Your trading account whether for long term investment or for short term trading or even intraday trading or F&O trading begins with funding your trading account! That means you actually transfer funds into the trading account. You can either use the payment gateway, the NEFT/RTGS facility or you can also pay by margin cheque / DD to your broker. Here is how to go about it.

· A common method offered by brokers to transfer funds into the trading account is a payment gateway. The advantage of a payment gateway is that you can use any debit card or internet bank account to transfer funds into your trading account. When you use a payment gateway your fund transfer happens right away and your trading account will immediately reflect the credit and you start trading immediately. Most payment gateways entail a charge of Rs.10 or Rs.20 per transaction. That adds to your cost.

· The second and more popular method of fund transfer is through National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT). If the NEFT is done from the same bank where your broker has the account, then the credit is instantaneous. However, in case of other banks (other than your broker bank), it takes 2-3 hours to reflect. There are no fund transfer charges for NEFT. Real time gross settlement (RTGS) is the same as NEFT; the only difference being that it is applicable to fund transfers above Rs.2 lakhs. With NEFT now possible round the clock from 20th of December, IMPS may not be really essential.

· You can also transfer through cheque / DD in favour of broker by drawing a cheque / DD / Pay order in favour of your broker. However, that is only possible in case of an offline trading account. If you are having an online trading account then you need to necessarily transfer funds only through payment gateway or via NEFT/RTGS. Normally, the broker will give you credit for cheque / DD amount only after the clearing credit is received. That will take 2-3 days. Any cheque rejection results in penal charges which will be debited to your trading account by the broker.