Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios vs. E*TRADE Core Portfolios

Charles Schwab and E*TRADE are main funding brokerage corporations which have entered the digital funding administration area by leveraging among the strengths of their on-line brokerage expertise. Schwab Clever Portfolios and E*TRADE Core Portfolios have some primary distinctions which make it straightforward to decide on one of the best platform for you. E*TRADE requires $500 to make use of the robo-advisor service, whereas Schwab’s entry level is a steeper $5,000. For cost-conscious buyers, Schwab doesn’t cost portfolio administration charges for the fundamental providing, whereas E*TRADE costs 0.30% of belongings below administration (AUM). Every platform gives a level of customization with sustainable investing choices, whereas Schwab additionally has an earnings portfolio and E*TRADE gives a sensible beta selection. On the go buyers would possibly shift in direction of our greatest robo-advisor for cellular winner, E*TRADE. This comparability will arm you with the professionals, cons, and options of every digital funding supervisor so you may make your best option to your wants. 

  • Minimal Account: $5,000 ($25,000 for Premium)
  • Charges: $0, expense ratios vary from 0.03%-0.18%, with a mean of 0.11%. ($300 setup plus $30 per 30 days for Premium)
  • Schwab’s portfolios are among the many most diversified out there with U.S. and worldwide market cap and elementary index ETFs, an unlimited vary of bonds, and commodity ETFs. 
  • 24/7 customer support and branches make accessing assist a breeze. 
  • The required money allocation generally is a welcome function throughout market drawdowns. 
  • The addition of SIMPLE IRAs, trusts, and custodial accounts to the standard retirement and taxable brokerage accounts make Schwab engaging for a variety of buyers.
  • Account Minimal: $500
  • Price: 0.30%
  • The out there monetary consultants are a profit for buyers who wish to seek the advice of with a dwell advisor about their investments.
  • Buyers who like a factor-based funding strategy would possibly just like the smart-beta funding portfolio out there at E*TRADE.
  • The dearth of tax-loss harvesting could possibly be a barrier for these with a taxable account.


Account Setup

Like most digital funding advisors, Schwab Clever Portfolios asks customers questions associated to investing objectives, timeline, and danger stage. The platform incorporates your responses to create a broadly diversified ETF portfolio with an 8% to 10% money allocation. You’ll have to open an account to view the precise ETFs, however relaxation assured, the roughly 12 funds sport low-management charges. 

Schwab Clever Portfolios doesn’t cost a administration payment on the primary stage, however you’ll want $5,000 to open an account. The $5,000 account minimal places Schwab greater than many opponents. Anybody can attain cellphone customer support and on-line chat 24/7 for account associated questions. Department representatives are additionally out there, though Schwab Clever Portfolios doesn’t present monetary planner periods just like the Premium model that’s out there for accounts over $25,000 and has a $300 preliminary planning payment and prices $30 per 30 days thereafter. 

All Schwab prospects can entry the free digital Schwab Monetary Plan. This instrument incorporates your monetary and retirement data to find out the probability of reaching your retirement objectives. You’ll be able to modify the inputs to view distinct eventualities, and Schwab supplies suggestions that can assist you higher meet your monetary targets. 

E*TRADE Core received our greatest robo-advisor for cellular class. The setup is fast, and also you’ll solely want $500 to make use of this robo-advisor. Whether or not you’ve got an account or not, you possibly can take the preliminary questionnaire and consider the proposed asset allocation. You’ll need to attend till you open the account to see the precise ETFs. You’ll be able to modify the portfolio by retaking the quiz and select ESG and sensible beta choices as properly. Opening the account follows the completion of typical private questions together with Social Safety quantity, and linking an account to switch the funds. 

E*TRADE Core Portfolios levies a 0.30% AUM payment and, just like Schwab, invests your account in low-fee ETFs. Core Portfolios shoppers and potential customers can entry monetary consultants weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to eight:30 p.m. ET.  

Account setup is straightforward at each E*TRADE Core Portfolios and Schwab Clever Portfolios, however the important thing variations are decrease account minimums at E*TRADE Core Portfolios and the truth that Schwab Clever Portfolios doesn’t cost administration charges for the fundamental providing.  

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Objective Planning

Schwab Clever Portfolios customers can select from a U.S.-focused or globally diversified portfolio. You’ll be able to customise investing objectives comparable to retirement, faculty, long-term wealth, dwelling shopping for, or earnings stream. Go to the settings tab of your portfolio to replace objectives and preliminary inputs. 

