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 $4.00 more than Firstrade which charges customers $2.95 per trade. For options trading, Merrill Edge has a base fee of $6.95, and Firstrade a base fee of $2.95. Each option contract then costs $0.75 at Merrill Edge and $0.50 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 8,915 total mutual funds, with Firstrade offering 12603 and Merrill Edge offering 3688. And, commission free ETFs deserve a comparison, Firstrade offers 12 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, Both Firstrade and Merrill Edge offer clients access to an 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, Merrill Edge posted awards Best in Class - Research in 2018, while Firstrade found itself with none of these.
Overall, Merrill Edge takes the upper hand with 4.00 stars over Firstrade's 3.50 stars.