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Merrill Edge review

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Offers in-depth research and free trades to qualifying investors.

finder.com’s rating: 4.1 / 5.0

★★★★★

Merrill Edge, a Bank of America (BOA) company, is a brokerage firm offering in-depth research tools and free trades to qualifying BOA customers. But if you’re not eligible for free trades, you’ll pay commission fees.

$0

Stock trade fee

$0

Minimum deposit to open

Details

Stock trade fee$0
Option trade fee$0
Asset typesStocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs
Account typesBrokerage, Traditional IRA
Minimum deposit to open$0

Who is Merrill Edge best for?

Merrill Edge is best for the following investors:

  • Experienced investors. Merrill Edge’s lowest investment tier is self-directed, so experienced investors may feel comfortable using the platform.
  • Fundamental traders. Investors can make informed decisions when they utilize Merrill Edge’s breadth of educational resources.
  • Long-term traders. Those who purchase the Investing with an Advisor plan get access to a team of financial advisors to help them meet their long-term goals.

Merrill Edge account options

Merrill Edge allows you to invest in stocks, bonds, options, ETFs and mutual funds through online brokerage accounts, IRAs and college savings accounts. It has three investing tiers:

Account type Fee Minimum opening deposit Key features
Merrill Edge Self-Directed $0 per trade $0 Access to research and insights
Merrill Guided Investing 0.45% annually

Preferred Rewards members can receive a discount of up to 0.15% annually

$5,000 Everything in Tier 1, plus:

A Merrill investment professional monitors and rebalances account based on financial goals

Merrill Guided Investing with an Advisor 0.85% annually

Preferred Rewards members can receive a discount of up to 0.15% annually

$20,000 Everything in Tier 2, plus:

Meet with a financial advisor to discuss your goals and priorities

How do you become a Preferred Rewards member?

You’ll need a BOA account and you’ll need to maintain a combined balance of $20,000 or more across your BOA deposit accounts or Merrill Lynch investment accounts.

What are the benefits of Merrill Edge?

Merrill Edge offers several unique benefits like:

  • Bank of America integration. Current BOA customers can view their banking and investment accounts all in one place.
  • Commission-free trades. Make commission-free trades on stocks, options and ETFs.
  • Comprehensive resources. Investors get access to in-depth educational resources from Merrill’s Global Research department , Recognia , CFRA and Morningstar for investment advice.

What to watch out for

While Merrill Edge has its perks, it also has potential drawbacks:

  • Fees for guided investing. You’ll pay anywhere from 0.45% to 0.85% annually for guided trades.
  • In-person applications. If you want guided investing with an advisor, you’ll have to open your account at a local office.

But if you don’t qualify for free trades, you may want to compare your options before you make a decision.

Merrill Edge reviews and complaints

We didn’t find many user reviews for Merrill Edge, but the ones we did encounter were mixed.

As of November 2020, TrustPilot offers three legitimate reviews of the product. Positive ones applauded Merrill Edge for its free trades for qualifying investors. Negative ones noted it lacked a reliable, user-friendly trading platform and website. Reviews on Reddit echoed these sentiments. However, most of the negative reviews are two to three years old, so Merrill Edge’s technology and tools may look quite different today.

You should weigh the pros and cons of multiple brokerage accounts. Some, like Merrill Edge, offer free trades of certain investments to specific investors. Other platforms extend this to anyone who signs up.

Because Merrill Edge is a subsidiary of Bank of America, it doesn’t have its own page on the Better Business Bureau’s website. However, Bank of America received an average rating of 1.08/5 stars based on consumer reviews submitted to the BBB. These generally focus on the company’s banking products.

Compare with other stock trading platforms

Name Product Stock trade fee Asset types Option trade fee Annual fee
Vanguard
$0
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$1
$20 per year
Get a personal advisor when you open an account with at least $50,000.
Sofi Invest
$0
Stocks, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
N/A
0%
A free way to invest in stocks, ETFs and crypto.
Robinhood
$0
Stocks, Options, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
$0
0%
Make unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, funds, and options with Robinhood Financial.
Interactive Brokers
$0
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, Index funds, ETFs, Futures, Cash
$0 + $0.65/contract, $1 minimum
0%
IBKR Lite offers $0 commissions, and IBKR Pro offers advanced tools for professional traders.
TD Ameritrade
$0
or $25 broker-assisted
Stocks
$0 + $0.65/contract,
or $25 broker-assisted
TD Ameritrade features $0 commission for online stock, but watch out for high short-term ETF and broker-assisted trading fees.
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How do I get started?

You can open a Merrill Edge account in person with a local Merrill Edge Financial Solutions advisor or online.

Open your account online in five simple steps:

  1. Visit the Merrill Edge website and click Open an Account.
  2. Choose the type of account you wish to open and click Next.
  3. Select whether you want online, guided, or advisor-guided investing.
  4. Add your personal and financial details and click Next.
  5. Agree to the terms and conditions, fund your account and get started.

Eligibility

You’ll need to meet the following requirements to apply for an account:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Valid Social Security number
  • Valid US address
  • Existing bank or brokerage account for account transfers

Required information

Have the following information on hand when you open a Merrill Edge brokerage account:

  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Residential address
  • Email address
  • Employment information, including income and net worth

I’ve made my first trade with Merrill Edge. Now what?

Once you’re set up with a Merrill Edge account, make the most of it by:

  • Exploring Stock Story and Fund Story. These tools guide you through an educational and visual presentation on selected securities.
  • Watching investing videos. Venture over to Merrill Edge’s educational resource center and brush up on investing topics like individual stock trading, portfolio selection and asset allocation.

Merrill Edge customer service

Chat with a Merrill Edge customer support representative in four ways:

  • Call 888-637-3343 at any time
  • Start a live chat online
  • Email contactme@ml.com
  • Meet with a Merrill Edge Financial Solutions advisor at a local office

Frequently asked questions

How we rate trading platforms

★★★★★ 5/5 — Excellent

★★★★★ 4/5 — Good

★★★★★ 3/5 — Average

★★★★★ 2/5 — Subpar

★★★★★ 1/5 — Poor

We analyze top online trading platforms and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include fees, securities available for trade, customer support, customer feedback, platform resources and overall reliability.

For a complete breakdown of how we score each category, read the full methodology of how we rate trading platforms.

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