Merrill Edge Self Directed Investment Account


Merrill Edge Range Of Offerings

How To Start Investing In Your Merrill Edge® Self-Directed Account

Merrill Edges range of offerings includes the standard lineup of stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds and options. It also offers a sustainable investing screener listing investments that specifically meet environmental, social, or governance characteristics.

This online brokerage does not offer a broad range of more advanced assets, however. There is no access to cryptocurrency, foreign exchange or futures trading. For stocks, there is no access to international markets or penny stocks. Last, there is no fractional share trading, so you can only buy a stock if you can afford a full share.

Merrill Edge offers a cash management account to hold your uninvested cash. Cash in this program earns interest, and you can access it by debit card and checks. You can also set up automatic sweeps, which checks your investment account for idle cash and moves it into the cash management account.


More Details About Merrill Edge’s Ratings

Account minimum: 5 out of 5 stars

Merrill Edge has no minimum account requirement. Customers with a combined balance of more than $20,000 in eligible investment and cash accounts can qualify for Merrills rewards program.

Stock trading costs: 5 out of 5 stars

There are no commissions on stock or ETF trades at Merrill Edge.

Options trades: 4 out of 5 stars

Merrill Edge has no commissions on options trades, though you will still have to pay $0.65 per contract, a fairly typical charge among brokerages.

Account fees: 5 out of 5 stars

Merrill Edge gets high marks when it comes to account fees: There are no transfer, annual, inactivity or closing fees for brokerage accounts. If you transfer assets out of a retirement account, however, youll pay a fee of $49.95, but that charge is still lower than at some other brokerages.

Number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds: 4 out of 5 stars

Merrill Edge offers over 3,100 no-transaction-fee mutual funds to choose from.

Tradable securities: 3 out of 5 stars

While most investors will find Merrill’s selection of stocks, bonds, options, ETFs and mutual funds more than adequate, active traders eager to invest in futures or forex will need to go elsewhere. Its also worth pointing out that Merrill Edge doesnt offer fractional shares. Such an offering is becoming more commonplace among brokers, as it lets investors with less capital build diverse portfolios. Without fractional shares, this can be harder to do.

Crypto offering: 1 out of 5 stars

More Details About Merrill Edge Guided Investing’s Ratings

Looking for access to financial advisors? Jump to Merrill Edge Guided Investing with Advisor.

Account minimum: 4 out of 5 stars

Merrill Edge Guided Investing has a $1,000 account minimum. Many competitors have a $0 minimum. If youre starting to invest with a smaller amount of money, you may want to look elsewhere.

Account management fee: 2 out of 5 stars

Like its account minimum, Merrills account management fee is higher than most: 0.45% compared to the more typical robo-advisor fee of around 0.25% or less. That means for a $10,000 account balance, youll pay $45 a year in fees.

Merrill Edge Guided Investing accounts also may qualify for the companys Preferred Rewards program, which offers perks to clients with an eligible Bank of America checking account and three-month average combined balances of $20,000 or more in qualifying Merrill Edge and/or Merrill Lynch investment accounts or Bank of America deposit accounts.

The benefits of the program increase as combined balances grow and include a reduced management fee on Guided Investing accounts. The 0.45% fee drops to:

  • 0.40% if your combined balance is $20,000 to $49,999

  • 0.35% for combined balances of $50,000 to $99,999

  • 0.30% for balances of $100,000 or more.

Unfortunately, 0.30% is still more than many robo-advisors charge.

Investment expense ratios: 5 out of 5 stars

Account fees: 4 out of 5 stars

Portfolio mix: 3 out of 5 stars

Socially responsible portfolio options: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Tax strategy: 2 out of 5 stars

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Integration With Bank Of America

Even if you dont sign up with Bank of Americas Preferred Rewards program, your account with Merrill will be linked with your Bank of America account. Thats great when you want to transfer money from one to the other, because it happens instantly. Its hard to overstate the ease with which you can move money between accounts. Its done in seconds, and you know immediately the money is there.

Compare that with the days it typically takes to transfer money from your bank to your non-affiliated broker. So if you want to buy a stock immediately, you must wait for the funds to clear. On top of this, its also useful to simply have all your accounts with one organization, making your financial life just a bit easier.

Quick comparison of Brokerage options:


How To Contact Merrill Edge

Merrill Edge $600 IRA or Investment Account Bonuses and Free Trades

The fastest way to contact Merrill Edge is to call.

  • Merrill Edge Customers: Call 877-653-4732.
  • Non-Customers: Call 866-460-1282.

Phone support is available 24/7 which is one advantage. You can also schedule an in-person appointment at 2,200 Bank of America branches to speak to a Merrill Financial Solutions Advisor.

This level of in-person support is one massive difference from using Merrill Edge versus online-only brokers.

