TD Ameritrade vs E-Trade: Does One Outshine the Other?

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    Right now, TD Ameritrade and E-Trade are two of the most prominent options out there for those looking to kick off their trading careers Because of that, we decided to compare the two to see which one comes out on top, and what traders would benefit most from which service.

    Features, Fees, & Ratings Comparison Table

    FeaturesTD AmeritradeE-Trade
    ๐Ÿ’ฐ Account Minimum$0$0
    ๐Ÿ’ธ Commission Fees$0 for online equity, ETF, and option trades$0 for online US-listed stock, ETF, mutual fund, and options trades
    ๐Ÿ’ผ Investment OptionsStocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, futures, forexStocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, futures, bonds
    ๐Ÿค– Robo-AdvisorEssential Portfolios, Selective PortfoliosCore Portfolios
    ๐Ÿ“Š Research and AnalysisComprehensive research tools including thinkorswim, Trade Architect, and Market EdgeComprehensive research tools including ETRADE MarketCaster, ETRADE Pro, and ETRADE Mobile
    ๐Ÿ“ฑ Mobile AppHighly-rated mobile app with customizable alerts, account management, and trading capabilitiesHighly-rated mobile app with customizable alerts, account management, and trading capabilities
    ๐Ÿฆ Retirement AccountsTraditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, 401(k) rollover, pension and profit sharing plansTraditional IRA, Roth IRA, Rollover IRA, SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA
    ๐ŸŽ“ IRA AccountsEducation savings accounts including Coverdell, 529 plans, and custodial accountsEducation savings accounts including Coverdell ESA and custodial accounts
    ๐Ÿ“ˆ Trading PlatformAdvanced trading platforms including thinkorswim and Trade ArchitectAdvanced trading platforms including Power ETRADE and E*TRADE Web
    ๐Ÿ“ž Customer Service24/7 customer support via phone, email, and chat, plus local branches24/7 customer support via phone, email, and chat, plus local branches
    ๐Ÿ“š Educational ResourcesExtensive educational resources including webcasts, videos, and in-person eventsExtensive educational resources including webinars, videos, articles, and courses
    ๐ŸŒ• Fractional SharesAvailable for select stocks and ETFs through the TD Ameritrade mobile appNot available
    ๐ŸŒฑ Socially ResponsibleAccess to a variety of socially responsible investmentsYes, they offer a range of socially responsible investing (SRI) portfolios and funds.
    ๐ŸŒŽ International InvestingGlobal trading capabilities for stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and optionsYes, they allow trading in international stocks and ETFs through their Global Trading platform.
    ๐Ÿ’ณ Cash ManagementTD Ameritrade Cash Management Account with free debit card and ATM fee reimbursementsYes, they offer savings and checking accounts with FDIC insurance, free cash transfers, and competitive rates.
    ๐Ÿ” Margin TradingMargin trading available with competitive ratesYes, they offer margin trading with competitive rates and flexible terms.
    โš™๏ธ Options TradingAdvanced options trading tools and educationYes, they offer options trading with $0 commissions and $0.65 per contract fee. They also provide advanced tools and education for options traders.
    โ‚ฟ Cryptocurrency TradingAccess to trading bitcoin futures and cryptocurrencies through ErisXNo, they do not offer cryptocurrency trading at this time.
    ๐Ÿ›ก๏ธ Account SecurityFDIC-insured deposits and SIPC protection for securitiesYes, they use encryption, firewalls, secure logins, and other security measures to protect customer accounts. They also offer a $0 liability guarantee for unauthorized use of accounts.
    ๐Ÿ’น LeverageAvailable for margin trading with competitive ratesYes, they offer leverage up to 4:1 for day traders and 2:1 for overnight positions.
    โš– RegulationTD Ameritrade is regulated by FINRA, SEC, and CFTC in the US, and by IIROC in CanadaYes, they are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other regulatory agencies.

    TD Ameritrade vs. E-Trade

    TD Ameritrade and E-Trade are two of the most well-known online brokers in the United States. Both offer a wide range of investment products and services to individuals, institutions, and advisors. Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just starting out, TD Ameritrade 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, we will take a closer look at the pros and cons of each broker and help you determine which one may be the best fit for your investment needs.

    TD Ameritrade

    TD Ameritrade Logo

    TD Ameritrade is an online broker that offers a wide range of investment products and services to individuals, institutions, and advisors. It is headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska and was founded in 1975.

