E*TRADE vs. Robinhood 2023: Is E*TRADE better than Robinhood?

Adam Rozsa
26.11.21
8 minute read

With its first online trade executed in 1983, E*TRADE is an innovator in the online brokerage world. They offer commission-free trading on stocks, options, and ETFs, along with a variety of other securities. Plus, they have an intuitive platform for both active and beginner-level traders.

Founded in 2013 but not publicly available until 2015, Robinhood is a relatively new online broker. It was the first to offer investments free of commissions, and while that was game-changing a few years ago, other platforms have altered their fee structures to match.

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📝 Table of contents

Robinhood vs. E*TRADE: At a glance

E*TRADE¹Robinhood²
Account fees$0 No maintenance or inactivity fees, but there is a $75 fee to transfer out a full account and $25 for partial.$0 - No maintenance, opening or closing fees, but there is a $75 fee to transfer out an account.
Minimum deposit$0$0
Stock trading fees$0 commission

$0 - commission

$5.10 per $1,000,000 of principal (sells only), rounded up to the nearest penny - Regulatory fee

$0.000119 per share. The Fee is rounded up to the nearest penny and cannot surpass $5.95 - Regulatory Trading Activity Fee

Options trading fees

$0 - commission

$0.65 per-contract fee lowered to $0.50 if you do 30 or more trades in a quarter.

$0 - commission

$5.10 per $1,000,000 of principal (sells only), rounded up to the nearest penny - Regulatory fee

$0.002 per contract (options sells). The fee is rounded up to the nearest penny and is never higher than $5.95 - Regulatory Trading Activity Fee

Investment offeringsStocks, ETFs, Options, Futures, Mutual funds, and bondsETFs, Options, Stocks, ADRs, fractional shares
Mobile appsTwo free applications: E*TRADE mobile and Power E*TRADE for advanced traders. See below for features.Has advanced features including live earnings calls and news feed, alerts, and various charts.
Desktop platformTwo free platforms: E*TRADE Web and Power E*TRADE. See below for features.Very simple but has customizable order buttons, the ability to take actions directly from charts, and lots of widgets.
Research & educationFree research from a variety of providers including Moody’s, Morgan Stanley, and Morningstar plus commentary and analyst screeners.Financial news from top providers—WSJ, CNBC, Reuters. You get access to Morningstar and other advanced data with a Robinhood Gold Membership.
Customer support24/7 phone, email and chat support plus 30 branches for in-person support.24/7 email and social media support, and you can request a service call from inside the app.
Best for
  • Beginner or active traders
  • Retirement accounts
  • Data and research
  • Margin accounts
  • Smartphone users
  • Individual accounts
💡If you are interested in learning more about other alternatives, check our article here.

etrade vs robinhood

Trade offerings

As an established, big-time broker, E*TRADE has everything you’d expect, including options, stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, CDs, and futures. However, it doesn’t offer Forex, and international trading is limited to ADRs, a few international mutual funds, and some foreign futures. Also, fractional shares are only available through their dividend reinvestment plan—DRIP.

On the other hand, Robinhood has a basic lineup of stocks, ETFs, and options. This takes away many assets that investors commonly seek. But they have fractional shares trading, which allows investors to buy shares in high-value stocks when they normally couldn’t.

E*TRADERobinhood
StocksYesYes
ETFsYesYes
Fractional SharesNo direct buying - only available on dividend reinvestment plans.Yes
OptionsYesYes
FuturesYesNo
ForexNoNo
BondsYesNo
Robo AdvisorsYesNo
International TradingNo - But they offer ADRs, a couple of international mutual funds, and some foreign futures.No - But they offer certain ADRs and specific stocks on the Canadian and Israeli exchanges.

Fees

When comparing two brokerage accounts, it's always important to compare the fees they have: take a look at this segment to find out about E*TRADE's and Robinhood's fees.

Trading fees

Both E*TRADE and Robinhood have commission-free trading of stocks, options, and ETFs, along with no account minimums, maintenance fees, or minimum deposits. However, there are some key differences between their fee structures to be aware of.

Although E*TRADE offers free options trading, there is a $0.65 contract fee when selling options contracts. Also, they charge $19.99 for trading mutual funds that are not on their no fee list. Last, you’ll pay $25 for broker assisted trades, and a $1.50 per contract, per side fee plus regulatory fees when trading futures¹.

Robinhood offers commission free trading, but you’ll have to cover regulatory fees charged by FINRA and the SEC. They are:

  • Regulatory Transaction Fee - $5.10 per $1,000,000 of principal (sells only).²
  • Trading Activity Fee - $0.000119 per share—equity sells/stock and ETF—and $0.002 per contract (options sells). Never more than $5.95.²

Brokerage accounts with Robinhood do not offer mutual funds, futures, or broker assisted trades.

E*TRADE¹Robinhood²
Stocks$0$0 - Commission
ETFs$0$0 - Commission
Options$0 - Commission with a $0.65 per contract fee$0 - Commission
Futures$1.50 per contract, per side plus regulatory fees that vary by exchangeNot Available
Mutual funds$19.99 for funds not on their no-fee listNot Available
Broker assisted trades$25Not Available
💡 Find out even more about Robinhood's fees here.

Withdrawal & deposit fees

Robinhood and E*TRADE don’t charge for ACH deposits or withdrawals. But E*TRADE charges $25 for outgoing wire transfers.

