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Charles Schwab vs Merrill Edge Review

Blain Reinkensmeyer

The StockBrokers.com annual review (9 years running) takes six months to complete and produces over 30,000 words of research each year. Here's how we test.

Is Charles Schwab better than Merrill Edge? Based on over 4,000 data points from our 2019 annual broker review, Charles Schwab (84.06%) is better than Merrill Edge (77.93%). For those seeking access to low costs, excellent research, quality trade tools, and professional planning for the future, Charles Schwab will not disappoint.

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Overall

Trading Fees

Minimum Deposit
Stock Trade Fee (per trade)
Options Base Fee
Options Per Contract Fee
Mutual Fund Trade Fee
Broker Assisted Trades Fee
IRA Annual Fee
IRA Closure Fee
Commissions & Fees
Winner

Margin Rates

Under $24,999.99
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99
Above $1,000,000.00
Commissions & Fees
Winner

Trading Platforms

Desktop Platform (Windows)
Desktop Platform (Mac)
Web Platform
Paper Trading
Trade Journal
Watch Lists - Total Fields
Two-Factor Authentication Login
Heat Mapping
Platforms & Tools
Winner

Charting Features

Charting - Trade Off Chart
Charting - Indicators / Studies
Charting - Drawing Tools
Charting - Historical Trades
Charting - Corporate Events
Charting - Automated Analysis
Charting - Save Profiles
Charting - Study Customizations
Charting - Custom Studies
Platforms & Tools
Winner

Day Trading

Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
Streaming Time & Sales
Streaming TV
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
Direct Market Routing - Options
Ladder Trading
Trade Hot Keys
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
Level 2 Quotes - Options
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
Short Locator
Client Liquidity Rebates
Winner

Mobile Trading

iPhone App
Android App
Apple Watch App
Trading - Stocks
Trading - After-Hours
Trading - Conditional Orders
Trading - Mutual Funds
Trading - Simple Options
Trading - Complex Options
Trading - Option Rolling
Touch / Face ID
Watch List Syncing
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
Charting - After Hours
Charting - Drawing
Charting - Study Customizations
Customizable Homescreen
Heatmapping
Stream Live TV
Barcode Lookup
Mobile Trading
Winner

Research Overview

Research - Stocks
Research - ETFs
Research - Mutual Funds
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB
Research - Fixed Income
Research - Futures
Research - Forex
Screener - Stocks
Screener - ETFs
Screener - Mutual Funds
Screener - Options
Screener - Bonds
Misc - Portfolio Builder
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Research
Winner

Stock Research

Stock Research - Reports
Stock Research - Earnings
Stock Research - Insiders
Stock Research - Metric Comp
Stock Research - SEC Filings
Stock Research - Social
Stock Research - Balance Sheet
Stock Research - Cash Flows
Stock Research - News
Stock Research - ESG
Research
Winner

Fund Research

ETFs - Strategy Overview
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings
ETFs - Sector Exposure
ETFs - Risk Analysis
ETFs - Performance Analysis
ETFs - Ratings
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap
ETFs - Reports
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
Mutual Funds - Reports
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings
Mutual Funds - Asset Allocation
Mutual Funds - Sector Allocation
Mutual Funds - Country Allocation
Mutual Funds - StyleMap
Mutual Funds - 3rd Party Ratings
Research
Winner

Options Trading

Option Chains - Streaming
Option Chains - Total Columns
Option Chains - Greeks
Option Chains - Quick Analysis
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
Option Probability Analysis
Option Probability Analysis Adv
Option Positions - Greeks
Option Positions - Adv Analysis
Option Positions - Rolling
Option Positions - Grouping
Platforms & Tools
Winner

Investments

Stock Trading
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Options Trading
Complex Options Max Legs
Futures Trading
Forex Trading
Commission-Free ETFs
Mutual Funds (No Load)
Mutual Funds (Total)
Bonds (US Treasury)
Bonds (Corporate)
Bonds (Municipal)
Advisor Services
International Trading
Offering of Investments
Winner

Order Types

Order Type - Market
Order Type - Limit
Order Type - Stop
Order Type - Trailing Stop
Order Type - Contingent
Order Type - MultiContingent
Order Type - OCO
Order Type - OTO
Order Type - OTOCO
Offering of Investments
Winner

Beginners

Has Education - Stocks
Has Education - ETFs
Has Education - Options
Has Education - Mutual Funds
Has Education - Fixed Income
Has Education - Retirement
Paper Trading
Videos
Webinars (Monthly Avg)
Webinars (Archived)
Live Seminars
Progress Tracking
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
Investor Magazine
Education
Winner

Banking

Retail Locations
Member FDIC
Checking Accounts
Savings Accounts
Credit Cards
Debit Cards
Mortgage Loans
No Fee Banking
Banking
Winner

Overall

Overall
Winner
Special Offer $4.95 online equity trades + $0.65 per options contract Open Account
$0.00
$4.95
$4.95
$0.65
$49.95
$25.00
$0.00
$50.00
3.5
9.58%
9.08%
8.13%
8.08%
7.83%
6.58%
6.25%
3.5
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
108
Yes
Yes
4.5
check_circle
Yes
41
15
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
6
No
4.5
check_circle
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
check_circle
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
4
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
5
check_circle
8
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
5
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Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
5
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Yes
41
5
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
4.5
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Yes
Yes
Yes
4
Yes
No
503
5846
5846
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
4.5
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Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
4.5
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Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
50
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
4.5
check_circle
357
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
4.5
4
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Special Offer Invest in a new account and get up to $600 Learn More
$0.00
$6.95
$6.95
$0.75
$19.95
$29.95
$0.00
$49.95
4
check_circle
10.63%
9.50%
9.50%
8.13%
8.13%
7.88%
7.25%
4
check_circle
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
285
Yes
Yes
4
Yes
95
22
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
8
No
4
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
4.5
check_circle
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
4.5
3
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
4.5
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
4.5
Yes
69
5
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
4
Yes
Yes
Yes
2
No
No
0
2471
3709
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
3
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
3
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
0
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
4.5
4400
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
5
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The StockBrokers.com annual broker review assesses more than a dozen different brokers over six months, surfacing the best online stock brokers. This review compares Charles Schwab vs Merrill Edge. Is Charles Schwab or Merrill Edge a better online broker?

First, we will make a comparison of the stock and option trading fees for trading with both brokers. Merrill Edge charges more than Charles Schwab for placing regular stock trades ($6.95 and $4.95, respectively). With options, the base fees charged are $6.95 (Merrill Edge) and $4.95 (Charles Schwab). Each option contract then costs $0.75 at Merrill Edge and $0.65 at Charles Schwab. Note that some brokers charge a per-share fee instead of a flat-fee commission. For a full breakdown of commissions, read our online broker reviews.

For our next comparison of these two brokers, being able to trade the way you want is a must. Merrill Edge supports Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while Charles Schwab supports Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. When it comes to mutual funds, Merrill Edge trails Charles Schwab by 2,137 total mutual funds, with Charles Schwab offering 5846 and Merrill Edge offering 3709.

Last but not least, by breaking down important features, tools, etc that each broker offers, we can really help to separate the two. Charles Schwab nor Merrill Edge offers virtual trading. For mobile trading, Both Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge offer clients access to an iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Furthermore, some investors like to bank online, and multiple brokerages provide these services to clients. Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans are found at Charles Schwab alongside Merrill Edge.

Overall, between Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge, Charles Schwab is the winner.

Charles Schwab Review
Merrill Edge Review


All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 02/18/2019 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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