Skip to Content

Opening E*Trade Checking and Complete Savings Accounts

The rubber is really hitting the road in October and it feels like I'm taking bigger and bolder steps to lay the groundwork for my impending trip around the world!

Late last week, I applied online for E*Trade Checking and Complete Savings accounts. Ironically, after talking to a representative on the phone who helped me come to a decision, I learned E*Trade is headquartered in none other than my home town of Arlington, Virginia!

I've had Brokerage and Employee Stock Purchase Plan accounts with them for about 7 years, so I'm already a little familiar with their website design.

Below are some deciding factors on E*Trade as my online banking choice for my travels abroad.

Checking Account

  • Free ATM/VISA debit card
  • E*TRADE Bank will not charge a fee for withdrawing funds from any institution's ATM nationwide (in the USA) but the owner/operator of the ATM may. These fees will automatically be credited to your account.
  • E*TRADE Bank does impose a charge equal to 1% of the transaction amount for non-U.S. currency transactions (1% is about as low as I could find)
  • No monthly account fees
  • No minimum balance required
  • Free, unlimited online bill payments
  • Online access protected by Digital Security ID (“It makes unauthorized login virtually impossible.”)
  • Clear and comprehensive fraud protection

Complete Savings Account

  • Current APY (interest rate) is 5.05% – This is 0.75% higher than my ING Direct savings account.
  • No minimum balance required
  • Ability to do Quick Transfers (i.e. “real-time”) with my E*Trade Checking Account
  • Online access protected by Digital Security ID (only one ID is required to access both accounts)
  • Clear and comprehensive fraud protection
  • Downside – “Withdrawal limits apply. Under Federal regulations related to these types of accounts, account holders are allowed up to six withdrawals or transfers (for example, using Quick Transfer) from their account in any calendar month. Inbound Quick Transfers are not subject to any limits.”

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:

Willodean Cuozzo

Friday 29th of October 2010

We have heard about trickle down, ever thought trickle up? Rather than paying banks, hand taxpayers back our money, tax free. We paid it in. Some will waste it on t.v.'s and junk. Most will pay mortgage and recent bills. WOW. Strange, savings banks experience stimulus, and not through bailout already paid.”Must be stupid”.banking companies and insurance are strangling us. Its not privilege to drive our own roads, its our right, we already own themshow me reciepts insurance companies paid for road and bridge tax

Lenard Pok

Friday 29th of October 2010

I am starting my own blog to share my photography experiences. Do you find it hard or easy to post consistently?


Friday 12th of October 2007

I have researched this banking issue thoroughly and did not choose e*trade, so when I read your post, I said, "Gee, what is wrong with this picture"? So I went to and it contradicts what you posted above. To avoid a monthly fee you must do one of the following (this is from the etrade website):

Ways to Avoid Account Service Fee

* Maintain a minimum average balance of $5,000 in your Max-Rate Checking Account * Set up and maintain a direct deposit of $200 or more per month (A combination of direct deposits totaling $200 does not satisfy this requirement) * Maintain a combined balance of $50,000 or more in linked E*TRADE Securities, E*TRADE Bank, and employee stock plan accounts (including vested in-the-money options, stock option plan shares, ESPP shares, and released restricted stock) accounts * Execute at least 30 stock or options trades during a calendar quarter in a linked E*TRADE Securities account




Friday 12th of October 2007

Hi Frank -

I read that info too, however it specifically applies to the Max-Rate Checking Account, which is not the one I signed up for. While that account earns high interest, I did not want to tie up such a high balance in a checking account, so I went with the basic checking account offered.

The ATM refunds are not mentioned on the website in relation to the basic checking option, however when I spoke to a phone rep, he said he gets the benefit of them with his basic checking account through E*Trade.


Wednesday 10th of October 2007

Sounds good dave. Dont worry too much on the foreign exchange fee's. You can always get travellers cheques which you can redeem at any bank (well any bank I've been to in Europe).

The APY is interesting, and I wonder if they have not yet made a cut because of the rate cut... Id not count on it staying at 5.05%


Wednesday 10th of October 2007

Yes, it'd be naive to think the rate would stay at 5.05%, however it certainly caught my attention!


Wednesday 10th of October 2007

Just wondering if you looked at Capital One Checking and if so why you chose ETrade over Capital One. The one thing I noticed is that Capital One does not charge any fees for foreign transactions. Trying to decide which one to use myself for my trip. Thanks!


Wednesday 10th of October 2007

Hi John -

I didn't spend much time looking at a Capital One Checking Account because I was unimpressed with their website login process for the VISA credit card I opened with them (for my trip, for the same reason you mentioned). It's simply a username/password access, and I wanted an extra layer of security and protection from online predators since I'll be banking from public computers much of the time.

E*Trade's Digital ID will allow me to feel more at ease about using the potentially shady internet cafe computers, or the computers of couchsurfers who may (although I highly doubt this) have keylogging software installed.

Comments are closed.