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Best Brokers for Banking Services in 2022

Blain Reinkensmeyer

Chris McKhann

May 16, 2022

The StockBrokers.com best online brokers 2022 review, our 12th annual, took three months to complete and produced over 40,000 words of research. Here's how we tested.

As financial firms continue to evolve, many are combining banking and brokerage services under a single roof. That makes it easy to bounce between managing a checking account and trading stocks. With features such as FDIC insurance, universal login, and mobile bill pay, consumers have more choice than ever about where to take their banking and brokerage business.

To determine which online brokerage offers the best bank broker experience, we explored the availability of cash management tools across 15 brokers, starting with traditional banking products -- e.g., checking accounts, savings accounts, debit cards, credit cards, and mortgages. Then we looked for other features such as mobile check deposit, debit card ATM fee reimbursement, no-fee banking, and access to local branch offices. Here are our findings.

Best Brokers for Banking

StockBrokers.com 2022 Review

Here's a breakdown of the best online brokers that offer banking services.

Merrill Edge
Overall

Bank of America, Merrill Edge

Minimum Deposit $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.65

When it comes to banking and brokerage, Merrill Edge — part of Bank of America — takes the crown, thanks to $0 trades, 4,300 retail locations, seamless universal account management and its Preferred Rewards program, which offers the best rewards of any bank broker we tested. Read full review

Pros

  • Excellent tools for ESG research
  • Robust rewards program for Bank of America customers

Cons

  • Penny stocks and OTC securities are not available
  • Fractional share trading is not available
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J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing
Overall

J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing, Chase Bank

Minimum Deposit $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.65

J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing’s all-in-one platform makes money and asset management simple and straightforward for customers of Chase Bank, the largest bank in the U.S. Read full review

Pros

  • Multi-account benefits include instant transfers, universal log-in and $0 stock and ETF trades
  • The mobile app provides clean access to investing as well as education and market news

Cons

  • The platform and tools, including the app, are very basic
  • Education is limited in scope and delivery
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Charles Schwab
Overall

Charles Schwab, Schwab Bank

Minimum Deposit $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.65

Charles Schwab offers a suite of banking services in addition to its online brokerage arm. With over 360 service locations, Charles Schwab Bank is a registered member of the FDIC and offers everything from checking and savings accounts to mortgages and credit cards. Read full review

Pros

  • Multiple financial planning services
  • Our top pick for IRA accounts
  • Fractional shares available

Cons

  • Mobile app lacks alerts and real-time streaming quotes
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$0 Online Trade Commissions. Advertisement

Ally Invest
Overall

Ally Invest, Ally Bank

Minimum Deposit $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.50

Among the bank and brokerage combinations, Ally shines and competes with the best in the industry. As with Merrill Edge, bank and brokerage accounts are managed under one login, and transferring money between accounts is a breeze. Read full review

Pros

  • Excellent banking via Ally Bank
  • Universal account management

Cons

  • Trading tools lag behind leading bank/brokerages
  • Limited education and stock research
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Fidelity
Overall

Fidelity

Minimum Deposit $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.65

Fidelity embraces no-fee banking, offering 203 retail service centers and delivering a reliable experience. Products include a cash management account and the Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature credit card, which offers 2% cashback on all purchases with rewards deposited directly into your Fidelity accounts. Read full review

Pros

  • Excellent mobile app for investors
  • Our top pick for order execution, no payment for order flow (PFOF)

Cons

  • Margin rates can be higher than those of peers
  • Mobile app may fall short for active traders
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Trade at Fidelity.1

Other brokers tested

In addition to our top five trading platforms for banking in 2022, we reviewed 10 others: E*TRADE, Firstrade, Interactive Brokers, SoFi Invest, TD Ameritrade, TradeStation, Tradier, Robinhood, Vanguard and Webull. To dive deeper, read our reviews.

Is a brokerage account the same as a bank account?

No. A brokerage account is used to buy and sell securities (stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, and other assets) and is SIPC insured, protecting up to $500,000 per customer account. A bank account is used for banking (e.g., savings, checking, bill payments) and is FDIC insured, providing up to $250,000 in protection per individual.

Which bank broker is best?

When it comes to banking and brokerage, Merrill Edge — part of Bank of America — takes the crown, thanks to $0 trades, 4,300 retail locations, seamless universal account management and its Preferred Rewards program, which offers the best rewards of any bank broker we tested.

What is a bank brokerage?

A bank broker provides both banking services (FDIC insured) as well as stock brokerage services (SIPC protected). This combination allows you to easily move money between accounts and consolidate your finances with a single provider.

Besides investing capabilities, when you open a bank brokerage account you have the benefits of a brokerage checking account and other banking capabilities, such as money transfers and debit cards.

What banks offer brokerage accounts?

Many of the largest banks in the U.S. offer online brokerage accounts. For example, Bank of America offers online trading through Merrill Edge, J.P. Morgan Chase offers online trading through J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing, and Ally offers online investments through Ally Invest.

Which bank has the best brokerage account?

Based on our research, Bank of America has the best brokerage account offering, with Merrill Edge. Merrill Edge offers $0 stock and ETF trades, excellent bank broker universal account management, the best rewards program, and outstanding customer service.

Can you use a brokerage account as a checking account?

Yes, a brokerage checking account allows you to write checks and deposit checks. There are a growing number of banks with brokerage accounts offered that provide check-writing capabilities.

