Etrade and TD Ameritrade brokerage firm comparison: fees, commissions, benefits, pros and cons. Which broker to choose?


TD Ameritrade Review Etrade Review
Rating 4.5-star brokerage firm rating Etrade brokerage firm rating
Stocks $6.95 $6.95
Options (per contract) $0.75 $0.75
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
Good
  • No inactivity or maintenance fees
  • No-fee IRA accounts
  • Wide range of investing options
  • Objective, outstanding third-party research from trusted sources
  • Sophisticated trading platforms, Thinkorswim and Trade Architect, free of charge
  • Over 13,000 mutual funds
  • Over 296 commission-free ETFs from 13 providers
  • Free Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIPs)
  • Virtual trading
  • Great customer service
  • Over 100 local branches
  • No inactivity or maintenance fees
  • No-fee IRA accounts
  • Wide variety of investing options
  • Good 24/7 customer service
  • Banking products and services
  • Over 100 commission-free ETFs
  • Selection of no transaction fee mutual funds
  • Advance platform for active traders at no charge
  • Streaming charts, Level II quotes
  • Access to international markets
  • In-person guidance at around 30 local branches around the country
Bad
  • High mutual fund commissions
  • Very high trading commissions
  • Advanced trading platform is available for free to an investors who execute 30 stocks or options per calendar quarter
Open an account Trade free for 60 days + get up to $600. Open an account with Etrade

TD Ameritrade vs. Etrade Brokerage Comparison

TD Ameritrade and Etrade are two best investment accounts for individuals who advertise frequently and offer customers an array of investment and banking products. Investors of course will want to know which is better: TD Ameritrade or Etrade? Let's find out.


Customer Service

TD Ameritrade offers around the clock support for customers who require assistance with their accounts. In addition, customer service can be obtained from representatives who speak Mandarin, Cantonese, and Spanish.

TD Ameritrade also has over 100 branches in the U.S. that can be used if more personalized service is required.

Like TD Ameritrade, E*Trade also offers customer service 24 hours per day. However, with only 30 physical locations that can be an issue for those investors seeking more personalized service.

TD Ameritrade appears to take more care in providing customer service support to its customer, and as a result comes out ahead in this area.


Trading Tools

The most important consideration for investors and traders, aside from fees and commissions, is the trading tools and platform offered to customers. TD Ameritrade has some of the best in the business.

TD Ameritrade offers three types of platforms, all with free access to Level II quotes, which is a huge plus as this give you insight into the supply and demand for shares at any given moment in the market.

The first platform is their web-based site which is easy to use and navigate. It does not offer all the bells and whistles as their more advanced platform, but for simple buying and selling of stocks it does the job well.

The second platform is Trade Architect, which is a Java-based web application that offers a few more features.

The third, and most popular is Thinkorswim. This is a full-suite software package that gives investors and traders access to advanced trading tools. For example, they have a very strong option buying and selling tool that is yet to be beat by other brokers.

Each of these platforms offered by TD Ameritrade have no fees to use and they also offer paperMoney which allows traders and investors to practice trading using fake money. It is a solid way to test if your strategy will work, or to simply practice buying and selling stocks so you don’t lose money by making a silly mistake.

E*Trade also has very solid trading tools, and they are well known for being user friendly. Called Total Trade, it provides access to all of the most common methods of buying and selling stocks, options, and ETFs. In addition, E*Trade also has solid and more advanced trading platforms that are designed for more active traders who want access to more robust charting and order entry tools. The E*TRADE Pro application is the desktop version and E*Trade MarketTrader is the web-based version.

With all of that in mind, TD Ameritrade does offer a better suite of tools with Thinkorswim becoming the gold standard for trading applications available to more active traders.


Mobile Trading

Each year, more and more trades are made using iPhones and/or Android based phones. E*Trade provides clients with mobile trading support via applications for the iPad, iPhone, Amazon Fire, and Kindle Fire HD. They have spent most of their development dollars on the iPhone application which has an easy to use interface and access to order entry tools, mobile check deposit, charting, and educational videos to name a few of the key features.

TD Ameritrade has taken a slightly different approach building applications based on the level of experience the trader or investor has. For example, for a more inexperienced trader the Mobile App or Mobile Trader App may be appropriate. However, if more advanced support is required then the Thinkorswim app is the best choice. Thinkorswim will also give traders access to the mobile version of paperMoney for clients interested in practicing their trading on the go.

Both companies offer comparable mobile access to their platforms.


Promotions

TD Ameritrade: Trade free for 60 days + get up to $600.

Etrade: At E*TRADE, get $6.95 trades + 65₵ per options contract.


Additional Features

A couple of other details should be presented when doing a full review of both of these discount brokerage firms. First, TD Ameritrade offers clients the ability to trade currencies (forex). E*Trade does not provide this ability to their clients which is a definite miss on their part.

In addition, both firms allow futures trading, although TD Ameritrade is more expensive at $2.25 per contract versus E*Trades’s $1.50.

The clear winner is TD Ameritrade.


The Results

Based on this review, and considering the results of each section TD Ameritrade (read review) beats Etrade (read review). With the robustness of the Thinkorswim platform and the customer service support they provide the best investment account for individuals in 2018.


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