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Choosing the Best Online Stock Brokerage

Updated on May 1, 2016

Even though the extent of your success in online stock trading will largely be determined by your knowledge of the processes that drive the stock market, you won't have access to all of the available opportunities unless you choose a reliable brokerage and trading platform.

The cost of individual trades, availability of research tools and efficiency of the trading platform are one of the many factors to consider when comparing different companies that offer online brokerage services. If you settle for anything less than the best online stock brokerage that perfectly suits your needs, you will be missing out on a lot of possible earnings and opportunities.

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Many website offer comprehensive reviews and ratings of the best online stock brokerages available over the Internet. They will help you pick out a number of leading companies to choose from, however, the final decision has to be based on more than a single factor, and this is also where your personal considerations and priorities come into play as well.

Trading Tools

Profitable trades are directly linked to the quality of tools traders are given access to. Top quality stock brokers provide their investors with the most responsive and efficient tools, along with an ability to set up and customize live news feeds, notification systems and real-time updates across all services.

Trading Fees

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This includes the fees for buying shares of any stock. Depending on the brokerage, they may vary with the size and type of the order. You should be looking for a flat fee that is not related to a wide range of variable factors, as it is much more fair and straightforward.

Special Terms

Note that some online stock brokerages may require that you pay certain fees if your account reaches a certain status, such as being inactive for a certain period of time. Most websites also enforce transfer fees or even IRA fees. Each online broker has their own set of rules, so it’s worth getting familiar with them before you decide to plunge ahead and start using any of them.

Trading Instruments

Most online brokerages don’t deal exclusively with stocks. The majority of top players in the field give their users access to other investment options, including exchange-traded funds, options, futures, forex and other trading instruments. If you prefer to trade with any of them, it will surely reflect in your choice of an online brokerage.

Minimum Deposit

There’s a wide difference between the amount of minimum deposit required by online stock brokerages. Some people will be naturally looking for websites with the lowest minimum deposit, while others might consider a high threshold to be a sign of a more serious brokerage. Whether the size of the minimum deposit makes any difference to you depends solely on your personal preferences.

Financial Security

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Security is definitely among the top concerns for any online stocks trader. Every modern brokerage has various mechanisms in place that ensure the safety of their investors’ funds. Still, it is worth looking deeper into every company’s methods to see if they seem reliable and up-to-date.

Customer Service

A responsive and helpful customer service is a necessary component for any company that carries out a large number of financial operations for their clients. It should have no obstacles to approaching every individual investor directly, regardless of their trading volume. A real-time support ticket system what you should look for in an ideal online stock brokerage.

International Access

Residents of United States might not be concerned about this factor, but for most International traders residing abroad it can become a major concern in choosing a stock brokerage. Some of them might exclude certain countries from registration or require additional documents to be submitted for identity verification, so be sure to read through and compare the terms of different online brokers to know what to look forward to.

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    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 4 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida USA

      Your complete OTA photo attribution should add CC BY-SA 2.0; Tax Credits CC BY 2.0 (see Hub Pages Tutorial). The latter attribution may be incomplete, but that's the way Flickr listed it.

      I know next to nothing about stock investing. The videos are very helpful. If I remember correctly, though, one should never invest more than he is prepared to lose. This point is not stated in this hub. Also, it is important to diversity your investments--as the old saying goes, "Don't put your eggs all into one basket." That way, if a stock goes bad, you have other investments to back you.

      I definitely agree with the speaker on your first video--buy low and sell high, but be prepared for long-term holds. Emotions have to be controlled when it comes to money.

      General tips: Avoid using "our" to describe the referenced website. It sounds too promotional. Also, avoid ending sentences with a dangling preposition; it's just not a good writing style.

      Thank you for writing this hub. It helps someone like me, who seems to be allergic to money, put things into perspective.

      Blessings!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Choosing the Best Online Stock Brokerage another interesting and informative hub from you thanks

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Interesting and very informative hub, but I'll have to return when I win the lottery. :)

    • ThePipTrader profile image

      ThePipTrader 4 years ago from Indonesia

      For me, the easiest way to choose a reliable broker is to pick only the large broker which only offers a bank wire or a check for their deposit methods. :)

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