Schwab Clever Portfolios’ objective dashboard supplies a useful view of a graph with the present worth and future common, best- and worst-case situation outcomes, based mostly upon your objective goal date. You’ll additionally discover your danger profile, contributions, and sliders to regulate danger profile and contributions. Changes are instantly mirrored within the graph that exhibits future outcomes. The free Schwab Monetary Plan is one other instrument to discover numerous goal-based eventualities in depth. 

E*TRADE Core Portfolios gives fewer objective planning options than Schwab. The preliminary investor questionnaire supplies three objective decisions, construct wealth, retirement, or goal objective. Customers can select from the core supply or a sensible beta or socially accountable investing (SRI) portfolio. E*TRADE’s longest time horizon is 11+ years and asset allocations are likely to run considerably aggressive, with larger inventory allocations at numerous danger ranges in comparison with some opponents. For instance, when inputting a “dwelling down fee” objective the place you’ll want all the cash in 5 to seven years, the platform recommends a reasonable 60% inventory and 40% bond allocation versus a extra conservative asset combine for this intermediate time interval. 

For buyers preferring shorter-term objectives, earnings, and broadly diversified goal-oriented portfolios, Schwab Clever Portfolios is superior to E*TRADE Core Portfolios. That stated, these with long-term funding objectives looking for a primary digital funding advisor will nonetheless do okay with the minimal objective planning options at E*TRADE Core Portfolios. 

Account Sorts

Each Schwab Clever Portfolios and E*TRADE Core Portfolios supply essentially the most generally used account sorts, together with the fundamental taxable accounts, custodial accounts, and particular person retirement accounts (IRAs). Whereas Schwab additionally offers shoppers entry to trusts and SIMPLE IRAs. 

Schwab  account sorts:

E*TRADE  account sorts:

  • Particular person taxable 
  • Joint taxable 
  • Custodial 
  • Conventional IRA 
  • Roth IRA 
  • Rollover IRA
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Account Providers

Each Schwab and E*TRADE supply complete self-directed buying and selling. Each corporations even have bodily branches. With latest consolidations, Schwab prospects have entry to all TD Ameritrade’s account providers and E*TRADE customers can entry the Morgan Stanley services and products. Meaning banking, borrowing, and monetary advisors can be found at every firm.

Money Administration 

Neither Schwab nor E*TRADE has money administration accounts built-in throughout the digital robo-investing vertical. It’s necessary to notice that Schwab holds roughly 8% to 10% money in an curiosity bearing account inside every portfolio. This quantity shall be maintained and varies per asset allocation.

Each digital funding advisors supply a variety of money providers comparable to excessive yield money and checking accounts, CDs, and extra via separate accounts. Schwab gives it via Charles Schwab Financial institution and E*TRADE via Morgan Stanley Personal Banking.

Portfolio Development

Each platforms assemble your portfolio based mostly upon your responses from the preliminary questionnaire and in accordance with fashionable portfolio principle (MPT). Schwab prospects can choose from three funding methods, world, U.S., and earnings centered. The worldwide technique contains each inventory and bond worldwide ETFs together with U.S. ETFs. The investments are chosen from a steady of 51 ETFs and span 20+ asset courses. The equities embody each market capitalization weighted and elementary weight. The fastened earnings belongings embody U.S. Treasuries, company bonds, municipal bonds, and a variety of different kinds of fastened earnings. REITs, commodities, and money spherical out the expansive listing of accessible belongings. The money allocation is required in each portfolio, which means some funds are sitting relatively than being absolutely invested available in the market. The required money is a welcome function throughout declining funding markets, however would possibly hinder efficiency throughout a bull market. 

E*TRADE Core Portfolios are made up of core, ESG, and a sensible beta possibility. The core possibility contains eight asset courses which span 5 fairness belongings. These ETFs embody allocations to U.S. and worldwide shares, together with worth and small caps. The 2 bond funds cowl the company and authorities spheres. Not like Schwab Clever Portfolios, E*TRADE Core Portfolios seeks to attenuate the money within the account with a 1% goal and rebalances each time the money stability grows. 

