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Merrill Edge vs Firstrade 2021

Is Firstrade better than Merrill Edge? After testing 11 of the best online brokers over three months, Merrill Edge (91.72%) is better than Firstrade (78.89%). Merrill Edge offers $0 trades with industry-leading research tools (especially ESG research) and excellent customer service. Better yet, for current Bank of America customers, Merrill Edge's Preferred Rewards program provides the best rewards of any bank broker we tested in 2021.


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Overall Rating

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Overall 4.5 4
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4.5
Offering of Investments 4 4.5
Platforms & Tools 4 2.5
Mobile Trading 4.5 4
Research 4.5 4
Education 4.5 3
Ease of Use 5 5
Merrill Edge Review Firstrade Review
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Trading Fees

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00 $0.00
ETF Trade Fee $0.00 $0.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $19.95 $0.00
Options (Base Fee) $0.00 $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.65 $0.00
Futures (Per Contract) N/A N/A
Broker Assisted Trade Fee $29.95 $19.95

Margin Rates

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Under $24,999.99 8.63% 8.75%
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99 7.50% 8.25%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 7.50% 7.75%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 N/A 7.25%
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 N/A 7.00%
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 N/A 5.10%
Above $1,000,000.00 N/A 4.50%

Account Fees

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
IRA Annual Fee $0.00 $0.00
IRA Closure Fee $49.95 $0.00
Account Transfer Out (Partial)
$0.00 $55.00
Account Transfer Out (Full)
$49.95 $75.00

Investment Options

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Stock Trading
Yes Yes
Fractional Shares
No No
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Yes Yes
Options Trading
Yes Yes
Complex Options Max Legs
2 4
Futures Trading
No No
Forex Trading
No No
Crypto Trading
No No
Crypto Trading - Total Coins
0 0
Mutual Funds (No Load)
2952 13777
Mutual Funds (Total)
3466 19027
Bonds (US Treasury)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Corporate)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Municipal)
Yes Yes
Advisor Services
Yes No
International Trading
No No

Order Types

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Order Type - Market
Yes Yes
Order Type - Limit
Yes Yes
Order Type - After-Hours
Yes Yes
Order Type - Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - Trailing Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - OCO
No Yes
Order Type - OTO
No Yes
Order Type - Broker Assisted
Yes Yes

Beginners

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Education (Stocks)
Yes Yes
Education (ETFs)
Yes No
Education (Options)
Yes Yes
Education (Mutual Funds)
Yes No
Education (Bonds)
Yes No
Education (Retirement)
Yes Yes
Retirement Calculator
Yes Yes
Investor Dictionary
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
No No
Videos
Yes Yes
Webinars (Monthly Avg)
1 26
Webinars (Archived)
Yes Yes
Progress Tracking
No No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
Yes No

Stock Trading Apps

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
iPhone App
Yes Yes
Android App
Yes Yes
Apple Watch App
Yes No
Trading - Stocks
Yes Yes
Trading - After-Hours
Yes Yes
Trading - Simple Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Complex Options
Yes Yes
Order Ticket RT Quotes
Yes Yes
Order Ticket SRT Quotes
No Yes

Stock App Features

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Market Movers (Top Gainers)
Yes Yes
Stream Live TV
No No
Videos on Demand
No No
Stock Alerts
Yes No
Option Chains Viewable
Yes Yes
Watch List (Real-time)
Yes Yes
Watch List (Streaming)
Yes Yes
Watch Lists - Create & Manage
Yes Yes
Watch Lists - Column Customization
No Yes
Watch List - Column Filtering
Yes Yes

Stock App Charting

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Charting - After-Hours
No No
Charting - Can Turn Horizontally
Yes Yes
Charting - Multiple Time Frames
Yes Yes
Charting - Technical Studies
34 81
Charting - Study Customizations
Yes Yes
Charting - Stock Comparisons
Yes No

Trading Platforms

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Desktop Trading Platform
Yes No
Web Trading Platform
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
No No
Trade Journal
No No
Watch Lists - Total Fields
285 47

Stock Chart Features

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Charting - Adjust Trades on Chart
Yes No
Charting - Indicators / Studies
104 102
Charting - Drawing Tools
22 8
Charting - Notes
Yes No
Charting - Index Overlays
Yes Yes
Charting - Historical Trades
Yes No
Charting - Corporate Events
Yes Yes
Charting - Custom Date Range
Yes No
Charting - Custom Time Bars
Yes No
Charting - Automated Analysis
Yes No
Charting - Save Profiles
Yes No
Trade Ideas - Technical Analysis
Yes No
Charting - Study Customizations
8 6
Charting - Custom Studies
No No

