Putting your money to work for you is one of the important steps to building financial security. One of the simplest ways we do this is with a savings account that collects interest. Another is through investing in stocks, commodities, and cryptocurrencies.
At a certain point, we realize we have a lot of options for putting our money to work. And luckily we have a handful of sites that consolidate all of these options into one place.
ETRADE and SoFi are two of the leading options that come to mind. They are both well-known websites with established track records. They both offer clients a variety of financial options, including savings accounts, investment opportunities, and credit cards.
Integrating a powerful tool like ETRADE or SoFi into your routine is a great way to start taking control of your budget. We all struggle with haphazard spending and poor savings habits at times.
It’s a lot easier to overcome those bad habits when you have tools like these that make saving and investing so easy.
Features Compare: What SoFi and ETRADE Have To Offer
So you’ve decided to take control of your financial future? That’s a great choice. Your next choice is deciding which of these software suites is right for you. Both are excellent platforms with unique websites, a variety of features, and useful smartphone apps.
It’s the small differences between the two that help most people make a decision. Let’s look at what those differences are.
1. SoFi Key Features and Benefits
SoFi markets itself as a platform intended to help people “take control of their money”. And in many senses, that is exactly what they offer. But it’s important to remember they are not a bank. SoFi operates entirely as an online platform. Most funds are transferred and stored at one of the several banks that SoFi has partnered with. This allows the money to benefit from FDIC insurance without being physically protected by SoFi.
With that in mind, many of the features offered by SoFi are going to be very similar to what you would expect in a bank. But you might notice that most of these features are cheaper; whether only marginally or substantially. This is because SoFi is able to cut away many of the fees that are you are used to experiencing when dealing with a bank.
- Eliminate Unnecessary Fees
Take the SoFi Money cash management account as an example. This is where you store funds before utilizing them in any of the many features. It’s much like storing your funds in a traditional bank account. The difference is that there are no account fees, overdraft fees, minimum fees, or ATM fees. All of these small fees can add up to hundreds or thousands over the course of a year.
- Relax With SoFi Automated Investing
Investing hard-earned money can be a scary concept for a lot of newcomers. Many people get into the mindset that it is all like “gambling”. This can lead down a tricky path sprinkled with small gains and major losses. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with avoiding this pressure entirely by relying on reputable automated algorithms.
Forget about the automated trading platforms that claim to make millionaires overnight. The programs used by major companies like SoFi are designed to make smart, reliable investments. And even then they can be finely tuned for more adventurous investors. In either scenario, you don’t need to worry about taking business classes to make smart investments with SoFi.
- Pay Down Debt With SoFi Credit Card
It’s not unusual for a company like this to offer a debit card or credit card with some unique gimmick. In this case, it’s actually a pretty helpful gimmick. SoFi has recently begun offering a credit card with a 2% cashback rewards program. The high reward percentage is because the funds come into the SoFi account and can be used to pay back loans, invest, or add to your savings.
The idea behind the SoFi card is that its rewards will help you pay off debts and build smart financial habits. Your regular spending earns money that can be put towards retirement savings, your next big investment, or an outstanding loan you’ve been meaning to repay. There’s no temptation to waste it on a Starbucks coffee or a new app.
2. ETRADE Key Features and Benefits
ETRADE has been in business since 1982. They are a pioneer in the industry and often considered as the “standard” when comparing any similar service. The fact that SoFi is able to compete with ETRADE is noteworthy. SoFi was built as a direct competitor to ETRADE and offers many similar services. However, there are still some key areas where ETRADE really shines.
- Two Powerful Trading Platforms
ETRADE is such a diverse platform that it separates its services into two unique trading platforms. Both of these platforms are free for existing ETRADE customers. The first is ETRADE Web and the second is Power ETRADE. The latter is designed for serious and active traders. It includes a few advanced tools and provides users with less “hand-holding”.
For the average trader, the ETRADE Web platform is more than sufficient. It comes with free quotes, a feature-rich dashboard, and a live stream of relevant market research. Both platforms have access to a massive library of investment choices, including:
- Penny Stocks
- No-Transaction Mutual Funds (More than 4,500)
With ETRADE, you can build a diverse and reliable portfolio that will eventually start earning money for itself. There may be a few more fees involved, but many customers are more than willing to pay the extra dollar.
- A Large Collection Of Research
ETRADE is often highly recommended for first-time traders. One of the reasons is the large collection of educational material they make available to members.
This collection includes articles and videos covering important subjects like retirement withdrawals, account diversification, and the basics of trading options. There is so much information that you’re likely to learn something even if you’ve been investing for decades.
Webinars are another very popular learning tool on the ETRADE website. Webinars are broadcast on the website regularly and can cover topics ranging from introductory trading to more complicated technical analysis.
You’ll have a good idea of the webinar schedule ahead of time so you can plan an evening around it and learn something new.
- Generate Liquidity With a Line of Credit
Accessing the liquidity of your account is important if you ever want to enjoy your smart financial decisions. One of the ways you can accomplish this is with an ETRADE line of credit. Credit with ETRADE is backed by eligible securities located in non-retirement accounts. The money is essentially borrowed against the current market value of the stocks currently owned.
This is actually a great way to establish a line of credit without risking a home, car, or life savings. The money is borrowed against existing assets and is unlikely to cause any serious disruption to long-term savings plans. Meanwhile, it can provide a much-needed influx of cash for that new home renovation or business endeavor.
App Compare: Which One is Better?
Both of these companies are fully aware of the importance of being able to stay in control of your money while mobile. That’s why they both offer apps that allow clients to seize financial opportunities no matter where they are at. Here is a quick look at what both of these apps have to offer.
ETRADE Mobile App
- Allows all standard stock and mutual fund investments with $0 commission fees.
- Can transfer money, deposit funds, and pay bills.
- Live streams of research and relevant news.
SoFi Mobile App
- Real-time money transfers to anyone you want using the mobile app.
- Check deposit directly from your phone using the camera.
- The latest in mobile money security, including account freezing and fingerprint recognition.
As you can see, neither of these apps spared any expense when it comes to features. There is a reason they are both the best in the business. Overall, the ETRADE app includes more features, but it does feel more cluttered. SoFi is smooth, clean, and streamlined for fast usage on-the-go.
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Fees Comparison: Which One is Cheaper?
This is where SoFi really shines. Both of these platforms are very competitive in terms of pricing and neither of them is going to put a dent in your wallet. However, SoFi really strives to eliminate as many fees as possible. There are no annual IRA fees, no maintenance fees, no stock commission fees, and no fees for any cards or money accounts.
ETRADE follows a very similar pattern for the most part. However, they do include a few fees that SoFi does not. They are an $0.65 contract fee for trading options and a $19.95 mutual fund commission fee. Both of these fees are negligible and can be avoided entirely if you don’t invest in options or mutual funds.
You Should Pick SoFi If…
- You want to invest in cryptocurrency.
- You want to avoid as many fees as possible.
- You want to take control of your financial future.
- You want to eliminate debt with everyday purchases.
You Should Pick ETRADE If…
- You value a company’s history and experience.
- You want a mobile app with all of the site’s best features.
- You want access to more than 4,500 no-transaction-fee mutual funds.
- You want to make small loans against your assets.