The StockBrokers.com annual broker review assesses more than a dozen different brokers over six months, surfacing the best online stock brokers
. This review compares Firstrade vs Merrill Edge. Is Firstrade or Merrill Edge a better online broker?
First, we will make a comparison of the stock and option trading fees for trading with both brokers. Merrill Edge charges $6.95 per stock trade which is $4.00 more than Firstrade which charges customers $2.95 per trade. Looking at trading options, Firstrade's base fee is $2.95 while Merrill Edge's is $6.95. Firstrade's per contract rate of $0.50 is less than Merrill Edge which charges $0.75. Note that some brokers charge a per-share fee instead of a flat-fee commission. For a full breakdown of commissions, read our online broker reviews
For our next comparison of these two brokers, being able to trade the way you want is a must. Firstrade alongside Merrill Edge offer clients Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds. When it comes to mutual funds, Merrill Edge trails Firstrade by 8,915 total mutual funds, with Firstrade offering 12603 and Merrill Edge offering 3688. Commission free ETFs can also be a nice plus, with Merrill Edge falling behind Firstrade, offering 0 commission free ETFs compared to Firstrade's 703.
Last but not least, by breaking down important features, tools, etc that each broker offers, we can really help to separate the two. Firstrade nor Merrill Edge offers virtual trading. For mobile trading, Firstrade along with Merrill Edge both support the iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Furthermore, some investors like to bank online, and multiple 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, both Firstrade and Merrill Edge found themselves without awards for Best in Class - Platforms & Tools, Best in Class - Research and Best in Class - Mobile Trading.
Overall, Merrill Edge comes out on top with 4.50 stars over Firstrade's 4.00 stars.