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

    TD Ameritrade is a well-established online broker that offers a wide range of investment products and services to individuals, institutions, and advisors. It has a user-friendly platform, a variety of investment options, and commission-free trading on a large selection of ETFs. TD Ameritrade also has robust research and educational resources, a mobile app, and 24/7 customer support. However, it may not be the best choice for investors looking to trade in international markets or for those 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

    As online stock trading platforms, TD Ameritrade and E-Trade both provide their customers with browser and desktop-based interfaces by which to perform their trading.

    TD Ameritrade’s primary platform is Trade Architect, which is a web-based platform intended to help inexperienced traders get started with their accounts. It’s got a decent array of advanced features, such as a Trade Finder, streaming market news, and screening tools to aid beginners.

    Not only that, but TD Ameritrade offers a second, more advanced platform for professional-level traders called Thinkorswim. In addition to the features provided by Trade Architect, you get amped-up market charting; Market Monitors to display the movement of the entire stock market; and Stock Hacker, which shows you the risk levels of all number of stocks and whether they’re moving up or down. You can even stream CNBC on it!

    image 2
    • Investing Platforms
      • Investing Web Platforms
      • TD Ameritrade Mobile App
    • thinkorswim Trading Platforms
      • thinkorswim desktop
      • thinkorswim web
      • thinkorswim mobile App

    What’s more, TD Ameritrade also has two different mobile options, most notably their advanced-level Mobile Trader โ€” it offers live streaming and complete ordering functionality on the go.

    E-Trade’s offerings are similarly robust, but not quite as detailed and advanced as that of TD Ameritrade. Their advanced platform, E-Trade PRO, is full of wonderful features like strategy scanners, options screeners, customized charting and more, but customers have to have a balance of $250,000 or more to qualify (or at least make 30 trades a quarter). That presents a hurdle that can make beginner traders anxious.

    That being said, E-Trade’s mobile app easily beats out TD Ameritrade’s options, with even more advanced options than Mobile Trader has to offer. You can track your account, keep track of your watch list, see even more detailed streaming, and make trades of all kinds.

    When it comes to acquiring market research and data, TD Ameritrade’s and E-Trade’s options are both quite respectable. E-Trade offers research from Thomson Reuters, Morningstar, Market Edge and S&P Capital IQ. TD Ameritrade offers those outlets and a few more third-party providers.

    In addition to their normal research, TD Ameritrade also boasts a MyTrade social network with which to trade stock tips, as well as the Social Signals app, which uses Twitter to offer trading advice to users. Also, unlike E-Trade, TD Ameritrade offers virtual trading to test a trade without any risk.

    From a pure features standpoint, TD Ameritrade beats out E-Trade for sheer accessibility alone. E-Trade PRO might provide some features that are valuable for certain investors and might not be used by others as shown by reviews, the quarter-million dollar buy-in is a little steep for most people. This leaves TD Ameritrade, which also has perfectly advanced trading platforms with no catch, as well as slightly better market resources available.

    However, if you have the scratch and/or would vastly prefer doing most of your trading through your phone, E-Trade may still be the preferable option.

    Investment Options

    TD Ameritrade and E-Trade both boast fairly similar investment options, including futures trading. However, if we dig into the details, we find some differences.

    E-Trade Investment Options:

    First of all, both companies offer a sizable number of commission-free ETFs โ€” more than 100 for each. This makes them both equally good options for low-cost ETFs that permit easy trading.

    They also both provide mutual funds, many of which require no transaction fees. E-Trade’s roster of 1,300 no-transaction-fee funds are nothing to sneeze at, but they do pale in comparison to TD Ameritrade’s selection of 2,000 funds. Keep in mind, however, that it does cost slightly more to trade funds at TD Ameritrade.

    When it comes to futures products, E-Trade has more than 200 futures products on which to test your trading savvy. TD Ameritrade, on the other hand, has a more modest selection of about 60, and doesn’t require the $10,000 account minimum that E-Trade does. For those traders who want to try Forex trading, TD Ameritrade still offers it; E-Trade did until 2015, but recently discontinued its program.

    Looking at these options, the clear winner is TD Ameritrade, since it just has more options for you to choose from, from more no-fee mutual funds to Forex trading. E-Trade’s offerings are similarly respectable, but the numbers favor Ameritrade in this category.

    chart - TD Ameritrade vs E-Trade

    Fees

    When it comes to fees, TD Ameritrade and E-Trade have almost identical price schemes. For both services, you can largely count on a default $9.99 flat rate for stocks and options, and a $0.75 additional fee for options trading.

    Some user reviews show that E-Trade might be more suitable for active traders who trade relatively frequently as the fees decrease with more trades. Some very active traders get their fees reduced to $6.99 per trade, which is virtually an industry low. On the other side some reviews highlight the fact that traders may have to make significant amounts of trades to be eligible for the fee discount, so more idle traders won’t see a difference in savings.

