What’s the Cost of Online Stock Trading Platforms?
For many years investors had only the options of dealing with a broker who had to perform floor trading for equity shares and other investments. However, with technological developments there came online stock trading that has efficiently replaced the traditional methods of placing orders for buy or sell. This has seen the growth in the number of online discount brokers who provide both new and experienced investors with the necessary tools to research and monitor trades from the comfort of their offices or homes.
These online trading platforms offer different benefits to clients and have a variety of pricing options that one needs to carefully analyze before choosing. These includes account opening fee, trading commission fee, hidden fees, minimum balance and minimum investment amount among others. When doing this research it is prudent to consider those platforms with years of experience of reliable service like CMC Markets that has been a partner to many investors for over 25 years, offers a 24-hour customer support and has won many awards. Every platform offers a unique user experience from the website customization, ease of use of the interface and reliability of the research tools and varying levels of customer support. The lesser known names tend to charge less compared to the established platforms even if their services are relatively the same hence the difference in prices of using different online trading/investment sites.
When it comes to opening a trading account, every broker has a different fee charged based on their specific terms and conditions. Every trading platform has a required minimum deposit that can vary from $100 to $2,500. Then there are those who do not require a minimum deposit so if an investor has no funds, they can still open the account then fund it at a later date.
Commissions and fees
The main cause of price difference among stock brokers is the value of their name over the years. The relatively unknown names may charge between $5 and $15 for every trade but the customer service may not be all that impressive. The middle-class brokers charge anywhere between $15 and $30 and customers should expect a good customer support for such a cost. The expensive brokers are known to charge between $100 and $300 per trade, these are the ones with a strong brand and offer a full service with adequate research tools for the customer. These prices are just the basic guide, however, there may be additional costs like the broker assisted trades and the type of trade for example market order versus limit order.
Just like banks and insurance companies, stock brokers also have hidden fees. As you open an account, look out for charges for transferring assets into and out of your account, account maintenance fees, charges for not maintaining a minimum balance, inactivity fee, interest on margin loans and even sales charge for example on mutual funds. It is prudent to make an informed comparison among the available trading platforms even if they seem to have similar fees, some may have more hidden charges that the others but offer better service and higher returns when trading.
To selecting the best broker for your situation, an investor should make a good comparison between risk and reward for the stock option chosen so as to minimize the chances of losing out. It is important also to do serious research on every counter one intends to trade, either to buy or sell. Consider the factors affecting each stock and the stock market in general. Go for the online trading platform that offers adequate and reliable research and monitoring tools that are easy to use. These helps a person filter stocks based on their ROI, P/E ratio among other parameters and watch only the selected ones for the possibility of investing in them or selling poor performing stocks.
The prices of using different online trading/investment platforms will vary according to the type of reporting and charting available to stock traders. They should be real time and fast in updating so as to assist in making split-second decisions. The ability to add technical indicators to a stock is a plus for any investment platform. When you choose the best online broker, your trading sessions will be enjoyable and investment decisions will be sound leading to the growth of your portfolios.