E-Trade vs Fidelity: The Best of the Best

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Online brokers like E-Trade and Fidelity make it possible to trade stocks and other securities conveniently from your home. Trading stocks, ETFs, and other assets are available without commission on both trading platforms.

You need a brokerage account and funds to begin trading. Then, with just a few clicks, you may freely navigate between several marketplaces. Plus, you may now purchase and sell tradable assets directly from your mobile device due to the proliferation of specialized trading apps. That is right, you can make a swap without waiting until you get back to your house.

E-Trade, founded in 1982, is a broker with over 3 million customers in the United States. Top-tier financial regulators such as the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) oversee its core operations. Even though E-Trade does not directly provide cryptocurrency trading, it does support trading Ether and Bitcoin futures.

Fidelity was founded in 1946 and is home to over 25 million investors. It is regulated by the US SEC and FINRA. Investors using Fidelity can buy and sell stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) without paying commissions. Fidelity offers access to 22 different stock markets worldwide for those interested in investing in overseas companies. The use of managed accounts grants accesses to automated trading services. Managed accounts from Fidelity, ranging from robo-advisory to custom-built strategies developed by industry professionals.

 

E-Trade Overview

Among the earliest American online brokerages was E-Trade. It follows a trend of 2019 in which an increasing number of online brokers now provide commission-free stock, ETF, and options trading. As an industry trailblazer, E-Trade has earned a reputation as a top platform for online options trading. It is a fantastic, all-around option for any investor, whether just starting out or already an old veteran.

Regarding online brokerage, the industry pioneer E-Trade has you covered with not one but two computer-based platforms and two fully functional mobile applications to choose from. As a pioneer in the field of online brokerage, E-Trade has developed trading systems that are both user-friendly and powerful.

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E-Trade provides access to two separate mobile applications. The Power E-Trade mobile app has interactive charts and in-depth technical analysis. The easy-to-use E-Trade mobile app lets traders monitor their portfolios and the market from anywhere.

The online broker also provides access to Core Portfolios, an automated investment management tool. To help you reach your goals over the long term, the Robo-advisor will build and monitor your investment portfolio. 

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Fidelity Overview

As one of the largest brokers in the country, Fidelity works with investors of all experience levels, from complete novices to seasoned experts and from those who choose to work independently to those who prefer highly personalized service. For many years, Fidelity has helped investors succeed by providing them with valuable insights, helpful resources, and helpful tools.

Most importantly, the company is committed to reducing its investment costs and has continued to improve its platforms in this regard. As an internet brokerage, Fidelity Investments has been expanding rapidly. In our 2019 and 2020 Best Online Brokers Awards, Fidelity’s brokerage service won the top overall rating. The business has continued to enhance essential areas of its platform while simultaneously committed to reducing the cost of investing for clients.

fidelity

Thanks to its comprehensive learning materials, Fidelity consistently earns high marks in our Best for Beginners category. The learning center provides access to various instructional resources, including articles, videos, webinars, infographics, and recorded webinars. During live sessions, you may ask questions of seasoned trainers on trading. 

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Overall Ratings
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E-Trade vs. Fidelity Service & Feature Comparison

Costs

Both sites allow you to buy and sell stocks, ETFs, and other investments without paying a commission. However, several costs must be considered before choosing a broker and starting a trading account.

When trading US equities and ETFs, both firms provide absolutely no commissions. However, because Fidelity allows you to trade on overseas markets, you may also buy international stock through them. If you invest with Fidelity, you will pay a commission that will not change no matter how the market performs. In Europe, the fee to trade stocks and ETFs is €19, but in the UK, it is just £9.

Account Types

These brokers provide a variety of trading accounts to meet the needs of virtually every investor.

Our broker comparison shows that both platforms provide brokerage accounts for individuals, couples, businesses, retirement funds (including Roth and traditional IRAs), managed portfolios, pensions, 529 plans, education savings accounts, and custodial accounts for minors. Trust and estate accounts, as well as charity giving accounts, are available from Fidelity.

Both Fidelity and E-Trade have made it easy and digital to open an account. 

Range of Investments

E-Trade and Fidelity provide access to the full range of investment options, from stocks (including shorts) and ETFs to bonds and mutual funds. However, there are a few critical distinctions beyond that. Trading in futures, futures options and Bitcoin futures is only possible on E-Trade. However, only Fidelity provides entry to foreign exchange markets and dozens of international stock exchanges. One possible deciding factor amongst brokers is the breadth of services they provide.

