Does Etrade allow day trading

Etrade is a popular online brokerage platform that allows individuals to invest in a wide range of financial instruments, including stocks, options, and mutual funds. As an investor, one of the strategies you may have heard about is day trading. Day trading involves buying and selling securities within the same trading day, with the goal of making short-term profits. In this article, we will explore whether Etrade allows day trading and discuss the various aspects of day trading on the platform.

What is day trading?

Day trading is a trading strategy where traders aim to profit from short-term price movements in the financial markets. Unlike long-term investing, which focuses on holding investments for an extended period, day trading involves executing multiple trades within a single trading day. Day traders typically rely on technical analysis, chart patterns, and market indicators to identify short-term opportunities.

Pattern Day Trader (PDT) rule

One important thing to note is the Pattern Day Trader (PDT) rule, which is a regulation imposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to this rule, if you execute more than three day trades within a five-day period and the number of day trades represents more than 6% of your total trading activity during that period, you will be classified as a Pattern Day Trader.

Does Etrade allow day trading?

Yes, Etrade allows day trading for individual investors. As an Etrade customer, you have the flexibility to execute day trades in your brokerage account. However, it's important to understand the PDT rule and the implications it may have on your trading activities.

PDT rule and Etrade

Etrade complies with the PDT rule and enforces it on their platform. If you are classified as a Pattern Day Trader, there are specific requirements and restrictions you need to be aware of. These include:

  • Minimum account balance: In order to day trade, you must maintain a minimum account balance of $25,000 in your Etrade brokerage account.
  • Limited leverage: If you fall under the PDT classification, your account is subject to limited leverage. This means that your buying power for day trading will be restricted to four times the maintenance margin excess in your account as of the close of business of the previous trading day.
  • Trading restrictions: If you are classified as a Pattern Day Trader, you are only allowed to execute day trades in a margin account. Buying and selling securities on the same day in a cash account can result in a free-riding violation, which can lead to account restrictions.

Benefits of day trading on Etrade

While the PDT rule imposes certain limitations, there are still several benefits to day trading on Etrade:

  • Access to a wide range of markets: Etrade provides access to various markets, including stocks, options, futures, and forex. This allows day traders to explore different instruments and take advantage of short-term opportunities across multiple asset classes.
  • Advanced trading tools: Etrade offers a suite of advanced trading tools and platforms that cater to the needs of active traders. These tools include real-time market data, customizable charts, and advanced order types, which can enhance your day trading experience.
  • Educational resources: Etrade provides educational resources, including webinars, articles, and videos, to help traders improve their knowledge and skills. As a day trader, it's important to stay updated with market trends and developments, and Etrade offers resources to support your learning journey.
  • Customer support: Etrade offers customer support via phone, email, and live chat. If you have any questions or issues related to day trading, you can reach out to their support team for assistance.

Risks of day trading

While day trading can be lucrative, it's important to be aware of the risks involved. Some of the risks associated with day trading include:

  • Volatility: Day trading involves capitalizing on short-term price movements, which can be volatile and unpredictable. Sudden market fluctuations can lead to significant gains or losses within a short period.
  • Lack of diversification: Day traders often focus on a few select securities or market sectors. This lack of diversification exposes them to concentration risk, as their entire portfolio is concentrated in a few positions.
  • Emotional decision-making: Day trading requires making quick decisions based on market conditions. This can lead to emotional decision-making, which may result in impulsive trades and losses.
  • High trading costs: Frequent trading can incur substantial transaction costs, including commissions, fees, and spreads. These costs can eat into your profits and make day trading less profitable.


Etrade allows day trading for individual investors, but it's important to understand and comply with the PDT rule if you wish to engage in this trading strategy. Day trading on Etrade provides access to a wide range of markets, advanced trading tools, and educational resources, but it also comes with risks. It's essential for day traders to have a solid understanding of market dynamics, risk management strategies, and the potential impact of the PDT rule on their trading activities. As with any trading strategy, it's important to conduct thorough research, develop a robust trading plan, and seek professional advice if needed.

12 October 2023
Written by John Roche