How do I Start Buying Stocks Online?

In the past, the only way to buy stocks was to walk into a bank or brokerage office to perform the transaction. Now, web services allow you to buy stocks online instead from the comfort of your recliner or living room table. The ability to buy stocks online is a benefit for most investors because it's quick, relatively cheap and you have information regarding your stock available at your finger tips. Before you start buying stocks online remember that investing is very risky; take the time to learn investing basics and research each company before you jump in the market.

Step 1

Buy stocks online using ING's Sharebuilder website. This service offers a listing of over 7,000 stocks for sale. Pay per trade and also a monthly fee depending on the pricing program you choose -- a free trial without monthly fees is available. You can either participate in an investment plan or buy individual stocks in real-time, which are processed immediately when the market is open. You don't need to keep a minimum amount in your account to buy stocks. It also doesn't charge inactivity fees if you decide to take a break for awhile.

Step 2

Start purchasing stocks with ETrade as another option. Pay a per-trade fee when you buy a stock; choose between a standard plan or a plan with a lower per-trade fee if you plan to buy a lot of stocks every quarter, which is every three months. You don't have to pay an account service fee. You can buy stocks on your computer or using your phone with ETrade Mobile Pro. If you're new to online trading, you can also take advantage of the service's learning section, where you can access investor resources, market commentary and research from independent analyst.

Step 3

Use TradeKing as another option to buy stocks. Pay a flat fee per trade without minimums or unexpected fees. You have a number of tools at your disposal, including charts, research information, analysis tools, and a profit and loss calculator. Use the Trader Network to view the day's hot trades and trade ideas with other investors. The service has an NBBO (National Best Bid or Offer) guarantee, which promises to reimburse you the commission paid in some cases if for some reason you don't get the best offer available for the stock you wish to buy.

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