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Merrill Edge vs Ally Invest 2021

Is Ally Invest better than Merrill Edge? After testing 11 of the best online brokers over three months, Merrill Edge (91.72%) is better than Ally Invest (76.84%). Merrill Edge offers $0 trades with industry-leading research tools (especially ESG research) and excellent customer service. Better yet, for current Bank of America customers, Merrill Edge's Preferred Rewards program provides the best rewards of any bank broker we tested in 2021.


Overall Rating

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Overall 4.5 4
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4.5
Offering of Investments 4 4
Platforms & Tools 4 3
Mobile Trading 4.5 3.5
Research 4.5 3.5
Education 4.5 3.5
Ease of Use 5 5
Merrill Edge Review Ally Invest Review
Winner check_circle

Trading Fees

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00 $0.00
ETF Trade Fee $0.00 $0.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $19.95 $9.95
Options (Base Fee) $0.00 $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.65 $0.50
Futures (Per Contract) N/A N/A
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $29.95 $20.00

Margin Rates

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Under $24,999.99 8.63% 7.75%
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99 7.50% 7.50%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 7.50% 6.75%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 N/A 5.50%
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 N/A 4.50%
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 N/A 4.00%
Above $1,000,000.00 N/A 3.25%

Account Fees

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
IRA Annual Fee $0.00 $0.00
IRA Closure Fee $49.95 $50.00
Account Transfer Out (Partial) $0.00 N/A
Account Transfer Out (Full) $49.95 N/A
Returned ACH Fee $30.00 $30.00
Returned Wire Fee N/A $30.00
Stock Certificate Processing Fee $500.00 $300.00
Stock Certificate Delivery Fee N/A $300.00
Paper Statement Fee $5.00 $2.00
Paper Confirmation Fee $3.00 $1.00
Domestic Wire Fee $24.95 $30.00
International Wire Fee $24.95 N/A

Investment Options

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Stock Trading
Yes Yes
Fractional Shares
No No
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Yes Yes
Options Trading
Yes Yes
Complex Options Max Legs
2 4
Futures Trading
No No
Forex Trading
No Yes
Crypto Trading No No
Mutual Funds (No Load)
3147 11153
Mutual Funds (Total)
3469 18352
Bonds (US Treasury)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Corporate)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Municipal)
Yes Yes
Advisor Services
Yes Yes
International Trading
No No
AI Assistant Bot
No No

Order Types

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Order Type - Market
Yes Yes
Order Type - Limit
Yes Yes
Order Type - Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - Trailing Stop
Yes No
Order Type - Contingent
No Yes
Order Type - MultiContingent
No No
Order Type - OCO
No No
Order Type - OTO
No No
Order Type - OTOCO
No No

Customer Service

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Phone Support (Prospect Customers)
Yes Yes
Phone Support (Current Customers)
Yes Yes
Email Support
Yes Yes
Live Chat (Prospect Customers)
Yes Yes
Live Chat (Current Customers)
Yes Yes
24/7 Support
Yes No

Trading Platforms

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Desktop Platform (Windows)
Yes No
Desktop Platform (Mac)
Yes No
Web Platform
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
No No
Trade Journal
No No
Heat Mapping
Yes No
Watch Lists - Total Fields
285 21

Charting Features

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Charting - Trade Off Chart
Yes No
Charting - Indicators / Studies
104 117
Charting - Drawing Tools
22 36
Charting - Historical Trades
Yes No
Charting - Corporate Events
Yes Yes
Charting - Automated Analysis
Yes Yes
Charting - Save Profiles
Yes Yes
Trade Ideas - Technical Analysis
Yes Yes
Charting - Study Customizations
8 5
Charting - Custom Studies
No No

Day Trading

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
Yes No
Streaming Time & Sales
Yes No
Streaming TV
No No
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
No No
Direct Market Routing - Options
No No
Ladder Trading
No No
Trade Hot Keys
Yes No
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
Yes No
Level 2 Quotes - Options
Yes No
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
Yes Yes
Short Locator
No No
Order Liquidity Rebates
No No

Mobile Trading Apps

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
iPhone App
Yes Yes
Android App
Yes Yes
Apple Watch App
Yes No
Trading - Stocks
Yes Yes
Trading - After-Hours
Yes No
Trading - Conditional Orders
No No
Trading - Mutual Funds
Yes No
Trading - Simple Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Complex Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Option Rolling
No No
Touch / Face ID
Yes Yes

Mobile App Features

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Watch List Syncing
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts
Yes No
Charting - After Hours
Yes No
Charting - Drawing
Yes No
Charting - Study Customizations
Yes No
Heatmapping
Yes No
Stream Live TV
No No
Barcode Lookup
No No

