Know your online broker: What key non-trading features are important?

Trading on the global financial markets is becoming ever more popular with people now.

As the digital revolution in trading continues apace, it has allowed ordinary people the chance to trade from home with a little starting capital, an internet connection and a PC. From the huge FX market, which sees over $5tn in trades each day, to the London Stock Exchange with its close to $5tn market cap, it is clear to see the attraction.

online broker

One thing that all traders will need to do, whatever market or asset they choose to invest in, is find a reliable and reputable online broker. This broker will execute all your trade requests and place them with the market for you. In effect, they act as a kind of middle-man.

There are lots of articles around detailing what to look out for in terms of trading when choosing a broker. What about the other non-trading features to factor in though? If you need a quick overview of the major ones to think about, then the below should help.

Minimum deposit

One of the first things to look out for is whether the online broker you may use has a minimum deposit figure. Naturally, you would want this to be as low as possible unless you are an experienced trader with lots of starting capital. There is no good signing up with a broker and then finding out that you have to deposit a minimum of £10,000 to begin trading with them! Some brokerage firms will not even have a minimum deposit figure, which is great as you can simply start off with what you have spare. This Degiro review is a great illustration of the point as it is a brokerage that has no minimum deposit figure.


The next non-trading feature to check out on any broker is what their commission structure is like. This should be found somewhere fairly prominent on their website or via online review sites if you cannot find it there. In simple terms, most brokerages will charge you commission on each trade they execute for you – this could be a “buy” or “sell” trade. The exact fee will vary between online brokers, which is why knowing about it before you sign up is crucial. Naturally, you will want one that charges no commission at all or as low as possible. Be aware that if you find a broker that does not charge commission, they will usually make their money by having a wider “bid-ask” price.


As well as the actual commission that your broker will charge for executing each trade, you should also look through their website for details of any other fees they may apply. A classic example of this is a fee that some brokers will charge each month if you have not used your trading account for a set period. This can be a nasty surprise for people who try trading for a while but give up without officially closing their trading account! Getting to grips with any fees like this is essential before choosing your broker.

Customer service

Another vital non-trading feature of any broker you use is the customer service they offer. This can often be checked by simply ringing the number from their website and seeing how they deal with you. Naturally, you want a broker that answers your call or query quickly while also dealing with you in a fair and professional manner. As this will be the main way that you will sort out any queries or problems, you need to make sure that they are up to scratch. It is also well worth looking for brokers that are open for support in your usual working hours and speak your language.

Excellent platform security

We all know how dangerous online crime is now, and this makes choosing a broker with superb cyber security a must. As your broker will hold your personal details and banking information, you need to make sure that they can be trusted to keep it safe. The standard at the moment seems to be 128-bit SSL encryption, so try to keep an eye out for this on their website. As you would with other sites, ensure that the padlock symbol shows up in your web browser when entering sensitive information or making online payments.

Non-trading features are important too

As the above article shows, there are a number of non-trading aspects to any online broker that you must be aware of. These will all be central to how safe your money is with them and also how much you enjoy your trading experience there. By taking into account factors such as those shown above, you will be well on the way to finding a fabulous broker to rely on.