E*Trade earns praise from reviewers primarily for its research amenities and banking services. Its website is newly redesigned and offers customizable tools for trading and analysis. Some reviewers give the firm high marks for customer service, and the 2012 SmartMoney survey calls its 24/7 chat feature "a nice touch." Costs are on the high side; unless you make 150 or more trades per quarter you'll pay $9.99 per trade. If you want a lower-cost broker, reviewers recommend Scottrade (*Est. $7 per trade) .
SmartMoney magazine, Barron's, and Kiplinger.com all mention E*Trade in their reviews. ConsumerReports.org includes this online broker in a ratings chart based on feedback from online subscribers, and Keynote Systems includes it in its weekly rankings of 13 brokers based on the speed and accuracy of their order execution. Stockbrokers.com, StockTradingToGo.com and TopTenReviews.com also review E*Trade.
This annual broker survey names the best online broker in each of six categories; a chart at the end ranks the 10 brokers included in the survey. E*Trade is ranked fourth overall. Though it's not the absolute best in any category, it does earn top ratings in the trading tools and research categories. However, high fees are an issue.
Review: Best and Worst Brokers of 2012, J. Alex Tarquinio, May 16, 2012
Barron's 2012 review ranks E*Trade 10th out of 27 online brokers and lists it as one of the best brokers for long-term investing and for novice traders. A brief review of E*Trade praises its website redesign, with new tools for research and analysis.
Review: Cut the Cord, Theresa W. Carey, March 12, 2012
3. J.D. Power & Associates
E*Trade is included in J.D. Power and Associates survey of 3,700 investors that don't rely on the help of a trading professional. E*Trade earns a rating that's just about the industry average in terms of overall satisfaction. That's not a good thing as seven of the other 10 brokers surveyed do better.
Review: 2012 Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Study, Editors of J.D. Power and Associates, June 14, 2012
A ConsumerReports.org ratings chart ranks 13 brokerage firms based on a survey of online subscribers. Respondents rated brokers on account service, website, phone service and in-person service.
Review: Brokerage Service Brokerage Service Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Feb. 2012
Kiplinger.com's review says that E*Trade "offers competitive costs and a slick Web site, and it scored the highest on our customer-service tests of all the brokers we surveyed."
Review: Best Online Brokers for 2011: E*Trade, Elizabeth Ody, Jan. 2011
TopTenReviews.com examines 18 brokers and summarizes data about them in a comparison chart. E*Trade is ranked sixth of the 18; the review concludes that with this broker, "the best deals are for those that trade often or have a large account balance."
Review: E*Trade Financial, Editors of TopTenReviews.com
This review site says that for 2012, E*Trade is the "#2 Overall Broker and Best in Class for Ease of Use, Platforms & Tools, Research, Customer Service, Investor Community, and Investor Education."
Review: Review of E*Trade, Editors of Stockbrokers.com
Site owner Blain Reinkensmeyer rates E*Trade No. 1 of the five best online brokers. There is no real review, just a list.
Review: 5 Top Online Stock Brokers, Blain Reinkensmeyer
9. Keynote Systems
Keynote Systems tracks and rates online brokers on a weekly basis based how long it takes to place a stock order and the success rate of order completion. E*Trade is consistently near the top in these ratings. For the week ending April 22, 2012, E*Trade is in fourth place in both categories.
Review: Business Transaction Index for Brokerage Web Sites, Editors of Keynote Systems, Inc.