Reader Question: I wanted to sign up for E*trade. How much does it cost to just sign up?

Answer: E*Trade is one of the cheaper options when it comes to online investing, although it really depends on what you are investing in. E*Trade costs $9.99 per ETF, stock or option transaction. However, E*Trade charges more per mutual fund transaction ($19.95 versus $14.95 through OptionsXpress). E*Trade doesn’t charge an inactivity fee, although they do charge a maintenance fee, surcharges on penny stocks and IRA setup and annual IRA fees.

For experienced traders, E*Trade is an excellent choice. The company offers access to a vast range of mutual funds and foreign markets through a relatively simple platform, leading reviewers such as Barron’s and Smart Money to bestow multiple awards on the company over the years. With more than 2.3 million people using E*Trade, customers can be confident they have chosen a leader in the industry. Throughout its decades in the business, the company has learned a great deal about operating an online brokerage. The brokerage offers banking services, including high interest savings accounts, mortgage accounts and checking accounts. The E*Trade platform lends itself to customization for an individual investor’s unique needs. For those who make more than 150 trades per quarter and who prefer a wide variety of investment products, E*Trade is an excellent choice.

As an added bonus, E*Trade is offering free trades for 60 days and up to $600 when you sign up.