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 Merrill Edge vs Ally Invest.
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 more than Ally Invest for placing regular stock trades ($6.95 and $4.95, respectively). Looking at trading options, Ally Invest's base fee is $4.95 while Merrill Edge's is $6.95. Ally Invest's per contract rate of $0.65 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. Ally Invest provides its clients with Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds, Forex Trading and Futures Trading while Merrill Edge provides clients access to Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds. Looking at mutual funds, Merrill Edge trails Ally Invest by 6,576 total mutual funds, with Ally Invest offering 10264 and Merrill Edge offering 3688. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, which in this case means trading a possible 0 commission free ETFs at both brokers.
Trading access aside, by comparing popular features and functionality, we can break down relevant differences between both brokers. Merrill Edge nor Ally Invest offers virtual trading. Taking a look at mobile trading, Merrill Edge and Ally Invest 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 found at Merrill Edge alongside Ally Invest. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, unfortunately, neither Merrill Edge nor Ally Invest received awards Best in Class - Platforms & Tools, Best in Class - Research and Best in Class - Mobile Trading.
Overall, Merrill Edge comes out on top with 4.50 stars over Ally Invest's 3.50 stars.