The Internet has made it easy for just about anyone to begin investing. An online broker can provide you with the ability to trade stocks and funds, as well as open some types of retirement accounts and even engage in options trading.
Before you sign up for an online broker, though, make sure you do your research. Consider your personal needs and investing goals and choose a broker that is likely to provide you with the best service for you.
Things to Look for in an Online Broker
As you make your decision about an online broker, consider what the broker has to offer, as compared to others. Here are some items to pay attention to:
- Investment Choices: Your first consideration should be the investment choices offered. Does the broker offer what you are looking for? Stocks, bonds, various funds (including ETFs) and other assets should be considered. There are some brokers that offer currencies and that offer futures and options. You can also find many brokers that can help you open an IRA or other type of retirement account. Figure out what investment options you want, and look at brokers that offer what you want.
- Costs: Different online brokers have varying fee structures. Find out about the commissions, the flat-fees for trades, and other costs. Some of these costs include extra fees for trading funds, getting phone advice, and more. You want to choose an online broker that is going to provide you with good value, with lower costs.
- Research Tools: Understand what tools are available with your broker. You might be able to access additional tools with a “premium” account that costs extra. Or, you might find that the free tools are sufficient. Go through the research tools and choose an online broker that provides you with the information you need to make informed decisions.
- Customer Service: Even though your investment choices and the costs you pay might be the most important points to you, don’t forget to consider customer service. Read reviews of different online brokers to get a feel for how well they serve customers. Also, you can look for items such as phone help, and 24/7 online chat. You want to ensure that you will be able to get the help you need with your broker.
- Other Perks: Consider the other perks that an online broker might offer. Some of these perks might include banking services (including an ATM card to access your cash account). Look at all that the online broker has to offer, and whether or not you require it.
Figure out which items are most important to you, and which you are willing to be flexible on. No online brokerage is going to be ideal for everyone, so you will need to prioritize the characteristics that are most important for you. You might be willing to pay a little more for a wide variety of investment options and first-class customer service. Or, if you are more of a do-it-yourself investor with basic needs, something with rock-bottom prices and basic investment choices might work best. When ready to sign up, visit our stock broker promo codes section. We are constantly updating the promotions offered.
The important thing is to understand what you want in an investment broker, and then compare your options so that you get will be the best value in your situation.