Merrill Edge might be among the youngest brokerages we’re looking at today. Launched in 2010 as part of the Bank of America, it’s constantly evolving to keep its status as a best online brokerage firm. In fact, it’s undoubtedly one of the best stock brokers for beginners if you’re already a Bank of America client since opening and connecting the account will cost you absolutely nothing.
More than half a million traders joined the platform the moment it launched, and the user base kept growing, with the past years introducing some of the biggest changes for Merrill Edge and its clients.
Commissions & Fees
A Merrill Edge account, once again, will cost you $0 if you’re already with the Bank of America. But that’s not where the free stuff ends. This company joined other best brokers in the business during the late 2019 reforms and the biggest price war of the past decade.
That means the company has taken commissions out of the equation, introducing free unlimited trading of ETF, penny stocks, and equities. Per-contract options commission is now at the industry-standard rate of $0.65, while the assistance of a broker will cost you $29.95 per trade.
Another great incentive is the so-called Preferred Rewards program. This is beneficial if you have a Bank of America checking account, as it can reduce or even eliminate certain fees for Merrill investing, as well as other banking services. No other company in our online brokerage comparison offers such a program, so this is a big plus for Merrill.
There are conditions, though, as you’ll need to meet certain thresholds during three-month periods, with the minimum being $20,000 average combined balance in the deposit account. But once you qualify, you can strive to reach higher tiers with even more benefits.
Many consider Merrill Edge’s platform to be one of the best choices for beginner and intermediate traders. It’s called Merrill Edge MarketPro, or MEMP for short, and works as an active trader platform.
In the past, many wouldn’t consider it to be the best place to buy stocks, due to some steep requirements new clients had to meet, as well as slower trade processing. But in the spring of 2020, the company opened this app to all of its clients.
The MEMP application is highly customizable, with widgets and filters that let you sort all of the data to your liking. Merrill Edge even plans to introduce AI learning as a way to make everyday use even easier for its customers.
For traders that prefer mobile platforms, all of the features of the web version are available on the go. The integrated popular research tools make this one of the best investing websites available today. These tools include Lipper, Morningstar, Recognia, Trefis, and MSCI ESG.
Working with this platform is a treat. Everything is accessible and visually appealing, with interactive charts to boot. Creating watchlists couldn’t be simpler, so you can get a quick glance at your portfolio, with real-time updates. Compared to other web platforms, MEMP is leagues ahead.
Being a Bank of America company, Merrill Edge holds very high customer service standards. New traders love this platform for all of the included educational and planning tools. Once you open your brokerage account for beginners, a question pops up - “How do you like to learn?” Then you have the option to choose the expertise level, and the exact topic you’d like to learn more about.
While the company doesn’t organize livestreamed webinars or integrate discussion boards into its website, the toolbox it provides is still quite rich. You can choose to learn through short courses, read up on articles, watch videos, and finally test your knowledge through fun quizzes.
These are also available through the mobile app, so you can learn while you’re on vacation or on your daily commute.
To be the best online stock brokerage company, one also needs to provide excellent customer support. This is a venue where Merrill Edge excels, too.
Customer support is available 24/7 over the phone, email, and live chat, providing quick and easy answers to any questions you might have. For the live chat option, wait times are usually under a minute, so even the most pressing matters get resolved in a flash.
And don’t forget, this is part of Bank of America, after all. That means you can visit any of the 2,000 locations around the United States and get face-to-face support.
There’s no doubt Merrill Edge is one of the top stock brokers for beginners, providing an easy-to-use trading platform and slew of educational tools for users.
With so many great incentives, especially for existing Bank of America customers, it’s not hard to understand why so many people have put their trust in this company. It is truly one of the best choices for beginners, but is also useful for seasoned professionals.
Reasons to Buy:
- Simple to use, customizable platform
- Rewards program with great incentives
- Impeccable customer support