Merrill Edge Review 2023

  • 9.6

Merrill Edge review summary

Merrill Edge is a US-based broker owned by Bank of America (BofA). Merrill Edge offers low trading fees, including commission-free stock and ETF trades. The account opening process is fast and seamless. The broker is considered highly reliable due to the established reputation of its parent company, Bank of America. It is a good choice for beginner investors. Merrill Edge is only available to US residents and offers only US-based products. There is no demo account in its educational portfolio. Digital wallets and credit cards are not available to fund accounts. BrokerChooser gave Merrill Edge a 4.8/5 rating based on analyzing 500+ criteria and testing via opening a live account.

Merrill Edge is a regulated broker, it is overseen by a top-tier financial regulator in the USA . Merrill Edge is also covered by investor protection and it offers negative balance protection in selected jurisdictions. We at BrokerChooser always test brokers with real money, including the withdrawal process.

Interactive Brokers is available in Pakistan

Low trading fees Limited to US clients and products
Easy and seamless account opening No demo account
Strong parent company Few options for deposit/withdrawal

Merrill Edge main highlights

🗺️ Country of regulationUSA
💰 Trading fees classLow
💰 Inactivity fee chargedNo
💰 Withdrawal fee amount$0
💰 Minimum deposit$0
🕖 Time to open an account1 days
💳 Demo account providedNo
👛 Products offeredStock, ETF, Fund, Bond, Options
Our overall Interactive Brokers rating
  • 9.6

  • Fees
  • Account opening
  • Deposit and withdrawal
  • Web trading platform
  • Mobile trading platform
  • Desktop trading platform
  • Markets and products
  • Research
  • Customer service
  • Education
Merrill Edge review


Merrill Edge has overall low trading and non-trading fees, including commission-free stock and ETF trades. However, fund fees are quite high.

Commission-free trading (stocks, ETFs) High fund fees
Low non-trading fees 
Merrill Edge fees snapshot
AssetsFee levelFee terms
US stockLowCommission-free stock and ETF trading
EURUSDNot available
Mutual fundHigh$19.95 per transaction, but there are also more than 800 funds that are free to trade
Inactivity feeLowNo inactivity fee

How we ranked fees

We ranked Merrill Edge’s fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.

First, let’s go over some basic terms related to broker fees. What you need to keep an eye on are trading fees and non-trading fees.

  • Trading fees occur when you trade. These can be commissions, spreads, financing rates and conversion fees.
  • Non-trading fees include charges not directly related to trading, like withdrawal fees or inactivity fees.

In the sections below, you will find the most relevant fees of Merrill Edge for each asset class. For example, in the case of stock investing the most important fees are commissions.

We also compared Merrill Edge’s fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, Fidelity and Vanguard. This selection is based on objective factors such as products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc. See a more detailed rundown of Merrill Edge alternatives.

To have a clear overview of Merrill Edge, let’s start its trading fees.

Merrill Edge trading fees

Merrill Edge trading fees are low for all asset classes. Merrill Edge charges zero commission for stocks, ETFs and bonds. Fees for mutual funds are high, but options fees are competitive compared to its competitors. 

For all product types, it costs $30 to initiate a representative-assisted online trade.

Stock fees and ETF fees

Merrill Edge charges no commission for stock and ETF trades. 

Merrill Edge stock and ETF commission of a $2,000 trade
 Merrill EdgeFidelityVanguard
US stock$0.0$0.0$0.0

If you prefer stock trading on margin, you should check out Merrill Edge’s margin rates. If you want to trade on margin, you will need a minimum deposit of $2,000.

A margin rate is charged when you trade on margin. This basically means that you borrow money or stocks from your broker to trade. You have to pay interest on this borrowed money/stock. This can be a significant proportion of your trading costs.

Merrill Edge does not publish its margin rate, you have to call them individually to get information on margin rates. Merrill Edge says its margin interest rates are determined by a few factors, including the base lending rate (which resets weekly), your debit balance and your overall relationship with Bank of America and Merrill.

Based on our previous experience, Merrill Edge has generally high margin rates. We believe this still to be true.

