Merrill Edge Review

Richard Montana | August 2, 2022

Launched in June 2010, Merrill Edge is an online brokerage linked to the Bank of America. They offer a wide range of online investing and trading products along with the advice, guidance, insight and tools you need to help make the most of the moment, no matter what your goals for the future are. You can manage everything from modern and intuitive platforms with plenty of tools and educational resources for finding opportunities and making informed decisions. I found them to have low fees, including commission-free stock and ETF trading. I also appreciate how the account opening process is quick and seamless. I would say they are a solid choice for investors looking for an excellent research offering and top-notch customer service.

Pros & Cons
  • Great range of investment products
  • Powerful trading platforms loaded with tools
  • No minimums or commissions for self-directed accounts
  • Mobile investing and trading
  • Personalized innovative tools
  • Excellent Trading Central analysis software
  • Actionable investing ideas, powered by award‑winning research
  • Vast range of educational resources
  • Managed portfolios customised to your goals
  • No minimum balance required
  • Top-class 24/7 customer support
  • Guidance when you need it, how you want it
  • Limited countries accepted
  • No forex, cryptos or CFDs
  • Limited account funding options
  • Prolonged account opening process

Summary

Merrill Edge is a US broker offering self-directed and guided online investing. They provide the trading platforms, tools and personalised service to help all levels and types of investor pursue their individual financial goals. Both beginners and experienced investors will find things to like about Merrill Edge, such as quality research and decent investment tools. They have clean and user-friendly platforms long with a good selection of several screeners so you can quickly sort through stocks, mutual funds, ETFs and bonds.

With Merrill Edge brokerage services, you can trade online stocks, bonds, certificates of deposits (CDs), options, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds or opt for a professionally managed portfolio. You can manage your own investments with unlimited $0 online stock and ETF trade commissions, $0 balance minimums and $0 annual fees. You can also create your goals online with or without an advisor, and they will manage investing on your behalf.

Merrill Edge are located in the USA and offered by BofA Securities who are part of the Bank of America’s retail banking division. Billions of client assets are invested through them. Merrill Edge was created to merge Bank of America Online Investing and Merrill Lynch’s research, investment tools, and call centre.

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Regulation

When choosing a broker, regulation is one of the first things that I look for. I would always prefer to use a regulated broker as there can be some protection in place should something go wrong. Merrill Edge are a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) scheme in the United States. FINRA enables investors and firms to participate in the market with confidence by safeguarding its integrity. The SIPC is an investor protection scheme established in order to protect clients against the loss of cash and securities in case the broker cannot fulfil their financial obligations. The SIPC protection is limited to $500,000 with a $250,000 limit for cash.

It should be noted that some investment products such as futures are not covered by the investor protection scheme and the protection is not available to all clients. Negative account balance protection is not provided. It is important to carefully read through all of the brokers terms and conditions so that you have a clear understanding of the protection offered before you open an account with any brokerage. Investment products are not FDIC insured and there is no bank guarantee, your investments may lose value.

Countries

The broker is primarily geared towards US traders although they can accept clients from a limited number of non-US countries. If you find they do not serve clients in your country for any reason, please feel free to take a look out our broker reviews for some alternative options.

Platforms

Merrill Edge MarketPro

The proprietary Merrill Edge MarketPro platform is intuitive and powerful, enabling users to gain access to real-time market analysis using the built-in indicators and analysis tools. It also includes award winning research whilst being easy enough to use for beginners and having enough functionality to satisfy the more experienced investor. All self-directed clients can access Merrill Edge MarketPro with no minimum trade requirements, no minimum deposits and no commission fees — so you can focus on your trading style, not the costs.

Merrill Edge Platforms

Merrill Edge Platforms

The platform enables you to chart your way with access to a great range of over 104 technical indicators and 25 drawing tools for in-depth market analysis. You can validate your process with the excellent Trading Central analysis software and access insights on technical events as they happen, directly from your charts. You can discover the power of analysis with easy-to-understand screeners and strategy builders. For options traders it can help to revolutionize the way you explore, analyse and trade options. I like how you can place trades from a docked trade window, chart or anywhere a quote is displayed. It makes things more convenient as you can create trade defaults by account, product type, order type, duration and predefined price points.

