TD Ameritrade vs Merrill Edge

TD Ameritrade and Merrill Edge are two of the most well-known trading platforms out there. So we’ve decided to compare them side-by-side and help you make an informed decision.

In this TD Ameritrade vs Merrill Edge online brokerage comparison, we’ll look at everything from ease of use through trade offerings and security to customer service.

So let’s get started!

TD Ameritrade vs Merrill Edge: Side by Side Trading Platform Comparison

Further down, we’ll focus on the Merrill Edge and TD Ameritrade commissions and offerings. But before that, let’s take a look at some of the key factors to consider as part of our online broker comparison:

TD Ameritrade Merrill Edge
Fiduciary: Yes Yes
AUM: $1.3 trillion $2.75 trillion
Account minimum: No minimum No minimum
Human advisor: Yes Yes
Mobile app: Yes Yes
Robo advisory service: Yes Yes
Mutual Fund Trade Fee: $49.99 $19.95
Broker Assisted Trades Fee: $25 $29.95
IRA Closure Fee: $0.00 $49.95
Futures Trading: Yes No
Forex Trading: Yes No
Customer Support: Yes Yes

As you can see in the table above, there are certain TD Ameritrade and Merrill Edge pricing differences. But are lower fees enough to provide a competitive edge?

Stay on the fence until you get the full picture!

Merrill Edge vs TD Ameritrade: Ease of Use and Trading Offerings

TD Ameritrade has developed its platform with beginners in mind. Merrill Edge is also pretty straightforward, though.

So no matter which one you choose, you should have no problems getting up and running. But let’s go through the specifics!

Merrill Edge tools and features

Merrill Edge’s online trading platform, Merrill Edge Market Pro, provides mutual fund screen tools, intelligent and visually appealing charts, and streaming data. In addition, if your balance is more than $1 million, you’ll be able to access NASDAQ Level II quotes, plus there is the Market Depth feature.

Trade orders are pretty straightforward. However, a two-leg option spread is the most you can do with the sorts of trades available. Thus, TD Ameritrade will be a better fit if the order types you are handling are more complex, you want more steaming data, and/or you wish to order within charts.

With your Merrill Edge investment account, you can expect price data in real-time and smart order routing. This means you can expect to get a trade’s bid price via the platform.

TD Ameritrade tools and features

Thinkorswim is TD Ameritrade’s online platform that has won numerous awards and accolades. It provides virtually every tool you can imagine – we’re talking about researching, charting, and screening features. You can also use paper money on thinkorswim so that you can practice trades before you enact them for real. This is a feature that isn’t available at Merrill Edge.

Many features for customizing your experience have been brought to thinkorswim in recent times, including the dashboard and dook tools. In addition, there are 13 custom modules, which span the likes of news from Twitter, chart data in real-time, videos, watchlists for streaming, and a lot more.

No matter what device you use or your location, you can get the synced watchlists anytime. This is because everything is accessible via the cloud. Also, trade tickets are the same across every platform. This means you can enter complicated and straightforward orders from anywhere.

What are your investment options?

If you want to invest with Merrill Edge, you will have fewer options than with its competitor.

Unlike Merrill Edge, TD Ameritrade supports Forex and Futures trading. Furthermore, TDA provides more than 12,000 mutual funds and 300+ ETFs. Also, trading on any spread is possible using TD Ameritrade, which includes as many as eight legs.

If you’re a Forex trader, you can trade as many as 75 currency pairs on the TD Ameritrade platform. Plus, you can make the most of a greater number of global exchanges, yet this is merely possible using a live broker right now.

The full range of investments provided by TD Ameritrade are as follows:

When it comes to investment options, Merrill Edge is not as powerful. You have the option of trading to two legs for options on their web client. Also, the selection of mutual funds is rather minimal, with fewer than 4,000 available.

Yet, Merrill Edge investments can be searched for by rating, objective, and some other characteristics.

If you work with a live broker, you will also have further equities available.

The full range of investments provided by Merrill Edge are as follows:

  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • Options
  • Pink Sheets/OTCBB
  • Stocks

Merrill Edge vs Ameritrade: Education

Both platforms provide educational tools and resources. They cover various topics, including:

  • different types of stocks
  • retirement
  • fixed income
  • mutual funds
  • options
  • ETFs

One significant difference between the two brokerages is that paper trading is available only on TDA. This feature is beneficial to beginners because it allows them to try different trades and strategies before committing real cash.

Also, both platforms provide webinars. However, TDA has a monthly average of 500, with the archived webinars also available. With Merrill Edge, on the other hand, you’ll only get one webinar per month, and you won’t get access to the archive.

Ameritrade vs Merrill Edge: Fees

TD Ameritrade and Merrill Edge fees are quite similar. In fact, in October 2019, the two brokerages cut their commissions for options, ETFs, and stocks.

Both companies don’t require you to make a deposit to get started. However, you will need to pay a $0.65 fee per contract.

Broker-assisted trading is one area whereby the Merrill Edge platform is slightly more expensive. Merrill Edge charges $29.95 for this feature, whereas TDA takes $25.00.

However, when comparing trading fees for mutual funds, Merrill Edge is considerably cheaper. It charges $19.95 on non-NTF funds. The same costs $49.99 at TDA Ameritrade.

