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Merrill Edge vs Firstrade Review

Brandon Reinkensmeyer

Published by Brandon Reinkensmeyer


Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

The StockBrokers.com 2017 Brokerage Review assessed 16 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 charges $6.95 per stock trade which is $2.00 more than Firstrade which charges customers $4.95 per trade. For options trading, Merrill Edge has a base fee of $6.95, and Firstrade a base fee of $4.95. Firstrade's per contract rate of $0.65 is less than Merrill Edge which charges $0.75. 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. Both Firstrade and Merrill Edge support Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds. When it comes to mutual funds, Firstrade boasts an offering of 12191 mutual funds compared to Merrill Edge's 7649 available funds. Commission free ETFs can also be a nice plus, Firstrade offers 12 commission free ETFs versus Merrill Edge's total of 0.

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, Firstrade offer clients access to an iPhone App and Android App while Merrill Edge has 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 available to clients of Firstrade while Merrill Edge offers customers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, Merrill Edge posted awards Best in Class - Research in 2017, 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.
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Overall
Commissions & Fees
Offering of Investments
Platforms & Tools
Research
Customer Service
Mobile Trading
Ease of Use
Education
Order Execution
Banking
Minimum Deposit
Stock Trade Fee (flat)
Options Base Fee
Options Per Contract Fee
Mutual Fund Trade Fee
Broker Assisted Trades Fee
IRA Annual Fee
IRA Closure Fee
Stock Trading
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Options Trading
Complex Options Max Legs
Futures Trading
Forex Trading
Commission Free ETFs
Mutual Funds (No Load)
Mutual Funds (Total)
Bonds (US Treasury)
Bonds (Corporate)
Bonds (Municipal)
# of Easy to Borrow Stocks
Advisor Services
International Trading
Order Type - Market
Order Type - Limit
Order Type - Stop
Order Type - Trailing Stop
Order Type - Contingent
Order Type - MultiContingent
Order Type - OCO
Order Type - OTO
Order Type - OTOCO
Order Type - Algo
Desktop Platform (Windows)
Desktop Platform (Mac)
Web Platform
Virtual Trading
Watch Lists - Total Fields
Two-Factor Authentication Login
Charting - Trade Off Chart
Charting - Drawing Tools
Charting - Indicators / Studies
Charting - Historical Trades
Charting - Save Profiles
Charting - Study Customizations
Charting - Custom Studies
Option Chains - Total Columns
Option Chains - Greeks Viewable
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
Option Positions - Rolling
Heat Mapping
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
Streaming Time & Sales
Streaming TV
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
Direct Market Routing - Options
Ladder Trading
Trade Hot Keys
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
Level 2 Quotes - Options
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
Client Liquidity Rebates
Screener - Stocks
Screener - ETFs
Screener - Mutual Funds
Screener - Options
Screener - Bonds
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Misc - Portfolio Builder
Equity Research - Earnings
Equity Research - SEC Filings
Equity Research - Insiders
Equity Research - Social
Equity Research - Reports
ETF Research - Top 10 Holdings
ETF Research - Reports
ETF Research - Ratings
Mutual Fund Research - Reports
iPhone App
iPad App
Android App
Android Tablet App
Apple Watch App
Trading - Stocks
Trading - After-Hours
Trading - Conditional Orders
Trading - Mutual Funds
Trading - Simple Options
Trading - Complex Options
Trading - Option Rolling
Touch ID
Watch List Syncing
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
Charting - After Hours
Charting - Study Customizations
Customizable Homescreen
Heatmapping
Stream Live TV
Barcode Lookup
Retail Locations
Member FDIC
Checking Accounts
Savings Accounts
Credit Cards
Debit Cards
Mortgage Loans
No Fee Banking
Under $24,999.99
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99
Above $1,000,000.00
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99
Has Education - Stocks
Has Education - ETFs
Has Education - Options
Has Education - Mutual Funds
Has Education - Fixed Income
Has Education - Retirement
Videos
Client Webinars
Client Webinars (Archived)
Live Seminars
Progress Tracking
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
Client Magazine
Merrill Edge
Special Offer Invest in a new account and get up to $600 Learn More
Merrill Edge Review
 
4
4.5
3
3.5
4.5
4.5
4
4.5
4
3.5
5
 
$0.00
$6.95
$6.95
$0.75
$19.95
$29.95
$0.00
$49.95
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
2
No
No
0
2764
7649
Yes
Yes
Yes
3793
Yes
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
 
No
No
Yes
No
216
Yes
Yes
22
73
No
Yes
5
No
62
5
Yes
No
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
3
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
 
2161
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
 
8.88%
7.75%
7.75%
6.38%
6.38%
5.50%
6.13%
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
Yes
No
Firstrade
Special Offer Get up to $1000 in free commissions Learn More
Firstrade Review
 
3.5
3.5
3.5
2
4
4
3.5
4.5
3
1.5
2
 
$0.00
$4.95
$4.95
$0.65
$9.95
$19.95
$0.00
$50.00
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
2
No
No
12
4928
12191
Yes
Yes
Yes
4200
No
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
 
No
No
Yes
No
57
No
No
5
58
No
No
4
No
8
5
No
No
Yes
 
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
1
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
 
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
 
Yes
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
 
2
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
No
No
 
7.75%
7.50%
7.00%
6.50%
6.00%
4.50%
5.00%
 
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No

All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 2/20/2017 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The StockBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page. 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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