E-Trade From Morgan Stanley Private Bank Review

GOBankingRates Score

4.8
Quick Take: According to E-Trade Bank reviews, the bank is a convenient option for existing brokerage customers. It might also appeal to other bank customers because of its fee-free accounts and lack of minimum balance requirements. Look deeper with these Morgan Stanley Private Bank reviews by category for why the financial institution earned a 4.8 GOBankingRates score.
  • APYs
    4.8
  • Benefits
    4.8
  • Products
    4.8
  • Customer Service
    4.9
How did we calculate this?

Pros

  • Convenient companion accounts if you have an E-Trade brokerage account
  • No account fees for basic checking and savings
  • Wide variety of investment options through a companion brokerage account
  • No minimum deposits for basic checking and savings

Cons

  • Low APY on interest-bearing checking account
  • Not enough additional perks over other online options

E-Trade Bank Overview

Morgan Stanley Private Bank, also known as E-Trade Bank, was formed as a companion to the E-Trade online brokerage platform. One of the pioneers in online trading, E-Trade brokerage offers a host of commission-free trading options.

E-Trade Bank offers a limited roster of checking and savings accounts as a convenience to brokerage customers who want to keep their money under the same roof. GOBankingRates cited E-Trade Bank as one of the Best Checking Accounts of 2022 in its annual rankings.

Key Features

The following four features are the strongest selling points when you choose Morgan Stanley Private Bank. 

APY

E-Trade Bank’s Premium savings account earns an impressive APY on all balance amounts with no minimums. The bank claims it’s 20 times higher than the national average, making it one of the top high-yield savings accounts. The Max Rate checking account also pays some interest, although it’s considerably less.

Benefits

One of the top benefits of banking with Morgan Stanley Private Banking is using it in conjunction with a brokerage account to facilitate rapid deposits and withdrawals. You can then borrow against the value of your assets by using a line of credit. In addition, most of the accounts have no fees or minimums. Fees overall are a bit below what you might expect out of a traditional bank, and most can be avoided. If you don’t overdraw your account, send a wire transfer or require additional services, you might be able to pay no fees at all at E-Trade Bank.

Products

Morgan Stanley Private Bank has limited account options but it’s all about quality over quantity. 

Checking Accounts

Two types of checking accounts are available at E-Trade Bank: the standard E-Trade Checking account and the enhanced Max-Rate Checking account. No minimum opening deposit is required for either account and both are FDIC-insured up to $250,000. Customers get free online bill pay service, a free debit card and unlimited debit and check transactions.

Max-Rate Checking is an interest-bearing account. Customers can access their cash at more than two million ATM locations around the world and get unlimited fee refunds at any ATM in the United States. The Max-Rate account does have a $15 monthly service fee, but it can be waived in a number of ways, including setting up direct deposits of $200 or more per month or maintaining an average monthly balance of at least $5,000.

The E-Trade Checking account has many of the same features as the Max-Rate account — including unlimited transactions and access to any ATM nationwide — but it doesn’t pay interest, and you don’t get the ATM refunds. 

Morgan Stanley Private Banking Savings Account

Besides the checking accounts mentioned, the savings account is an excellent option based on the APY of on all balances. There are no monthly maintenance fees or account minimums. FDIC protection on your savings is double that of its checking accounts at $500,000. Plus, you can transfer funds to and from your brokerage accounts practically instantly for no fee.

Customer Service

Branches are available in select major cities in the states of California, Arizona, Florida, Washington, D.C., Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Oregon and Washington. You can also call 1-800-387-2331 if you need help.

E-Trade Bank vs. Competitors

E-Trade Bank is designed primarily for customers of the bank’s brokerage division, but it also competes with traditional and online banks.

E-Trade Bank vs. Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo is a full-service institution, offering more than 7,200 branch locations and a wide variety of accounts, so it’s a better fit for customers who value size and product breadth. E-Trade’s main advantage is that it offers unlimited ATM fee rebates with its Max-Rate Checking account vs. the $2.50 to $5 Wells Fargo charges for non-Wells Fargo ATM transactions.

E-Trade Bank vs. Bank of America

Like Wells Fargo, Bank of America has a range of banking products, and it also boasts about 4,200 financial center locations vs. the 29 offered to E-Trade’s traditional bank customers. But with an APY of on its interest checking accounts, E-Trade offers higher interest rates than Bank of America across all balances.

E-Trade Bank vs. Discover Bank

Discover Bank offers APY on its online savings account compared to E-Trade’s but it pays 1% cash back on the first $3,000 of debit card purchases each month with its checking account. E-Trade’s banking accounts are complementary products to its brokerage account, allowing customers easy access to a host of investment options — something Discover Bank doesn’t offer.

How To Open an Account

You can make an appointment at one of the handful of branches available or you can open an account online. You’ll need to select an account type, provide personal details about the account holders such as names, addresses and Social Security numbers and set up a login and password. To fund the account, provide a routing number and bank account to transfer funds to your new E-Trade bank account.

Final Take

Because E-Trade Bank was established to complement the brokerage business, it’s far from a one-stop shop for traditional bank customers. It has a thin lineup of deposit accounts and doesn’t offer diversified services such as auto and mortgage loans. However, if paired with an E-Trade brokerage account, it can work as a parking place for your funds. 

FAQ

  • Is E-Trade good for beginners?
    • E-Trade is a good starter option for anyone looking for low-fee banking or a quality brokerage account. The banking and brokerage interfaces are simple and user-friendly enough for anyone looking to get started with investing.
  • How much money do you have to start with on E-Trade?
    • There are no account minimums to get started investing with E-Trade.
  • Is it free to trade on E-Trade?
    • Most trades are generally free. There are no commissions on U.S.-listed stocks, ETFs and options. However, futures contracts are $1.50 each. Options contracts are $0.65 each, and drop down to $0.50 once you hit 30 trades in a quarter.
  • How does E-Trade make money?
    • E-Trade makes money off its options and futures contract fees, as well as on the mutual funds it provides.

Vance Cariaga and Cynthia Bowman contributed to the reporting for this article.

Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of June 28, 2022.

This content is not provided by E-Trade Bank. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by E-Trade Bank.

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About the Author

After earning a B.A. in English with a Specialization in Business from UCLA, John Csiszar worked in the financial services industry as a registered representative for 18 years. Along the way, Csiszar earned both Certified Financial Planner and Registered Investment Adviser designations, in addition to being licensed as a life agent, while working for both a major Wall Street wirehouse and for his own investment advisory firm. During his time as an advisor, Csiszar managed over $100 million in client assets while providing individualized investment plans for hundreds of clients.
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