Compare Merrill Lynch versus WeBull: IRA, commissions, investing fees, trading tools, account differences, pros and cons. Which online broker is better in 2019?

Overview of Merrill Edge and WeBull

Free trades are available at Merrill Lynch and Webull. But the two brokers go about it in different ways. Investment services differ widely as well. Before you pick one brokerage firm, make sure you’re aware of the follow differences and similarities:

Broker Cost

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Commission
Mutual Fund
Commission
Options
Commission
Maintenance
Fee
Annual IRA
Fee
WeBull $0 na na $0 $0
Merrill Edge $6.95 $19.99 $6.95 + $0.75 per contract $0 $0

Services

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

Promotions

WeBull: Get one FREE stock between $8 and $1000 when you deposit $100+ at WeBull.

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


Investment Choices

Merrill Edge clients have access to stocks, ETF’s, closed-end funds, options, fixed-income securities, and mutual funds. Both penny and OTC stocks are available as well. Twenty equity trades per month are commission-free for customers who have at least $20,000 invested within the Bank of America family.

At Webull, ETF’s and stocks can be traded. Closed-end funds and the other products we saw at Merrill aren’t available at any price. Webull offers unlimited free trades, which is one advantage over Merrill in this category. Merrill offers up to 100 per month. Webull doesn’t offer any OTC securities, and only penny stocks priced above $1 are available.

Merrill Edge is our pick here.

Website Trading

The website at Webull is an advertising-only platform. The broker for whatever reason decided not to use it for trading. This doesn’t mean, however, that it has no important use. There is a question-and-answer section that provides a lot of good information that new customers are sure to have.

Over at Merrill, we do get a trading website. We’re disappointed that the broker-dealer has removed the site’s trade bar in a recent update. Nevertheless, there are still many good tools. For example, charting comes with 4 graph styles, more than 20 technical studies, and multiple comparisons.

An even better feature is free technical analysis software from Recognia. This system launches into its own window and shows important technical events on a graph, such as price crossing a moving average or a gap up.

Merrill’s trade ticket offers market, limit, stop, and trailing orders (including both market and limit). Extended-hours trading is available on the ticket as well. Other features on the site include option chains, alerts, a watchlist, and free stock price analysis.

Merrill Edge is the winner in this category.

Mobile Apps

Although Webull failed to deliver anything in the previous category, it has a very good mobile app. A major highlight is advanced charting that comes with multiple display options, a horizontal mode, several technical indicators, and extended-hours price history.


WeBull vs Merryll Lynch


Alerts can be set up on the mobile app. Some of the available options include price above or below a certain level and percent change. A watchlist can be sorted by price, symbol, or percent change. It’s possible to create multiple lists.

The order ticket on Webull’s app offers market, limit, and stop orders. Missing are trailing, OCO, and other advanced types. There is an extended-hours option on the trading ticket.

On Merrill’s app, we lose a practice trading mode; but we gain mobile check deposit and bill pay, both of which are free of charge. Merrill also provides alerts, debit card settings, a watchlist, and a free FICO score.


Merryll Lynch vs WeBull


On the trading ticket, trailing orders are available. Extended hours can be enabled, and the order ticket is able to trade options and mutual funds. Despite these advantages, charting on Merrill’s app underperforms Webull’s.

We have our first tie.

Desktop Software

Both brokers in our survey offer desktop programs. Merrill Edge customers can buy and sell securities on MarketPro. This piece of software does require 15 trades per quarter or $50,000 in assets. While this is a major disadvantage, strengths of the software include more advanced charting than the website or mobile app offers, Level II quotes (30 trades per quarter required), advanced options tools, and free research from Merrill Lynch.


Merrill Lynch vs JP Morgan


Webull’s platform has no account minimums or trading requirements, the first advantage over Merrill. Charting is very good, although there are fewer technical indicators than MarketPro has. The same watchlist that is set up on the mobile app shows up on the desktop platform. Alerts are also available, and perhaps the best feature is paper trading.


Webull Trading Platform


Neither platform offers direct-access routing.

Overall, we’ll call it a draw here.

DRIP Policies

Webull customers don’t have any dividend reinvestment options. Merrill Edge offers a traditional DRIP service for stocks and ETF’s. After making a purchase, it’s easy to turn on dividend reinvesting for a security using Merrill’s user-friendly site.

Merrill Edge obviously wins here.

Investment Research

Webull’s platforms offer a lot of research capability. Stock profiles have trading data, analyst ratings (although not pdf reports), short interest, news articles, and much more. There is info on cryptocurrencies and global securities (although no trading on them as of yet).

A stock screener on the desktop platform is able to find investments based on a wide variety of criteria, including dividend yield, technical events, market cap, sector, exchange, and country. Results can be sorted by a wide range of variables.

Merrill Edge offers learning materials on general investing topics, such as trading stocks, understanding bonds, and saving for retirement. Merrill has some powerful research tools for options on its desktop platform. The broker’s stock profiles appear on the website; they offer third-party pdf reports (although fewer analysts are available compared to Webull), along with lots of security data, such as earnings history, news articles, and financial statements.

Merrill’s option tools seem to give it the edge here.

Promotions

WeBull: Get one FREE stock between $8 and $1000 when you deposit $100+ at WeBull.

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


Recommendation

If you need banking features, we suggest Merrill Edge. Brokerage accounts are eligible for free checks and a debit card. Furthermore, a Bank of America account can be easily linked to a Merrill Edge account. Webull offers nothing of note here.

For customer service, we’re going with Merrill again. The broker-dealer has representatives on the phone 24/7. Plus, it has a good self-help section on its website with many useful functions, such as paperless settings and internal messaging.

Retirement savers should go with Merrill Edge for the simple fact that Webull doesn’t offer IRA’s.

Merrill Edge vs WeBull Summary

Merrill Edge outperformed Webull in most areas. Despite losing this survey, Webull is the better pick for budget traders who don’t have large accounts with Bank of America.



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