Selecting a broker

This is probably not the right place for this , but since it is an important part of investing and affects returns, I am starting this post here - soliciting opinions on the best online broker to go with. This might also lead us to buy that stock as well ! I think it’s time to look at brokerage stocks - their cycle is turning and some of them have already moved. Retail participation is at an all time low so I’d guess one cant get them any cheaper.

I have an account with icici direct. I think they are the priciest in the market , maybe the oldest and the largest as well but am not sure if they are the best as well or it’s just a case of people avoiding the shift. They seem to have two plans and you’re stuck with 0.55% brokerage unless you’re a heavy trader . What they dont tell you and people might be interested to know is that they also have prepaid brokerage plans which reduce your brokerage to 0.35% or even lower if you pay them upfront brokerage. This is offered if you complain!

They have a nice feature of calculating your annual returns so during your self appraisal, you get a clear picture of how you’re doing ! It’s not for F&O though.

Otherwise, I think they have everything you need for your investing which makes them a convenient one stop shop. But if others also offer all the options and charge you much less, why not make the shift. And I do not think ICICI advisory services are anything to speak of.

I asked an icici guy why should I continue with him when others such as kotak charge lesser brokerage and their s/b interest is also higher. He tried to tell me that others have hidden charges which show up only when you trade. ICICI’s 0.55% brokerage adds up to 0.70% if you add all the charges. Not sure how the others stack up.


I have accounts with HDFC Securities, Kotak and Sharekhan and all three are good. Although in terms of ease of use, I prefer Sharekhan. Brokerage is more or less the same for all three. I don’t fret a lot about it simply because I am not a regular “trader” so it is not worth the headache to minutely dissect the 0.05%-0.10% differences.

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I have accounts with HDFC Securities and zerodha. Since most of my stock investments are long-term, the trade frequencies are comparatively low, and I use HDFC Securities for this purpose. The brokerage charge is around 0.5%.

I use zerodha account primarily for my Options trading. They offer a flat rate of Rs. 20/- per trade.

I’m with ICICIDirect and satisfied with their services. They are indeed most expensive and I am also in search of cheaper one with comparable features but as of now I am not able to find any. I guess the mainstream brokerage houses like HDFC/Sharekhan/Kotak/IIFL etc. are more of less same with minor difference (bit cheaper compared to icicidirect) unless you have big portfolio and in position to bargain with them hard. I don’t think its worth a change if diff is not much as from user interface, features and seamless point of view, I find icicidirect superior to many. One major factor for me to not hurry for change is that I’m kinda buy and hold person with very few transactions and small portfolio, so even bit high brokerage don’t bother me much.

I checked their prepaid plans, and after some bargaining with my RM there, they are ready to offer me one but I don’t find them appealing. Prepaid plan make sense only when your transaction value is high, for example, to make sense with their 25k prepaid plan, you should do transactions worth 15 lacs or more in a year. (refer relevant article inlivemint).

As far as smaller player concerned, they surely offer very cheap brokerage but their services/interface sucks sometimes. I have opened one trading a/c with Ventura securities with brokerage around .20 (or .25 don’t remember exactly) but their software was headache to operate and within month or two, I closed the account.

I have accounts with icicidirect, smc and prabhudas liladhar.

Most satisfied with services and brokerage rates and honesty of PL people.

icicidirect brokerages are high but I put most of my long term investments in that account so that i am not too worried about brokerage charges.

I have accounts with ICICI, HDFC and Edelweiss.

ICICI and HDFC are good for buy and hold guys, specially the GTC order in ICICI where your limit buy order remains active for next 30 days is awesome.

Also ICICI Direct is the most technically superior account. Anything from OFS to NCDs are readily tradable there. Their research is pathetic though.

Edelweiss I choose mostly for research which is top notch and they do not follow the herd and is independent research on large group of small and midcaps. Their prepaid plans are pretty good and interface very professional. Suits a trader/investor.

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I use icici direct and emkay (through fundsindia). Very happy with Fundsindia platfrom and brokerage charges which are “Rs. 25 or 30 basis points (i.e. 30 paisa on every Rs 100 charged), whichever is higher”.

However the problem is, they don’t support BSE listed shares as of today and that’s the reason i still retain my icici a/c. And that’s a big problem considering the kind of shares that we discuss here, like Atul Auto, Mayur(until recently), Hawkins are all listed only in BSE.

