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.