E*Trade vs Fidelity: Which is Better Suited to Your Investment Needs

Etrade vs Fidelity

E*Trade and Fidelity are full-service investment brokers with diversified product offerings. Both the brokerages require zero minimums to open an account, zero commission for online trading and offer several Robo advisor options.

The major difference is the availability of futures only at E*Trade and in-house mutual funds at Fidelity. If you want an in-person consultation then Fidelity has 190 investor locations. 

Below is the brief comparison of both the brokers;

Brief Comparison E*Trade vs Fidelity in 2020

ParticularsE*TradeFidelity
Trading AssetsStocks, ETFs, mutual funds, futures, bonds, and optionsStocks, mutual funds, ETFs, options, bonds, fractional shares
Helps invest in Participate in initial public offerings (IPOs) and U.S.Treasury auctionsCertificate of deposits, precious metals and international investments
Based out of VirginiaBoston
Branch Offices30 local branch office190 Investor Centers in the United States
Account TypesBoth taxable and traditional IRA and Roth IRATaxable Accounts
Different IRA account for Charitable giving
Estate planning
Annuities and Life Insurance
Fees/ Commission E*TradeFidelity
Brokerage Account Minimum$0$0
On Stock, Option & ETF$0$0
Option contract fees$0.50-$0.65 per contract, depending on trading volume$0.65 per contract
Futures contract commission$1.50 per contract, per sideN.A.
On Mutual Fund$19.99$0 (On Fidelity mutual funds)
No Transaction Fee (NTF) non-Fidelity funds$19.99$0 on purchase
Transaction Fee non-Fidelity funds$19.99$49.95 per purchase
Broker Assisted Trades$25$19.95 with Fidelity representative on certain assets
Margin AmountE*Trade Margin RatesFidelity Margin Rates
Less than $10,00010.25%9.325%
$10,000 to $24,999.9910.00%9.325%
$25,000 to $49,999.999.75%8.825%
$50,000 to $99,999.999.25%7.875%
$100,000 to $249,999.998.75%7.825%
$250,000 to $499,999.998.25%7.575%
$500,000 to $999,999.997.75%5.250%
Above $1,000,0006.75%5.000%
Account FeesE*TradeFidelity
International Wire fee$25up to 3% of the principal
Domestic Wire fee$25$0
Trading PlatformsPower E*TRADE app
Power E*TRADE Platform (web)
Active Trader Pro (desktop platform)
Fidelity Mobile
Customer SupportLive chat
Phone contact
E-mail, phone, virtual assistants and investor centers

In case if you require a more detailed analysis then below is a side-by-side comparison of both the brokers. 

E*Trade Review 

E*Trade is a full-service brokerage based out of Arlington, VA, that helps you invest in assets like stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, futures, bonds, and options. 

One can open a linked savings bank account along with the trading account and can reach E*Trade through email, phone, live chat and 30 branches across the U.S.   

The USP of E*Trade is:

  • $0 Trades
  • Linked E*Trade Savings Bank
  • Power E*Trade trading platform
  • Different account types catering to needs

Investment Support 

E*Trade gives you access to a 1.75% APY E*Trade Savings Bank account. The savings account is fully integrated with your E*Trade securities account. 

The flagship trading technology of E*Trade is the Power E*Trade trading platform with 100+ technical studies and 30+ drawing tools. 

Power E*Trade trading platform

Using E*Trade one can trade on interactive charts and make use of technical pattern recognition tool, snapshot. 

The Power E*Trade platform is also available in the form of a mobile app that helps you trade on the go. 

 Power E*Trade mobile app

The mobile app lets you view interactive charts, spot potential trades, and access technical studies.

Account Types at E*Trade 

  1. Brokerage Account
  2. Retirement IRA accounts – Traditional, Roth & Rollover
  3. Managed Portfolios – Core, Blend and Dedicated
  4. Retirement Account for small businesses
  5. Bank Accounts – Premium Savings, Max-Rate, E*Trade Checking Account

For securities trading, you can use brokerage and managed portfolio accounts. 

Account TypeParticulars
Brokerage Account Is for individual active traders $0 minimums and $0 fees on stock, ETF investments. 
Managed Portfolio AccountsYou get personalized investment, through financial consultant’s advisory. 
Account minimums ranging from $500 to $250,000. 

Minimum Investment 

The E*Trade brokerage accounts can be opened with a zero minimum.

