I closed my accounts with both Ameritrade and E-Trade recently, as I was moving all my stock trading to FreeTrade.com. When I cancelled my E-Trade account, there was a long hold time, and then the person who cancelled my account was rather rude – they said “Ok, it’s cancelled” and basically just hung up on me. In contrast, when cancelling my account with Ameritrade, the person actually asked me why (E-Trade didn’t even ask). I told them I was going to move to FreeTrade instead, and they said that the could either close my account as wished, or I could “freeze” the account. What’s that?
Basically, the account has a zero balance, and nobody can use it or reopen it without all the information needed to open any online brokerage account. But, I can re-open it at any time, and if I deposit and keep a $2,000 balance for 6 months, I’ll get 25 free trades. That’s basically what Ameritrade offers new customers, but this is cool because I already got a $75 bonus when I signed up a year ago. Ameritrade/Freetrade has impressed me with their pro-active customer service. Their websites aren’t the slickest, but they work and are dependable, and their fee schedules are mostly reasonable. E*Trade? I’ll never use them again, with their poor service and myriad of inactivity and other fees (unless they’re giving money away, of course).
By Jonathan Ping | Investing | 3/22/05, 9:20pm