Merrill Edge vs Fidelity: Different & Unique

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Fidelity and Merrill Edge are well regarded in the industry for a good reason. As a result of their respective excellent reputations and proven histories, choosing between the two firms might be challenging. Easy trading and investing in financial products are possible with internet trading platforms like Merrill Edge and Fidelity. Both firms cater to inexperienced as well as seasoned traders.

Stocks, ETFs, futures trading, bonds, and options are just some of the items and markets on the list. There are a few critical distinctions among these brokers. You can choose the most appropriate platform depending on your preferred investment method.

Trading stocks and ETFs with no trading fees is possible on Merrill Edge and Fidelity. Around 35 million people use Fidelity, while about 2.4 million people utilize Merrill Edge.

Fidelity and Merrill Edge are subject to oversight from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the US Securities and Exchange Commission, two of the world’s foremost financial watchdogs. It’s easy to see why so many individuals rely on and utilize these brokers regularly, given that they provide access to free ETFs and stock trading. Investing with no trading fees is a great way to save money.

Fidelity and Merrill Edge are well-known and respected in the financial services industry. The quality of customer service is comparable, and any broker would be a good choice. Just prioritize the features and assets you’re looking for and go from there.

Merrill Edge Overview

When Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch, it created Merrill Edge to provide a more unified experience for its customers. Logging in once will give you access to your Bank of America and Merrill Edge accounts. 

Merrill Edge, launched in 2010, is a one-stop shop for banking and brokerage needs for investors. Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program provides members several perks, including lower interest rates on vehicle loans, mortgage origination costs, and ATM withdrawal fees.

merrill edge

Customers of Bank of America can benefit from opening a Merrill Edge account if they maintain a high average daily balance in their Bank of America and Merrill investment accounts.

Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge is an excellent option for do-it-yourself investing for the long haul, especially for people who already have a working connection with Bank of America. Also, it’s an excellent option for those who want some help managing their money but not all the way. 

Fidelity Overview

Fidelity is one of the oldest American brokerages, having opened for business in 1946. It’s also well-known for its excellent support staff and cutting-edge academic resources, making it a serious contender among the industry’s most prominent players. And since it covers so much ground, it’s a favorite among new and seasoned investors.

There are no commissions charged when trading stocks or ETFs with Fidelity. Bonds and other fixed-income assets, as well as options and fractional shares, are all on the table. Cryptocurrencies are the most unique type of asset not offered by Fidelity. Though it currently does not support Bitcoin 401k investments, it hopes to do so shortly.

fidelity

You may invest in a variety of different ways with Fidelity. DIY options are available, similar to what you’d find with other brokers. Fidelity Go, a robo-advisor service, allows you to construct a portfolio aligned with your objectives and comfort level. 

 

Merrill Edge vs. Fidelity Service & Feature Comparison

Costs

Trading and non-trading expenses are kept to a minimum with bargain brokers like Merrill Edge and Fidelity. Nonetheless, there are a few major charge categories to remember while deciding on and creating a brokerage account.

Share dealing fees are not required when using Fidelity or Merrill Edge to purchase and sell exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or equities. These days, it’s common for brokers to let clients trade without paying any fees. The primary advantage is reduced trade expenses.

Visit Fidelity

The commission for buying and selling US Treasuries online is zero percent, the commission for trading stocks and ETFs is zero percent, and the commission for exchanging CDs and bonds in the secondary market is one dollar per instrument. Fidelity’s non-trading fees are low when compared to those of its rivals. As an illustration, ACATS transfers and IRA closures are free of charge.

Even though Merrill Edge doesn’t impose monthly fees or need a minimum balance, there is a one-time cost of $49.95 for transferring your whole account. With Merrill Edge, the lending base rate for margin trading is 5.25%, and the effective margin rate is volume-tiered, meaning that it varies with the amount of margin.

As of March, the introductory margin rate at Fidelity is 7.075 percent. Interest rates are graded, with lower rates applied to bigger margin loans. To help you achieve your investing objectives, Fidelity also offers foreign currency transfer services.

