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 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 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 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 offers clients Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while E*TRADE offers Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. Looking at 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 valuable for customers, E*TRADE offers 225 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 E*TRADE and Merrill Edge offer 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. Checking Accounts and Debit Cards are offered by E*TRADE while Merrill Edge offers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, neither E*TRADE nor Merrill Edge were rated Best in Class - Platforms & Tools, Best in Class - Research and Best in Class - Mobile Trading.
Overall, both E*TRADE and Merrill Edge are rated 4.50 stars.