5 Signs You Should Dump Your Brokerage Account Today

If any of these resonate with you, then it’s probably time to dump your brokerage account sooner rather than later.

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We’ve all done it — some more than others — but many of us have picked an online brokerage without researching, test-driving, or reading customer reviews. Maybe they offered a sign-up bonus, or maybe a friend recommended them. Either way, we found ourselves with a brokerage account, even if it wasn’t the best one for us.

But if you’re going to build substantial wealth through investments, it pays to find the best brokerage for you. If any of these five apply, then maybe it’s time to dump your brokerage and find a better one.

1. You’re paying higher-than-average fees

In the past, brokers charged high fees to conduct trades on their client’s behalf. It was just expected that you would pay your broker either a fairly high percentage of your account or an equally high commission rate.

Not anymore.

With the advent of online brokerages and robo-advisors, both of which charge low or no commissions, many brokers have lowered their commission rates and trading fees. If you’re still paying high fees to trade stocks, this is a major sign that you should break up with your broker. Unless you’re also getting investment advice, which results in higher investment gains, paying high fees will only cut into your earnings.

For brokers that charge low or no fees, check out some of Canada’s best brokerage accounts. While low fees aren’t the only thing you want to look for, all things considered, they are certainly one of the most important aspects to a great brokerage account.

2. You have to keep a minimum balance

Occasionally, a brokerage account will require you to keep a minimum balance in your account. Often, this will ensure that you don’t pay fees, or that your account remains open. Account minimums aren’t terrible, unless, of course, you can’t maintain them. In that case, you’re better off finding a brokerage account that doesn’t require a minimum. And trust me — there are plenty of great accounts that don’t make you keep a minimum balance.

3. The customer service is — meh

Nothing is worse than encountering a problem in your brokerage account and failing to find someone to solve it. Having numerous options for getting in touch with a customer service representative, from phone conversations to online chats, as well as quick response times, is an absolute must for an online brokerage account.

Before you open an account, then, take a look at current clients’ reviews. Often, you can determine the level of response and care in a broker’s customer service simply by reading others’ opinions.

4. The user interface is clunky

When you trade stocks, you want the trading experience to be as frictionless as possible. No one likes to jump through multiple hoops to get to the trading floor. If you feel that your current brokerage account is difficult to navigate, or it doesn’t offer you educational resources, that may be a sign it’s time to say goodbye.

Often, a brokerage will give you a test-run of their accounts before you commit. If so, this can be a great time to see what your account looks like on a desktop, as well as how it holds up on mobile devices. You can test-drive a few accounts to see which one you like more, then sign up officially.

5. You can’t buy crypto

If you’re interested in buying crypto, but your current broker doesn’t trade cryptocurrency, then perhaps it’s time to break up with them. Though not every online brokerage account will allow you to conduct crypto trades, many are finally offering this service. Having your stocks and crypto in one place can make it easier for you to track your gains and losses, as well as analyze your asset allocation should one make larger gains than the other.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

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