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 E*TRADE 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. E*TRADE and Merrill Edge have equal fees for trading stocks (equities), $6.95 per trade. With options, the base fee is $6.95 for both E*TRADE and Merrill Edge. Option contracts cost $0.75 each at both brokerages. 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 supports Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while E*TRADE supports Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. Looking at mutual funds, E*TRADE offers its clients access to 8652 different mutual funds while Merrill Edge has 7649 available funds, a difference of 1,003.00. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, E*TRADE offers 133 commission free ETFs versus Merrill Edge's total of 0.
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, Both E*TRADE and Merrill Edge offer clients access to an 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. Clients can have Checking Accounts and Debit Cards at E*TRADE while customers at Merrill Edge can have 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 in 2017, while Merrill Edge was rated Best in Class - Research.
Overall, both E*TRADE and Merrill Edge are rated 4.00 stars.