When I first opened my account with E*TRADE, the trade commission was $12.99. You needed to have a minimum balance of a certain amount to qualify for a $9.99 commission. Sometime later, the commission was lowered to $9.99 for everyone. Currently the pricing rate is like this: the standard commission is $9.99 per trade for 0-149 trades a quarter, and $7.99 for 150+ trades a quarter.
Last week, I received a call from an E*TRADE representative. He told me that because of a negative feedback I gave them on a survey, they decided to lower my trade commission from $9.99 to $7.99, which, according to him is more in line with industry. The representative told me that my trade commission can be lowered further, but I need to have a certain number of trades a quarter. He just had to have someone with a higher clearance to speak with me. I don’t trade frequently with my E*TRADE account, so I declined, but I am still really happy that they lowered my commission cost.
I don’t remember when I filled out the survey, but it was at least a couple months ago. If you are an E*TRADE customer, occasionally you get an email asking you for your feedback through an online survey. If you complete the survey, you will be entered into a drawing for some prize money. Sometimes it’s $1,000, sometimes it’s $2,500. I filled out the survey because I was tempted by the prize money, but I never expected they would actually lower my trade commission based on my feedback!
One of the questions asked me to rate the commission cost on a numerical scale, and I gave them a low rating. I might even have complained about their commission is in the comments section. However, I remember filling out another E*TRADE survey more than a year ago with similar feedback, but I didn’t get a call from them back then. So I don’t know if they call me based solely on my feedback. Maybe it’s the account balance? It did increase between the time I filled out the surveys. Or maybe it has something to do with the trade frequency? I only made three trades so far in my E*TRADE account this year, which is down from around 20 trades last year. Or maybe it’s because this time I told them that I am using another online brokerage as my main trading account. I am not sure what finally trigger them to offer me the $7.99 commission, but if you are with E*TRADE, it might be worth your time to fill out their survey.
I am aware that there is another way you can get the $7.99 trade commission. You can call and ask them. The steps are listed out in this post on Epic Finances. The post was written back in 2012, so this is not new information. I also have friends of friends who really did wanted to transfer from E*TRADE to another brokerage firm and got the $7.99 commission rate when they called them. I guess I could have done that a year or two ago too, but I didn’t bother to do so because I have never intended to close my E*TRADE account, and I am not a frequent trader.
For the purpose of disclosure, I am not getting paid to write this post. I am writing about this because I am very impressed that E*TRADE took the initiative to call me to lower my commission. It really made me feel that they do value me as a client. Kudos, E*TRADE. Kudos.