Merrill Lynch vs Robinhood


Compare Robinfood vs Merrill Lynch (Edge) - which is the better broker in 2023? Cost, IRA accounts, online trading platforms, mutual fund offerings.


Overview


Robinhood is the ultimate low-cost broker. However, Merrill Edge and Capital One Investing also offer low fees, but try to offer better services in other financial areas. This article will try to find out who is the best overall broker of the three.


Fund Offerings


All three firms offer trading in US-listed ETFs. On the mutual fund side, Merrill Edge customers have access to almost 5,000 products that are open to new investors. Approximately 800 have no load and no transaction fee. The Capital One Investing website has about 1,000 mutual funds available for purchase. Around 400 of these come with no transaction fee and no load. Oddly, Robinhood does not offer any mutual funds.


Merrill Edge vs Robinhood


Merrill Edge wins the first category.


Promotions

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

Robinhood: Free stock up to $200 when you open an account.



The Cost of Trading


Robinhood (as well as higher rated Firstrade) can comfortably brag that it is the cheapest of the low-cost brokerage firms, offering stock and ETF trades for free (yes, they really do cost nothing). It does charge for paper trade confirmations ($2) and mailed statements ($5). It passes on exchange and regulatory fees to its customers, and charges $10 for equity trades placed with the assistance of a human broker over the phone.

Although Merrill and Capital One do charge for trades, they both are still in the low-cost category. Stock and ETF transactions at both firms are $0. A mailed statement with either broker costs $5. A paper confirmation at Merrill Edge costs $3, while Capital One Investing only offers e-confirmations. Placing a trade with a living, breathing agent incurs a $29.95 fee at Merrill, while Capital One charges a lower $19.95. Bank of America customers who have at least $20,000 in cash deposits and Merrill Edge accounts combined receive $0 commission stock and ETF trades.

Robinhood wins here.


Customer Service


A Merrill Edge associate can be reached over the phone 24/7. There is a chat service for investors trying to open a new account online, although regular customers don't have a chat option. There is a phone number for clients who are temporarily outside the US, and the broker has an active Twitter account.

Capital One Investing provides customer service hours only during the week from 8:00 am until 9:00 pm. Unlike Merrill, however, the broker's website does have a regular on-line chat function. Capital One Investing also has Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Robinhood provides phone service only while the markets are open during the week. Unusually, the firm's number isn't toll-free. The broker has a Twitter account, although it's not as active as Merrill's. A service e-mail address is available, although it may take more than 24 hours to get a response.

Pretty close between Merrill and Capital One here.


Technology


Robinhood has a very minimal website. There is a help section that supplies information about how the broker operates. The primary purpose of the site is opening a new account. There is basic research and educational materials on it, and simple trades can be placed on it. The broker's customers mostly buy and sell securities on a mobile app, which itself is fairly minimalist. It can be used on Android and Apple phones and tablets. There is also a platform for Apple Watch.


Robinhood vs Merrill Edge


Merrill Edge's website is the polar opposite of Robinhood's. A great amount of material devoted to investment education is available on the site. Trades can be placed on the website, or from SnapTicket, an advanced trading system that appears at the bottom of the browsing window. It can also display a small graph. There is charting on the website, which includes different graph styles and technical studies. The broker provides a desktop platform for accounts that meet certain minimums. The Merrill Edge mobile app has many more features than Robinhood's. Charting is more advanced, and the platform can be used to pay bills and deposit checks. An app for Apple Watch is also available.

The Capital One Investing site is user-friendly, but it has less material on it than Merrill's site. There is a trade bar, but it is also less advanced than the Merrill Edge version. Trades cannot be placed directly on it. Charting with comparisons and events is available on the website. There is no desktop platform from Capital One Investing. Although there is a Capital One Investing mobile app, it doesn't have as many features as Merrill's.

This category is awarded to Merrill Edge.


Investment Advice


Traders who need financial assistance can find it from a Merrill Edge investment advisor representative. The broker has many financial advisors located in over 2,000 Bank of America branches throughout the United States. Capital One Investing also has financial advisers who can be reached over the phone, and one-on-one sessions can also be scheduled. Robinhood does not provide investment advice.

Merrill Edge wins the last category for its many locations.


Promotions

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

Robinhood: Free stock up to $200 when you open an account.



Robinhood vs Merrill Edge Outcome


Robinhood (read review) took one victory, Merrill Edge (read review) won 3½ categories, and Capital One Investing secured a half category. Merrill Edge wins without difficulty. Although Robinhood offers $0 trades, it doesn't offer much else.