Merrill Edge for Non-U.S. International Residents (2024)

Is Merrill Edge only for US citizens? Can non US citizens open a Merrill brokerage account? Merrill Edge international account for non US residents

U.S. Brokers For Non-U.S. Residents

Due to new laws and regulations, it has become more complicated for U.S. brokerage firms to serve international investors who are not U.S. citizens or residents. As a result, many American brokerage firms no longer accept new account applications from non-U.S. residents.

Merrill Edge is an example of a brokerage that does not allow non-U.S. residents, including EU citizens and expatriates, to open accounts.

Fortunately, there is a U.S. brokerage firm that welcomes international investors - Zackstrade. The company has some of the lowest margin rates in the industry, offers a professional trading platform, and access to 91 exchanges around the world. Learn more about the company in the Zackstrade Review.

Open Zackstrade Account

Visit ZacksTrade Website

Another great U.S. company for European investors is called Firstrade. It offers $0-commissions, but it is available in fewer countries than Zackstrade. Learn more Firstrade Review.

Open Firstrade Account

Visit Firstrade Website

Overview of Zackstrade and Tradestation

TradeStation and Zackstrade attract a lot of frequent and professional traders. The two brokerage firms do have much in common, but there are important differences as well. This article will examine both brokers in important categories and see if one is a better choice.


Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
Tradestation $0 $14.95 $0.50 per contract $120* $35
ZacksTrade $1+ $27.50 $0.75 per contract $0 $0


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


Zackstrade: Get margin rate as low as 8.58%.

Tradestation: Get up to $150 cash bonus with a $5,000+ qualifying deposit

Range of Investments

TradeStation clients have access to mutual and exchange-traded funds, stocks, bonds, options, and futures contracts. While the brokerage house used to offer forex, it has discontinued this service.

Zackstrade by comparison provides a much smaller list of tradable instruments. Zackstrade clients can buy and sell stocks, ETF's, options, and mutual funds.

Tradestation vs Zackstrade

Mutual Funds & ETF’s

While neither firm specializes in fund trading, both firms offer mutual and exchange-traded funds. Zackstrade customers have access to more than 10,000 mutual funds. Slightly fewer than 4,200 come with no transaction fee, and some of these carry zero load. On the ETF side, Zackstrade provides all US-listed ETF’s (plus many foreign ETF’s), and 40+ of the US-listed funds are commission-free.

TradeStation is a different animal in this category. It does provide mutual funds, but we don’t know how many the broker offers. We asked the company, and no one had an answer. We do know that there are more than 70 fund families available.

As far as fund resources and educational materials, neither broker-dealer impressed us. There aren’t a lot of research tools for funds as both firms emphasize other products.

Zackstrade vs Tradestation

Portfolio Management

Beyond self-directed accounts, Zackstrade has a large network of investment advisors who use Zackstrade’s resources, including its trading technology, to manage other people’s accounts. Unfortunately, the brokerage firm does not offer any platform to search for these professional money managers; so it’s not the best set up in the industry.

Going from Zackstrade to TradeStation, the situation worsens significantly. TradeStation does not offer any type of portfolio management. Obviously, Zackstrade is the best choice here.

Trading Tech

Although neither firm had much to offer in the arena of portfolio management, both brokers come through here. Because both companies emphasize active trading, they have a lot of great tools.

Tradestation vs Zackstrade

With Zackstrade, investors get a sophisticated desktop platform called Trader Workstation. It incorporates a lot of great features, including the ability to trade multiple asset classes and foreign assets.

In the upper-left sits the software’s trading ticket. It includes many different order types, such as market, limit, trailing, stop, adaptive, snap, on-close, and some others. There are also multiple time-in-force options. And perhaps the most appealing feature is direct-access routing. SMART is the default choice, and this will send an order to whichever exchange Zackstrade’s software calculates to be the best. Other choices include EDGEA, ARCA, and CBOE.

The ticker symbol box on the trading ticket will produce multiple choices after a symbol is entered. Typing in ‘C’ for Citigroup, for example, produces choices for stocks, options, and bonds. If the software can find foreign securities, those will be shown as well.

The graphing program in Trader Workstation is quite good, delivering technical studies (more than 100) and drawing tools. The software produces a drop-down menu after right-clicking on the screen. Among the many options are buy and sell buttons.

Zackstrade vs Tradestation

We were equally impressed with TradeStation’s desktop platform, which should be able to fill most advanced traders’ needs. Like Zackstrade’s platform, TradeStation’s offers direct-access routing, sophisticated charting, and options tools.

A chart on TradeStation’s desktop platform comes with technical studies, comparisons to other securities or indexes, and a large selection of drawing tools. We also liked the ability to show a graph full-screen, a feature that Zackstrade also provides.

Both brokers offer mobile apps, which deliver not only trading capability, but also pretty good charting. Zackstrade offers a smartwatch app and a skill for Amazon Echo, neither of which TradeStation offers.

One feature that TradeStation offers that Zackstrade does not is a simple browser-based platform. It includes a nice trading ticket (with direct-access routing), charting, account management , and option chains. This piece of software would be ideal for basic trading needs.

Customer Service

A TradeStation representative can be reached from 8 am till 8 pm, Monday through Thursday (the broker closes at 6:00 on Friday). These hours are for new customers. The broker stays open till 8 pm on Friday for current clients.

Zackstrade has multiple customer service desks because it caters to traders all over the world. For U.S.-based clients, Zackstrade offers the same hours as TradeStation, with the exception of not closing early on Fridays.

Neither broker has any branch locations. Both of them offer some form of online chat and internal messaging. So it’s pretty close here.

Security Research and Financial Education

Both desktop platforms offer several tools for security research. TradeStation’s platform has a tab on the left-hand side of the screen that reads ‘TradingApps.’ Here, you can find a news window, option chains, a stock screener, and trading data on a particular security. Additional apps are available for purchase.

Trader Workstation also provides many research tools. At the top of the screen sits a blue button that reads ‘New Window.’ This is able to produce many research tools similar to what ‘TradingApps’ is able to generate. We found a dividend calendar, a bond scanner, a stock screener, and a volatility lab, just to name a few.


Zackstrade: Get margin rate as low as 8.58%.

Tradestation: Get up to $150 cash bonus with a $5,000+ qualifying deposit


Both TradeStation and Zackstrade deliver a lot of resources to active traders. Zackstrade does have the edge overall due to its outperformance in mutual funds, portfolio management, and range of investments.

After canceling its monthly software fee, TradeStation is now affordable for everyone. With only $2,000 minimum deposit it is now easier than ever to try this legendary software.

Open Zackstrade Account

Visit ZacksTrade Website

Updated on 7/2/2024.

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.