The StockBrokers.com 2017 Brokerage Review assessed 16 different brokers over six months, surfacing the best online stock brokers
. This review compares Interactive Brokers vs Merrill Edge. Is Interactive Brokers or Merrill Edge a better online broker?
First, we will make a comparison of the stock and option trading fees for trading with both brokers. 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. Looking at trading options, Interactive Brokers's base fee is $0 while Merrill Edge's is $6.95. Interactive Brokers's per contract rate of $0.70 is less than Merrill Edge which charges $0.75. Note that some brokers charge a per-share fee instead of a flat-fee commission. For a full breakdown of commissions, read our online broker reviews
For our next comparison of these two brokers, being able to trade the way you want is a must. Merrill Edge provides its clients with Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds while Interactive Brokers provides clients access to Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading. When it comes to mutual funds, Interactive Brokers offers its clients access to 8026 different mutual funds while Merrill Edge has 7649 available funds, a difference of 377. Commission free ETFs can also be a nice plus, Interactive Brokers offers 33 commission free ETFs versus Merrill Edge's total of 0.
Last but not least, by breaking down important features, tools, etc that each broker offers, we can really help to separate the two. Interactive Brokers makes virtual trading available to clients, while Merrill Edge does not. For mobile trading, Interactive Brokers along with Merrill Edge both support the iPhone App, iPad App and Android App. Furthermore, some investors like to bank online, and multiple brokerages provide these services to clients. Checking Accounts, Savings Accounts, Debit Cards, Credit Cards and Mortgage Loans are offered by Merrill Edge while Interactive Brokers offers none of these. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, Interactive Brokers posted awards Best in Class - Platforms & Tools and Best in Class - Mobile Trading in 2017, while Merrill Edge found itself with Best in Class - Research.
Overall, both Interactive Brokers and Merrill Edge are rated 4.00 stars.