Merrill Edge Review

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Andrew Hayward
Merrill Edge logo

In my Merrill Edge review, I have reviewed every aspect of the capital management experience to provide you with an unbiased account of what to expect from an large brokerage attempting to help compete with low cost brokerages with Merrill Edge accounts.

Read more to find out if this brokerage is suitable for your investing requirements. One immediate negative is Bank of America’s Merrill Edge Offers takes a large amount of time to load all of the mutual funds, Merrill Edge offers, the Merrill Edge account, and the Merrill Edge account. It does a decent job of offering retirement accounts for Merrill Edge Customers.

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What is Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge is an electronic trading platform provided by Bank of America Securities, part of Bank of America’s retail banking division. It was launched on June 21, 2010.

The platform was built for long term and “active” traders, with options trades and Merrill Edge remains a powerhouse with two million Merrill Edge customers. Merrill Edge falls short in their trading platform both desktop and mobile app. They do have an impressive access to pretty much every financial products.

Merrill guided investing is available with large enough account minimums, but without those the fees are too high for the market. They do have excellent bank accounts and money management for Bank of America customers. They do not offer active portfolio management until your minimum deposits are high enough, and which point they will encourage you to switch to their higher fee higher touch Bank of America brokerage account.

Merrill Edge is not a first choice for mutual fund trades, although it has excellent Merrill Edge select etfs with Merrill Edge’s technology.

Merrill Edge was created to merge Bank of America Online Investing (Quick & Reilly) and Merrill Lynch’s research, investment tools, and call center counsel. When it was established, Merrill Edge had 500,000 Bank of America customers. The firm focuses on investors with up to $250,000 in investable assets. In 2015, the service held $118 billion from two million customers and employed 2,500 advisers working in bank branches and call centers.

Merrill Edge Ratings


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  • Online and mobile investing tools commission free trading with certain account minimums.
  • Access to BofA Global Research and investment advice and advisory or brokerage services.
  • Access to a wide range of stocks, exchange traded funds, options, bonds and mutual funds.


  • No fiduciary advice and services, including ongoing monitoring, no penny stocks and not a great fit for active traders
  • No access to a Merrill professional to help you establish goals and build a financial strategy
  • No access to managed investment strategies that are constructed and managed by Merrill Lynch unless you have a high minimum account balance
Merrill Edge Review Homepage

How to Trade with Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge offers three options for trading with Merrill Edge Offers:

Work with your dedicated Advisor or your Merrill Financial Solutions Advisor

Based on who you work with, you can receive brokerage services for a per trade charge and/or enroll in a Merrill investment advisory program to access managed investment strategies and other investment solutions and fiduciary services for an annual asset based fee.

You also receive access to the Merrill Edge mobile app and low account fees.

Work with a Financial Solutions Advisor

You can access certain brokerage services and Merrill investment accounts, if eligible, for a per trade charge and account fees and/or enroll in a Merrill investment advisory program to access, with FSA assistance and advice, selected managed investment strategies and related fiduciary services for an annual asset based fee.

Work on a Self-Directed Basis:

You can utilize their self-directed investing brokerage platform through their Merrill Edge website to enter and manage your own trades for a per trade charge and/or enroll in Merrill investment advisory program to access on a self-guided basis certain managed investment strategies and related fiduciary services for an annual asset based fee.

Merrill Edge Self Directed

Approach to advice and services:

Self-directed brokerage

No ongoing monitoring under Regulation Best Interest

Key features & services

  • Make your own investment decisions; no advice or recommendations are provided
  • Place your own trades in an online investment account
  • Access to research, tools and resources to help inform your investing decisions

Fees Charged

  • Commission-based fees and/or sales charges for trade execution
  • $0 commissions are available for certain securities

Investment Choices

  • Individual stocks
  • Options
  • Fixed income securities
  • Brokered CDs
  • Preferreds
  • Exchange traded funds (ETFs)
  • Mutual funds
  • Money market funds
  • Closed-end funds

Merrill Edge Offers

Use offer code 600ME to receive up to $600 when you start a new Merrill Edge account.

As a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, investment balances count toward your program balances and can bump you to the next tier and even greater rewards.

Opening an account

I had some difficulty in opening a ML Edge account, when I attempted to open the Margin Disclosure agreement Chrome gave me an error. I have tried to open that document before successfully so there might be a problem with trying to open the same document twice (i.e. opening the same account twice). I tried to get them to send me an email with my correct email address and didn’t receive anything.

If you have an issue like this you can always call 877.657.3847 24 hours a day 7 days a week for reportedly excellent customer service.

You can also schedule a guided appointment with Bank of America/Merrill Edge at

How easy is it to withdraw funds with Merrill Edge?

You have a preferred debit card with Bank of America given by your Merrill Edge account, which can withdraw funds directly into your debit or savings accounts with no waiting times. Deposits into Bank of America debit or savings accounts have no waiting times. Other banks may differ, please check with your non-Bank of America bank for deposit and withdrawal times.

Merrill Edge Fees

As a Merrill Edge Self-Directed client, you will receive unlimited $0 online stock, ETF and option trades1 . Options contract and other fees may apply.* Please note that the fees and commissions below apply only to Merrill Edge Self-Directed accounts.

Other fees may apply. Free and $0 means there is no commission charged for these trades. $0 option trades are subject to a $0.65 per-contract fee. Sales are subject to a transaction fee of between $0.01 and $0.03 per $1,000 of principal. There are costs associated with owning ETFs. To learn more about Merrill pricing, visit Fees

**Exercise and assignment of cash settled options are subject to a $0.65 per-contract fee.

It is important to note that representative-assisted trades are $29.95 + $0.65 per contract

Mutual Fund Fees

Load-waived funds No charge per transaction (See prospectus for details)

No-load, no-transaction-fee funds (NTF) No charge per transaction

$39.95 short-term redemption applies if held less than 90 days

No-load, transaction-fee funds (TF) $19.95 per online transaction

$29.95 per representative-assisted transaction

Applies to buys, sells and exchanges

This fee will not be applied to transactions that are part of an Automatic Investment Plan or Systematic Withdrawal Plan.

