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Firstrade vs Merrill Edge 2019

Blain Reinkensmeyer

The StockBrokers.com annual review (9 years running) takes six months to complete and produces over 30,000 words of research each year. Here's how we test.

Is Firstrade better than Merrill Edge? After scoring brokers on over 4,000 data points for our 2019 review, Merrill Edge (77.93%) is better than Firstrade (67.1%). Merrill Edge offers investors an excellent rewards program and a well-rounded package worth being a customer for, especially Bank of America clients.

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Overall Rating

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Overall 3.5 4
Firstrade Review Merrill Edge Review

Trading Fees

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $0.00
Stock Trade Fee (per trade) $0.00 $6.95
ETF Trade Fee $0.00 $6.95
Options Base Fee $0.00 $6.95
Options Per Contract Fee $0.00 $0.75
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $0.00 $19.95
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $19.95 $29.95
Commissions & Fees 4 4
Winner check_circle

Margin Rates

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Under $24,999.99 9.50% 10.63%
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99 9.00% 9.50%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 8.50% 9.50%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 8.00% 8.13%
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 7.75% 8.13%
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 6.00% 7.88%
Above $1,000,000.00 5.25% 7.25%
Commissions & Fees 4 4
Winner check_circle

Account Fees

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
IRA Annual Fee 0 0
IRA Closure Fee 0 49.95
Returned ACH Fee 50 30
Returned Wire Fee 50 N/A
Stock Certificate Processing Fee 300 500
Stock Certificate Delivery Fee 300 N/A
Paper Statement Fee 5 5
Paper Confirmation Fee 3 3
Domestic Wire Fee 30 24.95
International Wire Fee 50 24.95
Commissions & Fees 4 4

Investment Options

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Stock Trading
Yes Yes
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Yes Yes
Options Trading
Yes Yes
Complex Options Max Legs
2 2
Futures Trading
No No
Forex Trading
No No
Commission-Free ETFs all 0
Mutual Funds (No Load)
5234 2471
Mutual Funds (Total)
12603 3709
Bonds (US Treasury)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Corporate)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Municipal)
Yes Yes
Advisor Services
No Yes
International Trading
No No
Offering of Investments 3.5 3
Winner check_circle

Order Types

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Order Type - Market
Yes Yes
Order Type - Limit
Yes Yes
Order Type - Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - Trailing Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - Contingent
Yes No
Order Type - MultiContingent
Yes No
Order Type - OCO
Yes No
Order Type - OTO
Yes No
Order Type - OTOCO
No No
Offering of Investments 3.5 3
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Trading Platforms

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Desktop Platform (Windows)
No Yes
Desktop Platform (Mac)
No Yes
Web Platform
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
No No
Trade Journal
No No
Watch Lists - Total Fields
13 285
Two-Factor Authentication Login
No Yes
Heat Mapping
Yes Yes
Platforms & Tools 2 4
Winner check_circle

Charting Features

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Charting - Trade Off Chart
No Yes
Charting - Indicators / Studies
58 95
Charting - Drawing Tools
5 22
Charting - Historical Trades
No Yes
Charting - Corporate Events
Yes Yes
Charting - Automated Analysis
No Yes
Charting - Save Profiles
No Yes
Charting - Study Customizations
6 8
Charting - Custom Studies
No No
Platforms & Tools 2 4
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Day Trading

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
No Yes
Streaming Time & Sales
No Yes
Streaming TV
No No
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
No No
Direct Market Routing - Options
No No
Ladder Trading
No No
Trade Hot Keys
No Yes
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
No Yes
Level 2 Quotes - Options
No Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
No Yes
Short Locator
No No
Client Liquidity Rebates
No No
Winner check_circle

Mobile Trading Apps

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
iPhone App
Yes Yes
Android App
Yes Yes
Apple Watch App
No Yes
Trading - Stocks
Yes Yes
Trading - After-Hours
Yes Yes
Trading - Conditional Orders
No No
Trading - Mutual Funds
No Yes
Trading - Simple Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Complex Options
No Yes
Trading - Option Rolling
No No
Touch / Face ID
Yes Yes
Winner check_circle

