Share Trading

Compare share trading platforms online here with zavings to find one that perfectly fits in with your trading style and needs

Last updated by Zaving Editorial Team, on April 4th, 2024

Share trading, also known as stock trading or equity trading, is the process of buying and selling shares of publicly listed companies on financial markets. It offers individuals the opportunity to participate in the growth and success of companies while potentially generating returns on their investments. However, with numerous trading platforms available, finding the right one can be overwhelming.

This is where zaving can help you. Our free comparison service empowers you to compare and evaluate different trading platforms, comparing various features, such as fees, available equities, market access, research tools, and customer support. We can help you make informed decisions when choosing a trading platform.

Whether you're a seasoned investor or just starting out, zaving provides you with the comparison insights you need to navigate the world of share trading and choose a trading platform that fits in with your trading personality and profile. Unlock the potential of share trading to achieve your financial goals.

What is online share trading?

Online share trading, also known as online stock trading or electronic trading, refers to the process of buying and selling shares of publicly listed companies through internet-based platforms. It allows individuals to participate in the stock market from the comfort of their own homes or offices.

With online share trading, investors can open trading accounts with brokerage firms that provide online trading services. These platforms provide a user-friendly digital interface where users can access real-time market data, research tools, and execute trades with ease.

Such online trading providers usually offer a range of trading options, including share trading, CFDs, commodities, cryptocurrencies and Forex across a range of financial markets.

How do online share trading platforms work? 

Online share trading platforms have revolutionized the way individuals buy and sell shares in the financial markets. Here's an overview of how these platforms work:

  • Account Setup: To begin trading online, you need to open an account with a reputable share trading platform. This involves completing an application, providing identification documents, and fulfilling any necessary verification requirements.
  • Market Access: Once your account is set up, you gain access to a wide range of financial markets, including stock exchanges and other trading venues. These platforms allow you to trade shares of publicly listed companies, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and other financial instruments.
  • Market Research: Online share trading platforms provide valuable tools and resources for market research and analysis. These include real-time market data, company financials, news updates, charts, and technical indicators. Traders can use these tools to gather information and make informed investment decisions.
  • Placing Orders: When you are ready to trade, you can place buy or sell orders directly through the online trading platform. You specify the quantity, price, and other parameters for the trade. The platform then sends the order to the relevant exchange or market for execution.
  • Order Execution: Once your order reaches the market, it goes through the process of execution. If you place a market order, it is executed at the best available price in the market. If you place a limit order, it is executed only if the market reaches your specified price.
  • Portfolio Management: Online share trading platforms provide tools to manage your investment portfolio. You can monitor your holdings, track performance, view transaction history, and generate reports. Some platforms also offer advanced features like stop-loss orders and conditional orders for risk management.
  • Fees and Charges: Online share trading platforms charge fees for their services. These may include brokerage fees, transaction fees, account maintenance fees, and others. It's important to understand the fee structure of the platform and consider it in relation to your trading activity and investment strategy.
  • Security and Account Protection: Reputable online share trading platforms prioritize security measures to protect your account and personal information. They use encryption, secure login protocols, and other security features to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of your transactions.
  • Customer Support: Most online share trading platforms offer customer support services to assist users with their inquiries or issues. This can include phone support, live chat, email, or an online help center. Prompt and reliable customer support is essential for a smooth trading experience.

Online share trading platforms have made it convenient for individuals to access and participate in the stock market. They provide a user-friendly interface, real-time market data, research tools, and efficient order execution, empowering traders to make informed decisions and execute trades with ease.

With the wide range of online share trading platforms available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one for your needs. By using zaving, you can easily find and compare the top-rated platforms in the market, making it simpler to make an informed decision.

How do I choose the best share trading platform?

Choosing the right share trading platform is crucial for a seamless and successful trading experience. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the best share trading platform for your needs:

Regulation and Security:

Ensure that the trading platform is regulated by a reputable financial authority. This provides a level of oversight and protection for your investments. Look for platforms that offer robust security measures, such as encryption and two-factor authentication, to safeguard your personal and financial information.

User-Friendly Interface:

Opt for a platform with an intuitive and user-friendly interface. The platform should be easy to navigate, allowing you to execute trades, access account information, and analyze market data effortlessly.

