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. Each option contract then costs $0.75 at Merrill Edge and $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 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, Charles Schwab boasts an offering of 5509 mutual funds compared to Merrill Edge's 3688 available funds. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, with Merrill Edge falling behind Charles Schwab, offering 0 commission free ETFs compared to Charles Schwab's 244.
Trading access aside, by comparing popular features and functionality, we can break down relevant differences between both brokers. Neither broker offers 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 found at Charles Schwab alongside Merrill Edge. 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.