Best Brokers for Banking Services in 2022

The StockBrokers.com best online brokers 2022 review, our 12th annual, took three months to complete and produced over 40,000 words of research. Here’s how we tested. Our editorial content is independent and unbiased; here’s how we make money.

As financial firms continue to evolve, many are combining banking and brokerage services under a single roof. That makes it easy to bounce between managing a checking account and trading stocks. With features such as FDIC insurance, universal login, and mobile bill pay, consumers have more choice than ever about where to take their banking and brokerage business.

To determine which online brokerage offers the best bank broker experience, we explored the availability of cash management tools across 15 brokers, starting with traditional banking products — e.g., checking accounts, savings accounts, debit cards, credit cards, and mortgages. Then we looked for other features such as mobile check deposit, debit card ATM fee reimbursement, no-fee banking, and access to local branch offices. Here are our findings.

Best Brokers for Banking

StockBrokers.com 2022 Review

Here’s a breakdown of the best online brokers that offer banking services.

  • Merrill Edge – Bank of America
  • J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing – Chase Bank
  • Charles Schwab – Schwab Bank
  • Ally Invest – Ally Bank
  • Fidelity – Fidelity

Other brokers tested

In addition to our top five trading platforms for banking in 2022, we reviewed 10 others: E*TRADE, Firstrade, Interactive Brokers, SoFi Invest, TD Ameritrade, TradeStation, Tradier, Robinhood, Vanguard and Webull. To dive deeper, read our reviews.


Is a brokerage account the same as a bank account?

No. A brokerage account is used to buy and sell securities (stocks, ETFs, bonds, mutual funds, and other assets) and is SIPC insured, protecting up to $500,000 per customer account. A bank account is used for banking (e.g., savings, checking, bill payments) and is FDIC insured, providing up to $250,000 in protection per individual.


Which bank broker is best?

When it comes to banking and brokerage, Merrill Edge — part of Bank of America — takes the crown, thanks to $0 trades, 4,300 retail locations, seamless universal account management and its Preferred Rewards program, which offers the best rewards of any bank broker we tested.


What is a bank brokerage?

A bank broker provides both banking services (FDIC insured) as well as stock brokerage services (SIPC protected). This combination allows you to easily move money between accounts and consolidate your finances with a single provider.


Besides investing capabilities, when you open a bank brokerage account you have the benefits of a brokerage checking account and other banking capabilities, such as money transfers and debit cards.


What banks offer brokerage accounts?

Many of the largest banks in the U.S. offer online brokerage accounts. For example, Bank of America offers online trading through Merrill Edge, J.P. Morgan Chase offers online trading through J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing, and Ally offers online investments through Ally Invest.


Which bank has the best brokerage account?

Based on our research, Bank of America has the best brokerage account offering, with Merrill Edge. Merrill Edge offers $0 stock and ETF trades, excellent bank broker universal account management, the best rewards program, and outstanding customer service.




Can you use a brokerage account as a checking account?

Yes, a brokerage checking account allows you to write checks and deposit checks. There are a growing number of banks with brokerage accounts offered that provide check-writing capabilities.


More details: If you decide to write checks from your brokerage account, be sure to monitor your account balance to maintain a proper cash allocation. As an alternative, open a separate cash management account so you do not risk overdrawing. Most brokers offer instant transfers between accounts for convenience.


What is the difference between a brokerage account and a cash management account?

Think of a cash management account like a brokerage account with a debit card. The cash management feature enables you to use a debit card to spend non-invested cash in your brokerage account. Your debit card can be used for everyday purchases such as groceries, dining, entertainment, and leisure.


Is a brokerage account better than a bank account?

One is not better than the other; they are simply different vehicles for your money. A brokerage account is necessary for investing and trading in stocks, ETFs, options and futures, whereas a bank account is meant for handling your day-to-day saving and spending.


Is a brokerage account safer than a bank account?

Both your brokerage account and your bank account typically carry insurance, the former through the SIPC and the latter through the FDIC. In that sense, both are safe. But investing or trading through a brokerage account carries market risk: Losses due to market movement are not protected by insurance.


Can I buy stocks through my bank?

