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Options trading conditions at Merrill Edge explained

Your expert
Nicole C.
Fact checked by
Adam N.
Updated
3w ago
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Can you trade options at Merrill Edge?

Options trading is increasingly popular, but it's still something of a niche product aimed at more experienced traders, so not all brokers offer it and trading conditions can differ widely.

We have good news: Merrill Edge offers options trading, under good conditions and with access to many options markets. Click to open your Merrill Edge account or read on for details and comparisons.

Merrill Edge is great for options trading
Nicole
Nicole Conrad

I've tested dozens of brokers in recent years, including their options trading features. Merrill Edge impressed me overall; here's why:

  • It has an above-average options trading score based on fees, products and UX.
  • Merrill Edge offers access to 5 options markets.
  • Options trading fees at Merrill Edge are low.
  • Trading platform and research quality make a difference.
  • See how Merrill Edge compares to the best in class.

Before we begin, let's see if Merrill Edge is available in your country:

Yes, you can open an account at Merrill Edge if you live in the United States!
the United States

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BrokerChooser score
4.6 4.6 /5
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Merrill Edge has an above-average options trading score

To assess whether Merrill Edge is a great place to trade options, we calculated a comprehensive options score that takes into account options trading fees, the potential number of options products available, and the quality of the broker's trading platform (including charting and other research tools).

Merrill Edge's overall options score of 3.8 stars is considered above average among the brokers we cover that offer options trading. Here's how Merrill Edge scored against some close rivals:

Broker
Options score
Merrill Edge
3.8
/5
Fidelity
4.5
/5
Vanguard
2.7
/5
Merrill Edge options score vs selected competitors
Need a refresher course on options trading? Here's a high-level overview of all you need to know about trading options. If you're already familiar with the basics, you can dive right into options trading strategies or the niceties of options pricing.
Still lacking options trading mileage? We suggest you start with our introduction to options trading for beginners.

Merrill Edge has access to 5 options markets

The biggest exchanges,like CBOE or CME, are available at Merrill Edge.

Broker
Options markets (#)
Merrill Edge
5
Fidelity
8
Vanguard
5
Number of options markets available at Merrill Edge vs selected competitors

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Options fees at Merrill Edge are low

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.

In the table below, we listed options trading fees (calculated in USD terms) at Merrill Edge and some of its competitors for trading 10 options contracts.

Broker
US stock options
US stock index options
Merrill Edge
-
$6.5
Fidelity
$6.5
$6.5
Vanguard
$10.0
$10.0
Options trading fees and scores at Merrill Edge vs selected competitors. Data updated on May 20, 2024.

Please note that some brokers don't charge a separate fee for closing an options trade. In these cases, in order to represent this discount properly, we calculated with just half of the opening fee, because most other brokers charge for both the opening and closing transactions.

So what's all the fuss about fees? Aren't they just a tiny fraction of the value of a typical trade? Well, they may be, but differences in fees among brokers can still be substantial. Of the 100+ brokers we cover, the cheapest one charges $5 for trading 10 US stock index options contracts, while the most expensive one charges $35. Even if you're just a casual trader who does one or two options deals a month, the difference in trading fees can add up to hundreds of dollars a year. Just think of all the goodies you can buy with that money!

Trading platform and research quality make a difference

Trading fees and product selection are only part of the story when it comes to options trading.

  • A great trading interface (especially on desktop) with user-friendly search and order functions, good charting capabilities and quality research material is an option trader's best friend.
  • Costs don't stop at trading fees; if you trade often and want access to your trading profits, withdrawal fees can sting.

In the table below, you can check how Merrill Edge compares to some close competitors in trading platform quality and other features.

Broker
Research score
Merrill Edge
4.0
/5
Fidelity
4.5
/5
Vanguard
3.0
/5
Trading platform quality and other conditions at Merrill Edge vs selected competitors
BrokerChooser score
4.6 4.6 /5
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See some great alternatives to Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge is great for options trading, but can you go one better? See for yourself by browsing our top ten list of the best options brokers in your country.

Alternatively, if you want a broader comparison or have some specific other brokers in mind, you can use our broker comparison tool to size up options brokers along many different criteria.

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Check out this short video for a behind-the-scenes peek into how our experts personally test and evaluate brokers.

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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 article
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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