Brokerage fees comparison

Let’s take a look at the TD Ameritrade and Merrill Edge trading fees:

Merrill Edge TD Ameritrade
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $29.95 $25
Futures (Per Contract) N/A $2.25
Options (Per Contract) $0.65 $0.65
Options (Base Fee) $0.00 $0.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $19.95 $49.99
ETF Trade Fee $0.00 $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00 $0.00
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $0.00

You’ll also find that margin rates are a little bit higher on the TD trading platform. For example, for accounts between $25,000 and $49,999, the margin rate is 9% at TD Ameritrade. At Merrill Edge, the margin rate is 7.5% for accounts between $25,000 and $99,999.

Brokerage margin fees comparison

Let’s now make a Merrill Edge and TD Ameritrade margin rate comparison:

Merrill Edge TD Ameritrade
Above $1,000,000.00 N/A N/A
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 N/A N/A
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 N/A 7.50%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 N/A 7.75%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 7.50% 8.00%
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99 7.50% 9.00%
$10,000.00 to $24,999.99 8.63% 9.25%
Under $10,000.00 8.63% 9.50%

However, at Merrill Edge, there are some notable fees regarding your account, which TD Ameritrade doesn’t charge. For instance, the Merrill Edge trading platform has a $49.95 IRA closing fee.

In addition, returned ACH fees and fees for stock certificates are more costly. Charging $500 for their processing fee when it comes to stock certificates makes Merrill Edge the industry’s most expensive platform in this area.

Brokerage account fees comparison

And how do Merrill Edge brokerage account fees fare against those of TD Ameritrade?

Merrill Edge TD Ameritrade
International Wire Fee $24.95 $25.00
Domestic Wire Fee $24.95 $25.00
Paper Confirmation Fee $3.00 $0.00
Paper Statement Fee $5.00 $0.00
Stock Certificate Delivery Fee N/A $500.00
Stock Certificate Processing Fee $500.00 $0.00
Returned Wire Fee N/A $25.00
Returned ACH Fee $30.00 $25.00
Account Transfer Out (Full) $49.95 $75.00
Account Transfer Out (Partial) $0.00 $0.00
IRA Closure Fee $49.95 $0.00
IRA Annual Fee $0.00 $0.00


Merrill Edge and TD Ameritrade have various measures in place to make sure their users are safe. Both companies have a banking background and a high level of protection for their investors.

Notably, though, neither TD Ameritrade nor Merrill Edge brokerage provides negative balance protection.

Mobile App

TD Ameritrade has created two mobile applications. TD Ameritrade Mobile comes first, which is designed to mirror what is provided by the desktop application. Using this app is easy, and it is compatible with Apple Watch, iOS, and Android.

TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader App is the second app available on the TD trading platform. It’s synced with thinkorswim, meaning you can use a whole host of features, including charts, market scanning, and watchlists via your smartphone. You’re also able to use the simulator for trading virtually.

TD Ameritrade is constantly looking for new methods for people to put on their trades. From Twitter and Google Assistant to Facebook Messenger and Alexa, there are plenty of possibilities!

Although there’s a Merrill Edge app, we would not say that this is your traditional application for trading on your smartphone. You need the Bank of America application, and then you can install the widget for Merrill Edge. By doing this, you can view your holdings and make the most of a few tools. Nevertheless, trades can only be placed on your desktop.

Merrill Edge vs Ameritrade: Customer Service

Both companies provide a similar level of support for their clients on the surface. But we’ve delved deeper to give you a truly comprehensive TD Ameritrade vs Merrill Edge broker comparison.

You can expect 24/7 consumer support over the telephone from both providers. So, whether you need help making a TD Ameritrade wire transfer or you’re having difficulties using Merrill Edge, you will get the help you require. However, it’s worth pointing out that you must schedule an appointment if you want assistance at Merrill Edge.

While testing the platform, we noticed that the customer help at Merrill Edge is not as knowledgeable regarding the tools and elements of Merrill Edge Pro as it should be.

TD Ameritrade presents the options of support via email and live chat. The latter is only accessible via Twitter and FB Messenger, though. So it’s not as appealing as it seems on the surface. If you can’t get in touch with help via social media, phone support is the best port of call for TD Ameritrade.

In-branch support is an option when using Merrill Edge. Simply visit a Bank of America location specified, of which there are more than 2,500. In contrast, there are only approximately 300 TDA branch locations.

Who Is Merrill Edge Best for?

Merrill Edge is tailored toward beginners. It’s also a suitable choice for Bank of America consumers. In addition, if essential research is one of the core elements of your strategy, you’ll enjoy your Merrill Edge investing experience.

Futures and Forex are not available on Merrill Edge, however. So if you’re interested in either of these, you should consider TDA instead.

Who Is TD Ameritrade Best for?

TD Ameritrade is an all-encompassing platform designed with both rookies and experienced traders in mind.

With an extensive portfolio and a vast range of tools and features, TD Ameritrade is one of the most comprehensive platforms available.

You can also check out our comparison of TD Ameritrade vs E*TRADE to better understand how it shapes up with one of the other major platforms.

Which Is Better, TD Ameritrade or Merrill Edge?

So there you have it: the TD Ameritrade vs Merrill Edge battle.

Ultimately, TD Ameritrade provides a greater range of options in terms of investments, enhanced research, and more tools. Yet, some of Merrill Edge’s fees are slightly lower. Mutual funds investors would definitely appreciate the pricing difference.

We hope our trading platform comparison has helped you make your decision. If you need more information, check out our dedicated TD Ameritrade and Merrill Edge reviews.


I have been writing content for several years now after stumbling across a few opportunities online. You could call it fate. My personal experiences and eagerness to learn have fuelled my passion for the financial sector. When I don’t have my eyes peeled to the computer screen, I dedicate my time to my other interests — motocross and music.

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