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What is a Zero Brokerage Trading Account?

11 Mins 26 Dec 2023 0 COMMENT
Zero brokerage trading account

A zero brokerage trading account, as the name suggests, is a trading account offered by brokerage firms that charge zero brokerage fees on transactions. Unlike traditional brokerage accounts, where investors must pay a percentage of the transaction value as brokerage charges, zero brokerage accounts allow trading without any brokerage costs.  

With the rise of fintech and intense competition in the Indian brokerage industry, several leading brokers now provide zero brokerage accounts to attract more customers. This has made trading more affordable for a wide gamut of retail investors.

Learn more about trading accounts and zero brokerage trading in India.

Understanding Zero Brokerage Trading Accounts

Traditionally, brokers would charge a fee for each transaction based on the trade value. These charges could significantly affect the investor's profits, especially for high-volume traders. Zero brokerage accounts eliminate these transaction fees. By adopting leaner technology-driven operations, brokers can save on costs and pass on the benefits to customers in the form of zero brokerage accounts.

However, brokers need to generate income to run their operations in some form. So, while the brokerage fee itself is zero in such accounts, the broker can still earn via:

  • Account opening and annual maintenance charges
  • Interest earned on client idle cash balances
  • Charges for value-added services like research, advisory, and more
  • Higher bid-ask spread on transactions
  • Moving trading volumes to partner exchanges

So, while explicit brokerage is zero, investors should watch out for some implicit costs when using these accounts for trading equities, derivatives, currencies, or other instruments.

 

The Benefits of Zero Brokerage Trading Accounts

Zero brokerage trading account offer several advantages to investors and traders in India.

Reduced Trading Costs: 

The most obvious benefit is eliminating brokerage costs which directly improves trading profitability. This particularly suits high-volume intraday traders and active investors who no longer need to be worried about fees eating into their potential gains on each transaction.

Boosts Affordability: 

Zero brokerage accounts have made share trading much more affordable for first-time investors and those with limited capital. Now individuals can start investing with minimal amounts and build their portfolio slowly without transaction fees acting as a deterrent.

Incentivises Active Trading: 

By bringing down the cost per trade significantly, zero brokerage accounts motivate investors to trade more actively and with smaller amounts. This can aid in portfolio diversification and risk management for many traders.

Transparency in Pricing:

With traditional percentage fee models, investors need to calculate brokerage for each trade to determine net profits/losses. But zero brokerage accounts offer transparency and simplicity as investors know there are no hidden charges.

Attracts Millennial Investors: 

Zero brokerage accounts are extremely appealing to tech-savvy millennials who are DIY investors. This new generation is showing greater trust in fintech platforms over traditional brokerages.

 

Considerations for Zero Brokerage Accounts

While zero brokerage accounts have many benefits, investors should also keep certain implications in mind.

Possibility of Hidden Costs: 

Some brokers impose account opening or annual maintenance charges instead of brokerage fees. There could also be charges for advanced tools, research, and trading platforms to compensate for revenue loss from zero brokerage.

May Not Suit Long-Term Investors: 

Zero brokerage suits frequent traders more from a cost perspective. However long-term investors buying stocks for the long haul may find traditional low brokerage plans more suitable.

Need for Scrutiny of Overall Charges: 

Investors should scrutinize all direct and indirect charges and not just focus on the absence of brokerage. Account opening, annual, transaction, and additional service fees can add up.

May Promote Reckless Trading: 

Some investors may trade irresponsibly and more frequently since there are no brokerage costs involved. This could be risky without proper research, money management, and risk mitigation practices.

Possibility of Wider Bid-Ask Spreads: To compensate for zero brokerage, some brokers may widen the difference between buy and sell rates. This would result in higher impact costs per transaction.

 

Choosing the Right Zero Brokerage Trading Account 

Here are some tips for choosing the best zero brokerage account as per your requirements.

Compare Overall Costs: 

Do not simply look at zero brokerage but compare total costs across shortlisted brokers. Account opening, annual maintenance, transaction charges, funds transfer fees, and other costs vary across brokerages.

Research Platform Features: 

The trading platform, tools, research capabilities and user experience vary considerably. Ensure the broker's offering matches your preferences especially if you are an active trader.

Check for Hidden Charges: 

Scrutinise the fine print for hidden costs. Along with direct fees, look out for indirect costs such as high bid-ask spreads, brokerage on select segments or transactions above a threshold, etc.

Compare Fund Transfer Options: 

Convenient and quick fund transfers are crucial for trading accounts. Compare payment gateways, NEFT/RTGS charges, ease of linking bank accounts, and UPI fees across the brokers you shortlist.

Evaluate Customer Service: 

You need a supportive customer service team to resolve trading account-related queries and grievances. Evaluate customer ratings, reviews, and feedback on the broker's service quality before deciding.

Choose Depending on the Trading Style: 

Active intraday traders, long-term investors, and those trading exotic instruments all have different needs. Evaluate brokers accordingly, rather than just comparing zero brokerage offers.

 

Conclusion

Zero brokerage demat and trading accounts have gained huge traction among Indian investors, especially millennials owing to their simplicity, transparency, and lower cost. However, before choosing a provider, investors should assess overall costs, platform features, fund transfer convenience, trading style fit, and service standards. While zero brokerage makes trading more pocket-friendly, it is pertinent to trade prudently with proper research. Zero brokerage should not promote reckless trading behavior. By selecting the right account aligned to your trading requirements and by maintaining discipline, retail investors can benefit in multiple ways from the boon of zero brokerage accounts while steering clear of the pitfalls.

 

Disclaimer: ICICI Securities Ltd. (I-Sec). Registered office of I-Sec is at ICICI Securities Ltd. - ICICI Venture House, Appasaheb Marathe Marg, Prabhadevi, Mumbai - 400 025, India, Tel No : 022 - 6807 7100. I-Sec is a Member of National Stock Exchange of India Ltd (Member Code :07730), BSE Ltd (Member Code :103) and Member of Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. (Member Code: 56250) and having SEBI registration no. INZ000183631. AMFI Regn. No.: ARN-0845. We are distributors for Mutual funds. Mutual Fund Investments are subject to market risks, read all scheme related documents carefully. Name of the Compliance officer (broking): Ms. Mamta Shetty, Contact number: 022-40701022, E-mail address: complianceofficer@icicisecurities.com. Investments in securities markets are subject to market risks, read all the related documents carefully before investing. The contents herein above shall not be considered as an invitation or persuasion to trade or invest.  I-Sec and affiliates accept no liabilities for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of any actions taken in reliance thereon. The contents herein above are solely for informational purpose and may not be used or considered as an offer document or solicitation of offer to buy or sell or subscribe for securities or other financial instruments or any other product. Investors should consult their financial advisers whether the product is suitable for them before taking any decision. The contents herein mentioned are solely for informational and educational purpose.