Author Topic: Any issues with using Merrill Edge for purchasing Vanguard ETFs?  (Read 3399 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Does anyone see issues with purchasing and holding Vanguard ETFs using Merrill Edge (while still holding comparable index funds directly with Vanguard)?  Merrill Edge has a program where if you keep a certain amount of dollars in combined accounts, you receive higher cashback rewards on your credit card purchases (100K).  This for our level is an additional 75% bonus cashback on purchases in select categories like Gas, Groceries, etc., which has made a big difference (to us, while not capping our bonuses using two different cards to capture the most bonuses). 

We have a sizable position in Vanguard by weekly contributions to index funds.  My thoughts were to stop purchasing the funds @ Vanguard until we have enough to keep our highest tier level with BOA/ME.  Right now, we have a cash account to fulfill this requirement (preferred deposit), which we will use to pay off a mortgage coming due this year.  Once that obligation is met, we will be able to purchase increased amounts in our taxable accounts. 

Does anyone see any issue with using Merrill Edge for purchasing ETFs or are currently doing this?  Are they a reasonably brokerage firm?  I know now they have free trades now, but the Platinum honors is to us well worth keeping, but personally not if we are losing purchasing power by keeping large sums of cash there for long periods of time.  I'd rather use the brokerage account to fulfill their requirements, while accomplishing the same goal at Vanguard, yet only if I'm not losing out in the long run.

If anyone else is doing this I'd really like to hear your feedback or criticism. 

Thanks All.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Any issues with using Merrill Edge for purchasing Vanguard ETFs?
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2020, 06:08:52 PM »
I use ME.

I moved over an old IRA so that I am able to maintain the Platinum Hons Preferred with BofA, primarily for the credit card rewards.

I also use BofA for a custodian account for my daughter. Primary reason *was* the free trades she used to get as a spillover benefits of my Plat. Hons. status.

They are a big brokerage. As a retail customer, I have nothing *significant* to complain about. Their app experience is great. I'd say it is better than Fidelity. I don't know about Schwab or Vanguard directly since I have not used them directly, so can't compare.

The only minor quibble is that I wish they allowed fractional purchases to the same degree Fidelity does. It would have made life a lot easier if my daughter was able to deposit $5 she saved up an invest that right away. But then again, some perspective is in order. The no-friction brokerage experience we have come to expect in the US was *not* the norm till a few years ago, and still is *not* the norm in most of the world. So I feel like I've become spoiled with all the freebies brokerages have started throwing at us in the last few years and should probably shut up about the minor quibbles.

And yes, I have VT/VTI/VOO in my ME account(s).
« Last Edit: January 01, 2020, 06:10:35 PM by ctuser1 »


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Any issues with using Merrill Edge for purchasing Vanguard ETFs?
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2020, 12:39:23 PM »
Thanks Everyone - Conversely, what are the dynamics of holding the equivalent mutual index fund, say VTSAX via Merrill Edge?


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Any issues with using Merrill Edge for purchasing Vanguard ETFs?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2020, 02:18:57 PM »
I'd encourage you to buy Vanguard ETFs, not mutual funds, through Merrill Edge:

Many mutual funds "play ball" and give something like a commission to the firm that purchases them.  Vanguard doesn't "play ball" - they don't pay to get your order.  So firms wind up charging extra fees.  If you look at the pricing above, they have a category of mutual funds that cost $20/trade.  That's almost certainly Vanguard mutual funds.

Instead, just buy Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI), which holds the exact same contents as VTSAX.  Since all ETFs are $0/trade, you won't pay extra but will get the same thing.