What is Demat Account?

5paisa Research Team

Last Updated: 24 Apr, 2024 12:33 PM IST

What Is Demat Account

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Introduction to Demat Account

A Demat account, short for 'Dematerialization,' is a digital vault for your stock investments. Instead of dealing with physical paper certificates, your shares are stored electronically in this account. The purpose of Demat accounts is to ensure the safety of your shares, reducing the risk of loss or forgery.

To participate in stock market trading, you need two essential accounts a Demat account for electronic share holding and a trading account to swiftly execute buy and sell orders. Demat trading was initially introduced in India for NSE transactions in 1996. 

In the past, it used to take a long time for people to open an investment account, and they had to do it in person. But now, things have become much easier. You can open a Demat account online in just 5 minutes. This online process has made investment accounts, known as Demat accounts, very popular.

Features of Demat Account

To get a clearer picture of what a Demat account is all about, let's delve into its essential features:

  1. Easy Access: A Demat account offers quick and easy access to all your investments and statements through online banking.
  2. Simple Conversion: With the help of a depository participant (DP), you can easily convert your physical share certificates into electronic form (dematerialization) and vice versa.
  3. Dividends and Benefits: It simplifies the process of receiving dividends, interest, or refunds. Your account is automatically credited with these earnings. Electronic Clearing Service (ECS) is used to update your account with information about stock splits, bonus issues, rights, public issues, and more.
  4. Effortless Share Transfers: Transferring shares has become much easier and faster when you have a Demat account.
  5. Share Liquidity: Demat accounts make it simpler and more convenient to sell shares and access the money quickly.
  6. Loan Facility: After opening a Demat account, you can also avail of a loan using the securities held in your account as collateral.


These features collectively make Demat accounts an essential platform for effectively managing your investments and financial assets.

How Does a Demat Account Work?

A Demat account, short for a Dematerialized account, is a digital repository for holding and managing your securities, primarily stocks and bonds, in electronic form. It serves as a bridge between your investments and the stock market, making trading and investment processes more convenient and secure. Here's a detailed breakdown of how a Demat account works:

1. Account Setup

To start trading and investing in the stock market, you need to open a Demat account with a registered Depository Participant (DP). These DPs are usually banks or brokerage firms authorized by depositories like the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) and the Central Depository Services Limited (CDSL).

2. Linking Trading and Demat Accounts

Once your Demat account is active, you'll also need a linked trading account. This trading account is used to place buy and sell orders in the stock market. Both accounts work in tandem to facilitate seamless transactions

3. Placing Orders

You initiate the trading process by placing buy or sell orders through your linked trading account. These orders specify the quantity and price at which you want to buy or sell securities.

4. Order Processing

When you place an order, your trading account forwards it to the stock exchange. The exchange then matches your order with a suitable counterparty in the market. For example, if you want to buy shares, the exchange matches your order with someone willing to sell the same number of shares at your specified price.

5. Verification and Settlement

Before the final processing of the order, the exchange verifies the market price of shares and checks the availability of shares in your Demat account. This verification ensures that you have the required funds or shares to complete the transaction.

6. Execution and Settlement

Once the verification is successful, the trade is executed. If you are buying shares, they will be credited to your Demat account, and if you are selling shares, they will be debited from your Demat account.

7. Record-keeping

Your Demat account maintains a detailed record of all your securities holdings, including the type and quantity of shares or bonds you own. This electronic ledger replaces the need for physical share certificates.

8. Holding and Management

You can view your securities holdings, track their value, and manage your portfolio through your Demat account. It provides a consolidated view of your investments in one place.

9. Bonus and Split

Any bonus, split, or corporate actions related to your securities are automatically credited to your Demat account. This ensures that you receive all the benefits and updates related to your investments.

10. Selling Securities

When you decide to sell your securities, you provide a delivery instruction note with the necessary details. The shares are then debited from your Demat account, and the corresponding cash proceeds are credited to your trading account.

Demat Participants

As we proceed further, it is essential to understand the key participants or agents associated with the Demat process. Dematerialization (Demat) involves primarily four crucial entities

Investors - Investors are individuals, partnership firms, or companies that own securities such as stocks and bonds in electronic form. These individuals or entities open Demat accounts to hold their securities electronically. Each investor's name is linked to a depository, which keeps a record of their holdings in Dematerialized (Demat) form. Investors can buy and sell these securities through their Demat accounts.

Depositories - In simple terms, Depositories are like digital banks for your investments. They securely hold your securities in electronic form, replacing traditional paper certificates. In India, there are two primary depositories NSDL (National Securities Depository Limited) and CDSL (Central Depository Services Limited). These depositories play a crucial role in connecting companies that issue shares with the individuals who invest in them, offering safe and efficient management of your investments. They ensure your holdings are kept secure, transactions are smooth, and they operate under strict regulatory guidelines to maintain the integrity of the Indian financial market.

Depository Participants - Depository Participants, also known as DPs, are like intermediaries registered by SEBI. They link investors with depositories like NSDL and CDSL. DPs facilitate the opening of Demat accounts, making it easier for investors to manage digital securities. These DPs play a vital role in ensuring the smooth functioning of India's securities market.

