How To Open A Trading Account

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What Is a Brokerage Account and How Do I Open One?

A brokerage account is an investment account you open with a brokerage firm. You can use it to buy investments.

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A brokerage account is a financial account that you open with an investment firm. Unlike a bank account, you can use a brokerage account to purchase investments, including stocks. If you want to invest in the stock market, you need a brokerage account.

There are a range of licensed brokerage firms — from pricier full-service stockbrokers to low-fee online discount brokers — where individuals can set up a brokerage account. We’ll go through the details of what a brokerage account is, how it works, and how to open one.

What is a brokerage account?

A brokerage account is a specific type of account that allows you to purchase investments. You can open and fund a brokerage account with an investment company or brokerage firm, then use the money you’ve deposited to buy investments. (See our recommendations for brokerage firms .)

You own the money and investments in your brokerage account, and you can sell investments at any time. The broker holds your account and acts as an intermediary between you and the investments you want to purchase.

Brokerage accounts offer you access to a range of different investments, including stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Many brokers also offer more complex investments, like options, forex or futures, as well as safer investments like CDs and cash management accounts.

How do brokerage accounts work?

Many brokers allow you to open an account quickly online. You can fund the brokerage account by transferring money from your checking or savings account, a process that takes a few days to a week. You can also transfer money from one brokerage account to another if you decide to change brokerage firms.

You generally do not need a lot of money to open a brokerage account — many brokerage firms will allow you to open an account with no initial deposit. However, you will need to fund the account before purchasing investments.

There is no limit on the number of brokerage accounts you can have, or the amount of money you can deposit into a taxable brokerage account each year. There should be no fee to open a brokerage account.

Brokerage accounts vs. retirement accounts

A standard brokerage account is often called a taxable account, which means there are no tax advantages for investing through the account — in most cases, your investment earnings will be taxed. On the plus side, that means there are very few rules for these accounts: You can pull your money out at any time, for any reason, and invest as much as you’d like. (Here are our picks for the best brokerage accounts .)

But if you’re investing for retirement, you’ll want to open a retirement account rather than a taxable brokerage account. A retirement account, such as a Roth or traditional IRA, is a tax-advantaged investment account specifically designed for your retirement savings. Because of that, unlike taxable brokerage accounts, retirement accounts place restrictions around when and how you can withdraw the money, as well as how much you can contribute each year. (Here are our picks for the best IRA accounts .)

Note: You may already be investing for retirement through your employer — many companies offer an employer-sponsored plan like a 401(k) and match your contributions. You can still open an IRA, but we recommend contributing at least enough to your 401(k) to earn that match first.

How to choose a brokerage account provider

Once you’ve decided whether you want a retirement account or a taxable brokerage account, you’ll want to choose an account provider. There are two main options that meet the needs of most investors: online brokers and robo-advisors . Both offer retirement accounts and taxable brokerage accounts.

Online brokerage account

If you want to purchase and manage your own investments, a brokerage account at an online broker is for you.

An investment account with an online brokerage company enables you to buy and sell investments through the broker’s website. Discount brokers offer a range of investments, including stocks, mutual funds and bonds.

How to Open a Trading Account

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Securities trading can be a financially and mentally rewarding experience, but only if you have the time and tools to properly research each trade. To make these trades, you’ll have to work with a licensed stockbroker, either online or in person. Compared to personal brokers, online trading accounts offer smaller fees and more immediacy, making them better for traders looking for more independence. However, keep in mind that online accounts also come without professional guidance, making them a good place for beginners to lose money. Which of the online brokerages you choose will depend on your specific needs and goals.

How to Open an Online Brokerage Account

A step-by-step guide to getting started

You’ve decided to open an online brokerage account and start your investing journey. Good decision!

Most U.S.-based online brokers have the capability of allowing you to open a new account on their website or via their mobile app. There are a few things to consider before you hit that “Open an Account” link.

  1. Choose the Type of Brokerage Account You Need
  2. Consider the Features You Want and Their Associated Costs
  3. Choose the Brokerage That Best Fits Your Desired Needs
  4. Begin the Application Process
  5. Fund Your New Account and Start Investing

Step 1: Choose the Type of Brokerage Account You Need

When you’re choosing a broker, think about your investing style. Are you interested in staying on top of the markets every day? Or are you more of a set it and forget it type of investor?

