Recommended for traders and investors (including beginners) focusing on the Indian market and looking for low fees
Indian stock brokerage Zerodha was set up in 2010 by entrepreneur and stockbroker Nithin Kamath. His aim was to establish a high-tech trading platform with affordable pricing. Today Zerodha has over 1.5 million active retail clients, accounting for over 15% of India's retail trading volume.
Zerodha is considered safe because it is regulated by India's top-rated regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
Zerodha pros and cons
Zerodha has low fees, it even offers free equity delivery trading. The web and mobile trading platforms are easy-to-use and well-designed. There is a wide range of high-quality research tools.
The account opening is slow and not fully digital. The product portfolio covers only the Indian market. At Zerodha, you will not be covered by investor protection.
|• Low fees||• Slow account opening process|
|• Great trading platforms||• Only Indian market covered|
|• Solid research||• No investor protection|
|🗺️ Country of regulation||India|
|💰 Trading fees class||Low|
|💰 Inactivity fee charged||No|
|💰 Withdrawal fee amount||$0|
|💰 Minimum deposit||$0|
|🕖 Time to open an account||>3 days|
|💳 Deposit with bank card||Not available|
|👛 Depositing with electronic wallet||Available|
|💱 Number of base currencies supported||1|
|🎮 Demo account provided||No|
|🛍️ Products offered||Stock, ETF, Forex, Fund, Bond, Options, Futures|
Fees at Zerodha are low. On the other hand, expect to be charged for the account opening and for account maintenance.
|• Low trading fees||• Account opening and maintenance charges|
|• Low non-trading fees|
|• Low stock and ETF fees / Free stock trading|
|Assets||Fee level||Fee terms|
|US stock||-||Not available|
|Mutual fund||-||Not available|
|Inactivity fee||Low||No inactivity fee|
How we ranked fees
We ranked Zerodha's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.
To get things rolling, let's go over some lingo related to broker fees. What you need to keep an eye on are trading fees and non-trading fees.
- Trading fees occur when you trade. These can be commissions, spreads, financing rates and conversion fees.
- Non-trading fees include charges not directly related to trading, like withdrawal fees or inactivity fees.
In the sections below, you will find the most relevant fees of Zerodha for each asset class. For example, in the case of stock investing the most important fees are commissions.
We also compared Zerodha's fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, Sharekhan and Interactive Brokers. The selection is based on objective factors such as products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc. See a more detailed rundown of Zerodha alternatives.
To have a clear overview of Zerodha, let's start with trading fees.
Zerodha trading fees are low. For equity delivery, it doesn't charge any commission. There is exceptionally transparent information on fees on Zerodha's website, supplemented by an easy-to-use fee calculator. As other charges may apply, we have put together a table featuring catch-all costs.
Given that Indian brokers usually offer only a few types of products, we compared the brokers by calculating all the fees of a typical trade for two assets.
We chose the following assets:
- Reliance, a large-cap Indian stock
- USDINR, a popular currency pair
We compared the fees for an equity delivery trading for Reliance and a currency futures trade for USDINR. In both cases, a typical trade means buying a position, holding it for one week, then selling it. For volume, we chose $2,000 for stocks and $20,000 for the currency trade.
The resulting catch-all benchmark includes spreads, commissions and financing costs for all brokers.
Now, let's see the verdict. Zerodha has super low stock and currency futures fees.
|USDINR benchmark fee||$0.6||$4.0||-|
|Brokerage charge||Securities/Commodities transaction tax||Transaction/Clearing charges||Stamp charges||GST||SEBI charges|
|Equity delivery||None||0.1% on buy and sell||
|0.015% or ₹1500 / crore on buy side||18% of the brokerage and transaction charges||INR 5 / crore|
|Equity intraday||0.03% or Rs. 20/executed order, whichever is lower||0.025% on sell||
|0.003% or ₹300 / crore on buy side|
|Equity futures||0.03% or Rs. 20/executed order, whichever is lower||0.01% on sell||
|0.002% or ₹200 / crore on buy side|
|Equity options||Flat Rs. 20 per executed order||0.05% on sell||
|0.003% or ₹300 / crore on buy side|
|Currency futures||0.03% or Rs. 20/executed order, whichever is lower||No STT fee||
|0.0001% or ₹10 / crore on buy side|
|Currency options||0.03% or Rs. 20/executed order, whichever is lower||No STT fee||
|0.0001% or ₹10 / crore on buy side|
|Commodity options||0.03% or Rs. 20/executed order, whichever is lower||0.01% on sell||Ranges between 0.0005% to 0.001%/trade||0.002% or ₹200 / crore on buy side|
|Commodity futures||0.03% or Rs. 20/executed order, whichever is lower||0.05% on sell||No fees||0.003% or ₹300 / crore on buy side|
Zerodha has low non-trading fees. While the broker charges no inactivity fee and withdrawal fee, there is an account fee.
The account fee is INR 300 + 18% tax per year for Demat accounts and INR 1,000 + 18% tax per year for corporate accounts. If you open a commodity account, you will be charged INR 100 + 18% tax per year.
