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Stock trading apps: what you need to know

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(BBB) ​​- TheGameStop stock has prompted many potential investors to try their hand at stock trading through an app. In fact, MarketWatch reported that mobile trading app downloads climbed in February, a trend that is expected to continue.

Stock trading applications, such asRobin Hood,E-commerce,TD Ameritrade, andWebull, have made playing the stock market easier than ever. However, regardless of the platform, buying stocks always comes with the potential for financial gain and loss. Before investing with a stock trading app, be sure to follow these tips.

Before investing:

  • Learn about the stock markets.The only way to be successful in mobile stock trading is to do your homework before you start. Get to know the basics of investing. Familiarize yourself with concepts like expense ratios, trading commissions, asset allocations, individual stocks, exchange traded funds, and more. Learn more about how the stock markets work atInvestor.gov.
  • Choose a reputable stock trading app.The trading application you choose is more than just a trading platform; it is the company that will act as your broker. Make sure that any business you are considering has a good reputation and islegally licensed and registeredwith the relevant government authorities.
  • Compare several trading apps.Nerdwalletrecommends that new investors look for a broker who can teach them the tools of the trade through educational articles, online tutorials, and in-person seminars. Review and compare each app carefully, taking note of their fees, trading minimums, stock analysis tools, and educational offerings to choose the one that best suits your needs.
  • Establish a budget.Make sure you are in a good financial position to start trading. Before you allocate funds for trading, you should already have some money set aside for emergency funds – and money intended for your retirement on a regular basis. Since trading involves risk, you should never invest money that you cannot afford to lose. Keep in mind that it is not a good idea to devote more than 10% of your portfolio to individual stocks, as this can expose your savings to too much volatility, advisesCNN. If you don’t have a lot of money to invest, you can look for a “micro-investing” platform. These services allow you to buy a share in a larger fund.
  • Understand the rules of trading.SEC regulationsdictate how and when transactions can take place. Get to know the rules so you don’t get penalized for breaking them. For example, according to the SEC, in a cash account, you must pay for the purchase of a stock before you sell it. If you buy and sell a stock before paying for it, you arefreeride, which violates the Federal Reserve Board’s credit extension provisions. If you are caught freeriding, your account will be frozen for 90 days.
  • Know how trading will affect your taxes.Capital gains taxes are taxes you will pay on profits from stocks. Typically, these taxes are higher if you have owned the shares for less than a year. Find out how to report capital gains onIRS.gov.
  • Beware of hot tips.Sponsored ads and online forums promoting fail-safe actions that guarantee you a huge profit for a small investment (if you act now!) Are likely fakes or part of a racquet designed to temporarily drive up the price of ‘an action. Don’t fall for this kind of insider tip.The Balancer reminds traders that real profits only come after careful research: if you do decide to invest in individual stocks, be sure to use certain ratios. financial analysis to compare a company’s performance to its competitors. It’s hard to choose individual stocks successfully, but thorough benchmarking can help you add the best stocks to your portfolio.
  • Beware of scams.Keep an eye oninvestment scams. Stick to brokers registered with the SEC and avoid anyone who uses high pressure sales tactics or pyramid schemes. Realize that some scammers go so far as to regularly send you reports showing excellent returns on your investment, when in fact, it never even existed.
  • Keep learning.Once you are familiar with the basics of trading, you can choose to move on to more advanced trading strategies, such as options trading, margin trading, and short stocks. Keep in mind that these strategies are very risky. Don’t try them until you have gained some trading experience, and again, never trade with money you can’t afford to lose.
  • Practice by negotiating virtually.If you want to give the stock market a try, but aren’t ready to risk real money, try virtual trading first. Many online brokers offer platforms where you can learn the ropes of the trade by buying and selling virtual stocks.

Source: BBB.org

To learn more about investment scams, read the FINRA Investor Alert:Spams and scams. To find a company you can trust, visit BBB.org. To report a scam, go to BBB.org/ScamTracker

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