Etrade versus Stash Invest app: compare IRA, commissions, investing fees, trading tools, account pros and cons. Which online broker is better?

Overview of E*Trade and Stash

E*Trade customers get a lot of resources, but Stash offers lower costs. Let’s try to find out which firm is the better value.

Broker Cost

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Etrade $6.95 $19.95 $6.95 + $0.75 per contract $0 $0
Stash $0 na na 0.25% 0.25%

Services

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

Who Has the Bigger Range of Investment Vehicles?

At E*Trade, investors have access to futures contracts, options, stocks (including penny and OTC stocks), ETF’s, closed-end funds, fixed-income securities, and mutual funds.

Stash customers can buy and sell just stocks and ETF’s. Strangely, the brokerage firm does not offer all stocks and ETF’s that trade on the big American exchanges. And forget about OTC and penny securities. One service that Stash does provide (that E*Trade doesn’t) is the ability to purchase fractional shares of securities.

We think E*Trade is the overall better choice in the first category.

Whose Website is Better?

E*Trade’s website lacks a trade bar, but it delivers a lot of great features. We found full-screen charting with comparisons, technical studies, and company events. The site’s order form delivers multiple time-in-force choices and order types. A security can be added to a watchlist, and alerts can be created as well.


Etrade Pro


The one tool on E*Trade’s site that impressed us the most was the company’s browser platform. Called Power E*Trade, it packs quite a punch. It offers advanced charting, live streaming of Bloomberg television, professional-level option tools, and a trade ticket with complex order types.

Over at Stash, we found a user-friendly site; but there is no trade bar or browser platform. In fact, there is no charting and no order ticket. To submit an order, you choose the stock you’re interested in (assuming it’s available) and then specify the dollar amount you want to use. Stash does the rest.


Stash Investing


The clear winner here is E*Trade.

And What About Mobile Apps?

E*Trade’s mobile app is actually two: one traditional app, and another Power app, which is modeled on the browser system. Traders get streaming video news, check deposit, and a trade ticket with complex order types. Charting delivers multiple technical indicators and graph styles. Horizontal charting is on one of the platforms, and we liked the inclusion of Level II quotes, time & sales data, alerts, and a watchlist.

Moving over to Stash, we lose a lot: time & sales figures, Level II data, charting, advanced ordering, mobile check deposit, and video news. Nevertheless, there are features that permit the trading of stocks and funds. The same tools on the website are on the mobile system.

Stash loses again.

Does Either Broker Have a Desktop Platform?

Not surprisingly, Stash customers don’t get to trade on a desktop program. Although the company does offer trading in stocks, there is no emphasis on active trading.

E*Trade does offer desktop software. Called E*Trade Pro, it comes with account minimums (10 trades per month). Despite this weakness, customers who qualify get some really impressive tools, including advanced charting, direct-access routing, and multi-chart display.

Another victory for E*Trade.

Who Is Better for Investment Education and Security Research?

Stash has a very good educational section on its website and mobile app. There are lots of articles (and a few videos) on how to invest at Stash. Notice how we say “at Stash.” Most of the materials are devoted to this rather than investing in general. These resources will help new customers learn the ropes.

E*Trade does a better job of providing general investment education. During our research, we found materials on diversification, taxation of investments, and how to place a stock trade. Profile pages for ETF’s and stocks have much more information on them at E*Trade than at Stash.

E*Trade wins again.

Other Services

E*Trade clients can sign up for the company’s free DRIP service to automatically reinvest cash dividends as fractional shares of stocks and funds. Oddly, Stash, who offers purchases of fractional shares of securities, does not provide this service.

As for retirement accounts, both firms offer IRA’s. E*Trade has several varieties, while Stash offers just two types. Both broker-dealers offer automatic investing; Stash offers three types, including a debit card round-up program. E*Trade offers auto investing in mutual funds.

Overall, E*Trade is the victor here.

Recommendations

For IRA’s investing, we recommend E*Trade over Stash. As already mentioned, E*Trade has more IRA types. Furthermore, E*Trade offers robo and traditional advisory services that would be helpful for retirement savers.

For new investors, our choice is E*Trade. It has better customer service and more learning materials.

For mutual funds, the obvious choice is E*Trade. For stocks and ETF’s, we also think E*Trade does a better job for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that Stash doesn’t offer very many.

For banking features, we like E*Trade for the simple fact that the broker offers checkwriting. Stash does not.

Stash vs Etrade Summary

E*Trade won every single category. We can only recommend Stash for traders who want to buy fractional shares of stocks and ETF’s.


Firstrade

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