Account Types

Account options at Merrill Edge are flexible. You can select the most appropriate account type in light of your personal circumstances, financial goals, and investment aims. You may save more in taxes by putting money into specific accounts, such as retirement and school savings, that are appropriate for your trading needs. For this reason, if you’re after more fund liquidity, you’re better off with a different kind of account.

  • Retirement accounts – including Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, & SIMPLE IRA.
  • College & Custodial planning – 529 college savings plans
  • Private Individual Investing and savings accounts 
  • Managed portfolios with Merrill Guided Investing.

Besides retirement accounts, individual brokerage accounts, and other savings options, Fidelity provides a wide range of account kinds to its customers. Account creation is quick, painless, and entirely paperless.

Education and Research

Both platforms provide a wealth of learning tools, such as webinars and video guides. To take things a step further, Merrill Edge organizes the learning resources into several categories denoted by the reader’s degree of expertise.

BofA Global Research and other firms, including Morningstar, the Center for Financial Research & Analysis, Trefis, and Recognia, contribute to the company’s research offerings. Morningstar is among the most popular sources for mutual fund ratings and evaluations. Merrill Lynch’s investing experts review and rank the best funds in each area to create a list of Merrill Edge Select ETFs and Merrill Edge Select Funds.

The following materials are available from Fidelity to help you learn more about online trading:

  • Newsfeed
  • Stocks, ETFs, indices, options, and more may all be tracked in real-time with real-time quotations.
  • Market trends, information from third-party suppliers, and investing and trading ideas are available at the Fidelity Learning Center.
  • There are 4 types of webinars available: live events, webinars available for later viewing, strategy desk coaching sessions, and introductory courses.

Signing up for Fidelity’s monthly email newsletter that informs you of future webinars allows you to pick and select the webinars that are most relevant to your trading needs.

Range of Investments

Stocks and ETFs are popular among novice investors and traders because of their accessibility and liquidity. The LSE, NYSE, and NASDAQ are just a few of the stock exchanges where you may easily purchase and sell shares of publicly traded companies.

Fidelity is an excellent option for trading in fractional shares and dollars at cheap costs. Fractional shares are a great option to diversify your holdings at a low cost. 

Visit Fidelity

Because of their advantages, brokerage businesses catering to novice and experienced investors have embraced trading and investing in fractional shares. US stocks and ETFs can be purchased and sold for as little as $1 per trade. More than 7,000 US-listed stocks and ETFs are on Fidelity’s website for fractional share trading.

However, Merrill Edge does not provide direct purchases of fractional shares. You can still reinvest dividends in fractional shares. The term “dividend reinvestment” refers to reinvesting dividends, in which the dividend payout is used to buy more shares of the exact investment vehicle.

Fidelity provides access to 22 other stock markets, allowing you to invest in stocks on exchanges outside the United States. Conversely, Merrill Edge is limited to U.S. stock markets alone. But even penny stocks are accessible on Merrill Edge.

Both firms facilitate transactions, including stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, and options. However, you will need to search elsewhere for FX, futures, CFDs, and cryptocurrency transactions.

Trading Technology

An online trading platform and a dedicated platform for active traders (Merrill Edge MarketPro) are available from Merrill Edge. The organization has an easy-to-navigate and visually pleasing website. Multiple stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, and bond screeners are available. You may use the “fast trade” functionality from virtually any page and place orders to buy or sell stocks and ETFs.

Interactive charts, alerts, Level II quotes (which show real-time bid and ask prices for Nasdaq stocks), a tunable dashboard, and streaming data and news are just a few of the features that active traders can take advantage of on the MarketPro platform, which is accessible to all Merrill Edge customers.

With Fidelity’s Active Trader Pro package, experienced traders may use real-time market data, additional charting, and technical analysis tools. You may place orders with many legs for options, and other order kinds are available.

Merrill Edge

Mobile Apps

Using Merrill Edge and Fidelity’s robust mobile trading software, you may use your iOS, Apple, or Android device to make trades and keep tabs on your portfolio. Both smartphone applications have a primary interface that facilitates online trading.

Biometric authentication is a convenient and secure alternative to two-factor authentication, which is not supported by either trading app but may be used to log in to the applications.