The account opening at Zerodha is far from seamless. The process is slow and not fully digital. As a plus, there is no minimum deposit.
|• No minimum deposit||• Slow|
|• Not fully digital|
|• Only Indian citizens accepted|
Can you open an account?
At Zerodha, only Indian residents and non-resident Indians (NRI) can open an account.
What is the minimum deposit at Zerodha?
There are two account types available:
- Demat & Trading account - for equity and currency trading
- Commodity account - for commodity trading
How to open your account
The account opening process is not fully digital and it took a long time for our account to be approved. On average, expect the account opening to take ~5 business days. For us, it took more than 1 month as we had to send multiple documents for approval.
The 7 steps of the account opening:
- Register an account by giving your email address
- Enter your PAN number (Permanent Account Number)
- Pay the account opening fee
- Link your identification details with the Online Government website (Digi Locker Facility) following which the website automatically pulls the required online documents
- Upload your bank statements
- Sign your documents digitally and provide a Webcam IPV (In-Person verification)
- Finally, mail required documents to Zerodha
The following documents are needed for the account opening:
- Aadhar Card (which can be taken from the Digilocker online website)
- Pan card
- Bank Statements (issued within the last 6 months)
Deposit and withdrawal
Zerodha's deposit and withdrawal processes are user-friendly and free. However, there is only one account base currency, and you can only use bank transfers for deposits and withdrawals.
|• Free withdrawal||• Credit/Debit card not available|
|• No deposit fee||• Only one account base currency|
At Zerodha the only base currency is the Indian Rupee (INR).
|Number of base currencies||1||1||22|
Why does this matter? For two reasons. If you fund your trading account in the same currency as your bank account or you trade assets in the same currency as your trading account base currency, you don't have to pay a conversion fee.
A convenient way to save on currency conversion fees is opening a multi-currency bank account at a digital bank. Digital banks offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. Opening an account only takes a few minutes on your phone.
Deposit fees and options
Zerodha charges no deposit fees. You can deposit via bank transfers and the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), an instant payment system. Unfortunately, credit/debit cards are not supported.
A bank transfer can take several business days, while payment with a credit/debit card is instant.
You can only deposit money from accounts that are in your name.
Zerodha withdrawal fees and options
Zerodha charges no withdrawal fees, however, you can only withdraw money through bank transfers.
How long does it take to withdraw money from Zerodha? Our bank transfer took 2 business days.
You can only withdraw money to accounts in your name.
How do you withdraw money from Zerodha?
- Login to your account through the Kite platform
- Click "Funds" on the top
- Choose "Withdraw"
- Enter the amount, account number and payment method
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Web trading platform
Zerodha's web trading platform has a beautiful, simplistic design, and it's very user-friendly. However, it has limited customizability and there is no two-step login.
|• User-friendly||• No two-step (safer) login|
|• Clear fee report||• Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)|
|• Good search function|
We tested Kite, Zerodha's own trading platform that supports all available asset types except mutual funds. For fund trading, you need to use Coin, which is a separate Zerodha trading platform. APIs are also available at Zerodha through Kite Connect API.
Overall, Kite is beautifully designed and very easy to use. However, multiple functionalities, such as portfolio reports and notifications, are not integrated into the platform and can only be accessed through the other platforms provided by Zerodha.
Look and feel
Zerodha's Kite is has a nice touch to it. On the other hand, the elements can't be customized on the platform.
Login and security
Zerodha does not provide a two-step login. Having this would enhance Kite's safety.
When you log in, you need to provide your username, your password, and the 6-digit numerical code you set up at the time of account opening.
The search functions are fine. When you start typing the name of a product, a relevant list of recommendations will be displayed. However, you can't see the asset type unless you click on a result. You also can't filter for asset types.
You can use the following order types:
- After Market
To get a better understanding of these terms, read this overview of order types.
There are also order time limits you can use:
- Immediate or Cancel (IOC)
Alerts and notifications
You can set alerts and order notifications through Zerodha's Sentinel app. There are various types of alerts, including prices, intraday changes, top sell quantity, etc.
Portfolio and fee reports
Zerodha has clear portfolio and fee reports on its app, Console.
Zerodha in times of volatility
In March 2020, Zerodha had a platform outage due to heavy market volatility. We have experienced this ourselves, but also learnt about it from the news and other outlets. We think such events have temporary effects on brokers, therefore we did not update the respective scores in this review. If you happen to experience an outage at this (or any) broker, contact us at [email protected]
Mobile trading platform
Zerodha's Kite mobile platform has the same user-friendly functionalities as the web trading platform.
|• User-friendly||• No two-step (safer) login|
|• Good variety of order types|
|• Price alerts|
Zerodha offers two mobile trading platforms: Kite and Coin. On Kite, you can trade with all available assets except mutual funds. If you would like to trade with mutual funds, you have to use Coin. We tested the Kite mobile trading platform.
Kite and Coin are both available for Android and iOS.
Look and feel
The Zerodha mobile trading platform is user-friendly and neat. Its design is similar to that of the web trading platform.
