How to Close an E*TRADE Investing Account

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Last updated on January 17, 2023 Comments: 14

One financial task we don’t typically love to tackle is consolidating our accounts and closing old ones. But whenever you get a few minutes to look at your whole financial picture (hopefully at least once a year), you should also take the time to close unused accounts.

Unfortunately, financial institutions don’t always make this easy. One classic example is E*TRADE. Years ago I was essentially strong-armed into buying stock through E*TRADE when my employer’s company stock purchase plan required this option. But I don’t like all the fees involved with this platform.

So when otherwise restructuring my finances, I decided it was time to close my E*TRADE account. Unfortunately, I found that it was about as unintuitive a process as possible. So I Googled it. And even that returned limited results, mostly from content farms with terrible content.

I decided to figure it out for myself and then share it with you. So here’s how you close your E*TRADE account:

  1. First, you’ll obviously want to make sure there’s no balance in your account. Transfer all of your funds out, and then be sure the balance is really at $0 before you decide to close.
  2. Log into your E*TRADE account online or on your mobile app. Find the Message Center in your mobile app, or pop up the internal messaging or chat feature on your computer’s browser.
  3. Select “Account Services” from the messaging menu. Then input a request to close your account. Make sure you have the correct account number attached to the account.
  4. Send the message, selecting a reason.
  5. Repeat this process for any other E*TRADE accounts you might have open.

Why Would You Close the Account?

Obviously closing your E*TRADE account is kind of a pain in the rear. So why would you go through the trouble?

For one thing, leaving open accounts–especially financial accounts–that you aren’t using is just asking for trouble. It’s one thing for an active account to get hacked or used by someone other than yourself. If you’re logging in at least once or twice a month, you’re likely to notice quickly. But if you never log into your account, you have no idea what’s happening with those funds. So it’s better to just cut out accounts you aren’t using.

Plus, having fewer financial accounts can help clear some of the mental clutter that can come from managing your financial life. Think of it as spring cleaning for your finances. And while you’re closing this account, consider if there are any others that you also need to close while you’re at it.

Of course, you might be closing an active E*TRADE account that you have been using because you’ve simply found a better option. And I do think there are plenty of great options out there that have low fees and allow for good trading options. You can check out our list of the best online brokers here. (Full disclosure: E*TRADE is on this list. But it’s not the best brokerage for every investor.)

Whatever your reasons for closing your E*TRADE account, when you decide to take this step, just go for it.

Alternatives to E*TRADE You Should Consider

So you’ve closed your E*TRADE account and are looking for a new investment platform? Don’t worry – we’ve got five great options to fit every investor.

One of the perks of using these new investment platforms is the unbelievably low threshold you have to meet to start investing–some are as little as $5! This opens up investing to a whole new group of people who can’t afford an old school investment broker. And with lots of educational information, cool graphs to let you track your investments, and the ability to automate your investing, there’s no reason not to try them out.


stashinvest_210x100A great app for newbie investors, you’ll need just $5 to get started with Stash. Users can invest in stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)–even purchasing fractional stocks. They don’t take themselves too seriously either, labeling their ETFs fun names like “Clean & Green,” and making it really obvious to users what type of companies they are investing in.

Another great thing about Stash is that it helps you automate your investing, so you don’t have to stay on top of it (though you should keep an eye on what is happening!).

Stash is free for those under 25 who invest in a retirement account. For everyone else, if your balance is under $5,000, you’ll be charged $1 per month.

Read our full review of Stash.


Webull logo 210x100For the more advanced trader, Webull is a great option. The app differentiates itself by providing deep research and no commissions for stock trading. Webull offers users the ability to conduct investment research using their tools. The platform also allows users to create watchlists and monitor key metrics.

If the insights Webull provides are enticing but you don’t feel quite up to the challenge, you can always open a paper trading account with Webull–it allows users to practice trading without using real money. Once you get the hang of it, you can move from the sidelines to the trenches.