Fund fees

Merrill Edge’s mutual fund fees are high as the broker charges a $20 per transaction commission (buy, sell, or exchange).

Merrill Edge commission on a $2,000 fund purchase
 Merrill EdgeFidelityVanguard
Mutual fund$20.0$37.5$20.0

The good news is that there are more than 800 free funds with waived transaction fees. However, for some of these, a short-term redemption fee of $40 applies if the fund is held for less than 90 days. See their fund prospectus for more details.

Bond fees

Merrill Edge has generally low bond fees.

Merrill Edge commission on a $10,000 government bond trade
 Merrill EdgeFidelityVanguard
US Treasury bond$0.0$0.0$0.0

Merrill Edge charges $0 commission for US government Treasury bonds. For municipal, corporate, and other government agency bonds the commission is $1 per bond ($10 minimum and $250 maximum).

Options fees

Merrill Edge options fees are $0.65 per contract. Sales of options are subject to an additional transaction fee of between $0.01 and $0.03 per $1,000 of principal.

Merrill Edge stock index options commission on 10 contracts
 Merrill EdgeFidelityVanguard
US stock index options$0.0$0.0$0.0

Non-trading fees

Merrill Edge has low non-trading fees.

There is no inactivity fee and no account opening fee. There are also no deposit or withdrawal fees.

Merrill Edge non-trading fees
 Merrill EdgeFidelityVanguard
Account feeNoNoNo
Inactivity feeNoNoNo
Deposit fee$0$0$0
Withdrawal fee$0$0$0
Merrill Edge review

Account opening

Account opening at Merrill Edge is seamless and fully digital; it took us less than a day to have an open account. Only US clients are accepted.

Fast Only US clients are accepted
Fully digital 
 No minimum deposit 

What is the minimum deposit at Merrill Edge?

The required Merrill Edge minimum deposit is $0 for most account types. The 529 NextGen Direct account requires a low, $25 deposit. In addition, if you would like to trade on margin, you need to maintain a minimum balance of $2,000.

You can also open guided accounts, which are suitable for clients preferring professional assistance in their investment decisions. The minimum deposit for these accounts ranges from $1,000 to $20,000.

Account types

There are many account types you can choose from.

Merrill Edge account types
Account typesShort description
Individual Brokerage AccountGeneral investing account with a single individual, no minimum deposit
Joint Brokerage AccountGeneral investing account with two individuals, no minimum deposit
Custodial AccountGeneral investing account for the beneficiary, no minimum deposit
Rollover/Traditional/Roth IRAType of retirement savings account with tax benefits, no minimum deposit
529 College Savings PlanCollege investment account, minimum deposit $25
College Planning Custodial AccountCollege investment account for the beneficiary, no minimum deposit
TrustAccount is owned by an individual on behalf of other beneficiaries
Small BusinessAccount is owned by small businesses
Merrill Guided InvestingMerrill Edge’s technology and professionals help with your investments. The minimum deposit is $1,000, while the annual fee is 0.45% of your assets.
Merrill Guided Investing with an advisorMerrill Edge professionals help with your investments by giving you personalized guidance. The minimum deposit is $20,000, while the annual fee is 0.85% of your assets.

In this review, we tested the Individual Brokerage Account. The account opening process is different if you are already a client of Bank of America or Merrill. In our test, we did not use either a Bank of America or a Merrill account.

How to open your account

We really liked the fully digital, fast and user-friendly account-opening process. It took less than one day to open an account without an already existing bank account. This simplicity and speed are unusual for US brokers; for instance, the account opening at Interactive Brokers is very complicated. However, it is similar to competitor firm Chase You Invest, which is also connected to a banking company and has an easy account opening process.

So what does the process look like? At first, you have to go through a 5-step registration process, which takes roughly 20 minutes. Most of the questions are related to personal information and data, while others inquire whether you would like to apply separately to trade on margin, apply for a debit card, or apply for check-writing privileges. 