The Issuing Company - The issuing company is a legal entity or business that is registered with a depository. Its primary purpose is to create, register, and offer securities to the public as a means of raising funds for its operations. These securities typically include bonds, shares, commercial paper, and other financial instruments. The issuing company plays a pivotal role in the financial market by providing investment opportunities to the public and businesses seeking capital for growth and development.

Dematerialization Process

Dematerialization is an important process for investors to understand. The following section contains the process of dematerialization:

1. Submitting Your Certificates - To begin, you hand over all your paper certificates to your DP (Depository Participant) for dematerialization, essentially turning your physical assets into digital ones.
2. Notifying the Depository - Your DP lets the depository know about your desire to convert these assets into electronic form, initiating the process.
3. Registrar's Role - Your DP forwards your certificates to the company's registrar, the guardian of these records.
4. Registrar's Confirmation - After consulting with the depository, the registrar confirms the dematerialization request, ensuring everything is in order.
5. Transformation into Electronic Form - Once confirmed, your paper securities undergo a magical transformation into electronic ones, making them easy to manage and trade.
6. Registrar's Record Update - The registrar updates their records and informs the depository about the successful dematerialization process.
7. Depository's Record Update - Your depository account receives the electronic securities, and they make sure you're in the loop by informing your DP.
8. DP's Final Touch - Your DP completes the process by updating your Demat account with these new, sleek electronic assets, making your investment journey more efficient and secure.

How to Open Demat Account?

The first step of dematerialization is the opening of a Demat account. It is a myth among people that this is a complex process. The process of opening a Demat account is as follows:

The first step of dematerialization is the opening of a Demat account. It is a myth among people that this is a complex process. The process of opening a Demat account is as follows:

Step 1: Choose a Depository Participant (DP): Most financial institutions and brokerage firms are recognized as Depository Participants.

Step 2: Complete an Account Opening Form: To initiate the process of opening a Demat account, you are required to fill out an account opening form. This form will collect essential contact information from you.

Step 3: Submit Document Verification: You'll need to provide copies of documents for verification, which include proof of income, identity, address, an active bank account, and a passport-sized photograph. Ensure that all document copies are appropriately attested.

Step 4: Signing of agreement between an investor and the DP: You'll be presented with a standardized agreement that outlines the rules, regulations, associated charges, and terms and conditions governing your relationship with the Depository Participant.

Step 5: Verification of Documents: A member of the DP's team will carefully review all the documents you've submitted as part of your application.

Step 6: Generation of Demat Account Details: Once your documents have been successfully verified, your Demat account number and ID will be generated. These credentials will grant you access to your online Demat account without any issues.

Types of Demat Account

1. Regular Account & Basic Services Demat Account (BSDA):

In India, there are two types of demat accounts: Regular and Basic Services Demat Account (BSDA). 

Regular accounts are standard, while BSDA is for infrequent investors with lower fees. A regular account can become a BSDA if you have only one account per PAN and holdings are under ₹2,00,000. Fees for BSDA are charged quarterly, determined by the highest quarterly holding value.


Let’s understand the primary distinction between these two account types lies in the fees they impose for maintaining your account.

●    1st Slab: For holdings up to ₹50,000, there are no maintenance charges (AMC).
●    2nd Slab: If your holdings range from ₹50,001 to ₹2,00,000, you'll be charged ₹100 annually for AMC.
●    3rd Slab: For holdings exceeding ₹2,00,000, the maintenance charge rises to ₹25 + 18% GST per month.


Here's a simple example to explain:

If you initiated your 5 Paisa BSDA on January 5, 2022, and your investments amounted to ₹1,50,000 during the first quarter, you'd be charged ₹100 in fees, based on slab 2, due on April 5.

Subsequent quarters' fees follow a similar calculation method, according to the highest investment value within that specific period.

In the end, your decision between a Regular Account and a Basic Services Account depends on how much you invest, the size of your portfolio, and how much you're willing to pay in fees. 

2. Repatriable Account:

It is used by Non-Resident Indians to transfer funds abroad. To do this, it needs to be linked with an NRE bank account. However, whether you can transfer funds depends on the laws of both the host country and the foreign country. If their laws allow it and the governments don't stop the transfer, you can move your money.

3. Non-Repatriable Account

It is another type used by Non-Resident Indians. But with this account, you can't send money abroad directly. To use it effectively, you'll need an associated NRO bank account.


Why Choose 5paisa Demat account?

There are good reasons to pick a 5paisa Demat account:

1. Cost-Effective: It's free to open a 5paisa Demat account, and you only pay fees when you actually trade. No fixed charges.
2. Flat Fee: When you trade a lot, you save big. You can trade large amounts for a fixed fee of just Rs. 20, which is a huge discount compared to regular brokerage fees.
3. Effortless: Opening a 5paisa Demat account is easy and paperless, using Aadhaar for verification.
4. All-in-One: You can trade stocks, futures & options, commodities, and currencies all in one account, at that same flat rate. 
5. Research and Advisory Services : 5paisa stands out as the only discount brokerage firm offering comprehensive research and advisory services for over 4,000 companies. We also provide investment guidance for both short-term and long-term strategies, along with expertise in derivative strategies and portfolio-based investment ideas.
6. Portfolio Analyzer : Our Portfolio Analyzer to help you see how well your investments are doing. This can help you make better choices and get better results with your investments.


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