Review of E*TRADE Bank’s Checking and Savings Accounts

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Updated on Tuesday, December 1, 2020

E*TRADE Bank’s checking account options

Max-Rate Checking

The Max-Rate Checking account pays interest and carries a high, but waivable, monthly maintenance fee.

Deposit

APY

$0 - $4,999.99

0.05%

$5,000 - $49,999.99

0.05%

$50,000+

0.05%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $15; can be waived with a direct deposit of $200 or more per month; a $50,000 balance in combined E*TRADE bank deposits; the execution of 30 or more stock or option trades per quarter; or a combined balance of $50,000 or more in linked E*TRADE Securities, E*TRADE Bank accounts and employee stock plan accounts.
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: Unlimited ATM fee rebates nationwide
  • Overdraft fee: $25; customers can sign up for the bank’s Coverdraft Protection, which transfers money from a linked account to cover overdrafts and costs $5 per transfer.

The Max-Rate Checking account is the bank’s primary checking account for customers seeking a more traditional checking account. The monthly maintenance fee is high but can be waived easily by most customers. The Max-Rate Checking account offers a number of free services, from mobile and online banking to eStatements and a debit card. This checking account pays interest all the way down to the first penny deposited. There are no ATM fees with this account, but if an ATM owner outside of E*TRADE’s ATM network does happen to charge you a fee, you’ll also be reimbursed nationwide, with no limit.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on E*TRADE Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

E*TRADE Checking

This account is the most basic offering at E*TRADE Bank. It charges no fees but pays no interest.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $25; customers can sign up for the bank’s Coverdraft Protection, which transfers money from a linked account to cover overdrafts and costs $5 per transfer.

This checking account is a simple, no-frills account designed for those who want to avoid monthly fees. Even as a basic account, this checking account includes the following features:

  • Free, unlimited online bill payments
  • Free ATM/Visa debit card
  • Free initial checkbook order
  • Optional Coverdraft overdraft protection
  • Unlimited debit and check transactions
  • Online images of cleared and deposited checks

 

How to open E*TRADE Bank’s checking accounts

All E*TRADE accounts can be opened online, over the phone or through mail. As the bank is primarily internet-based, the online application process is fast and intuitive. To open an account online, pick the type of account you’d like and then follow the instructions on the secure online application form. You can fund your account instantly online, or you can mail in a check after you open your account.

To open an account by phone, call E*TRADE at 1-800-ETRADE-1 (1-800-387-2331).

To open an account by mail, you can download an application from the firm’s website.

For all types of applications, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Date of birth
  • Residential street address
  • Government-issued ID or military ID
  • Social Security number

For online applications, you also must certify that you are not subject to backup withholding by the IRS. If you are, you must download and complete a paper application.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on E*TRADE Bank’s secure website

magnifying glass

How E*TRADE’s checking accounts compare

E*TRADE Bank has a limited number of checking account options that essentially fall into “basic” and “standard” categories. The no-frills E*TRADE Checking account is an acceptable option for those looking for a no-cost, low-service account, as it still provides online and mobile services and ATM access.

Customers looking for an interest-bearing checking account will have to select the Max-Rate Checking account, which could subject them to a fairly hefty monthly fee. However, that fee can be easily sidestepped.

One of the main benefits of the Max-Rate Checking account is its ATM fee structure. In addition to charging no ATM fees of its own, the bank reimburses Max-Rate customers an unlimited number of times for ATM fees charged by other operators nationwide.

The one downside of the Max-Rate Checking account is that it doesn’t pay max rates. In fact, even at the highest interest rate tier, Max-Rate checking pays about a third of the national average rate. When compared with the top checking account rates available nationwide, Max-Rate Checking isn’t anywhere close.

E*TRADE Bank’s savings account options

E*TRADE Premium Savings Account

This is a simple, straightforward online savings account with high rates.

Deposit

APY

$0 - $4,999.99

0.05%

$5,000 - $49,999.99

0.05%

$50,000 - $99,999.99

0.05%

$100,000 - $499,999.99

0.05%

$500,000+

0.05%

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $0
  • ATM fee refund: None
  • Overdraft fee: $25; no Coverdraft Protection available

While the E*TRADE Premium Savings account is the only savings account offered by the bank, it packs its best rates. Although the bank divides the account into five interest-paying tiers, currently all tiers pay the same rate, right down to the smallest deposits.

In addition to high rates paid at every interest tier, the account has no minimum opening deposit and no ATM charges.

As a savings account, the Premium Savings account is subject to the same federal restrictions as every other savings or money market account; specifically, you’re limited to six transfers or withdrawals every calendar month. If you exceed this limit, the bank may convert your savings account into a checking account, close the account or limit your ability to make transfers or withdrawals.

Savings accounts offer free online transfers between external or internal accounts.

How to open an E*TRADE savings account

All E*TRADE accounts can be opened online, via phone or via mail. As the bank is primarily internet-based, the online application process is fast and intuitive. To open an account online, pick the type of account you’d like and then follow the instructions on the secure online application form. You can fund your account instantly online, or you can mail in a check after you open your account.

To open an account by phone, call E*TRADE at 1-800-ETRADE-1 (1-800-387-2331).

To open an account by mail, you can download an application from the firm’s website.

For all types of applications, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Date of birth
  • Residential street address
  • Government-issued ID or military ID
  • Social Security number

For online applications, you must also certify that you are not subject to backup withholding by the IRS. If you are, you must download and complete a paper application.

SEE DETAILS Secured

on E*TRADE Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

magnifying glass

How E*TRADE’s savings account compares

E*TRADE’s Premium Savings lives up to its name, paying a very high interest rate. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better rate at nearly any major bank. However, the Premium Savings Account offers a rate that is lower than the nation’s top-paying online savings accounts.

A key benefit of the savings account is that it pays its high rate on all balances, meaning you don’t need to be a wealthy customer to earn the bank’s best rates.

Overall review of E*TRADE Bank’s products

If you’re looking for a diverse product line, E*TRADE Bank is probably not your best option. However, the bank does offer the basics when it comes to both savings and checking accounts. This is in line with the bank’s stated mission to service the basic banking needs of its brokerage customers.

The standout in the limited banking lineup is the firm’s Max-Rate Savings product. Although held back by a moderately high fee that can take a little doing to avoid, the rate it pays is worth the effort. You’ll get far more in interest with the Max-Rate Savings account than you will at the average bank, and the rate approaches the best available national rate as well. For existing E*TRADE customers, that makes the Max-Rate Savings account a no-brainer for those needing easy access to a high-rate savings account. Other customers may want to seek a bank with more features and benefits or a more diversified product line.