During this process, you have to verify your identity and residency by entering the following:

  • Whether you are a US resident
  • US phone number
  • Social Security Number
  • Address, marital status, date of birth
  • Net worth and primary source of household income

Merrill Edge review – Account opening


Our best alternatives to Merrill Edge are:

The highest ranking competitors are:

  1. Fidelity full review
  2. Vanguard full review
  3. Charles Schwab full review
  4. E*TRADE full review
Merrill Edge review

Deposit and withdrawal

Merrill Edge has an easy-to-use deposit and withdrawal system with a bank account connection. Unfortunately, credit/debit cards cannot be used to fund the account.

Free withdrawal Credit/Debit card not available
No deposit fee Slow withdrawal – over 3 days

Account base currencies

At Merrill Edge, you can hold your cash only in USD.

If you have a personal bank account in a currency other than USD you will be charged a conversion fee when transferring funds.

A convenient way to save on currency conversion fees is by opening a multi-currency bank account at a digital bank. These usually offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates, as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. Opening an account only takes a few minutes on your phone.

Deposit fees and options

Merrill Edge charges no deposit fees. Besides bank transfer, you can also use check payments. Wire transfers cost $25.

Merrill Edge deposit options
 Interactive BrokersSaxo BankDEGIRO
Bank transferYesYesYes
Credit/debit cardNoNoNo
Electronic walletsNoYesNo

A bank transfer can take several business days and you can only deposit money from accounts in your name.

Merrill Edge review – Deposit and withdrawal – Deposit

Merrill Edge withdrawal fees and options

Merrill Edge charges no withdrawal fees. You can use the same options for withdrawal as for deposit. Wire transfers cost $25.

Merrill Edge withdrawal fees and options
 Merrill EdgeFidelityVanguard
Bank transferYesYesYes
Credit/debit cardNoNoNo
Electronic walletsNoYesNo
Withdrawal fee$0$0$0

How long does it take to withdraw money from Merrill Edge? We tested the bank transfer withdrawal and it took more than 3 business days. This is a lengthy process compared to other brokers.

Again, you can only withdraw money to accounts in your name.

How do you withdraw money from Merrill Edge?

  • Log in to the account
  • Go to ‘Accounts’, then select ‘Transfer Money & Securities’
  • Decide whether you would like to withdraw cash or securities (securities can take longer than 8 days to transfer)
  • Select the withdrawal method you want to use. For the cash banking connection withdrawal:
  • Select your Merrill Edge account as ‘Transfer from’
  • Select the account you want to withdraw the money to as ‘Transfer to’
  • Enter the amount you wish to withdraw, set the frequency
  • Initiate the withdrawal
Merrill Edge review

Web trading platform

Merrill Edge has a user-friendly and simple trading platform with a secure login and price alerts. However, it offers only limited customizability and the search function is not so advanced.

 User-friendly Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
Clear fee report 
Two-step (safer) login 
Merrill Edge platforms to choose from
Trading platformScoreAvailable

The web trading platform is available in English.

Look and feel

The Merrill Edge web trading platform is user-friendly and has a sleek design. However, the platform is not very customizable.

Merrill Edge review – Web trading platform

Login and security

Merrill Edge provides a safer two-step login, but it must be initiated by the user. There are security questions in order to protect the account. Overall, we consider this login safe.

Search functions

The search functions are OK. You can search by typing a company’s name or an asset’s ticker.

However, the search results are not fully relevant. For example, when we searched for Apple, it didn’t appear immediately.

Merrill Edge review – Web trading platform – Search

Placing orders

You can use the following order types:

  • Market
  • Limit
  • Stop
  • Stop Limit
  • Trailing Stop

To get a better understanding of these terms, read this overview of order types.

There are also order time limits you can use:

  • Day
  • Good-till-canceled (GTC)

Merrill Edge review – Web trading platform – Order panel

Alerts and notifications

The platform allows users to set alerts and notifications. You can set an alert by going to ‘Accounts’ and then selecting Alerts.  

There are 4 types of alerts:

  • Investment Alerts
  • Account Alerts
  • Security Alerts
  • Market Alerts

We feel a little automation goes a long way and that it is useful to have different types of alerts to help users stay informed.