Fundsindia have been talking of including BSE listed shares on their platform for almost 6 months now, but no signs of it happening. If it does, then it will be a good platform.

Also, some seniors have been advocating me to switch to a brokerage which has it’s own bank like HDFC, ICICI, Kotak. Am thinking of switching to HDFC Securities myself… The fat finger fiasco which happened few days ago with Emkay has already given me a scare…

I have trading accounts with HSBC (as I also bank with them thereby having some degree of control over my excess funds) and Edelweiss. I find 2 brokerage accounts very helpful when rolling over derivatives trades.

As Rudra mentioned, Edelweiss gives you full access to their institutional research platform and has a very robust trading interface for equities, MFSS, derivatives, FX and commodities. It also has enough basic features (for technical analysis) that do the job and I would seriously recommend them for someone who has multiple asset class exposure.

Trading costs do depend on your volume though there are no hidden costs that I’ve faced, with both HSBC and Edelweiss. They charge me 20 and 12 bps respectively, ex DP charges.

I also started this thread to possibly identify a good brokerage / financial services stock to get into. I would consider them to be like cyclicals as well and good times may be coming. Most stocks are nearing highs already except emkay which is at lows - not sure if that’s a good buying opportunity.Then I wonder if the financial analyst community would ever leave ‘one of theirs’ undervalued.

Edelweiss looks to have a very neat and powerful brokerage platform. Not sure what their reach is.


I trade with Religare and I find the service, interface is good but brokerage is high. I end up paying around 0.9% for every trade. For phone trading it is Rs 10/share (max of Rs 50) plus 0.9%. There is a AMC cost also. How does compare to what you pay as brokerage?

I’m not a trader, not interested in in house research, fancy trading platforms and bells & whistles. Can some suggest some good and competitive broker for online/phone trading?

Dear Ashwin

I have recently (since around 3-4 months) started trading with Brokerage is Rs. 9 (or 0.01%, whichever is lower) per exectuted order, no matter how large the order. This is across all segments, i.e. options, futures, cash and bonds. I have not availed it, but there is also a Rs.999 per month flat option for those who engage in more thana 100 trades a month. I was earlier dealing with HDFC securities (0.25% for delivery), and clearly, this is much cheaper.

You can also call and trade, but I think the charges for this are higher. I have never done this.

Payin is through the Atom Payment Platform(Rs. 10 charge) or NEFT to their HDFC bank account (Free). Payout requestedbefore 5.30 p.m. gets credited to an HDFC bank account on the same day, while for other banks, it gets credited the next day. Since you have to request payout, you need to be a little alert to do so, since it is not tied to your bank account like ICICIDIRECT or HDFC securities.

They also automatically take the shares in your demat account, and provide you collateral for margin trades, if this is interesting for you.

The trading platform is the NOW (NSE Online), which has a desktop, web and mobile version. The software is not as refined as ICICIDIRECT, but is more powerful.

So far, their customer service has also been excellent. I would recommend them.



Hi Sameer,

I checked HDFC sec it is showing 0.5% brokerage along with STT, Service Tax, NSE Turnover and Transaction Charges, SEBI charges will come around 0.75%. You mentioned only 0.25%?

I spoke with SAS people and it is definitely cheaper than Religare. We can’t place order before market hours in web platform, Good till cancelled not available (only intra day orders) and no demat account (would it be difficult to sell/buy and get the thing transferred to my demat)? They scheduled a demo and lets see how it goes.
Thanks for the heads up.


You are right, the card rate for HDFC securities is higher. But it is negotiable. I negotiated a special rate through my HDFC Bank RM. Obviously, STT, Service Tax, etc, are extra for any broker.

With Sasonline, you can specify any existing depository of yours for your demat account. You can also open a demat account with them. But to sell shares in your existing demat account, you need to senda request to your DP transferring the shares to your client beneficiary account as SAS. Basket and ordinary orders before market hours are available only in the desktop version, and yeah, it would be nice to have a GTC facility, but that is not available.

There is another online brokerage, Zerodha, which gets good reviews. I have not tried them, they charge 20 Rs. (vs. Rs.9 for sas). Maybe you can overcome some of these issues with them.

Glad to be of help.



