Last Updated: July 19, 2021
Individual, Joint, Custodial, Retirement
$0 for stocks and ETFs; $0.65 per options contract
Finding a good and reliable online brokerage that is easy to use can be challenging. There are many options, but how do you know which one will serve you well?
Many Merrill Edge reviews point to the platform as one of the best out there. Indeed, there are unlimited free stock and ETF trades, no account minimum and a mobile app at your disposal. For Bank of America (BofA) customers, Merrill Edge is even more appealing as it offers special rewards. But is that enough for you? And what about the cons?
We know that if you want to buy stocks online, you need to find out where to trade without searching endlessly for relevant information. That’s why you may find our Merrill Edge review handy. We’ll discuss everything you need to know and skip any unnecessary bits so you don’t waste time and energy, but focus on your investment strategy instead.
What Is Merrill Edge?
Merrill Edge was launched in 2010 as a result of Bank of America’s acquisition of investment advisory firm Merrill Lynch. Combining the two major financial institutions’ capabilities, the online trading platform has become a popular choice for novice and expert traders alike.
Our Merrill Edge trading review will look into all the reasons for that hype but also reveal the platform’s drawbacks. So read on!
How to Use Merrill Edge?
To begin your investment journey with Merrill Edge, you have to follow a few easy steps. There aren’t many Merrill Edge complaints from its customers in terms of functionality, and that’s because the brokerage makes sure that using the platform is as simple as possible.
To use the Merrill Edge investing platform, you need to sign up first. Regardless of the account type you choose, the brokerage will ask you to provide the following information:
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Date of birth
- Email and valid mailing address
- Employment data
- Names and dates of birth for any beneficiaries
Funding your new account is also easy. You can do it through:
- Wire transfer
- Cash transfer cash
- Check deposit
- Existing IRA or brokerage account transfer
How to Start Trading?
After opening your Merrill Edge account, you can use the Quick Start Guide. Doing so will help you create a strategy and choose how you would like to invest. There are two options:
The Self-Directed platform aims to make your investments smooth and fast. You have access to a lot of insights and research. There is also step-by-step guidance to help you along the way.
This service is ideal for traders who aren’t yet comfortable with investing and need expert advice. If you want to purchase stocks but aren’t sure about the risks and procedures, that’s the best option for you.
With guided Merrill Edge investments, you decide on your goals, and professionals monitor them. You will have to provide information about your planned investments and what you hope to achieve. The brokerage’s team will then recommend a strategy that complements your aims.
What Can You Trade?
Although Merrill Edge offers a diverse range of trading possibilities, it falls short compared to some of its competitors.
Your investment choices include:
The platform doesn’t support futures, futures options, and cryptocurrency trading. Restrictions may also limit penny stocks based on market cap.
Which Tools Are Available?
You will find that all Merrill Edge reviews mention a list of tools. We’ll also give you a rundown of what to expect from the platform.
Trading Idea Generator
The Trading Idea Generator is a personalized and visual experience that uses Artificial Intelligence to power it. You get pro-level research based on your trading experience so you can buy stock fast and efficiently.
With over 30 news sources, such as BBC Newsfile, Business Wire, Associated Press, The Guardian UK, and more, you’ll know what’s happening on NASDAQ. Keeping up with up-to-date market information can help you become a more successful stock trader.
Another useful tool is the full charting capability with streaming data. Merrill Edge online users can use this free feature if they qualify based on the assets they hold or the trades they make.
You can look at comparisons of peers and sectors, earnings, stock splits, and more for a broad view of the stock exchange and investment opportunities.
Merrill Edge features a vast research database. You can look at analysis for approximately 1,500 equities and examine the quarterly Fixed Income Digest for bonds data. There’s also information on ETFs and mutual funds. In addition, plenty of research on emerging markets is available and opens even more doors for diverse investments.
Merrill Edge’s portfolio analysis capabilities are excellent, and you should use them whether you’re new to investment or a skilled expert.
The analysis provides a good look at your investment and displays portfolio performance insights.
The Merrill Edge platform lets you look at individual items or get an overall Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance rating on your portfolio. Dynamic Insights, a tool with AI-driven analysis and insight, shows data on your account, holdings, and the current market conditions.
How Does the Platform Work?
As we mentioned above, getting started isn’t overly complicated or difficult. There are no Merrill Edge hidden fees to worry about. And if you’re a Bank of America customer, it’s even easier to get set up.
There are five tabs on the top of the screen that gives you easy access to the features. You can launch MarketPro, the streaming app, in a window of its own and set up trading defaults.
Merrill Edge has put a lot of effort into making your experience more personal and will make the things you repeatedly use a bit easier to find. You can also view any watchlists you’ve set up in Merrill Edge MarketPro, so you don’t miss out on great investment opportunities.
The Investor Education Center is a neat feature that helps you grasp investing without searching around for information.
A mobile-optimized Guidance and Retirement Center is excellent for learning about retirement investing, college planning, and more.
The Preferred Rewards is another brilliant feature that deserves mention in our Merrill Edge review. This program’s benefits include credit card bonuses, investment discounts, money market savings, and much more.
