Compare JP Morgan Chase You Invest versus Merrill Edge: IRA, commissions, investing fees, trading tools, account differences, pros and cons. Which online broker is better in 2019?

Overview of Chase Brokerage Account and Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge and You Invest are both owned by large banking conglomerates. The similarities stop there, however, as these two brokerage firms are quite different from each other. Here’s a comparison of them:


Broker Cost

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
Chase $2.95 $0 n/a $0 $0
Merrill Edge $6.95 $19.99 $6.95 + $0.75 per contract $0 $0
Firstrade $0 $0 $0 + $0 per contract $0 $0


Services

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


Cash Management

Chase’s You Invest is the simpler of the two firms. As such, the broker-dealer does not provide much in terms of cash management. There are no checks or debit card, for example. There are tools on its website and mobile app to transfer cash and securities.

Merrill Edge customers get much more than this. The brokerage house offers its customers free checks and a Visa debit card. They are appended to a brokerage account; so these tools don’t quite create a bank account. ATM withdrawals at Bank of America locations are free of charge. Very good cash management e-tools are available on the broker’s website and mobile app. These include ACH movements and online wire transfers.


Desktop Software

During our research, we found the Merrill Edge website to be easy to navigate. It is well-thought-out with a lot of helpful features. For example, there is a trade bar at the bottom of the window. It can place orders for stocks and ETF’s. (One weakness the tool has is the lack of options trading.) We liked the small pop-up chart that is available for any entered ticker symbol. The bar can be minimized or turned off completely.

The website itself has decent order tickets for all available securities. We found multiple order types, including stop quote and trialing orders. There is also a separate extended-hours ticket.


Merrill Lynch vs JP Morgan


Charting comes with comparisons, events, and technical studies; although a graph cannot be displayed full screen. While there is no browser platform, Merrill does offer a desktop system for active traders.


JP Morgan vs Merrill Lynch


Despite the few flaws we found at Merrill, You Invest performs much worse here. Its website is very rudimentary with only a few tools. There is no trade bar, no browser platform, and no desktop software. The website’s trading ticket is very simple, with just a few choices. Charting is comparable to Merrill’s website charting.


Mobile Platforms

The You Invest mobile platform is even simpler than its website cousin. A chart has zero tools and only three timeframes (1-day, 3-monhts, and 12-months). The trade ticket is very simple with only four order types and two time-in-force choices. And there is no mobile check deposit.

The Merrill Edge app offers much more than we found on the You Invest mobile platform. We liked the heat map displayed for the day’s most active stocks. Charting is much better with horizontal display and indicators, company events, comparisons, and multiple graph styles. The app’s order ticket is based on the website’s version, and we definitely liked the ability to trade mutual funds on the mobile app (You Invest offers the same ability).

Another nice feature we liked on both apps is the ability to login using Touch ID.


Customer Support

When you need assistance with your investment account, you’ll realize how important customer service can be. Merrill Edge customers can contact a representative any time of the day or night. Besides its phone number, Merrill has recently added an online chat feature to its website. To find the launch icon, just click on “Help & Settings” in the top menu.

One weakness of the broker is that, despite all the Bank of America locations, there are no Merrill Edge centers that provide customer service. There are some Merrill Edge sites inside certain Bank of America locations that provide financial advice for a fee.

The same is true of Chase’s You Invest. Although there are many bank branches, as of right now, there are no You Invest centers. You Invest doesn’t offer online chat, and it doesn’t provide 24/7 phone support.


Mutual Funds and ETF’s

Using You Invest’s mutual fund screener in our test account, we found 2,500 funds that were open for purchase. Every single one of these is free of loads and transaction fees. At Merrill Edge, we found a much larger list (8,400). About half of these have no transaction fee and zero load.

ETF’s are also available at both brokerage firms, although neither of them has a permanent list of commission-free funds.


Investment Research

During our investigation, we didn’t find many research tools on the You Invest site or app. Stocks come with very brief profiles of a minimal information. We did find links to stock reports from JPMorgan in pdf format, a nice plus. News articles are also available.

Bank of America once again outperforms Chase. The Merrill Edge site has very extensive security profile pages that include many helpful data points. These include rankings from Lipper and two stock reports (CFRA and Morningstar) for most equities.

We found Merrill’s security screeners to be more thorough than You Invest’s. Also stronger is Merrill’s educational section, which provides financial calculators and free fund recommendations from Merrill Lynch advisors.


Recommendation

For options traders, we have no choice but to advocate Merrill Edge because You Invest doesn’t provide trading in these securities.

We also recommend Merrill for mutual fund investors. Its bigger list and better fund resources make You Invest look very deficient here.

For active traders, Merrill also seems like the better choice. The broker’s trading tools are much better than what’s available at You Invest.

Retirement savers will be better served at Merrill as well. There are very good retirement resources on the broker’s website.

Investors who are interested in portfolio management should definitely go with Merrill. The broker offers financial advice from licensed Merrill Lynch advisors for a fee.

The one area where we can recommend You Invest over Merrill Edge is for new accounts and Chase customers who qualify for free trades.


Merrill Edge vs JP Morgan Chase Brokerage Summary

Chase has rolled out a new discount broker, but it failed to outperform Merrill Edge in a single category. While the new firm’s commission schedule is hard to beat, there’s not much else to report on.


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