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Interactive Brokers vs Merrill Edge 2020

Is Interactive Brokers better than Merrill Edge? After testing 15 of the best online brokers over five months, Interactive Brokers (90.58%) is better than Merrill Edge (88.87%). While Interactive Brokers is not well known for its casual investor offering, it leads the industry with low-cost trading for professionals. Through the Trader Workstation (TWS) platform, Interactive Brokers offers excellent tools and an extensive selection of tradeable securities.

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Overall Rating

Trading Fees

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $0.00
Stock Trade Fee (per trade) N/A $0.00
ETF Trade Fee $0.01 $0.00
Options Base Fee $0.00 $0.00
Options Per Contract Fee $0.65 $0.65
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $14.95 $19.95
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $30.00 $29.95
Commissions & Fees 5 4.5
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Margin Rates

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Under $24,999.99 1.55% 8.63%
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99 1.55% 7.50%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 1.55% 7.50%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 1.05% N/A
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 1.05% N/A
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 1.05% N/A
Above $1,000,000.00 0.75% N/A
Commissions & Fees 5 4.5
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Account Fees

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
IRA Annual Fee $0.00 $0.00
IRA Closure Fee $0.00 $49.95
Returned ACH Fee N/A $30.00
Returned Wire Fee N/A N/A
Stock Certificate Processing Fee N/A $500.00
Stock Certificate Delivery Fee N/A N/A
Paper Statement Fee N/A $5.00
Paper Confirmation Fee N/A $3.00
Domestic Wire Fee $10.00 $24.95
International Wire Fee $10.00 $24.95
Commissions & Fees 5 4.5

Investment Options

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Stock Trading
Yes Yes
Fractional Shares
Yes No
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Yes Yes
Options Trading
Yes Yes
Complex Options Max Legs
8 2
Futures Trading
Yes No
Forex Trading
No No
Commission-Free ETFs 96 all
Mutual Funds (No Load)
8655 2471
Mutual Funds (Total)
18210 3709
Bonds (US Treasury)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Corporate)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Municipal)
Yes Yes
Interest Sharing
Yes No
Advisor Services
No Yes
International Trading
Yes No
Offering of Investments 4.5 3.5
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Order Types

Feature Interactive Brokers 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
Yes No
Offering of Investments 4.5 3.5
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Trading Platforms

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Desktop Platform (Windows)
Yes Yes
Desktop Platform (Mac)
Yes Yes
Web Platform
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
Yes No
Trade Journal
Yes No
Watch Lists - Total Fields
494 285
Heat Mapping
Yes Yes
AI Assistant Bot
Yes No
Platforms & Tools 4.5 4
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Charting Features

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Charting - Trade Off Chart
Yes Yes
Charting - Indicators / Studies
121 100
Charting - Drawing Tools
9 22
Charting - Historical Trades
Yes Yes
Charting - Corporate Events
Yes Yes
Charting - Automated Analysis
No Yes
Charting - Save Profiles
Yes Yes
Charting - Study Customizations
6 8
Charting - Custom Studies
No No
Platforms & Tools 4.5 4
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Day Trading

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
No Yes
Streaming Time & Sales
Yes Yes
Streaming TV
Yes No
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
Yes No
Direct Market Routing - Options
Yes No
Ladder Trading
Yes No
Trade Hot Keys
Yes Yes
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
Yes Yes
Level 2 Quotes - Options
Yes Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
Yes Yes
Short Locator
Yes No
Order Liquidity Rebates
Yes No
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Mobile Trading Apps

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
iPhone App
Yes Yes
Android App
Yes Yes
Apple Watch App
Yes Yes
Trading - Stocks
Yes Yes
Trading - After-Hours
Yes Yes
Trading - Conditional Orders
Yes No
Trading - Mutual Funds
Yes Yes
Trading - Simple Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Complex Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Option Rolling
No No
Touch / Face ID
Yes Yes
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Mobile App Features

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Watch List Syncing
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts
Yes Yes
Charting - After Hours
Yes Yes
Charting - Drawing
No Yes
Charting - Study Customizations
Yes Yes
Heatmapping
No Yes
Stream Live TV
Yes No
Barcode Lookup
No No
Mobile Trading 4.5 4
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Research Overview