Merrill Edge MarketPro features:

  • Intuitive and powerful trading platform
  • Level II price quotes
  • Full trading capabilities and account access
  • Real-time market analysis
  • Streaming and interactive charts
  • Multiple chart types and timeframes
  • Fully customisable user interface
  • Quick access via hot keys
  • Save trades without impact to balances for quick order entry
  • Access to BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research

Merrill Edge Mobile App

The Merrill Edge mobile app gives you access to your account at anytime from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. This is very useful for those who wish to view and manage their investment portfolio whilst on the go. I find apps a great way to keep track of my positions and the latest market news, as and when I need to. Users can conveniently view linked Bank of America banking and Merrill Edge investing account balances, all from one device. Get a complete picture of your finances with a single log-in, define and work towards your financial goals and get rewarded for activities you’re already doing. The trading app is available for Android and iOS compatible devices. If you do not have a suitable device it can be accessed via the web browser from the Merrill Edge website.

Merrill Edge Mobile App

Merrill Edge Mobile App

Merrill Edge mobile app features:

  • Fully customisable dashboard
  • Interactive charts
  • Heat maps
  • Guidance & Retirement centre
  • Planning tools & calculators
  • Touch ID
  • Portfolio & accounts views
  • Extended-hours trading
  • News, research & quotes
  • Watchlists
  • Alerts
  • Secure Message Centre
  • Check deposit
  • Move money
  • Pay bills

Tools

Merrill Edge have a superb range of top quality trading tools to assist with market research and portfolio management. They have won awards for the global research and insights they provide that can help assist clients with making informed trading decisions. You can access these extremely useful tools from within the platform and on their website.

Market Research

Research is available from industry leaders Morningstar, CFRA (powered by data from S&P Global) and BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research. You can discover new opportunities and stay on top of the latest market trends and happenings with commentary that covers the topics which interest you and can have an impact on your investment strategy.

Screeners

Customisable screeners can be used to narrow down your search for investments that match your requirements. You can filter results by performance, ratings and more. There are tools for building and monitoring your portfolio. The Merrill Lynch analysts evaluate and categorize ETFs and mutual funds in order to help find you relevant investments according to your own investment strategy.

Education

There is a selection of educational resources to help increase your financial and investing knowledge. There are topics for all experience levels covered, including general investing, markets, trading strategies and more. They provide detailed videos, guides, webinars and much more. I think there is more than enough information provided to help even the most novice of investors along their journey. It is always great to see a broker that cares about clients making informed decisions based on proper research and education.

  • Third-party insights, analysis from Morningstar, CFRA
  • BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research
  • Timely perspectives, commentary on market conditions
  • Powerful tools, customisable screeners
  • Educational videos, articles and webinars

Markets

I was really impressed to see that Merrill Edge have a full range of investment products to choose from including a wide variety of stocks, bonds, certificates of deposits (CDs), options, ETFs, mutual funds and professionally managed portfolios. I think there is something for everyone although it is worth mentioning that they do not currently offer CFDs, forex trading or cryptocurrencies. If these are assets that you are looking for, then you may want to consider IG instead.

Stocks

Invest in the shares of publicly-traded companies across a variety of sectors. $6.95 per online equity and ETF trade.

Bonds

Invest in a broad range of Treasuries, municipal and corporate bonds and Certificates of Deposit (CDs).

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)

Trade similar to a stock with the diversification of a mutual fund. Offers the flexibility to hold and trade shares.

Mutual Funds

Invest in professionally managed funds that are aligned according to a variety of investment strategies and time periods.

Options

Execute options trades for $0.75 per contract. $6.95 per online trade + $0.75 per contract.

Managed Portfolios

Professionally managed portfolios with annual fees from 0.45% and a minimum $5,000 requirement.

Accounts

There is a choice of accounts offered by Merrill Edge dependant on your individual goals and requirements. The online brokerage account offers a streamlined investing experience and flat‑rate pricing. It can be opened as an individual, joint or custodial account.