If you want to stay engaged in the markets, consider the types of assets you’re comfortable trading or want to learn to trade. Most investors hold stock, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and/or mutual funds. If you’re looking at trading options, there are a number of self-directed online brokers with a wide range of tools that can help you choose appropriate strategies. Though trading options is considered riskier than trading stocks and ETFs, there are some very conservative strategies designed to generate income that you can learn about with Investopedia’s Options Basics tutorial.

Many brokers let you invest in fixed income securities online, and have bond screeners and other tools to help you build a portfolio.

For those who want to invest money but not time in building wealth, you should take a good look at a financial advisor or a robo-advisory service. Robo-advisors present you with a short survey of your time horizon and appetite for risk and ask you to state how much you plan to invest. If you’re investing for retirement, and that date is decades in the future, you might be more willing to invest in riskier asset classes than if you need to use your investments in three years.

You’ll also need to decide whether you are opening a regular taxable account or an individual retirement account (IRA). Another decision involves the ownership of the account: are you opening an account for yourself on your own, or if there will be other owners (such as a spouse or a child) who can also log in? If you’re opening an account to help a minor save for a college education, you may open a custodial account, or a tax-advantaged tuition account often referred to as a 529 Savings Account.

We can help you sort through the array of brokers available. Visit our Best Online Brokers Awards center for detailed reviews of dozens of U.S.-based brokerages. There we provide the lists of Best Brokers for a variety of investing needs and preferences, including Best Brokers for ETFs and Best Brokers for IRAs.

Step 2: Consider the Features You Want and Their Associated Costs

There is a great deal of focus on the standard commissions for placing a stock trade, but there is more to investing with an online broker than fees. Much of that discussion evaporated in the last quarter of 2020 when most online brokers cut their equity trading fees to zero and also reduced per-leg options commissions to zero. You will still pay per-contract commissions on most options trades, and you’ll find fees that range from $0.10-$0.65 per contract at the majority of brokers.

Some “free” trades, though, come at a hidden cost. Research and news features are light (and sometimes non-existent), and you will likely get less-than-optimal fills for your transactions since the broker has to make money somewhere. Free trades are generally paid for by routing to market makers, who pay the broker for the order flow, but who do not prioritize price improvement.

So look for a broker who has research and education features that can help you grow as an investor, especially if you are new to investing. Check out our list of Best Brokers for Beginners as a starting point. This group is recognized based on their educational resources, easy navigation, clear commission and pricing structures, portfolio construction tools, and research.

Step 3: Choose the Brokerage That Best Fits Your Desired Needs

Don’t hesitate to use the Chat function provided by many of the brokers to ask more in-depth questions of their support representatives. You may end up calling a support line for new customers, which will allow you to check out the quality of the help provided. This is a good time to go through the frequently-asked questions (FAQs) on brokers’ sites as well, to make sure you won’t face any surprises.

Once you’ve made up your mind, click “Open an Account” and get started!

Step 4: Begin the Application Process

After you’ve settled on a broker, you still have to deal with the formality of opening an account.

No matter which firm or type of account you choose, there is some information you’ll need to have on hand before you start the account opening process. You’ll need basic data about yourself and other account holders, such as social security number, date of birth, and address, but you’ll also be asked some questions about the nature of your employment. If you’re a U.S. resident but not a citizen, you’ll need to have your passport and residency visa handy.

Brokers are required to collect some other information so they can keep up with a set of rules referred to as “Know your client,” which are intended to prevent money laundering and the funding of terrorism. They also need to make sure that you are who you say you are to avoid being involved in identity theft.

Some of the questions may seem nosy in nature, but U.S.-registered brokers must make these queries that help the firm create a profile of your investing experience and knowledge, to make sure that you invest in asset classes that you understand. The regulations also control the information the broker can display to you. Brokers are allowed to offer limited types of advice to self-directed investors, so the questions they pose help them classify you.

You’ll be asked how you feel about taking financial risks, along with how long you expect to hold the investments. Your tax status—single, married filing jointly, etc.—are part of this profile, as are any other assets you hold, such as a house, a checking account, or an employer-sponsored retirement account. You’ll be asked for a range of your annual income as well. Don’t worry about whether your responses here are accurate to the penny or the percent. Brokers are not required to verify or update this information over the course of your relationship. Still, you can always go back into the profile area of the site and update your responses when your circumstances change, especially if you want to access additional asset classes.

If you’re uncomfortable providing this kind of information online, you can download and print out a paper application, which you’ll have to fill in and mail back, but that can delay establishing your account by at least a week. You could also walk into a branch of one of the brokers with a brick-and-mortar presence and open your account in person. However, the websites set up by brokers have a great deal of security built-in, and they also provide the fastest way of opening and funding an account.

