How to Open an Online Trading Account

by Contributor

Online trading is fast and costs less to trade and maintain than a traditional brokerage company. Everything pertaining to your account is at your fingertips 24/7. Filling out the application is easy.

Know what type of investments you plan to make. Trading common stock, options, day trade and mutual funds are possibilities.

Make a list of potential online trading companies. A Publicly owned company is more transparent. Barron's magazine puts out a yearly review of online brokers. Check for a reprint of the latest or see if your local library has a copy.

Compare account requirements and services offered. Some companies require a minimum deposit to open an account. Cash, margin and retirement accounts vary for this initial outlay.

Choose an online account and click the "open account" button on the home webpage. Follow the instructions. Answer each question and push "next" with your mouse. This process varies by company.

Determine in advance the type of account you want to open. Individual, joint and IRA are standard. Other types include tenants in common, community property and tenants by entireties. Margin and option trading have additional conditions.

Know your social security number and any beneficiary if applicable. The beneficiary usually is for an IRA type of account where the social security number and the beneficiary's address are required.

Prepare to give employment information. Address and phone numbers are standard. Write down banking information. If you plan to use electronic transfer have your routing and account number.

Choose a mailing and email address. This address is the one where statements and money owed you will go.

Follow the instructions for your first deposit closely. Electronic, check or stock transfers are options. Pick the one that suits you best. Submit the application and wait for account approval. Once approved start investing!


  • check Save money by choosing to download and print monthly statements and trade confirmations. Many brokers charge a mailing fee for these documents.

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