Merrill Edge Review: Is This Trading App Worth It?

Feb 16, 2021 09:49 PM ET
Merrill Edge Review: Is This Trading App Worth It?

Merrill Edge is one of the top brokerages in the market today, offering attractive features like quality customer service, investment research, and $0 commissions. Apart from providing ETF trades and unlimited free stock, this broker also lets users access customer support at more than 4,000 Bank of America centers. Now, let’s take a look at what this brokerage firm offers.

Investment offerings 

Although Merrill Edge lets you trade in mutual funds, options, and equities using the mobile app, trading in fixed income is not possible through this platform. This broker does not let you trade in cryptocurrency, futures options, or futures. If you take the help of a live broker, you can engage in international transactions.

The various investment offerings of Merrill Edge are as follows:

  • Penny Stocks: This broker allows you to trade in penny stocks, but the transactions could be restricted depending on the market cap.

  • Short and Long Stocks: Both experienced, and novice investors can trade in shares of public sector companies.

  • Bonds: Trade in CDs, corporate bonds, municipal bonds, treasuries bonds, etc.

  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): This is similar to stock trading but offers diversification similar to mutual funds.

  • Options: With no balance or trade minimums, you can trade in options at $0.65 for each contract.

  • Margin: This is a multipurpose credit line suitable for seasoned traders.

Best features

Merrill Edge Best features

Here are some of the best features of Merrill Edge:

  • No commission fees: Like many brokerage firms, Merrill Edge doesn’t charge any commission fees for options, ETFs, and online stock trading. 

  • No bill pay or debit card fee: Merrill Edge customers don’t need to pay any additional fee for using a BOA ATM. Since there is no fee for bill payment, you can directly access your account balance for this purpose.

  • Multiple account types: This broker has different account types for children’s investment, small business, retirement, taxable brokerage, etc.

  • Access to advisors: You can visit a Bank of America branch to speak to Merrill Edge advisors. 

  • Rewards: Merrill Edge’s parent company, Bank of America, is known for its rewards programs that let clients enjoy discounts on products and lets them earn bonus points through their credit cards.

  • MarketPro: The MarketPro platform has several advanced features for traders. These include live monitoring of the trade portfolio, creating watchlists, and setting trade alerts. This is a user-friendly platform with streaming data and charting tools.

Commissions

As mentioned before, there are no commissions for online stock trades, but the options cost $0.65 each. For mutual funds, the commission is $0 for funds with no transaction fee, load-waived funds, and load funds. In other cases, the commission is $19.95.

Although there are no charges for online bill payment, free checkbooks, and ATM, Merrill Edge does charge a fee for early redemption of NTF funds. If you redeem the no-transaction-fee funds investment before 90 days, you will need to pay a fee of $39.95. This is not an uncommon practice, however, since NTF funds are meant for long-term buying and holding.

Is it suitable for you?

Merrill Edge. Is it suitable for you?

If you plan to invest for the long-term, and if you are an existing customer of the Bank of America, Merrill Edge is the right choice for you. For novice investors, this broker has some lucrative investment options, and the rewards program can be beneficial if you plan to take out loans.

Merrill Edge is arguably more suitable for buy-and-hold traders as opposed to active ones. Traders investing in futures options and derivatives can feel like the trading platform has too many limitations. That being said, options trades can be carried out for free, in spite of the per-contract commission being a little expensive. 

Where it excels

Merrill Edge. Where it excels

Here are some of the areas where Merrill Edge excels:

  • Education and research: Merrill Edge carries out extensive research on instruments like mutual funds, ETFs, and stocks. You can get access to the latest economic developments and market news. The brokerage firm also provides quality educational resources in the form of articles and videos about investment, personal finance, retirement planning, etc.

  • Customer service: With Merrill Edge, you can get in touch with customer support 24/7 and can also talk face-to-face with advisors at BOA branches. If you're a paying member, you can also use the chatting platform for getting quick support.

  • User experience: In the year 2021, Merrill Edge has introduced two brand new tools for an enhanced user experience. The Dynamic Insights tool lets you analyze your portfolio, offers research and news on the basis of your investments, and lets you assess your own performance in the market. The Ideal Builder tool is an innovative feature that lets you sift through investment options based on different ideas like climate change, big data, aging, etc. 

Where it falls short

Here are some of the areas where the broker could improve:

  • Slow user interface: It can take users some time to place order entries on the Merrill Edge website and navigate one screen to the other. Trade executions often require you to click on tiny buttons that can turn out to be quite a hassle.

  • Limited options for trading securities: While long-term traders will be more than happy with the options, bonds, ETFs, and stocks offered by Merrill Edge, Forex and futures traders might have to look for other brokers.

Summing up

To wrap things up, Merrill Edge offers some great investment selections, adequate research, and efficient customer service. This is a company that is held in high regard by investors, and the Better Business Bureau has assigned it an A+ rating. The company has a clean history and hasn’t had any scandals or lawsuits since its inception, so you can definitely place your trust in it.


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