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Firstrade vs Merrill Edge 2019

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 Merrill Edge better than Firstrade? After scoring brokers in nine separate categories for our 2019 review, Merrill Edge (77.93%) is better than Firstrade (67.1%). Backed by parent company Bank of America, Merrill Edge delivers fantastic research, customer service, universal account support, and customer rewards. Merrill Edge offers 10 commission-free stock or ETF trades each month to investors with balances above $20,000.

Special Offer Commission-Free Trading on 700+ ETFs Open Account
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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
Open Account
Merrill Edge
Open Account
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 $0.00 $0.00
IRA Closure Fee $0.00 $49.95
Returned ACH Fee $50.00 $30.00
Returned Wire Fee $50.00 N/A
Stock Certificate Processing Fee $300.00 $500.00
Stock Certificate Delivery Fee $300.00 N/A
Paper Statement Fee $5.00 $5.00
Paper Confirmation Fee $3.00 $3.00
Domestic Wire Fee $30.00 $24.95
International Wire Fee $50.00 $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
Winner check_circle

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
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
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
Winner check_circle

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
Using data from our latest annual broker review which tested more than a dozen different online brokers over six months, we can compare Firstrade vs Merrill Edge to determine which broker is best. Let's dive in.

First, we will break down the commission charges of both brokers for placing stock and options trades. Merrill Edge charges more than Firstrade for placing regular stock trades ($6.95 and $0, respectively). 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. Instead of flat rate fees, several brokers charge a per-share fee instead. For a complete review of trading charges, read our full online broker reviews.

Next, investors want to make sure they can trade the investment vehicle they want. Both Firstrade and Merrill Edge support Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds. As far as mutual funds go, Merrill Edge trails Firstrade by 8,894 total mutual funds, with Firstrade offering 12603 and Merrill Edge offering 3709.

Finally, by comparing the each broker's website and platform features, we can surface interesting differences. Firstrade nor Merrill Edge offers virtual trading. For mobile trading, Firstrade and Merrill Edge both have a iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Online banking is also used by many customers, and multiple full-service brokerages provide these services. Checking Accounts and Debit Cards are offered by Firstrade while Merrill Edge offers 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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