Money

Here’s How You Invest in Stocks Online

It’s easier than you think.
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The fact you clicked this headline only means you’ve decided stocks is your choice of investment, or, perhaps, what you aspire to be the vehicle that will take your hard-earned cash to new heights. It’s easy to see why.

Stocks are some of the most attractive investment instruments available in the market as it gives the investor a chance to ride on the growth of some of the biggest companies listed in a particular stock exchange. Buying one represents a share, a partial ownership, of a particular company. These stocks are bought and sold in a stock market, in the country’s case, in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), where more than 200 companies are currently listed.

Since stocks change prices every work day, buying one at the right time, or when it’s lower than usual, gives an investor the chance to sell it for profit once the price goes up. Similarly, though, this also means the investor is running the risk of losing money, if he or she misses the right time to sell.

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In the early days, stock investing was exclusively done through phone, when investors from all walks of life called their “brokers” and asked them to buy and sell stocks in their stead. These brokers served as middlemen, and as business dictates, earned commissions for every transaction. But that was before.

How to Invest in Stocks Online

These days, stock investing has become a more democratized practice thanks to the Internet. For a minimum amount of P1,000, anyone above 18 years old can open an account in an online trading platform, allowing one to trade stocks anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection. An online trading platform allows anyone to buy and sell stocks, every time the stock market is open, taking the broker away from the picture. Each platform charges a corresponding “commission” rate though, but nothing above one percent of the gross trade amount. This freedom and flexibility, of course, come with responsibility so better read up on stock investing before starting.

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According to the PSE, there are now more than 20 online trading facilities that Filipinos can use to start investing in stocks. Below, we list some of the biggest and oldest-running online trading platforms.

COL Financial

Perhaps the country’s biggest online trading platform, COL Financial may be the most familiar to people on this list. That privilege comes from its history and accessibility. Formerly known as CitisecOnline.com, the platform has been available since the early 2000s and considered as one of the pioneers in the space.

From the online trading platforms available, it’s one of the most generous in terms of requirements demanded from aspiring account holders. One can open an account in the platform with a minimum deposit amount of P1,000. The rest on this list start with P5,000. Still, if you want to go high-volume, the platform also offers two other accounts: COL Plus and COL Premium, both of which provide more in-depth features, but demand higher starting investment amounts at P25,000 and P1 million respectively.

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The platform charges a commission of 0.25 percent of the gross trade amount for every transaction.

Philstocks

Similarly considered as one of the pioneers, Philstocks offers the same services as COLFinancial, but perhaps with better user experience on its platform. The service does not only have a website but also offers a mobile app that may be downloaded by both Apple and Android users. It demands a higher minimum deposit amount though at P5,000.

2TradeAsia

The first online trading platform in the country, 2TradeAsia remains a significant player even after almost two decades in business. Similar to PhilStocks, 2TradeAsia has a mobile app allowing investors to trade easily and seamlessly through their smartphones. It demands a minimum deposit amount of P25,000 to open an account in the platform. This may be limiting for some, but users of the platform may be given a more stable platform since there are fewer users accommodated.

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Online Trading Platforms Linked to Banks

If you feel safer transacting with banks, there are some that also offer online trading platforms for its client base.

First MetroSec

First MetroSec is under the Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., the country’s second-largest bank in terms of assets, yet it could easily stand on its own in terms of brand recognition. Unlike other previously mentioned platforms on this list, First MetroSec was only launched in 2010, yet it has already received numerous recognitions. It’s been named as the best online trading platform in the country for two consecutive years by the World Bank’s International Finance.

Aside from a web-based platform, First MetroSec also offers a mobile app for its users. Metrobank account holders may open an account in the platform with no minimum investment amount required. Otherwise, one can open an account in the platform for a minimum amount of P2,500.

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BPITrade

As its name suggests, BPITrade is an online trading platform under Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), the country’s third-largest bank in terms of assets. It was launched almost at the same time as the pioneers in online trading such as COLFinancial and Philstocks.

However, unlike FirstMetro Sec that allows users without Metrobank accounts into its platform, BPITrade is exclusively for BPI account holders. There is no minimum investment amount required but the platform does demand a maintaining balance of P500. 

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About The Author
Elyssa Christine Lopez
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Esquire. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz
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