E*TRADE¹Robinhood²
ACH

Deposit - $0

Withdrawal - $0

Deposit - $0

Withdrawal - $0

Wire transfer (domestic)

Deposit - $0

Withdrawal - $25

Deposit - $0

Withdrawal - $0

Wire transfer (international)

Deposit - $0

Withdrawal - $25

Deposit - $0

Withdrawal - $0

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etrade vs robinhood

Fund or withdraw from your E*TRADE or Robinhood account with Wise – And save up to 6x

The nice thing about Robinhood and E*TRADE that they both offer low fees to their customers.

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Get a free Wise account and fund your E*TRADE or Robinhood accounts with it. Or, withdraw your funds and convert them to any of 54 different currencies, using the mid-market exchange rate—you can save up to 6x when sending money overseas.

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etrade vs robinhood

Usability

With over nearly 40 years of experience, E*TRADE definitely has a feel for the needs of its customer base. All four of their platform offerings—E*TRADE and Power E*TRADE desktop and mobile—give users an intuitive and easy-to-use experience. Whether on mobile or desktop, you can do everything you need to do, whether on your computer or smartphone.

Robinhood offers a simple platform that’s also easily navigable and user-friendly, but is overall simple. There are few customization and personalization features, but it’s still easy to make trades and open and fund your account.

You’ll get more advanced order types on E*TRADE trading platforms geared toward active traders, but you’ll be able to trade the same securities on both. You can also set up watch lists on both platforms, but E*TRADE is where you’ll find custom charts.

etrade vs robinhood

Trading experience

Desktop

While both platforms are user-friendly, E*TRADE offers a more versatile overall experience. You can fully customize the platform and gain access to quotes in real-time. It’s also possible to set up single and batch orders and place orders from charts with its visual tracking features.

On the other hand, Robinhood doesn’t have customization features for orders, and it isn’t possible to trade from the chart.

Mobile

E*TRADE also has two applications that cater to both average and active traders, in E*TRADE mobile and Power E*TRADE. On both apps, you can set up customization features and charting, and the design on both apps is both intuitive and user-friendly.

Robinhood has one mobile application that ties well into its desktop app, but basically mirrors the same functionality.

Research & education

E*TRADE offers a diverse set of screener tools that work with options, ETFs, stocks, and mutual funds. Plus, there are a variety of tools, news, technical indicators, and other professional research to help you create a solid portfolio.

With Robinhood, you’ll find a limited amount of research offers, as there are no screening tools and the charting tools are basic. Plus, you can’t customize them. There is some financial news available, and you can also get Morningstar with a Robinhood Gold membership at $5 per month.²

For education, E*TRADE has a variety of videos, articles, glossaries, and webinars, and they also offer dozens of live events every year. Robinhood offers basic, easy-to-read articles but no webinars or videos. And unfortunately, the web developers posted their articles chronologically, so it's difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Security

E*TRADE has industry standard security with two-step verification login and biometric login as well. They also have a fraud protection guarantee and will refund your account should you be a victim.

Checking and savings accounts at E*TRADE have FDIC coverage, and E*TRADE is also a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. This membership provides insurance up to $500,000 in securities coverage and $250,000 for cash only. Besides the SIPC coverage, they have $1 billion in excess coverage through Morgan Stanley.³

Robinhood has the same security guarantees and SIPC membership, but does not carry the excess coverage.

etrade vs robinhood

Customer support

E*TRADE customer service is comprehensive and has 24/7 phone support. Unlike some other online brokerage firms, their phone support gives you access to a variety of consultants, specialists, and even brokers if you need help. You can also access chat support on the mobile platform.

Robinhood has 24/7 email and social media support through the applications, but there is no inbound phone line. Instead, you use the app to request a phone call from a support agent and wait for the call.

Verdict: Is E*TRADE better than Robinhood?

Whether you want a basic portfolio or to be an advanced, active trader, E*TRADE can provide the platform, tools, and research and education materials needed to make it happen. And while Robinhood doesn’t have all the advanced features offered by E*TRADE, the platform is can be great for anyone new to investing with a small starting balance. It could be a solid platform to gain experience and then move on to a more multifaceted broker.

We can’t decide which is best for your needs. But remember that investing always comes with risk of loss. The information in this article is up-to-date and accurate, but it is intended as general information and not investment advice. It also isn’t a recommendation to use one platform over another, and doesn’t guarantee profit or any specific outcome.

If you’re unsure about investing, E*TRADE has licensed investment professionals who can help point you in the right direction. And there are plenty of alternative brokers out there who can do the same.

Whichever broker you choose, you can fund your brokerage account and set up recurring payments with a free Wise account. Wise allows you to withdraw your money and convert and hold balances in over 54 currencies. Plus, you’ll save up to 6x over big banks when sending money abroad.

Learn more about Wise

Frequently asked questions

Is E*TRADE really free?

While E*TRADE offers accounts with no minimum balances or deposits and commission-free trading on stocks, options, and ETFs, there are several fees based on what you’re trading. So no, E*TRADE isn’t really free. See the section above titled Robinhood vs E*TRADE: Fees to get a comprehensive picture of their fee structure.

Can you switch from Robinhood to E*TRADE?

Yes, it’s possible to transfer your account from Robinhood to E*TRADE. Just know that there is a $75 fee to transfer your assets out of Robinhood, whether as a partial or full transfer.²

Is E*TRADE the best?

The term “best” is relative. With free accounts, commission-free trading, and a comprehensive platform with a range of research and customization tools, E*TRADE could be the best platform for you. Take the time to research every platform available and especially look at fee structures, before deciding on where to invest your money.


Sources:

  1. E*TRADE - Pricing and Rates
  2. Robinhood - Robinhood Financial Fee Schedule
  3. E*TRADE - Asset Protection

All sources checked on 23 November 2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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