On the other hand, managed portfolio accounts require the following minimums:

Managed Portfolio Account Minimums
Core Portfolio Account$500
Blend Portfolio Account$25,000
Dedicated Portfolio Account$150,000
Fixed Income Portfolio Account$250,000

Fee & Charges 

ParticularsFees & Charges
Stock and Option TradesFor 0-29 trades per qtr – $0For 30+ trades per qtr – $0
Option contract feesFor 0-29 trades per qtr – $0.65For 30+ trades per qtr – $0.50
Broker assisted trades$25
ETFFor 0-29 trades per qtr – $0For 30+ trades per qtr – $0
Bonds (online secondary trades)$1 per bond (minimum $10, maximum $250)
Futures contract commission$1.50 per contract, per side
Commission for Bitcoin futures$2.50 per contract, per side
No load, no transaction fee Mutual Funds$0
Transaction fee fund$19.99
Index option feeUp to $0.51 per contract depending on the index

Margin Rates 

Margin Amount and margin rates charged at E*Trade is under:

Margin AmountE*Trade Margin Rates
Less than $10,00010.25%
$10,000 to $24,999.9910.00%
$25,000 to $49,999.999.75%
$50,000 to $99,999.999.25%
$100,000 to $249,999.998.75%
$250,000 to $499,999.998.25%
$500,000 to $999,999.997.75%
Above $1,000,0006.75%

What I liked about E*Trade

  • $0 minimums
  • $0 fee for stock, options and ETF
  • Power E*Trade platform
  • Linked E*Trade Savings Bank Account

What I didn’t like about E*Trade

  • $49.99 early redemption fee for mutual funds 
  • $25 charges for broker-assisted trades
  • High 10.25% margin rate for $10,000 balance

Best For 

E*Trade is best for investors looking for multiple services that include; trading, banking, investing (bonds, ETF, retirement & mutual funds) along with research advisory.    

Fidelity Review

Apart from being one of the largest asset managers, Fidelity is also a large size investment broker that operates as a full-service discount brokerage. Fidelity manages over $8.3 trillion in total customer assets. 

Based out of Boston, Fidelity offers trading in assets like stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, options, bonds, certificates of deposits, precious metals and international investments. They have 30.6 million brokerage accounts. 

Investors can reach Fidelity on phone or through one of the 190 Investor Centers in the United States. They have 10 regional offices too. 

The USP of Fidelity:

  • $0 commissions
  • Brokerage & Cash management account
  • Wide range of account types for all needs
  • A large number of mutual funds 

Investment Support 

Fidelity offers a cash management account that can be combined with the brokerage account. The cash management account yields 0.82% APY and can be used as an alternative to the bank account. 

The cash management account does not require a minimum balance, has no account fees and is covered up to $1.25 million under FDIC.  

Trading Platform

Fidelity Desktop Trading Platform

Fidelity offers desktop, online (web) and mobile-based trading platforms. 

Active Trader Pro is the downloadable desktop trading software for PC and Mac. The platform comes with 45 market filters with an option to spot trading opportunities in real-time.

One can create and save up to 50 orders on the platform. 

Fidelity mobile app

The Fidelity mobile app helps you trade anytime, anywhere. The best part is that the Fidelity app can be accessed on Amazon Echo devices so that you can ask Alexa for the stock quotes. 

The app is compatible with Apple iOS, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Android, Amazon devices and Google Assistant. 

One can monitor markets, manage the portfolio and also deposit a check using the app.   

Account Types

Fidelity offers a host of investment management services like:

  • Investing & trading
  • Different IRA account for retirement 
  • Savings for education, disability & medical expenses 
  • Managed accounts
  • Charitable giving
  • Estate planning
  • Annuities and  life insurance

For investing and trading you can go for a brokerage account without any advisory or a managed account with Robo & personalized advisory.

Minimum Investment 

Investing and Trading Accounts

Account TypeMinimums
Brokerage Account$0
Brokerage and Cash Management Account$0

Managed Accounts

Account TypeMinimums
Fidelity Go$0
Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice$25,000
Portfolio Advisory Services Accounts$50,000–$250,000
Fidelity Equity-Income Strategy$200,000
Fidelity International Equity Strategy$200,000

Fee & Charges 

ParticularsFees & Charges
Stock (All online U.S. equity trades)$0
Options$0
Option contract fees$0.65 per contract
ETFs (All online ETF trades)$0
New Issues – Bonds and CDs$0
Secondary Issues – Bonds and CDs$1.00 per bond
U.S. Treasury: Auctions and secondary issues representative assistedA flat fee of $19.95
Fidelity mutual funds$0
No Transaction Fee (NTF) non-Fidelity funds$0 on purchase. $49.95 on redemption if held less than 60 days
Transaction Fee non-Fidelity funds:$49.95 per purchase$0 on redemption

Margin Rates

The margin rate depends on the outstanding margin balance. But you should keep in mind that lower balances attract higher margin rates. 