If you have a Bank of America banking account, you can link it to a Merrill investing account so that you can conveniently access and manage your account online and via mobile devices. When logged in you can make instant transfers between the accounts.

Accounts have a preferred awards program where you get additional benefits as your account grows. Margin accounts are available although the margin rates are higher compared to other online brokerages, even if clients have large balances of $1 million or more.

Merrill Edge Self-Directed

The self-directed investing platform is for those who wish to manage their own investment portfolio. It provides access to market research and insights, flexible trading tools, customer guidance and competitive flat-rate fees. Online stock & ETF fees start from $6.95 (other fees may apply) with a minimum investment of $0 required.

  • Streamlined online investment
  • Variety of flexible tools
  • Step-by-step guidance
  • Access to full range of investments
  • In depth market insights and investing ideas
  • Transparent pricing
  • Unlimited online stock & ETF trades from $6.95 (other fees may apply)
  • No trade or balance minimums

Merrill Guided Investing

This is a professionally managed investment portfolio that is designed to meet individual investors goals. It is built, monitored and rebalanced by an in-house team of professionals. The annual fee is 0.45% (other fees may apply) with a minimum investment of $5,000 required.

  • Investing strategies for you and your goals
  • Personalised online dashboard
  • Adapts as needs change
  • Socially responsible portfolios
  • 45% annual fee (other fees may apply)
  • Minimum $5,000 investment

Merrill Guided Investing (advisor)

There is also the option for guided investing with an advisor which gives you all of the same benefits along with an advisor to assist you with pursuing your goals. The annual fee is 0.85% (other fees may apply) with a minimum investment of $20,000 required.

  • Get professional assistance to help establish your goals
  • One-on-one professional advice
  • Periodic account reviews with a dedicated advisor
  • 85% annual fee (other fees may apply)
  • Minimum $20,000 investment

Support

The Merrill Edge customer support team is available to offer step-by-step guidance and answer questions as and when you need them. Customer service can be reached 24/7 via telephone, online chat from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, Monday to Friday, from 7:30 a.m. ET to 6 p.m. ET on Saturdays. They can also be contacted by email. It is great to see that they provide support 24/7 as this is not something that many brokers do.

Funding

This online broker has a very limited amount of methods for funding your account, including Wire Transfer, Check, Electronic Bank Deposit (ACH), and External Securities Transfer. It would be more convenient for some clients if they offered credit/debit card funding and online payment processors. I would find that more convenient for moving funds around between my accounts.

There may be some additional fees charged when using certain deposit or withdrawal methods. The processing time can vary depending on the method used. Bank transfers may take a few business days to clear. Accounts can only be opened in USD currency which means that currency conversion fees can apply if you are not funding in this currency. However, as they are primarily targeted towards a US client base, this isn’t really a deal breaker.

Conclusion

Overall, there is a lot to like about Merrill Edge if you are looking to invest online. They have a vast range of financial products for investing and trading via powerful trading platforms. You get access to a fantastic range of robust trading tools and educational resources to help you make more informed investment decisions. There are different account types and the trading fees are very competitive. I think Merrill Edge may be considered a top choice for those who already have a Bank of America account as they can be linked easily with a Merrill Edge online investing account. They can also be an option worth considering for anyone in the USA who is looking to trade with an established broker and get some guidance along the way.

Merrill Edge Logo

Min $0 Deposit

Merrill Edge is a US brokerage linked to the Bank of America. They offer a vast range of investment products, platforms, tools and educational resources to help you find opportunities and make informed decisions.

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

About the Author

Avatar photo

Richard Montana
Richard has many years of experience in broker research, testing, analysis and reviews. He knows what to look for through years of trading himself with different brokers and listening to the feedback of others.

Review Methodology

For all of our broker reviews, we research, validate, analyse and compare what we deem to be the most important factors to consider when choosing a broker. This includes pros, cons and an overall rating based on our findings. We aim to help you find the best broker according to your own needs. You can read more about our review process.