I have been searching for the best stock broker for a long time. I went over hundreds of blogs, videos, tweets, and recommendations. Still unable to decide on the pros and cons of each broker. I had to open accounts with 15 top national, international, regulated, and unregulated broking firms. There is a huge gap between the broking firms from 0.55% to 0.00 brokerage fees. For me, as a customer, they all are doing the same job and yet look at the differences. Now, that I have closed my account with most of the firms I am going to put down here the best stock brokers according to me.
Let’s start by putting out the names of the stock brokers;
- ICICI Direct
- Angel Broking (Now called Angel One)
- Interactive Brokers (For India and US)
- Groww (For India and US)
- SAS Online
- Td Ameritrade (For US only)
- Capital (Unregulated for Forex only)
Ok, now that’s a long list and they all are good brokers in their own ways but I had to move on to the best stock brokers. Take a minute and think about it “What do I need from stock brokers?”. It comes down to very simple needs low cost, better execution, security, and simplicity. That is all my friends what is required from a stock broker. Now let me put out each broker to you what I feel from my experience with them.
Let me start with the elephant in the room my oldest broker ICICI Direct. I have this broker from my college days, you have to know the zero balance 3-in-1 bank account with trading and demat account offer. Yes, I am a part of it I have a zero balance bank account but kept paying 750+ annual demat charges, not to forget sky touching brokerage fee with 80’s web application to trade with. They still have the highest brokerage fee of .55% on delivery. They recently brought some plans which would reduce the brokerage but again you have to pay them first and they “still have minimum terms and conditions” and also would increase the other charge DP charge to compensate. This broker feels like wants to make money anyhow.
If you look at their web platform, you will be lost and will get a feeling that you are still in the HTML world. They just want you to buy and sell that is it. The more you do the more they make and the more taxes to the government. I no longer use this broker and I only have them active because of an MF in it and they are linked to my saving account. If someone tells me that my account will still be a zero balance account I will close them in an instant.
Being a bank-based broker they have a lot to offer, they are working on some new looks and offer things like same-day cash withdrawal, and buy now pay later but they lack the basic requirement such as GTT or GTC order type to limit losses. You have a cash position in the market you have to manually put the stop-loss order every day. That can be annoying even if you have given the POA.
The mobile apps they have yes they have at least 3 that I know of are not to my liking. I don’t or hardly use mobile apps for trade purposes, they are only used for viewing the market. Their desktop trading software is called Trade Racer which is very old and it does not have commodity trading capabilities. They have a lot to catch up with the modern-day brokers and I am not even comparing them with discounted brokers.
I recently closed my account with Sharekhan, also a very old account. I genuinely didn’t like closing this account but I have too many broking accounts to deal with so took a hard call. If I have to open an account with them again I would not hesitate provided they give me my old or better brokerage rates. Their brokerage fee is 0.3% in delivery, 0.03% for intraday & futures, 60/- & 20/- for options and currency – options. What I had was 0.1% for delivery and 0.01% for intraday.
They have a very nice web platform way better than ICICI direct. Their desktop application is Trade Tiger with is also very customer friendly. The only bummer with Sharekhan was that I was still bleeding money even with the brokerage and annual demat charges and DP charges. One needs to understand if your brokerage goes up you also bleed in taxes. Another thing with this broker is customer service. They are not super fast in responding to your queries. One full-service broker I would recommend is this Sharekhan. I even visited their branch for an off-line transfer of one company that was delisted very helpful.
Only if they could work on customer service and be a bit more open like downloading CMR that should happen in less than 15 minutes. Here I have to contact the branch or customer care for getting one.
Recently they started a discount broking arm called Espresso which we will talk about later in this blog.
Angel Broking (Now called Angel One)
This would be the first full-service broker offering discounted services. I closed this account as well the only reason I could find for the closure was the DP charges and the intraday charges were high compared with a discount broker. The brokerage they charge is 0/- on delivery and 20/- or 0.25% whichever is lower on intraday. To be honest, 0.25% is high if you compare it with 0.03% also the DP charge is 23.6/- with taxes, whereas CDLS only charges 5.5/- without taxes. So, it’s a 14.5/- extra, I don’t know but I got a feeling they say zero in delivery but it’s actually not zero.