Login and security
Zerodha provides only a one-step login. Just as on the web, you have to provide your user name, your password, and the 6-digit pin code. Having a two-step authentication would be safer.
Nevertheless, you can log in using biometric authentication, which is a highly convenient feature.
The search functions are okay. The results are relevant, but you cannot filter for asset types, and you can't see the asset class of a product in list view unless you click on it.
You can use the same order types and order terms as on the web trading platform.
Alerts and notifications
You cannot set price alerts on the Kite platform itself, but you can do so through the Sentinel app. Order notifications are available directly in the app.
Desktop trading platform
Zerodha doesn't offer a desktop trading platform.
Markets and products
Zerodha's product lineup comprises a lot of asset classes, ranging from stocks to futures. However, the portfolio covers only the Indian market.
At Zerodha, you can trade with a wide range of assets, however the broker offers fewer products in each asset class than its competitors.
Stocks and ETFs
Zerodha gives access to two Indian stock exchanges, the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The number of markets is the same as Sharekhan's offer but lags behind Interactive Brokers, which provides access to a lot of stock exchanges globally (including minor ones).
|Stock markets (#)||2||2||78|
At Zerodha, you can trade currencies in the form of futures. The lineup of available currency pairs is slim: EURINR, USDINR, JPYINR, GBPINR.
Interactive Brokers has a much wider forex offer, however, it doesn't provide currency pairs with INR.
|Currency pairs (#)||4||6||105|
|Fund providers (#)||39||50||260|
You can trade options on the NSE and the MCX stock exchanges.
|Options markets (#)||2||2||33|
The same stock exchanges are available as with options.
|Futures markets (#)||2||2||32|
Zerodha's research tools are great and varied, ranging from trading ideas to APIs, but many come with a monthly price tag.
|• Good interactive chart||• Fees charged for many research tools|
|• Trading ideas|
|• Data on asset fundamentals|
Zerodha's research tools can be found on its web trading platform and are available in English only.
Zerodha provides trading ideas based on technical and fundamental analysis. Stock reports are provided by Thomson Reuters at INR 150 per month.
You can find further trading ideas based on technical indicators on an app called Streak, which also has a monthly fee.
If you want to be up to date with the latest news on financial markets, stocks, funds, and banks, check out Zerodha's app, Pulse. The feed is updated every hour, it's well-organized, the items include tables and global indicators.
You can reach out to Zerodha through e-mail and telephone, and they will give you fast and relevant answers. However, there is no live chat support or 24/7 availability.
|• Phone support||• No live chat|
|• Fast response time||• No 24/7 support|
|• Relevant answers|
You can contact Zerodha via:
The phone support is fast and efficient, we received relevant answers in most cases. We only had one negative experience, where we didn't get a clear and accurate answer as to what documents we should submit and in what format if we want to open an account. Sadly, customer service is only available to clients.
The e-mail support works well. Our questions were answered within 1-2 business days and the replies were helpful.
We missed the live chat and 24/7 availability. Customer support is available from 9 AM to 5 PM from Monday to Saturday.
Zerodha has a lot to offer if you want to improve your financial knowledge. You can read articles, watch webinars and educational videos. However, there is no option to open a demo account.
|• Trading platform tutorial||• No demo account|
|• Educational videos|
At Zerodha you can learn in the following ways:
- Platform tutorial videos
- General educational videos
- Quality educational articles
The educational resources are located in two places: Varsity and Zerodha Educate. Varsity has 11 modules on investing, each containing 10 to 20 chapters of study material.
On Zerodha Educate, you can watch videos which are integrated into the website, but the majority of the videos can also be found on Zerodha's YouTube channel.
Zerodha is a fast-growing discount broker regulated by the top-tier Securities and Exchange Board of India. On the negative side, it provides neither investor protection nor negative balance protection.
|• Majority of clients belong to a top-tier financial authority||• No investor protection|
|• No negative balance protection|
|• Does not hold a banking license|
Is Zerodha regulated?
Yes, it is regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
Zerodha is based in India and it was founded in 2010.
Is Zerodha safe?
To be certain, we highly advise that you check two facts:
- how you are protected if something goes wrong
- what the background of the broker is
How you are protected
|Country of clients||Protection amount||Regulator||Legal entity|
|India||No protection||SEBI||Zerodha Broking Ltd.|
Zerodha does not provide negative balance protection. If the balance on your account goes into negative, you will not be protected.
Zerodha was established in 2010 with the aim of creating an affordable and high-tech trading platform for Indian investors. Thanks to its in-house technology and pricing model, Zerodha has attracted the biggest active retail clientele in the country.
Zerodha is funded by Rainmatter, a reputable Indian fintech fund and incubator.
Being regulated by a top-tier financial authority and having transparent management and ownership are all testament to Zerodha's safety.
Zerodha is an Indian discount broker offering very low fees. Its web and mobile trading platforms are superb, featuring a wide range of research tools.
The broker has some drawbacks though. The account opening process is slow and not entirely online. You can only access Indian markets and clients are not covered by investor protection.
If you are interested in Indian markets, we recommend Zerodha as the fees are low and the broker doesn't charge an inactivity fee.