Demat account allows you to buy, sell and transact shares without the endless paperwork and delays. It is also safe, secure and convenient.
What is demat account?
Demat refers to a dematerialised account. Just as you have to open an account with a bank if you want to save your money, make cheque payments etc, you need to open a demat account if you want to buy or sell stocks. So it is just like a bank account where actual money is replaced by shares. You have to approach the DPs (remember, they are like bank branches), to open your demat account.
Let's say your portfolio has 100 of Satyam, 200 of IBM and 120 of TCS shares. All these will show in your demat account. So you don't have to possess any physical certificates showing that you own these shares. They are all held electronically in your account. As you buy and sell the shares, they are adjusted in your account. Just like a bank passbook or statement, the DP will provide you with periodic statements of holdings and transactions.
Is a demat account a must?
Nowadays, practically all trades have to be settled in dematerialised form. Although the market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has allowed trades of upto 500 shares to be settled in physical form, nobody wants physical shares any more. So a demat account is a must for trading and investing.
The demat account reduces brokerage charges, makes pledging/hypothecation of shares easier, enables quick ownership of securities on settlement resulting in increased liquidity, avoids confusion in the ownership title of securities, and provides easy receipt of public issue allotments.
It also helps you avoid bad deliveries caused by signature mismatch, postal delays and loss of certificates in transit. Further, it eliminates risks associated with forgery, counterfeiting and loss due to fire, theft or mutilation. Demat account holders can also avoid stamp duty (as against 0.5 per cent payable on physical shares), avoid filling up of transfer deeds, and obtain quick receipt of such benefits as stock splits and bonuses.