Their platform is nice but I was having an issue with their web app, the chart would not now properly, and The chart would be minimized in size. Their desktop software Trade NXT, which is decent, but not as great as Trade Tiger not as worse as Trade Racer, and for this, you have to install Speed Pro Stater. I hardly look at mobile apps as they are of no use to me.
This is a discount broker based out of Bangalore, their brokerage is not in line with most of the other discount brokers. They charge 0.01% capped at 20/- for delivery. They charge 17.11/- as DP charges which is still 2/- expensive. I opened this account a long time back but forgot about this for a year or two or three. When I reactivated the account they charged me the whole annual demat amount. That is fine I had to pay no doubt but while closing the account one has to pay an annual demat account for the whole year. I closed so many of the broking accounts nobody did anything like this.
While I was in the process of closing my account they launched their CUBE web app. To be honest not the very best could do a lot more. Their desktop software as far as I remember used to be NEST. If it is still there then nothing has changed.
My main reason for closing the account with them was that they were a bit more expensive and I had some trust issues.
Do I really have to write anything about this broker? I like them they are the no-nonsense type of broking firm they could be one of the best stock brokers I have seen. When I look at a discount broker I have to compare it with Zerodha. The web app kite is the most user-friendly app one can find. The GTT order is one that I really like even if I have not given them POA it works like a charm. I do have to authorize the selling with the T-Pin every day.
Zerodha is currently the largest stock broking firm, there has to be a reason for that, they provide you with the tools that are required for investing but there is still a lot that can be added. Something like trailing Stop-loss GTT orders. They provide you with minimum data from other apps like option chain from Sensibull, fundamentals from Tickertape, and technical from Streak it is like a bit here and a bit there.
The most underrated broker is Interactive Brokers, and by far the most advanced broker one can find. I don’t know why but people just don’t know about them and if they do this can also be the best stock broker out in the market. I use IB for both Indian and US markets and the experience is unmatched by any broker out there. From GTC to trailing stop-loss they have it all. Well, they do have some issues like they only trade the NSE and the transfer of money takes like 2 hours. Opening an account with them is also a bit long process compared to any other Indian broker. Physical documentation is required for POA.
Their brokerage is just in line with most of the broking houses. The charge is 1bsp which should be .01%, minimum of 6/- & maximum of 20/- for all kinds of trade. There are no DP charges and no annual demat charges on IB. Now, that is called no-nonsense pricing.
They are massive with data, one can easily be lost when you first start out with them, and once you enter you can not leave. Their desktop software is Trader Workstation (TWS) the amount of customization one can do is mind-blowing. Now, after using it for one year this is the only desktop application I check on market days.
Just to clarify some things that when you open an account with them you open for one market only. If you want to open for US market then you have to open another account. Just to explain this concept when I open one account for the Indian market I set a user name and they provided me with a unique customer id which is for trading the Indian market. When I applied for US market they added another unique customer id for US market under the same user name. So, now when I have to switch between the Indian and US markets there is a dropdown in the menu. I have named my IDs as USD and INR.
The fund transfer is also different for both cases, you have to put money in an Indian account for trades in India and have to do a remittance to US account to trade in US market. You can not use funds in an Indian account to buy US shares and visa-versa.
The zero brokerage broker, I opened this account because they have a simple policy of charges no brokerage. Zero on trades, zero on delivery, and zero in annual AMC. The DP charge is 10.62/- the lowest among the discount brokers. If they provide the same app that Zerodha is providing they will become the largest and best stock broker in no time. Currently, the web app they provide is a bit laggy it is not super fast so is their desktop software called Shoonya.
Again when you pay nothing can you be complaining? I don’t think so. They still need to do a lot to smoothen the customer experience on the platform. Also for orders like GTT you have to give them POA, which I don’t like.
The easiest and the simplest platform one can imagine. If I was just starting out in the stock market this is the place I should have started with. This broker has the capabilities of being one of the best stock brokers. Their commission is a bit more if compared to 0/- on delivery but they are capped at 20/- in everything. No AMC and 15.93/- of DP charge. The only problem I see with them is MF is not in dematerialized form and also no MCX.
