Online Broker: Part 2, Open a depot: How to get started

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Open a depot: How to get started

Online Broker: Part 2 Open a depot: How to get started. Of course, for securities trading you need an account through which securities transactions, i.e. buying, selling and transferring, are processed and through which the stocks are managed. Opening a custody account is in itself not a big deal. It hardly differs from opening another account, even if the product itself is a bit more complex than, for example, a call money account.

To open a securities account, you usually fill out an online form on the online broker’s website within minutes. As a new customer, you usually have to confirm your identity using the PostIdent procedure, i.e. present your ID card once at a post office.

Online Broker: Part 2, Open a depot: How to get started

Online broker comparison

As mentioned above, an intensive comparison should first be made. From the abundance of banks and brokers, you should select the most suitable offer and consider aspects such as order costs, trading options, types of securities, collateral and service.

Deposit application

Once you have found a suitable online broker, you can submit a deposit application. To do this, enter your contact details on the website according to the instructions. As part of the Securities Trading Act (WpHG), you can expect to be asked about your stock market experience. You will be checked for stock market knowledge and experience – the information you provide is voluntary. Once the securities account application has been completed, it must be checked and confirmed.


To check your personal details, you must have your identity confirmed via the Postident procedure. To do this, go to a post office and present the deposit application and your identity card. The employee in the branch then initiates all necessary steps and ensures that the identity confirmation and opening application are sent to the online broker.

Depot activation

It usually only takes a few days to receive a deposit confirmation. This is always sent by post and contains all the necessary information about the depot as well as the access data for the account. Be sure to keep the data in a safe place. You can use the data to log into the new account. After successfully logging in, nothing stands in the way of the first order.

How to buy your first securities

After you have activated your portfolio, you can place your first order at any time. To do this, go to the desired trading venue and search for the desired security. Every security has the so-called International Securities Identification Number (ISIN), which can be compared to an article number. Simply enter this code in the search function on your online depot and select everything else according to the online form.

Inform yourself before placing your first order with the online broker

As a beginner, you should find out about suitable trading venues and other aspects before placing your first order with your online broker.

Is it easy to change a depot?

Should you ever be dissatisfied with your provider or your depot account, you can simply switch. A distinction must be made between whether you are only changing the depot and staying with the same provider or whether you are changing the online broker.

Change of securities account with the same provider

Switching a portfolio with the same broker is usually very easy. As a rule, the brokers have forms for changing securities accounts in stock, so that everything can be done quickly and easily. A request to customer service initiates all steps.

Change of creditor

A change of creditor is also an option with minimal effort. The deposit remains in place, but the owner changes – often there is a change of creditor in the context of inheritance or donation.

Online broker change

If you change not only the depot but also the online broker, it becomes a little more complex. The deposit day is often controlled by a central securities depository. This serves as an interface between the online brokers. The securities depository bank Clearstream Banking AG holds securities for the German capital market. If a customer initiates a securities account transfer, the contents of the securities account are booked by the central securities depository from the old to the new online broker.
Before transferring a securities account, contact the new broker – they will usually provide you with a ready-made form for the transfer and give you all further information.

There are no costs for transferring securities accounts

No costs may be estimated for the transfer of the deposit, as confirmed by a judgment of the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) (AZ XI ZR 200/03). This applies both to changing an entire securities account and to transferring individual securities. It does not matter whether the transfer of the securities takes place when the securities account is closed or as part of a continuing business relationship. Only external fees from custodians can occur. However, many online brokers take on such external fees as part of good service.

Inquire with your online broker here and request a written list of all costs.

Avoid multiple taxations

When transferring the securities account, make sure that the acquisition data (purchase date and purchase price) are also transmitted from the old to the new broker. Otherwise, there could be unwanted multiple taxations, as the transferred securities could be viewed as new cases and taxed at a flat rate.

Who is an online broker suitable for?

An online broker is the cheapest and easiest way to access securities trading. In principle, any private person can hire an online broker. However, using an online broker is not suitable for completely inexperienced investors if the trades are carried out on their own. Without knowledge of the stock markets and experience in securities trading, as a complete beginner, you should not simply “trade on them”. As a beginner, use a reputable online broker who not only provides you with the depot but also actively supports you as a consultant and administrator. For absolute beginners, the account manager of the house bank, in the role of advisor, is possibly the better choice. If you have gained experience in trading, the step to an online broker can be the right one.

Deposit with a foreign online broker: makes sense?

A deposit with a foreign online broker may be cheaper than a domestic deposit. The reason for this is the final withholding tax for capital assets, which in Germany is 25 percent. This amount is automatically forwarded to the tax office after a share has been sold.

If you are now with a foreign online broker, this automatic transfer does not usually apply. You then usually have to pay the final withholding tax yourself via the annual tax return. Although this is associated with more effort, it also has the advantage that you can speculate with taxes until the end of the year. In principle, many foreign online brokers are cheaper on their respective home markets than German competitors. Here, too, you should first compare.

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