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 $6.95 per stock trade which is $6.95 more than Firstrade which charges customers $0 per trade. With options, the base fees charged are $6.95 (Merrill Edge) and $0 (Firstrade). Firstrade's per contract rate of $0 is less than Merrill Edge which charges $0.75. 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, Firstrade offers its clients access to 12603 different mutual funds while Merrill Edge has 3688 available funds, a difference of 8,915. And, commission free ETFs deserve a comparison, Firstrade offers 703 commission free ETFs versus Merrill Edge's total of 0.
Finally, by comparing the each broker's website and platform features, we can surface interesting differences. Neither broker offers virtual trading. For mobile trading, Firstrade along with Merrill Edge both support the 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 available to clients of Firstrade while Merrill Edge offers customers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans. All factors considered, when it comes to platform 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 takes the upper hand with 4.50 stars over Firstrade's 4.00 stars.