    E-Trade Pricing and Rates:

    With that in mind, both companies equal out in the long run when it comes to trading fees. E-Trade gives you lower rates depending on the rate at which you trade, but when it comes to bare-bones trading, you’ll be fine with either option.

    Where the two companies differ somewhat is in their outgoing transfer fees. Neither broker requires you to pay fees to keep accounts open each year, or maintain inactive ones, but E-Trade requires a $60 outgoing transfer fee while TD Ameritrade charges $75.

    What’s more, TD Ameritrade requires no account minimum to start an account, whereas E-Trade asks for $500 initially to start trading. Both scenarios are relatively hassle-free for people seriously looking to get into trading, but TD Ameritrade’s lower barrier to entry makes it the more advantageous option for low-cost traders.

    Asset Allocation

    Determining the distribution of your portfolio is an important part of trading, and both TD Ameritrade and E-Trade offer some resources to aid traders in finding that proper balance.

    TD Ameritrade, for instance, offers a number of articles and investment tools to educate traders on asset classes, training them to find their preferred goals and timeframes, and so on. They also provide Amerivest Core Portfolios based around your ideal rate of growth and market aggression.

    E-Trade, meanwhile, has slightly more detailed and personalized asset allocation tools, including My Virtual Advisor, a highly advanced tool for recommending asset allocations based on the level of assistance you would prefer in your portfolio diversification.

    When it comes to offering the most reputable and detailed asset allocation resources, E-Trade edges out TD Ameritrade. The latter’s options are more than adequate, but My Virtual Advisor’s level of customization offers traders a chance to take their money into their own hands.

    Which Should You Pick? Who Is Each Good For?

    At first blush, both TD Ameritrade and E-Trade provide a lot of the same advantages people might look for in their online investment platform. Both have consistently low, flat rates on trades; consistently affordable fees; and excellent customer service. Even so, there are different slots each company fills that might make your decision easier, depending on how you want to trade.

    Looking at both brokers with a close lens, TD Ameritrade just barely brushes past E-Trade in terms of sheer availability of resources and trading options. They’ve got fantastic research tools; low, flat fees; and an incredible level of flexibility for traders of all levels of experience.

    That being said, E-Trade has TD Ameritrade beat on commissions, even if by just a hair. At their base level, their prices are identical, but E-Trade’s tiered system means that more active investors can reap the benefits of their reward by enjoying discounted trade rates.

    A few other factors can affect your decision โ€” traders who want a lot of assistance with asset allocation might want to utilize E-Trade’s tools. TD Ameritrade’s online platform, meanwhile, is simply more affordable and accessible to those traders who don’t have huge balances.

    When it comes to your stock trading experience, what the investor community is suggesting here is to conduct one’s own research and identify stocks that platform most suitable for one’s needs. In this respect, you’d be hard-pressed to pass up either of these companies, as they provide largely similar levels of service with a few differences here and there.

    Conclusion

    It’s worth noting that both TD Ameritrade and E-Trade are regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and are members of the SIPC, which provides insurance to protect investors in the event of broker-dealer failure.

    What are the primary differences between TD Ameritrade and E-Trade?

    TD Ameritrade and E-Trade are both well-known online brokers that offer a wide range of investment products and services. However, there are some differences between the two platforms. For example, TD Ameritrade has no account minimum, while E-Trade requires a $500 initial deposit. TD Ameritrade also offers virtual trading, while E-Trade has more advanced mobile app options. Additionally, TD Ameritrade has more investment options, including Forex trading, while E-Trade has lower commission fees for more active traders.

    Which online broker is better for beginners?

    Both TD Ameritrade and E-Trade offer user-friendly platforms and educational resources for beginners. TD Ameritrade’s Trade Architect platform is specifically designed for inexperienced traders, while E-Trade PRO may be more intimidating for those just starting out. Ultimately, the choice between the two may come down to personal preference and investment goals.

    Are there any fees associated with using TD Ameritrade or E-Trade?

    Both TD Ameritrade and E-Trade charge a $9.99 flat rate for stocks and options trades, with an additional $0.75 fee for options trading. E-Trade has a three-tiered fee system that rewards more active traders with lower fees, while TD Ameritrade’s fees remain consistent. Additionally, TD Ameritrade charges a $75 outgoing transfer fee, while E-Trade charges $60. However, neither platform charges fees to maintain inactive accounts.


    Images by:
    geralt, PIX1861

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