Surely this is the very first question that you will ask if you are about to enter the online trading industry. And it is a very important one. When you are a beginner trader choosing the right brokerage account will mean lots more than just finding out a platform for placing trades. With the right broker you will be able to create some solid investing foundation that will stay with you while your skills and strategies mature overtime. You need to have a very good trading platform but also you need advisors and educational material that will cut the experience gap with other traders out there.
An online broker is a licensed company that can buy and sell stocks and other financial instruments via the market exchanges. Traditionally the only way for individuals to invest in stock was to find a stock broker that will than place trades on their behalf. That was a rather long and costly process that was conducted via phones. Now all this has changed as with online you can in seconds do what it was the service provided by traditional brokers. And you can do this from everywhere as you just need an internet connection and a trading platform that is provided by online brokers companies.
As we have seen it is very easy to trade online nowadays however if you don’t find the right platform your investments can be taken away by a number of admin fees, charges of all sorts and exit penalties. This is why we have spent more than 300 hours researching the different online brokers and trading sites so that you can have all the information you need to make the right decision. Regardless if you are going to trade from time to time or if you planning to trade full time, just follow our guides to ensure you end up with a reputable, fair and advanced trading site that will maximise your chances of becoming a long-term successful online trader.
The first thing to remember that although there are some key criteria we can objectively score trading sites, each offers different features and ultimately there isn’t a platform that fits everyone in the same way. You will need to open few demo accounts with some trusted and regulated brokers to see if they fit your trading style. By opening demo accounts you will be able to trade with free money which means you will not risk any of your capital.
The amount that you can invest can be as little as £1 and normally the most respectable trading sites allow you to open an account for as little as £50 or £100 (even the ones with lots of interesting and advanced features). If you have a larger amount to invest obviously you will be able to access accounts with more options and support available. As a beginner tough it is important to look out from those trading sites that are intuitive and that are designed for total beginners: in this way you will avoid the risk to get lost in a huge amounts of in-depth information.
Simply speaking a trading site will allow you to do the following 5 things:
1 – Pick which assets to invest in
2 – Buy funds
3 – Sell funds
4 – Monitor investment performance
5 – Manage investment (stop losses, etc.)
If you are a total beginner, picking up a trading site could seem overwhelming. This is why at TopTradingPlatforms.co.uk we have done some of the work for you and score the different trading sites so that you can see which one can fit you best. The first question you will need to ask yourself is what kind of trader you will be? Will you be trading (buying or selling) on a weekly or monthly basis or will you be happy to only make changes few times per year?
Understanding how frequently you will be using the trading site is very important as certain fees might be irrelevant to a certain type of trader while they could actually severely affect the bottom line of others. Some trading sites for example do not have ongoing fund dealing charges while others can charge you a fee of £10 everytime you do a trade. Some platforms do charge an ongoing fee in form of a percentage of your total investment while others do not charge any fix commissions but they will take a margin with the spread. In this case you will only start making profit when you have covered the spread which is the difference between the buy price and the sell price of a certain financial instrument.
The good news is that there are trading sites for everyone. As there is lot of competition in the industry some trading platform will actually also offer you some bonuses and freebies when you sign up and this is generally a very good way to get some extra cash especially when you are still at the beginning and need some experiments. If bonuses are fine, you need to make sure to check the fees as you don’t want to lose out in the long run by selecting a trading site that will charge higher ongoing fees. Normally as you would expect the more you will invest the lower fees you will be charged. In addition to that you will also get support from the trading sites experts. Having said that you should expect from every trading sites to have free access to educational material and also to the latest trading news.
In the last years trading sites have been struggling to offer mobile apps and on the go functionalities however the situation has significantly improved in the last period. You should consider the mobile trading very carefully and only select those trading sites that will allow to trade from mobile and tablets seamlessly. This will be a very good advantage for you as you will be able to control your investments and make amendments if required from everywhere. Some trading sites mobile apps only work on some devices (ie. Android or Iphone) so make sure you check the requirements so that you will be able to get the best possible on-the-go trading platform.