Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2017 Broker Review
, we factored in 308 different variables to assess 16 different brokers. So when taking a look at Merrill Edge vs OptionsHouse, there is a huge database of information available to us.
To start this comparison, first we will take a look at the 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. Looking at trading options, OptionsHouse's base fee is $4.95 while Merrill Edge's is $6.95. At a difference of $0.25 per contract, OptionsHouse's per contract rate of $0.50 is less than Merrill Edge which charges $0.75. Not all brokers charge a flat rate fee per trade though, so it is important to read the full commission notes to know the complete breakdown (go to any online broker review
page, then scroll to the "Commissions Notes" section).
Next to commission rates, being able to trade the instrument you want is important. OptionsHouse provides its clients with Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds and Futures Trading while Merrill Edge gives clients access to Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds. Looking at mutual funds, OptionsHouse offers its clients access to 12275 different mutual funds while Merrill Edge has 7649 available funds, a difference of 4,626.00. Commission free ETFs also should not be forgotten, with OptionsHouse having the upper hand thanks to its 5 available ETFs compared to Merrill Edge's offering of 0.
Lastly, taking a look at popular features and functionality, we can go a bit deeper to really break down the difference of both brokers. OptionsHouse has virtual trading, Merrill Edge doesn't. Taking a look at mobile trading, Merrill Edge and OptionsHouse 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 offered by Merrill Edge while OptionsHouse offers none of these. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and trading on the go, OptionsHouse finished with awards for Best in Class - Mobile Trading in 2014, while Merrill Edge came up with Best in Class - Research.
Overall, both Merrill Edge and OptionsHouse are rated 4.00 stars.