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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.


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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
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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 Trade 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 $25.00
Account Transfer Out (Partial)
$0.00 $50.00
Account Transfer Out (Full)
$49.95 $50.00

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
Crypto Trading - Total Coins
0 0
Mutual Funds (No Load)
2952 11806
Mutual Funds (Total)
3466 19024
Bonds (US Treasury)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Corporate)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Municipal)
Yes Yes
Advisor Services
Yes Yes
International Trading
No No

Order Types

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Order Type - Market
Yes Yes
Order Type - Limit
Yes Yes
Order Type - After-Hours
Yes Yes
Order Type - Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - Trailing Stop
Yes No
Order Type - OCO
No No
Order Type - OTO
No No
Order Type - Broker Assisted
Yes Yes

Beginners

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Education (Stocks)
Yes Yes
Education (ETFs)
Yes Yes
Education (Options)
Yes Yes
Education (Mutual Funds)
Yes Yes
Education (Bonds)
Yes Yes
Education (Retirement)
Yes Yes
Retirement Calculator
Yes No
Investor Dictionary
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
No No
Videos
Yes No
Webinars (Monthly Avg)
1 15
Webinars (Archived)
Yes Yes
Progress Tracking
No No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
Yes No

Stock 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 Yes
Trading - Simple Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Complex Options
Yes Yes
Order Ticket RT Quotes
Yes Yes
Order Ticket SRT Quotes
No No

Stock App Features

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Market Movers (Top Gainers)
Yes Yes
Stream Live TV
No No
Videos on Demand
No No
Stock Alerts
Yes No
Option Chains Viewable
Yes Yes
Watch List (Real-time)
Yes Yes
Watch List (Streaming)
Yes No
Watch Lists - Create & Manage
Yes Yes
Watch Lists - Column Customization
No No
Watch List - Column Filtering
Yes No

Stock App Charting

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Charting - After-Hours
No No
Charting - Can Turn Horizontally
Yes Yes
Charting - Multiple Time Frames
Yes Yes
Charting - Technical Studies
34 17
Charting - Study Customizations
Yes No
Charting - Stock Comparisons
Yes Yes

Trading Platforms

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Desktop Trading Platform
Yes No
Web Trading Platform
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
No No
Trade Journal
No No
Watch Lists - Total Fields
285 21

Stock Chart Features

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Charting - Adjust Trades on Chart
Yes No
Charting - Indicators / Studies
104 117
Charting - Drawing Tools
22 36
Charting - Notes
Yes Yes
Charting - Index Overlays
Yes Yes
Charting - Historical Trades
Yes No
Charting - Corporate Events
Yes Yes
Charting - Custom Date Range
Yes No
Charting - Custom Time Bars
Yes No
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
Streaming Time & Sales
Yes No
Streaming TV
No No
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
No No
Ladder Trading
No No
Trade Hot Keys
No No
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
Yes No
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
Yes Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting Adv
No No
Short Locator
No No
Order Liquidity Rebates
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 - Bonds
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 - PDF Reports
3 2
Stock Research - Earnings
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Insiders
Yes Yes
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
ETF Fund Facts - Inception Date
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Expense Ratio
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Net Assets
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Total Holdings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Performance Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Sector Exposure
Yes No
ETFs - Risk Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Ratings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap
Yes No
ETFs - PDF Reports
Yes Yes

Mutual Fund Research

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Performance Chart
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Performance Analysis
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
Yes No
Mutual Funds - PDF 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 - Basic View
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Strategy View
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Streaming
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Total Columns
68 8
Option Chains - Greeks
5 1
Option Positions - Greeks Streaming
Yes No
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 Yes
Option Positions - Grouping
Yes Yes

Banking

Feature Merrill Edge Ally Invest
Bank (Member FDIC)
Yes Yes
Checking Accounts
Yes Yes
Savings Accounts
Yes Yes
Credit Cards
Yes No
Debit Cards
Yes Yes
Mortgage Loans
Yes Yes

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

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 (Bonds) and Education (Retirement).

What about Ally Invest vs Merrill Edge pricing?
Ally Invest and Merrill Edge charge the same amount for regular stock trades, $0. With options, the base fee is $0 for both Ally Invest and Merrill Edge. 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 15,558 total mutual funds, with Ally Invest offering 19024 and Merrill Edge offering 3466.

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. Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans are offered by Merrill Edge while Ally Invest offers 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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