Webull has both free and paid features. The app charges for trades from FINRA and SEC, plus margin fees (ranging from 3.99% – 6.99%).

Read our full review of Webull.


Acorns logo 210x100The Acorn app is targeted at young users, students and those who need help finding extra change to invest. In fact, one of the big draws for using Acorns is the ability to round up purchases from users, taking “spare change” and putting it directly into investments (users can connect their account to their debit or credit cards).

Acorn also allows users to automate their investing, helping to set up a habit without really doing much. It’s a great way to establish savings without putting in heavy work.

The app is free for students and anyone 24 or younger.


Another app targeted at newer investors is Public. With the Public app, you can invest in stocks and ETFs. The platform differentiates itself by creating a community. You can tap into that community to learn more about what others are doing, find investors with similar interests, or share your own investment strategies.

Users can start investing with as little as $5. There are no account minimums, commission, or trading fees.

Read our full review of Public.

M1 Finance

If you aren’t sure if you want self-serve or robo-advised investing, M1 Finance offers them both. The platform builds your portfolio through slices of pie–each slice representing a different type of investment. If you’re experienced at this, you can go ahead and design your own pie. But if you are newer or want advice from the pros, you can select a pre-made pie.

The app has almost 2,000 ETFs to choose from, plus you can buy and sell shares of any NYSE or NASDAQ stock (excluding preferred stock). The minimum deposit is $100 for taxable accounts and $500 for retirement accounts. M1 Finance is free to use.

Read our full review of M1 Finance.


Article comments

Mindi says:

I’m a novice so I know nothing about these things. You say to cash out the money first but on my statement it says I have x amount but a much lower amount available for cash. How can I cash out the entire amount?

Sean says:

Sounds like good advice, but where exactly are these messaging centers in E*TRADE?

Vivíana says:

E trade closed my account with 2950. Will I get my money back soon or should I sue them?
Can it be deposited to 1) my mothers account 2) usa other personal account

Fraser Marlow says:

I tried to close an etrade account – I finally found the online link at
Then I got the message “We are sorry that we can not complete your online account closure request at this time. Please call 1-800-ETRADE-1 (1-800-387-2331) for assistance.” – UGH!

Mary says:

Did they charge you a fee to close out the brokerage account?

Brad says:

They do for $75.

New brokerage will compensate that for you.

L says:

The instructions given with the suggestion offered by anonymous on 9/11/17 still holds true today. I can’t say thank you enough for this help!

anonymous-user says:

As of September 2017, you don’t need to go to “Need Help.” Instead, click on “Customer Service” at the top-right. Then there will be a “Self Service” tab.

Mindi says:

I’m a novice so I know nothing about these things. You say to cash out the money first but on my statement it says I have x amount but a much lower amount available for cash. How can I cash out the entire amount?

mary58 says:

I followed your instructions to close e- trade account from former employer. When I got to self service tab and clicked close account it says not possible because I have open option account, but no explanation how to change that. Any suggestions?

mdivya99 says:

Thanks. This was very helpful. As usual, they tend to make it very very difficult to close the account.

Anonymous says:

No luck for me but thanks for posting. I had an employee stock purchase plan account through a previous employer. When I got to step 1 of account closure it wouldn’t allow me to select account. Instead it displayed an 800 number to call.

I did. When it listed all the options I simply pressed zero which quickly got me to a real person. She tried to walk me through the same process with the same results so I went to verification over the phone. They ask a series of multiple choice questions. In my case it was “have you ever lived on any of the following streets”, who finances your lease, and how much is the lease payment within a range.

No fee to close the account. The representative although humorless was pleasant enough.

Funny how much I cannot stand to pick up a phone. I don’t mind when things go quickly. Still annoying that I couldn’t deal with it online.

I recently rolled over a Schwab 401K and that I could do entirely online.

Anonymous says:

Thanks. I was just about ready to pull out my hair.

Anonymous says:

Thank you so much for the correct, clear instructions. You’re right, they sure don’t make it easy to find!