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Is Merrill Edge Right For You

Regardless of your experience as an investor, there’s a good chance this broker has much of what you would need high-quality research, a good investment selection, helpful customer service and an innovative user experience. The company ranks among the top of the field when it comes to online brokers.

What Investments Does Merrill Edge Offer

With a Merrill Edge account, you have the following investment choices:

  • Stocks and ETFs. Invest in publicly traded companies and exchange-traded funds with no commission fees.
  • Options. Execute $0 online option trades and pay $0.65 per contract.
  • Mutual funds. Explore professionally managed mutual funds, including thousands of no-load options.
  • Bonds and CDs. $0 online trades for CDs and $1 per bond with a $10 minimum.

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Is Merrill Edge Trustworthy

Merrill Edge has received an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB rates companies using a grade scale range of A+ to F, so this is the highest score a company can receive. This rating also indicates that Merrill Edge generally interacts well with its customers.

When assigning ratings, the BBB also considers factors like a company’s complaint history, time in business, advertising issues, and more. But ratings can vary per investment app.

Merrill Edge generally hasn’t run into any major lawsuits or public scandals over the years. According to BBB data, the company has resolved more than 2,200 complaints in the last 12 months.

Rickie Houston is a wealth-building reporter at Personal Finance Insider who covers investing, brokerage, and wealth-building products.

Merrill Edge Margin Rates

How to Transfer Money & Fund Your Merrill Edge® Self-Directed Investing Accounts
$100,000 and up Contact Merrill Edge

This brokerage may not be the best fit for investors who use margin as an integral part of their investment strategy. That’s because Merrill Edge margin rates are on the higher end of the discount brokerage industry, even for clients who have large balances .

Of course, margin rates are irrelevant if you don’t plan to use margin to leverage your portfolio. Investors who use a cash account can simply forget that margin exists. Investors who use high amounts of margin for long periods of time to leverage their portfolio will likely want to look elsewhere, however, given the high cost of carrying a debit balance.

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How Financial Planning Can Help Your Investments

  • A succinct financial plan is a responsible way to ensure that every investment you make has a specific purpose behind it. For most people, this will likely include some form of planning for their retirement or retirement income. But regardless of the financial goals you choose for your investments, be sure to have a well-built plan in place.
  • In theory, financial planning may seem like a simple task, but there are many nuances to doing it successfully. SmartAssets financial advisor matching tool takes your answers to a short questionnaire and pairs you up with as many as three local fiduciary advisors who can help you throw together a detailed financial plan.

College Saving & 529 Plans

Interested in saving for college? Merrill Edge offers two options: 529 plans or custodial accounts .

Merrill’s 529 plans have a $25 minimum initial funding requirement, but you’ll pay $0 in account fees. These plans also let you make federal tax-free withdrawals and offer four different portfolios: age-based diversified portfolios, diversified portfolios, single fund portfolios, and stable principal portfolios.

Custodial accounts technically known as Uniform Gifts to Minors Act/Uniform Transfers to Minors Act let you set aside money for minors, or beneficiaries, until they reach termination age.

Merrill Edge’s custodial accounts are currently free to set up and maintain. Like its self-directed brokerage accounts, these accounts also offer unlimited commission-free trades for stocks, ETFs, and options.

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Boa Integration And Preferred Rewards Program

Merrill Edge is also a competitive option for Bank of America customers since it lets you integrate your personal Bank of America accounts with your Merrill Edge accounts. You’ll also have access to 4,300 Bank of America financial centers if you need any in-person assistance, and you can get discounts or interest rate boosters if you enroll in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program.

You’ll mainly need an existing B.O.A. checking account to be eligible to sign up for Merrill Edge’s Preferred Rewards program. The program has three tiers Gold, Platinum, and Platinum Honors that provide certain discounts for different account balances. Learn more about the rewards here.

How Do We Review Robo

Merrill Edge® Self

NerdWallets comprehensive review process evaluates and ranks the largest U.S. robo-advisors by assets under management, along with emerging industry players, using a multifaceted and iterative approach. Our aim is to provide an independent assessment of providers to help arm you with information to make sound, informed judgements on which ones will best meet your needs.


We collect data directly from providers, and conduct first-hand testing and observation through provider demonstrations. Our process starts by sending detailed questionnaires to providers to complete. The questionnaires are structured to equally elicit both favorable and unfavorable responses from providers. They are not designed or prepared to produce any predetermined results. The questionnaire answers, combined with product demonstrations, interviews of personnel at the providers and our specialists hands-on research, fuel our proprietary assessment process that scores each providers performance across more than 20 factors. The final output produces star ratings from poor to excellent . Ratings are rounded to the nearest half-star.



The weighting of each factor is based on our teams assessment of which features are the most important to consumers and which ones impact the consumer experience in the most meaningful way. The factors considered, and how those factors are weighted, change depending upon the category of providers reviewed.

