Skip to main content
 

Merrill Edge® Self-Directed Investing

Make unlimited $0 online stock, ETF and option trades

Plus take advantage of no annual account fees or balance minimums.Footnote 1 Options contract and other fees may apply.Footnote * 

Take control of your investing with access to research, personalized insights and exclusive tools to confidently put your ideas into action.

Explore the benefits of a Merrill Edge Self-Directed account

Select for item 2 of 4: Award-winning research
Access timely insights and investing ideas from BofA Global ResearchFootnote 3
Select for item 3 of 4: Powerful tools
Get access to new ideas and personalized insights to help inform your investing decisions
Select for item 4 of 4: Connected experiences
Access your Bank of America banking and Merrill investing accounts through a single login

Enhance your investing with key portfolio insight and fresh ideas

Always know where you stand with a personalized view of what's relevant to your portfolio now — your performance, your holdings, the market and more.
Start searching for your next investing idea with Idea Builder, an intuitive tool that helps you explore investing ideas by themes.

Need help getting started?

These quick videos can walk you through choosing the right account for you, adding funds and making your first investments. If you're looking for something else, see more videos about investing at Merrill.

How to Choose & Open an Account

Disclosure:
Please see important information at the end of this video.
When you first start investing, it can be a really exciting time. But just in case you're also feeling a bit overwhelmed… you're not alone. Most people feel that way at first.
But you only have to make two decisions before opening your account.
You choose what kind of account is right for you… and how much guidance you want for that account.
Sounds doable, right? I'll go through it on my screen and show you exactly where to find the information you need.
Okay, so most people are either going to select a general investing account… or one of Merrill's Individual Retirement accounts, also known as IRAs.
If you're focused on retirement, start here and take a look at "Compare IRAs" to understand the different options. Or you can even try Merrill's IRA selector tool if that works better for you.
If you aren't looking at retirement right now, Merrill has general investing accounts that offer more flexibility to take out money before you retire.
You just decide if it'll be in your name alone, or a joint account. And if you're opening it for someone under 18, you need to make it a "custodial" account.
One thing to keep in mind, if you're moving any assets from another investment company, the easiest thing to do is to create the same kind of account with Merrill. Anything else can impact your taxes.
Now, if you have assets from an old job or 401k, there are other things to consider. But either way, Merrill has experienced people who can help you, and they're available 24/7.
Okay, once you've decided what kind account you want to open, you can pick how you want to work with Merrill.
Would you rather go with your own investment ideas, or have one of Merrill's professionals manage and invest your account for you?
Let me tell you a bit about both choices.
If you want to be the one steering your own investments, Merrill Edge Self-Directed may be the way to go. This choice gives all kinds of access to flexible tools, research and expert insights to help you implement your investing ideas.
Disclosure:
Footnote * Options contract and other fees may apply.
If you aren't so interested in being a hands-on investor, you might decide on Merrill Guided Investing. You just answer a few questions online and Merrill will recommend a strategy and manage the investments for you.
With this option, you pay a monthly program fee and that covers investing and management. You can even choose to work directly with an advisor.
So, once you choose your account type and how you want to work with Merrill, it's time to actually open the account. You can do it all from your computer, or even your phone.
And if you're already a Bank of America client, use that log-in and it'll pre-fill most of your application.
Once you get email confirmation that your account is live, you can fund it and start trading from any device. But don't worry… we have other videos and plenty of support as you move along.
So, don't feel overwhelmed. You're just a few decisions and couple clicks away from building your financial future with Merrill. And that's pretty exciting. Thank you for watching.
Disclosure:
Footnote 
Other fees may apply. Free and $0 means there is no commission charged for these trades. Sales are subject to a transaction fee of between $0.01 and $0.03 per $1,000 of principal. There are costs associated with owning ETFs. To learn more about Merrill pricing, visit our Pricing page.
Merrill waives its commissions for all online stock, ETF and option trades placed in a Merrill Edge® Self-Directed brokerage account. Brokerage fees associated with, but not limited to, margin transactions, special stock registration/gifting, account transfer and processing and termination apply. $0 option trades are subject to a $0.65 per-contract fee. Other fees and restrictions may apply. Pricing is subject to change without advance notice.
Merrill Guided Investing and Merrill Guided Investing with Advisor have an annual program fee of 0.45% and 0.85%, respectively, based on the assets held in the account. This fee is charged monthly in advance. In addition to the annual program fee, the expenses of the investments will vary based on the specific funds within each portfolio. Actual fund expenses will vary; please refer to each fund's prospectus. To learn more about pricing, visit the Merrill Guided Investing Program Brochure (PDF) or the Merrill Guided Investing with Advisor Program Brochure (PDF).
Investing involves risk. There is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities.
Asset allocation, diversification, and rebalancing do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.
Please review the applicable Merrill Guided Investing Program Brochure (PDF) or Merrill Guided Investing with Advisor Program Brochure (PDF) for information including the program fee, rebalancing, and the details of the investment advisory program. Your recommended investment strategy will be based solely on the information you provide to us for this specific investment goal and is separate from any other advisory program offered with us. If there are multiple owners on this account, the information you provide should reflect the views and circumstances of all owners on the account. If you are the fiduciary of this account for the benefit of the account owner or account holder (e.g., trustee for a trust or custodian for an UTMA), please keep in mind that these assets will be invested for the benefit of the account owner or account holder. Merrill Guided Investing is offered with and without an advisor. Merrill, Merrill Lynch, and/or Merrill Edge investment advisory programs are offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated ("MLPF&S") and Managed Account Advisors LLC ("MAA") an affiliate of MLPF&S. MLPF&S and MAA are registered investment advisers. Investment adviser registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training.
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as "MLPF&S" or "Merrill") makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp."). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of BofA Corp.

Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A., and affiliated banks, Members FDIC, and wholly owned subsidiaries of BofA Corp.

Merrill Private Wealth Management is a division of MLPF&S that offers a broad array of personalized wealth management products and services. Both brokerage and investment advisory services (including financial planning) are offered by the Private Wealth Advisors through MLPF&S. The nature and degree of advice and assistance provided, the fees charged, and client rights and Merrill's obligations will differ among these services. The banking, credit and trust services sold by the Private Wealth Advisors are offered by licensed banks and trust companies, including Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC, and other affiliated banks.
Trust and fiduciary services are provided by Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC, a wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp.
Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A. and affiliated banks. Members FDIC and wholly owned subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation.
Clients enrolled in Preferred Rewards receive a Preferred Rewards discount off the Merrill Guided Investing program's annual asset-based fee of 0.45%, and the Merrill Guided Investing with Advisor and Merrill Edge Advisory Account programs' annual asset-based fee of 0.85% for any of their accounts enrolled in the respective advisory programs. Preferred Rewards enrolled clients receive a discount of 0.05% off of the annual rate for the Gold tier, 0.10% for the Platinum tier, or 0.15% for the Platinum Honors, Diamond and Diamond Honors tiers based on their Preferred Rewards tier effective at the time the applicable advisory program fee is calculated. It may take up to 30 calendar days for changes to your Preferred Rewards status or tier to be associated with and effective for your accounts in the advisory programs. This fee is charged monthly in advance. In addition to the annual program fee, the expenses of the investments will vary based on the specific funds within each portfolio. Actual fund expenses will vary; please refer to each fund's prospectus.
Preferred Rewards for Wealth Management clients other than Bank of America Private Bank clients, do not receive the Merrill Guided Investing fee discount.
Investment products:
Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value
© 2024 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. 2929574

How to Navigate & Fund

Disclosure:
Please see important information at the end of this video.
So, you've opened a new Merrill Edge Self-Directed account. It's a great first step, and even though investing for the first time can feel daunting… it doesn't have to. So, I'm here to show you the ropes. I'm going to do everything on my screen, so you can see how it works.
First thing is funding your account. It's actually pretty simple… and if you're already a Bank of America client, it's even easier.
Your checking… savings… they're already there. And if they're not, you can link your accounts up like this.
You can also transfer money, online or on mobile, right into your account from other banks. Or move investments from other brokerages whenever you want.
And if you want to automatically put money into the account every month or maybe consolidate other retirement accounts, all of that's on the table too.
Once you have money in the account, you're on your way. Next, a lot of people download the mobile app. It's right in the App store, or you can just go to MerrillEdge.com on your phone or tablet. It's the same username and password you've already set up for your account.
Now you can manage your investments and transfer money wherever you are. So, when you log in, you'll end up here. It's your home page; kind of a snapshot of your accounts. And these are quick tabs for the things you probably want to see first. Holdings… activities… dividends…
And right at the top is where you can make things happen, whether you're still researching… or ready to make a trade. Speaking of which… let's do this. Now, I am not offering you a stock tip… just showing you what it looks like to make a trade.
So, let's say you need a little more help. No worries. Most people do. It's right here. You'll find guidance at every step along the way.
After all, just because you're doing it yourself… doesn't mean you have to do it alone. There's a quick start guide… and 24/7 support.
So that's it. That's all it takes to get started. What you do next… is up to you. Thanks for watching, and thanks for choosing Merrill.
Disclosure:
BofA Global Research is research produced by BofA Securities, Inc. ("BofAS") and/or one or more of its affiliates. BofAS is a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC popup, and wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp.").
These charts are based on historical data and is intended for illustrative purposes only. It is not intended to be representative of future performance or any particular investment.
Investing involves risk. There is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities.
Asset allocation, diversification, and rebalancing do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as "MLPF&S" or "Merrill") makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp."). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member Securities Investor Protection (SIPC) popup and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp").
Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A. and affiliated banks. Members FDIC and wholly owned subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation.
Investment products:
Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value
© 2024 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. 2929570

