ICICI Direct is one of the topmost bank based full-service stockbroking company in India. It is a retail investment and trading arm of ICICI Securities which is further part of India’s top financial service provider ICICI group. Without a doubt, the brand equity gained by ICICI banking services in the past 2 decades helps ICICI Direct but at the same time, ICICI Direct is famous for its incredible customer service and vast offline presence across the country.
With more than 35 Lakh customers across the country, it offers a range of trading and investment services. These segments include:
One of the unique features of ICICI Direct is the 3-in-1 account which includes the Bank account, Demat account, and the Trading account. This feature is only available with stockbroking companies that have the leverage of a banking services parent company.
The advantage of having a 3-in-1 account is that you get a seem-less trading experience since your bank account is directly integrated to your trading account which helps in instant money transfer.
“ICICI Direct boosts of having an active client base of 7,52,138 – the highest in the country.”
In case of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) such as Angel broking or Sharekhan money transfer from your bank account to your trading account takes some time that might elude you from making money at specific lucrative opportunities.
Shilpa Kumar – Managing Director & CEO, ICICI Securities
Trade racer is an executable file that can be installed on your machine and then from there clients can carry out their trading from their desktop or laptop. Some of the features this trading platform carries are:
View all trending scrips within a single screen or interface
With Live scanner feature, clients can instantly identify stocks that are making high or low
With Heatmap feature, stocks high or low can be identified directly with colour coding without looking at data
Customisable colour layouts and market charts
Here is the demo of Trade Racer software:
“Clients who are able to generate monthly brokerage in excess of ₹750 gets free access to this trading platform while the ones that cannot are required to pay ₹75 per month as subscription cost of this software.”
The above lined above suggests that the broker favours the traders who trade on a regular basis and consistently generate business for them. However, small investors or beginners are, in a sense, penalized for low brokerage in form of this un-necessary subscription cost.
Thus, looking at the rating, update frequency cycle, and customer feedback, it seems pretty clear that the broker does not seem to have much focus when it comes to its mobile trading application. In this day and age, when users are gradually moving towards mobile apps for day to day trading, it does not seem to be a promising news for the clients of ICICI Direct.
ICICI Direct Customer Service
ICICI Direct provides you with the following communication channels for service:
The expectations from the clients of such a huge brand name such as ICICI Direct are generally high. This gets fuelled by the fact that it is a full-service stockbroker that charges premium brokerage charges in lieu of quality customer service and research. As far as the former is concerned, the quality is pretty mediocre, especially in terms of turnaround time.
The biggest concern of all is that the broker seems to give major attention to high net worth individuals or heavy traders. Thus, users that are small to medium in terms of turnover or the ones who are beginners looking to enter into stock trading space, get miniscule attention. Make sure you do understand that aspect before opening an account.
“ICICI Direct has a repository on user education around basics and fundamentals of trading, Mutual funds, Futures, and options as well as investing. This is available for free and can be accessed from their website. The complete course consists of 11 modules divided into 2 chapters. Although content-wise, its good but the way it has been structured, could have been improved.”
ICICI Direct Pricing
ICICI Direct has the following charges for opening the 3-in-1 account:
Trading Account Opening Charges
Trading Account Annual Maintenance Charges
Demat Account Opening Charges
Demat Account Annual Maintenance Charges
As shown above, the account opening for this full-service stockbroker is free while the AMC is pretty high at ₹700.
“The Call and Trade facility is charged at ₹25 per executed trade.”
ICICI Direct Brokerage Charges
This full-service stockbroker charges these brokerage percentages, however, it really depends on the kind of plan you subscribe to.
To understand how this works, you need to understand that it all really depends on your trade value. For example, if you traded for ₹1,00,000 at Equity Delivery level, then with 0.55% brokerage charge, you are supposed to pay ₹550 as brokerage charges excluding taxes and any transaction charges. That is pretty high an amount of brokerage when we compare it to some other economical full-service brokers and certainly with discount stock brokers.
“ICICI Direct has a minimum brokerage charge set at ₹35 per executed trade. That implies, irrespective of your trade value, you are supposed to pay at least ₹35 as brokerage charge plus taxes and transaction charges.”
Furthermore, the broker has few plans for its clients with different brokerage structure, such as:
I – Saver Plan
I – Secure Plan
Prepaid Brokerage Plan
All these plans have some set of pre-conditions to each and based on your preference(s), you can make a selection.
For detailed information on brokerage plans and pricing by ICICI Direct, click HERE.
