Robinhood vs. Merrill Edge – Independent Comparison




Robinhood is aimed at first-time investors under the age of 30. Opening a trading account is simple. There is no fee for making trades, the interface is easy to use, and no minimum deposit is required. Robinhood simplifies trading stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and options. New investors should be wary about engaging in many of these activities. Trading cryptocurrencies, options, or stocks alone has a high risk of sudden and catastrophic financial loss.

It’s recommended that novice investors engage primarily in low-risk items and only dabble in riskier securities. Once you understand the concept of dollar-cost averaging and diversification, Robinhood makes it simple to put it into practice with even modest investments.

Merrill Edge provides a state-of-the-art user interface, excellent customer service, a wide range of investment options, and thorough analysis for investors of all skill levels. As far as online brokers go, this one is towards the top of the heap.

Brokers like Merrill Edge and Robinhood make it simple to invest in the stock market from the comfort of your own home.


Robinhood Overview

When you deal with Robinhood, you’ll have access to their mobile and web-based trading platforms. Robinhood is appealing since it does not charge commissions for buying or selling stocks, options, ETFs, or cryptocurrencies traded on U.S. exchanges. However, it does not provide the guidance of a human advisor. Customers aren’t given much attention, which reduces the site’s appeal to the newbie or inexperienced investors.

Nonetheless, the litigation that overtook the firm in early 2021 and associated scrutiny by Congress and federal authorities may be the most critical limitation on its appeal, all arising from the GameStock saga. Please refer to [“Robinhood: What’s the Catch”] for further explanation. According to reports, numerous ordinary investors made a fortune throughout the drama. At the same time, several main Wall Street interests suffered significant losses.

In a separate but equally dramatic development from the same year, Robinhood paid $70 million in fines for system breakdowns. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority had never levied a fine of this magnitude before.


Robinhood was launched in 2014 by Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, two alums of Stanford. They had previously worked together to create their own financial technology startups. The company is now privately held and led by CCO Scott Friedman, COO Nate Rodland, and co-CEOs Tenev and Bhatt.

The firm has gained popularity because of its well-designed and straightforward mobile software that allows users to trade stocks, options, ETFs, and, most recently, cryptocurrencies without paying any trading fees. The epidemic and the following rise in individual investors’ engagement in the stock market benefited the corporation. The firm brags that half of its clientele opened their first brokerage account with them.

Visit Robinhood

As part of its ambition to “democratize finance for everybody,” the firm is working to make commission-free and fractional share trading more widely available to investors. Therefore, it depends on “Payment for Order Flow” to generate money rather than charging consumers a commission for trading shares or options. Through PFOF, Robinhood sends consumer transactions directly to market makers rather than exchanges and pays a commission to the market makers for each trade. Using the same strategy as cryptocurrency trading, Robinhood can give its users an appealing perk: commission-free trading.

At the end of 2021, Robinhood had 17.3 million active users and 22.7 million funded accounts. As a result of the epidemic and subsequent rise in retail investor activity, Robinhood was one of the companies to benefit. 

Merrill Edge Overview

After acquiring Merrill Lynch during the financial crisis, Bank of America discovered a way to integrate its online investing arm with the investment expertise of Merrill Lynch by developing Merrill Edge.

You may make as many stock and ETF transactions as you like without paying a commission when you use Merrill Edge. In addition, Merrill customers can get help from any of the roughly 4,300 Bank of America branches. One of the benefits of Bank of America’s purchase of Merrill Lynch, customers now have access to Merrill Edge, and the parent corporation has clearly attempted to unify the two brands. You’ll have access to your Bank of America, and Merrill Edge accounts with one login. With real-time transfers, money may be moved between accounts immediately.

Those in need of a retirement account option will find Merrill Edge to be a solid option. The online broker provides access to award-winning research tools and information.

merrill edge

This is suitable for the everyday investor who prefers to keep things basic. As an added bonus, Merrill Edge knows that investing is not a game to be played by dipping in and out.

Visit Merrill Edge

Self-directed investing is only one of several investment options available via Merrill Edge. In addition, for a small price, Merrill Edge customers may make use of Merrill Guided Investing, the service’s financial counselor. 


