Best Stock Trading Accounts
What is a stock trading account?
An online stock trading account is an account where you can deposit funds for the purpose of investing in stocks. When you have a stock trading account with an online stock brokerage, you can use their trading platforms to buy and sell stocks. This can include major global company stocks such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Nike, Tesla and many more.
What makes a good stock trading account?
Most stock brokers will offer a variety of trading account types to cater to the different needs and investment sizes of stock traders. Whether you’re looking to invest for the long term or buy and sell stocks regularly, you can find a stock broker that provides your ideal account. Some of the key features to consider when looking for the best stock trading account for you include:
One of the most important things to look for is that the stock trading account is offered with a stock brokerage firm that is regulated. A regulated stock broker can give investors certain protections that an unregulated stock broker cannot.
Minimum stock trading account deposit
Each stock trading account will have a minimum investment size required to open the account. Some stock brokers offer accounts from just $1 whereas other specialised account types can require much larger deposits of $500+.
Stock trading account leverage
A leveraged stock trading account allows you to trade with a larger position size than you would be able to without leverage. Whilst this can also increase potential profits, it can also significantly increase risks. You should make sure that you have a clear understanding of how leverage works and only open a stock trading account with a leverage that you feel comfortable with.
Stock trading platforms
If you are familiar with a particular stock trading platform then you may want to make sure the stock account types offer that platform. If you are new to online stock trading then you may wish to consider a stock trading platform that is user friendly such as the popular MetaTrader platforms which are provided by most stock brokers. The trading brokers review team have compiled a list of our best MetaTrader brokers. Some investors may wish to use a social trading platform so if you do, check that this is available before you open a stock trading account.
Stock trading tools
When you are looking to trade stocks online, you are likely to need some tools to analyse the stock markets. This can include technical indicators, fundamental tools such as economic calendars and sentiment analysis, trading calculators, Trading Central, etc. The more tools a stock account has, the more detailed stock market analysis you will be able to conduct. If there is a particular tool that you cannot trade without, it may be worth making sure that it is available on your chosen brokerage account.
Stocks available to trade online
Some brokers offer the same stocks for trading across all account types whereas others have a different selection depending on the account. You will want to make sure that the stock trading account that you are considering has all of the stocks that you would like to trade online now and in the future. If you plan to trade assets other than stocks, you should also check that these are available. Other asset classes include forex, commodities, cryptocurrencies, precious metals and energies.
Stock account fees
When you trade stocks online you will usually need to pay a commission fee to the stock broker for entering and/or exiting your positions. Check the commission on each stock trading account and consider how it will affect your money management and if it is a charge that you are happy with. If you are looking to save on trading costs as much as possible, you can take a look at our best discount brokers.
Stock account spreads
When you are trading stocks online, you may need to pay a spread for each position that you take. The spread is the difference between the bid and ask prices of the stock. Some stock brokers offer fixed spread and variable spread accounts. You should make sure that the spread type and size is suitable for your stock trading strategy. E.g. stock traders who use scalping strategies usually require low spreads whereas swing traders may not be so concerned with the spreads.
Stock account fees
In addition to the commission and spreads, stock trading accounts can incur other fees that you should be aware of and clarify with your stock broker if need be. Other stock trading fees can include rollover/swap, account inactivity fees and deposit/withdrawal fees.
Stock account funding options
The stock trading accounts provided by brokers will support different methods to make deposits and withdrawals to and from your account. Common payment options include bank wire, credit/debit card and online payment processors such as PayPal, Skrill and Neteller. You should check that the stock brokers accounts support those methods that are most convenient to you, considering how long each can take and the costs that may be involved.
Brokers can have different execution models on each stock account type. Some stock brokers utilise an STP/ECN model with no-dealing desk (NDD) interference and thus no conflict of interest between broker and traders. Others will incorporate a market maker model which means that they take the opposite side of the trade. You should consider what execution type you would prefer and choose the relevant trading account type.
Most stock brokers use a combination of liquidity providers (LPs) such as banks and funds. This is where they get their price quotes from. Usually, the more LPs that a stock broker has, the better the prices they can offer to stock traders are.
Some stock accounts have minimum and maximum position sizes. You should check that the account type you are considering supports the position sizes you plan to use now and in the future.
It can be beneficial especially for beginners to opt for a stock broker that has a traders academy with a selection of stock trading guides, tutorial videos and webinars. These can help to familiarise users with the difference between the stock trading account types provided. If you are new to trading online and would like as many educational resources as possible, you may wish to take a look at our best brokers for beginners.
Best Stock Trading Accounts: Open A Stocks Account
Opening a stock trading account
Opening a stock trading account requires that you provide your chosen stock brokerage with some personal information which will usually include your contact details, proof of identity and address confirmation. This is a normal part of know your customer (KYC) procedures to ensure that brokers are compliant with anti-money laundering (AML) policies. Some brokers will ask for details about your financial experience which is just to make sure that their stock trading services are suitable for you.
Once your trading account has been verified which can be within the same day, you are able to make a deposit and trade stocks online. Different stock brokers may have different requirements depending on the jurisdiction and how its business operates. Simply choose a stock broker and stock trading account that meets your needs, follow the account opening process and you will be able to start trading stocks online.