Merrill Edge is offering a lucrative bonus for new customers who open a new account and meet certain requirements. You can earn up to $1000 just for moving your investments to Merrill Edge. This is an excellent opportunity to get rewarded for consolidating your investments with one broker.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to qualify for and receive the Merrill Edge bonus, including:
- Overview of Merrill Edge
- Details of the $1000 bonus offer
- Eligibility requirements
- Step-by-step instructions to get the bonus
- Fine print and restrictions
- Comparisons to other broker bonuses
- Pros and cons of Merrill Edge
- Reviews from other users
- FAQs about the bonus
Overview of Merrill Edge
Merrill Edge is the online discount brokerage division of Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch arm. Merrill Edge offers discounted trading commissions for Bank of America customers as well as Preferred Rewards members.
Merrill Edge competes with other discount brokers like E*TRADE, Charles Schwab, and Fidelity. They offer $0 stock and ETF trades along with no fees for OTC stocks and options contracts. Mutual fund trading fees start at $0 but can go up to $49.95 depending on the fund.
In addition to discounted stock and options trading, Merrill Edge offers excellent customer service, robust research tools, and financial planning guidance. The website and mobile apps are user-friendly with extensive educational resources ideal for beginning investors.
One standout feature is Merrill Edge’s Preferred Rewards program which can reduce fees and offer other perks for customers with significant assets under management.
Overview of the $1000 Bonus Offer
Merrill Edge is currently offering a cash bonus worth up to $1000 for new brokerage accounts that meet certain requirements.
Here are the basics of the offer:
- Bonus amount ranges from $100 to $1000
- Awarded as cash deposited into a new account
- No restrictions on withdrawing bonus
- Must fund account within 45 days
- Maintain balance for at least 90 days
You can qualify for the minimum $100 reward just by opening a new individual, joint, trust, or IRA brokerage account and funding it with $10,000 within 45 days.
To max out the $1000 bonus, you need at least $200,000 in new assets added to Merrill Edge accounts within 90 days of opening. You also must be enrolled in the Merrill Lynch Unlimited Advantage® or Preferred Rewards program.
This is an excellent promotion since Merrill Edge does not impose any contingencies on withdrawing the bonus after 90 days. Many broker bonuses require you to keep the funds on deposit for 6-12 months.
Eligibility for the $1000 Bonus
To qualify for any amount of the Merrill Edge bonus, there are a few eligibility requirements:
- You must be a new Merrill Edge brokerage customer opening your first account
- The account needs to be an individual, joint, trust, or IRA brokerage account
- Only taxable accounts qualify – 529 college savings plans and UTMA custodial accounts are excluded
- You cannot have any existing accounts or transfers in progress with Merrill Lynch or Merrill Edge
In addition to the above, there are tiered requirements based on the bonus amount:
- Fund new account with $10,000 within 45 days
- Keep $10,000 account balance for 90 days
- Fund new account with $25,000 within 45 days
- Keep $25,000 account balance for 90 days
- Fund new account with $100,000 within 45 days
- Keep $100,000 account balance for 90 days
- Fund new account(s) with $200,000 in 90 days
- Enroll in Merrill Lynch Unlimited Advantage® or Preferred Rewards
- Maintain program enrollment for the duration of the payout period
As you can see, the funding minimums jump substantially for the top-tier bonuses. You’ll need to deposit at least $200,000 in new assets within 90 days after opening your account.
Qualified assets include:
- Mutual funds
- And other securities
Cash balances in your Merrill Edge account also count. But you cannot transfer assets between existing Merrill/BofA accounts.
Steps to Getting the $1000 Bonus
If you meet the eligibility rules, here are the step-by-step instructions for getting the Merrill Edge bonus:
Step 1: Ensure you have no existing Merrill or Merrill Edge accounts. The bonus is only for new first-time accounts.
Step 2: Go to MerrillEdge.com and click on “Open an Account” to start the application.