Robinhood vs. Merrill Edge Service & Feature Comparison


Both Merrill Edge and Robinhood provide commission-free stock trading in addition to not charging any sort of ongoing fees. Although the fee schemes are comparable, there ends there.

Robinhood does not charge investors a fee when buying or selling options, which gives it a considerable edge.

Unfortunately, Merrill Edge’s hefty commissions make it unattractive for frequent day traders. Thus, it is intended for usage by long-term investors rather than short-term traders. The $2.95 fee for stock and ETF trades is standard and has little consequence if you are a long-term investor.

But if you engage in short-term trading, your expenses will quickly consume whatever earnings you could make. There is a $0.65 per contract fee for options and a $2.95 per transaction fee. These are typical fees associated with this form of brokerage.

When comparing Robinhood and Merrill Edge, it’s clear that the latter doesn’t provide bitcoin trading while the former does.

But Merrill Edge charges a flat $19.95 for mutual fund investments and provides access to hundreds of funds on a no-transaction-fee (NTF) basis, whereas Robinhood does not.

Account Types

Investors of all experience levels may use Robinhood to buy and sell stocks, options, and cryptocurrency. No retirement or other special accounts are available, and neither is the option to form a joint investment account.

Instead, Merrill Edge has several different kinds of accounts so that everyone may choose one that works for them. Merrill Edge provides several account types beyond the typical brokerage account, such as joint accounts, retirement accounts (including SEP-IRA and SIMPLE IRA accounts for small businesses), and custodial accounts like UGMA and UTMA 529 college savings programs.

Education and Research

Edge customers can access educational trading classes to better comprehend stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and bonds. Merrill Edge is focused only on serving individual investors. Thus, the company pays a premium for providing relevant resources and information to its customers.

Merrill Edge provides the expert assistance that most individual investors need to make sense of a company’s finances. The research group is well-known, and its analysts are frequent TV guests.

Robinhood’s website just has a newsletter and a few articles for prospective investors to read. Only Robinhood Gold subscribers get access to the detailed reports. Robinhood also offers an extensive library of articles and financial terms. 

Visit Merrill Edge

Range of Investments

In addition to stocks and options, Merrill Edge lets you trade in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, fixed income, bonds, and other asset classes. Suppose you want to save time and effort while investing. In that case, you may acquire a list of “buy-rated” funds that have already been evaluated.

Despite this, Merrill Edge doesn’t include all possible investment vehicles. The platform does not, for instance, facilitate trading cryptocurrencies, digital money, or futures, a contract to exchange an item at a fixed price at a specific future date.

An attractive feature of Robinhood for novice investors who may not yet have enough money to buy a total share of their favorite company is the option to acquire fractional shares. Most bank-affiliated brokers, including Merrill Edge, don’t allow for the buying and selling cryptocurrencies, but Robinhood does. Robinhood only offers seven coins.


Robinhood is a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to buy and sell stocks and alternative cryptocurrencies. However, Robinhood customers are unable to cash out their cryptocurrency holdings. However, consumers will need to liquidate their cryptocurrency holdings before they may withdraw funds to other accounts.

Managed Accounts 

Self-directed and professionally managed accounts are both available via Merrill Edge. Within the latter, the broker provides two distinct options: one with and one without a dedicated advisor. The annual fees are 0.85% and 0.45%. Neither package is a robo service; in both situations, a limited selection of funds with low expense ratios is traded.

Where the company’s self-directed accounts come in is at this point. Stocks, closed-end funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), fixed-income assets, mutual funds, and options contracts are available through this company.

Visit Robinhood

Robinhood does not provide any managed accounts. The brokerage firm caters solely to those who choose to trade independently.

Retirement Accounts

Robinhood only provides taxable brokerage accounts, so if investors are searching for tax-advantaged investment accounts like Roth or regular IRAs, they must go elsewhere.

You may open a variety of accounts with Merrill Edge, including as

Investment accounts on the individual, joint, and custodial levels: Joint opening of a tax-deferred investment account between a married couple is permitted. Further, a custodial account can be established if the beneficiary is a minor.

