Scottrade versus Etrade - compare IRA, commissions, investing fees, trading tools, account differences, pros and cons. Which brokerage firm is better?

UPDATE: Scottrade has been fully merged into TD Ameritrade and discontinued. See TD Ameritrade vs Etrade.

Overview

E*Trade and Scottrade advertise heavily and offer a lot of the same services and products at a similar price. Are there any real differences between these two companies? Is one broker better than another for certain investment strategies? This article will attempt to find out.


Comparison Table

Scottrade Review Etrade Review
Rating 4.5-star brokerage firm rating Etrade brokerage firm rating
Stocks $0 $0
Options (per contract) $0.65 $0.65
Mutual Funds $49.99 $19.99
Initial Funding Requirement $0 $500
Inactivity Fee $0 $0
IRA Annual Fee $0 $0
IRA Premature Distributions $0 $25
Full Account Transfer $0 $60
Partial Account Transfer $0 $25
Account Closing Fee $0 $50
Trading Experience & Technology brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Mobile brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Research Amenities brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Portfolio & Analysis Reports brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Customer Service and Education brokerage ratings brokerage ratings
Open an account $0 commission stocks/ETFs + get up to $600. No commissions on stocks and ETFs.


As you see from the table above, E*Trade and Scottrade are equally priced.


Overview

Scottrade (TDA) and Etrade are two low-cost brokerage firms who advertise frequently and offer investors an array of investment and banking products. Investors of course will want to know which is better: Scottrade or Etrade? Let's find out.


Cost

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Scottrade $0 $17 $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Etrade $0 $19.95 $0.65 per contract $0 $0


Services

Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Scottrade
Etrade


Promotions

Scottrade: $0 commission stocks/ETFs + get up to $600.

Etrade: No commissions on stocks and ETFs.



Fees and Account Minimums

Scottrade’s charge for trading stocks and ETF’s is $0, while Etrade charges the same amount. For options, both firms charge an extra $0.65 per contract (at Etrade it's $0.50 per contract for customers with over 30 trades per quarter).

Placing a trade with a living, breathing, broker costs $25 at either Scottrade or Etrade.

Brokerage accounts at both Scottrade and Etrade carry no inactivity fees or account maintenance fees. The minimum initial deposit to open a brokerage account at Etrade is $500, while Scottrade has no minimum.

Both brokers offer no-fee IRA's.

First category is a tie.


Mutual Funds

Etrade offers its clients over 9,000 mutual funds, of which 4,400 are no-load and don't have transaction fee. Mutual funds that carry a transaction fee are $19.99.

Scottrade has access to more than 13,000 mutual funds, of which 4,200 carry no transaction fee and no load. Transaction fee funds carry a pricey $49.99 charge.

Overall, Etrade wins this category.


Research and Education

Etrade offers an array of educational resources for its clients, consisting of on-demand videos, articles, and in-person seminars. Various topics are covered, such as fixed-income, options, beginner investing, and IRA’s.

Scottrade offers in-depth research for stocks, options, ETF’s, and mutual funds. Customers have access to free stock and ETF reports from Credit Suisse, TheStreet.com, Morningstar, S&P Capital IQ, and others.

Investools is an educational service owned by Scottrade. It offers courses at the beginner, advanced, and expert levels on a variety of financial topics, such as forex, options, and stocks.

This category produces a dead heat.


Customer Service

Scottrade has phone service staffed 24/7. Representatives are available certain hours of the day who speak Spanish, Cantonese, or Mandarin. The brokerage has more than 450+ brick-and-mortar branches located across the United States for old school investors who want more personal investment assistance.

Etrade has physical branches, but only 30. The broker offers 24/7 telephone customer service.

Scottrade comes out on top in this category.

Scottrade review 2020

Trading Tools

Scottrade offers arguably the best trading platform on the market. It is called Thinkorswim and it is a stand-alone program. Thinkorswim offers free level II quotes, stock analysis, market news, account info, and order entry. It is free to use for everyone with no frequent trader requirement.

A great tool that Scottrade offers is their paperMoney, a practice platform within Thinkorswim that allows traders to simulate trading with virtual currency.

Etrade's web site is sophisticated and user friendly. The broker's Total Trade Ticket can be used to place orders for stocks, options, and ETF’s. Advanced platforms are available here, but only for frequent traders. E*TRADE Pro is a desktop application, and E*TRADE MarketTrader is a browser platform.


Etrade vs Scottrade


This category also goes to Scottrade.


Mobile Trading

Etrade has applications for Windows phone, iPad, iPhone, Android phone and tablet, Amazon Fire phone, and Kindle Fire HD. The iPhone app has the most features. The interface is easy to navigate. Users will find charts, a trade ticket, mobile check deposit, educational videos, and many other useful features.

Scottrade has three different apps: Mobile App, Mobile Trader App, and a Thinkorswim app for investors with different experience level (beginner, mid-level and advanced). They can be used on iPhone, iPad, and Android. The Thinkorswim app has paperMoney for customers who want to practice trading on a mobile platform.

Etrade and Scottrade are pretty close in this category.


Cash Management Features

Scottrade offers a checking account with free checks, a free Visa debit card, and no monthly account fees. ATM fees are reimbursed nationwide. The account balance is deposited in up to two FDIC insured banks, doubling the default $250,000 insurance.

Etrade has an FDIC-insured bank that offers a checking account with the standard $250,000 protection. The account comes with a Visa debit card and checks. It can be linked to an E*Trade brokerage account.

Etrade rebates ATM fees for customers who have a minimum balance of $5,000, or who have combined balances across all Etrade accounts of at least $50,000.

Scottrade is the winner here.


Additional Features

Scottrade offers forex trading, while Etrade does not. Both brokerage firms offer futures trading. Etrade charges $1.50 per contract while Scottrade charges $2.25.

Scottrade wins here, too.


Scottrade vs Etrade Results

There were three ties, Scottrade was victorious in four categories, and Etrade won just one category. The winner by a wide margin is Scottrade. Despite the results, Etrade is a good broker for IRA accounts as well as stocks and ETFs investing.


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