Day Trading

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Streaming Time & Sales
Yes No
Streaming TV
No No
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
No No
Ladder Trading
No No
Trade Hot Keys
No No
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
Yes No
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
Yes No
Trade Ideas - Backtesting Adv
No No
Short Locator
No No
Order Liquidity Rebates
No No

Research Overview

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Research - Stocks
Yes Yes
Research - ETFs
Yes Yes
Research - Mutual Funds
Yes Yes
Research - Pink Sheets / OTCBB
Yes Yes
Research - Bonds
Yes Yes
Screener - Stocks
Yes Yes
Screener - ETFs
Yes Yes
Screener - Mutual Funds
Yes Yes
Screener - Options
Yes No
Screener - Bonds
Yes Yes
Misc - Portfolio Builder
Yes No
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Yes Yes

Stock Research

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Stock Research - PDF Reports
3 1
Stock Research - Earnings
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Insiders
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
Yes No

ETF Research

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
ETFs - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Inception Date
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Expense Ratio
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Net Assets
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Total Holdings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Performance Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Sector Exposure
Yes Yes
ETFs - Risk Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Ratings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap
Yes Yes
ETFs - PDF Reports
Yes Yes

Mutual Fund Research

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Performance Chart
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Performance Analysis
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - PDF Reports
Yes No
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

Options Trading

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Option Chains - Basic View
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Strategy View
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Streaming
Yes No
Option Chains - Total Columns
68 8
Option Chains - Greeks
5 5
Option Positions - Greeks Streaming
Yes No
Option Chains - Quick Analysis
Yes No
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
Yes No
Option Probability Analysis
Yes No
Option Probability Analysis Adv
No No
Option Positions - Greeks
Yes No
Option Positions - Adv Analysis
Yes No
Option Positions - Rolling
Yes Yes
Option Positions - Grouping
Yes No

Banking

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Bank (Member FDIC)
Yes No
Checking Accounts
Yes Yes
Savings Accounts
Yes No
Credit Cards
Yes No
Debit Cards
Yes Yes
Mortgage Loans
Yes No

Customer Service

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Phone Support (Prospect Customers)
Yes Yes
Phone Support (Current Customers)
Yes Yes
Email Support
Yes Yes
Live Chat (Prospect Customers)
Yes Yes
Live Chat (Current Customers)
Yes Yes
24/7 Support
Yes No

Overall

Feature Merrill Edge Firstrade
Overall 4.5 4
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4.5
Offering of Investments 4 4.5
Platforms & Tools 4 2.5
Mobile Trading 4.5 4
Research 4.5 4
Education 4.5 3
Ease of Use 5 5
Merrill Edge Review Firstrade Review
Winner check_circle

Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2021 annual broker review, we spent hundreds of hours assessing 11 brokerages to find the best online broker. Let's compare Firstrade vs Merrill Edge.

Is Firstrade or Merrill Edge better for beginners?
Merrill Edge is better for beginner investors than Firstrade. Merrill Edge offers investors access to Videos, Education (Stocks), Education (ETFs), Education (Options), Education (Mutual Funds), Education (Bonds) and Education (Retirement).

What about Firstrade vs Merrill Edge pricing?
Firstrade and Merrill Edge charge the same amount for regular stock trades, $0. With options, the base fee is $0 for both Firstrade and Merrill Edge. Option contracts are pricier at Merrill Edge, costing $0.65 versus $0 at Firstrade. For a complete commissions summary, see our best discount brokers guide.

Does Firstrade or Merrill Edge offer a wider range of investment options?
Firstrade offers a more diverse selection of investment options than Merrill Edge. Firstrade offers investors access to Stock Trading, OTCBB / Pink Sheets, Options Trading and Mutual Funds. Looking at Mutual Funds, Firstrade boasts an offering of 19027 mutual funds compared to Merrill Edge's 3466 available funds.

Which trading platform is better: Firstrade or Merrill Edge?
To compare the trading platforms of both Firstrade and Merrill Edge, we tested each broker's trading tools, research capabilities, and mobile apps. For trading tools, Merrill Edge offers a better experience. With research, Merrill Edge offers superior market research. Finally, we found Merrill Edge to provide better mobile trading apps.

Does either broker offer banking?
Online banking can be a benefit for investors, and some brokerages do provide banking services to customers. 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.

Overall winner: Merrill Edge

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All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/19/2021 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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