Merrill Edge vs Etrade vs TD Ameritrade (2020)

Discount stock broker comparison: Merrill Lynch vs Etrade vs TD Ameritrade? Brokerage, IRA account fees, commissions, ratings and rankings. Which online brokerage firm to choose?

Compare Fees

Broker Fees Stock/ETF
Mutual Fund
Annual IRA
TD Ameritrade $0 $49.99 $0 + $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Etrade $0 $19.95 $0 + $0.65 per contract $0 $0
Merrill Edge $0 $19.99 $0.65 per contract $0 $0


Broker Review Cost Investment Products Trading Tools Customer Service Research Overall Rating
TD Ameritrade
Merrill Edge


TD Ameritrade: Open TD Ameritrade investment account.

Etrade: At E*TRADE, get $0 trades + 65₵ per options contract.

Merrill Edge: Get up to $600 when you open new Merrill Edge account with at least $20,000.

TD Ameritrade vs Merrill Edge vs Etrade Overview

Investors looking for a new brokerage account may have heard of E*Trade, Merrill Edge, and TD Ameritrade. Let's make a comprehensive survey of these brokers and see what exactly they can deliver.

Commissions and Account Requirements

Stock and ETF trades at Merrill Edge are $0. E*Trade and TD Ameritrade are at $0 too. For options, Merrill Edge, E*Trade, and TD Ameritrade charge an additional $0.65 per contract.

Using a living, breathing broker at TD Ameritrade to execute a trade is $25. Merrill Edge is at $29.95, and E*Trade is the lowest at $25.

All four brokers offer accounts with no maintenance fees or inactivity fees. Merrill Edge has no minimum opening deposit requirement. E*Trade customers must deposit at least $500 to open an account, and TD Ameritrade is at $0.

E*Trade wins this category by a very small margin.

Fund Offerings

More than 11,000 mutual funds are available at TD Ameritrade. Of these, almost 2,000 have no load and no transaction fee. Transaction-fee funds are $49.99.

Merrill Edge clients have access to more than 4,000 mutual funds. Over 800 of these carry no load and no transaction fee. Mutual funds with a transaction fee are $19.95 to buy, sell, and exchange.

Merrill Edge vs Etrade

E*Trade provides more than 8,000 mutual funds. Roughly 1,300 come with no load and no transaction fee. Investors are charged $19.99 to trade transaction-fee funds.

E*Trade offers 101 commission-free ETF's, and TD Ameritrade has 296. Merrill Edge fails here, and don't offer any.

The victory here goes to TD Ameritrade for offering a large selection of both commission-free ETF's and mutual funds.

Customer Service

Merrill Edge offers technical and investment support by phone 24/7. The broker can also be reached by e-mail. The firm has locations inside some Bank of America branches for investors who want investment advice for a fee.

E*Trade has 30 retail locations. The firm offers customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week over the phone.

Customer service reps are on the phone around the clock at TD Ameritrade. The broker also has a nationwide network of branches with over 100 locations.

TD Ameritrade wins this category.

Trading Tools

E*Trade's website is well designed. Sophisticated trading platforms are available, in both browser and desktop formats. However, active trader requirements must be established.

Etrade vs Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge also has a user-friendly website. Order placement within the browser is easy. At the bottom of the web page, there is a useful trade ticket, which provides important security information and quick order entry. An advanced platform is available for active traders.

TD Ameritrade offers three platforms. The most basic is the web browser. Second in line is Trade Architect, a web-based platform. Last but not least is thinkorswim, a desktop program. There are no frequent trader requirements for any platform.

TD Ameritrade vs Merrill Edge

TD Ameritrade wins this category.

Mobile Platforms

At Merrill Edge, investors can trade on Android, iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. The interface is user friendly. Users can pay bills, transfer funds, and make a mobile check deposit. Market news is on the app, but there is no streaming video news.

E*Trade has apps for Android tablet and phone, Windows phone, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Amazon Fire phone, and Kindle Fire HD. There are many useful features, such as videos, charts, and mobile check deposit. Live streaming of CNBC is available for active traders.

At TD Ameritrade, investors can trade on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Android. The most basic app can be used on Windows 10. Live streaming of CNBC is available with no active trader requirement.

TD Ameritrade wins this category.

Banking Features

A checking account with checks and a debit card is available at E*Trade with no fees. The broker refunds ATM charges for accounts with balances above $5,000.

TD Ameritrade clients can open a checking account with a debit card and checks at no cost. The account has no fees, and ATM charges are reimbursed. The account has FDIC insurance up to $500,000.

A Merrill Edge brokerage account comes with checks and a debit card. The card and checks have no fees. Withdrawals at Bank of America ATM's have no charge. Up to $200 in ATM fees per year are reimbursed for non-Bank of America ATM's. A Bank of America checking account can also be connected to a Merrill Edge account.

TD Ameritrade wins here.


TD Ameritrade: Open TD Ameritrade investment account.

Etrade: At E*TRADE, get $0 trades + 65₵ per options contract.

Merrill Edge: Get up to $600 when you open new Merrill Edge account with at least $20,000.


E*Trade succeeded in one category, TD Ameritrade was victorious in five categories, and Merrill Edge failed to place. TD Ameritrade wins by a long margin. Despite the results, Merrill Edge is a good choice for mutual fund investors, and E*Trade is a good value for ETF traders.

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