Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our annual broker review, we assess over a dozen brokers on hundreds of different variables to find the best online broker
. Yielding a database of over 5,000 data points, let's compare Interactive Brokers vs Merrill Edge.
To start this comparison, first, we will take a look at the online broker commission rates for placing regular 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. With options, the base fees charged are $6.95 (Merrill Edge) and $0 (Interactive Brokers). Option contracts are pricier at Merrill Edge, costing $0.75 versus $0.70 at Interactive Brokers. It's important to note that not all brokers charge a flat fee per trade. Thus, it is important to read the full commission notes for each broker, which we include with each online broker review
Next to commission rates, being able to trade what you want is important. Merrill Edge supports Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while Interactive Brokers supports Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. Looking at mutual funds, Interactive Brokers offers its clients access to 10051 different mutual funds while Merrill Edge has 3688 available funds, a difference of 6,363. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, Interactive Brokers offers 45 commission free ETFs versus Merrill Edge's total of 0.
Trading access aside, by comparing popular features and functionality, we can break down relevant differences between both brokers. Interactive Brokers offers virtual trading while Merrill Edge does not. Taking a look at mobile trading, Interactive Brokers and Merrill Edge both have a iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Not to be left out, online banking is also a nice benefit for many investors, and some brokerages provide these services to clients. Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans are available to clients of Merrill Edge while Interactive Brokers offers customers Debit Cards. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, both Interactive Brokers and Merrill Edge found themselves without awards for Best in Class - Platforms & Tools, Best in Class - Research and Best in Class - Mobile Trading.
Overall, both Interactive Brokers and Merrill Edge are rated 4.50 stars.