Their web app is so simple that a small kid can buy and sell stocks on their system. Groww is pushing more towards investing for the long term and one should be aware of situations like “how low can it go further”. Stocks can go to zero or even stop trading on the exchange. I had one stock just like that it no longer trades on the exchange.
I also activated the US investment with them it is nice but can not compare it with Interactive Brokers. I still have this account I want to see if they can really make a dent in the system. Would also love to see them reduce the fee for delivery to 0/-.
I closed my account with them just because they are an expensive discount broker. 70/- for a small buy-hold-sell delivery order. Having the highest DP charges. They really need to work on their commissions. Their web app is Tradingview style and finding market depth was not a great experience. I just could not get my head around their system. Maybe it’s because I got to Zerodha first and now because of that other apps are just not working for me.
Here is another zero-commission broker, but very well has the potential to become the best stock broker. This broker has a catch for zero fees, you need to pay them one time 999/- for AMC and 999/- for commissions to stay zero. Not a very bad offer to start but they are still expensive compared to Finvasia in DP charges 14.16/-. So, they can not say they are the cheapest in the market. I do enjoy their web platform it’s fast but can be better. No GTT or GTC here they are a very new player in the market.
mStock is by Mirae Asset so the trust factor is a bit higher than Finvasia. Mutual fund is coming soon as they say on their site, hope that will be in demat form and no MCX as of now. It is too early to say anything about this broker. They need to smoothen things for our experience.
I closed my account with this broker, and before I tell you about them. Let me tell you that they are the only ones who not just closed my account online but also transfers my holding online. Upstox had to sell my holdings, Sharekhan sent them a physical form, Tradejini send a physical form, and Angel One had to transfer my holding paid DP charges. Truly online means everything online.
Their commission is capped at 9/-, DP charges at 17.7/-, and AMC at 236/- with taxes. There are also some opening charges but they are manageable and lower than Mstock. They have a web app and Alpha Trader as their desktop software. It is good but still a lot to improve. For me they are still expensive, yep if you come from 20/- to 9/- they look cheap but these numbers add up and cost you end of the year.
The discounting arm of Sharekhan would like to see them merged with the original Sharekhan. Their pricing is just like similar to Zerodha but if you make a loss in one of your day trades they won’t charge you for that sell order. They do have an AMC of 472/- with taxes. I had to make a hard choice between Zerodha and Espresso. So, I closed this account but they are good, very good.
Their web app and their desktop software called Binge are very good and very customer friendly. See if I give 10 points to Zerodha then they are 9.6. I did have to send a physical form for closure and they don’t provide CDSL’s Easiest service. No MF, and bonds. That is where they are lacking I want one broker doing everything for me.
They are “Focus Your Energy to Reform your Self” another discount broker with good pricing, Tradingview style. I had to take a choice between Zerodha and Fyers. Never mind they are also good but if you open your account with Zerodha first, it becomes difficult to move must say. 14.75/- DP charges lower that Zerodha with no AMC. If I have to open my account with them again will be happy to do that.
They are doing a lot in the market and I do keep a close eye on them. Their web app is good and so is their desktop software Fyers One not as good as Espresso’s Binge. Would also rate them 9.6
This is only for US market, If you have Interactive Brokers or Groww you really don’t need another account. I have them because I opened this account before them. It’s a free brokerage account but withdrawal is 25$ to India. Plus if you want market depth from different exchanges you have to pay in IB and Groww does not have that feature. Td Ameritrade is smooth and very customer friendly. You can open an account online but you do have to call them once to get it activated.
Just stay away from this, it’s unregulated in India and SEBI has issued a notice regarding Fx trading. But you can open a paper trading account with them. Where you can paper trade and learn how the market works.
Who is the Best Stock Broker?
I hope you understand why I did all this, for some people commissions of 20/- or 9/- would look less but when you add up all the cost that has gone for trades over the year it shows a very different story. As it is said “the house always wins”, brokers and the exchanges, regulators and the government are the houses and they will make money, whatever your position is. Now, there can not be one BEST STOCK BROKER for the very simple fact that every broker has its own pros and cons and we have to drive out the pros and leave out the cons. For me, Interactive Brokers and Zerodha are on the top, Second would be Finvasia and mStock, and lastly would be Groww.