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 Firstrade 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 Firstrade and Merrill Edge
stack up against each other on these points.
To start, we will consider the minimum investment required for both applications. In
how much does one need to invest to use the service?
Both Firstrade and Merrill Edge have the same minimum of $0. So they are equal in this requirement.
Next I'll consider cost per trade for both brokers.
Out of the two, Firstrade is cheaper per trade at $2.95 than Merrill Edge at $6.95/trade.
Both Firstrade and Merrill Edge offer mutual funds. So this feature isn't a clear difference between the stock brokers.
|Review||Firstrade Review||Merrill Edge Review|
Overall rating as by Investor Junkie.Rating
|Commissions & Fees|
|Ease of Use|
|Tools & Resources|
|Amount of Deals|
|Promotions||Up $300 Cash and 500 Free Trades||Get up to $600 when you invest in a new Merrill Edge™ account|
|Options Trades||$2.95/trade + $0.50/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, Android App||Website, iOS App, Apple Watch, Android App|
|Broker Assisted Trade|
|No Fee ETFs|
|Sign Up||Sign Up|
Firstrade is a discount brokerage firm that charges only $2.95 per trade in commissions. That's one of the lowest fees we've found from an online broker. However, unlike other stock broker options, Firstrade doesn't offer a robo advisor.
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.