7 Tips for Choosing an Online Broker

Online brokers have become a popular way for investors to get into the game. They tend to be easy to use, offer real-time investments, and provide many educational resources for the user to enjoy. With all of these perks, you can see why going with an online broker would be ideal. Because there are so many online broker platforms available to use, it can be challenging to determine which the best one for you is. Each online broker has something different to offer depending on what you’re looking for.

Once you decide, it’s best to spend some time researching to see what the reviews are like. As an example, the website, Motley Fool, is a top-rated platform for investors to get up-to-date information. It also has a stock advisor service that allows you to start trading.  After you do some digging, you can weigh out the options to see if Motley Fool worth it for you. If you’re ready to choose an online broker, we have seven tips that will help you out.

Look at Account Fees

Chances are you won’t be able to avoid account fees. Just like a stockbroker charges a fee for running your platform, so too will an online broker have fees. What makes an online broker more appealing though is that the fees tend to be much lower than stockbrokers would be. With that said, you still want to pay attention to any hidden fees that can catch people off-guard.

Account Minimums

Another important point to look at is any account minimums. Many online brokers will require you to have a minimum dollar amount in your account at all times and even to begin. You can find popular and reliable online brokers that have no minimum amounts, but many have an initial investment of around $500.

Do You Need Any Add-Ons?

Depending on your level of investing and how serious you are about it, you may want to look for a platform that has additional perks to utilize. For someone who is a beginner though, you likely don’t want to get into too much of an advanced platform. More experienced traders will likely want to have add-ons that include the support for high-frequency trading, analysis tools, additional commissions, and search tools. Someone who is a beginner trader, having access to online educational resources and seminars would be more ideal to look for.

Look for Free Trials

Especially if you’re a beginner, look for platforms that offer a free trial service. When you’re first starting, it can be difficult to know which platform will suit you the most, even after using these points to guide you. Sometimes, you need to actually use the platform to get a better understanding of it. Many online platforms offer a free trial for a certain number of days. It’s enough that it will give you a good feel of the platform, but not enough that the company will lose money from you.

Customer Service

Customer service is important for an online broker. Because you won’t be meeting face-to-face, if you have any issues, you want to ensure that you have a way to get in touch with someone. When searching for a platform, make sure their customer service line is easily visible and available at all times. If there is real-time chat, that’s an even bigger bonus.

Easy Funds Deposit and Withdrawal

To start trading, you’ll need to deposit money. When you have a successful trade, you’ll want to withdraw your earnings. If you have to jump through multiple hoops just to withdraw your investment, it may get to the point that you stop trading. When looking at the deposit and withdrawal requirements, ask yourself the following questions: How long does it take for your deposited funds to be active? How long will it take for the withdrawal to enter your account? What are the withdrawal options (direct deposit, check)?

User-Friendly

Another essential point to look for is how user-friendly the platform is. Beginners won’t want to spend most of their time figuring out how to maneuver through the platform. Instead, they’ll want the ability to easily find where they need to go and how to make a trade. Having that free-trial mentioned above will allow you to determine how user-friendly the software is. Narrowing down the online trading platforms can be challenging. Make a list of the important aspects that you need in your platform. Once you start going through them, find the one that checks off the most number of points. Spend some time browsing through it to ensure that it suits all of your needs. In the end, though, if it doesn’t work out, you can always move on to the next one.


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