Frequently asked questions

Stocks, Options, and Margin

At E*TRADE from Morgan Stanley, we make it easy to trade stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, and more. View more basic information on researching and entering trade orders. Watch our platform demos, to see how simple we make it.

Yes, you can trade Over-the-Counter (OTC) equity securities in your brokerage account. Typically these securities are either lower-priced or ADRs (American Depository Receipts) and may be thinly traded, which tends to increase price volatility and may impair your ability to buy or sell within a reasonable period of time without adversely impacting execution price. Additionally, OTC equity securities may be subject to different trading rules and trade on systems and venues different than exchange-listed securities. You may encounter significant delays in executions, reports of executions, and updating of quotations in OTC equity securities. Although market data relating to OTC equity securities may update, displayed pricing information and other OTC equity securities market data may not be current at any given point in time. OTC securities for which the issuer fails to make current financial and other information publicly available, is insolvent, is under regulatory investigation or suspension, or is otherwise not in compliance with public company reporting requirements may not be available on the E*TRADE platform or may become restricted from trading on E*TRADE.

An option is a derivative financial instrument based on the value of an underlying security. An options contract provides the owner the right to purchase or sell the underlying security at a certain price and before a certain day. To get started trading options, you need to first upgrade to an options-enabled account. Or if you haven't yet opened an E*TRADE brokerage account, get started now.

Learn more about options trading.

Important Note: Options transactions are intended for sophisticated investors and are complex, carry a high degree of risk, and are not suitable for all investors. For more information, please read the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options prior to applying for an account. An options investor may lose the entire amount of their investment in a relatively short period of time.

Yes. Once you are approved for margin trading you can borrow against the assets in your brokerage account. When you borrow on margin, you pay interest on the loan until it is repaid. E*TRADE offers some of the most competitive margin interest rates in the industry. The minimum balance required for a margin account is $2,000.

Learn more about margin trading.

Margin calls may be triggered by market fluctuations, maintenance requirement changes, option exercises and assignments, interest charges, or other events. You may hold other offsetting positions, which may alleviate a margin call. Margin call due dates vary by situation, but may need to be resolved immediately, by depositing funds, depositing securities, or liquidating a position. Please note, the firm can sell your securities without contacting you.

View initial margin requirements.

View maintenance margin requirements

ETFs & Mutual Funds

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are baskets of stocks or other securities designed to track a market, industry, or trading strategy.  This means an index ETF attempts to match, not outperform, the market.

Learn more about ETFs.

Yes. E*TRADE offers nearly every exchange-traded fund sold, that you can buy and sell without paying trading commissions. Learn more about ETFs.

Note: The fund's prospectus contains its investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information and should be read and considered carefully before investing. For a current fund prospectus, visit the Exchange-Traded Fund Center at

Yes. E*TRADE offers more than 6,000 leading mutual funds. Learn more about mutual funds.

Note: The fund's prospectus contains its investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses, and other important information and should be read and considered carefully before investing. For a current mutual fund prospectus, visit the Mutual Fund Center at


To trade futures, you must have a margin-enabled brokerage account or eligible IRA account. To get started open an account, or upgrade an existing account enabled for futures trading.

E*TRADE takes the protection of your assets very seriously. In order to ensure we are providing our customers with available financial safeguards, the Firm will only keep assets in the Futures account that are needed to satisfy the margin requirement of an existing futures position. Funds not required for futures margin will be automatically moved back to your linked brokerage or IRA account where they are given SIPC or FDIC insurance.  

If your linked margin brokerage account already has sufficient funds, there is no need to make additional transfers to separately fund futures trading. The minimum margin requirement for futures positions held overnight will be automatically transferred to your E*TRADE futures account, including commission and fees, and any deficiency funds required to satisfy margin calls. Conversely, any excess margin and available cash will be automatically transferred back to your margin brokerage account where SIPC protection is available.

Please note: The above applies only to linked margin brokerage accounts at E*TRADE. For unlinked E*TRADE accounts, there is no automatic transfer of minimum margin requirements or deficiency funding. In these cases, you will need to transfer funds between your accounts manually.

There is no minimum funding requirement for futures. The IRA account would need to maintain $25,000 minimum equity.7

Each futures trade is $1.50 (per side, per contract, plus exchange fees), excluding cryptocurrency futures trades, which are $2.50 (per side, per contract, plus exchange fees).5 View our pricing.

E*TRADE offers 24/6 access to over 60 futures products listed on CME Group, ICE U.S. and CFE.  View more information on our futures product offerings and individual contract specifications. 

If a futures position is held overnight, customers must margin their futures account with 100% of exchange minimum margin requirements. Futures account intraday margining for all products except Bitcoin is 50% of initial margin requirements. These requirements can be increased at any time.

Eligible futures IRAs are set to 200% of initial requirements, and minimum equity is $25k at all times.6

Please review the Contract Specifications. Note: Information furnished is taken from sources E*TRADE believes are accurate. E*TRADE is not responsible for any errors or omissions. To confirm any item in this schedule, please contact the Futures Trade Desk 877-553-8887.

E*TRADE currently absorbs all CME Group and CFE quote fees for non-professional clients.  ICE U.S market data fees are passed through to clients.

Wedbush Securities, Inc.

Futures traders at E*TRADE may trade BTC-CME Bitcoin Futures (/BTC) and Mciro BTC-CME Bitcoin Futures (/MBT). Learn more

Bitcoin is what is known as a cryptocurrency—a digital currency secured through cryptography, or codes that cannot be read without a key. Bitcoin is the most popular of several cryptocurrencies.

Learn more about bitcoin.


An IPO, or initial public offering, is the process by which a company lists and offers its shares for sale to the public.

To see current IPOs:

  • Log onto your E*TRADE account at
  • Hover over 'Trade'
  • Select 'IPOs & Other New Issues'
  • Select the 'Equity Offerings' tab to see the list of available offerings
  • To learn more about an offering and view the preliminary prospectus, select the company name

There are certain regulatory restrictions as to which customers may participate in an IPO. For example, FINRA rules prohibit "restricted persons" (certain persons associated with the financial services industry) from participating in the purchase of new issue offerings. However, any eligible customer who completes and passes an investor profile may submit a conditional offer to buy for an IPO.

To apply to participate in an IPO, customers need to meet the following initial criteria:

  • Be a U.S. resident
  • Have an active E*TRADE account
  • Complete the Investor profile questionnaire in order to determine whether or not an account is eligible to participate in a particular offering

Eligible account types

  • Individual
  • Joint
  • IRAs

Please view our full IPO FAQ page for additional information on how to participate.

Employees and all other account types are NOT eligible to participate in our equity new issue offerings.

The first step in the IPO process is the Investor Profile Questionnaire. Customers will need to complete an Investor Profile for the account through which they would like to participate in an offering. The Investor Profile will determine whether or not an account is eligible for participation in a particular offering based on a number of factors including investment experience, objectives, residency, financial background, and affiliations with the issuing company or other financial institutions. Due to regulatory requirements, all accounts deemed eligible to participate are required to access and acknowledge the prospectus prior to submitting a conditional offer to buy for an offering. The prospectus contains important information about the issuing company and the offering.

E*TRADE will make an exception for a client with visual impairment to complete and submit "offline" (e.g. with the help of the Customer Service team) any and all required materials, documents, etc. related to the new issues process. Eligibility to participate will still be governed by the steps listed above. Further, eligibility does not guarantee that a customer will receive an allocation of shares.

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