Merrill Edge review

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

Merrill Edge, a Bank of America (BOA) company, is a brokerage firm offering in-depth research tools and free trades, with special perks for qualifying BOA customers. But its limited types of securities offerings may not be a good fit for some active traders.

  • Consider Merrill Edge if you’re a Bank of America customer that qualifies for its Preferred Rewards program.
  • Look elsewhere if you’re a futures, forex or cryptocurrency trader.


Option trade fee$0
Asset typesStocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs
Account typesBrokerage, Retirement

What investments does Merrill Edge offer?

With a Merrill Edge account, you have the following investment choices:

  • Stocks and ETFs. Invest in publicly traded companies with no commission fees.
  • Options. Execute $0 online option trades and pay $0.65 per contract.
  • Mutual funds. Explore professionally managed mutual funds, including thousands of no-load options.
  • Bonds and CDs. $0 online trades for CDs and $1 per bond with a $10 minimum.

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.

Fees and costs

Your fees depend on your Merrill Edge account type, which is divided into three investing tiers.

Account typeFeeMinimum opening depositFeatures
Merrill Edge Self-Directed$0 online stock, ETF and option trades$0Access to research and insights
Merrill Guided Investing0.45% annually
Preferred Rewards members can receive a discount of up to 0.15% annually
$5,000Everything in Tier 1, plus: a Merrill investment professional monitors and rebalances accounts based on financial goals.
Merrill Guided Investing with an Advisor0.85% annually
Preferred Rewards members can receive a discount of up to 0.15% annually
$20,000Everything 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.

How do I sign up?

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.


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

Research tools

Active and long-term traders can access the following research tools:

  • Advanced stock screeners. Apply more than 200 filters to sort through available securities quickly.
  • Markets at-a-glance. Get information on how different sectors are performing on Merrill Edge’s website.
  • Market research. Access the latest data from providers like Morningstar, CFRA and Bank of America Global.
  • Investor education. Access webcasts, videos and webinars that cover timely market topics as well as Merrill Edge’s in-depth article library.
  • Customizable desktop platform. Merrill Edge Market Pro offers real-time market analysis, streaming and interactive charting on a fully-customizable dashboard.

Pros and cons


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.


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

  • Limited types of securities. You can’t trade futures, forex or crypto with Merrill Edge.
  • 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.

Is Merrill Edge legit?

Yes, Merrill Edge is safe and legitimate. This US-based broker was founded in 2010 by Bank of America. It’s regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and provides protection for its investors against the loss of cash and securities through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

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 March 2021, TrustPilot offers six legitimate reviews of the product, averaging 2.7 out of 5-stars. 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.

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 1.1 out of 5 stars based on consumer reviews submitted to the BBB. These generally focus on the company’s banking products.

How do I contact Merrill Edge support?

  • Phone. Speak to a representative 24/7 by calling 888-637-3343.
  • In-person. Meet with a Merrill Edge Financial Solutions advisor at a local Bank of America financial center.

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*Signup bonus information updated weekly.

Disclaimer: The value of any investment can go up or down depending on news, trends and market conditions. We are not investment advisers, so do your own due diligence to understand the risks before you invest.

Bottom line

Merrill Edge stands out for its breadth of research tools and resources, which should benefit anyone from beginner to advanced traders — especially if you’re a Bank of America customer. But investors who want to trade futures, forex or cryptocurrency will need to look elsewhere.

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