How to Start Investing

Disclosure:
Please see important information at the end of this video.
When it comes to investing, everyone does it a little differently. It's not like there's only one "right" way. So now that you've funded your Merrill Edge Self-Directed account, you get to decide what approach works for you.
But I'm not here to tell you what to invest in. I'm just going to show you a few of the ways you can get the information you need, and start investing. And I'll do it on my screen, so you can see exactly how it works.
So, most people already know how much money they're willing to invest when they start. But the question you're probably asking is "What do I want to invest in?"
There are all kinds of options. But some of the most common ones are stocks, Exchange Traded Funds, or as the pros like to say "ETFs", Mutual Funds, and fixed income assets like Bonds.
Now it's totally okay if you don't know what all of those things are. Because under the Guidance & Retirement tab, you'll find links like "Investor Education" and "New to Investing" that will help you both understand your choices, and set your priorities.
Spend some time reading up or watching the videos. They could give you an idea of where to start. And think about when you're going to need the money you're investing. For example, are you looking to redo your kitchen in a few years, or are you saving up for retirement?
Also, be realistic about how much risk you're comfortable taking. Putting your money in different types of investments can manage risk… but risk is always a part of investing.
Okay, so once you've set those guardrails, it's time to figure out what to invest in. These ideas can come from anywhere, from the morning news to a personal connection. But if you're at MerrillEdge.com, the place to start is the Research tab.
You can get information and insights about markets, or take a look at lists of stocks, mutual funds and ETFs that have been put together by investment experts. You can even find investment ideas that align with the things you care about most.
And once those ideas come into focus, you can go deeper to get the story behind the stock or fund.
You'll find it here, in the overview. With a click, you can page through, step by step, and learn more about the company or fund, and look at past performance and current ratings.
Now let me be clear… this stock does not exist. It was made up for this video. I am not here recommending anything… except doing your homework. But of course, once you get into browsing stocks stories, it might not even feel like homework at all.
But let's say that after looking through a stock story, or any of the other research, you're ready to make a trade. Well that process starts right up here.
You'll enter the symbol in this space. And start filling out the trade ticket with the details like "buy" or "sell" and how many shares you're trading.
If you're looking to make the transaction right away, the order type you want is "Market." Any of the choices will only make a trade go through if the price goes higher or lower than an amount you set in your order.
But that's more advanced trading. You can click the "help" link right from the trade page to learn more about any of them.
Lastly, preview your order and double check it. Then confirm… and you've made your trade. And once you've begun trading, you can monitor all your holdings in one place.
This is your portfolio story, where you can look at past performance, and even watch a short video about your portfolio.
So, those are the basics, from deciding what kind of investment fits you, all the way through making a trade. And if you ever have questions, you can call, message, or chat anytime from MerrilEdge.com or the Merrill App. Welcome to investing with Merrill. Thank you for watching.
Disclosure:
Other fees may apply. Free and $0 means there is no commission charged for these trades. Sales are subject to a transaction fee of between $0.01 and $0.03 per $1,000 of principal. There are costs associated with owning ETFs. To learn more about Merrill pricing, visit our Pricing page.
Merrill waives its commissions for all online stock, ETF and option trades placed in a Merrill Edge® Self-Directed brokerage account. Brokerage fees associated with, but not limited to, margin transactions, special stock registration/gifting, account transfer and processing and termination apply. $0 option trades are subject to a $0.65 per-contract fee. Other fees and restrictions may apply. Pricing is subject to change without advance notice.
Merrill Guided Investing and Merrill Guided Investing with Advisor have an annual program fee of 0.45% and 0.85%, respectively, based on the assets held in the account. This fee is charged monthly in advance. In addition to the annual program fee, the expenses of the investments will vary based on the specific funds within each portfolio. Actual fund expenses will vary; please refer to each fund's prospectus. To learn more about pricing, visit the Merrill Guided Investing Program Brochure (PDF) or the Merrill Guided Investing with Advisor Program Brochure (PDF).
Investing involves risk. There is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities.
Asset allocation, diversification, and rebalancing do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as "MLPF&S" or "Merrill") makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp."). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member Securities Investor Protection (SIPC) popup and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp").
Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A. and affiliated banks. Members FDIC and wholly owned subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation.
Investment products:
Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value
© 2024 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. 2929578
Previous video Next video
How to Choose & Open an Account Video 1 of 3 selected
3:26
Previous video Next video
How to Navigate & Fund  Video 2 of 3
2:16
Previous video Next video
How to Start Investing  Video 3 of 3
3:57