Apart from the account opening and maintenance charges to go along with brokerage, you are supposed to pay few taxes and transaction charges that finally become the part of the total payment. As far as transaction charges levied by the full-service stockbroker is concerned, here are the details:
As per the industry standards, ICICI Direct charges pretty nominal transaction charges. There are a few stockbrokers such as Trade Smart Online and TradePlus Online, that charge hefty transaction charges after attracting customers with low brokerage charges.
ICICI Direct Exposure or Leverage
The full-service stockbroker is not really known to provide high exposure or leverage but then, again it depends on the kind of plan you have chosen. Based on that, the leverage values can be negotiated to an extent.
It is advised to be very sure of the implications of using Exposure to your trades. Unless you understand how it works and what are the potential risks of using it, it is suggested not to use exposure at all.
ICICI Direct Branches:
This bank based full-service stockbroker is present at the following locations across India:
ICICI Direct Disadvantages:
You must be aware of some of the concerns of opening your demat/trading account with this bank-based full-service stockbroker:
Brokerage charges are relatively high as compared to other stock brokers. Most of the times, it is not even negotiable
Not Optimal for small investors of beginners as the broker charges for trading platform usage to go along with relatively high brokerage charges.
Does not allow commodity trading.
Mobile app quality is pretty mediocre.
No LIVE chat support for a quick resolution
“ICICI Direct has received 132 complaints from its clients until May 2017 for the financial year 2016-17.”
ICICI Direct Advantages:
At the same time, here are some of the quick benefits of using the services of ICICI Direct:
With the provision of 3-in-1 account, clients get an easier life for their fund transfers.
The broker allows trading and investing in different segments
Enjoys a huge brand name gained through its banking services
Provides one of the top mobile and desktop based trading applications
Under the umbrella of the parent brand, you can use Insurance services of ICICI Lombard.
Interested to open an account? Enter Your details here and we will arrange a FREE Call back.
Post this call You need to provide few documents to start your account opening process. The documents required are as follows:
An address proof
Bank statement for the last 6 months
Passport sized photograph
AMC fees (if applicable)
Trading Account cheque
Once you are done with this, your account gets opened within 2-3 business days.
ICICI Direct Membership Information:
Here are the details on the different membership details of the full-service stock broker:
BSE Capital Markets
NSE Capital Markets
NSE Currency Derivatives
ICICI Centre, H.T.Parekh Marg, Churchgate, Mumbai - 400 020
Some Frequently Asked Questions about ICICI Direct (FAQs)
Can I buy Mutual funds using ICICI Direct services?
Yes, the full-service stock broker offers services across multiple trading and investing products, including Mutual funds.
How is the feedback on the mobile app of ICICI Direct?
The mobile app space is one of the grey areas or rather weak links when it comes to this bank based full-service stockbroker. The biggest concern being its update frequency cycle. It takes 7-8 months that the app sees a single update. At the same time, if we talk about industry standards, other stockbrokers update their mobile app at least once in a span of 4-5 weeks while some of the best ones within 2-3 weeks.
Other concerns include basic design, limited features, slow speed and low usability.
How can I transfer my shares from ICICI Direct to any other broker?
It’s pretty straightforward process. You can do this online or offline, depending on your preference. To know complete details about shares transfer from ICICI Direct to your stockbroker, you can check out this detailed review here.
What are the account opening and maintenance charges at ICICI Direct?
Opening a Demat and Trading account is free at this full-service stockbroker but you are required to pay ₹700 as annual maintenance charges (AMC), which is pretty high as per industry standards.
How do I Close my demat account at ICICI Direct?
Closing an account is not as easy as opening one. You are required to complete few formalities otherwise you will get charged AMC on regular basis. Check out this link for a complete understanding of how to close your demat account with the broker.
How can I invest in IPOs using ICICI Direct Services?
Investing in IPOs using ICICI Direct is pretty easy since this can be done using ICICI bank services. Both the accounts are going to be completely integrated and thus, the overall process becomes much simpler.
Does ICICI Direct assist users in learning about trading and investing?
The broker offers the following solutions to its clients around basics and fundamentals of trading:
iCommunity is an online forum where users can ask questions, get answers to their queries, follow others with an expert point of views.
Online tutorials around basics of Equities, Mutual Funds, Options, Futures and technical analysis
All these services are provided to the clients of the broker, however, the quality of the content shared cannot be guaranteed. There are stockbrokers who have been marketing their content to let users know about it. For some reason, ICICI Direct has not done that. There may be two reasons of that – either they don’t understand that it needs to be marketed for people to know OR they are themselves not sure of the quality yet, that might potential hit at their brand reputation.
Also, check out a detailed comparison of ICICI Direct Vs other stockbrokers: