Commission Fees$6.95 per trade$0 commission for online trades of stocks, ETFs, and options. $0.65 per contract for options trades.
    💼 Investment OptionsStocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, and optionsStocks, ETFs, options, futures, bonds, mutual funds, and more.
    🤖 Robo-AdvisorYes – Sharebuilder Advisors Etrade offers a robo-advisor service called Core Portfolios that provides automated investing based on your goals and risk tolerance.
    📊 Research and AnalysisYes – research reports, news, and analysisEtrade offers various research and analysis tools such as market insights, ratings, screeners, charts, alerts, reports, and more.
    📱 Mobile AppYesEtrade has a mobile app that allows you to access your account, trade investments, check market data, use analysis tools, deposit checks, transfer funds, and more.
    🏦 Retirement AccountsTraditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, and SIMPLE IRA Etrade offers various retirement accounts such as traditional IRA, Roth IRA, rollover IRA, SEP-IRA, SIMPLE IRA, individual 401(k), and more.
    🎓 IRA Accounts Yes Etrade offers both traditional IRA and Roth IRA accounts that allow you to save for retirement with tax advantages.
    📈 Trading Platform Sharebuilder website and mobile app Yes, Etrade has a trading platform that allows you to buy and sell investments online with ease and convenience. You can also use advanced tools such as real-time quotes, watchlists, alerts, conditional orders, Power E*TRADE, and more.
    📞 Customer ServicePhone and email support Etrade has a customer service team that is available to assist you with your account and investment needs.
    📚 Educational Resources Yes – articles, webinars, and courses Etrade offers various educational resources such as articles, videos, podcasts, webinars, courses, events, and more to help you learn about investing and improve your financial literacy.
    🌕 Fractional Shares YesEtrade does not offer fractional shares trading at this time.
    🌱 Socially ResponsibleNoEtrade offers socially responsible investing options such as ESG (environmental, social, and governance) funds and ETFs that seek to align your investments with your values and beliefs.
    🌎 International Investing No Etrade offers international investing options such as global and international funds and ETFs that allow you to diversify your portfolio across different countries and regions. You can also trade directly on foreign exchanges through Etrade Global Trading or access international markets through American depositary receipts (ADRs) or Canadian stocks.
    💳 Cash Management Yes – checking and savings accounts Etrade offers cash management services such as a brokerage account with a linked bank account that acts as a holding place for money waiting to be invested or withdrawn from your account. You can also enjoy features such as unlimited ATM fee rebates, online bill pay, mobile deposit, debit card, and more.
    🔍 Margin Trading YesEtrade offers margin trading services that allow you to borrow money from your brokerage account to buy securities on credit. You need a minimum of $2,000 in marginable securities to open a margin account and you will be charged interest on any borrowed amount.
    ⚙️ Options Trading Yes Etrade offers options trading services that allow you to buy or sell contracts that give you the right to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specific price within a specific time period.
    ₿ Cryptocurrency Trading No Etrade does not offer cryptocurrency trading at this time.
    🛡️ Account Security FDIC and SIPC insured Etrade offers account security features such as encryption technology, firewalls, secure login process, and biometric authentication. You can also enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to add an extra layer of protection to your account.
    💹 Leverage Yes – for margin accounts Etrade offers up to 4x day-trade buying power and 2x overnight buying power with a margin account. You need a minimum of $2,000 in marginable securities to open a margin account and you will be charged interest on any borrowed amount.
    ⚖ Regulation FINRA and SEC regulated for US accountsEtrade is registered with and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It is also a member of the SIPC, which protects (up to $500,000, which includes a $250,000 limit for cash) against the loss of cash and securities held by a customer at a financially-troubled SIPC-member brokerage firm.

    Sharebuilder vs. E-Trade

    Sharebuilder and E-Trade are two well-known online brokerage firms that offer a wide range of investment products and services to individuals and advisors. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, both Sharebuilder and E-Trade offer user-friendly platforms, commission-free trading on a large selection of ETFs, and a variety of investment options. In this comparison, they will take a closer look at the pros and cons of each broker and it might support the research and due diligence process.

    Sharebuilder

    ShareBuilder Logo

    Sharebuilder is an online brokerage firm that offers a wide range of investment products and services to individuals and advisors. It was founded in 1996 and is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

    Pros
    • Automated investing
    • Commission-free trading
    • User-friendly platform
    • Mobile app
    • Wide range of investment options
    • Robust research and educational resources
    • Strong financial stability
    Cons
    • Limited customer support
    • Higher fees for certain products

    Sharebuilder is a well-established online broker that offers a wide range of investment products and services to individuals and advisors. It has a user-friendly platform, commission-free trading on a large selection of ETFs, and a mobile app for trading on the go. Sharebuilder also has a variety of investment options, robust research and educational resources, and strong financial stability. However, it may not be the best choice for investors who require extensive customer support or who are looking for the lowest fees for all investment products.


    E-Trade

    E-Trade Logo

    E-Trade is an online broker that offers a wide range of investment products and services to individuals and advisors. It is headquartered in New York City and was founded in 1982.

    Pros
    • User-friendly platform
    • Commission-free trading
    • Mobile app
    • 24/7 customer support
    • Wide range of investment options
    • Strong financial stability
    • International trading options
    Cons
    • Higher fees for certain products
    • Limited research and educational resources

    E-Trade is a well-established online broker that offers a wide range of investment products and services to individuals and advisors. It has a user-friendly platform, commission-free trading on a large selection of ETFs, and a mobile app for trading on the go. E-Trade also has 24/7 customer support, a wide range of investment options, and strong financial stability. However, it may not be the best choice for investors who are looking for the lowest fees for all investment products or who require extensive research and educational resources.


    Features & Primary Uses

    E-Trade and Sharebuilder both work by allowing customers to invest in low-cost, affordable investments with the help of their online trading platforms and customer service, as well as research and education tools.

    E-Trade provides a couple of different options for traders to manipulate their trading portfolios: their web-based interface, which is bare-bones but effective, and their advanced trading platform E-Trade PRO.

    E-Trade PRO is a fantastic solution for most traders regardless of experience, with an arsenal of advanced features including custom charting, strategy scanners, and options screeners, among others. All things considered, it’s probably one of the best platforms out there for online traders.

    There’s one big problem with E-Trade PRO, however, which is its basic requirements for access. In order to qualify to even access E-Trade PRO, you have to have a balance of $250,000 or more and/or make 30 trades every quarter. This is a pretty steep bar to clear, especially for beginning traders, meaning that they won’t want to invest overmuch in a platform they cannot access.

    That said, E-Trade’s standard web interface and mobile app are appropriately robust for most basic traders, meaning that even new traders can still track their accounts, make trades, stream live market data and form watch lists for their favorite stocks.

    Capital One / Sharebuilder, however, has no advanced trader platform, leaving traders to only use the website to make their trades and track their portfolio. Still, the trading tools they have are attractive, though not incredibly robust. You can still get performance analysis, basic charting, portfolio tracking and more, but it won’t match the features of a big-time trading platform.

    Research is the name of the game with most reputable, high-quality traders, and Capital One / Sharebuilder and E-Trade alike offer their customers something to inform their trades. E-Trade’s third-party research providers include Thomson Reuters, Market Edge, Morningstar and S&P Capital IQ, some of the biggest names in the game. Capital One Investing has a lot of those same third-party providers to offer their customers, making them about even in terms of research.

    Education tools are another vital element to consider when choosing a trading platform. E-trade provides also educational materials for new traders. Sharebuilder, meanwhile, provides a Knowledge Center to give clients access to classes, webinars and more to help them learn more about the way they are meant to invest.

    When it comes down to features, E-Trade wins out just barely over Sharebuilder, mostly due to the presence of an advanced trading platform for their traders. Sharebuilder’s barrier to entry for all of their features is lower, but that doesn’t matter when they don’t even have a platform to offer. Their education tools are slightly better thanks to their Knowledge Center, but their research is pretty even, making E-Trade’s advantages mean that much more.

    Investment Options

    Sharebuilder and E-Trade alike offer a good number of stocks, options, ETF and mutual funds, among other asset classes you can include in your investment portfolio. E-Trade has over 82 ETFs with no commission fee, a feature Sharebuilder lacks. However, Sharebuilder has more than 7,000 stocks and ETFs, an impressive number to consider for most traders.

    When it comes to mutual funds, Sharebuilder provides a paltry less than 1,300 mutual funds, though all of them are no-load. E-Trade, meanwhile, has a much larger pool of funds at over 8,000, with 1,300 having no load and no transaction fee.

    One of the major appeals and features of Sharebuilder lies in their automatic investment plans. Their main goal is to create automated solutions for casual investors, cultivating a profile that is low-cost and low-effort. All you have to do is set up a portfolio of stocks, ETFs and mutual funds, and let the automated investors work. As a result, you get rock-bottom fees (think $3.95 per trade) to commit to such regular, strategy-free trades.

    With the novelty of their automatic investment plans, Sharebuilder wins this particular category, especially as it appeals to the newer investor. Those looking for more preferable mutual fund options might want to go with E-Trade.

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    Fees

    The normal stock and ETF commissions for Capital One Investing / Sharebuilder and E-Trade are quite different. Sharebuilder’s normal stock/ETF commissions are $6.95 (plus $0.75 per contract for options trading), while E-Trade’s default commission is $9.99 (also $0.75 for options). Keep in mind, however, that Sharebuilder’s automatic investment plans bring some stock/ETF commissions down all the way to $3.95 per trade.

    Granted, E-Trade has a tiered fee structure in which, the more you trade, the lower your rates get. However, their highest tier only gets customers to $6.99, which is still not lower than Sharebuilder’s default rate. To that end, if you want the lowest commissions possible on stocks and ETFs, it would pay for you to go with Sharebuilder.

    Mutual fund prices for Sharebuilder / Capital One Investing are fairly reasonable, charging $49.95 on mutual fund exchanges and redemptions, as well as a low $19.95 fee for buying/selling mutual funds. E-Trade charges $19.95 for trading mutual funds, which is virtually identical for Sharebuilder.

    Account inactivity and maintenance fees are largely nonexistent for both companies, as E-Trade and Sharebuilder have no monthly fees for maintaining their accounts. However, Sharebuilder requires no opening balance while E-Trade requires a $500 initial deposit, so be sure you have the money before starting an account with them.

    In this category, Sharebuilder wins hands down. Their fees at the start are way lower than E-Trade’s, who only come close once customers meet high trading requirements. What’s more, the automatic trading plans bring them down to an industry low, making them even more enticing to those looking to save as much as possible on their commissions.

    Asset Allocation

    It’s important to have a diversified portfolio to get the most out of your investments, and Sharebuilder / Capital One and E-Trade both have solutions for customers. Sharebuilder gives customers the opportunity to use their PortfolioBuilder, which costs $18.95 for the privilege. With it, traders are allowed to use Sharebuilder’s asset allocation tools to build a customer ETF portfolio that’s properly diversified.

    On the other hand, E-Trade offers asset allocation tools like My Virtual Advisor, some functionalities try to provide users with asset allocation options based on investment goals and risk tolerance, as well as the level of assistance you want your portfolio to have.

    While both companies have admirable tools to help traders secure low-risk portfolios, Sharebuilder’s work is just that much more impressive, though they have to pay out to use PortfolioBuilder.

    Which Should You Pick? Who Is Each Good For?

    Sharebuilder provides a particularly advantageous set of features for traders who want to just set it and forget it — the platform also offers automated portfolio management services. Investors can dedicate themselves to a number of shares and let it do its thing on its own. Asset allocation tools like PortfolioBuilder also help traders of all stripes secure a good portfolio they can just let run automatically, enjoying rock-bottom trade commissions along the way.

    E-Trade, meanwhile, is better for long-term, infrequent investors, due to their competitive commission rates and so on. Ironically enough, their tiered fee structure also makes them ideal for active traders, as does their advanced platform E-Trade PRO. When deciding which platform to choose investors generally try to leverage all the available tools.

    In the end, however, Sharebuilder’s sheer savings and novelty with their personalized, automatic investing plans win out in the end; with the same research and education tools as E-Trade, but the opportunity to save up to $7 on trades compared to the other guy, it’s hard to turn down Sharebuilder.

    That said, both companies still have quite a bit to offer, and their differences are more minimal than you might think. Research both of these companies, determine what your goals and needs are as a trader, and pick the company that’s right for you.

    Conclusion

    When comparing Sharebuilder and E-Trade, it’s important to consider your individual investment needs and preferences. Both brokers offer a variety of investment options, commission-free trading on a selection of ETFs, and strong financial stability. However, Sharebuilder has more robust research and educational resources, while E-Trade offers 24/7 customer support and international trading options. Ultimately, each individual needs to identify the tools and features required for their own investment strategy and circumstances.

    FAQs

    What are the main differences between Sharebuilder and E-Trade in terms of features and investment options?

    Sharebuilder offers a simple web-based interface with no advanced trading platform, while E-Trade has both a web-based interface and an advanced platform called E-Trade PRO. Sharebuilder focuses on automatic investment plans, making it ideal for passive investors. Both platforms provide a range of investment options, but E-Trade offers more commission-free ETFs and a larger selection of mutual funds.

    How do the fees and commissions compare between Sharebuilder and E-Trade for stock/ETF trades and mutual fund trades?

    Sharebuilder’s normal stock/ETF commissions are $6.95 (plus $0.75 per contract for options trading). E-Trade’s default commission is $9.99 (also $0.75 for options). Sharebuilder’s automatic investment plans can lower stock/ETF commissions to $3.95 per trade. E-Trade has a tiered fee structure with lower rates for more frequent trading, but its lowest rate is still $6.99.

    What are the research and educational resources available for users of Sharebuilder and E-Trade?

    Both platforms offer third-party research from providers like Thomson Reuters, Market Edge, Morningstar, and S&P Capital IQ. E-Trade provides a virtual learning center with videos and webinars, while Sharebuilder has a Knowledge Center that offers classes, webinars, and other educational resources.

    What are the unique features of Sharebuilder’s automatic investment plans, and how do they appeal to new investors?

    Both platforms offer third-party research from providers like Thomson Reuters, Market Edge, Morningstar, and S&P Capital IQ. E-Trade provides a virtual learning center with videos and webinars, while Sharebuilder has a Knowledge Center that offers classes, webinars, and other educational resources.


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    StartupStockPhotos, Unsplash

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