How to Open a Brokerage Account

How to Open a Brokerage Account

6 min read

Learning how to open a brokerage account is an important step that many new traders need help with. First, choose your trading style. Good day trading brokers are SpeedTrader and Interactive Brokers. TD Ameritrade is good for overall trading. Next, apply for an account and then fund it. Within a few days, you should be able to start trading.

  1. Simple process on how to open a brokerage account:
  2. Choose your trading style. Day Trader, Swing Trader, Long Term Trader.
  3. Choose trading preference. Stocks, options or futures.
  4. Research company fees and pricing.
  5. Determine if lower fees outweighs platform abilities.
  6. Deposit money into your account.
  7. Setup your account with technical features you like.
  8. TD Ameritrade and bigger brokers are good for swing/long term trading.
  9. Interactive Brokers, LightSpeed, SpeedTrader, CMEG good for day trading.
  10. Practice paper trading before trading with real money.

There are many great brokerage firms to choose from. Watch our video to learn how to choose the right broker and find out who our favorite brokers are.

Finding the right brokerage account doesn’t need to be difficult. Start out by deciding what kind of strategies you’d like to employ. Do you want long, short, play options? You can do all three or focus on one.

Deciding how you want to use it helps you determine which kind of account as well as which broker to use.

There are quite a few brokerage firms to choose from as you’re learning how to open a brokerage account. TD Ameritrade, E*Trade, Fidelity, Robinhood, Charles Schwab, and Interactive Brokers to name a few.

The first thing to consider when you want to open a brokerage account is what type of investor are you? Are you investing for retirement or will you be living off these investments?


If you’re opening a cash account because you want that money now, you don’t get the tax breaks an IRA would have. Taxes on profits as well as dividends may apply. Although you can withdraw money from there any time you’d like.

Cash accounts are also eligible for margin. As a result, margin lets you borrow money.

If you want to short, a broker like Interactive brokers would be a good one to open an account with. Read our Interactive Brokers review.  If you’re into options then TD Ameritrade, as well as Charles Schwab, is a great broker to consider.

As stated earlier, the way you want to use your brokerage account will help to determine which firm to go with. There are many ways to profit and you may have to get approval for some, such as options.

How to Open a Brokerage Account


Commissions seem to be taken into great consideration by when learning how to open a brokerage account. In fact, it’s true that commissions from brokerage firms vary, some are cheaper than others.

In fact, paying a higher commission price isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The less commission you pay, the more bare-bones a broker can be. As a result, commissions pay for upkeep as well as having the best tools at your disposal.

Compare commission fees as well as incentives. See what you’re comfortable paying. Although, if paying a higher commission isn’t something you can handle, you may not want to be trading at this point in time. In fact, brokers may also work with you in lowering commissions. Call customer service and ask them. You might be surprised.

Trading platforms are a make or break in trading. Many brokers offer different trading software along with mobile trading apps. A slow platform will hurt you. A mobile app that doesn’t work well is detrimental.

If you’re just starting out, then a broker that requires $2,500 or $10,000 might not be going to work.

As a result, this cuts down on trying to pick a broker. The good news is there are options that give you bang for your buck. There are many great brokers that don’t require a large minimum to open a brokerage account.


An application is required to open a brokerage account. You can apply online in most cases. They may require you to sign some stuff if you’re requesting margin or options.

Have a fax machine handy. They usually ask for a faxed copy of a driver’s license. If you chose a broker that has offices in your area, you can head in there and supply that information.

Once you’re approved the fun begins. You get to fund your account. Now you’re up and running. Before you go crazy trading, use a simulated account. This is important!

Simulated Accounts

Learning how to open a brokerage account is just the first step. A broker that allows paper trading is so important when you begin stock trading training for beginners. Simulated accounts allow new traders as well as seasoned ones to practice. Even a season trader can learn a new strategy.

Trading is emotional. Winning gives you a high but losing brings a crash that can cripple some. Finding a broker that allows you to practice teaches you how to deal with those emotions without blowing up your account.

Trading isn’t just about buying and selling. The market is a war between buyers and sellers that form candlesticks. Those candlesticks, in turn, form patterns,.

Patterns are what traders trade. As a new trader, if you can’t find and read patterns, you’ll lose your money to seasoned traders. A paper trading account is such a great tool to learn the ins and outs of trading. It’s so much more than buying and selling.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to open a brokerage account? It varies among brokers. A lot of brokers require a minimum amount to open an account. As a result, this can affect which platform you choose. They range from $0-$10,000 minimums. Advanced day trading platforms require $25,000 minimum.

  • TD Ameritrade - best overall brokerage account for beginner traders.
  • Interactive Brokers - next best after TD Ameritrade.
  • Robinhood - good for basic trading and zero commissions.
  • E-Trade - decent for basic trading.
  • Fidelity - good for mutual funds and investing.

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