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). 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. Firstrade alongside Merrill Edge offer clients 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, with Firstrade having the upper hand thanks to its 2200 available commission free ETFs compared to Merrill Edge's offering of 0.
Finally, by comparing the each broker's website and platform features, we can surface interesting differences. Neither Firstrade and Merrill Edge offer 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 offered by Firstrade while Merrill Edge offers 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 comes out on top with 4.50 stars over Firstrade's 4.00 stars.