Load funds: See prospectus for fund’s sales charges.

No charge for intrafamily exchange

Margin Rates: For current margin rates call 877.653.4732

Fixed Income and Bonds

Types Online trades Representative assisted trades New issues, including Brokered CDs $08 and $08 Treasuries, including Auction and Secondary for $0

$29.95 per trade service charge for Other Secondary Trades: Corporate Bonds, Municipal Bonds

Government Agencies $1 per bond ($10 min, $250 max) + $29.95 per trade service charge

All of the fees can be found here:

Merrill Edge Customer Service

Does Merrill Edge have human support hours for customer service?

Yes, unlike many discount online brokerages Merrill Edge offers 9am/9pm human assisted support at:

  1. Merrill Edge Advisory Center. 1.888.654.6837.
  2. Merrill Edge Self-Direct Investing. 1.877.653.4732.
  3. Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. 1.800.MERRILL (637.7455)

If you need assistance contacting your advisor, you can use this website to search for them by name:

Merrill Edge Security

Merrill Edge has the standard set of privacy practices, review these if you have any concerns about how Merrill Edge will treat your private and financial information.

Merrill Edge Security Practices

  • Do not provide access codes, personal and financial information via email, text or to unsolicited callers. Merrill Edge will never call you to ask you for this information.
  • If you suspect you’re a victim of fraud, contact Merrill Edge immediately at 1.800.MERRILL (637.7455) or speak to your financial advisor.
  • If you receive a suspicious call, text or email from someone claiming to be from Merrill or Bank of America, do not respond and do not click links or open/download attachments. Instead, send it to [email protected] and delete it.
  • More than 57 million users and small businesses trust their trading and brokerage accounts to the Merrill Edge platform and app.
  • Biometric authentication for mobile app (facial ID or fingerprint)
  • Strong, clear Fraud Protection Guarantee against unauthorized activity

For more information please see the Merril Edge security and privacy policy at

Common questions I get asked about Merrill Edge

How much money do you need to open a Merrill Edge account?

Merrill Edge has no account minimums and unlimited $0 online stock and ETF trades. Clients with $20,000 in deposit and investment accounts qualify for perks through the Preferred Rewards program, which increase as the deposit amounts increase.

Which is better Charles Schwab or Merrill Edge?

Merrill Edge is a winner for anyone who has a deposit or investment relationship with Bank of America, because connecting accounts can add a lot of convenience and account rewards.

Charles Schwab offers a lengthy list of mutual funds you can buy without paying a transaction fee on either side of the trade. If you are extremely invested in mutual funds, Charles Schwab may be the better option for you.

Is Merrill Edge a good IRA?

Merrill Edge is a good choice for investors looking for a very proficient research offering and surprisingly good customer service. This can be a great choice for long term investor seriously comparing stocks by using the excellent research provided by Bank of America to compare stocks and use those decisions in their IRA.

They offer access to financial advisors at more than 2,000 Bank of America locations, and that also comes with no commissions on stocks and ETFs.

Is Merrill Lynch going out of business?

Years after the financial crisis, Bank of America is phasing out the Merrill Lynch brand for some businesses. Bank of America (BAC) said that it will no longer use the Merrill Lynch name for its investment banking and trading divisions.

Instead, these businesses will form a unit called BofA Securities. However, retail trading platforms such as Merrill Edge are expected to retain the Merrill name indefinitely.

Merrill Edge vs. Robinhood: Brokers to Buy Stocks Online

Either broker may be the better pick for you, depending on your needs as an investor. Merrill Edge charges commissions, but it offers more in the way of research and mutual fund access, in addition to perks like commission-free trades for investors who keep a certain minimum balance.

Robinhood may be limited to a mobile platform, and have less research, but some investors will feel that zero commissions more than makes up for it.

Final verdict: is Merrill Edge any good?

Merrill Edge is a full-service brokerage offered by Bank of America. With this Merrill Edge, you can open a self-directed brokerage account with zero recurring fees and no commissions on stocks or exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

These fees closely match the fees available on ultra low cost brokerages since as Robinhood or M1 Finance, which is a big plus. Large mutual fund investors may be better off with Charles Schwab or Vanguard.

Merrill Edge provides some of the best research tools and ESG (Environmental, Social, Green) investing capabilities on the market. And if you need a investing assistance, it offers professional investment advisors for an added fee. Overall, it’s an excellent choice for hands-off and active investors alike.

Day traders need not apply, as “active investors” refer to people who trade a few times a week. People who trade more than 4 times a a week are considered “Pattern Day Traders” and have a whole slew of regulations that change.

The desktop and app trading platforms are not horrible, but they are absolutely not set up for “Pattern Day Traders”.

If you are planning on trading more than 4 times, you should look at other discount brokerages like Thinkorswim which offers $0 trades and a truly impressive desktop and mobile trading platforms.

Merrill Edge FAQs

Does Merrill Edge have hidden fees?

Does Merrill Edge have hidden fees? No, clients who don’t qualify for Preferred Rewards will have to pay a fee of $2.95 for equity trades and $2.95 +. 65 per contract. These fees are not “hidden” but they are higher than similar brokerages.

Does Merrill Edge send a 1099?

A Consolidated 1099 is a summary of individual accounts’ 1099 tax forms. You can find more details, along with additional resources and important dates, in our Tax Center 1099

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