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Merrill Edge Review 2024

Written by
Nicole C.
Fact checked by
Updated
6d ago
Regulated and trusted. Tested via live trading.
4,274 people chose this broker
Available in United States

Why choose Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge is a US-based broker owned by Bank of America (BofA).

It offers low trading fees, including commission-free stock and ETF trades. The account opening process is fast and seamless. The broker is considered highly reliable due to the reputation of its parent company, Bank of America. It is a good choice for beginner investors.

Merrill Edge is only available to US residents and offers only US-based products. There is no demo account in its educational portfolio, and electronic wallets and credit cards are not available to fund accounts.

BrokerChooser gave Merrill Edge a 4.6/5 rating based on analyzing 600+ criteria and testing via opening a live account.

  • Low trading fees
  • Easy and seamless account opening
  • Strong parent company
Overall score
4.6/5
Minimum deposit
$0
Stock fee
Low
Options fee
Low
Inactivity fee
no
Account opening
1 day

Not sure if this is the right broker for you? See the best ones.

See how the best brokers in the United States compare to Merrill Edge

US stock fee
Estimated commission of a $2,000 trade, assuming a $50 stock price

Fees

Score: 4.2/5
Merrill Edge has overall low trading and non-trading fees, including commission-free stock and ETF trades. However, margin rates are high.
  • Commission-free trading (stocks, ETFs)
  • Low non-trading fees

We compared Merrill Edge's fees with two similar brokers we selected, Fidelity and Vanguard. These competitors were selected based on objective factors like products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc. See a more detailed comparison of Merrill Edge alternatives.

Commission-free stock and ETFs

It’s extremely great as Merrill Edge has commission-free US stock trading.

Broker
US stock
Merrill Edge
$0.0
Fidelity
$0.0
Vanguard
$0.0
Merrill Edge stock and ETF commission

High margin rates

Merrill Edge USD margin rate fees are higher than the industry average. USD margin rate fees are calculated as follows: Not published by Merrill Edge, we estimated below based on previous rates

Broker
USD margin rate
Merrill Edge
12.6%
Fidelity
13.6%
Vanguard
13.8%
Merrill Edge annual margin rates

Low options commission

Merrill Edge US stock index options fees are about half of the industry average. US stock index options fees are calculated as follows: $0.65 per contract

Broker
US stock index options
Merrill Edge
$6.5
Fidelity
$6.5
Vanguard
$10.0
Merrill Edge stock index options commission

The broker charges $0.65 per contract. Sales of options are subject to an additional transaction fee of between $0.01 and $0.03 per $1,000 of principal.

No inactivity fee, no withdrawal fee

There is no inactivity fee and no account opening fee. There are also no deposit or withdrawal fees.

Broker
Inactivity fee
Withdrawal fee
Merrill Edge
$0
Fidelity
$0
Vanguard
$0
Merrill Edge inactivity, withdrawal and other fees

Preferred Rewards program

The Bank of America Preferred Rewards program offers various benefits and rewards to Merrill Edge clients who also have a Bank of America bank account.
Benefits include discounts on Merrill's Guided Investing advisory service, as well as on loans and credit card fees, and higher interest on savings.
To qualify, clients need to have an average 3-month combined bank/investment account balance of at least $20,000. There are four tiers (Gold, Platinum, Platinum Honors, Diamond) going up to a combined balance of $10 million. Benefits grow by each tier.

Other commissions and fees

Average mutual fund commission: trading mutual funds involves the following charges - $19.95 per transaction, but there are also more than 800 funds that are free to trade.

Low bond commission: US treasury bonds come with the following charges - $0 for online trades.

Broker
Mutual fund
US micro e-mini stock index futures
Merrill Edge
$20.0
-
Fidelity
$37.5
-
Vanguard
$20.0
-
Misc. fees compared with other brokers

Safety

Merrill Edge is a legit brokerage. It is regulated by top-tier US authorities and its clients are protected by a high investor protection amount. On the negative side, negative balance protection is not provided.
  • Majority of clients belong to a top-tier financial authority
  • High level of investor protection
  • Banking background
Read more

Deposit and withdrawal

Score: 1.6/5
Merrill Edge has an easy-to-use deposit and withdrawal system with a bank account connection. Unfortunately, you can only fund your account via bank transfer, bank cards are not available as an option.
  • Free withdrawal
  • No deposit fee
  • User-friendly
Read more

Account opening

Score: 5/5
Account opening at Merrill Edge is seamless and fully digital; it took us less than a day to have an open account. Only US clients are accepted.
  • Fast
  • Fully digital
  • No minimum deposit
Read more

Mobile app

Score: 4.8/5
The Merrill Edge mobile app, available for iPhone and Android devices, is easy to use and provides a safe and easy login. On the other hand, the search functions could be improved.
  • User-friendly
  • Two-step (safer) login
  • Touch/Face ID login
Read more

Desktop platform

Score: 4.3/5
Merrill Edge's desktop trading platform Merrill Edge MarketPro is targeted for active traders. It has advanced tools and functionalities, and is highly customizable.
  • Clear fee report
  • Good customizability (for charts, workspace)
  • Advanced tools
Read more

Product selection

Score: 2.4/5
Merrill Edge has a limited product portfolio that consists of stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and bonds. Unfortunately, the product lineup covers only the US market.
Read more
“Merrill Edge is a subsidiary of the Bank of America, and the brokerage is deeply connected to the bank’s services and offerings. If you have a significant relationship with BofA, such as a mortgage, large checking account, or a loan, it’s worth it to open a Merrill Edge account to take advantage of premium awards. Even if you aren’t a BofA customer, Merrill Edge serves beginning and intermediate-level long-term investors well. ME’s portfolio analysis tools give you a clear view of how your investments are performing. You’ll find top-notch proprietary and third-party research. On the downside, per-contract options fees and margin interest rates are very high, and options spreads are limited to only two legs if placed online. You’ll have to call a broker to place a more complex spread.”

FAQ

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Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology.

Nicole Conrad
Author of this review
Nicole is a former intern content contributor for BrokerChooser. She came with experience and certification in Accounting, and pursued graduate studies in Economic Policy. Nicole wrote broker reviews to provide transparency for customers: highlighting brokers’ exceptional services and holding them accountable for questionable practices.
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