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Merrill Edge review

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


Stock trade fee


Minimum deposit to open


Stock trade fee$0
Option trade fee$0
Asset typesStocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs
Account typesBrokerage, Retirement
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 typeFeeMinimum opening depositKey features
Merrill Edge Self-Directed$0 per trade$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 account 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.

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.

What research tools does Merrill Edge offer?

Merrill Edge offers advanced stock screeners with more than 200 filters and the ability to save and export results. You can filter securities by categories like Dividend Growth & High Yield, EPS & Revenue Growth and Large Caps with Low P/E Ratios. These screeners come from providers like Morningstar and CRFA. Merrill Edge also develops a list of the top Merrill Edge Select ETFs and Merrill Edge Select Funds analyzed by the brokerage’s own investment professionals.

Via Merrill Edge’s website, you can access Markets at-a-glance, which provides information of how different sectors like tech and healthcare are performing as well as a list of the day’s top movers.

You can also access the latest market research from providers like Morningstar, CFRA and Bank of America Global. Merrill Edge provides clients with its own webcasts, videos and webinars covering timely market topics.

You can filter Merrill Edge’s educational articles by investing level from beginner to advanced. Its article library covers topics ranging from stocks and ETFs to options and annuities.

Advanced traders may be interested in Merrill Edge Market Pro which extends real-time market analysis, streaming and interactive charting and a fully-customizable dashboard.

And because Merrill Edge grew out of Merrill Lynch’s acquisition of Bank of America, existing Bofa clients have seamless integration of their accounts from both companies. They can view these accounts through a single portal or through one app on their mobile devices. Clients of both firms can instantly move money across accounts.

Overall, Merrill Edge stands out for its breadth of research tools and resources which should benefit anyone from beginners to advanced traders. The user interface with Merrill Edge’s digital offerings is also top notch.

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 Signup bonus
Stocks, Options, ETFs, Gold/Commodities
Free stock (chosen randomly with a value anywhere between $2.50 and $200)
Sign up using the "go to site" link
Make unlimited commission-free trades in stocks, funds, and options with Robinhood Financial.
Interactive Brokers
Stocks, Bonds, Options
$0 + $0.65/contract, $1 minimum
IBKR Lite offers $0 commissions, and IBKR Pro offers advanced tools for professional traders.
Stocks, Options, Cryptocurrency
Stocks & ETFs: $1/contract to open, $0 to close, $10 max/leg
Futures: $2.50/contract to open, $0 to close
Get 100 shares of stock (worth $1 to $6 a share)
Open and fund a new cash or margin account with $2,000+
Trade stocks, options, ETFs and futures on mobile or desktop with this advanced platform.
$0 for US stocks
Stocks, Options, ETFs
Trade stocks on the US, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen markets.
Stocks, Bonds, Options, Mutual funds, ETFs, Cryptocurrency
$0 + $0.50/contract
Deposit qualifying assets of $5,000+
A platform built for all kinds of traders and all styles of trading

Compare up to 4 providers

*Signup bonus information updated weekly.

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.


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
  • 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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