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 both cost $6.95 per trade. Looking at options, the base fees charged are the same for both brokers, $6.95. Option contracts at both of the brokerages are the same at $0.75 each. 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, Merrill Edge trails E*TRADE by 5,310 total mutual funds, with E*TRADE offering 8998 and Merrill Edge offering 3688. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, with E*TRADE having the upper hand thanks to its 225 available commission free ETFs compared to Merrill Edge's offering 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, E*TRADE along with Merrill Edge both support the 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 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 posted awards Best in Class - Research in 2018, while Merrill Edge found itself with none of these.
Overall, both E*TRADE and Merrill Edge are rated 4.50 stars.