TD Ameritrade vs Etrade

When choosing the best stock broker, sometimes it can be difficult to make a final decision once you’ve narrowed to two choices.

With TD Ameritrade and Etrade being so highly rated, I thought it might be beneficial to compare Etrade vs TD Ameritrade in a side by side battle to see who actually comes out on top.

TD Ameritrade OfferTrade free for 60 days + get up to $600 cash!

Etrade OfferTrade free for 60 days + get up to $500 cash!

Stock and Options Commissions

Both TD Ameritrade and Etrade have nearly identical commissions schedules:

  • (TD Ameritrade ; Etrade)
  • Stock Trades = $9.99 ; $9.99
  • Options Trades = $9.99 + $.75 ; $9.99 + $.75
  • Broker Assisted Trades = $44.99 ; $54.99
  • Mutual Funds = $44.99 ; $19.99
  • ETFs = $9.99 ; $9.99

While Etrade has an notable edge with providing lower cost mutual funds trades, it should be noted that TD Ameritrade has the largest overall offering of commission free ETFs. The broker provides over 100 ETFs, all rated by Morningstar, for free to its clients. Leaning back towards Mutual funds however, and the $25 difference per trade can really stack up.

Category Result = TIE (10 Points Each)

Platforms, Tools, & Research

Both Etrade and TD Ameritrade lead the industry in providing a high quality experience for their clients. Furthermore, both brokers gave a huge variety of tools and 3rd party research reports to utilize. Free real-time quotes and streaming news are provided for free to all clients.

Etrade offers its primary clients Power Etrade and its active clients Power Etrade Pro. TD Ameritrade on the other hand offers base platform Trade Architect and for more advanced traders its thinkorswim platform. All platforms compared, when it comes to ease of use Etrade has the edge. The broker has app-like buttons that make it very easy to navigate around.

However, while Etrade had the lead for multiple years when it came to active trading as well, TD Ameritrade made a big jump when it acquired broker thinkorswim in 2009. Now with thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade, TD Ameritrade has the edge in the active trader department by providing highly advanced tools like “think on demand” and even auto trading via “prodigio”.

When it comes to research, both brokers offer a wide selection for clients. 3rd party research providers include S&P and Thomson Reuters. Downloadable reports are the norm and expert commentary is provided daily.

Both brokers offer mobile trading apps for the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android phones. StockBrokers.com rated both Etrade and TD Ameritrade five stars overall for mobile trading in its annual review, and I agree with these results.

Category Result = Advantage TD Ameritrade (15 points TD Ameritrade vs Etrade 14 points)

Customer Support

Breaking down customer service is no easy task. Every broker has different strengths and focuses when it comes to providing support for clients. What I found was that both brokers did a very good job at answering emails promptly and answering any questions I had. Thus, I broke down both brokers with what offerings they have to determine theĀ  category winner:

  • (TD Ameritrade ; Etrade)
  • Email Support – Yes ; Yes
  • Phone Support – Yes ; Yes
  • Live Chat – Yes ; No
  • 24/7 Support – Yes ; Yes
  • Retail Locations – Yes ; Yes

Category Result = Advantage TD Ameritrade (5 points TD Ameritrade vs Etrade 4 points)

Overall Winner & Special Offers

Final scoring: 30 points TD Ameritrade vs Etrade 28 points.

While TD Ameritrade won overall, Etrade is most definitely not a bad broker. Both are top rated when it comes to comparisons against their peers and no matter which broker you ultimately choose, you can’t go wrong with either.

TD Ameritrade OfferTrade free for 60 days + get up to $600 cash!

Etrade OfferTrade free for 60 days + get up to $500 cash!

Online Brokers Comparison Chart

Compare online brokers with the stock brokers comparison chart. Included are easy to read star ratings, pricing and fees information, and even a features overview section to see what every broker has to offer.

stock broker comparison

This page was published by Blain Reinkensmeyer and was last updated on 2014-01-22.

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