There are two very different ways to go about buying shares, trading over the internet via an online broker or over the telephone.
These days, it's much more common, cheaper and practical to use the internet. Your preference is important though because buying and selling shares comes with a substantial risk attached and being comfortable helps you to accurately assess these risks.
Telephone share dealing is almost instant in most cases, as is online share dealing but postal share trade can take a few days. If you're looking into investing in stocks and shares for the very first time, you'll need to provide proof of identity and might be party to some credit checks.
Depending on what sort of Stockbroker you use, you will be given a different amount of advice. There are very expensive plans for those looking to buy or sell in excess of £100,000 and then there are simpler plans where you can assess the market yourself and trade however much or little you like.
Most stockbrokers which offer an online interface for you to buy and sell shares will be what is considered 'execution-only' meaning that they execute sales and purchases but do not advise customers or carry any responsibility for the choices which the share dealer makes. More expensive services provided could include advice on good buying options (usually low risk ones) or even in some cases a broker might buy and sell on your behalf.
The majority of us will have to forgo expensive advice, but there are forums and online groups that share tips and ideas which you can join free of charge. These are useful if you are interested in learning more about share dealing from other investors.
When you first look into finding a broker you will need to assess the following :
When you've answered these questions you'll know whether or not a broker is right for you and you'll see how much costs and information can vary between brokers. It is a good idea to use the shareprices.com 'compare a broker' service for this.
There are lots of costs associated with share dealing. Online service providers usually charge account fees and or transaction fees for each trade. There are also capital gains tax implications if you sell shares and make some money and anyone who decides to buy some shares must, by law, pay Stamp Duty on them.