How is a discount broker different from a full-service broker?

Difference of Discount Broker and Full Service Broker

A person can trade in stock markets through brokers. A broker is a person who places order on your behalf. Earlier, there used to be only full-services brokers. With more and more people shifting to the internet, the trend of discount brokers is fast emerging. A discount broker functions differently as compared to a full-service broker.

A full-service broker charges commission in percentage terms on the total amount of trade his client executes, whereas a discount broker charges a flat fee irrespective of the total amount of the trade. The new generation these days which is internet savvy, prefers discount brokers over full-service brokers. Discount brokers are more transparent and have no hidden costs attached with them. All their softwares are free of cost – trading terminal, website and mobile application. People who have been trading since many years prefer full-service brokers. The major difference between full-service and discount brokers is the cost. These two type of brokers also differ in terms of the services they provide to their clients.

A full-service broker operates out of large offices and has a number of physical branches across the country where a client can visit in case of any query. A discount broker need not operate out of large offices and does not have physical branches as the the business of a discount broker is run online. Therefore, the overhead costs of a full-service broker are high. A full-service broker offers additional services to its clients (derivatives, forex, research reports, insurance, retirement planning etc) while a discount broker may not necessarily provide all these services. The advantage of trading with a discount broker is that a person can save around 90 percent on brokerage, which is a large amount.

In the last few years, discount brokers have established themselves in the market and are giving a neck-to-neck competition to full-service brokers who have been in the industry for around a decade. The young generation, who have just started earning, prefer discount brokers to save money on brokerage. However, full-service brokers and discount brokers both have advanced mobile applications with several features where clients can trade from anywhere and at anytime they wish to.

As the discount broking industry is growing by the day, a lot of discount brokers have started offering quality research and advisory. Let us tell you that both full-service and discount brokers are equally reliable as they are registered with the stock exchanges and regulated by SEBI.

We have given you a list of top 5 full-service brokers (IIFL, Motilal Oswal, Angel Broking, Kotak Securities, Sharekhan) and top 5 discount brokers (5Paisa, Zerodha, RKSV, SAMCO Securities, SAS Online). You can have a look at the services these brokers offer and compare based on their features.


Read about the Best Brokers in India.

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