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How to Find Your Ideal Online Broker

Are you looking for the ideal online broker? You are not alone. Every day, first-time and experienced traders and investors begin searching for a reputable, reliable brokerage firm they can trust with their hard-earned capital. Of course, you’ll be the one making the trades, and the broker only serves to offer an investing platform and maintain your account. The most efficient way to identify a brokerage that meets all your criteria is to evaluate it based on several core features. 

In addition to the company’s reputation, be sure to check out the platforms it offers. Then, investigate whether it’s regulated. Finally, check its reliability, assets you can trade, the fees, and customer service response time. The following subject areas offer some starting points for anyone who wants to connect with a broker that meets their needs.

Reputation

Whenever your money is involved, checking the reputation of potential brokers is of paramount importance. Do they help identify cheap stocks or always push the more risk more reward notion? What is the best way to find out what a company’s reputation is? First, there are several legitimate review sites to check. Read reviews for the top ten on all of them. Don’t rely on a single website. Instead, read at least three of the more popular ones that list verified customer reviews. Take notes about all the pros and cons of your favorites, and don’t expect to find a perfect choice. 

Platforms

When people who are relatively new to trading set out to find the best brokers, they sometimes underestimate the value of a worthwhile platform. In fact, the selection of the best trading platforms should be at or near the top of everyone’s list when they begin their research. Why is this piece of the puzzle so important? Mainly because if you select a platform that’s too advanced for you or pick one that is geared for a single type of asset that you don’t trade, the eventual result will be frustration. That’s why it’s essential to do a test drive before committing your time and resources to a particular company. Not every online brokerage firm offers the same features. Even some of the top players in the industry vary widely in what they offer in terms of asset classes, functionality, and more.

Regulation

Nearly every financial institution, large or small, falls under the purview of one or more regulatory bodies. Some of the regulators are national government agencies, while others are international entities. Always find out about the regulatory environment of your chosen brokers. There should be at least one body overseeing its activity. More than one is better. Look for well-known alphabet agencies like FINRA, SEC, and others.

Reliability

Reliability is about uptime and execution. In other words, you don’t want to frequently encounter disconnections from the internet or from the app. Likewise, it’s important to find a provider that offers streamlined trade executions. Most of the larger firms do, but you still need to do a one-week trial, when offered, to find out how high the reliability factor is. Regular disconnects and slow or erratic order execution are two reasons to consider another provider.

Asset Classes

The question of asset classes is a basic but vital one. Mainly, it’s your job to find out if a particular online trading provider includes your favorite assets on their list. Note that some companies do not offer cryptocurrency, forex, futures, or options, but you might not readily discover this information on their main pages. Make it a habit to notate the assets available on every platform you consider using.

Fees and Charges

It can take a bit of digging to find out the fee structure of an organization. What you’ll be looking for are things like inactivity fees, account minimums, setup charges, commissions on individual trades, and similar things that can remove money from your pocket or directly from your account balance. Note that there is a great deal of variability in this category, so be sure to check out the entire fee, charge, and commission structure of your initial selections.

Customer Service and Responsiveness

Take the time to do a little detective work of your own by contacting the customer service phone numbers or email boxes of brokerages that interest you. Have a few standard questions ready to ask. They can be real or fake questions. You might ask something regarding market correction, or you might just ask about their fees and charges. Just be sure to write them down so you don’t forget. Then, observe how quickly and how thoroughly the companies reply. If they’re slow off the mark, don’t answer at all, or provide inaccurate information, consider scratching their name from your shortlist. Customer service is a critical piece of the user experience puzzle for traders, so don’t skip this step.

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