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What to Look for in Opening an Account with a Stock Futures and Forex Broker
Not all brokers are created the same. They are all in competition with each other for your investing and trading business. Different brokers provide different levels of services depending upon the type of investor or trader you are with different benefits and features that you may or may not need. Below is a list of things to know before you open an account.
Online brokers charge a commission based on the number of trades and some also charge account handling fees. Compare these to get the best rates possible. Commission based fees are calculated on a sliding scale and so the more the trade the less the cost per trade. Account handling fees will vary depending on the type of cash management account you use. If the broker supplies their own account then the cost will be minimal.
Online brokers usually supply their own trading platform. The software that you use can be web based or software that has to be downloaded and installed on your computer. Some online brokers will charge for this service to cover their costs of maintenance and upgrades to the software.
Terms & Conditions
Carefully read the terms and conditions offered by online brokers. Look for accounts that may be closed due to inactivity. Compare minimum account balances and interest rates that you will earn on cash balances. Check the timing and frequency of the application of fees and charges to your cash acconts.
Customer service becomes an important issue with an online account as you need to access this at some stage. You can check their accessibility before you join. You should check that you are not keep on hold for extended periods of time. Not only is this annoying, it also means that others are having issues with their accounts or trading platforms.
All online brokers should have phone access. Phone access is important and means that you can continue trading. If your computer crashes, then you will need to call your broker and manually enter or close trades.
All online brokers should offer you financial statements so that you can reconcile your accounts. This becomes important at tax time and when discrepancies occur in your account.
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