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 Charles Schwab 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 more than Charles Schwab for placing regular stock trades ($6.95 and $4.95, respectively). For options trading, Merrill Edge has a base fee of $6.95, and Charles Schwab a base fee of $4.95. Option contracts are pricier at Merrill Edge, costing $0.75 versus $0.65 at Charles Schwab. 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 Charles Schwab provides clients access to Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. Looking at mutual funds, Charles Schwab offers its clients access to 5509 different mutual funds while Merrill Edge has 3688 available funds, a difference of 1,821. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, Charles Schwab offers 244 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. Charles Schwab nor Merrill Edge offers virtual trading. Taking a look at mobile trading, Charles Schwab 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. Both Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge offer Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, Charles Schwab posted awards Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Research in 2018, while Merrill Edge found itself with none of these.
Overall, both Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge share a rating of 4.50 stars.