Range of Markets and Instruments:

Consider the variety of markets and financial instruments available on the platform. Look for platforms that provide access to a wide range of stocks, ETFs (exchange-traded funds), options, and other investment products that align with your trading goals.

Trading Tools and Analysis:

Evaluate the trading tools and research resources offered by the platform. Look for features such as real-time market data, charting tools, technical indicators, and company research reports. These tools can assist you in making informed trading decisions.

Fees and Commissions:

Assess the fee structure and trading commissions charged by the platform. Different platforms may have varying fee structures for account maintenance, trade execution, and other services. Consider the overall cost-effectiveness based on your trading frequency and investment size.

Customer Support:

A reliable and responsive customer support team can be valuable, especially for beginners or when encountering issues. Look for platforms that offer multiple channels of support, such as live chat, email, or phone, and have a reputation for excellent customer service.

Educational Resources:

Consider the availability of educational resources and learning materials provided by the platform. Beginner-friendly platforms often offer educational articles, tutorials, webinars, and demo accounts to help you understand trading concepts and improve your skills.

Mobile Trading App:

If you prefer trading on the go, ensure that the platform provides a mobile trading app. A well-designed and feature-rich mobile app allows you to monitor your portfolio, place trades, and receive market updates conveniently from your smartphone or tablet.

Reviews and Reputation:

Research and read reviews about the platform from other traders. Pay attention to the platform's reputation, reliability, and any notable strengths or weaknesses mentioned by users.

By considering these factors and assessing your trading preferences, you can narrow down the options and choose a share trading platform that best aligns with your needs and goals. Remember to start with a small investment and gradually increase your exposure as you gain experience and confidence in your chosen platform.

How do I get started with online share trading? 

Getting started with online share trading in the USA involves several key steps. Here's a guide to help you begin your share trading journey:

  1. Educate yourself: Learn the basics of share trading, including how the stock market works, different types of orders, and basic investment strategies. Familiarize yourself with financial news, market trends, and company analysis.
  2. Set financial goals: Define your financial objectives and determine the amount of capital you're willing to invest in shares. Establish a realistic timeframe for achieving your goals.
  3. Choose an online broker through zaving: Select a reputable brokerage firm that offers access to the US stock market. Compare fees, trading platforms, research tools, and customer support to find the one that best suits your needs.
  4. Complete the account setup: Open an account with your chosen brokerage. Provide the necessary personal information, including identification documents, to fulfill the account verification process.
  5. Fund your account: Deposit funds into your brokerage account. This will provide the capital you need to start trading shares.
  6. Research and select stocks: Conduct thorough research on companies and industries you're interested in. Analyze financial statements, news releases, and market trends to identify potential investment opportunities.
  7. Place your trades: Use your brokerage platform to execute buy or sell orders for the selected stocks. Choose the appropriate order type, specify the quantity and price, and review the order details before submitting it.
  8. Monitor and manage your investments: Keep track of your investments' performance regularly. Stay updated with company news and market developments that may affect your portfolio. Consider implementing risk management strategies, such as setting stop-loss orders or diversifying your holdings.
  9. Continue learning: Stay informed about market trends, economic indicators, and changes in regulations that impact the stock market. Continuously educate yourself and adapt your investment strategy as needed.
  10. Review and adjust: Periodically review your portfolio's performance and assess whether it aligns with your financial goals. Make adjustments or rebalance your holdings if necessary.

Remember, share trading involves risks, and it's important to invest only the amount you can afford to lose. 

Can I make money with share trading? 

Share trading offers the potential to generate profits through capital appreciation and dividend income. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Price Fluctuations: Share prices can fluctuate based on various factors such as company performance, industry trends, economic conditions, and market sentiment. Traders aim to buy shares at a lower price and sell them at a higher price, profiting from these price movements.
  • Dividend Income: Some companies distribute a portion of their profits as dividends to shareholders. By holding shares of dividend-paying companies, you can earn regular income in the form of dividends.
  • Long-Term Growth: Investing in fundamentally strong companies with growth potential can lead to long-term capital appreciation. By carefully selecting stocks and holding them over an extended period, investors can benefit from the company's growth and increasing share prices.