Banks do not offer the ability to buy and sell stocks in checking or savings accounts. However, many large banks offer online trading through their brokerage arm. For example, Bank of America offers online trading through its discount brokerage, Merrill Edge.


Can I get a debit card for my brokerage account?

Brokerages that offer banking services often include use of a debit card with your associated banking product, such as a cash management account or checking account. Our top pick this year among brokerages with banking services is Merrill Edge, which is affiliated with Bank of America and offers B of A’s full suite of bank accounts and features.


Can you buy stocks with a debit card?

No, you cannot use a debit card to buy stocks. To buy stocks, open and fund an online brokerage account, go to the order ticket, type in the company’s stock symbol, then place the trade.


Bank Broker Pricing and Features Comparison

Here’s a pricing and features comparison of the best bank brokers sides by side using the online brokerage comparison tool.












Feature

Merrill Edge

J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing

Charles Schwab

Minimum Deposit

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

Stock Trades

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

ETF Trade Fee

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

Mutual Fund Trade Fee

$19.95

$0.00

$49.95

Options (Base Fee)

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

Options (Per Contract)

$0.65

$0.65

$0.65

Futures (Per Contract)

N/A

N/A

$2.25

Broker Assisted Trade Fee

$29.95

$25.00

$25.00












Feature

Merrill Edge

J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing

Charles Schwab

Bank (Member FDIC)

Yes

Yes

Yes

Checking Accounts

Yes

Yes

Yes

Savings Accounts

Yes

Yes

Yes

Credit Cards

Yes

Yes

Yes

Debit Cards

Yes

Yes

Yes

Mortgage Loans

Yes

Yes

Yes




Broker Banking Features List

On a feature by feature basis, our top five finishers this year offer a combination of the following features to their banking customers.















Feature Definition
Member FDIC Member of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) – fdic.gov.
Checking Accounts Offers formal checking accounts and checking services. To qualify, checking services must be marketed on the website as a client service. Basic checking through the clearing firm does not count.
Savings Accounts Offers savings accounts.
Debit Cards Offers debit cards as part of a formal banking service.
Credit Cards Offers credit cards.
Mortgage Loans Offers mortgage loans.
Mobile Check Deposit Check deposits can be made through the mobile app.
Online Bill Pay Ability for clients to add and pay bills using the website.
Mobile Bill Pay Ability for clients to add and pay bills using the mobile app.
ATM Fee Reimbursement Are debit card ATM fees reimbursed?
No Fee Banking Offers no fee banking. Requirements: no minimum balance required, no monthly maintenance fees, no debit card fees, no annual fees.
Retail Locations Total retail locations. Company HQ or similar corporate offices do not count. Must be a formally branded, publicly accessible branch office marketed on the public website.



StockBrokers.com 2022 Overall Ranking

Here are the Overall rankings for the 15 online brokers who participated in our 2022 Review, sorted by Overall ranking.

Methodology

For the StockBrokers.com 12th Annual Review published in January 2022, a total of 3,075 data points were collected over three months and used to score 15 top brokers. This makes StockBrokers.com home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

As part of our annual review process, all brokers had the opportunity to provide updates and key milestones and complete an in-depth data profile, which we hand-checked for accuracy. Brokers also were offered the opportunity to provide executive time for an annual update meeting.

Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test.

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About the Author

Blain Reinkensmeyer




Blain Reinkensmeyer is a Managing Partner at Reink Media Group. He heads research for all U.S.-based brokerages on StockBrokers.com and is respected by executives as the leading analyst covering the online broker industry. Blain’s insights have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Chicago Tribune, among other media outlets, and he is noted as a top expert on the U.S. online brokerage industry.

Chris McKhann




Chris McKhann has been in the industry for more than 20 years. He has worked for many of the top names in the online trading space, including TD Ameritrade and optionMONSTER, which later became part of E*TRADE. His work has been cited in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, the Financial Times, Forbes, CNBC, Nasdaq.com and Nikkei. He has also been an advisor and outside trader for several hedge funds. He was one of the first traders to delve into the VIX tradable products and to write about them (back in 2006). Chris is also an educator who teaches high school statistics, finance and computer science.

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