As it goes with most decisions in your life, you should first prioritize your needs and then take a look at what different brokerages are offering. Don’t jump to conclusions, as choosing the right broker isn’t like cherry picking. This is a crucial decision and a complex one too. You must understand that the online brokerage industry is fast evolving and there is immense competition out there. We are very much aware of the fact that discount brokers can dramatically cut down your investment and trading costs. At CompareBroker.com, we dig-down all important details that you should be aware of before choosing a brokerage firm.
If you are New Investor, then let us take this opportunity to congratulate you for making the right decision to compare brokerage firms. Most of us have unique priorities, so it’s almost impossible for any broker to completely fulfill our needs. Still, every investor must evaluate and compare brokerage offerings so as to find the best overall package that suits them the most. We suggest that you read through this New Investor Broker Selection Guide and take informed decisions.
Just Discount Trading, Nothing Else!
One simply cannot argue that a broker’s only objective is to make to trade as much as possible. This is a key drawback of investing through a full-service brokerage firm that usually appoints a dedicated investment advisor at your service. When trading with a discount brokerage you are not at the realm of a commissioned agent and the cost of placing trades is much less. So, investors should opt for a brokerage firm whose main business is that of providing discount trading and not inclined towards investment advisory.
Pricing Structure Matters the Most
The cost of investing in form of brokerage commissions, minimum deposits and miscellaneous charges is something you cannot ignore. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced investor, you should read the fine-print to uncover all the hidden charges. Ideally, one should opt for a brokerage that offers affordable flat rate commissions. Flat fee comes irrespective of account size, order type, stock price and traded quantity.
There are brokerages that levy outrageous maintenance costs on your account and some ask for hefty deposits to get started. You should beware of such brokerage firms and narrow down your search to those brokerages that offer fair and simple to understand pricing structure. You can read through our reviews of popular brokerage firms that do not charge maintenance fee and at the same time you are not required to maintain any minimums.
Account Accessibility: Always Stay Connected
Being able to access your account through different modes is something you should not compromise on for cheap trades or some other bargain. Your broker should have a web-based platform that should be accessible from any device that supports internet connectivity. The deal gets sweeter if they have a downloadable version of their trading platform for desk as well as mobile devices.
Then the facility to place broker-assisted trades at affordable prices is another feature that you should keep in mind while choosing your broker. At times you will need such assistance, so better be prepared.
Investment Offering: What All Your Money Can Buy!
Cheap rates are good, but not at the cost of limited trade offering. Any good discount broker should provide you access to trade in ETFs, Mutual Funds and Options along with Stocks. Some even let you trade in Futures and Forex.
It’s better to choose a broker that even offers Retirement Accounts. Even if you are not interested in funding an IRA at the moment, choose a broker that provides this extra feature as it will save you from a lot of hassles later.
You can even opt for a brokerage that offers combo services, that of a broker and a bank.
Customer Service: Reliable & Responsive
It’s frustrating when you are unattended. Most brokers claim to have trained customer support staff always there to assist you. Don’t buy their comforting sale pitches, test them out several times to ensure that they will be responsive and helpful when needed. Also make sure that the customer care staff is available through all the popular mediums namely, phone, email and online chat.
Platform Tools & Educational Support
Access to premium as well as free tools is something that makes or breaks a complete brokerage offering. Some brokers lack educational support and market research tools, though they do offer cheap rates. Knowledge is power and without it you are just gambling for luck. Access to all sorts of market data from one place is a key to successful trading and informed decision making. Choose a broker that provides you solid proprietary tools and informational support.
All leading brokerages offer a variety of tools that come in handy for researching and implementing trade strategies. These include basic tools such as real-time streamers, live news, independent market research, technical analysis tools and vast educational resources on varied investing subjects.
Along with solid platform tools you need fast order execution especially if you are an active trader. So, you should read our brokerage reviews to find all about platform performances, featured tools and much more.
You should rest assured that you are at the right place, reviewers’ note that unlike before online brokers cannot be separated into categories anymore, such as premium and discount brokers or web-based and software-based brokers. The terms of the cost of trades or the research and trading tools on their websites are so similar that it is difficult to set them apart from each other. However, it’s prudent to follow these guidelines when deciding upon which broker to choose.