Though brokers are all collecting essentially the same information from new account holders, the design differs from one site to another. The entire process, once you’ve got all the required information gathered, shouldn’t take much more than 15 minutes.

Step 5: Fund Your New Account and Start Investing

Once your account is open, you’ll be able to establish your online credentials—user ID and password—for logging on.

To get started trading, you’ll need to put some cash into your account. You’ve got some options here, but by far the easiest way to go is to link a bank account to your brokerage account. You’ll need your bank’s nine-digit routing number and your account number, which is usually ten digits. You can find the routing number on a check or on your bank’s website, or by using the routing number lookup on the American Bankers Association site.

You can also write a check and mail it, but that will delay the opening of your account by a week or so. The benefit of linking a bank account to your brokerage account is the ease of moving money back and forth. U.S.-based brokers, by regulation, will not allow you to fund a brokerage account using a credit card.

Some brokers also let you set up a regular monthly transfer of cash from checking to brokerage. We find this helpful, especially for those who are funding a retirement account or saving for a particular goal. Getting in the habit of making regular deposits is an ideal use of technology.

There will be some time, one day to seven days, between the opening of your account and when you can start to trade, based on how you’ve chosen to deposit money. Take that time to become more familiar with the broker’s site and mobile apps by watching introductory videos and organizing your home page. Set up a watchlist of stocks and play around with the broker’s stock and fund scanners.

Most brokers now charge a small fee, $1-2 monthly, to send paper statements and confirmations, but you can opt into electronic notifications and avoid those fees. You should also go into your profile and define the types of emails and snail mails you want to receive from your broker and their partners.

Once your deposit has made it into your new account, you can start to place some trades. Here’s a toast to your investing success!

How To Open A Trading Account

Since 2000, the stock markets have become electronic. This means, trading is conducted online. Today, you need a demat and a trading account to invest in the stock market. A trading account is opened with a stock broker.

If you want to know about demat account, visit opening a demat account

Most often, stock broking firms have thousands of clients. It is not feasible to take physical orders from every client on time. So, to make this process seamless, you open a trading account. Using this account, you can place buy or sell orders either online or phone, which will automatically be directed to the exchange through the stock broker.

Before you buy and sell on the stock market, you might want to read about How to analyse the stock market and more. Read on to know how you can open a trading account.

How To Open A Trading Account

  • First, select the stock broker or firm. Ensure that the broker is good and will take your orders in a timely manner. Remember, time is of utmost importance in the stock market. Even a few minutes can change the market price of the stock. For this reason, ensure that you select a good broker.
  • Compare brokerage rates. Every broker charges you a certain fee for processing your orders. Some may charge more, some less.

Some give discounts on the basis of the amount of trades conducted. Take all this into account before opening an account. However, remember that it is not necessary to choose a broker who charges the lowest fees. Good quality brokerage services provided often may need higher-than-average charges.

You can even pay the brokerage in advance to avoid any more fees. This is Kotak Securities Advance Brokerage.

Next, get in touch with the brokerage firm or broker and enquire about the trading account opening procedure. Often, the firm would send a representative to your house with the account opening form and the Know Your Client (KYC) form

Read here to know more about the KYC details.

  • Fill these two forms up. Submit along with two documents that serve as proof of your identity and address.
  • Your application will be verified either through an in-person check or on the phone, where you will be asked to divulge your personal details.
  • Once processed, you will be given your trading accounts details. Congrats, you will now be able to conduct trades in the stock market
  • Document Required To Open Trading Account

    Just like the procedure for opening a demat account, you need to submit proofs of identity and address along with a passport size photograph and the account opening form for opening a trading account.

    Here is a broad list of documents that can be used as proofs:

    Proof of identity

    PAN card, voter’s ID, passport, driver’s license, bank attestation, IT returns, electricity bill, telephone bill, ID cards with applicant’s photo issued by the central or state government and its departments, statutory or regulatory authorities, public sector undertakings (PSUs), scheduled commercial banks, public financial institutions, colleges affiliated to universities, or professional bodies such as ICAI, ICWAI, ICSI, bar council etc.

    Proof of address

    Ration card, passport, voter ID card, driving license, bank passbook or bank statement, verified copies of electricity bills, residence telephone bills, leave and license agreement or agreement for sale, self-declaration by High Court or Supreme Court judges, identity card or a document with address issued by the central or state government and its departments, statutory or regulatory authorities, public sector undertakings (PSUs), scheduled commercial banks, public financial institutions, colleges affiliated to universities and professional bodies such as ICAI, ICWAI, Bar Council etc.