However, it's important to note that share trading involves risks, and not all trades will result in profits. Market fluctuations, unexpected events, and individual stock performance can impact your returns. It's crucial to conduct thorough research, diversify your portfolio, and develop a disciplined trading strategy to maximize your chances of success.

Before engaging in share trading, it is advisable to educate yourself, seek professional advice, and carefully assess your risk tolerance and investment goals. It's also essential to stay informed about market trends, company news, and economic developments to make informed trading decisions.

How can I minimize my risk in share trading? 

Minimizing risk in share trading is a crucial aspect of achieving long-term success. Here are some strategies to help you reduce risk:

Diversify your portfolio: Spread your investments across different sectors, industries, and asset classes. Diversification can help mitigate the impact of individual stock performance on your overall portfolio.

Conduct thorough research: Before investing in a company, carefully analyze its financial health, competitive position, industry trends, and future growth prospects. Make informed decisions based on fundamental and technical analysis.

Set realistic expectations: Understand that share prices can fluctuate and that market volatility is a normal part of investing. Set realistic expectations for returns and avoid chasing quick profits or succumbing to hype.

Use stop-loss orders: Implementing stop-loss orders can help limit potential losses by automatically selling a stock if it reaches a predetermined price. This can protect your investment from significant declines.

Stay updated with market news: Regularly monitor financial news, company announcements, and market trends. Stay informed about events that can impact the stocks you own, such as earnings reports, regulatory changes, or macroeconomic factors.

Manage your emotions: Emotional decisions can lead to irrational trading behavior and poor investment choices. Maintain discipline, stick to your investment strategy, and avoid making impulsive decisions based on fear or greed.

Consider dollar-cost averaging: Instead of investing a lump sum, consider using a strategy called dollar-cost averaging. Invest a fixed amount regularly over time, buying more shares when prices are low and fewer shares when prices are high. This can help smooth out market volatility.

Regularly review and rebalance: Periodically review your portfolio to ensure it aligns with your risk tolerance and investment goals. Rebalance by adjusting your holdings to maintain the desired asset allocation.

What are the common mistakes to avoid in share trading?

Avoiding common mistakes can help protect your capital and improve your chances of success in share trading. Here are some pitfalls to watch out for:

  1. Lack of research: Failing to conduct proper research before investing is a common mistake. Always thoroughly analyze companies and markets to make informed decisions.
  2. Overtrading: Excessive trading can lead to higher costs, increased risk, and poor decision-making. Avoid chasing every market move and focus on quality trades.
  3. Emotional trading: Allowing emotions, such as fear or greed, to drive your trading decisions can lead to poor outcomes. Keep emotions in check and rely on objective analysis.
  4. Lack of risk management: Failing to implement risk management strategies, such as setting stop-loss orders or diversifying your portfolio, can leave you exposed to significant losses.
  5. Following the crowd: Blindly following tips or recommendations from others without conducting your own research can be detrimental. Make independent decisions based on your own analysis.
  6. Failing to have an investment plan: Trading without a well-defined investment plan can result in impulsive and inconsistent actions. Develop a clear plan and stick to it.
  7. Leverage misuse: Using excessive leverage can amplify both gains and losses. Be cautious when trading on margin and understand the associated risks.
  8. Ignoring market trends: Ignoring or failing to adapt to market trends can lead to missed opportunities or holding onto losing positions for too long. Stay informed and adjust your strategy accordingly.

More of your frequently asked questions about share trading

How many stock markets are there in the US?

In the US, there are three primary stock markets where investors can trade stocks: the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nasdaq, and Chicago Stock Exchange. These exchanges provide a platform for buying and selling securities, offering a wide range of listed companies to choose from.

What are the trading hours for the US stock market?

The US stock market operates from Monday to Friday, with trading hours typically starting at 9:30 AM and ending at 4:00 PM Eastern Time. These hours are known as regular trading hours, during which investors can actively trade stocks and other securities. However, it's important to note that there are also pre-market and after-hours trading sessions available for certain securities.

 

 
Is it possible to trade shares without an online broker?

While online brokers have become the preferred choice for many investors due to their convenience and cost-effectiveness, it is still possible to trade shares without an online broker. Traditional brokerage firms offer offline services, allowing investors to place orders through phone calls or in-person visits. However, offline trading often involves higher fees and limited access to real-time market information compared to online trading platforms.