More details: If you decide to write checks from your brokerage account, be sure to monitor your account balance to maintain a proper cash allocation. As an alternative, open a separate cash management account so you do not risk overdrawing. Most brokers offer instant transfers between accounts for convenience.

What is the difference between a brokerage account and a cash management account?

Think of a cash management account like a brokerage account with a debit card. The cash management feature enables you to use a debit card to spend non-invested cash in your brokerage account. Your debit card can be used for everyday purchases such as groceries, dining, entertainment, and leisure.

Is a brokerage account better than a bank account?

One is not better than the other; they are simply different vehicles for your money. A brokerage account is necessary for investing and trading in stocks, ETFs, options and futures, whereas a bank account is meant for handling your day-to-day saving and spending.

Is a brokerage account safer than a bank account?

Both your brokerage account and your bank account typically carry insurance, the former through the SIPC and the latter through the FDIC. In that sense, both are safe. But investing or trading through a brokerage account carries market risk: Losses due to market movement are not protected by insurance.

Can I buy stocks through my bank?

Banks do not offer the ability to buy and sell stocks in checking or savings accounts. However, many large banks offer online trading through their brokerage arm. For example, Bank of America offers online trading through its discount brokerage, Merrill Edge.

Can I get a debit card for my brokerage account?

Brokerages that offer banking services often include use of a debit card with your associated banking product, such as a cash management account or checking account. Our top pick this year among brokerages with banking services is Merrill Edge, which is affiliated with Bank of America and offers B of A's full suite of bank accounts and features.

Can you buy stocks with a debit card?

No, you cannot use a debit card to buy stocks. To buy stocks, open and fund an online brokerage account, go to the order ticket, type in the company's stock symbol, then place the trade.

Bank Broker Pricing and Features Comparison

Here's a pricing and features comparison of the best bank brokers sides by side using the online brokerage comparison tool.

Feature Merrill Edge
Visit Site
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing Charles Schwab
Visit Site
Minimum Deposit $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Stock Trades $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
ETF Trade Fee $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Mutual Fund Trade Fee $19.95 $0.00 $49.95
Options (Base Fee) $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Options (Per Contract) $0.65 $0.65 $0.65
Futures (Per Contract) N/A N/A $2.25
Broker Assisted Trade Fee $29.95 $25.00 $25.00

Feature Merrill Edge
Visit Site
J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing Charles Schwab
Visit Site
Bank (Member FDIC) Yes Yes Yes
Checking Accounts Yes Yes Yes
Savings Accounts Yes Yes Yes
Credit Cards Yes Yes Yes
Debit Cards Yes Yes Yes
Mortgage Loans Yes Yes Yes

Broker Banking Features List

On a feature by feature basis, our top five finishers this year offer a combination of the following features to their banking customers.

Feature Definition
Member FDIC Member of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) - fdic.gov.
Checking Accounts Offers formal checking accounts and checking services. To qualify, checking services must be marketed on the website as a client service. Basic checking through the clearing firm does not count.
Savings Accounts Offers savings accounts.
Debit Cards Offers debit cards as part of a formal banking service.
Credit Cards Offers credit cards.
Mortgage Loans Offers mortgage loans.
Mobile Check Deposit Check deposits can be made through the mobile app.
Online Bill Pay Ability for clients to add and pay bills using the website.
Mobile Bill Pay Ability for clients to add and pay bills using the mobile app.
ATM Fee Reimbursement Are debit card ATM fees reimbursed?
No Fee Banking Offers no fee banking. Requirements: no minimum balance required, no monthly maintenance fees, no debit card fees, no annual fees.
Retail Locations Total retail locations. Company HQ or similar corporate offices do not count. Must be a formally branded, publicly accessible branch office marketed on the public website.

StockBrokers.com 2022 Overall Ranking

Here are the Overall rankings for the 15 online brokers who participated in our 2022 Review, sorted by Overall ranking.

Methodology

For the StockBrokers.com 12th Annual Review published in January 2022, a total of 3,075 data points were collected over three months and used to score 15 top brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy. Brokers also were offered the opportunity to provide executive time for an annual update meeting.

Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.

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About the Author

Blain Reinkensmeyer

As Head of Research at StockBrokers.com, Blain Reinkensmeyer has 20 years of trading experience with over 1,000 trades placed during that time. Referenced as a leading expert on the US online brokerage industry, Blain has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, and Fast Company, among others.


Chris McKhann

Chris McKhann has been in the industry for more than 20 years. He has worked for many of the top names in the online trading space, including TD Ameritrade and optionMONSTER, which later became part of E*TRADE. His work has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Financial Times, Forbes, CNBC, Nasdaq.com and Nikkei. He has also been an advisor and outside trader for several hedge funds. He was one of the first traders to delve into the VIX tradable products and to write about them (back in 2006). Chris is also an educator who teaches high school statistics, finance and computer science.



All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 01/10/2022 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. 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.

*INVESTMENT AND INSURANCE PRODUCTS ARE: NOT A DEPOSIT · NOT FDIC INSURED · NO BANK GUARANTEE · MAY LOSE VALUE

1 Fidelity Sell orders are subject to an activity assessment fee from $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal. Options trading entails significant risk and is not appropriate for all investors. Certain complex options strategies carry additional risk. Before trading options, please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options. Supporting documentation for any claims, if applicable, will be furnished upon request.

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