Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our annual broker review, we assess over a dozen brokers on hundreds of different variables to find the best online broker
. Yielding a database of over 5,000 data points, let's compare Ally Invest vs Merrill Edge.
To start this comparison, first, we will take a look at the online broker commission rates for placing regular stock and options trades. Merrill Edge charges $6.95 per stock trade which is $2.00 more than Ally Invest which charges customers $4.95 per trade. For options trading, Merrill Edge has a base fee of $6.95, and Ally Invest a base fee of $4.95. Each option contract then costs $0.75 at Merrill Edge and $0.65 at Ally Invest. It's important to note that not all brokers charge a flat fee per trade. Thus, it is important to read the full commission notes for each broker, which we include with each online broker review
Next to commission rates, being able to trade what you want is important. Merrill Edge provides its clients with Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while Ally Invest provides clients access to Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Forex Trading. Looking at mutual funds, Merrill Edge trails Ally Invest by 10,291 total mutual funds, with Ally Invest offering 14000 and Merrill Edge offering 3709. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, Ally Invest offers 116 commission free ETFs versus Merrill Edge's total of 0.
Trading access aside, by comparing popular features and functionality, we can break down relevant differences between both brokers. Neither Ally Invest and Merrill Edge offer virtual trading. Taking a look at mobile trading, Ally Invest along with Merrill Edge both support the iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Not to be left out, online banking is also a nice benefit for many investors, and some brokerages provide these services to clients. Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans are available to customers of Ally Invest and Merrill Edge. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, unfortunately, neither Ally Invest nor Merrill Edge received awards Best in Class - Platforms & Tools, Best in Class - Research and Best in Class - Mobile Trading.
Overall, Merrill Edge takes the upper hand with 4 stars over Ally Invest's 3 stars.