    What next?

    You now know about how stock markets, how to invest, demat and trading accounts, how to open these and how to conduct trades. You are also empowered with knowledge about stock market analysis. In your quest to understand the equity markets, you have almost the end. Just one last step is remaining. Read our Stock Market FAQs section here to answer any lingering queries.
    If you want to open a trading account with Kotak Securities, click here.

    • Use existing bank account
    • Convenience through partnerships
    • Kotak Securities support

    Investment Knowledge Bank

    Trading Tools & Research Reports

    Account Types & Value Added Services

    Mon to Fri – 8.00 AM TO 6.00 PM
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    For Call & Trade, dial 1860 266 9191
    Write to us at [email protected] for Trading Account-related queries and [email protected] for Demat Account-related queries

    No need to issue cheques by investors while subscribing to IPO. Just write the bank account number and sign in the application form to authorise your bank to make payment in case of allotment. No worries for refund as the money remains in investor’s account.

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    KYC is one time exercise while dealing in securities markets – once KYC is done through a SEBI registered intermediary (broker, DP, Mutual Fund etc.), you need not undergo the same process again when you approach another intermediary. Attention Investors Prevent Unauthorized Transactions in your demat / trading account –> Update your Mobile Number/ email Id with your stock broker / Depository Participant. Receive information of your transactions directly from Exchanges on your mobile / email at the end of day and alerts on your registered mobile for all debits and other important transactions in your demat account directly from NSDL/ CDSL on the same day.” – Issued in the interest of investors. Circular No.: NSDL/POLICY/2020/0094, NSE/INSP/27436, BSE – 20200901-21

    Kindly note that as per NSE circulars nos: NSE/INVG/36333 dated November 17, 2020, NSE/INVG/37765 dated May 15.2020 and BSE circular nos: 20201117-18 dated November 17, 2020, 20200515-39 dated May 15.2020, trading in securities in which unsolicited messages are being circulated is restricted. The list of such stocks are available on the website of NSE & BSE. In case of any queries, request you to kindly get in touch with Customer Service on 18002099191/9292

    Kotak Securities Ltd. bearing licence no. CA0268 is a Corporate Agent of Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance Ltd. We have taken reasonable measures to protect security and confidentiality of the Customer Information.

    The Stock Exchange, Mumbai is not in any manner answerable, responsible or liable to any person or persons for any acts of omission or commission, errors, mistakes and/or violation, actual or perceived, by us or our partners, agents, associates etc., of any of the Rules, Regulations, Bye-laws of the Stock Exchange, Mumbai, SEBI Act or any other laws in force from time to time.
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    Best Online Brokers for Beginners 2020

    The best online brokers 2020 review (10th annual) took six months to complete and produced over 30,000 words of research. Here’s how we tested.

    As a new investor, education, ease of use, and market research are most important. If you don’t have the proper resources to support your journey, you will struggle to learn how to trade stocks online.

    Alongside testing each learning center in-depth, we also track which brokers offer unique features like webinars, live seminars, videos, progress tracking, and even interactive education, e.g. quizzes.

    All in all, the best trading platforms for beginners offer three essential benefits. The first, and most important, is a user-friendly website and overall trading experience. Second, they provide a strong variety of educational materials. Third, they provide access to quality market research.

    Best Online Brokers for Beginner Stock Traders

    Here are the best online stock trading sites for beginners:

    • TD Ameritrade – Best overall for beginners
    • E*TRADE – Best web-based platform
    • Fidelity – Great education and research
    • Charles Schwab – Excellent research tools
    • Robinhood – Easy to use but no tools

    Best overall for beginners – Open Account
    Exclusive Offer: Get up to $600 and trade commission-free with TD Ameritrade.

    Based on over 1,000 collected data points, our top pick for beginners is TD Ameritrade. New investors have access to a user-friendly website, hundreds of monthly webinars, videos, and free premium courses. TD Ameritrade is the only broker to gamify the entire learning experience with progress tracking, quizzes, badges, and a unique point system. Oh, and customers can practice trading with fake money using the thinkorswim platform. There is no minimum deposit required to open an account at TD Ameritrade, and stock trades are free. Read full review

    Best trading platform for beginners – Open Account
    Promo Offer: Get $100 when you deposit just $5,000 into a new E*TRADE account!

