Robinhood vs. E*TRADE: Which Should You Choose?

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Updated on Thursday, July 16, 2020

With free trades for virtually all asset classes but minimal extra trading resources or managed account services, Robinhood is for investors who do their own research and are simply looking for a place to trade. E*TRADE is for investors who want the full investment experience, including access to research and other plenty of account services. Read on to discover more about these leading investing platforms.

Robinhood vs. E*TRADE: Feature comparison

Robinhood E*TRADE
Current promotions Share of stock for new customers who are referred by an existing Robinhood account holder New accounts with a deposit of at least $5,000, may be eligible for a cash bonus, which can range from $100 to $2,500 depending on the amount deposited.
Stock trading fees
  • $0 per trade
  • $0.00 per trade
Minimum deposit to open account
  • $0 per trade
  • No account minimums
Tradable securities
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Options
  • Crypto-currency
  • Stocks
  • ETFs
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • Options
  • Futures/Commodities
Account fees (annual, transfer, inactivity)
  • $0 annual fee
  • $75 full account transfer fee
  • $0 inactivity fee
  • $0 annual fee
  • $75 full account transfer fee
  • $25 partial account transfer fee
  • $0 yearly inactivity fee
Commission-free ETFs offered
Mutual funds (no transaction fee) offered
Offers automated portfolio/robo-advisor
Account types
  • Individual taxable
  • Individual taxable
  • Roth IRA
  • Traditional IRA
  • Joint taxable
  • Rollover IRA
  • Rollover Roth IRA
  • Coverdell Education Savings Account(ESA)
  • Custodial Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA)/Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)
  • Custodial IRA
  • Solo 401(k) (for small businesses)
  • SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees)
  • Trust
  • Guardianship or Conservatorship
Ease of use
Mobile app iOS, Android iOS, Android
Customer support Email Phone, 24/7 live support, Chat, Email, 30 branch locations

Trading Fees
Amount Minimum to Open Account
Annual Fee
$0 per trade
$0 per trade
$0 annual fee
Get Started Secured

on Robinhood’s secure website

$0.00 per trade
No account minimums
$0 annual fee
Visit E*TRADE Secured

on E*TRADE’s secure website

Robinhood vs. E*TRADE: Fees & account minimums

Some brokers charge an annual or monthly fee to maintain your account. Neither Robinhood nor E*TRADE impose such a fee. And neither charges a fee if your account is inactive during the year. However, while Robinhood requires no minimum balance to open an account, E*TRADE imposes a No account minimums for its Core Portfolios.

There are zero commission fees for trading U.S. stocks or exchange traded funds (ETFs) at both Robinhood and E*TRADE. Note that E*TRADE offers users the ability to purchase mutual funds without a transaction fee, while Robinhood does not offer access to any mutual funds.

Robinhood does not currently offer professional account management services. At E*TRADE, annual fees for account management range from 0.30% to 1.25% of assets under management, depending on what services the investor chooses.

Both Robinhood and E*TRADE charges a $75 fee for a full account transfer. While Robinhood does not list a separate fee for partial account transfers, E*TRADE imposes a $25 fee for a partial transfer.

Many online brokers offer special incentives to attract investors, and these offers may vary over time. E*TRADE gives new customers $200 for a $25,000 deposit, and up to $2,500 for a deposit of $1,000,000 or more. Robinhood does not offer any special incentives currently.

Robinhood vs. E*TRADE: Tradable securities

In addition to trading stocks and bonds, both Robinhood and E*TRADE offer their customers a range of investable asset classes to choose from. At E*TRADE, the range of securities offered is wider and more diverse.

  • Mutual funds: For investors interested in the professional management that mutual funds offer, at E*TRADE you can invest in more than 4,400 mutual funds with no transaction fee. Robinhood does not offer investors access to any mutual fund products. This makes E*TRADE the clear choice for investors who want to buy mutual funds.
  • Options: An option allows an investor to sell a security at a predetermined price for a certain period of time. At Robinhood, listed option trades are free. At E*TRADE, investors can trade options at regular commission rates plus an additional fee of $0.65, which drops to $0.50 with 30 or more trades per quarter.
  • ETFs: Including ETFs in your portfolio is a great way to add an element of diversity. Robinhood offers ETF trading free of commissions. E*TRADE gives investors access to more than 250 ETFs free of commission. This makes Robinhood significantly less expensive for ETF traders.
  • Foreign exchange trading. Neither Robinhood nor E*TRADE offer access to foreign exchange trading.
  • Futures. If you decide to trade in futures you are essentially agreeing to sell a security or other asset at a set price at a predetermined time in the future. Robinhood does not make futures trading available to its investors. E*TRADE offers futures trading for $1.50 per transaction.
  • Cryptocurrency. This is another of the products that Robinhood offers free of commission. The firm offers cryptocurrency in 38 states and Washington, D.C.
    E*TRADE does not offer the ability to invest in cryptocurrency.

Robinhood vs. E*TRADE: Special features

E*TRADE offers four levels of managed account services. Core Portfolios is the company’s robo-advisor product, which offers you an automated portfolio of ETFs that are customized to your investment goals. To get started, just complete a five-minute online questionnaire, which includes information about your goals, timelines and attitudes about risk. The minimum investment is just No account minimums and the annual fee is 0.30% with no commissions.

Blended Portfolios is E*TRADE’s second level of managed accounts. Investors work with a financial consultant to tailor a portfolio that meets their needs, however you need a $25,000 minimum balance to gain access to Blended Portfolios. As of the date of publishing, annual management fees range between 0.65% and 0.90%, depending on the total amount of money you invest in the program.

E*TRADE’s third level of managed accounts, Dedicated Portfolios, includes an ongoing one-on-one relationship with a dedicated financial consultant, and it requires a $150,000 minimum investment. Annual management fees range between 0.95% and 1.25%.

Finally, E*TRADE’s Fixed Income Portfolios service offers custom, investment-grade bond portfolios, requiring a minimum balance of $250,000 and charging a blended annual advisory fee ranging from 0.35% to 0.75%.

Robinhood advantages

  • At Robinhood, investors can invest in cryptocurrency. This is not the case at many online brokers, including E*TRADE. An added advantage is that Robinhood does not charge a commission for cryptocurrency trades.
  • Robinhood has an easy-to-use website that makes trading with the firm quick and easy. You can literally be trading within minutes.

E*TRADE advantages

  • E*TRADE offers access to mutual funds, which are not available through Robinhood.
  • E*TRADE offers its clients access to solid research tools including market news, recordings and transcripts of earnings calls as well as the ability to analyze companies with fundamental stock research, technical research and bond, mutual fund and ETF research tools.
  • E*TRADE offers bonuses for new customers, while Robinhood doesn’t offer any bonuses.

Robinhood vs. E*TRADE: Which is best for you?

In the final analysis, the differences between Robinhood and E*TRADE are significant. If you are simply looking for a platform to trade stocks and other securities that you research on you own, then Robinhood is the choice for you. But if you want your brokerage firm to support your investment efforts with research, a fuller range of products, including mutual funds, and the option of access to professional management, then E*TRADE is likely to be a better option.

The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.