  Schwab Clever Portfolios – International E*TRADE Core Portfolios 
Particular person Shares No – solely in a brokerage account No – solely in a brokerage account
Mutual Funds  No – solely in a brokerage account  No – solely in a brokerage account 
Fastened Earnings  Sure – solely ETFs within the digital advisor  Sure – solely ETFs within the digital advisor 
REITs  Sure  No – solely within the brokerage account, not Core portfolios 
Socially Accountable or ESG Choices  Sure  Sure
ETFs  Sure  Sure 
Non-Proprietary ETFs  Sure – a number of non-proprietary ETFs can be found, the bulk are Schwab ETFs  Sure 
Foreign exchange  No – solely in a brokerage account  No – solely in a brokerage account 
Crypto  No  No 

Portfolio Customization 

Neither platform gives a large amount of customization, though Schwab Clever Portfolios goes a bit additional than E*TRADE Core Portfolios. Schwab prospects can select from three kinds of portfolios, U.S. or world focus, and earnings. Schwab customers can choose as much as three ETFs to exclude from their portfolio. E*TRADE shoppers have entry to a core, SRI, and sensible beta portfolios. 

Schwab Clever Portfolios are extra various and likewise embody a larger money allocation. E*TRADE Core Portfolios owns fewer ETFs and features a low single-digit money allocation. Whereas E*TRADE’s portfolios are much less diversified and lack REITs, commodities, elementary ETFs, and a global bond allocation, the agency has an extra emphasis on small caps and each large- and mid-cap worth fairness funds. There isn’t an accurate diversification fashion for every asset allocation. Every portfolio will yield distinct returns, relying upon the actual funding market atmosphere.

Portfolio Administration

Schwab Clever Portfolios screens every day and rebalances as wanted to keep up the consumer’s most well-liked asset allocation. E*TRADE’s portfolios are additionally monitored every day and rebalancing at E*TRADE  is scheduled both semiannually or when the asset allocations drift 10% from their goal. Customers can change their portfolio’s asset allocation at any time utilizing the instruments on every website. 

Neither platform gives a instrument throughout the robo-advisor to mixture exterior accounts. The Schwab Monetary Plan gives this function, however it isn’t built-in with Schwab Clever Portfolios until you go for the premium service. 

Tax-Advantaged Investing 

Tax-loss harvesting is a tax minimization technique that sells securities with a loss to offset taxable positive factors. This may decrease your tax invoice. It’s a viable technique for these with a taxable account. 

Schwab Clever Portfolios gives tax-loss harvesting to shoppers with accounts price greater than $50,000. Whereas E*TRADE’s Core Portfolios doesn’t present tax-loss harvesting, E*TRADE helps cut back customers taxes by investing in municipal bond ETFs throughout the taxable accounts.  

Key Portfolio Administration Options
  Schwab Clever Portfolios – International E*TRADE Core Portfolios 
Computerized Rebalancing As wanted Semi-annually, or when the goal allocation deviates by 10% or extra
Reporting Options  On-line portfolio monitoring and month-to-month statements On-line portfolio monitoring and month-to-month statements
Tax Loss Harvesting  Sure – Out there for accounts price greater than $50,000  No 
Exterior Account Syncing/Consolidation  No  No 


As is the case right now, most main monetary corporations have glorious safety protocols and fraud safety. Schwab Clever Portfolios and E*TRADE Core Portfolios have superior encryption, biometric, and two-factor authentication. At Schwab, securities are protected by the SIPC, with extra insurance coverage offered by Lloyd’s of London for as much as $600 million. Schwab goes one step additional, with assured alternative of any losses as a result of unauthorized account exercise. E*TRADE’s SIPC insurance coverage is subsumed below the Morgan Stanley extra protection and supplies as much as $1 billion in coated losses. 

There isn’t any insurance coverage that protects buyers from regular market fluctuations, together with losses in funding values.

Person Expertise


Schwab Clever Portfolios’ desktop consumer expertise is clear with quick access to all necessary data out there from the house dashboard. You’ll be able to view your objectives, portfolio, efficiency, and exercise with one click on. Adjusting settings and asset allocations is a breeze. The sidebar lists data comparable to statements, transfers, FAQs, and academic content material. 

E*TRADE Core Portfolios additionally has a strong consumer expertise on the desktop. The house web page is clear with straightforward navigation. FAQs are entrance and heart to assist with widespread questions that pop up. It’s straightforward to overview your portfolio’s efficiency, charges of return over numerous time durations, and evaluate outcomes with related benchmarks. 

Schwab Clever Portfolios and E*TRADE Core Portfolios each supply a clear, comfy desktop expertise. 

Cell App 

Neither Schwab Clever Portfolios or E*TRADE Core Portfolios have their very own cellular app. You’ll have to view your portfolio throughout the bigger Schwab and E*TRADE cellular apps. Cell customers will discover a related expertise on the cellular platform as on the desktop at every firm. As winner of our greatest robo-advisor for cellular class, E*TRADE takes the cellular win. 

