Once we get used to paying for something-like trading stocks- it makes us wonder what we are going to lose by using a free option. This works the same way with almost anything that you may have gotten used to paying for. It works the other way around as well. Is there something you have always gotten for free (like e-mail) and have the choice of paying for it? Now the question is, what extra benefits am I receiving.
Believe it or not, with a free service you are not losing very much. Many times the free service is under a few conditions, a minimum account balance, a minimum or maximum number of trades every month. Or a monthly fee to offset trading costs. For example, if you are making 100 $10 trades, a $50 monthly fee with ‘free trades’ is a good deal. The point is, it exists but look into the fine print. You aren’t necessarily losing anything and you aren’t necessarily being scammed, but look into the conditions which need to be met in order to receive your free trades.
Usually in these different levels of accounts (free, paid, pay per trade, flat fee, etc) there may be a difference in the amount of information the site provides you regarding the stocks. This extra information is usually not needed, it can be found elsewhere, but can be a nice bonus, or may be packaged more conveniently for you than to have to look everywhere for it, such as currency strength meter. You may get to be on a bonus newsletter of some sort as well. Usually higher paying, or higher balanced customers get preferential treatment of some way. But don’t let them fool you, if you want the free account, you do not need those extras to make your trades, just do your due diligence with other sites, books, and your own strategy.
You don’t need the perks, find your strategy by playing with free online stock trading sites and follow your strategy, do not try anything you haven’t tested, no matter what some guru, expert, pro millionaire says. Just because it worked for them doesn’t mean it will work for you. Test before doing anything, don’t worry about missing out on anything, you will find your own winners.
As you can see, most of the differences are cosmetic, informational, or numeric limitations. If you only do several trades a month you will need a much different plan that someone who does hundreds. Look into all of the plans and figure out which suits you best, it may very well end up being cheaper to get a paid plan than a free one. Do your research!