Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2017 Broker Review
, we assessed 16 brokers on 308 different variables. Yielding a database of over 5,000 data points, let's compare Firstrade 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. Merrill Edge charges $6.95 per stock trade which is $2.00 more than Firstrade which charges customers $4.95 per trade. With options, the base fees charged are $6.95 (Merrill Edge) and $4.95 (Firstrade). Option contracts are pricier at Merrill Edge, costing $0.75 versus $0.65 at Firstrade. 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. Firstrade alongside Merrill Edge offer clients Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds. Looking at mutual funds, Firstrade boasts an offering of 12191 mutual funds compared to Merrill Edge's 7649 available funds. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, with Firstrade having the upper hand thanks to its 12 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 Firstrade and Merrill Edge offer virtual trading. Taking a look at mobile trading, Firstrade offers the iPhone App and Android App while Merrill Edge offers 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. Clients can have Checking Accounts and Debit Cards at Firstrade 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, Merrill Edge was rated Best in Class - Research in 2017, while Firstrade was rated none of these.
Overall, Merrill Edge comes out on top with 4.00 stars over Firstrade's 3.50 stars.