Merrill Lynch vs JP Morgan Chase

2023 Merrill Edge vs JP Morgan Self-Directed Investing (Chase): which firm is better? Compare IRA/Roth accounts, online investing fees, stock broker mutual fund rates, and differences.

Overview of Merrill Lynch and Chase

Merrill Edge and J.P. Morgan are both owned by very large banks. Does that mean they’re about even? This article will give you the answer.


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Merrill Edge $0 $19.99 $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Chase $0 $0 $0.65 per contract $0 $0
TD Ameritrade $0 $49.99 ($0 to sell) na $0 $0


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


Merrill Edge: Get up to $600 when you open a new Merrill Edge account with at least $20,000.

TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

Chase: Get up to $700 when you fund a J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing account.

First Category: Securities to Be Traded

Merrill Edge clients can trade several asset classes. These include:

- Stocks (including those on the major exchanges and the over-the-counter space)
- Option contracts
- Mutual and closed-end funds
- ETFs
- Bonds

J.P. Morgan Chase has the same list except that it doesn’t offer any OTC stocks.

Winner: Merrill Edge

Second Category: Education & Research Tools

On the J.P. Morgan Chase website, we found lots of articles and a few videos that analyze financial topics. Examples include:

- Our top 5 investment ideas
- Working remotely? Watch out for state taxes
- Why dividends as an investing strategy, and why now

In the Guidance & Retirement section on the Merrill Edge website, we found resources on a wide variety of issues. These materials include:

- Tools & calculators
- Life stage planning
- Budgeting and investing
- Find the right IRA

On top of its general financial management resources, Merrill also has articles, videos, and webinars on actual trading. These materials cover important issues like margin and options, and they can be sorted by experience level.

Both brokerage firms have effective screeners on their websites. Although both firms offer security profiles, Merrill’s have more information on them.

Winner: Merrill Edge

Third Category: Software Platforms

J.P. Morgan Chase customers get a basic website to conduct security analysis and submit orders. Charting is on a fairly basic level, although there are some tools. The order ticket has 4 trade types and 5 duration choices. There is a watchlist, but we didn’t find any alerts.

J.P. Morgan Chase vs Merrill Edge

At Merrill Edge, traders can use a watchlist and alerts. Charting is on a similar level as J.P. Morgan Chase’s system, with tools but no full-screen mode. The primary difference is going to be MarketPro, a free desktop program available to Merrill Edge customers.

Merrill Edge vs Chase

MarketPro comes with many professional-level features, including:

- Graphs that can be expanded the full width of the computer screen
- Level II quotes
- Technical analysis from Recognia

Winner: Merrill Edge

Fourth Category: Mobile Apps

So Merrill pretty much blew its competition out of the water in the realm of computer trading. But mobile trading is different. J.P. Morgan Chase’s app offers charting with tools (although there is no horizontal mode) and a basic order ticket. There is also mobile check deposit and bill pay.

JP Morgan Chase Trading App

The Merrill app has horizontal charting but no tools. Its app also has a check deposit feature and free bill pay. The biggest difference between the two platforms is perhaps the inclusion of trailing orders on Merrill’s app, which don’t appear on J.P. Morgan Chase’s.

Merrill Edge app

Winner: Merrill Edge

Fifth Category: Trading Options

J.P. Morgan Chase customers can trade options, but only calls and puts. Merrill Edge goes much further than this by providing integrated strategies, such as calendar call spread and butterfly put. And with profit-loss diagrams and an options screener, the decision here is pretty simple.

Winner: Merrill Edge

Sixth Category: Miscellaneous Services

Dividend Reinvestment Program: Free DRIP service is available at both brokerage firms.

IRAs: Both firms offer Individual Retirement Accounts. Merrill Edge charges $49.95 to close an IRA, while J.P. Morgan Chase customers have to pay $75.

Fractional-share Trading: Not yet available at either brokerage firm, but we’ll keep you posted.

Investment Advice: J.P. Morgan Chase offers a robo service called J.P. Morgan Portfolios. Automated accounts carry a 0.35% annual charge. Merrill Edge customers can sign up for Guided Investing, which is a managed account service, but not a robo service. The cost is 0.45%. For 0.85%, Guided Investing clients get to work one-on-one with a financial advisor.

Winner: Overall, pretty close here


Merrill Edge: Get up to $600 when you open a new Merrill Edge account with at least $20,000.

TD Ameritrade: $0 commissions + transfer fee reimbursement.

Chase: Get up to $700 when you fund a J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing account.

Our Recommendations

Mutual Fund Investors: Merrill Edge offers 3,088 mutual funds. On this list, 664 have no load and no transaction fee. J.P. Morgan Chase offers only no-load, no-transaction-fee funds. Using its screener, we found 3,142 securities. But Merrill has better fund profiles with ratings from both Lipper and Morningstar.

Small Accounts: Self-directed traders can go with either firm. For managed accounts, it’s a different story. J.P. Morgan Chase has a $500 minimum, while Merrill Edge requires $5,000.

Stock/ETF Trading: Merrill Edge’s desktop software makes it the clear choice here. We also like Merrill’s stock and ETF research tools.

Beginners: Merrill Edge’s educational materials are more geared towards newbies. Plus, we think its customer service is better.

Long-Term Investors and Retirement Savers: Pretty even here. Merrill has a slight edge with an individual 401k plan.

Broker Reviews

Go to JP Morgan Review or to Merrill Edge Review

JP Morgan Chase vs Merrill Lynch: Results

Although both brokerage houses are owned by large well-known banks, the similarity stops there. These two firms are very different, with Merrill Edge coming out the clear winner overall.

Anyone looking for the top-rated brokerage firm on the market should go with TD Ameritrade or read TD Ameritrade review.



About the Author
Chad Morris is a financial writer with more than 20 years experience as both an English teacher and an avid trader. When he isn’t writing expert content for, Chad can usually be found managing his portfolio or building a new home computer.