Mobile App Features

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Watch List Syncing
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
No Yes
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
No No
Charting - After Hours
No Yes
Charting - Drawing
No Yes
Charting - Study Customizations
Yes Yes
Customizable Homescreen
No Yes
Heatmapping
No Yes
Stream Live TV
No No
Barcode Lookup
No No
Mobile Trading 3.5 4.5
Winner check_circle

Research Overview

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Research - Stocks
Yes Yes
Research - ETFs
Yes Yes
Research - Mutual Funds
Yes Yes
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB
Yes Yes
Research - Fixed Income
Yes Yes
Research - Futures
No No
Research - Forex
No No
Screener - Stocks
Yes Yes
Screener - ETFs
Yes Yes
Screener - Mutual Funds
Yes Yes
Screener - Options
No Yes
Screener - Bonds
Yes Yes
Misc - Portfolio Builder
No Yes
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Yes Yes
Research 4 4.5
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Stock Research

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Stock Research - Reports
1 3
Stock Research - Earnings
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Insiders
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Metric Comp
Yes Yes
Stock Research - SEC Filings
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Social
No No
Stock Research - Balance Sheet
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Cash Flows
Yes Yes
Stock Research - News
Yes Yes
Stock Research - ESG
No Yes
Research 4 4.5
Winner check_circle

ETF Research

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
ETFs - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Sector Exposure
Yes Yes
ETFs - Risk Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Performance Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Ratings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap
Yes Yes
ETFs - Reports
Yes Yes
Research 4 4.5
Winner check_circle

Mutual Fund Research

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Reports
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Asset Allocation
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Sector Allocation
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Country Allocation
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - StyleMap
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - 3rd Party Ratings
Yes Yes
Research 4 4.5
Winner check_circle

Options Trading

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Option Chains - Streaming
No Yes
Option Chains - Total Columns
8 69
Option Chains - Greeks
5 5
Option Chains - Quick Analysis
No Yes
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
No Yes
Option Probability Analysis
No Yes
Option Probability Analysis Adv
No No
Option Positions - Greeks
No Yes
Option Positions - Adv Analysis
No Yes
Option Positions - Rolling
Yes No
Option Positions - Grouping
No Yes
Platforms & Tools 2 4
Winner check_circle

Beginners

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Has Education - Stocks
Yes Yes
Has Education - ETFs
No Yes
Has Education - Options
Yes Yes
Has Education - Mutual Funds
No Yes
Has Education - Fixed Income
No Yes
Has Education - Retirement
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
No No
Videos
Yes Yes
Webinars (Monthly Avg)
5 0
Webinars (Archived)
Yes No
Live Seminars
No Yes
Progress Tracking
No No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
No Yes
Investor Magazine
No Yes
Education 3 4.5
Winner check_circle

Banking

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Retail Locations
2 4400
Member FDIC
No Yes
Checking Accounts
Yes Yes
Savings Accounts
No Yes
Credit Cards
No Yes
Debit Cards
Yes Yes
Mortgage Loans
No Yes
No Fee Banking
No No
Banking 2 5
Winner check_circle

Overall

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Firstrade Review Merrill Edge Review
Overall 3.5 4
Winner check_circle
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 4,000 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 $6.95 more than Firstrade which charges customers $0 per trade. For options trading, Merrill Edge has a base fee of $6.95, and Firstrade a base fee of $0. Option contracts are pricier at Merrill Edge, costing $0.75 versus $0 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. Both Firstrade and Merrill Edge support Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds. Looking at mutual funds, Firstrade boasts an offering of 12603 mutual funds compared to Merrill Edge's 3709 available funds.

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, Firstrade 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 Firstrade while Merrill Edge offers customers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans.

Overall, between Firstrade and Merrill Edge, Merrill Edge is the winner.

Firstrade Review
Merrill Edge Review


All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 02/18/2019 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.

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