@ Sameer,

I run a Mac OS X and I don’t want to have hassles of installing a desktop version. For buying can I just buy and it will go to the existing Demat a/c, right? For selling I can’t just arbitrarily sell and in advance I’ve to transfer the shares to client beneficiary account? Can I sell today and transfer the shares tomorrow?

I will be interested in HDFC 3 in 1 account if I get 0.25-0.3% brokerage. There is one HDFC Bank opposite our office. How to negotiate a better rate? I don’t have a bank account with them since they require us to maintain Rs 10k balance for standard SB Account. I’m planning to speak with Zerodha too and see how it goes. They too charge 0.1% or Rs 20 (lower of the two vs 0.1% or Rs 9 of SAS). My trading volumes are not high and I’m OK with Zerodha if they GTC, pre market order placing and own demat service. OK with HDFC if they give 0.3% or less for their 3 in 1 account.

Please tell me know. Thanks in advance.

Frankly, if you don’t use a windows OS, then I would not recommend Sasonline. The web version is simply not absolutely upto speed (Though, maybe still better than the HDFC sec). Shares which you purchase on sasonline, can be sold through sasonline seamlessly. It is only shares lying currently in your DP that you need to go through the transfer process.

As far as HDFC is concerned, why don’t you just walk in and ask the Branch Manager? I had an account with them, with a RM assigned, so it was easier. Even Kotak offers a 3-in-1 account, and even they negotiated down to 0.25%. I also did this through my RM.

Ultimately, I switched from both, because SAS was way cheaper, and the software more powerful. But if your volumes are small, I guess it does not matter, though the nearly 1% or so Icicidirect charges (they have by far the most refined web and mobile platforms, though), is just too much.



Thanks Sameer. HDFC Bank insist on Rs 10k balance and I spoke over phone to HDFC Sec. No way they are willing to negotiate on brokerage. Will try going to branch and speaking. They are very adamant and only when I spoke about basic a/c (both saving as well as demat) they got to their senses. Good anyway since I own HDFC Bank as well as HDFC and got a taste of how hard they try for cheap source of CASA funds.

Another thing is Religare (0.6% brokerage) gives time to transfer fund (T+5) so I don’t need to transfer funds in advance to trade. SASonline asks to have balance in account before trading, right. Considering these facts and my low volume trading as forever holder to securities, I think Religare is OK or Kotak/HDFC if they offer a 3 in 1 account at good brokerage.

I have Geojit. Use it on Windows XP SP2 . The http based platform is also decent.

0.3% brokerage + taxes. Annual maintenance charges are 350/-.

I’m having 3 in 1 account with IDBI Capital which is linked with my IDBI Bank Account so fund transfer is easy…they charge 0.5% brokerage for delivery (min. 25 Rs. per transaction) with statutory charge extra…which I think is a bit on higher side. They offer a web platform for online trading which is not upto the mark and suffers heavily from overloading…you won’t be able to log into it just when you need it the most and suffers from many other issues like session expires even when you are active on the windows etc…Customer service is also not upto the mark.

I immediately want to switch to some better brokerage house with better brokerage charges and bug free trading platform which can be handy in opportunistic buying/selling for delivery in scattered manner. I think it’s a very nice feature to have GTC feature.

Based on Samir’s input, I’ve asked for a demo from SASonline guys…let’s see how it goes. Need to understand more as to how they link up demat and bank acc.

@ Aksh,

SASonline does not have GTC feature and one needs balance to place orders. I’m not considering it now.

@ Samir,

I spoke to ICICI Direct and they agreed for 0.3% brokerage for delivery with a privilege account (don’t know what it does). Should I go for it? I like the GTC feature, good interface, free phone trading, etc. I was put off by maintaining minimum balance. Do I need to have funds in my bank account before placing order? Religare gives me T+7 days to settle payment. This is important as I may redeem units from my MF holdings (2 times my equity portfolio) and it takes T+3 days for payment.

Also I spoke with Geojit. They agreed for 0.25% (0.2% from 4th month) but issue is I’ve to place order in BTST mode to have differed payment of T+5. The branch head started giving me “tips” though I told him I was not interested in tips or stock picks. Not sure if I can trust them.

Guys any opinion on Reliance Securities?

Commission seems very low charging only 0.20% to 0.10% for delivery transactions depending on your volumes