    Earning a recommendation based on its platform alone is E*TRADE. E*TRADE’s web-based trading platform, Power E*TRADE, is an excellent environment for any beginner stock trader. It’s easy to navigate, fast, and includes usability upgrades perfect for new investors like paper (practice) trading and note-taking. There is no minimum deposit required to open an account at E*TRADE, and stock trades are free. Read full review

    Great education and research – Open Account
    Trade Commission-Free: No commissions to trade online U.S. stocks, ETFs, and options. 1

    Fidelity Investments offers new investors an easy-to-use website and excellent on-site education. Not only is Fidelity’s learning center impressive, but Fidelity also does a fantastic job with its in-house market research and financial articles, Fidelity Viewpoints. Of all the brokers, I share and bookmark Fidelity Viewpoint articles the most. And, as far as subject matter goes, the broker’s retirement education is exceptional. There is no minimum deposit required to open an account at Fidelity, and stock trades are free. Read full review

    Excellent research tools – Open Account
    Current Offer: $0 online stock, ETF, and options commissions at Schwab.

    Alongside an excellent selection of market research alongside an easy-to-use website, Charles Schwab delivers a thorough educational experience that will satisfy beginners. Schwab’s specialty is retirement, which makes it ideal for investors who want to take a long term approach to understand the stock market. There is no minimum deposit required to open an account at Schwab, and stock trades are free. Read full review

    Easy to use but no tools

    For investors looking to conduct the bare-bones basics, Robinhood gets the job done well. Robinhood’s mobile app is easy to use and ideal for newbies. That said, Robinhood provides little to no market research or trading tools to help beginners make better informed investing decisions. Drawbacks aside, Robinhood’s no-frills approach to online trading is enough to earn it a recommendation. There is no minimum deposit required to open an account at Robinhood, and stock trades are free. Read full review

    Beginner Broker Features Comparison

    As a new investor, education is by far the most important aspect to focus on. Saving money on trades won’t do you any good if you can’t learn the basics of how to trade stocks online.

    Here at, we maintain the largest database covering the online brokerage industry. Some features we track include broader education topics such as stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and retirement. We also track whether brokers offer unique features like webinars, live seminars, videos, progress tracking, and even interactive education, e.g. quizzes.

    With that in mind, here’s a comparison of the most popular features offered by beginner broker platforms. To compare 150+ features and fees side by side, check out our online brokerage comparison tool.

    Feature TD Ameritrade
    Open Account
    Open Account
    Open Account
    Charles Schwab
    Open Account
    Education (Stocks) Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Education (ETFs) Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Education (Options) Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Education (Mutual Funds) Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Education (Fixed Income) Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Education (Retirement) Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Paper Trading Yes Yes No No
    Videos Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Webinars (Monthly Avg) 500 12 8 50
    Webinars (Archived) Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Live Seminars Yes Yes Yes Yes
    Progress Tracking Yes No Yes No
    Interactive Learning – Quizzes Yes Yes Yes No
    Investor Magazine Yes No Yes Yes
    Education 5 4 5 4.5

    What is a Stock Broker?

    When it comes to investing in stocks, you can either buy and sell shares yourself (self-directed investing) or you can use an advisor and have your money managed for you (managed investing). Way back when (early 1900s), you had to use a licensed professional known as a stock broker to place stock trades on your behalf. Thanks to the Internet, investors around the globe now invest for themselves using an online brokerage account. Today, “stock broker” is just another name for an online brokerage account.

    Which brokers offer paper trading to practice with fake money?

    Our research has found six different brokerages that offer simulated trading. Of those best suited to beginners, I recommend the TD Ameritrade thinkorswim platform and TradeStation’s desktop platform. Compare TD Ameritrade vs TradeStation.

    What is the best trading platform for beginners?

    My favorite trading platform for beginners is Power E*TRADE. It is web-based, meaning it runs in the browser, and strikes the right balance between ease of use and offering a rich selection of trading tools.

    Which online broker is best for beginners?

    TD Ameritrade is the best all-around choice for beginners because it provides the best combination of ease of use, educational content, and research tools new investors need to succeed. Better yet, stock trades are free ($0).

    Which brokers offer interactive stock education for beginners?

    TD Ameritrade and Fidelity are both outstanding for providing unique, handcrafted courses that include individual lessons and roadmaps for learning about the markets. Quizzes to test your knowledge are scored and even tracked so you know if you’ve completed them or not. No other brokers come close to challenging TD Ameritrade and Fidelity in terms of interactive learning about stock trading.

    Which brokerage offers the best educational videos?