Starting with E-Trade, you can access asset classes, from more than 2,000 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to government and corporate bonds. Although E-Trade is convenient, it is limited to the US stock market. It does not provide access to foreign securities. That is not all, though; this broker does not facilitate trading in currencies or CFDs.

E-Trade facilitates transactions on the New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ, and all other major US stock exchanges. About 2,300 ETFs are now available to investors.

However, most US-based trading systems do not include overseas stock exchanges, making Fidelity’s worldwide stock market offering stand out. Therefore, Fidelity provides access to more than 20 stock exchanges.

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When you think about it, you might wonder why you even want to trade foreign stocks. When you diversify your holdings to include stocks from many countries, you increase the likelihood that your portfolio will be successful.

Stock exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are available via Fidelity without paying a commission. In addition, with an average expense ratio of 0.084 percent, this online broker offers some of the lowest rates in the industry.

Auto Investing 

To accommodate all investors, both Fidelity and E-Trade offer automated portfolio management. In addition, both investing sites provide their users with mobile apps, informational materials, and quick access to support staff.

If you are an investor looking to cut costs, Fidelity is your best bet. As an added bonus, the Fidelity Go account has no starting balance requirement and employs expense ratio-free mutual funds. Compared to E-Trade, the brokerage’s provision of two automatic accounts is particularly impressive.

Suppose you want to automate your finances beyond the only individual and joint brokerage accounts and IRAs. In that case, E-Trade is the way to go. Health savings accounts (HSAs) can be automated through Fidelity; however, automated custodial accounts are not an option. Suppose you are interested in trying alternative investment strategies like socially responsible investing. In that case, E-Trade may be a good fit for you.

Fidelity provides you access to two separate automated portfolios: Fidelity Go and Fidelity Personalized Planning & Advice. Since both robo-advisors used Fidelity’s own Fidelity Flex mutual funds (which have zero cost ratios and contain a mix of local and global stocks, bonds, and other investments), they are great for frugal investors.

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Retirement Accounts

Both E-Trade and Fidelity provide comparable IRA services. Among them are regular IRAs, Roth IRAs, IRAs for minors, and other accounts, as well as self-directed and automated investments.

When it comes to costs, though, Fidelity is your best option. It provides many index funds with zero-cost ratios and cheaper fees for automated and advisor-managed accounts.

However, suppose you are looking for additional customization options and capabilities for your individual retirement account (IRA). In that case, E-Trade is the way to go. Core Portfolios, the brokerage’s automatic account, is compatible with more IRA account types than Fidelity’s automated accounts are. Investors over the age of 59 1/2 can take advantage of the convenient features offered by E-Complete Trade’s IRA, such as IRA withdrawals, online bill pay, and debit card access.

Education and Research

E-Trade and Fidelity provide a respectable amount of learning materials, and both host dozens of live webinars every month. Both brokers include educational resources such as articles, tools for preparing for various stages of life, and specialized dictionaries for investors. The two host in-person gatherings (though these are on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic). In this respect, E-Trade has a modest advantage over its competitors because of its paper trading features and a more comprehensive selection of instructional content.

Under the ‘New to Investing’ option on the E-Trade webpage is a section devoted specifically to new traders. Any newcomer to online trading may click the link and get helpful video and textual information that breaks down the procedure into manageable steps.

Trading Technology

The usual website for E-Trade might be complicated owing to the two levels of navigation. However, the completely configurable Power E-Trade platform is more straightforward. All of your most-used resources are conveniently organized in one place. All platforms provide real-time streaming quotations, and you can concurrently queue up orders to be sent out in batches. Orders may be placed and monitored graphically on a chart. After acquiring OptionsHouse, a competitor broker, a few years ago, the broker brought over that company’s flagship trading platform, Power E-Trade. The highly renowned web-based platform has over one hundred technical studies and thirty drawing tools to aid traders in analyzing market activity.

Fidelity’s website has a straightforward process flow for evaluating and trading on existing investments. However, the tabs and drop-down options are not the most user-friendly. Investors who prefer a buy-and-hold strategy should have no trouble using the web-based platform. Still, they should know that quotes are 15 minutes delayed unless they subscribe to real-time quotes. Active Trader Pro’s advanced order types, technical indicators, screeners, and charts are excellent for seasoned investors and traders.

Both firms provide advanced trading systems, each with its own advantages. Active Trader Pro is Fidelity’s trading platform, whereas E-Power Trade’s E-Trade is it is own.

Mobile Apps

Easy-to-use smartphone apps are available from both E-Trade and Fidelity. With E-Trade, it is simple to switch between devices because watchlists are synchronized, and a wide variety of tradable assets (excluding fixed income) are offered. In contrast to Fidelity’s, E-mobile Trade’s app allows for conditional order types.

