Online brokerage services have existed for over 20 years. Trading investments today has never been cheaper. So while the race towards cheap trades (in some cases free) is happening, other functionality is becoming more important when selecting a stock broker.
For this review, I compare Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge. Which one is better depends on your needs? So let's examine the major features first.
We've determined with online brokerages the most critical feature customers care about is the
cost per trade. The second most important feature is the minimum deposit, and the last is if the broker
offers mutual funds. Let's look at how Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge
stack up against each other on these points.
To start, we will consider the minimum investment required for both applications. In other words, how much does one need to invest to use the service? Out of the two, Merrill Edge minimum investment of $0 is smaller than the deposit of required by Charles Schwab.
Next I'll consider cost per trade for both brokers.
Out of the two, Charles Schwab is cheaper per trade at $4.95 than Merrill Edge at $6.95/trade.
Both Charles Schwab and Merrill Edge offer mutual funds. So this feature isn't a clear difference between the stock brokers.
|Review||Charles Schwab Review||Merrill Edge Review|
Overall rating as by Investor Junkie.Rating
|Commissions & Fees|
|Ease of Use|
|Tools & Resources|
|Amount of Deals|
|Promotions||None||Get up to $600 when you invest in a new Merrill Edge™ account|
|Options Trades||$4.95/trade + $0.65/contract||$6.95/trade + $0.75/contract|
|Investment Types||Stocks, Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds||Stocks, Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds|
|Access||Website, iOS App, Apple Watch, Android App||Website, iOS App, Apple Watch, Android App|
|Broker Assisted Trade|
|No Fee ETFs|
|Sign Up||Sign Up|
About Charles Schwab
Charles Schwab is the Nordstrom of the investment world, and customers virtually always leave happy. As a customer, you'll get access to virtually all the investment services that come standard at any major brokerage. However, if you're an active trader, you might find other firms with better options.
About Merrill Edge
Merrill Edge offers helpful online tools to help investors simplify their financial goals and gain better control over their investments. However, the fees to use the service can be steep, and users have complained about poor customer service and slow updates on trades.