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Merrill Edge vs Ally Invest Review

Brandon Reinkensmeyer

Published by Brandon Reinkensmeyer


Friday, December 8th, 2017

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 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 $6.95 per stock trade which is $2.00 more than Ally Invest which charges customers $4.95 per trade. For options trading, Merrill Edge has a base fee of $6.95, and Ally Invest a base fee of $4.95. Each option contract then costs $0.75 at Merrill Edge and $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 supports Stock Trading, Options Trading, Mutual Funds, Forex Trading and Futures Trading while Merrill Edge supports 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. Commission free ETFs can also be valuable for customers, which for investors means access to 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. Ally Invest makes virtual trading available to clients, while Merrill Edge does not. Taking a look at mobile trading, Ally Invest offers the iPhone App and Android App while Merrill Edge offers 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 was rated Best in Class - Research in 2017, while Ally Invest was rated none of these.

Overall, both Merrill Edge and Ally Invest share a rating of 4.00 stars.
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Overall
Commissions & Fees
Offering of Investments
Platforms & Tools
Research
Customer Service
Mobile Trading
Ease of Use
Education
Order Execution
Banking
Minimum Deposit
Stock Trade Fee (flat)
Options Base Fee
Options Per Contract Fee
Mutual Fund Trade Fee
Broker Assisted Trades Fee
IRA Annual Fee
IRA Closure Fee
Stock Trading
OTCBB / Pink Sheets
Options Trading
Complex Options Max Legs
Futures Trading
Forex Trading
Commission Free ETFs
Mutual Funds (No Load)
Mutual Funds (Total)
Bonds (US Treasury)
Bonds (Corporate)
Bonds (Municipal)
Advisor Services
International Trading
Order Type - Market
Order Type - Limit
Order Type - Stop
Order Type - Trailing Stop
Order Type - Contingent
Order Type - MultiContingent
Order Type - OCO
Order Type - OTO
Order Type - OTOCO
Order Type - Algo
Desktop Platform (Windows)
Desktop Platform (Mac)
Web Platform
Virtual Trading
Watch Lists - Total Fields
Two-Factor Authentication Login
Charting - Trade Off Chart
Charting - Drawing Tools
Charting - Indicators / Studies
Charting - Historical Trades
Charting - Save Profiles
Charting - Study Customizations
Charting - Custom Studies
Option Chains - Total Columns
Option Chains - Greeks Viewable
Option Analysis - P&L Charts
Option Positions - Rolling
Heat Mapping
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
Streaming Time & Sales
Streaming TV
Direct Market Routing - Stocks
Direct Market Routing - Options
Ladder Trading
Trade Hot Keys
Level 2 Quotes - Stocks
Level 2 Quotes - Options
Trade Ideas - Backtesting
Client Liquidity Rebates
Screener - Stocks
Screener - ETFs
Screener - Mutual Funds
Screener - Options
Screener - Bonds
Misc - Portfolio Allocation
Misc - Portfolio Builder
Equity Research - Earnings
Equity Research - SEC Filings
Equity Research - Insiders
Equity Research - Social
Equity Research - Reports
ETF Research - Top 10 Holdings
ETF Research - Reports
ETF Research - Ratings
Mutual Fund Research - Reports
iPhone App
iPad App
Android App
Android Tablet App
Apple Watch App
Trading - Stocks
Trading - After-Hours
Trading - Conditional Orders
Trading - Mutual Funds
Trading - Simple Options
Trading - Complex Options
Trading - Option Rolling
Touch ID
Watch List Syncing
Stock Alerts - Basic Fields
Stock Alerts - Advanced Fields
Charting - After Hours
Charting - Study Customizations
Customizable Homescreen
Heatmapping
Stream Live TV
Barcode Lookup
Retail Locations
Member FDIC
Checking Accounts
Savings Accounts
Credit Cards
Debit Cards
Mortgage Loans
No Fee Banking
Under $24,999.99
$25,000.00 to $49,999.99
$50,000.00 to $99,999.99
$100,000.00 to $249,999.99
$250,000.00 to $499,999.99
Above $1,000,000.00
$500,000.00 to $999,999.99
Has Education - Stocks
Has Education - ETFs
Has Education - Options
Has Education - Mutual Funds
Has Education - Fixed Income
Has Education - Retirement
Videos
Client Webinars (Monthly Avg)
Client Webinars (Archived)
Live Seminars
Progress Tracking
Interactive Learning - Quizzes
Client Magazine
Merrill Edge
Special Offer Invest in a new account and get up to $600 Learn More
Merrill Edge Review
 
4
4.5
3
3.5
4.5
4.5
4
4.5
4
3.5
5
 
$0.00
$6.95
$6.95
$0.75
$19.95
$29.95
$0.00
$49.95
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
2
No
No
0
1350
3688
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
216
Yes
Yes
22
73
No
Yes
5
No
62
5
Yes
No
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
3
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
 
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
 
4480
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
 
8.25%
8.50%
8.50%
7.13%
7.13%
6.25%
6.88%
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
0
No
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Ally Invest
Special Offer Trade as low as $3.95. Plus pick either 90 days free or $200 back. Learn More
Ally Invest Review
 
4
4.5
4
4
4
4
3
3
4
1.5
4
 
$0.00
$4.95
$4.95
$0.65
$9.95
$20.00
$0.00
$50.00
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
4
Yes
Yes
0
5574
10264
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
 
No
No
Yes
No
21
Yes
No
10
84
No
Yes
3
No
15
5
Yes
No
No
 
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
1
Yes
No
Yes
No
 
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
 
Yes
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
 
0
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
8.75%
8.50%
7.75%
6.50%
5.50%
4.25%
5.00%
 
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
8
No
No
No
No
No

All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 2/20/2017 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The StockBrokers.com staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page. For stock trade rates, advertised pricing is for a standard order size of 500 shares of stock priced at $30 per share. For options orders, an options regulatory fee per contract may apply.

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