Where to open your Demat & Trading account?

Two years back, I wrote an article on the difference between a demat and trading account. That article got a lot of attention from the readers, asking me to further elaborate on where to open these accounts.

As I didn’t cover which stockbrokers are suitable for which users in that article, I received a lot of queries from the readers regarding where to open demat and trading account. Most of them were beginners and therefore, I decided to write an article on the same which can be helpful for the newbie investors.

In this post, I’ll discuss the stockbrokers which I’ve personally used and researched. In my investing journey of the last five years, I’ve come across many trading platforms. From full-service brokers like ICICI direct, HDFC securities, SBI Smart, etc, to the newer discount brokers like Zerodha, Upstox, 5Paisa, Trade Smart Online, etc, I’ve reviewed them all. Moreover, being in the trading field, I need to remain updated with the latest brokers and their charges.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a good knowledge of where should you open your trading and demat account. I’ll try to keep things as simple as possible while answering. In addition, I’ll also disclose which stockbroker I use for trading in stocks. Therefore, make sure that you read this article till the end. I’m confident that it will be helpful to you.

Difference between demat and trading account?

Before we dive into the topic, let me give you the smallest explanation of what’s the difference between demat and trading accounts so that we are all on the same page.

Just as money is kept in your savings account, similarly your bought stocks are kept in your demat account. When you buy a stock, it gets credited in your demat account. And when you sell it, it gets debited from the same. At any time, your demat account reflects all your holding stocks. By the way, a demat account is a short form for ‘Dematerialised account’.

On the other hand, a trading account is a medium to buy and sell shares in a stock market. It is used to place purchase or selling order for a stock in the market. 

For example, let’s say you want to buy some shares. Then, you need to enter details like ‘Which share you want to buy?’, ‘How many quantities of shares you want to buy?’, ‘At what price you want to buy that shares’, etc. And all these placings of buy/sell order is done using a trading account.

While trading in Indian stocks, you’ll need to have both demat and trading account. Anyways, both these accounts are linked and can be opened with any stockbroker. Further, in the era of the internet, opening these accounts is really simple and fast.

Do you need a stockbroker to trade in stocks?

This is one of the frequently asked questions that I receive over email. Therefore, I needed to answer this one here.

Yes, you need a stockbroker to trade in Indian stocks.

You just cannot walk in the stock exchange to buy/sell your stocks. There are a lot of processes involved in the transfer and settlement of stocks for a satisfactory buying and selling experience of the participants. And here, stockbrokers plays an important role, along with the stock exchanges and regulators. Overall, you’ll need a stockbroker to trade in stocks.

What is a stockbroker?

Basically, a stockbroker is an individual/organization who is a registered member of the stock exchange and are given license to participate in the securities market in place of its clients.

From big banking corporations like HDFC Securities, ICICI Direct, Kotak securities, etc to newer fastly growing startups like Zerodha, Fyers, etc all are examples of stockbrokers in India.

Stockbrokers can directly buy & sell stocks in the share market on behalf of their clients and charge a small commission for this service. However, the commission is minimal compared to the fast trading platform that they offer. Using these platforms, you can buy/sell stocks within minutes using your web/phone while sitting on your home sofa.

What are the types of stockbrokers in India?

There are two basic types of stockbrokers in India: Full-service brokers (Traditional Broker) & Discount brokers (Budget brokers).

Full-service brokers: These are traditional brokers who provide trading, research, and advisory facility for stocks, commodities, and currency. These brokers charge commissions as a percentage of each trade executed by their clients. They also facilitate investing in Forex, Mutual Funds, IPOs, FDs, Bonds, and Insurance.

A few examples of top full-service brokers in India are:

Discount brokers: These brokers just provide the trading facility to their clients for stocks, commodities and currency derivatives. They do not offer advisory services. However, these stockbrokers can save you a lot of brokerages while trading in stocks. Here, you need to pay a flat brokerage charge on the executed trades.

Here is a list of a few top discount stockbrokers in India:

Brokerage comparison while using full-service vs discount brokers 

Let’s compare the brokerage charges of a full-service broker compared to a discount broker.

A full-service broker charges commission as a fixed percentage on every trade their clients execute. This commission can be somewhere between 0.25–0.55% of the overall trade. Here, the bigger is the transaction, higher is the brokerage.

On the other hand, the discount broker offers a flat brokerage charge. This charge can be somewhere between Rs 10–20 per trade.

Moreover, these charges are applicable to both sides of trading. Therefore, when you buy a share, you’ve to pay brokerage and when you sell these shares, you again have to pay these charges.

For example, full-service broker ICICI Securities that charge 0.275% as brokerage on Intraday trading. Therefore, the total brokerage in a trade will be 0.275%* 2 = 0.55%, if we include both buying and selling.

If you make an overall transaction of Rs 5 lakhs per month with ICICI direct, the total brokerage in a year will be equal to 0.55% * 5,00,000 * 12 months = Rs. 33,000

Now, let us look at the brokerage charges offered by discount brokers. The popular discount brokers in India like Zerodha or Upstox charges Rs 20 per trade.

