Investing

What Is E*Trade Pro, And What Are The Benefits?

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If you’ve been looking to become a professional stock trader from the privacy of your own home, you might have heard of E*Trade Pro. Chances are though, you’re having trouble actually finding any details about it, what it is, and what features it boasts. There’s a reason for that.

That’s why we looked into E*Trade Pro, its replacement, and everything you need to know about it. 

E*Trade Pro has been an industry favorite among at-home traders for years with a huge array of tools, customizations, and everything a trader needs to feel like they’re actually on the floor of the NYSE. If you are able to qualify for the program and jump through the hoops to get it, you’re in for a treat with E*Trade Pro.

Why Are We Talking About This?

Share Prices Of Consumer Companies Pushes Dow Jones Industrials Average Sharply Higher
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You can feel like you’re actually on the trading floor with E*Trade Pro.

It’s not easy to find E*Trade Pro, and unless you heard about it from someone else, you might not ever learn it exists. That’s why we’re shining a spotlight on it today.

Our modern economy is slowly moving toward a world in which consumers don’t actually own anything. Everything is commoditized and everything is rented or licensed. The only way consumers can learn about what is happening is if others educate them and prepare them for what is happening. E*Trade Pro is only one of the latest examples of large corporations taking away products in favor of a worse product that earns them more money. 

Background on E*Trade

Source: Original screenshot by Aaron Webber
An image of the E*Trade mobile app which is the default way to trade with E*Trade. Power E*Trade and E*Trade Pro are different platforms.

E*Trade is an online trading platform launched in 1991 that quickly gained popularity because it allowed everyday people to access the stock market without a broker or paper trade orders. It continued to grow until newer digital-first trading platforms entered the market that didn’t charge commissions or account fees. Following the lead of other large, traditional brokers, E*Trade also eliminated its commissions on trades and account fees in order to remain competitive. It now has over five million customers and manages around $360 billion in assets. You can read our full E*Trade review here.

In 2020 E*Trade was acquired by Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), which was the beginning of the end for E*Trade Pro. Shortly after the acquisition, Morgan Stanley began integrating E*Trade into its own financial ecosystem which included adding services and features while eliminating others. For example, you can now have a debit card attached to your E*Trade account or sign up for E*Trade’s Premium Savings Account which pays much more interest on your money than usual savings accounts.

What is E*Trade Pro?

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E*Trade Pro was designed from the ground up to be the ultimate at-home trading experience. So why don’t they promote it? That’s a mystery.

E*Trade offers three ways to access the financial markets: the normal E*Trade platform available on web browsers or the app on smartphones, Power E*Trade which is available as a separate app or on the website, and E*Trade Pro which is a downloadable desktop program. You can read more about how to use E*Trade here.

E*Trade Pro used to be the definitive way to browse the markets and execute trades, but the acquisition by Morgan Stanley has since pushed it to the sideline and even removed it from the website so only those who know what it is and where to find it can actually use it. While it is still available, neither Morgan Stanley nor E*Trade advertise this fact.

In order to get access to E*Trade Pro you first need to qualify for it and then you need to request access to the download link from E*Trade’s customer service. 

To qualify for E*Trade Pro you need to complete over 30 trades every quarter and maintain that quantity of trades while you have the program. However, in order to actually use the platform, you need access to live market data which requires that you maintain a minimum account balance of $1,000.

If you meet both of these requirements, you can get in touch with E*Trade’s customer service and ask for the link to download the program and they will walk you through the rest. Besides the requirements, E*Trade Pro is free to use with no fees to access it.

E*Trade Pro gives traders access to many market and analysis tools from the comfort of their own desktops. These include access to live Bloomberg TV for free, a list of market movers, watch lists, economic calendars, sales windows, market depth and Level II quotes, customizable charts, money transfer functionality, options chains and tools, futures chains and tools, margin tools, and much, much more. 

Users can even customize the look and layout of the program, choosing between a dark theme, a light theme, or a market trader theme. Each theme can be customized and saved. Users can customize the layouts of the windows and switch between their saved layouts whenever they want to set up their in-home trading floor to match the office of their dreams.  

As mentioned earlier, you will need access to real-time market data in order to actually make the most use of E*Trade Pro. Level I data for equities and options is free for non-professional users, and a subscription to the NYSE ArcaBook equities Level 2 data is also free. However, users will need to pay a monthly subscription fee for NYSE OpenBook equities Level 2 data. As of April 2024, the fee for this subscription is $15.00 per month.

Once you have E*Trade Pro up and running, you will have access to all the charts and tools you could ever dream of. In fact, many professionals who use E*Trade prefer to use E*Trade Pro over Power E*Trade because of its increased functionality and customizability.

In the full-screen chart window, users have access to over 120 technical studies, 30 drawing tools, comparison options, three company events to select, and six chart styles. 

The functionality of E*Trade Pro goes well beyond what we can reasonably cover in this short article, but suffice it to say that professional traders have loved it and continue to love it. If you are able to get access to the program and are looking to enhance your in-home trading, you can’t go wrong with E*Trade Pro.

Keep in mind, of course, that E*Trade Pro gives you access to all the same markets and tradeable assets as regular E*Trade. There are no things you can trade on only one or the other. This means you won’t be able to trade cryptocurrency, digital assets, and some international stocks and assets. It is the market data, tools, and customizability that really set it apart from the competition, and even other E*Trade platforms. 

So why does E*Trade prefer to promote Power E*Trade over E*Trade Pro? By every measure, it seems like a terrible decision to push an inferior product over an established fan-favorite. On this decision, E*Trade and Morgan Stanley have both been unusually quiet. Professional traders and industry veterans complain about the confusing decision, with many suggesting Morgan Stanley is trying to downplay the software and slowly phase it out in favor of its own software and online-only platform. There are many reasons why it might choose to do so, but until either Morgan Stanley or E*Trade comes out with a statement regarding the future and fate of E*Trade Pro, we may never know.

If you’re curious about any other part of the E*Trade platform, check out this page: a regularly updated list of all our E*Trade guides, news coverage, and lists of benefits.

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