Ally Invest vs E*TRADE

Choosing the best online discount broker is about more than who charges the lowest fees or commissions. When comparing Ally Invest vs E*TRADE, it is important to consider each brokerage firm’s trading platform and technology, range of investment options, research tools and reports, customer service, educational resources, and finally costs. While both E*TRADE and Ally Invest (formerly TradeKing) offer award-winning services, which online broker you pick depends on your investment goals and financial needs. Ally Invest is likely best for first-time investors looking for low fees, but E*TRADE is ideal for long-term investors who need a powerful platform and a variety of investment offerings.

Ally Invest vs E*TRADE: Trading and Account Fees

A comparison of Ally Invest’s fees versus E*TRADE’s fees undoubtedly demonstrates that Ally Invest is the lower-cost discount broker. Although both companies have a flat fee structure, Ally Invest is known to have some of the lowest fees in the industry.

ALLY INVEST:

  • Stocks and ETFs: $4.95
  • Options: $4.95 + $0.65 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $9.95
  • Broker-Assisted Orders: $20.00
  • Account Minimum: $0.00
  • IRAs: No Fees
  • IRA Account Minimum: $0.00
  • Inactivity fee is waived for accounts with $2,500.

E*TRADE:

  • Stocks and ETFs: $6.95
  • Options: $6.95 + $0.75 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $19.99
  • Broker-Assisted Orders: $25.00
  • Account Minimum: $500
  • IRAs: No Fees
  • IRA Account Minimum: $0.00
  • No inactivity, account maintenance or hidden fees.

Ally Invest vs E*TRADE: Features

Below is a breakdown of the pros and cons for Ally Invest and E*TRADE. While both online brokers offer a range of services, E*TRADE boasts a slight advantage in terms of investment offerings, platform and trading technology for seasoned investors. However, if international investing, commission-free ETFs and extensive research resources don’t matter to you, either brokerage firm can accommodate your stock-trading needs.

ALLY INVEST:

  • An award-winning, industry-recognized trading platform, especially for options trading.
  • Web-based platform only.
  • Free real-time quotes.
  • Access to over 12,000 mutual funds.
  • No commission-free ETFs.
  • No international investing available.
  • Excellent customer service and real-time support.
  • TradeKing Advisors offers virtual financial planning.
  • MarketGrader research reports as well as educational courses and seminars.
  • Free dividend reinvestment program.
  • Access to TradeKing Network, the best-rated online investor community.
  • Margin Rates: 7.75% to 4.00%

Trade Types

  • Stock Trading
  • Options Trading
  • Mutual Funds
  • FOREX Trading

Mobile Trading

  • iPhone and Android Apps
  • Mobile Trading Platform and Tools

E*TRADE:

  • One of the best trading platforms – flexible, user-friendly, intuitive, fast, and reliable.
  • Desktop and web-based platforms.
  • Free real-time quotes.
  • Access to over 8,000 mutual funds.
  • 110+ commission-free ETFs.
  • International investing in Europe, Asia, and Canada.
  • 24/7 customer service.
  • Managed accounts with at least $25,000 in deposits.
  • Extensive research, including 3rd-party reports and analysis (i.e. Morningstar).
  • Active traders get lower commissions.
  • Separate platforms for investors with higher balances.
  • Margin Rates: 8.44% to 3.89%

Trade Types

  • Stock Trading
  • Options Trading
  • Mutual Funds
  • FOREX Trading
  • Futures Trading

Mobile Trading

  • iPhone, iPad and Android Apps
  • Mobile Trading Platform and Tools

Promotions

Whether you decide to open an account with TradeKing or E*TRADE, remember to take advantage of their current promotions to earn a cash bonus or free trades.

ALLY INVEST:

  • Switch to Ally Invest and Get Up To $150 Back

E*TRADE:

  • Up to $2,500 Cash Bonus & 60 Days of Free Trades
  • Up to $2,500 with an E*Trade IRA Account

Margin Rates

If you trade on margin for your portfolio, then margin rates can affect your investment returns.

ALLY INVEST:

  • Under $25K: 7.75%
  • $25K-$49K: 7.75%
  • $50K-$99K: 6.75%
  • $100K-$249K: 5.50%
  • $250K-$499K: 4.50%
  • $500K-$999K: 4.00%
  • $1,000,000+: 4.00%

E*TRADE:

  • Under $25K: 8.44%
  • $25K-$49K: 7.94%
  • $50K-$99K: 7.44%
  • $100K-$249K: 6.14%
  • $250K-$499K: 5.14%
  • $500K-$999K: 4.14%
  • $1,000,000+: 3.89%

Ally Invest vs E*TRADE: Comparison Summary

Ultimately, in a comparison of E*TRADE vs Ally Invest, investors are well-served with both online discount brokers. The decision to pick either brokerage firm is a matter of personal preference and investment needs. The fact that Ally Invest does not require a minimum account balance and charges only $4.95 per stock or ETF trade makes it an excellent choice for beginners looking to invest in stocks with little money. While more expensive per trade, E*TRADE provides its customers with feature-rich trading tools and resources, including third-party investment research, that any long-term investor would find valuable.