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The online broker market is becoming more and more competitive, but differences exist in costs and services that can help traders choose the broker that’s right for them.

For instance, high fees and commissions will shrink a trader’s profits, so investors should compare structures before opening an account. Also, some brokers offer concessions if certain trading volumes are not maintained.

It’s best to use one-stop trading brokers that offer services besides stock trading, such as options, ETFs, IPOs and futures. And reputable brokers provide customized tools, including charts and graphs, to suit individual traders.

Other services to consider include a broker’s ability to trade beyond borders, which is important to investors looking for opportunities in foreign markets. These brokers must understand currency risks and tax implications.

Can the broker open retirement accounts without extra charges, such as early maintenance? Does the broker provide banking services, including interest-bearing options on checking and savings accounts?

Does the broker offer easy access to simple, convenient research? Does the speed and accuracy of order execution match what the trader needs? Is the broker’s security adequate? Is its support and customer service good? All of these questions should be considered before making a decision.

The bottom line is the needs of the client are most important. Traders should determine what they’re seeking, and then find the broker best equipped to serve them.

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