Using data from our latest annual broker review which tested more than a dozen different online brokers
over six months, we can compare Interactive Brokers 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 $6.95 more than Interactive Brokers which charges customers $0 (the broker charges a per share rate instead) per trade. For options trading, Merrill Edge has a base fee of $6.95, and Interactive Brokers a base fee of $0. Interactive Brokers's per contract rate of $0.70 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. Merrill Edge offers clients Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while Interactive Brokers offers Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. As far as mutual funds go, Interactive Brokers offers its clients access to 10051 different mutual funds while Merrill Edge has 3688 available funds, a difference of 6,363. And, commission free ETFs deserve a comparison, Interactive Brokers offers 45 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. Interactive Brokers has virtual trading, Merrill Edge doesn't. For mobile trading, Interactive Brokers along with Merrill Edge both support the iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Online banking is also used by many customers, and multiple full-service brokerages provide these services. Clients can have Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans at Merrill Edge while customers at Interactive Brokers can have Debit Cards. All factors considered, when it comes to platform tools, research, and mobile trading, Interactive Brokers finished with awards Best in Class - Mobile Trading, while Merrill Edge came up with none of these.
Overall, both Interactive Brokers and Merrill Edge are rated 4.50 stars.