jp morgan vs merrill lynch

Merrill Lynch vs JP Morgan (2024)

2024 Merrill Lynch vs JP Morgan 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

With an online brokerage account, it is now possible to invest in the stock market and more at very low cost. Merrill Edge and J.P. Morgan Investing are two such firms that offer trading in securities with unbeatable pricing schedules. Let’s have a look at these two.


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
Charles Schwab $0 $49.95 ($0 to sell) $0.65 per contract $0 $0


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


Charles Schwab: $0 commissions + satisfaction guarantee at Charles Schwab.

J.P. Morgan: Get up to $700 when you open and fund a J.P. Morgan account.

Merrill Edge: Get $0 stock commissions at Merrill Edge.

Investing Overview

Both firms in this faceoff provide services in brokerage (self-directed) and investment-advisory (managed) formats. Within the former system, it’s possible to trade stocks, options, mutual funds, closed-end funds, exchange-traded funds, and bonds. In the options category, J.P. Morgan Investing only offers calls and puts. Merrill Edge has these plus spreads. In the stock category, Merrill Edge permits short positions. J.P. Morgan Investing does not.

Within the advisory realm, both firms offer budget managed accounts that have low annual fees (45 basis points in the case of Merrill, and 35 in the case of J.P. Morgan Automated Investing). Merrill Edge also has a hybrid system that adds personalized service from a financial planner to an account (at 85 basis points annually).

merrill vs jp morgan

Either a brokerage or managed account must be opened with some tax format or another. Merrill Edge has 529 plans, custodial accounts, IRAs, trusts, Health Savings Accounts, estate accounts, and solo 401k plans. J.P. Morgan Investing does not offer most of these tax structures.

Winner: Merrill Edge


Merrill Edge self-directed clients can choose either cash or margin accounts. An existing cash account can transform into a margin account (look on the Forms & Applications page that is found under the Help & Settings menu).

Most brokerage houses charge margin interest based on an account’s debit balance and a base lending rate, which varies as the Fed raises or lowers its benchmark target. Merrill Edge adds one more variable to the equation, which is total deposits within Bank of America. Depending on the exact numbers on these three issues, an account could pay anywhere from 13.88% to 9.88% for loans.

J.P. Morgan Investing only offers cash accounts. Obviously, this eliminates short selling and most option strategies.

Winner: Merrill Edge

Bank Products

At J.P. Morgan Investing, it is not possible to add any cash-management tools to an account (such as a checkbook or debit card). A checking or savings account with Chase Bank, however, can be linked to a securities account, and in fact, this is done automatically on the website and mobile app.

At Merrill Edge, a debit card and a checkbook can both be attached to an investing account, and there is no cost to do so. It is also possible to link a savings or checking account with Bank of America to a securities account. As with J.P. Morgan Investing, this is done automatically.

In both cases, it’s easy to transfer funds between investing and deposit accounts via the company’s mobile app or website.

Winner: Merrill Edge


Merrill Edge customers get to use a user-friendly site that has both website trading and a browser platform. Combined, these two trading resources deliver tons of useful tools, including:

- Full-screen charting with many bells and whistles
- VWAP calculator
- Advanced option tools with integrated strategies
- Level II quotes
- Discrete choices for buy to cover and sell short
- Free technical analysis
- Economic calendar

Merrill Lynch vs JP Morgan

The trading experience on the J.P. Morgan Investing site is much simpler. There are really no advanced trading tools, other than a charting program that has several gadgets integrated. However, a graph cannot be displayed the full width of the computer monitor, so even here the experience is limited.

JP Morgan vs Merrill Edge

J.P. Morgan Investing’s site does have tiles on the dashboard that deliver some useful pieces of information such as an account’s asset allocation, a group of watchlists, market indexes, and top news stories.

Winner: Merrill Edge

Mobile Apps

Besides website trading, there is also mobile trading. The Merrill Edge app has horizontal charting, budgeting and spending tools, option chains, mobile check deposit, and a great deal of research materials. For instance, we found stock reports and news articles.

Merrill Lynch or JP Morgan

The J.P. Morgan Investing app is borrowed from Chase Bank. The brokerage side of the app has vertical charting, check deposit, security screeners, research reports from JPMorgan, ratings from Morningstar, and more.

JP Morgan or Merrill Lynch

Both apps use their web-based trade tickets. This means that the Merrill app has more trade types than the J.P. Morgan Investing app.

Winner: Merrill Edge

Supplementary Services

IRA Lineups: Merrill Edge and J.P. Morgan Investing both have Individual Retirement Accounts. Merrill has more IRA types. It does charge a $49.95 IRA termination fee, although this is lower than J.P. Morgan Investing’s IRA closeout fee of $75.

Automatic Mutual Fund Investing: Both broker-dealers offer it.

Fractional Shares: Not available at either firm for stocks or ETFs.

IPO Access: Not on tap, either.

Extended Hours: Only available with a Merrill Edge self-directed account.

DRIP Service: Both firms offer autopilot dividend reinvesting at no charge.

Fully-Paid Stock Lending: Missing in action at both firms.

Winner: Merrill Edge


Robinhood: 1% IRA match and up to $200 FREE stock at Robinhood.

J.P. Morgan: Get up to $700 when you open and fund a J.P. Morgan account.

Merrill Edge: Get $0 stock commissions at Merrill Edge.

Finally, Our Recommendations

Mutual Fund Trading: With the mutual-fund screener on the Merrill Edge website, we found slightly less than 2,700 funds. Doing the same at JPM, we found slightly more than 7,000. But Firstrade offers over 17,000 mutual funds free of charge.

Beginning Investors: We defend Merrill Edge Guided Investing with an Advisor, which is an advisory program that comes with a dedicated financial planner.

Retirement Planning & Long-Term Investing: Charles Schwab, with its huge suite of retirement services, would be a good pick.

Small Accounts: Neither brokerage firm imposes minimum account requirements or ongoing fees for self-directed accounts. Advisory accounts are a different story. J.P. Morgan Automated Investing requires $500 to start. Merrill requires $1,000 (or $20,000 for the financial advisor).

Stock and ETF Trading: Merrill Edge’s web-browser platform is much better than anything J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing has. Webull, however, is better priced and is easier to use.

Best Brokers

JP Morgan Chase vs Merrill Lynch: Results

Not much of a contest. Merrill Edge wins by a wide margin here.

Anyone looking for the top-rated brokerage firm in the market should go with Charles Schwab or read Charles Schwab 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.