How to use E*TRADE
See how E*TRADE can help you take control of your investments online. Watch this three-minute video to get a tour of our most popular features, and read the article below for details on how to get started. Big, expensive broker not required.
1. Open an account and fund it.
First, choose what kind of account you want to open, then fill out the application online. E*TRADE offers a number of different accounts, including:
- Brokerage accounts. You can establish a standard brokerage account, Coverdell Education Savings Account, or custodial account for the benefit of a minor.
- Retirement accounts. Choices include traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or rollover IRA.
- Managed portfolios. If you’re looking for fee-based professional investment management, E*TRADE offers four choices: Core Portfolios, Blend Portfolios, Dedicated Portfolios, and Fixed Income Portfolios.
- Small business retirement accounts. These tax-advantaged retirement plans are designed for self-employed people, as well as small business owners and employees. Account types include Individual or Roth Individual 401(k), Simple IRA, SEP IRA, Profit-Sharing Plan, or Investment-Only (Non-Custodial) Account.
There are four ways to fund your E*TRADE account:
- Transfer money online. This free service lets you move money between E*TRADE accounts and from outside financial institutions. Transfers take up to three business days.
- Wire transfer. Transfers are typically completed on the same business day.
- Transfer an account. Available for brokerage accounts only, this service transfers cash and securities from an account at another institution to E*TRADE. It takes 10 or more business days.
- Mail a check. This method takes five business days.
2. Create an investing plan.
E*TRADE suggests that a well-balanced investing plan should be based on five simple principles:
- Understanding risk & reward
- Choosing the right investments
- Rebalancing to stay on track
- Sticking to your plan
How do you create a well-balanced plan? The E*TRADE website offers a number of tools and resources designed to help investors:
- Analyze a portfolio
- Create an asset allocation
- Diversify a portfolio
- Build a retirement plan
- Learn more about investing and the markets
3. Find investment ideas.
Once you’ve completed your plan, the next step is to find the individual investments that match your plan and your goals. Here, E*TRADE provides:
- A large selection of investment choices. You can choose from tens of thousands of stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, bonds, options, and other investment vehicles.
- Tools and screeners. These are tools designed to help you narrow down the vast number of potential investments and find specific choices that match your plan and the criteria that you set.
- Market data. If you want to dig deeper into individual stocks or funds, you can get real-time price quotes, and use a range of customizable charts and risk management tools.
- Free independent research. Access to recommendations and ratings from a variety of independent analysts is included with an E*TRADE account. These resources can be used to find potential investments or compare with your own ideas and research.
Investors have 24/7 access to screeners, charts, research and the the other E*TRADE tools, so you can do much of your investing activity on whatever schedule you prefer.
4. Execute your trades.
You enter orders using E*TRADE’s online trading ticket, which provides a variety of order types. Your portfolio updates in real time, so you can immediately check the effect of your trades or of market changes.
You can also place trades using the E*TRADE Mobile app for iOS and Android, which supports basic trades, as well as advanced order types and even multi-leg options orders.
5. Monitor your accounts and assets.
When you log on, the Complete View page shows all your E*TRADE accounts and assets on one screen, providing an overview of all your investments. By clicking on individual items, you can dig deeper into the details of your accounts and the assets you hold, including performance over time, the latest news, and relevant analyst research.
You can also keep tabs on your accounts, or even manage your cash, when you’re on the move using the E*TRADE Mobile app.
6. Watch the markets.
E*TRADE provides tools and resources for keeping tabs on the markets or tracking individual stocks, bonds, and funds that aren’t currently in your portfolio. These include:
- Watch lists. Using this tool, you can track the pricing, performance, and news related to investments you're interested in. It’s even possible to create sample portfolios and watch how they perform.
- Smart alerts. You can set smart alerts to notify you when a stock, fund, or other investment crosses a price threshold you specify.
- Mobile alerts. These are notifications sent to your smartphone about pricing highs and lows, movements in the value of your portfolio, and changes to your account.
- Market news and commentary. The E*TRADE platform provides access to multiple financial and business news sources, including live Bloomberg TV.2 News is also available via E*TRADE Mobile.
7. Get help and guidance.
For fast answers, E*TRADE's Online Service Center may be the best place to start. It includes FAQs, applications, and request forms, plus you can send a message directly to E*TRADE Customer Service.
E*TRADE also offers access to professional Financial Consultants who are available to provide help by phone, by email, or in person at an E*TRADE branch.
Read to get started? Your first step is to open an account.