The options for opening a stock brokerage account online are nearly limitless now. Every type of investor should be able to find the ideal online broker for his or her individual needs. Stockbrokers.com has an extensive 2011 Broker Review which will help you find everything you could possibly want to know about online brokers. After you find the perfect online broker for you, the next step is to fill out the online brokerage application. No one likes to fill out long application forms and these have often been a hassle, but some new technology has helped make the process easier. Let’s take a look at the options available to you when you fill out your online broker application.
The traditional way to open an online brokerage account is to print out your necessary paperwork from the Internet, then fill out the forms and mail or fax them to the brokerage. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with this process at all, and I have done it many times in the past. The single biggest negative here is that it is fairly time consuming, and processing time can mean quite a long wait for your account to be ready to go.
Is there really an alternative to mailing or faxing these important forms to the online broker of your choice? In fact, there is a great alternative that many online brokerages are utilizing more by the day. Electronic Signatures, or E-Signatures, are a product offering that allows the individual investor to fill out forms and sign electronically. This allows the entire account opening process to be completed online. E-Signatures allow you to get your online brokerage account up and running within minutes rather than waiting for days for clearance to start investing your money.
As of just a few years ago, E-Signatures wouldn’t have been an option, but now almost all online brokerages offer the ability to sign all forms electronically if you so choose. The E-Signature is really a win-win situation for both the customer and the online broker. Online brokers are turning to the E-Signature solution because it allows them to automate the account opening process and save the money typically spent on mailing out numerous forms. Customers also save the money it costs to mail or fax the documents, and more importantly to most, they save the time and hassle associated with printing out form after form.
Fidelity was one of the first online brokerages to use CRM E-Signature applications that allowed the entire process to be automated in 2008. The program was extremely successful, and now almost all of the top online brokers use E-Signature as their preferred method of opening an account. Technology transforms the way business is done and E-Signatures truly are a much easier way to get started in the world of online investing. If you are looking to expedite the online broker application process, choose the E-Signature option over the outdated mail or fax method.