The Fidelity mobile app allows users to trade stocks, ETFs, options, and mutual funds. Like E-Trade, fixed income is missing from Fidelity’s mobile selection. The mobile app syncs with the desktop and online versions of the service. When placing an order, you can choose either shares or money. There is a severe lack of fundamental analysis and charting options on mobile devices.

Both apps have positive ratings in the App Store, but Fidelity has been reviewed significantly more frequently. As of this writing, Fidelity has around 1.9 million reviews, with an average rating of 4.8 stars, compared to E-4.6 Trade’s ratings from 139,300 reviews.

We concluded that either app would suffice for non-professional traders and investors. However, only E-Trade allows for conditional orders, which may be a deal breaker for frequent traders.

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Banking Features

In this respect, E-Trade stands out from Fidelity because it runs its own FDIC-insured bank, while Fidelity does not. Therefore, a bank account is made available to E-Trade clients who require centralized cash management services. The banking behemoth provides customers with three types of bank accounts: two checking and one saving.

An ATM card is included with the checking accounts. One bank account has a $15 monthly cost (which may be avoided in a few ways). Still, it reimburses customers for any and all ATM fees forever. The second checking account does not repay ATM costs but does not charge any of its own. The savings account has a monthly maintenance cost of $10, but it yields an interest rate of 2.10 percent.

Fidelity does not run its own bank, but it deposits uninvested funds in program banks covered by the FDIC. It uses as many as five per client, resulting in a generous $1,250,000 coverage (compared to $0 at E-Trade).

Fidelity offers standard brokerage accounts and specialty Cash Management Accounts, which can be linked to checking and Visa debit card services. 

Customer Service

Each brokerage firm’s customer service department has met or exceeded our expectations. The service we receive over the phone and online is typically quite good. Fidelity also has a robo chat, which E-Trade has not bought into (yet) (yet).

Over the United States, Fidelity maintains 190 physical locations. It has at least one location in the majority of states. E-trade impressed us more because of its helpful self-service options.

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My Preference: E-Trade & Fidelity Are A Close Match Up

E-Trade and Fidelity Investments have a lot going for them in the eyes of most investors: they have low commissions, a ton of valuable tools, and excellent support.

E-Trade is a great option for active traders who want to save time and money. Their three-tiered charge and commission structure is skewed in favor of more frequent traders. They can beat Fidelity’s savings rates by a wide margin and still only charge $6.99 monthly fees.

If you are serious about investing, you should try E-Trade because they provide great trading platforms and excellent asset allocation tools (for customers with sizable balances).

Traders who wish to maintain a comparable level of activity but would like access to Fidelity Investments’ sophisticated platform but do not have a quarter-million dollars to spare would find the service most suitable. Furthermore, they are ideal for traders focusing more on mutual funds due to their wide variety and extensive range of no-load funds.

Fidelity’s relatively low entrance barrier is a big bonus for first-time traders. With increased levels of automation, traders no longer have to make as many complicated decisions as those involving asset allocation. Fidelity may be the superior alternative for thrifty investors due to their cheap minimum investment and quality trading platform.

E-Trade or Fidelity Investments will provide the fundamentals you need to begin investing successfully. Know what sort of trader you want to be before deciding; the differences and benefits are relative.

FAQ

Is Fidelity A Good Brokerage?

In the United States, Fidelity is a popular online trading platform that allows users to trade or invest in stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with zero fees. It first opened its doors in 1946, serving over 26 million people today. Invest in international equities and broaden your portfolio's horizons from the convenience of your home or mobile device with Fidelity's access to 22 global stock markets
 

What is the procedure for making a stock purchase with E-Trade?

Because E-Trade is aimed at new investors, it has a dedicated website explaining how to buy and sell stocks. You may begin trading stocks once you have created a brokerage account and deposited cash. After you have learned the fundamentals of trading, you may study the market. Choose between trading on a desktop computer, a mobile device, or a tablet. The next step is to look for the ticker symbol or business name of the stock you wish to buy. Finally, the trade ticket is finished when the action, price type, duration, and quantity are entered.

Is E-Trade suitable for individual retirement accounts (IRA)?

Even while E-Trade is more advantageous for active traders, its fee-free mutual funds make it an excellent choice for passive investors trying to put money away for retirement. Besides the over 2600 fee-free mutual funds, there are over 100 commission-free ETFs.
E-Trade IRAs do not have a minimum investment requirement; however, certain mutual funds have. To invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), you must have enough money to buy one share.

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