    TD Ameritrade, hands down. TD Ameritrade’s educational video library is made entirely in-house and provides hundreds of videos covering every investment topic imaginable, from stocks to ETFs, mutual funds, options, bonds, and even retirement. Progress tracking is also part of the learning experience.

    Which broker offers the best education in a mobile app?

    For beginners looking to learn through their mobile app, I’d recommend Fidelity or TD Ameritrade. Fidelity has done an excellent job integrating mini-courses into its app, which include quizzes too. Meanwhile, TD Ameritrade does a great job making its video library available with simple filtering by topic. Compare TD Ameritrade vs Fidelity.

    Which brokerage offers the most webinars?

    TD Ameritrade offers the most webinars each month, several hundred in fact, thanks to its offering of daily swim lessons and its own TV Network. Next to TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab offers around 50 per month and TradeStation around 30.

    What is a market order?

    A market order is an order to buy or sell a security at the current market price. Market orders are the most common type of order because they are easy to place. Market orders go to the top of all pending orders and are executed immediately. When markets are receiving lots of trading volume, the market price paid or received may be different from the quoted price when the order was initially placed. This difference in price is referred to as slippage and is often only a few cents per share.

    Investors tend to use market orders when they want to quickly purchase or sell a position. If an investor thinks a stock is going to go up multiple percentage points due to company news, he/she might place a market order to purchase shares of the company. In this instance, having the shares of the company outweighs the small price fluctuations that may come with placing a market order.

    What is a limit order?

    A limit order is an order to buy or sell a security at a pre-specified price or better. A limit order helps lock in a set price in times of volatility. Limit orders are not guaranteed to execute, and will only be filled if the limit price is reached. Limit orders help traders avoid overpaying for a stock. They also help traders lock in a price when selling a stock.

    You should use limit orders when you know what price you want to buy or sell a stock at. Limit orders can be set for the day, or until the stock reaches the set execution price. Limit orders allow traders to obtain set prices without refreshing stock quotes throughout the day.

    Can I learn about stock trading without an online broker?

    Other great resources to learn about stock trading before opening an account include Yahoo Finance (free quotes, analyst recommendations, charts), CNBC (market news), and reading books by great investors such as The Little Book of Common Sense Investing (Jack Bogle), The Intelligent Investor (Benjamin Graham), and The Alchemy of Finance (George Soros). For a list of recommendations, check out’s article on how to trade stocks.

    How to Open a Brokerage Account

    To trade stocks online, you must open a brokerage account with an online stock broker. To select a broker we recommend using this guide along with our comparison tool to follow each of the steps listed below.

    • Decide what to invest in – Do you want to trade stocks, options, ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, or forex? While all online brokers allow you to trade stocks and options, they differ in other tradeable securities such as mutual funds, bonds, and forex.
    • Determine what features are important – What brokers offer the features you need to trade successfully? Reading reviews of different brokers will give you an understanding of where each broker excels. First-time traders typically look for brokers with good education, alongside competitive research, platforms and tools, mobile trading, customer service, and trading fees.
    • Compare costs between brokers – Once you find a few brokers that offer the features you desire, it’s important to compare trading fees. Trading fees are what you pay to a broker to buy and sell securities.
    • Fill out an online application – Once you have selected a broker, you must apply to open an account. Signing up for a brokerage account can be done entirely online or via mobile application in about 10 – 15 minutes. To open an account, all you need is information about yourself (name, address, employment information,) and your bank details if you want to queue a deposit immediately after your application is submitted.
    • Fund the account – This is the last step to opening a brokerage account. Once your online application is approved, your online broker will prompt you to enter your bank information to an initial deposit. After depositing funds, which takes typically two business days to clear, you will officially be ready to start researching securities and placing trades!

    Explore our other online trading guides:


    For the tenth annual best online brokers review published in January 2020, a total of 3,540 data points were collected over six months and used to score brokers. This makes home to the largest independent database on the web covering the online broker industry.

    Participation is required to be included. Each broker completed an in-depth data profile and provided executive time (live in person or over the web) 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.

    Still aren’t sure which online broker to choose? Email us a question! Whether you are a beginner investor learning the ropes or a professional trader, we are here to help. Email us your online broker specific question and we will respond within one business day.

    Best Binary Options Brokers 2020:
    • Binarium

      1st Place! Best Binary Broker 2020!
      Best Choice for Beginners — Free Education + Free Demo Acc!
      Sign-up and Get Big Bonus:

    • Binomo

      2nd place! Good choice!

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