Portfolio and fee reports

Merrill Edge has clear portfolio and fee reports. There is a section called ‘Portfolio Story,’ which has the following reports to help understand portfolio performance:

  • How’s my portfolio doing?
  • What’s in my portfolio?
  • How are my holdings doing?
  • What are my gains and losses?
  • What could I potentially earn?
  • What do the analysts say?
  • What’s my investing impact?


The Portfolio Analysis function deep-dives into the diversification, the global regions, and the industries represented in your portfolio. Use Portfolio Briefing for estimates of potential earnings based on past portfolio results. 

There is a detailed fee report based on your account that can be accessed through ‘Help & Settings’ and then by clicking ‘Fees & Commissions’.

Merrill Edge review

Mobile trading platform

The Merrill Edge mobile app, available for iPhone and Android devices, is easy to use and provides a safe and easy login. On the other hand, the search functions could be improved.

User-friendly Poor search function
Two-step (safer) login 
Touch/Face ID login 

The mobile trading platform is available in English on iPhone and Android. We tested it on iOS and noticed that the application in Apple’s app store has good reviews in general.

The web and mobile trading platforms are really similar to each other, but we weight simplicity and easy-handling as more important for mobile trading platforms. That is why the Merrill Edge mobile trading platform has a higher score than the web trading platform.  

The major difference compared to the web trading platform is that you can’t trade bonds on the mobile trading platform. This strikes us as very unusual, but the mobile platform of competitor Chase You Invest has the same limitation.

Look and feel

The Merrill Edge mobile trading platform is well-designed and simple to use. It offers a consistent feel with the broker’s web trading platform.

Merrill Edge review – Mobile trading platform

Login and security

Merrill Edge provides a safe login. You can log in using biometric authentication, with a fingerprint or a face ID, which is a convenient and safe feature.

Search functions

The search functions are OK. You have to enter the ticker symbol or the name of the company or asset in order to access it. Other ways to search are limited, but due to the necessity of having a simple mobile application, this seems okay. 

Merrill Edge review – Mobile trading platform – Search

Placing orders

You can use the same order types on mobile as on the web trading platform:

  • Market
  • Limit
  • Stop
  • Stop Limit
  • Trailing Stop

The order time limit you can use are Day and Good-till-cancelled (GTC).

Merrill Edge review – Mobile trading platform – Order panel

Alerts and notifications

You can set alerts and notifications on the Merrill Edge mobile platform under the Menu section. 

The types of alerts include:

  • Investment Alerts
  • Account Alerts
  • Market Alerts
  • Security Alerts
Merrill Edge review

Desktop trading platform

Merrill Edge’s desktop trading platform Merrill Edge MarketPro is targeted for active traders. It has advanced tools and functionalities, and is highly customizable.

 Clear fee reportNone
Good customizability (for charts, workspace) 
Advanced tools 

The Merrill Edge MarketPro desktop trading platform is available to all clients but is primarily aimed at active traders.

MarketPro is an advanced and highly customizable platform, where you can for example use 26 fully-customizable windows for your trading space. It also has a wide range of watchlists and alerts you can set, as well as advanced charting (more than 104 technical indicators and 25 drawing tools), and analytical tools such as screeners and a strategy builder. MarketPro offers a number options tools as well, including the idea generation tool OptionsPlay.

Merrill Edge review

Markets and products

Merrill Edge has a limited product portfolio that consists of stocks, ETFs, mutual funds and bonds. Unfortunately, the product lineup covers only the US market.

Merrill Edge asset classes
 Merrill EdgeFidelityVanguard

For a US stockbroker, Merrill Edge offers a typical range of asset classes, however, it lags behind the competition in the number of products offered in each category.

Stocks and ETFs

Merrill Edge gives you access to an average number of stock markets and ETFs.

Merrill Edge stock and ETF selection
 Merrill EdgeFidelityVanguard
Stock markets (#)4254
ETFs (#)2,3002,3002,300

You can trade stocks listed on the NYSE (Arca), AMEX (NYSE MKT) and NASDAQ markets. You can also trade low-priced stocks or “penny stocks.”


Merrill Edge offers 3,100 mutual funds by around 100 different providers. The number of providers is quite low compared to the competition.