Get rewarded with Bank of America Preferred Rewards

Investment account balances can help you earn Preferred Rewards benefits and pricing discounts. Members enjoy benefits such as credit card rewards bonuses, discounts on home and auto loans, monthly account maintenance fee waivers and more.
Gold
$20K to <$50K
3-month combined average daily balance
Platinum
$50K to <$100K
3-month combined average daily balance
Platinum Honors
$100K to <$1MM
3-month combined average daily balance
Diamond
$1MM to <$10MM
3-month combined average daily balance

Ready to get started?

Open an account with Merrill
or call us at 888.866.2190

Check out other ways to invest with Merrill

Merrill Guided Investing

Get a professionally managed portfolio that's monitored and rebalanced by Merrill professionals.Footnote 2
Learn more about Merrill Guided investing

Invest with an Advisor

Work with a Merrill advisor who can help you define your goals, establish an investment plan and help you stay on track with your goals.
Learn more about Merrill Guided Investing with an Advisor

Have more complex wealth management needs?

Invest with a Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor to help you grow, preserve and manage your wealth.Footnote 4

Frequently Asked Questions

Footnote 
Other fees may apply. Free and $0 means there is no commission charged for these trades. $0 option trades are subject to a $0.65 per-contract fee. Sales are subject to a transaction fee of between $0.01 and $0.03 per $1,000 of principal. There are costs associated with owning ETFs. To learn more about Merrill pricing, visit our Pricing page.
Footnote 
Merrill waives its commissions for all online stock, ETF and option trades placed in a Merrill Edge® Self-Directed brokerage account. Brokerage fees associated with, but not limited to, margin transactions, special stock registration/gifting, account transfer and processing and termination apply. $0 option trades are subject to a $0.65 per-contract fee. Other fees and restrictions may apply. Pricing is subject to change without advance notice.
Footnote 
Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Certain requirements must be met to trade options. Before engaging in the purchase or sale of options, investors should understand the nature of and extent of their rights and obligations and be aware of the risks involved in investing with options. Please read the options disclosure document titled "Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options (PDF)" before considering any option transaction. You may also call the Investment Center at 877.653.4732 for a copy. A separate client agreement is needed. Multi-leg option orders are charged one base commission per order, plus a per-contract charge.

The maximum loss, gain and breakeven of any options strategy only remains as defined so long as the strategy contains all original positions. Trading, rolling, assignment, or exercise of any portion of the strategy will result in a new maximum loss, gain and breakeven calculation, which will be materially different from the calculation when the strategy remains intact with all of the contemplated legs or positions. This is applicable to all options strategies inclusive of long options, short options and spreads. To learn more about Merrill's uncovered option handling practices, view Naked Option Stress Analysis (NOSA) (PDF).

Early assignment risk is always present for option writers (specific to American-style options only). Early assignment risk may be amplified in the event a call writer is short an option during the period the underlying security has an ex-dividend date. This is referred to as dividend risk.

Long options are exercised and short options are assigned. Note that American-style options can be assigned/exercised at any time through the day of expiration without prior notice. Options can be assigned/exercised after market close on expiration day. View specific Merrill Option Exercise & Assignment Practices (PDF).

