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      October 20, 2019

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E Trade vs Merrill Edge

Best Online Stock Brokers

To help you find the Best Online Stock Brokers, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of E Trade and Merrill Edge.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Online Stock Brokers, please Click Here

Who is the Best Online Stock Broker? Whether you consider yourself an avid investor or a beginner just starting to look into the stock market, it's easy to get overwhelmed by all of the stock trading options. Although some people still use traditional stock brokers, many people have found they can save a lot of money by trading stocks themselves.

Besides significant cost savings, another great advantage to executing your own transactions is that you can avoid the time and energy necessary to deal with "professional" stock brokers. Many of these individuals try to convince you to buy or sell stocks, because they earn a commission every time you make a transaction. With online stock brokers, you never have to talk to any salesmen.

Continue reading below reviews

Best Reviews

2019

Online Stock Broker Reviews

3.5 stars
E Trade

E TRADE Visit Site

Cost:

$6.95 per stock trade for fewer than 30 trades/quarter

$4.95 per stock trade for 30+ per quarter

Minimum Deposit:

$500

If you like the idea of having an online stock broker who was responsible for executing the very first individual investor electronic trade over 30 years ago, E*TRADE is that company.

At the time of our review, E*TRADE offered up to 500 commission-free trades and up to $2500 in cash credit to investor accounts. In order to qualify, you had to deposit or transfer at least $10,000, with the highest rewards offered for accounts of $1 million or more. Or, if you prefer to start small, you can make the minimum investment of $500 and get stock trades at $6.95 (fewer than 30/quarter) or $4.95 (30+ per quarter).

E*TRADE has all three types of stock trading available: self-directed, assistance from financial consultants, or professional portfolio management. Customers report receiving excellent customer service with all 3.

Clients also have positive things to say about E*TRADE s trading platform. You should have an easy time using the OptionsHouse platform, either on your browser or tablet, to research and trade stocks/options/ETFs/futures. This platform is geared towards active traders, however, so you may find yourself more comfortable with their basic web platform if you're looking for information and tools focused on less-frequent stock trading.

Although E*TRADE has name-brand recognition from its long-standing history as an online stock broker, in some ways they've been passed by the competition within the basic investor/consumer marketplace. When compared with online brokers that charge low or no fees per stock trade, and/or who require no minimum investment, E*TRADE comes up a little short. But, for overall trustworthiness and solid tools for investors, especially active traders, they're still a strong contender.

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3.5 stars
Merrill Edge

MERRILL EDGE Visit Site

Cost:

$6.95/trade on stocks and ETFs

Up to 100 free trades per month with Preferred Rewards

Minimum Deposit:

None

Merrill Edge is the investment division of well-known Bank of America. Because of this relationship, they're an ideal choice if you're already banking with BoA: you can get increased rewards, the simplicity of transferring funds between accounts with a single login, and manage both your investments and your banking through the mobile app.

This online stock brokerage has received many awards, including J.D. Power's "Outstanding Customer Service Experience" recognition for 7 consecutive years and Kiplinger's #1 spot among online brokers in 2017.

In general, expect to pay $6.95 per stock trade when using the Merrill Edge self-directed investment platform, along with fees of $0.01 to $0.03 per $1000 of principal when you sell.

You can also get up to 100 free stock trades per month through the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. At the time of our review, the eligibility requirement was a minimum average combined balance of $50,000 in BoA qualifying accounts (e.g. investment/deposit) to get 30 $0 trades per month, and $100,000 to get up to 100 $0 trades each month. Compared with other online stock brokers that offer free trades with no such requirements, Merrill Edge will definitely tie up a lot of your money in order to qualify for their "rewards".

If you prefer professional portfolio management, either through an online investment advisory program or by working directly with a Merrill Edge Financial Solutions advisor, you can access those services for an additional fee of 0.45% and 0.85%, respectively; minimum investment amounts of $5000 and $20,000 apply.

Merrill Edge's online platform has a number of useful tools that are visually appealing and easy to understand. For example, you can see how your portfolio ranks in terms of a company's environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. You can also take advantage of analyst reports on specific holdings, along with recommendations as to buy/sell/hold on individual stocks in your portfolio.

The only negative we found when evaluating Merrill Edge as an online stock broker was with respect to customer service. Some clients complained that the service they received was not as good as they had expected, especially given the brokerage's reputation as an award-winning company. Also, we found some comments describing slower-than-average updates when trades are made.

Overall, Merrill Edge is a trustworthy online stock broker - but unless you're a Bank of America customer for other products, you may find more appealing options with one of the higher-ranked services in our review.

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Continued from above

And, of course, with fluctuations in the economy, and subsequent rises and falls in stock prices, some people panic and pull out significant investments - leaving the door wide open for others to take advantage of big opportunities to buy low and hopefully sell high later.

Of course, the best online stock brokers do have the option to work with a consultant if you choose. Especially if you're just starting to learn about investments, you may feel more comfortable knowing you can access an expert if the need arises. These services may be included, or you may have to pay for them a la carte.

So, when choosing the right online stock broker for your needs, how do you know which one is best? Before you jump in and start buying up your shares in Apple or Coca-Cola, here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Information. From beginners to experts, having up-to-date information on the stock market is critical. What resources does the online stock broker have available to guide you in your decision-making?
  • Fees. When purchasing your stocks, will you be charged a percentage of your total buy or a flat fee? When the time comes to sell, what will you pay?
  • Reputation. What do other investors say about their experience buying and selling with the online stock broker? Have they had positive interactions with the broker when they've needed help? How many investors have chosen this particular broker's services?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best online stock brokers available today. We hope this information helps you choose the right broker for your stock buying and trading needs!

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