Merrill Edge mutual fund selection
 Merrill EdgeFidelityVanguard
Fund providers (#)100550344


Merrill Edge offers only around 8,300 bonds. Compared to Fidelity and Vanguard, this selection is significantly smaller. 

Merrill Edge bond selection
 Merrill EdgeFidelityVanguard
Bonds (#)8,300106,00013,400


Usually we benchmark brokers by comparing how many markets they cover. It’s not transparent which options exchanges are covered at Merrill Edge.

Based on the assets we found, the biggest exchanges, like CBOE or CME, are available.

Merrill Edge review


Merrill Edge has many user-friendly research tools, including trading ideas, fundamental data and screeners. However, the web trading platform lacks sophisticated charting and analytical tools.

Trading ideas Limited interactive charting
Data on asset fundamentals No/limited set of analytic tools
Quality news flow 

We tested the research tools provided on Merrill Edge’s web trading platform.

Most research tools are in the ‘Research’ section of the navigation bar with access to recent Market information, Screeners, Charting Tools (“Insights” section), and other resources.

Trading ideas

Merrill Edge provides trading ideas under each asset class. We found the recommendations comprehensive and complete with interesting features.

For example, we liked the fund ratings provided by Morningstar and the CFRA by S&P Global. The rating varies from 1 to 5 stars and describes a particular fund’s performance relative to similar funds.

Merrill Edge review – Research – Recommendations

Fundamental data

Merrill Edge offers solid fundamental data on each of the available instruments. This includes ratings and reports from Morningstar and CFRA, complete with recommendations to Buy, Sell, or Hold. There are links to relevant news articles from reliable sources, information on options, historical earnings and valuation numbers, and a platform to further chart data using Recognia Technical Insight.

Merrill Edge also offers a global database provided by Bank of America’s Global Research Library with reports by industry, performance, global markets, and more. This is located under the BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research link under ‘Insights’.

Merrill Edge review – Research – Fundamental data


Merrill Edge has OK charting tools. You can use 14 technical indicators, which is low. If you would like to use sophisticated charting tools, try the Merrill Edge MarketPro advanced desktop platform for active traders.

On the other hand, there is a pattern recognition tool provided in the ‘Technical Insight’ section that can help identify trends, which is useful.

Merrill Edge review – Research – Charting

News feed

Merrill Edge has a news feed provided by FactSet, which includes tailored news for each industry, market, or asset type.

The visuals are okay, with icons for industry and important headlines laid out in an easy-to-read fashion. The sources are reliable. Overall, we feel that more pictures or visual elements would be appreciated.

Other research tools you may enjoy

Merrill Edge offers comprehensive market information, including graphics and visualizations for each market indicator in the Market Calendar tab. There is a short summary on each indicator and a link to a pop-up with the full analysis provided by Econoday, Inc. 

Merrill Edge offers a high-quality screener tool. The numerous filters embedded into the screener help you to filter assets based on sector, market capitalization, performance, volume, etc.

Merrill Edge review – Research – Screener

Merrill Edge review

Customer service

You can contact Merrill Edge via phone, chat, mail, or by visiting a Bank of America branch. There is also an online mailbox for document upload, but no email address for general inquiries.

 Phone support Slow support
Live chat 

You can contact Merrill Edge via:

  • live chat
  • telephone

Merrill Edge has a fast live chat. The relevancy of the answers was satisfactory.

Merrill Edge’s phone support was fast and we got relevant answers.

We liked the 24/7 availability. The only thing we missed was email support.

Merrill Edge review – Customer Service

Merrill Edge review


Merrill Edge offers many investment introductory materials for beginners as well as access to Merrill Lynch and Bank of America materials. Unfortunately, there is no demo account.

Trading platform tutorial No demo account
Educational videos 

The educational materials can be accessed under the ‘Learn’ tab on the website. You can also check the general pages on how to use Merrill Edge in the Help menu, in the section on getting started. The latter provides quick links to important pages on the website.

At Merrill Edge you can learn in the following ways:

  • General educational videos
  • Webinars
  • Quality educational articles

The materials are grouped by investing experience (Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced), topic, and format (Articles, Webinars & Videos, Calculators, and Courses). 