Merrill Edge Fees
Merrill Edge offers most of its services for free. Yet, it charges for broker-assisted trades and some other trade features. Here’s a look at what you can expect to pay:
|Stocks and ETFs||$0 for unlimited online stock and ETF trades
$29.95 for broker-assisted trades
|Options||$0.65 per contract
$29.95 + $0.65 per contract for broker-assisted trades
|Мerrill Еdge trading fees for Mutual Funds|
|Load-waived funds||$0 per transaction|
|No load, no transaction fee funds (NTF)||$0 per online transaction
$39.95 short-term redemption (if fund is held less than 90 days)
|No load, transaction fee funds (TF)||$19.95 per transaction
$29.95 per broker-assisted transaction
|Load fund||$0 per transaction|
|Fixed income & bonds|
|New issues including Brokered CDs||$0 for online and broker-assisted trades|
|Treasuries, including Auction and Secondary||$0 for online trades
$29.95 per broker-assisted trade
|Other Secondary trades, Corporate Bonds, Municipal Bonds, and Government agencies||$1 per bond ($10 min, $250 max)
+ $29.95 per broker-assisted trade
Merrill Edge Mobile App
Merrill Edge revamped its mobile app in 2017, focusing on providing a personalized user experience. The application acts similar to its desktop version and is easy to use on both iPhone and Android devices. With Merrill Edge Mobile, you can plan your trades, track your account activity, monitor markets, interact with your portfolio data, and place trades.
Merrill Edge Customer Service
Merrill Edge can be reached on a 24/7 phone line and online chat if you have any questions or need advice. The FAQ section focuses on giving people information on trade-related topics. For an extra fee, you can also contact a live broker who will assist you with any help you need.
Also, Merrill Edge customer service and support are offered on Twitter, mainly provided by Bank of America personnel.
Merrill Edge Alternatives
Merril Edge might sound like the perfect online trading platform for you, but it’s always a good idea to compare companies to their competitors. That way, you get a clearer picture of the quality of services on offer.
Here’s a comparison of Merrill Edge and its main rivals:
Merrill Edge vs Fidelity
Merrill Edge and Fidelity both have zero fees on trades and ask $0.65 per stock options contract.
There’s a difference in fees when you look at mutual funds: a Merrill Edge brokerage account pays $19,95 with 1,400 of no-transaction-fee mutual funds. With Fidelity, you’ll pay $49,95 and also get thousands for free.
Both of these platforms have easy-to-use interfaces and are popular online brokers. Yet, Merrill Edge lacks some of Fidelity’s features, such as conditional orders and complex options trading.
Merrill Edge vs Vanguard
Vanguard is slightly more expensive than Merrill Edge when it comes to fees per contract for options. Vanguard asks $1 per contract compared to Merrill Edge’s $0,65.
You don’t need a minimum amount to open an account with either.
When comparing ease of use, Merrill Edge is better for beginners. It’s not difficult to get started: open a Merrill Edge account, get acquainted with the platform, and begin trading.
Vanguard is more complicated, and you have to wait a few days before the brokerage verifies your account and log in to it.
Merrill Edge vs TD Ameritrade
Both offer free trades and ETFs, while options and trading stocks cost the same. Ameritrade mutual funds trading fee is $49,99. They offer over 1,800 free, compared to Merrill Edge’s over 1,400 free for $19,95.
Account funding is easy with Merrill Edge, especially as a BofA customer. With TD Ameritrade, you may wait 24 hours for some transfers. This is something you’ll notice is discussed in many Merrill Edge reviews, as it’s never fun to wait before getting started.
For more info on the differences between the two, check out our side-by-side comparison of TD Ameritrade and Merril Edge.
Merrill Edge vs E*Trade
You get pretty much the same trading options here. Yet, unlike Merrill Edge, E*Trade has an IPO center. You can also trade cryptocurrency futures on E*Trade, but not through Merrill Edge brokerage. The latter, however, supports mutual funds trading.
Both platforms feature advanced charting tools and similar fees. Stock trades are free, while options cost $0.65 per contract. But with E*Trade, if you reach 30+trades per quarter, the price per options contract drops to $0.50.
Merrill Edge vs Robinhood
Robinhood is known for being a low-cost broker, but Merrill Edge is highly affordable as well.
In terms of investment options, Robinhood doesn’t support mutual funds trading like Merrill Edge, but it does offer access to the cryptocurrency market.
One of the biggest Merrill Edge benefits, especially when compared to Robinhood, is the 24/7 phone customer service. Professional assistance is definitely one of Robinhood’s weaknesses, as you can reach the platform’s support staff only during the week when the markets are open. Whatsmore, the number isn’t toll-free.
Robinhood’s website is minimal and falls flat in comparison to Merrill Edge’s venue that’s feature-rich. Research and educational material is also superior on Merrill Edge.
Merrill Edge is a popular online trading platform because it’s user-friendly, affordable, and suitable for traders of all expertise levels. If you want to start trading stocks, it’s a great choice. You will have access to many useful resources, and it won’t cost a fortune to get started.
- Comprehensive analysis tools
- No account minimum
- Access to research material
- Easy to use
- Free stock and ETF trading
- No cryptocurrency, futures, or future options trading
- Per-contract option fees are a bit high
Is Merrill Edge Good for Beginners?
Merrill Edge is a good option for beginners because it offers many learning resources and guided investment to help you make well-informed decisions.
Is Merrill Edge Free?
There are no charges for most online trades and no per-leg commission on option trades. Yet options cost $0.65 per contract. An order for 50 options contracts will cost you a Merrill Edge fee of $32.50.
Is Merrill Guided Investing Worth It?
Merrill Edge Guided Investing is a good idea, especially if you’re new to trading or need some assistance in getting your investment portfolio strong.
Is Merrill Edge a Good Investment Company?
Most Merrill Edge reviews, as well as our own research and evaluation, confirm the platform is good, especially for Bank of America clients and long-term investors.