Here are some factors you should definitely consider before you choose a Discount Broker:
Breadth of Investment Products and Mutual Funds
All of the discount brokers out there allow you to trade stocks. What they all don’t offer is the same amount of mutual funds or other investment products you may need, so this should be the first question you ask yourself when shopping around for a discount broker. If you are looking for a particular investment product then make sure the broker offers it and that it is reasonably priced. Shopping around here will save you a lot of money.
Obviously, you don’t want all your gains going to “fees” from a broker just so you can try to make those gains. If your current broker has maintenance fees, inactivity fees, or check writing fees then its time to start shopping around. Decide on what you want your brokerage account to do then find a company that has either very low fees or no fees at all that suits your needs. I guarantee that if you look long enough then you’ll find your perfect “soul” broker.
Just check out their website to find the fee list or call the customer service number provided. Any reputable company should be able to provide you a full updated fee list.
Since most of you reading this article are not technical analysts, so make sure you have access to the analysis tools from your broker so you can access the information needed to make the best decisions on your trades. Check out the major trading companies like Charles Swab or Scotttrade.
Make sure you consider this before making a commitment. Do a good deal of research and make sure you are comfortable your brokers web interface. There is a magazine called SmartMoney and they have performed some research on these tools by some major leaders in the brokering industry. According to that research Scottrade boasts the fastest trade execution time with E-Trade coming up next why saying the Ameritrade has 13 trading tools which include aftermarket and premarket trading, using your smartphone to trade with, and alerts about stocks.
Probably one of the most important aspects of selecting a broker is if the company has great customer service then you’ll always be able to get answers to questions you have when you need them. Make sure you can access your broker 24/7.
A great way to figure out if there customer service is everything they say it is to contact them via e-mail. Judge how long it takes them to respond, if they answered your questions effectively with quality information, and if they are cordial during the conversation.