With the endless options of online brokers, it’s becoming hard to specifically choose the one that works for you. It can be confusing for both beginners and professional investors to know which online broker is the best to deal with.
However, this means that the competition is rising, and investors can always take advantage of that state. When there’s competition, the costs and fees automatically drop down and online brokers begin to offer many other services that benefit the investors. Still, if you’re a beginner, there are many factors that you need to consider before choosing your online broker. First is you need to understand that there’s no guaranteed way that will ensure a successful return, but choosing the right online broker definitely reduces your risks. That’s why we’ve collected the 8 most important things that you need to know before choosing your online broker.
1. Know the Minimum Investment Required
The minimum initial investment required is the amount of money that you need to deposit in order to start investing. Many brokers request thousands of dollars to start, which may not be possible for beginners. Many new investors have little to invest in, and they feel they don’t have a chance because of the minimum required. However, there are a lot of online brokers that require little to no required minimum investment, some can also provide you with a demo account that uses virtual money to test your skills and see how it works before risking real money. So before you choose an online broker, make sure that you can afford the minimum investment required to start your investing journey.
2. Investment Research
All investors need to access investment research. Some online brokers offer stocks and funds research for their investors for free and others require additional fees. It’s a great advantage if the online broker you choose allows you to access investment research before you start investing.
3. Demo Account Availability
As mentioned above, demo accounts allow you to invest with virtual money to reduce any possible risk; however, there are many other benefits than just that. Demo accounts, or as some would refer to as practise accounts for beginners, are accounts that provide the user with the same investing experience without risking their own money. The whole point of these demo accounts is for the new investors to practice, learn, and know how the process goes. Although many online brokers offer demo accounts, not all of them provide a real investing experience. When choosing an online broker, you have to ensure that there is no difference between the demo account and the real one, both should provide the same results. By doing this, you will be able to know the broker’s fees and learn all about online trading. Creating a demo account before investing with real money is a great alternative for those who want to invest but are too afraid to do it.
4. Costs And Fees
If you’re a beginner, then you probably have a limited budget to start with. This means that you have to pay attention to additional costs and fees from the online broker in order to avoid going over your budget. Knowing all the brokerage fees you’re going to pay before investing will help you make the most out of your investments. These fees include withdrawal and closing fees. Some online brokers require a certain fee or percentage to be able to withdraw your money. Others may charge a fee for transferring to another broker or closing your account. So before choosing any online broker, make sure that you read the terms and conditions and you know all about the costs and fees that the broker charges.
5. Available Investment Options
Before you decide which online broker is best for you, make sure that it has all the investment options even if you’re not going to use all of them right now. As a beginner, you’re not required to study all of them, you just need to know the pros and cons of each one and how it can benefit you in the future. A reliable online broker must have individual stocks, options, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and certificates of deposit. It will also be a huge addition if the online broker has cryptocurrencies as well.
6. The Difference Between Full-service and Discount Brokers
To be able to choose the right online broker, you have to know whether you need a full-service broker or a discount broker. Almost all beginners prefer a discount broker as it suits their budget. However, a discount broker will leave you to make all the decisions by yourself and will not provide you with any investment research. While full-service brokers may be expensive, you will have personalized advice and recommendations that will benefit you as an investor.
7. Offers and Promotions
Because of the fierce competition, many online brokers provide offers and promotions for new investors. Keep an eye on those promotions as they can make your investing experience easier. Some offer cash bonuses, while others may offer zero withdrawal fees. Although these offers may seem tempting, you cannot choose an online broker based on their offers only; you must consider all the other factors as well.
8. Educational Resources
Just like investment research, educational resources are also helpful to all investors. While searching for a suitable online broker, you will find many who offer live webinars, video tutorials, and how-to guides. Having access to these resources will allow you to understand everything you need to know about investing and you’ll be able to know how to reduce your risk.
Choosing an online broker is not an easy process. You have to know and study your options before you make this decision. Getting recommendations from friends or family members can help but it’s not always effective as each person chooses what suits them. What works best for your friend might not be suitable for you. That’s why, when choosing an online broker, you have to consider your needs and goals along with the 8 mentioned factors. Keeping in mind all of these points will help narrow down your options until you choose the right one for you.