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 E*TRADE 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 E*TRADE 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 E*TRADE.
Next I'll consider cost per trade for both brokers.
Both E*TRADE and Merrill Edge cost the same at $6.95/trade and are equal in price.
Both E*TRADE and Merrill Edge offer mutual funds. So this feature isn't a clear difference between the stock brokers.
|Review||E*TRADE 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|
|Stock Trades||$6.95/trade ($4.95/trade for 30+ trades/quarter)||$6.95/trade|
|Options Trades||$6.95/trade + $0.75/contract ($4.95 + $0.50/contract for 30+ trades/quarter)||$6.95/trade + $0.75/contract|
|Investment Types||Stocks, Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, FOREX, Futures||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|
E*TRADE, the grandaddy of online discount brokers, is still a good choice for active investors. Its platforms are easy to use, customer service is responsive, and trades execute quickly. However, there are now many less expensive rivals on the market.
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.