Buyer Service

Customer support is powerful at each Schwab and E*TRADE. FAQs are complete at each platforms. Each firms additionally supply 24/7 cellphone customer support. E*TRADE has designated monetary consultants out there by cellphone throughout week-days, however no chat. Whereas Schwab has personnel to deal with Clever portfolios questions 24/7.

  Schwab Clever Portfolios – International E*TRADE Core Portfolios 
Telephone contact out there Sure – 24/7 Sure – out there 24/7, and with an funding advisor throughout the weekdays
Pre-funding cellphone session with licensed advisor  No  No 
On-line chat out there  Sure – Human chat No 
Web site FAQ part  Sure – Complete  Sure – Complete 

In terms of customer support. Schwab Clever Portfolios 24/7 dwell customer support and human chat places it forward of E*TRADE Core Portfolios.


Schwab Clever Portfolios doesn’t cost a portfolio administration payment for the fundamental providing. This makes E*TRADE Core Portfolios stick out a bit with a 0.30% AUM payment, however that is in keeping with many competing digital funding advisors. Each platforms use ETFs which have low fund administration charges. The upper funding administration payment at E*TRADE is perhaps justified as a result of entry to human funding advisors in case you are in search of that along with customer support. Additionally it is necessary to notice that the no payment funding administration at Schwab Clever Portfolios comes with a required money allocation. This money allocation is perhaps a downside for buyers who need to stay absolutely invested within the monetary markets. 

In the event you desire entry to an funding advisor, then E*TRADE is your selection. Schwab Clever Portfolios premium gives monetary advisors for low subscription pricing of $30 per 30 days with a one time $300 setup payment, however the account minimal is even greater at $25,000. 

Class Schwab Clever Portfolios – International  E*TRADE Core Portfolios 
Administration charges for $5,000 account  $0 $15/12 months
Administration charges for $25,000 account  $0  $75/12 months 
Administration charges for $100,000 account  $0  $300/12 months 
Termination charges  $0  $75 for full switch out and $25 for partial switch out. The $25 is eradicated on Core Portfolio accounts with no less than $5,000, and if the transfers are made to a different E*TRADE account. 
Expense ratios  0.03% – 0.18%  0.05% – 0.12% 
Mutual funds  N/A  N/A 

Our Take

Each Schwab and E*TRADE’s digital funding advisors get pleasure from the advantages of belonging to  main funding brokerage corporations. Each E*TRADE Core Portfolios and Schwab Clever Portfolios are strong robo-advisors. Schwab has a bit extra depth in a few of its options like objective planning, nevertheless it was too near name in nearly each class. Newer buyers will recognize the $500 minimal required at E*TRADE Core Portfolios, the monetary consultants, and a greater cellular expertise. Value-conscious buyers can’t beat the free funding administration at Schwab Clever Portfolios however they’ll want no less than $5,000 to take benefit. If in case you have an present account at both E*TRADE or Schwab, you would possibly desire the benefit of opening a managed account on the identical firm. 


Can I lose cash with a robo-advisor?

Sure. Investing in monetary markets is designed for long run investing, as a result of funding values go up and down. The rationale individuals spend money on these riskier belongings is that in lengthy durations of time shares, bonds, and associated fund investing has provided greater returns than certificates of deposit (CD) and money accounts. Not like a CD or financial institution financial savings product, the return of your preliminary funding just isn’t assured.

Why not select a goal date fund as an alternative of Schwab or E*TRADE robo-advisors?

Investing in a goal date fund, with an finish date in keeping with your projected retirement is one other various to robo-advisor investing. The advantages of investing with Schwab Clever Portfolios or E*TRADE Core Portfolios is that you simply’ll get larger diversification, customization, and management over your funding portfolio.  


Our mission at Investopedia is to supply buyers with opinions and scores of robo-advisors which are complete and unbiased. Our crew of researchers and professional writers, led by Michael Sacchitello, spent months evaluating all features of a robo-advisor’s platform, together with the account setup course of, objective planning instruments, account service choices, portfolio development choices, portfolio administration, cellular and desktop consumer expertise, academic content material, charges, and safety. As a part of this analysis, we extract important information factors which are weighted by our quantitative mannequin that produces a robust star-scoring system.

With the person investor in thoughts, we’ve designed a complete rating methodology to search out one of the best general robo-advisors and one of the best robo-advisors throughout 9 key classes. Every advisor is then scored throughout a number of variables to charge efficiency in each relevant class. The rating for the general award is a weighted common of the classes.

Examine to Comparable Robo Advisors


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