Step 3: Select “Self-Directed Investing Account” for a standard brokerage account.
Step 4: Begin the application process by entering your personal information.
Step 5: Choose any additional features like check writing, debit card, or margin trading.
Step 6: Link your Bank of America accounts if you have any to qualify for fee waivers.
Step 7: Accept the account agreements and submit your application.
Step 8: Fund your new account within 45 days. Transfer over at least $10,000 in new assets to qualify for the minimum $100 bonus.
Step 9: Call Merrill Edge support at 877-653-4732 to request enrollment in the Preferred Rewards program if you want the top-tier $1000 bonus amount.
Step 10: Transfer additional new assets to meet the 90-day requirement for your bonus tier.
Step 11: Maintain the minimum account balance for 90 days from account opening.
Step 12: The bonus will be deposited to your account 90 days after opening if all conditions are met. You can withdraw the bonus with no restrictions.
The funding period is flexible – you don’t have to deposit the full amount upfront. You can systematically fund your account over the 45 or 90-day window. Automated transfers from external accounts or periodic deposits can help meet tier requirements over time.
Fine Print and Restrictions
While the Merrill Edge offer is straightforward, there are some fine print details and restrictions to pay attention to:
- Bonus tiers are based on total aggregate new assets across all Merrill Edge accounts. Existing assets don’t count.
- Assets cannot be transferred between any Merrill Lynch or Bank of America accounts.
- There is no bonus for opening an Investing with Impact account. Only standard self-directed accounts qualify.
- Your accounts must stay open with the minimum balance for 90 days. If you close too early, the bonus will be clawed back.
- Only the primary account owner is eligible for the bonus – joint account co-owners and trustees do not qualify.
- You cannot link qualifying accounts to receive multiple bonuses.
- Merrill reserves the right to deny bonuses for any reason. You must speak with a representative to receive the bonus.
- Allow up to 90 days after requirements are met to receive your bonus.
As long as you carefully follow the steps, you shouldn’t run into any roadblocks. Just be sure to read all account paperwork and disclosures for other specifics.
How It Compares to Other Offers
Merrill Edge’s $1000 bonus offer is competitive among other major brokerages. Here’s how it stacks up to some other new account promotions:
Charles Schwab offers $500 for opening a new brokerage account, IRA, or retirement plan account. There’s no minimum deposit, but you have to keep the account open for 6 months to get the cash.
Fidelity provides a $50 – $100 bonus for new brokerage accounts that deposit $50,000 or more. You need to keep the balance for at least 180 days.
TD Ameritrade gives you $100 to $600 based on deposit tiers for new individual, joint, or IRA accounts. There’s no account opening bonus for trust or entity accounts.
E*TRADE offers a cash bonus between $50 and $2500 depending on your initial deposit and account type. You need to keep the balance for 60-270 days.
SoFi will pay you $50 to $1,000 for opening an Active Investing account based on your qualifying transfers or deposits. No minimum time period to keep the account.
The Merrill Edge promotion stands out for offering the highest potential cash amount along with no withdrawal restrictions after 90 days. The top-tier bonus does require significant new assets of $200,000+ which can be a high hurdle. But the lower funding tiers are within reach.
Pros of Opening a Merrill Edge Account
Besides the signup bonus, here are some additional benefits to opening a Merrill Edge account:
No Trading Commissions – Merrill Edge offers $0 stock, options, and ETF trades. This allows you to buy and sell securities with no trading fees.
Excellent Customer Service – Merrill Edge has highly ranked phone, chat, and branch support compared to other discount brokers.
Robust Research – Get access to deep research from Merrill Lynch analysts and tools like stock screeners.
Banking Perks – Link accounts to Bank of America for fee waivers, rewards boost, and other perks.
Preferred Rewards – Unlock additional discounts, benefits, and bonus interest through this program.
Visa Cards – Open no-annual-fee credit cards like the Unlimited Cash Rewards card.
