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Interactive Brokers vs Merrill Edge 2021

Is Interactive Brokers better than Merrill Edge? After testing 11 of the best online brokers over three months, Interactive Brokers (95.07%) is better than Merrill Edge (91.72%). Once again, in 2021, Interactive Brokers is our top pick for professionals because of its institutional-grade desktop trading platform and rock bottom margin rates. Professionals aside, Interactive Brokers also appeals to casual investors with $0 trades and its user-friendly web platform.


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Overall Rating

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Overall 5 4.5
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4.5
Offering of Investments 5 4
Platforms & Tools 4.5 4
Mobile Trading 4.5 4.5
Research 5 4.5
Education 4 4.5
Ease of Use 4 5
Interactive Brokers Review Merrill Edge Review
Winner check_circle

Trading Fees

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00 $0.00
ETF Trade Fee $0.00 $0.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $14.95 $19.95
Options (Base Fee) $0.00 $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.65 $0.65
Futures (Per Contract) $0.85 N/A
Broker Assisted Trade Fee $30.00 $29.95

Margin Rates

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Under $24,999.99 1.58% 8.63%
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99 1.58% 7.50%
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99 1.58% 7.50%
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99 1.08% N/A
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99 1.08% N/A
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99 1.08% N/A
Above $1,000,000.00 0.75% N/A

Account Fees

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
IRA Annual Fee $0.00 $0.00
IRA Closure Fee $0.00 $49.95
Account Transfer Out (Partial)
$0.00 $0.00
Account Transfer Out (Full)
$0.00 $49.95

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
6 2
Futures Trading
Yes No
Forex Trading
No No
Crypto Trading
Yes No
Crypto Trading - Total Coins
4 0
Mutual Funds (No Load)
10882 2952
Mutual Funds (Total)
11160 3466
Bonds (US Treasury)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Corporate)
Yes Yes
Bonds (Municipal)
Yes Yes
Advisor Services
No Yes
International Trading
Yes No

Order Types

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Order Type - Market
Yes Yes
Order Type - Limit
Yes Yes
Order Type - After-Hours
Yes Yes
Order Type - Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - Trailing Stop
Yes Yes
Order Type - OCO
Yes No
Order Type - OTO
Yes No
Order Type - Broker Assisted
Yes Yes

Beginners

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Education (Stocks)
Yes Yes
Education (ETFs)
Yes Yes
Education (Options)
Yes Yes
Education (Mutual Funds)
No Yes
Education (Bonds)
Yes Yes
Education (Retirement)
Yes Yes
Retirement Calculator
No Yes
Investor Dictionary
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
Yes No
Videos
Yes Yes
Webinars (Monthly Avg)
20 1
Webinars (Archived)
Yes Yes
Progress Tracking
Yes No
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
Yes Yes

Stock 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 - Simple Options
Yes Yes
Trading - Complex Options
Yes Yes
Order Ticket RT Quotes
Yes Yes
Order Ticket SRT Quotes
Yes No

Stock App Features

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Market Movers (Top Gainers)
Yes Yes
Stream Live TV
Yes No
Videos on Demand
Yes No
Stock Alerts
Yes Yes
Option Chains Viewable
Yes Yes
Watch List (Real-time)
Yes Yes
Watch List (Streaming)
Yes Yes
Watch Lists - Create & Manage
Yes Yes
Watch Lists - Column Customization
Yes No
Watch List - Column Filtering
Yes Yes

Stock App Charting

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Charting - After-Hours
Yes No
Charting - Can Turn Horizontally
Yes Yes
Charting - Multiple Time Frames
Yes Yes
Charting - Technical Studies
70 34
Charting - Study Customizations
Yes Yes
Charting - Stock Comparisons
No Yes

Trading Platforms

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Desktop Trading Platform
Yes Yes
Web Trading Platform
Yes Yes
Paper Trading
Yes No
Trade Journal
Yes No
Watch Lists - Total Fields
669 285

