Comparing brokers side by side is no easy task. For our 2017 Broker Review
, we assessed 16 brokers on 308 different variables. 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, with its regular stock trades costing $6.95, is more expensive than Ally Invest's rate of $4.95 per trade. With options, the base fees charged are $6.95 (Merrill Edge) and $4.95 (Ally Invest). Option contracts are pricier at Merrill Edge, costing $0.75 versus $0.65 at Ally Invest. 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 offers clients Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds, Forex Trading and Futures Trading while Merrill Edge offers Stock Trading, Options Trading and Mutual Funds. Looking at mutual funds, Ally Invest offers its clients access to 10138 different mutual funds while Merrill Edge has 7649 available funds, a difference of 2,489.00. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, which is a wash in this comparison as both Merrill Edge and Ally Invest offer 0 commission free ETFs.
Trading access aside, by comparing popular features and functionality, we can break down relevant differences between both brokers. Ally Invest has virtual trading, Merrill Edge doesn't. Taking a look at mobile trading, Ally Invest supports the iPhone App and Android App while Merrill Edge supports 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 available to customers of Merrill Edge and Ally Invest. On the whole, when it comes to tools, research, and mobile trading, Merrill Edge finished with awards Best in Class - Research in 2017, while Ally Invest came up with none of these.
Overall, both Merrill Edge and Ally Invest hold a 4.00 star rating.