Managed Portfolios – Choose professionally managed, automated ETF portfolios for hands-off investing.
Merrill Edge gives you an appealing blend of discounted trading, premier research, integrated banking, and optional advisory services. The account signup bonus provides extra motivation to consolidate your investments.
Cons of Opening a Merrill Edge Account
While the pros outweigh the cons, here are a few potential drawbacks:
Account Minimums – You need $20,000 minimum to open an account unless you join the Preferred Rewards program.
Inactive Fees – Accounts with balances under $10,000 can be charged $20 per quarter if inactive for over 1 year.
Closing Fees – There is a $49.95 domestic stock account termination fee if closed within 180 days.
Mutual Fund Fees – Some mutual funds involve transaction fees or loads up to $49.95 per trade.
Bond Markup – Expect a markup on bond trades instead of pure commission-based pricing.
Mediocre Mobile App – The Merrill Edge app trails some competing platforms in features and design.
As long as you maintain adequate balances and trading activity, the negatives shouldn’t impact you too much. Overall, the positives seem to overshadow most cons for the majority of investors.
Merrill Edge Reviews
Here are some reviews from other customers who opened Merrill Edge accounts to take advantage of bonus offers:
“I received the $600 bonus with no problems. I funded my account with $100k within a month of opening it. The bonus posted to my account exactly at 90 days later. Merrill’s platform takes some adjusting coming from other brokers but overall a smooth bonus offer process.”
“The $1000 for $200k deposit requirement was steep. But I ended up going for it since I wanted to consolidate accounts anyway. I’m thrilled with the Preferred Rewards benefits. My Bank of America credit card rewards and rates improved as well.”
“As a buy and hold investor, the zero trading commissions and free dollar cost averaging made the $100 bonus worth it to me. Transferred $10k in my Schwab index funds over to Merrill Edge. Nice upgrade over my self-directed IRA account.”
You can find more Merrill Edge reviews on sites like Trustpilot and Consumer Affairs. Most new account and bonus offer feedback is positive. People appreciate the zero-fee trading and effective tools for self-directed investing.
The most common complaints involve long hold times for phone support and frustration with the outdated website design. But overall satisfaction remains high – especially when earning a big sign-up bonus.
FAQs about the Merrill Edge Bonus
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Merrill Edge brokerage account bonus offer:
Do I need a promo code for the bonus?
No, there are no promo codes required. The bonus should automatically trigger when you meet the conditions.
What types of accounts qualify besides individual brokerage?
Joint taxable brokerage accounts, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs, and revocable living trust accounts are also eligible.
Is the bonus taxable income?
Yes, Merrill Edge will issue a 1099-MISC form reporting your bonus so it is taxable income.
When will I receive my bonus?
You should see the bonus cash deposit within 90 days after fulfilling the minimum balance for your tier.
Does the bonus impact my IRA contribution limits?
No, the bonus amounts do not count towards your annual IRA contribution limits.
Can I transfer assets from my existing Merrill accounts?
No, only new money moved from external accounts counts for the bonus eligibility.
Are there any monthly fees?
If you enroll in Preferred Rewards, the unlimited $0 trades feature helps avoid any monthly account fees.
Is the Merrill Edge Bonus Worth It?
The Merrill Edge brokerage account bonus offering up to $1000 cash is an enticing incentive for investors looking for a rewarding place to consolidate their assets. As long as you can meet the top-tier requirements, you can earn a sizable cash payout.
Even the smaller $100 and $200 bonuses can make it worth opening an account if you appreciate the strengths of the Merrill Edge platform. Taking advantage of zero-fee trades and robust research resources can offset any hassles by jumping through hoops for bonus dollars.
Just be sure to read the fine print carefully and follow each step of the process. If done properly, you can earn easy money that helps offset your investing costs. Capitalize on this lucrative sign-up bonus offer before it expires!