Research Overview

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Research - Stocks
Yes Yes
Research - ETFs
Yes Yes
Research - Mutual Funds
Yes Yes
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB
Yes Yes
Research - Fixed Income
Yes No
Screener - Stocks
Yes No
Screener - ETFs
Yes Yes
Screener - Mutual Funds
Yes No
Screener - Options
Yes No
Screener - Bonds
Yes Yes
Misc - Portfolio Builder
Yes Yes
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Yes No

Stock Research

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Stock Research - Reports
3 2
Stock Research - Earnings
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Insiders
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Metric Comp
Yes No
Stock Research - SEC Filings
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Social
No No
Stock Research - Balance Sheet
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Cash Flows
Yes Yes
Stock Research - News
Yes Yes
Stock Research - ESG
Yes No

ETF Research

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
ETFs - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Sector Exposure
Yes No
ETFs - Risk Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Performance Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Ratings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap
Yes No
ETFs - Reports
Yes Yes

Mutual Fund Research

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
Yes No
Mutual Funds - Reports
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Asset Allocation
Yes No
Mutual Funds - Sector Allocation
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Country Allocation
Yes No
Mutual Funds - StyleMap
Yes No
Mutual Funds - 3rd Party Ratings
Yes Yes

Options Trading

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Option Chains - Streaming
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Total Columns
69 8
Option Chains - Greeks
5 1
Option Chains - Quick Analysis
Yes Yes
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
Yes Yes
Option Probability Analysis
Yes Yes
Option Probability Analysis Adv
No No
Option Positions - Greeks
Yes Yes
Option Positions - Adv Analysis
Yes Yes
Option Positions - Rolling
Yes No
Option Positions - Grouping
Yes Yes

Beginners

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Education (Stocks)
Yes Yes
Education (ETFs)
Yes No
Education (Options)
Yes Yes
Education (Mutual Funds)
Yes Yes
Education (Fixed Income)
Yes Yes
Education (Retirement)
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
No No
Videos
Yes No
Webinars (Monthly Avg)
1 15
Webinars (Archived)
No Yes
Live Seminars
Yes No
Progress Tracking
Yes No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
Yes No

Banking

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Retail Locations
4300 0
Member FDIC
Yes Yes
Checking Accounts
Yes Yes
Savings Accounts
Yes Yes
Credit Cards
Yes No
Debit Cards
Yes Yes
Mortgage Loans
Yes Yes
No Fee Banking
No Yes

Overall

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Overall 4.5 4
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4.5
Offering of Investments 4 4
Platforms & Tools 4 3
Mobile Trading 4.5 3.5
Research 4.5 3.5
Education 4.5 3.5
Ease of Use 5 5
Merrill Edge Review Ally Invest Review
Winner check_circle

Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2021 annual broker review, we spent hundreds of hours assessing 11 brokerages to find the best online broker. Let's compare Ally Invest vs Merrill Edge.

Is Ally Invest or Merrill Edge better for beginners?
Merrill Edge is better for beginner investors than Ally Invest. Merrill Edge offers investors access to Videos, Education (Stocks), Education (ETFs), Education (Options), Education (Mutual Funds), Education (Fixed Income) and Education (Retirement).

What about Ally Invest vs Merrill Edge pricing?
Ally Invest and Merrill Edge both cost $0 per trade. For options trading, both Ally Invest and Merrill Edge charge the same base fee of $0. Option contracts are pricier at Merrill Edge, costing $0.65 versus $0.50 at Ally Invest. For a complete commissions summary, see our best discount brokers guide.

Does Ally Invest or Merrill Edge offer a wider range of investment options?
Ally Invest offers a more diverse selection of investment options than Merrill Edge. Ally Invest offers investors access to Stock Trading, OTCBB / Pink Sheets, Options Trading, Mutual Funds, Forex Trading and Advisor Services. Looking at Mutual Funds, Merrill Edge trails Ally Invest by 14,883 total mutual funds, with Ally Invest offering 18352 and Merrill Edge offering 3469.

Which trading platform is better: Ally Invest or Merrill Edge?
To compare the trading platforms of both Ally Invest and Merrill Edge, we tested each broker's trading tools, research capabilities, and mobile apps. For trading tools, Merrill Edge offers a better experience. With research, Merrill Edge offers superior market research. Finally, we found Merrill Edge to provide better mobile trading apps.

Does either broker offer banking?
Online banking can be a benefit for investors, and some brokerages do provide banking services to customers. Clients can have Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans at Merrill Edge while customers at Ally Invest can have Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards and Mortgage Loans.

Overall winner: Merrill Edge

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All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/19/2021 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.

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