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 E*TRADE vs Merrill Edge. Is E*TRADE 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. E*TRADE and Merrill Edge charge the same amount for regular stock trades, $6.95. With options, the base fee is $6.95 for both E*TRADE and Merrill Edge. Option contracts at both of the brokerages are the same at $0.75 each. 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 provides its clients with Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while E*TRADE provides clients access to Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. When it comes to mutual funds, E*TRADE boasts an offering of 8998 mutual funds compared to Merrill Edge's 3688 available funds. Commission free ETFs can also be a nice plus, with E*TRADE having the upper hand thanks to its 156 available commission free ETFs compared to Merrill Edge's offering of 0.
Last but not least, by breaking down important features, tools, etc that each broker offers, we can really help to separate the two. Neither E*TRADE and Merrill Edge offer virtual trading. For mobile trading, E*TRADE along with Merrill Edge both support the iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Furthermore, some investors like to bank online, and multiple brokerages provide these services to clients. Checking Accounts and Debit Cards are available to clients of E*TRADE while Merrill Edge offers customers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, E*TRADE was rated Best in Class - Research and Best in Class - Mobile Trading, while Merrill Edge was rated Best in Class - Research.
Overall, both E*TRADE and Merrill Edge share a rating of 4.00 stars.