Etrade rating


Merrill Edge rating

Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge vs Etrade

Compare Etrade vs Merrill Edge - which is better? IRA/Roth accounts, online trading fees, differences, and stock broker mutual fund rates.


E*Trade and Merrill Edge offer a wide range of financial services to investors at reasonable cost. So which is better: Merrill Edge or E*Trade? The following analysis will reveal the winner.


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
Merrill Edge


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Etrade $0 $19.95 $0 + $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Merrill Edge $6.95 $19.99 $6.95 + $0.75 per contract $0 $0
Firstrade $0 $0 $0 $0 $0

Commissions and Account Minimums

E*Trade customers pay $0 to trade stocks and ETF's. Investors with Merrill Edge pay, $6.95 rate. Options at both brokers cost an additional $0.65 and $0.75 respectively. Agents are available on the phone at both companies to assist traders in executing a trade. Using the service at Merrill Edge carries a $29.95 charge. E*Trade is a lower at $25.

There are no fees with a securities account at either firm. Included in this policy are maintenance fees, low-balances fees, annual fees, and inactivity fees. Furthermore, there is no minimum opening deposit requirement at Merrill Edge, although E*Trade does require at least $500 to open a regular brokerage account.

Both brokers offer discounts to certain clients. At E*Trade, active traders get a $2 discount on all trades after 30 per quarter. Merrill Edge gives its customers 30 free stock and ETF trades per month if they have at least $25,000 on deposit in cash.

This category is awarded to Etrade.

Investing in Funds

Investors at E*Trade can buy and sell mutual funds that have no load and no transaction fee. There are over 1,300 of these products available. E*Trade offers in total more than 8,000 mutual funds. Those that do carry a transaction fee cost $19.99 to sell and buy.

There are fewer funds at Merrill Edge. The broker provides 800 funds that are no-load, no-transaction-fee products. Less than 5,000 mutual funds in total are available at the firm. Mutual funds with transaction fees cost $19.95 to buy and sell. Merrill Edge does impose a $39.95 fee if an NTF mutual fund is sold less than 3 months after buying it.

ETF traders will not be disappointed with E*Trade's list of commission-free products. The broker offers more than 100 exchange-traded funds that are free to trade. The vast majority have expense ratios that are less than 1.00%. Merrill Edge fails in this category, and doesn't offer any commission-free ETF's.

E*Trade triumphs here easily.

Customer Service

Investors who prefer personal service can find an E*Trade office in 17 states. The broker has a total of 30 locations. Customers who are happy with phone service can reach a representative any day of the week at any time. E*Trade has a phone number for investors outside the United States. The broker can also be contacted by fax, e-mail, or on-line chat.

Merrill Edge also offers customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Unlike E*Trade, however, the firm only offers chat service for traders who need help opening an account. Merrill Edge does maintain a phone line for customers who travel outside the U.S.

E*Trade wins here for its on-line chat service.

Trading Tech

Merrill Edge has a very good website. The regular web browser can be used to enter security orders. Alternatively, users can enter orders on a handy trade ticket that appears at the bottom of the browser. It is called TradeBar. It is able to display a small chart. Merrill Edge clients can also trade on a sophisticated desktop platform named MarketPro®. It does have a minimum trading frequency of 15 trades every 90 days. Accounts that have at least $50,000 in assets also qualify.

Like Merrill Edge's, E*Trade's website is nicely designed. It can be used to place orders for securities. Unfortunately, E*Trade doesn't have a trade bar like Merrill has. What E*Trade does offer is a sophisticated desktop platform named Etrade PRO. It has advanced tools, such as superior options search. There is also live streaming of financial news courtesy of CNBC. E*Trade does require a minimum of 30 option or stock trades every 90 days. Alternatively, investors who have at least $250,000 in assets also qualify to use the platform.

E*Trade loses here.

New Account Promotions

Etrade: At E*TRADE, get $0 trades + 65₵ per options contract.

Merrill Edge: none right now.

Mobile Applications

Busy investors who need to trade away from home or work will find plenty of support from E*Trade. The broker provides platforms for iPad, iPhone, Windows phone, Android phones and tablets, Kindle Fire HD, and Amazon Fire phone. The broker even has a platform for Apple Watch. Users will find stock charts, bill pay, and mobile check deposit. A library of CNBC videos is available free of charge. Frequent traders who meet certain minimums can access live streaming of business news.

Unlike E*Trade, the Merrill Edge app doesn't offer streaming financial news for any client. The platform does offer mobile check deposit and bill pay. In addition to software for Android and Apple phones and tablets, the broker also provides a platform for Apple Watch.

E*Trade wins here.

Merrill Edge vs Etrade: Recommendations

E*Trade won four categories, and Merrill Edge was victorious in just one. E*Trade is the winner.

Etrade is our recommendation to long-term, "buy-and-hold" investors and anyone new to investing. Merrill Edge might work well for Bank of America clients looking to augment banking services with an investment account. Value oriented investors can find a better deal at the $0 commission broker, Firstrade.