Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2017 Broker Review, we assessed 16 brokers on 308 different variables to find the best online broker
. Yielding a database of over 5,000 data points, let's compare Merrill Edge vs OptionsHouse.
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, with its regular stock trades costing $6.95, is more expensive than OptionsHouse's rate of $4.95 per trade. For options trading, Merrill Edge has a base fee of $6.95, and OptionsHouse a base fee of $4.95. OptionsHouse's per contract rate of $0.50 is less than Merrill Edge which charges $0.75. 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. OptionsHouse offers clients Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading while Merrill Edge offers Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds. Looking at mutual funds, Merrill Edge trails OptionsHouse by 4,626 total mutual funds, with OptionsHouse offering 12275 and Merrill Edge offering 7649. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, with OptionsHouse having the upper hand thanks to its 5 available commission free ETFs compared to Merrill Edge's offering of 0.
Trading access aside, by comparing popular features and functionality, we can break down relevant differences between both brokers. OptionsHouse offers virtual trading while Merrill Edge does not. Taking a look at mobile trading, Merrill Edge along with OptionsHouse both support the 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 offered by Merrill Edge while OptionsHouse offers none of these. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, OptionsHouse posted awards Best in Class - Mobile Trading in 2017, while Merrill Edge found itself with Best in Class - Research.
Overall, both Merrill Edge and OptionsHouse share a rating of 4.00 stars.