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 Merrill Edge and Ally Invest. 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 Merrill Edge and Ally Invest
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 Merrill Edge and Ally Invest 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, Ally Invest is cheaper per trade at $4.95 than Merrill Edge at $6.95/trade.
Both Merrill Edge and Ally Invest offer mutual funds. So this feature isn't a clear difference between the stock brokers.
|Review||Merrill Edge Review||Ally Invest Review|
Overall rating as by Investor Junkie.Rating
|Commissions & Fees|
|Ease of Use|
|Tools & Resources|
|Amount of Deals|
|Promotions||Get up to $600 when you invest in a new Merrill Edge™ account||Get up to a $3,500 Cash Bonus|
|Stock Trades||$6.95/trade||$4.95/trade ($3.95/trade – 30 trades per quarter or $100k+ balance)|
|Options Trades||$6.95/trade + $0.75/contract||$4.95/trade + $0.65/contract ($3.95/trade + $0.50/contract)|
|Investment Types||Stocks, Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds||Stocks, Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, FOREX, Futures|
|Access||Website, iOS App, Apple Watch, Android App||Website, iOS App, Android App|
|Broker Assisted Trade|
|No Fee ETFs|
|Sign Up||Sign Up|
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.
About Ally Invest
Ally Invest is the online brokerage firm of Ally Bank, and its great pricing and customer service make it hard to beat. Unfortunately, the funding process can be tricky, taking up to 10 business days. And if you are looking for a local branch office, you'll have to look elsewhere.