Merrill Edge Enters Online Trading Fray

Bank of America Merrill Lynch plans to launch a discount online brokerage aimed at young and new investors on Monday, according to published reports.

The service, called Merrill Edge, is intended to compete with existing online trading choices offered by companies like TD Ameritrade, E-Trade Financial Corp. and Charles Schwab, according to the Associated Press.     

Trades placed through the service will cost $8.95 each, though customers with at least $25,000 in an account will get 30 free online equity trades per month.   

In addition to the online component, Merrill Edge will offer telephone and mobile access. Customers will also be able to connect to the service through Bank of America’s network of branches and its 18,000 ATMs.

According to the report, about 500,000 customers who now use the existing online brokerage services offered by Bank of America and Merrill Lynch will be transferred to Merrill Edge in the next few months. The service will allow linked access to banking, credit, retirement and investment products.