Trading Technology

Robinhood is a mobile-first brokerage that also offers a web-based trading interface. It provides the bare essentials of what an investor would need to get started, so don’t expect any advanced trading tools, tutorials, or other features. More advanced traders may prefer Merrill Edge’s MarketPro desktop trading platform due to its fully customizable trading layout.

The most popular trading platform is Merrill Edge Market Pro. Including live quotations and market analyses in real-time. In addition, a worldwide search and many graphing choices are included.

Maintaining a combined balance of $50,000 or more in your Bank of America and Merrill Edge investment accounts qualifies you for free software use. If not, you’re employing a primitive web-based platform. If this is a long-term commitment, you may not need the bells and whistles of a live and streaming platform.

While many valuable tools are accessible on the Market Pro platform, you must remember that you can get many of the same tools elsewhere for no cost. However, if you invest for the long haul, you may safely ignore tick-by-tick market data. Due to the high commissions involved, you won’t want to utilize this platform for day trading.

Mobile Apps

Robinhood is widely regarded as one of the easiest-to-use stock trading apps on the market.

The investment app of Merrill Edge, called Merrill Edge Investing, has received 4.7 and 4 stars on the App Store and the Google Play store, respectively. Robinhood’s 4.2 and 3.8-star ratings come with a considerable caveat since they were much higher before the “meme stock” mania of early 2021 when the company was forced to cease trading in some risky stocks, to the dismay of many consumers.

Visit Robinhood

The app’s various features and ability to sync with other Bank of America accounts are frequently cited as positives in evaluations of Merrill Edge. Reviews of Robinhood often highlight the app’s simplicity and ease of use.

Customer Service

Merrill Edge’s phone support is available 24/7. The service is available around the clock, every day of the year, in various locations around the United States. You may also contact Merrill Edge by email or set up a no-cost consultation.

Merrill Edge has received the JD Power and Associates award for excellent customer service for eight years.

Lately, Robinhood has started offering 24/7 customer assistance, and they also run their own proprietary customer service program. You can request a call from a professional using the app; users typically wait roughly 30 minutes to hear back.

My Preference: Merrill Edge Wins Hands-down

You may invest with Merrill Edge in various ways, depending on how much control you want.

Merrill Edge is a good option for novice and intermediate investors alike. Merrill Edge’s self-directed account may be a good fit for hands-on investors who prefer to handle their own investments and assets.

The investment choices provided by the trading platform are suitable for do-it-yourself and automated portfolio management. In addition, the platform’s research resources provide a solid foundation for newcomers to the world of investing and the markets.

Visit Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge might be useful for active traders for several reasons. No money is required to open an account, and no minimum amount is required to trade. Further, it offers research tools that investors may use to gather information and make better choices. If you want to start choosing your investing strategy and assets, Merrill Edge might be a good place to begin.

Keeping up with the market and picking stocks isn’t for everyone. Suppose you prefer to set it and forget it. In that case, the managed portfolios offered by Merrill Edge might be an excellent option.

When you sign up for a managed portfolio, you’ll be asked to specify your investment objectives and level of comfort with market volatility. Merrill Edge may begin tailoring a portfolio to your specific requirements with your input.


Is Merrill Edge preferable to Robinhood?

Both are top-notch brokerages, but they cater to quite different clientele. Merrill Edge is the more comprehensive option since it caters to a broader range of investors. However, Robinhood is aimed toward a younger, more engaged trading demographic.

Is it safe to put money in Robinhood?

Robinhood was founded in 2013 and is supervised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC). Because of their oversight by authoritative financial authorities, Robinhood is undoubtedly not a scam.

What would happen if Robinhood or Merrill Edge went under?

Because of their status as regulated entities, Robinhood and Merrill Edge are obligated to provide customers with a certain level of safety for their money.
Client money must be segregated from Robinhood and Merrill Edge funds per regulatory requirements. The two companies, Robinhood and Merrill Edge, should not have access to your funds if they both go bankrupt. There has to be segregation between the business and customers' accounts.

Do these brokers have account minimums?

You'll need funds if you want to invest, but opening an account won't need a fortune. Both Merrill Edge and Robinhood have no minimum deposit requirements. An initial $1.00 investment is all that is required to get started.

Crypto Prices Today: