Merrill Edge brokerage review: pros and cons, fees, minimums, ratings, trading platform, research tools, education, and customer service.

3.5-star brokerage firm rating

  • Stocks & ETFs: $6.95
  • Options: $6.95 + $0.75 per contract
  • Mutual Funds: $19.99


Merrill Edge Review

Serving over 1.4 million households nationwide, Merrill Edge is an investment company with more than $114 billion in assets under management. Acquired by Bank of America in 2009, the broker does not only offer the convenience of Bank of America banking but also provides access to the investment products of the bank.

Merrill Edge offers a wide selection of investment choices that include self-directed accounts that are available online and Merrill Edge Advisory Center accounts that are available at select Bank of America financial centers across the country.


Merrill Edge Review: Trading Commissions

Merrill Edge brokerage offers flat rate commissions. Optionshouse and Ally Invest charge is $4.95 per trade, which is even lower. There is no surcharge for automated phone stock and ETFs trades. Broker-assisted trades cost $29.95.

Merrill Edge provides 30 free stock and ETFs trades per month to all customers with $25,000 total assets in their accounts, including self-directed investing accounts and Bank of America deposit accounts. Moreover, Bank of America preferred programs customers receive 100 free stock and ETFs trades per month.

The industry average mutual fund fee is $19.95. The broker offers no load and no transaction fee funds. The $39.95 short-term redemption fee is pretty high, but it can be avoided if funds will be held for 90 days or more.

Merrill Edge brokerage and IRA accounts have no minimum funding or balance requirements and no maintenance or inactivity fees. Setting up an IRA is also free of charge. However, $49.95 will be charged for an account transfer or closure.


Merrill Edge Platforms and Trading Tools

Merrill Edge Review

The brokerage offers web-based trading, mobile trading and MarketPro trading platform. Merrill Edge MarketPro is a dynamic trading software available to active traders, to investors who make at least 15 self-directed trades per quarter and to all customers with total combined balances of $50,000 or more in their Bank of America banking and Merrill Lynch investment accounts. Unlike Merrill Edge MarketPro trading platform, the absolute industry leader free sophisticated trading platform Thinkorswim by TD Ameritrade is offered to all customers without any charge or conditions.

The Merrill Edge MarketPro platform offers streaming and interactive charting, real-time market data and insights, and a fully customizable dashboard. Yet even with a variety of bells and whistles, the platform still has several drawbacks, which can become critical to active traders.

Merrill Edge Mobile is available on iPhone, iPad and Android. With this app, customers can check their investing and linked Bank of America accounts, trade equities, transfer funds, make a research, monitor market and watch news.

Merrill Edge brokerage review


Merrill Edge Research and Education

The company provides an outstanding research, yet it only has a smaller number of independent resources compared with what other major brokerage companies offer (for example TD Ameritrade provides 13 resources). Merrill Edge offers research from Morningstar, S&P Capital IQ and Recognia along with BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research. Investors can benefit from the market activity, news and analysis in Thomson Reuters free of charge.

Merrill Edge brokerage review

A wide selection of educational materials such as videos, articles, webinars and planning tools are available at Investor Education center. The educational materials, numerous tools and calculator are well-designed and organized by categories. New investors will especially benefit from those materials.


Merrill Edge Customer Support

Merrill Edge provides a great customer support. Investment experts can be reached via phone 24/7, email, an online chat system or by making a free appointment with a specialist at the financial center. The free appointment service covers addressing customers 'inquiries related to an account opening, renewal or account maintenance. Local one-on-one guidance and advice are only available to Merrill Edge Advisory Center customers.


Merrill Edge Review: Brokerage Pros

  • No inactivity or maintenance fees
  • No-fee IRA accounts
  • Excellent 24/7 customer service
  • Integration with banking products and services
  • Third-party research
  • Clear, straightforward fees
  • Real time quotes
  • Free trades bonus with conditions


Merrill Edge Review: Brokerage Cons

  • Advanced trading platform is available for free to an investors who execute 15 trades per quarter and to customers with total combined balances of $50,000
  • Small number of third-party research resources


Merrill Edge Review Summary

Great customer support and research, straightforward pricing are the strongest features of Merrill Edge. However, the brokerage offers mediocre services in comparison with the leading investment companies.

Today, there are better options with higher quality of services, including education amenities, trading tools and sophisticated trading platforms.

Compare Merrill Edge to major investment companies: list of brokerage firms.


Merrill Edge Commissions and Fees

Stocks and ETFs$6.95
Stocks and ETFs representative assisted $29.95
Stocks and ETFs automated phone trades$6.95
Options $6.95* + $0.75 per contract. Multi-leg options are charged per leg and contract.
Options representative assisted$29.95* + $0.75 per contract. Multi-leg options are charged per leg and contract.
Options exercised/assigned$6.95*. Multi-leg options are charged per leg and contract.
Mutual funds $19.95
Merrill Edge self-directed mutual funds 0.75% gross proceeds, $50 minimum, $250 maximum
Bonds On a net yield basis

* -- Additional transaction fees In addition to your options commissions, sell orders may be subject a transaction fee (of between $0.01 to $0.03 per $1,000 of principal). If applicable, this fee appears under "Transaction Fee" on a Trade Confirmation.


Merrill Edge IRA & Account Fees

IRA Setup Fee$0
Annual IRA Fee$0
IRA Termination Fee$49.95
Full Account Transfer Out$49.95
Partial Account Transfer Out$0
Outgoing Wire Fees (Domestic)$24.95
Outgoing Wire Fees (International)$24.95

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