Let us assume that you make 20 trades per month using such a discount broker. Here, your total brokerage in a year will be Rs 20 (brokerage) * 20 trades per month * 12 months = Rs 4,800.

Clearly, you can notice here that you can save a lot of brokerage charges while opting for discount brokers. Moreover, both these brokers provide a similar trading platform and hence overall experience is not much different. Overall, you are paying some un-necessary brokerage while trading with full-service brokers.

What factors to check while selecting your stockbroker?

Brokerage charge is one of the biggest factors to look at while picking your stockbroker as an expensive broker can hurt you financially.

Apart, the second biggest factor to check is the reputation of the stockbroker. A stockbroker with a long history of a reliable trading platform and good customer service should be preferred.

When you are opening your trading account with a stockbroker, it’s a long term relationship. You might trade in stocks for years after opening your account. And here, you do not want your brokerage firm to be shut down in between and all your bought equities getting trapped with them. Therefore, while picking your stock broker, first always check the reputation and reliability of the stockbroker. A simple google search or reading the reviews by the existing users can help to find red flags.

Besides, you need to look into their web and mobile trading platforms, advisory services (if you are looking for trading advice), customer service and other perks offered by that stockbroker like research reports, trading/investing education, etc.

Where should you open your demat and trading account?

By now, you would have got a decent idea regarding stockbrokers in India. Next, let’s discuss the central topic of this article- where should you open your demat and trading account.

If you are looking for multiple services like shares, mutual funds, bonds, currencies, fixed deposits, commodities etc along with research reports and do not mind paying a few extra bucks for additional services, then you should open your account with full-service brokers like ICICI direct, HDFC securities, etc.

However, personally, I believe that if you planning to trade just in stocks (or commodities), opening accounts with discount brokers is more advantageous. They offer a fast trading platform with a low brokerage charge which helps traders to save a lot of money.

Moreover, with the rise of the internet, most of the information that you need to make trading/investment decisions are freely available online. If you want to read the research reports on companies, they too are freely available on websites like Trendlyne, markets mojo, etc.

Note: If you really need advisory to buy and sell stocks, it’s better to go with expert advisory services in this field, who can offer you personalized services rather than relying upon these big corporates for whom you might be a very small client.

Which stockbroker do I use?

I use Zerodha discount broker for making all my traders.

Initially, I started my investment journey with ICICI direct. The reason I opened my account with ICICI was because of their good reputation and 3–in-1 account service facility.

3-in-1 means that you can open your saving, demat and trading account all at once. So, while opening your savings account with ICICI bank you can apply for the other two accounts as well.

Other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding trading and demat accounts.

How to open your demat and trading account?

Opening your trading and demat account is completely online, paperless and hassle-free. If you already have the soft copies of your documents (PAN card, aadhar card and saving account passbook/check) on your mobile/laptop, you can open these accounts within an hour. Simply visit the stockbroker website and apply for an account.

Can I open multiple accounts?

Yes, you can open multiple accounts.

In fact, you can open as many trading accounts as you want with multiple stock brokers. If you wish, you can have one account with a discount broker and another with a full-service broker.

However, keep in mind that you have to pay annual maintenance charges (AMC) for all your active accounts. Generally, this AMC can be between Rs 300–700 per year (lower for discount brokers). Therefore, if you three accounts, you might have to pay a maintenance charge between Rs 900–2100 per year, even if you are not actively using all your accounts.

Can I switch my previously purchased stocks from one demat account to another?

Yes, you can switch your stocks if you are planning to migrate from one demat account to another.

Here, you have two options. Either, you can fill the DIS (Delivery instruction sheet) with information about the new demat account number and submit it to your previous stockbroker. Once filed correctly, they’ll transfer the shares.

Else, you can do it online using the EASIEST facility available on the CDSL website. CDSL is the central securities depository based in Mumbai. EASIEST allows you to transfer shares from one demat to another demat account with simple clicks once you have created your account and linked your stock brokers. Here’s the link to the portal and instructions regarding the same.

How to close your demat account?

Probably the least asked questions. However, I thought to mention this here to complete the article.

To close your demat account, you can fill the Account Closure Form available on your stockbroker’s website and submit it. Generally, it takes between 7–10 days to close your account.

Note: Before closing your account make sure that you don’t have any shares or a negative balance in your account. You can have a negative balance if your account was inactive for the last few years and you didn’t pay the AMC. Further, if you have any stocks in the account, either sell them or transfer it to your other active account before closing this one.

Closing Thoughts

In this online era, buying and selling stocks is as fast as the click of your fingers. All thanks to the online stockbrokers.

There are many stockbrokers available in India and through this post, I tried to help you how to choose a broker for trading in stocks. If you still have any queries regarding where to open your demat and trading account, feel free to comment below. I’ll be happy to help you out.

Have a great day and happy investing!