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Interactive Brokers vs Merrill Edge 2019

The StockBrokers.com annual review (9 years running) takes six months to complete and produces over 30,000 words of research each year. Here's how we test.

Is Merrill Edge better than Interactive Brokers? After scoring brokers in nine separate categories for our 2019 review, Interactive Brokers (80.99%) is better than Merrill Edge (77.93%).

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Overall Rating

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Overall 4 4
Interactive Brokers Review Merrill Edge Review

Trading Fees

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $0.00
Stock Trade Fee (per trade) N/A $6.95
ETF Trade Fee $0.01 $6.95
Options Base Fee $0.00 $6.95
Options Per Contract Fee $0.70 $0.75
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $14.95 $19.95
Broker Assisted Trades Fee $30.00 $29.95
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4
Winner check_circle

Margin Rates

Feature Interactive Brokers
Open Account
Merrill Edge
Open Account
Under $24,999.99 3.68% 10.63%
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99 3.68% 9.50%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 3.68% 9.50%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 3.18% 8.13%
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 3.18% 8.13%
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 3.18% 7.88%
Above $1,000,000.00 2.68% 7.25%
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4
Winner check_circle

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 4.5 4

Investment Options

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Stock Trading
Yes Yes
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Yes Yes
Options Trading
Yes Yes
Complex Options Max Legs
4 2
Futures Trading
Yes No
Forex Trading
No No
Commission-Free ETFs 48 0
Mutual Funds (No Load)
7558 2471
Mutual Funds (Total)
11000 3709
Bonds (US Treasury)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Corporate)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Municipal)
Yes Yes
Advisor Services
No Yes
International Trading
Yes No
Offering of Investments 5 3
Winner check_circle

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 5 3
Winner check_circle

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
453 285
Two-Factor Authentication Login
Yes Yes
Heat Mapping
Yes Yes
Platforms & Tools 4.5 4
Winner check_circle

Charting Features

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Charting - Trade Off Chart
Yes Yes
Charting - Indicators / Studies
121 95
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
Winner check_circle

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
Client Liquidity Rebates
Yes No
Winner check_circle

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
Winner check_circle

Mobile App Features

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Watch List Syncing
Yes Yes
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Yes Yes
Charting - After Hours
Yes Yes
Charting - Drawing
No Yes
Charting - Study Customizations
Yes Yes
Customizable Homescreen
No Yes
Heatmapping
No Yes
Stream Live TV
Yes No
Barcode Lookup
No No
Mobile Trading 4.5 4.5
Winner check_circle

Research Overview

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Research - Stocks
Yes Yes
Research - ETFs
Yes Yes
Research - Mutual Funds
No 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 3.5 4.5
Winner check_circle

Stock Research

Feature Interactive Brokers 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
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 3.5 4.5
Winner check_circle

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 3.5 4.5
Winner check_circle

Mutual Fund Research

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Reports
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Asset Allocation
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Sector Allocation
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Country Allocation
No Yes
Mutual Funds - StyleMap
No Yes
Mutual Funds - 3rd Party Ratings
No Yes
Research 3.5 4.5
Winner check_circle

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 No
Option Positions - Grouping
Yes Yes
Platforms & Tools 4.5 4
Winner check_circle

Beginners

Feature Interactive Brokers 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
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 No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
Yes Yes
Investor Magazine
Yes Yes
Education 3 4.5
Winner check_circle

Banking

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Retail Locations
0 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 Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Interactive Brokers Review Merrill Edge Review
Overall 4 4
Winner check_circle

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, with its regular stock trades costing $6.95, is more expensive than Interactive Brokers's rate of $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. Option contracts are pricier at Merrill Edge, costing $0.75 versus $0.70 at Interactive Brokers. 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 11000 different mutual funds while Merrill Edge has 3709 available funds, a difference of 7,291.

Finally, by comparing the each broker's website and platform features, we can surface interesting differences. Interactive Brokers makes virtual trading available to clients, while Merrill Edge does not. For mobile trading, Interactive Brokers and Merrill Edge both have a 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 Interactive Brokers while Merrill Edge offers Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans.

Overall, between Interactive Brokers and Merrill Edge, Interactive Brokers is the winner.

Interactive Brokers 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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