Best Trading Accounts
What is a trading account?
An online trading account is generally an investment account where you can place funds for the purpose of investing in financial products. When you have a trading account with an online brokerage, you can use their trading platforms to buy and sell assets such as stocks, commodities, forex, cryptocurrencies, energies (oil & gas), precious metals (gold & silver) and more.
What makes a good trading account?
Most online brokers will offer a variety of trading account types to cater to the different needs and investment sizes of individual investors. Whether you’re looking to invest for the long term or buy and sell stocks regularly, you can find a broker that provides your ideal account. Some of the key features to consider when looking for the best trading account for you include:
One of the most important things to look for is that the trading account is offered with a brokerage firm that is regulated. A regulated broker can give investors certain protections that an unregulated broker cannot.
Minimum trading account deposit
Each trading account will have a minimum investment size required to open the account. Some brokers offer accounts from just $1 whereas other specialised account types can require much larger deposits of $500+.
Trading account leverage
A leveraged 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 trading account with a leverage that you feel comfortable with.
If you are familiar with a particular trading platform then you may want to make sure the trading account types offers that platform. If you are new to online trading then you may wish to consider a trading platform that is user friendly such as the popular MetaTrader platforms which are provided by most trading 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 trading account.
When you are looking to invest online, you are likely to need some tools to analyse different financial markets. This can include technical indicators, fundamental tools such as economic calendars and sentiment analysis, trading calculators, Trading Central, etc. The more tools a trading account has, the more detailed 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.
Some brokers offer the same trading instruments and asset classes across all types whereas others have a different selection depending on the account type. You will want to make sure that the online trading account that you are considering has all of the instruments that you would like to trade online now and in the future.
Trading account fees
When you trade online you will usually need to pay a commission fee to the broker for entering and/or exiting your positions. Check the commission on each 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.
Trading account spreads
When you are trading certain financial markets online such as forex, you will usually need to pay a spread for each position you take. The spread is the difference between the bid and ask prices of the asset. Some trading brokers offer fixed spread and variable spread accounts. You should make sure that the spread type and size is suitable for your trading strategy. E.g. traders who use scalping strategies usually require low spreads whereas swing traders may not be so concerned with the spreads.
Trading account fees
In addition to the commission and spreads, trading accounts can incur other fees that you should be aware of and clarify with your broker if need be. Other fees include rollover/swap, account inactivity fees and deposit/withdrawal fees.
Trading account funding options
Trading accounts will support different methods to make deposits and withdrawals to and from your trading 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 brokers accounts support those methods that are convenient to you, considering how long each can take and the costs involved.
Brokers can have different execution models on each account type. Some 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 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 broker has, the better the prices they can offer to traders are.
Some 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 trading broker that has a trader’s academy with a selection of trading guides, tutorial videos and webinars. These can help to familiarise users with the difference between the 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 Trading Accounts: Open A Trading Account
How to open a trading account?
Opening a trading account requires that you provide your chosen brokerage firm 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 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 start investing online. Different brokerages may have different requirements depending on the jurisdiction and how its business operates. Simply choose a trading broker and trading account that meets your needs, follow the account opening process and you will be able to start trading online.