Compare E-Trade and Other Top Online Brokers

The process of evaluating trading brokers for you to sign up with is not as difficult as you may think. First of all, there are several very solid choices to put on your short list of brokerages to review.

These include the big names of E-Trade, Scottrade and TD Ameritrade. It may include lesser known but highly rated brokers like TradeKing or optionsXpress.

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It may also include the online services of some of the big brokerage houses like Fidelity and Charles Schwab. While there are definitely differences with each of these, you can be confident that choosing from any broker on this list is a safe bet.

E-Trade is probably the biggest name of all the online brokerages.

More than any other brand, they have maintained advertising campaigns over the years with television, print and online ads, among others. And they are a top-tier broker by any standard you may use.

E-Trade consistently rates highly in terms of customer service, research quality, trading platform and tools, and in other categories.

That is why they are the choice of experienced traders and investors. But these high service levels come at a price, with E-Trade being toward the higher end of cost when you compare them to the grouping of brokers listed above.

When doing your research, it is important for you to think about the kind of trader you are, or will be. If you are looking for information on how to choose your broker, you are likely a beginning trader or toward the new end of your trading career.

New traders tend to start basic, so they won’t be using the most sophisticated tools that are available from some of these brokers. And new traders haven’t found their successful trading formula yet.

So there is a learning curve period that they must progress through that is characterized by smaller trades (with fewer shares) and lots of buy and sell orders. So cost can be a particularly important consideration as you try to maintain your profit margins in this situation.

But here is the important question for you when evaluating who will be your online broker. First, of all the strengths and weaknesses of these brokers, which are most important for me as a beginning trader? And second, how can I get the quality that I am looking for with the lowest possible commissions and fees?

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