Using data from our latest annual broker review which tested more than a dozen different online brokers
over six months, we can compare Charles Schwab vs Merrill Edge to determine which broker is best. Let's dive in.
First, we will break down the commission charges of both brokers for placing 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. Instead of flat rate fees, several brokers charge a per-share fee instead. For a complete review of trading charges, read our full online broker reviews
Next, investors want to make sure they can trade the investment vehicle they want. Merrill Edge supports Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while Charles Schwab supports Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. As far as mutual funds go, Merrill Edge trails Charles Schwab by 1,821 total mutual funds, with Charles Schwab offering 5509 and Merrill Edge offering 3688. And, commission free ETFs deserve a comparison, Charles Schwab offers 244 commission free ETFs versus Merrill Edge's total of 0.
Finally, by comparing the each broker's website and platform features, we can surface interesting differences. Neither Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge offer virtual trading. For mobile trading, Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge both have a iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Online banking is also used by many customers, and multiple full-service brokerages provide these services. Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans are found at Charles Schwab alongside Merrill Edge. All factors considered, when it comes to platform tools, research, and mobile trading, unfortunately, neither Charles Schwab nor Merrill Edge received awards Best in Class - Platforms & Tools, Best in Class - Research and Best in Class - Mobile Trading.
Overall, both Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge hold a 4.50 star rating.