Debit BalanceMargin Rate
$0 to $24,9999.325%
$25,000 to $49,9998.825%
$50,000 to $99,9997.875%
$100,000 to $249,9997.825%
$250,000 to $499,9997.575%
$500,000 to $999,9995.250%
$1 million+5.000%

Advisory Fees for Managed Accounts

Account TypeAdvisory Fee
Fidelity GoNo more than a 0.35% advisory fee
Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice0.50% advisory fee
Portfolio Advisory Services Accounts0.50%–1.50%
Fidelity Equity-Income Strategy0.30% – 0.90%
Fidelity International Equity Strategy0.30% – 0.90%

What I liked about Fidelity

  • Wide range of investment assets
  • $0 commissions on stock, options, ETF and mutual funds
  • Mobile app compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Brokerage & Cash management account
  • 5% margin rate on $1 million+ balances

What I didn’t like about Fidelity

  • $49.99 early redemption fee for NTF mutual funds 
  • Higher margin rates on low balances
  • No futures or crypto trading

Best For 

Fidelity is best for self-directed investors with a large number of investment options and mobile platforms integrated with Alexa and Google Assistant. 

Common Feature between E*Trade and Fidelity

Similarities between both the brokers are under: 

ParticularsE*TradeFidelity
Brokerage Account Minimum$0$0
Trading Fees
On Stock $0$0
On ETF$0$0
Option trades$0$0

Difference between E*Trade and Fidelity

ParticularsE*TradeFidelity
BrokerFull serviceFull service
Trading AssetsStocks, ETFs, mutual funds, futures, bonds, and optionsStocks, mutual funds, ETFs, options, bonds, fractional shares
Helps invest inParticipate in initial public offerings (IPOs) and U.S.Treasury auctionsCertificate of deposits, precious metals and international investments
Based out of VirginiaBoston
Branch Offices30 local branch office190 Investor Centers in the United States
Account TypesBoth taxable and traditional IRA and Roth IRATaxable Accounts
Different IRA account for Charitable giving
Estate planning
Annuities and Life Insurance
Fees/ Commission E*TradeFidelity
Option contract fees$0.50-$0.65 per contract, depending on trading volume$0.65 per contract
Futures contract commission$1.50 per contract, per sideN.A.
On Mutual Fund$19.99$0 (On Fidelity mutual funds)
No Transaction Fee (NTF) non-Fidelity funds$19.99$0 on purchase
Transaction Fee non-Fidelity funds$19.99$49.95 per purchase
Broker Assisted Trades$25$19.95 with Fidelity representative on certain assets
Margin AmountE*Trade Margin RatesFidelity Margin Rates
Less than $10,00010.25%9.325%
$10,000 to $24,999.9910.00%9.325%
$25,000 to $49,999.999.75%8.825%
$50,000 to $99,999.999.25%7.875%
$100,000 to $249,999.998.75%7.825%
$250,000 to $499,999.998.25%7.575%
$500,000 to $999,999.997.75%5.250%
Above $1,000,0006.75%5.000%
Account FeesE*TradeFidelity
International Wire fee$25up to 3% of the principal
Domestic Wire fee$25$0
Trading PlatformsPower E*TRADE app
Power E*TRADE Platform (web)
Active Trader Pro (desktop platform)
Fidelity Mobile
Robo AdvisorYes, Robo-advisorYes, Robo & 1 to 1advisor
Research OfferingsIn house reports, expert analysis, stock recommendations and investment ideasIn house reports, customized research and investment ideas
Trader education Lots of articles, videos, and webinars Fidelity Learning Centre with resources on investment, trading and personal finance. 
Fidelity also hosts events and webinars
Customer SupportLive chat
Phone contact
E-mail, phone, virtual assistants and investor centers

Why You Might Prefer E*Trade

Both the brokerages have similar lines of product offerings and services for common traders. But there are some segments that you only have with E*Trade like trading in futures. 

Apart from that if you trade heavily in option then you might like to go with E*Trade to take advantage of a $0.50 contract fee which is lower than $0.65 charged by Fidelity. 

Why You Might Prefer Fidelity

Fidelity offers more channels for customers to reach (190 investor centers in the US) in case of trouble and personal interactions.

You stand to benefit from Fidelity’s $0 in-house mutual fund offerings. Fidelity offers more account types and is comparatively a better option for people looking for a vast array of mutual funds on $0 commissions. 

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