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Merrill Edge Research & Educational Tools

Weve already spoken about Merrill Edges research briefly, but it really deserves a spotlight of its own. The BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research franchise, is positioned in the top tier in many external surveys. The entity received a lot of recognition for its work recently, including being awarded No.1 Global Research firm.

Merrill Lynch provides research on stocks, mutual funds and ETFs, which can be seen in the brokers Stock Story and Portfolio Story features, as outlined above.

But the area in which Merrill truly shines is fund research. Lets take a closer look at that particular area.

How Do I Open An Account

Opening an account with Merrill Edge is straightforward. You can answer a short questionnaire to find the right investment account type. Alternatively, you choose your investment account of choice.Merrill Edge Self-Directed investing has a $0 account minimum. Information you need to apply includes:

  • Your Social Security Number and date of birth
  • A mailing address and email address
  • Employment information
  • General financial information like annual income and net worth)

Once you open an account, you can fund it through real-time instant funding if youre a Bank of America customer. Alternatively, you fund it through wire transfer or check. When you deposit funds as a non-BoA customer, it takes approximately two days for funds to post.

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Merrill Edge Review : Pros Cons And How It Compares

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list ofour partnersandhere’s how we make money.

The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks or securities.

Where Marketpro Could Do Better

Bank Of America – Merrill Edge – Funding Self Directed Roth IRA & Setting Up Transfers

MarketPro has two slight drawbacks that customers might not love. First, there isnt any way to make a quick order entry or swiftly pass the order confirmation window, which can be a bit of a nuisance. Secondly, MarketPro doesnt support any advanced order types or direct market routing, such as conditional order.

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Merrill Edge Ira Features

Merrill Edge is one of the more affordable options with low fees for different investment products. Some fees include a standard $6.95 per stock, option or ETF trade. Keep in mind that ETFs along with mutual funds have expense ratios that range from .03-2% annually. Its best to keep fees low as they can erode nest eggs and even expensive, actively managed funds underperform market indexes like the S& P 500. Therefore, its wise to check the fees and performance metrics prior to investing. They also charge an additional $0.75 per options contract and a $19.95 fee for mutual funds in self-directed accounts. There are some mutual funds that are commission free and any funds that carry trading charges have clear upfront disclosures.

Merrill Edge charges trading fees for fixed income products like bonds that range from 0-1$. Many short term debt investments like US treasuries trade commission free. Many bond investors usually purchase round lots which represent 100 bonds. Bonds have lower risk and returns, which is why most investors need a large quantity to have a decent profit.

Investors can use both the trading tools, research pieces and even a financial advisor to choose the optimal investments. Be aware that working with a Merrill financial advisor requires additional fees and higher account minimums.

Merrill Lynch Edge Self Directed Investing Account Investment

What is investing? At its easiest, investing is when you acquire assets you expect to earn a make money from in the future. That could describe purchasing a home you believe will increase in worth, though it commonly describes buying stocks and bonds. How is investing various than saving? Saving and investing both involve setting aside cash for future use, however there are a great deal of distinctions, too.

It most likely will not be much and often stops working to keep up with inflation . Typically, its best to just invest cash you will not need for a little while, as the stock exchange changes and you dont wish to be required to sell stocks that are down due to the fact that you require the cash.

Before you can invest any of the cash youve developed through investments, youll need to sell them. With stocks, it could take days before the earnings are settled in your checking account, and selling residential or commercial property can take months . Usually speaking, you can access money in your cost savings account anytime.

You do not have to pick just one. You canand most likely shouldinvest for several goals at the same time, though your method might need to be different. 2. Nail down your timeline. Next, figure out how much time you have to reach your goals. This is called your investment timeline, and it determines just how much threat you might have the ability to take on.

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How This Broker Makes Money From You And For You

With fewer brokerages charging commissions these days, it’s less obvious how they stay in business. Here are some of the behind-the-scenes ways Merrill Edge makes money from youand for you.

  • Interest on cash: Merrill Edge makes money on the difference between what it pays you and what it can earn on your cash balances. You can opt for a bank deposit account or a money market account for your cash. It’s automatically swept to earn an interest rate at least half of the Federal Funds rate. If you don’t choose, you’ll earn 0.01% on your cash balances.
  • Stock loan program: Merrill Edge earns money by loaning the stocks in your account for short sales. It does not share that revenue with you.
  • Payment for order flow: Merrill Edge does not accept payment for order flow from third-party market makers.
  • Price improvement: Merrill Edge’s smart order router looks for quality trade executions. Customers achieve, on average, price improvement of $0.66 on orders of one to 99 shares, $3.98 on 100 to 499 shares, $11.51 on 499 to 1,999 shares, $19.95 on 2,000 to 4,999 shares, and $24.41 on 5,000 to 9,999 shares. For options, the net price improvement per contract is $0.084.
  • Portfolio margining: Merrill Edge does not offer portfolio margining, which can lower how much margin you need based on overall risk. In general, portfolio margining works best for customers who trade derivatives that offset the risk of their equity positions.


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