What are the different types of orders in share trading?

There are several types of orders in share trading that investors can utilize to execute their trades effectively. These include market orders, limit orders, stop orders, and trailing stop orders. Market orders are executed immediately at the prevailing market price, while limit orders allow investors to set a specific price at which they are willing to buy or sell. Stop orders are triggered when the price reaches a specified level, while trailing stop orders adjust the stop price relative to the market price.

 
Are there any restrictions on foreign investors in US share trading?

Foreign investors can participate in US share trading, but there are certain regulations and requirements they must comply with. These include submitting necessary documentation, such as Form W-8BEN, to establish tax residency status. Some restrictions may apply to certain industries or sectors, such as defense or sensitive technology. Additionally, foreign investors should be aware of potential currency exchange risks and any limitations imposed by their home countries. Consulting with a financial advisor or legal expert can provide specific guidance based on individual circumstances.

What are the fees and charges associated with share trading?

Fees and charges associated with share trading vary depending on the brokerage firm and the type of trades executed. Common fees include commission fees for buying or selling shares, account maintenance fees, and transaction fees for certain types of trades. Additionally, there may be charges for data subscriptions, margin trading, or accessing advanced trading tools. It is important for investors to carefully review and compare fee structures among different brokerage firms to find the most cost effective option for their trading needs.

 
 
 
 
 
Can I trade shares on my mobile phone?

Yes, trading shares on a mobile phone has become increasingly popular with the advancement of technology. Many brokerage firms offer mobile trading apps that allow investors to trade shares conveniently from their smartphones or tablets. These apps provide access to real-time market data, order placement, portfolio tracking, and account management features. Mobile trading offers flexibility and the ability to stay connected to the market on the go, empowering investors to seize trading opportunities whenever and wherever they arise.

Is it necessary to have a large capital to start share trading?

No, it is not necessary to have a large capital to start share trading. The amount of capital required to begin trading shares can vary depending on individual preferences, trading strategies, and brokerage firm requirements. Some brokerage firms offer low-cost or even commission-free trading, allowing investors to start with smaller amounts. Additionally, fractional share investing enables investors to buy a portion of a share, making it more accessible for those with limited capital. It is important to determine one's risk tolerance, set a budget, and start with an amount that is comfortable and aligned with personal financial goals.

How many stock markets are there in the world to trade?

There are numerous stock markets around the world where investors can trade stocks. Some of the major global stock markets include the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and NASDAQ in the United States, the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in the United Kingdom, the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) in Japan, and the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) in China. Additionally, there are stock exchanges in various countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Each stock market operates independently and has its own regulations, trading hours, and listed companies. Investors have the opportunity to participate in multiple stock markets to diversify their investments and take advantage of global market opportunities.

 
What are the advantages of long-term share trading?

Long-term share trading offers several advantages for investors. It allows for the potential to generate wealth over an extended period by benefiting from the compounding effect of reinvested dividends and capital appreciation. Long-term investors can withstand short-term market fluctuations and volatility, focusing on the fundamentals of the companies they invest in. It also reduces the frequency of trading, potentially minimizing transaction costs and taxes. Additionally, long-term investors have the opportunity to participate in the overall growth of the economy and specific industries, capturing the long-term value creation of successful companies.

Are there any specific regulations for day trading in the USA?

Day trading, which involves buying and selling shares within the same trading day, is subject to certain regulations in the USA. Pattern Day Trading (PDT) rules require traders with a margin account to maintain a minimum account balance of $25,000 to engage in day trading activities. This rule applies to traders who execute four or more day trades within a five-day rolling period. It's important for day traders to be aware of these regulations and understand the implications they may have on their trading strategies and account requirements.

 
 
 
How to calculate profits and losses in share trading?

Calculating profits and losses in share trading involves understanding the concept of gain or loss and considering factors such as purchase price, selling price, and transaction costs. To calculate the profit or loss from a share trade, subtract the purchase price and transaction costs from the selling price. If the result is a positive number, it represents a profit, and if it is negative, it represents a loss. However, it's important to account for other factors such as taxes, dividends, and any adjustments related to corporate actions that may affect the overall calculation.