Supporting documentation for any claims, comparison, recommendations, statistics, or other technical data, will be supplied upon request.
Footnote 
Please review the applicable Merrill Guided Investing Program Brochure (PDF) or Merrill Guided Investing with Advisor Program Brochure (PDF) for information including the program fee, rebalancing, and the details of the investment advisory program. Your recommended investment strategy will be based solely on the information you provide to us for this specific investment goal and is separate from any other advisory program offered with us. If there are multiple owners on this account, the information you provide should reflect the views and circumstances of all owners on the account. If you are the fiduciary of this account for the benefit of the account owner or account holder (e.g., trustee for a trust or custodian for an UTMA), please keep in mind that these assets will be invested for the benefit of the account owner or account holder. Merrill Guided Investing is offered with and without an advisor. Merrill, Merrill Lynch, and/or Merrill Edge investment advisory programs are offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated ("MLPF&S") and Managed Account Advisors LLC ("MAA") an affiliate of MLPF&S. MLPF&S and MAA are registered investment advisers. Investment adviser registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training.
The Chief Investment Office (CIO) develops the investment strategies for Merrill Guided Investing and Merrill Guided Investing with Advisor, including providing its recommendations of ETFs, mutual funds and related asset allocations. Managed Account Advisors LLC (MAA), Merrill's affiliate, is the overlay portfolio manager responsible for implementing the Merrill Guided Investing strategies for client accounts, including facilitating the purchase & sale of ETFs and mutual funds in client accounts and updating account asset allocations when the CIO's recommendations change while also implementing any applicable individual client or firm restriction(s).

You may also be able to obtain the same or similar services or types of investments through other programs and services, both investment advisory and brokerage, offered by Merrill; these may be available at lower or higher fees than charged by the Program. The services that you receive by investing through Merrill Guided Investing or Merrill Guided Investing with Advisor will be different from the services you receive through other programs. You may also be able to obtain some or all of these types of services from other firms, and if they are available, the fees associated with them may be lower or higher than the fees we charge.
Footnote 
BofA Global Research is research produced by BofA Securities, Inc. ("BofAS") and/or one or more of its affiliates. BofAS is a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC popup, and wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp.").
Footnote 
Merrill is the marketing name for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Merrill Edge®, and Merrill Private Wealth Management, all of which are made available through Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated ("MLPF&S"). Merrill is available through MLPF&S, and consists of the Merrill Edge Advisory Center (investment guidance) and self-directed online investing.

Merrill makes available products and services offered by MLPF&S and other subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp").
Footnote 
Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as "MLPF&S" or "Merrill") makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp."). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, Member SIPC, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of BofA Corp.

Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A., and affiliated banks, Members FDIC, and wholly owned subsidiaries of BofA Corp.

Merrill Private Wealth Management is a division of MLPF&S that offers a broad array of personalized wealth management products and services. Both brokerage and investment advisory services (including financial planning) are offered by the Private Wealth Advisors through MLPF&S. The nature and degree of advice and assistance provided, the fees charged, and client rights and Merrill's obligations will differ among these services. The banking, credit and trust services sold by the Private Wealth Advisors are offered by licensed banks and trust companies, including Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC, and other affiliated banks.
Trust and fiduciary services are provided by Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC, a wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp.
MAP5701923-06192024
Connect with us:
LinkedIn popup
X popup
YouTube popup
Connect with us:
LinkedIn popup
X popup
YouTube popup
Investing in securities involves risks, and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities.

Asset allocation, diversification, and rebalancing do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.
Merrill, its affiliates, and financial advisors do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.

This material is not intended as a recommendation, offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or investment strategy. Merrill offers a broad range of brokerage, investment advisory (including financial planning) and other services. Additional information is available in our Client Relationship Summary (PDF).

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as "MLPF&S" or "Merrill") makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp."). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member Securities Investor Protection (SIPC) popup and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp").
Merrill Lynch Life Agency Inc. (MLLA) is a licensed insurance agency and wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp.

Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A. and affiliated banks, Members FDIC and wholly owned subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation.

Investment products offered through MLPF&S and insurance and annuity products offered through MLLA:
Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value
Are Not Deposits Are Not Insured by Any Federal Government Agency Are Not a Condition to Any Banking Service or Activity


Privacy | Security | Glossary | Advertising practices popupAdvertising Practices popup


© 2024 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved.

4326521