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Firstrade vs Merrill Edge 2019

Is Firstrade better than Merrill Edge? Based on over 4,000 data points from our 2019 annual broker review, Merrill Edge (77.93%) is better than Firstrade (67.1%).

Merrill Edge

Best Rewards Program - Open Account
Special Offer: Invest in a new account and get up to $600.

Merrill Edge ($2.95 per trade) was awarded #1 for Banking Services and #1 Overall Client Experience, thanks to its parent company, Bank of America (BofA). Not limited to just BofA customers, Merrill Edge's Preferred Rewards program is excellent, offering unlimited $0 stock trades among other perks such as bonus rewards on credit cards and discounted mortgage rates.Read full review.

Firstrade

Great For Chinese Americans - Open Account
Special Offer: Commission-Free Trading on 700+ ETFs

Founded in 1985, Firstrade has a long history of providing value for its customers. Known for its easy-to-use website, Firstrade offers $0 stock and options trading. Firstrade offers Morningstar research; however, its trading platform struggles to stand out against industry leaders. Read full review.

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 $0.00
ETF Trade Fee $0.00 $0.00
Options Base Fee $0.00 $0.00
Options Per Contract Fee $0.00 $0.65
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $0.00 $19.95
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $19.95 $29.95
Commissions & Fees 4 4
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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
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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
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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
Heat Mapping
Yes Yes
Platforms & Tools 2 4
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Charting Features

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Charting - Trade Off Chart
No Yes
Charting - Indicators / Studies
58 100
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
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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
Order Liquidity Rebates
No No
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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
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Mobile App Features

Feature Firstrade Merrill Edge
Watch List Syncing
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts
No Yes
Charting - After Hours
No Yes
Charting - Drawing
No Yes
Charting - Study Customizations
Yes Yes
Heatmapping
No Yes
Stream Live TV
No No
Barcode Lookup
No No
Mobile Trading 3.5 4.5
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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

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, with its regular stock trades costing $2.95, is more expensive than Firstrade's rate of $0 per trade. Looking at trading options, Firstrade's base fee is $0 while Merrill Edge's is $2.95. Option contracts are pricier at Merrill Edge, costing $0.65 versus $0 at Firstrade. 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 8,894 total mutual funds, with Firstrade offering 12603 and Merrill Edge offering 3709.

Last but not least, by breaking down important features, tools, etc that each broker offers, we can really help to separate the two. 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. Furthermore, some investors like to bank online, and multiple brokerages provide these services to clients. 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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