Merrill Edge is an online discount broker provided by Bank of America Merrill Lynch that serves over 2 million clients. Preferred Rewards Platinum clients receive up to 30 commission-free trades monthly when minimum balances of $25,000 are maintained in Merrill Edge self-directed or Bank of America deposit accounts. Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors clients who maintain balances over $100,000 receive up to 100 commission-free stock and ETF trades monthly.
Penny stock traders will be attracted to Merrill Edge’s flat-fee $6.95 commissions cost and no over-the-counter surcharge fees but a minimum $25,000 balance is required to trade penny stocks.
Customers who maintain balances of over $50,000 (or those who make at least 15 trades quarterly) receive access to Merrill Edge Pro, which provides real-time market analysis, streaming and interactive charting, and features watchlists and alerts.
Merrill Edge Spotlight
4.5 out of 5 stars
Merrill Edge Customers
Merrill Edge has industry leading customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone and complements its phone support with live chat, email and in-branch support nationwide.
The sweet spot range of client net worth is between $100,000 and $250,000 though Merrill Edge serves customers with lower and higher investable amounts. It incentivizes clients to maintain $25,000 minimum balances which makes customers eligible to receive up to 30 commission-free trades monthly.
Merrill Edge targets casual investors who value good customer service and the ability to walk into a local branch to speak with a financial advisor. Customers can contact support representatives every hour of the day every day of the week. Financial Solutions Advisors are available to current and prospective clients by phone and in local branches nationwide.
Merrill Edge is best for:
- Casual investors
- Higher net worth investors
- Bank of America customers
- Fee-conscious investors
- Penny stock traders
- Investors who want access to live advisors
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Merrill Edge Promo Deal
Merrill Edge offers cash bonuses for deposits from $20,000 to $200,000 and above.
- $100 bonus for deposits of $20,000+
- $150 bonus for deposits of $50,000+
- $250 bonus for deposits of $100,000+
- $600 bonus for deposits of $200,000+
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Merrill Edge Pros and Cons
Merrill Edge offers commission-free stock and ETF trading incentives to clients who maintain minimum balances, offers extensive research from its own teams and third-party research firms, provides an easily navigable platform and excellent customer support 7 days a week by phone. The major drawback is that account minimums are high and Merrill Edge still relies on less-favored Java technology for its active trader platform, Merrill Edge Market Pro.
|Merrill Edge Pros||Merrill Edge Cons|
|✅ Commission-Free Trading: Bank of America deposit accounts and Merrill Edge brokerage accounts that maintain $25,000 balance minimums qualify customers for as many as 30 commission-free stock or ETF trades monthly.||❌ Old Technology: Major technology firms have veered away from Java technology but Merrill Edge still relies on it for its active trader platform, Merrill Edge Market Pro. However, website trading is available and is easily navigable for the casual trader.|
|✅ Rewards For Higher Net Worth Investors: Customers who maintain at least $100,000 in a Merrill Lynch investment account, a Bank of America deposit account or a Merrill Edge brokerage account qualify for up to 100 commission-free stock or ETF trades monthly.||❌ High Minimums For Active Traders: Customers who fall short of the $50,000 minimum balance requirement are not permitted to access the active trader platform, Merrill Edge Market Pro. However, executing 15 trades quarterly is a away around this restriction and is not an especially high hurdle for active traders.|
|✅ Research: Extensive research is available to clientele from numerous sources, both internal, such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research, and external, such as S&P Capital IQ, Morningstar and Recognia. Morningstar and Lipper reviews and rankings of mutual funds are also made available.||❌ No Commission-free ETFs: Customers who meet the minimum balance requirements or active trader minimum levels enjoy commission-free stock and ETF trades but no commission-free exchange-traded funds are available otherwise.|
|✅ Customer Support: 24/7 phone support is available along with live chat, email and in-branch support. Over 2,000 local branches are accessible to clients to meet in-person with financial advisors and Merrill Edge representatives.|
|✅ Low Fees: Discount trading platforms, such as those at OptionsHouse and TradeKing, charge commissions as low as $4.95 while Merrill Edge commissions are more in line with those charged by ETrade at $6.95.|
|✅ Tools, Analyzers & Screeners: Stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs can all be screened easily. Streaming data is available, and it’s possible to build watchlists, receive alerts, and get the latest financial news.|
Merrill Edge Securities
Merrill Edge supports trading in stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs. Futures traders may find Interactive Brokers to be a better solution.
- Mutual Funds
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Merrill Edge Fees
Merrill Edge has competitive fees of $6.95 per stock trade and an additional $0.75 per contract for options trades. No account balance minimums are in place.
|Options||$6.95 + $0.75 per contract|
|Account Balance Minimum||$0|
|Margin Rates||5.25% – 9.375%|
|Wire Transfer Fees||$24.95|
|Transfer Out Fees||$49.95|
Merrill Edge Platform Features
|Customer support||Phone Support 24/7|
In-branch financial advisors
(Morningstar, Recognia, S&P Capital IQ, Bank of America)
|No-transaction-fee Mutual Funds||YES|
Merrill Edge Account Types
Merrill Edge Summary
The average investor who thinks of brand name brokers and trading platforms will probably find Charles Schwab or Fidelity come to mind before Merrill Edge. But Merrill Edge competes about as well with Schwab as any discount broker. Low commissions, no minimum account balance requirements, 24/7 customer support, in-branch offices and extensive research are available to all clients.
Bank of America customers receive all those benefits plus the bonus of a limited number of commission-free trades when minimum account balance requirements are met.
Options traders and active traders looking for tools beyond what most casual investors need may be better served at thinkorswim and OptionsHouse.
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