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Merrill Cash Management
Finder score
$125 per year
Minimum deposit to open

Our verdict

One of the few cash management accounts with ATM access and a debit card, but it carries a hefty annual fee.

The Merrill Cash Management account (CMA) offers a lot of perks, including checkwriting privileges, travel accident and fraud insurance and up to $200 in out-of-network ATM fee reimbursements a year. But there’s an annual fee of $125, which is about $10 per month. But you can’t waive it unless you have at least $250,000 across Merrill accounts, and then, you must meet another waiver fee requirement. On the plus side, there are no opening deposit requirements and no account minimums.

Best for: Travelers in need of a CMA with ATM access.


  • Deferred debit card purchases
  • Checkwriting privileges
  • Up to $200 in ATM reimbursements a year


  • $125 annual fee
  • Requires two stipulations to waive fee
  • $30 nonsufficient funds fee

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Who is the Merrill Cash Management Account best for?

The Merrill Cash Management account is best for those who need checkwriting privileges, ATM access and bill pay — all perks that aren’t guaranteed with cash management accounts.

Frequent travelers may also love that this account comes with travel accident insurance, though there’s a 2% foreign transaction fee.

What we like about Merrill’s CMA

Merrill is the wealth management division of Bank of America — one of the Big Four banks in the US. All banking products and services are provided by Bank of America. Assets held in the Merrill CMA are protected by the SIPC, which offers up to $500,000 in asset protections and FDIC protections up to $250,000 for cash.

Checkwriting and ATM privileges

CMAs are designed to give you more accessibility to your funds while also offering brokerage investing capabilities — and Merrill’s account definitely offers that cash access.

This CMA comes with a Visa deferred debit card and checkwriting privileges. The deferred debit card means that when you make purchases, they’re not immediately debited from your account balance.

You can use ATMs in Bank of America’s network of around 15,000 ATMs at no charge. And if you use an out-of-network ATM, you get up to $200 in ATM reimbursements a year. The account also gives you access to bill pay — a perk not given with every other CMA.

Earning opportunities

The Merrill CMA offers a few ways to earn interest on your balance, such as the Merrill Lynch Bank Deposit Program, which offers a convenient way to earn interest on cash held in the program along with typical FDIC protection.

Merrill defers users to speak with a Merrill advisor for earning options.

Where it falls short

One of the biggest drawbacks of this account is the $125 annual fee. While maintenance fees aren’t rare by any means, it’s still another fee.

You must have at least $250,000 across your Merrill accounts and meet one of the following requirements to avoid the fee:

  • Enroll in a Merrill Lynch-managed program, which comes with its own set of fees.
  • Own at least $5 million in total Merrill assets.
  • Have a direct deposit total of at least $2,000 across your Merrill accounts and Bank of America personal checking accounts for three consecutive months.
  • Make at least $36,000 in credit card purchases across your Merrill Lynch and Bank of America credit cards in the past year.

Needless to say, meeting these requirements could prove challenging for many. There are a variety of other cash management accounts available — many carrying no monthly or annual fees.

Less FDIC insurance

While this account is FDIC-insured up to $250,000 — which is typical with deposit accounts — it’s less than what we usually see with CMAs. Many other accounts are insured up to at least $750,000, with a few offering up to $2.5 million.

Merrill’s CMA’s fees and access

Type of feeFee details
Annual serviceWaivable $125
Opening deposit$0
  • Domestic: $0 within ATM network
  • International: 2% of the U.S. dollar amount, currency conversion rate may apply
Debit card fees
  • Cash withdrawals: $0 with ATM network
  • Foreign transactions: 2% of the US dollar amount of all transactions outside US, may incur 3% currency conversion fee
  • Card replacement: N/A
Overdraft or nonsufficient funds$30
Wire transfers
  • Incoming
    • Domestic: $24.95
    • International: $24.95
  • Outgoing
    • Domestic: $24.95
    • International: $24.95
Other fees
  • Paper statements: $5
  • Account closure: $0
  • Returned check deposit: $15
  • Stop payment: $0

Compare Merrill Cash Management Account to other CMAs

Compare Merrill to other top CMAs by fees, APYs and opening deposits.

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Customer experience

We commonly see poor reviews for banks, and Merrill Lynch is no expection. It doesn’t have the best spread of customer reviews — largely because its reviews and ratings are coming right from Bank of America, its HQ.

Bank of America holds a decent A- rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which is based on how well a company interacts with customers and response times. That rating is impressive, considering there are over 7,000 customer complaints in the last three years.

Customer reviews are largely negative, with a 1.06-star customer rating on the BBB profile. But many of the reviews specifically reference Bank of America and not the Merrill CMA.

For Trustpilot, we get more specific reviews for Merrill Lynch, but those also aren’t great, holding a poor 1.4-star rating. Customers complain of an outdated platform, issues with transferring funds, long wait times for withdrawing funds and speaking to customer support.

Checking account ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top checking accounts and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: monthly fees, the ease at which monthly fees can be waived, the breadth of ATM access, ATM and overdraft fees, and customer service.

Read the full methodology of how we rate checking accounts.

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Bethany Finder

Writer, Banking and Loans

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