The search features make it easy to locate the desired resources. Simply typing in the ticker symbol or company name will get a list of relevant results. Suppose you want to look for stocks in a nation other than the United States using Fidelity’s mobile trading platform. In that case, you’ll need to provide the appropriate country code.

As trading and related tools have moved online, more and more novice investors are choosing to handle their own asset purchases and sales rather than hire professional portfolio managers. Yet, you need to know the different types of orders and their benefits before you begin trading and investing in financial products.

Depending on your trading objectives, various order types can help you trade more efficiently and profitably. An example of this would be a “market order,” which directs the broker to make the deal at the best available market price. If there is sufficient liquidity, market orders are usually filled instantly.

Customer Service

Fidelity is the first company to offer multi-channel customer service, including chat, phone, and email. There is a considerable amount of calls being received by most brokers, which might result in long hold times, especially during peak hours. A chatbot that provides valuable and relevant information is also available.

Merrill Edge’s customer care representatives are available by live chat and phone. Additionally, the FAQ section of the Help and Support website has a wealth of information.

Automated Investing

Let’s say you’ve never done online trading and are looking to get your feet wet. That’s why it’s helpful to have the option of automatic trading to back up your financial management. Merrill Edge offers robo-advisor services and other forms of automated portfolio management for a minimum commitment of $1,000. A managed investment advising program is also available, providing you with direct access to a financial professional. Using this service requires a bare minimum investment of $20,000.

Regarding portfolio management, Fidelity’s plethora of automatic trading accounts is a great resource. Fidelity Go, a robo-advisor service with a $10 minimum deposit, is one example of a managed account. If you want to invest significantly more money, however, you may want to consider a separately managed account.

Fidelity Go, their automated investment service, takes care of your portfolio. You won’t have to pay anything to open the investment account, but there is a $3 maintenance charge for balances of $10,000 to $49,000. If your balance in the account is beyond $50,000 per year, a 0.35 percent yearly charge will be assessed. If your account’s value is less than $10,000, you won’t have to pay any advising fees.

Visit Fidelity

Retirement accounts

Several retirement options are available from Fidelity. You can choose from many types of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and employer-sponsored retirement programs for smaller businesses.

As long as the minor is under 18 and the adult has earned remuneration, any adult can create and administer a Roth IRA for children at Fidelity.

There is no minimum deposit requirement for opening a Roth IRA or regular IRA at either Fidelity Investments or Fidelity Go.

My Preference: Merrill Edge Wins Over Fidelity

In conclusion, we have compared Merrill Edge and Fidelity across all the critical dimensions of electronic trading service. You may pick a broker who will assist you in reaching your trading objectives now that you know what to look for.

Merrill Edge

Edge, however, is ranked first as the best trading platform in general for 2022 since it not only allows access to foreign markets and commission-free trading of cryptocurrencies, CFDs, equities, ETFs, fractional shares, and more.

Merrill Edge vs. Fidelity: The Bottom Line

If you want a broker that makes it easy to invest, supports fractional shares and has a wide variety of mutual funds, go no further than Fidelity. Since Fidelity Go does not charge fees on portfolios under $10,000, it is also an excellent option for beginning investors searching for a fee-free robo-advisor. Merrill Edge is more expensive than the hybrid robo-advisor service, where you interact with an advisor.

But suppose you’re already a customer with Bank of America. In that case, you’ll find that Merrill Edge is a better option than Fidelity. You may take advantage of Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards Program in addition to consolidating all of your financial services with a single industry leader. When comparing ESG investing tools, Merrill Edge outperforms Fidelity thanks to its more comprehensive selection of screeners and in-depth research in this area.

FAQ

Is Fidelity Investments potentially risky?

Yes. Since market volatility impacts all investments, losing money with any investing platform is possible. Fidelity can be a profitable investment option, but keep in mind that share values tend to be volatile.

Is Merrill Edge a safe financial institution?

Traders may use this platform, connected to Bank of America, because of its reliability and the wealth of information it provides.

Is Fidelity suitable for individual retirement accounts (IRA)?

If you're looking for the most in-depth selection of retirement accounts in the United States, go no further than Fidelity for your self-directed IRA.

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