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Charles Schwab vs Merrill Edge Review

Brandon Reinkensmeyer

Published by Brandon Reinkensmeyer


Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2017 Broker Review, we assessed 16 brokers on 308 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, with its regular stock trades costing $6.95, is more expensive than Charles Schwab's rate of $4.95 per trade. For options trading, Merrill Edge has a base fee of $6.95, and Charles Schwab a base fee of $4.95. Charles Schwab's per contract rate of $0.65 is less than Merrill Edge which charges $0.75. 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 offers clients Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while Charles Schwab offers Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. Looking at mutual funds, Merrill Edge boasts an offering of 7649 mutual funds compared to Charles Schwab's 5165 available funds. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, with Charles Schwab having the upper hand thanks to its 229 available commission free ETFs compared to Merrill Edge's offering of 0.

Trading access aside, by comparing popular features and functionality, we can break down relevant differences between both brokers. Neither Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge offer virtual trading. Taking a look at mobile trading, Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge both have a 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 Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, Charles Schwab was rated Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Research in 2017, while Merrill Edge was rated Best in Class - Research.

Overall, Charles Schwab boasts 4.50 stars versus Merrill Edge's 4.00 stars.
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Overall
Commissions & Fees
Offering of Investments
Platforms & Tools
Research
Customer Service
Mobile Trading
Ease of Use
Education
Order Execution
Banking
Minimum Deposit
Stock Trade Fee (flat)
Options Base Fee
Options Per Contract Fee
Mutual Fund Trade Fee
Broker Assisted Trades Fee
IRA Annual Fee
IRA Closure Fee
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
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
Order Type - Algo
Desktop Platform (Windows)
Desktop Platform (Mac)
Web Platform
Virtual Trading
Watch Lists - Total Fields
Two-Factor Authentication Login
Charting - Trade Off Chart
Charting - Drawing Tools
Charting - Indicators / Studies
Charting - Historical Trades
Charting - Save Profiles
Charting - Study Customizations
Charting - Custom Studies
Option Chains - Total Columns
Option Chains - Greeks Viewable
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
Option Positions - Rolling
Heat Mapping
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
Client Liquidity Rebates
Screener - Stocks
Screener - ETFs
Screener - Mutual Funds
Screener - Options
Screener - Bonds
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Misc - Portfolio Builder
Equity Research - Earnings
Equity Research - SEC Filings
Equity Research - Insiders
Equity Research - Social
Equity Research - Reports
ETF Research - Top 10 Holdings
ETF Research - Reports
ETF Research - Ratings
Mutual Fund Research - Reports
iPhone App
iPad App
Android App
Android Tablet 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 ID
Watch List Syncing
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
Charting - After Hours
Charting - Study Customizations
Customizable Homescreen
Heatmapping
Stream Live TV
Barcode Lookup
Retail Locations
Member FDIC
Checking Accounts
Savings Accounts
Credit Cards
Debit Cards
Mortgage Loans
No Fee Banking
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
Above $1,000,000.00
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99
Has Education - Stocks
Has Education - ETFs
Has Education - Options
Has Education - Mutual Funds
Has Education - Fixed Income
Has Education - Retirement
Videos
Client Webinars (Monthly Avg)
Client Webinars (Archived)
Live Seminars
Progress Tracking
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
Client Magazine
Charles Schwab
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Charles Schwab Review
 
4.5
3.5
4.5
4.5
5
4
4
4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5
 
$1,000.00
$4.95
$4.95
$0.65
$76.00
$25.00
$0.00
$50.00
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
4
Yes
No
229
5165
5165
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
94
No
Yes
15
40
No
Yes
6
No
34
5
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
8
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
 
300
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
8.50%
8.00%
7.00%
6.88%
6.75%
6.25%
6.75%
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
44
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
Merrill Edge
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Merrill Edge Review
 
4
4.5
3
3.5
4.5
4.5
4
4.5
4
3.5
5
 
$0.00
$6.95
$6.95
$0.75
$19.95
$29.95
$0.00
$49.95
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
2
No
No
0
2764
7649
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
 
No
No
Yes
No
216
Yes
Yes
22
73
No
Yes
5
No
62
5
Yes
No
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
3
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
 
2161
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
 
8.88%
7.75%
7.75%
6.38%
6.38%
5.50%
6.13%
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
0
No
Yes
No
Yes
No

All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 2/20/2017 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The StockBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page. 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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