The educational courses in the Merrill Edge Investing Classroom are provided by Morningstar, and organized by asset class and by general portfolio topics like ‘Core vs. Noncore Investments’. 

Overall, the materials are high quality, comprehensive, easy to understand, and tailored to various user needs.

Merrill Edge review – Education

Merrill Edge review


Merrill Edge is regulated by top-tier US authorities and its clients are protected by a high investor protection amount. On the negative side, negative balance protection is not provided.

Majority of clients belong to a top-tier financial authority No negative balance protection
High level of investor protection 
  Banking background 

Is Merrill Edge regulated?

Yes, it is regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). 

Is Merrill Edge safe?

To be certain if a brokerage is safe, we highly advise that you check two facts:

  • how you are protected if something goes wrong
  • what the background of the broker is

How you are protected

At Merrill Edge, as a unit of Bank of America Corp, all customers are covered by the US investor protection scheme, called the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). SIPC investor protection shields investors from the loss of cash and securities in case the broker goes bust. The limit of SIPC protection is $500,000, including $250,000 for cash.

Not all investments are protected by SIPC. In general, SIPC covers notes, stocks, bonds, mutual fund and other investment company shares, and other registered securities. It does not cover instruments such as unregistered investment contracts, unregistered limited partnerships, fixed annuity contracts, currency, and interests in gold, silver, or other commodity futures contracts or commodity options.

Merrill Edge investor protection
Country of clientsProtection amountRegulatorLegal entity
UKSIPC: $500,000 ($250,000 cash limit)

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc.

Merrill Edge does not provide negative balance protection. If the balance on your account goes into negative, you will not be protected.


Merrill Edge was established in 2010. Its parent company, Bank of America, was established in 1998. The longer track record a broker has, the more proof we have that it has successfully survived previous financial crises.

The fact that the parent company has a banking license means that Merrill Edge is also subject to tougher regulations than other brokers. What’s more, Bank of America is listed on the stock exchange, which is a big plus for safety as the bank releases financial statements regularly and transparently.

Merrill Edge’s safety profile is boosted by the fact that the broker’s parent company has a banking background, is listed on the stock exchange, and is regulated by top-tier regulators.

Merrill Edge review

Bottom line

Overall, Merrill Edge is a solid, easy-to-use trading platform created by Bank of America, one of the US’s largest banks.

We rated Merrill Edge highly due to its low fees, easy process of account opening, and reliability.

Some of the drawbacks include its limited product range, research capabilities and deposit/withdrawal options.

As trading and non-trading fees are generally low, the research tools are great and the account opening is seamless, feel free to try it.

Merrill Edge review


We recommend Merrill Edge for investors and traders who looking for low fees, quick account opening, and simple platforms.

Below you can find links to all aspects of Merrill Edge in this comprehensive collection.

Lower fees, lower costs?

We detailed this in our Merrill Edge fees article.

What about the minimum deposit?

Our ultimate guide to the Merrill Edge minimum deposit is updated regularly.

How to start your Merrill Edge account?

Look no further than our evaluation of the Merrill Edge account opening.

How’s their trading app?

Here’s our expert view after checking the Merrill Edge trading app.

Is the quality of customer service satisfactory?

All you need to know about the Merrill Edge customer service.

Legit or scam?

Is Merrill Edge legit features all the key aspects you need to look at to see if a broker is safe and legit.

Free or premium? Or both?

A glance at actual costs and whether Merrill Edge is really free.

Is this broker good for beginners?

We checked it in Is Merrill Edge good for beginners.

Should you buy your silver bullets on Merrill Edge?

Research for silver bugs in the Silver buy on Merrill Edge guide

I want to trade options, are they available at Merrill Edge?

We explored the topic in Can you trade options on Merrill Edge?

What is the minimum account balance at Merrill Edge?

Check out the current account balance requirements at Merrill Edge in our What is the minimum account balance at Merrill Edge article.

Looking for commission and fees data for Merrill Edge?

We collected them in Merrill Edge commission and fees.

How do you withdraw money from Merrill Edge?

We tested it and collected the options and costs in How to withdraw money on Merrill Edge.

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