Stock Chart Features

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Charting - Adjust Trades on Chart
Yes Yes
Charting - Indicators / Studies
121 104
Charting - Drawing Tools
9 22
Charting - Notes
Yes Yes
Charting - Index Overlays
Yes Yes
Charting - Historical Trades
Yes Yes
Charting - Corporate Events
Yes Yes
Charting - Custom Date Range
No Yes
Charting - Custom Time Bars
Yes Yes
Charting - Automated Analysis
Yes Yes
Charting - Save Profiles
Yes Yes
Trade Ideas - Technical Analysis
Yes Yes
Charting - Study Customizations
6 8
Charting - Custom Studies
No No

Day Trading

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Streaming Time & Sales
Yes Yes
Streaming TV
Yes No
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
Yes No
Ladder Trading
Yes No
Trade Hot Keys
Yes No
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
Yes Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
Yes Yes
Trade Ideas - Backtesting Adv
Yes No
Short Locator
Yes No
Order Liquidity Rebates
Yes No

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 - Bonds
Yes Yes
Screener - Stocks
Yes Yes
Screener - ETFs
Yes Yes
Screener - Mutual Funds
Yes Yes
Screener - Options
Yes Yes
Screener - Bonds
Yes Yes
Misc - Portfolio Builder
Yes Yes
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Yes Yes

Stock Research

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Stock Research - PDF Reports
5 3
Stock Research - Earnings
Yes Yes
Stock Research - Insiders
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

ETF Research

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
ETFs - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Inception Date
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Expense Ratio
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Net Assets
Yes Yes
ETF Fund Facts - Total Holdings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Performance Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Sector Exposure
Yes Yes
ETFs - Risk Analysis
Yes Yes
ETFs - Ratings
Yes Yes
ETFs - Morningstar StyleMap
Yes Yes
ETFs - PDF Reports
Yes Yes

Mutual Fund Research

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Mutual Funds - Strategy Overview
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Performance Chart
No Yes
Mutual Funds - Performance Analysis
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Prospectus
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - PDF Reports
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Fees Breakdown
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Top 10 Holdings
Yes Yes
Mutual Funds - Asset Allocation
Yes 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

Options Trading

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Option Chains - Basic View
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Strategy View
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Streaming
Yes Yes
Option Chains - Total Columns
37 68
Option Chains - Greeks
4 5
Option Positions - Greeks Streaming
Yes Yes
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

Banking

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Bank (Member FDIC)
Yes Yes
Checking Accounts
Yes Yes
Savings Accounts
No Yes
Credit Cards
No Yes
Debit Cards
Yes Yes
Mortgage Loans
No Yes

Customer Service

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Phone Support (Prospect Customers)
Yes Yes
Phone Support (Current Customers)
Yes Yes
Email Support
Yes Yes
Live Chat (Prospect Customers)
No Yes
Live Chat (Current Customers)
Yes Yes
24/7 Support
No Yes

Overall

Feature Interactive Brokers Merrill Edge
Overall 5 4.5
Commissions & Fees 4.5 4.5
Offering of Investments 5 4
Platforms & Tools 4.5 4
Mobile Trading 4.5 4.5
Research 5 4.5
Education 4 4.5
Ease of Use 4 5
Interactive Brokers Review Merrill Edge Review
Winner check_circle

Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2021 annual broker review, we spent hundreds of hours assessing 11 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 (Bonds) and Education (Retirement).

What about Interactive Brokers vs Merrill Edge pricing?
Interactive Brokers and Merrill Edge have equal fees for trading stocks (equities), $0 per trade. With options, the base fee is $0 for both Interactive Brokers and Merrill Edge. Option contracts run $0.65 a piece 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 11160 mutual funds compared to Merrill Edge's 3466 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, Interactive Brokers 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. Clients can have Checking Accounts and Debit Cards at Interactive Brokers while customers at Merrill Edge can have Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans.

Overall winner: Interactive Brokers

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All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/19/2021 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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