Feature Interactive Brokers 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
No Yes
Screener - Options
Yes Yes
Screener - Bonds
Yes Yes
Misc - Portfolio Builder
Yes Yes
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Yes Yes
Research 4 4.5
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Stock Research

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Stock Research - Reports
2 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
Yes No
Stock Research - Balance Sheet
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Cash Flows
Yes Yes
Stock Research - News
Yes Yes
Stock Research - ESG
Yes Yes
Research 4 4.5
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ETF Research

Feature Interactive Brokers 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
No Yes
ETFs - Reports
Yes Yes
Research 4 4.5
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Mutual Fund Research

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Reports
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Asset Allocation
No 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 Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Option Chains - Streaming
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Total Columns
37 69
Option Chains - Greeks
4 5
Option Chains - Quick Analysis
Yes Yes
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
Yes Yes
Option Probability Analysis
Yes Yes
Option Probability Analysis Adv
Yes No
Option Positions - Greeks
Yes Yes
Option Positions - Adv Analysis
Yes Yes
Option Positions - Rolling
Yes Yes
Option Positions - Grouping
Yes Yes
Platforms & Tools 4.5 4
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Beginners

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Education (Stocks)
Yes Yes
Education (ETFs)
Yes Yes
Education (Options)
Yes Yes
Education (Mutual Funds)
No Yes
Education (Fixed Income)
Yes Yes
Education (Retirement)
No Yes
Paper Trading
Yes No
Videos
Yes Yes
Webinars (Monthly Avg)
20 0
Webinars (Archived)
Yes No
Live Seminars
No Yes
Progress Tracking
Yes Yes
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
Yes Yes
Investor Magazine
Yes Yes
Education 4 4.5
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Banking

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Retail Locations
0 4300
Member FDIC
Yes Yes
Checking Accounts
Yes Yes
Savings Accounts
No Yes
Credit Cards
No Yes
Debit Cards
Yes Yes
Mortgage Loans
No Yes
No Fee Banking
Yes No
Banking 2 5
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Overall

Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2020 annual broker review, we spent hundreds of hours assessing 15 brokerages to find the best online broker. Let's compare Interactive Brokers vs Merrill Edge.

Is Interactive Brokers or Merrill Edge better for beginners?
Merrill Edge is better for beginner investors than Interactive Brokers. Merrill Edge offers investors access to Videos, Education (Stocks), Education (ETFs), Education (Options), Education (Mutual Funds), Education (Fixed Income) and Education (Retirement).

What about Interactive Brokers vs Merrill Edge pricing?
Interactive Brokers and Merrill Edge charge the same amount for regular stock trades, $0. For options trading, both Interactive Brokers and Merrill Edge charge the same base fee of $0. Option contracts cost $0.65 each at both brokerages. For a complete commissions summary, see our best discount brokers guide.

Does Interactive Brokers or Merrill Edge offer a wider range of investment options?
Interactive Brokers offers a more diverse selection of investment options than Merrill Edge. Interactive Brokers offers investors access to Stock Trading, Fractional Shares, OTCBB / Pink Sheets, Options Trading, Mutual Funds, Futures Trading and International Trading. Looking at Mutual Funds, Interactive Brokers boasts an offering of 18210 mutual funds compared to Merrill Edge's 3709 available funds.

Which trading platform is better: Interactive Brokers or Merrill Edge?
To compare the trading platforms of both Interactive Brokers and Merrill Edge, we tested each broker's trading tools, research capabilities, and mobile apps. For trading tools, Interactive Brokers offers a better experience. With research, Merrill Edge offers superior market research. Finally, we found Interactive Brokers to provide better mobile trading apps.

Does either broker offer banking?
Online banking can be a benefit for investors, and some brokerages do provide banking services to customers. Checking Accounts and Debit Cards are available to clients of Interactive Brokers while Merrill Edge offers customers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans.

Overall, between Interactive Brokers and Merrill Edge, Interactive Brokers is the better online broker.

Interactive Brokers Review
Merrill Edge Review

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All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/20/2020 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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