ICICI Direct was the mainstream stockbroker of the last decade until Zerodha launched a discount broking model in 2010 charging a low brokerage of Rs. 20 per trade.
Even I started my stock investment journey with ICICI Direct in 2006.
Honestly speaking, both ICICI Direct and Zerodha can not be compared because they work on entirely different business models.
Zerodha provides you a platform through which you can transact in stocks for trading and value investing.
You wouldn’t get stock investment tips, research, or Robo advisory services at Zerodha. That’s the reason we get discount brokerage rates.
On the other hand, ICICI Direct provides you with a 3-in-1 account (trading, Demat & savings account) along with research advisory services.
But higher brokerage fees and AMC will burn your pockets.
Let’s compare the brokerage charges.
Consider you make 20 trades of total Rs. 10,00,000 per month.
At ICICI Direct the intraday brokerage charge (under i-Secure plan) is 0.275%. The total brokerage will be 10,00,000 x 0.275% = Rs. 2,750 monthly.
Whereas, the brokerage with Zerodha (that charges Rs. 20 per trade) comes to 20 trades per month x Rs. 20 brokerage = Rs. 400 only.
A huge difference!
ICICI even charges 0.55% for stock delivery but Zerodha provides FREE stock delivery.
If you are a regular trader or stock investor then you should open an account with Zerodha otherwise you would end up paying all your profits as brokerage charges.
Below is the side-by-side comparison of ICICI Direct vs Zerodha
Zerodha Demat vs ICICI Direct Demat
|Helps trade-in||Stocks, Equity F&O, Currency F&O and Commodity F&O Bonds and Govt-Securities||Stocks, Equity F&O, Currency F&O and Currency Futures|
|Brokerage Charges||Details for Zerodha Plan||ICICI Direct (i-Secure plan)|
|Equity delivery||Rs. 0||0.55% (including buy and sell)|
|Equity Intraday||Lower of Rs. 20 per executed order or 0.03%||0.275% (the second leg is not charged)|
|Futures – Equity||Lower of Rs. 20 per executed order or 0.03%||0.050% plus a flat brokerage of Rs. 50 on the second leg|
|Currency/ Commodity Futures||Lower of Rs. 20 per executed order or 0.03%||Rs. 20 per order|
|Equity Options||Rs. 20 per executed order||Rs. 95 per lot plus a flat brokerage of Rs. 50 on the second leg|
|Options – Currency||Rs. 20 per executed order||Rs. 20 per order|
|Margin for Intraday||Up to 5X||Up to 5X|
|Account opening charges||Charges for Demat & Trading account is clubbed – Rs. 200||Rs. 0|
|Demat AMC Fees||Rs. 300||1st Year – NIL|
2nd Year onwards – Rs. 700
ICICI Direct vs Zerodha Account Charges Comparison
ICICI Direct offers a 3-in-1 (trading + Demat + savings) account, for that you need to have a savings account with ICICI Bank.
If you do not have one, then you need to open it at the time you apply for a trading & Demat account.
ICICI Direct opens free trading and Demat accounts, whereas Zerodha charges Rs 200 for account opening. You need to pay Rs 100 extra for opening a commodity account with Zerodha.
Zerodha charges Rs 300 towards the annual maintenance charges, whereas you would need to pay Rs 700 AMC fee for ICICI direct account.
ICICI also offers different top-up brokerage plans. You would need to pay a subscription from Rs 299 to Rs 4999 depending upon the selected plan.
I have provided the fee details in the next brokerage charges section.
Let’s compare Zerodha and ICICI direct account charges side by side
|Account Opening||Rs 200|
Rs 300 (commodity account)
|AMC||Rs 300||Rs 700|
|Additional Plan Fee||No such plans||Up to Rs 4999, depending upon the plan|
If we look at the absolute amounts only, then Zerodha is the winner.
Zerodha charges Rs 200 account opening fee as compared to a free ICICI direct account, but this is a one-time fee.
Otherside, you would end up paying Rs 400 more every year with ICICI direct account for account maintenance as compared to Zerodha.
Zerodha vs ICICI Direct Brokerage Charges
Zerodha keeps the brokerage charges details very simple to easily understand, on the other side ICICI creates the most complex brokerage plan system.
ICICI Direct offers multiple account types with different types of brokerage rate, margin funding fee, and plan activation fee. Plans are so complex that a regular user feels difficult to analyze which plans would suit best for his requirements.
Zerodha offers free equity delivery and a lower of Rs. 20 per order or 0.03% for intraday.
ICICI Direct has four plans with different brokerage rates
- i-Secure Plan
- Prepaid Brokerage Plan
- ICICI Direct Prime Plan
- ICICI Direct Neo Plan
#1. Brokerage charges for the i-Secure plan
A variable percentage of brokerage is charged on the basis of quarterly turnover.
|Trading Type||Brokerage Charges|
|Equity Delivery||0.55% (including buy and sell)|
|Equity Intraday||0.275% (the second leg is not charged)|
|Equity Futures||0.050% plus a flat brokerage of Rs. 50 on the second leg|
|Equity Options||Rs. 95 per lot plus a flat brokerage of Rs. 50 on the second leg|
|Currency/ Commodity Futures||Rs. 20 per order|
|Currency/ Commodity Options||Rs. 20 per order|
The brokerage for Margin and Margin Plus under the I-Secure Plan is 0.050%.
#2. Brokerage charges under Prepaid Brokerage plan
|Prepaid value||Delivery brokerage||Intraday/ Futures||Equity Options||Currency & Commodity F&O|
|Rs. 2,500||0.25%||0.025%||Rs. 35 per lot||Rs. 20 per order|
|Rs. 5,000||0.22%||0.022%||Rs. 30 per lot||Rs. 20 per order|
|Rs. 12,500||0.18%||0.018%||Rs. 25 per lot||Rs. 20 per order|
|Rs. 25,000||0.15%||0.015%||Rs. 20 per lot||Rs. 20 per order|
|Rs. 50,000||0.12%||0.012%||Rs. 15 per lot||Rs. 20 per order|
|Rs. 1,00,000||0.07%||0.007%||Rs. 7 per lot||Rs. 20 per order|
#3. Brokerage charges under ICICI Direct Prime plan
|Prime Plan||Scheme validity||Delivery brokerage||Intraday/ Futures||Equity Options||Currency & Commodity F&O|
|Rs. 299||365 days||0.27%||0.027%||Rs. 40 per lot||Rs. 20 per lot|
|Rs. 999||Lifetime||0.22%||0.022%||Rs. 35 per lot||Rs. 20 per lot|
|Rs. 1,999||Lifetime||0.18%||0.018%||Rs. 25 per lot||Rs. 20 per lot|
|Rs. 2,999||Lifetime||0.15%||0.015%||Rs. 20 per lot||Rs. 20 per lot|
|Rs. 3,999||Lifetime||0.12%||0.012%||Rs. 15 per lot||Rs. 20 per lot|
|Rs. 4,999||Lifetime||0.10%||0.010%||Rs. 10 per lot||Rs. 20 per lot|
#4. ICICI Direct Neo Plan
|Equity Intraday||Rs. 20 per order|
|Equity Futures||Rs. 0 per order|
|Equity Options||Rs. 20 per order|
|Currency F&O||Rs. 20 per order|
|Commodity F&O||Rs. 20 per order|
Zerodha is the clear winner for me.
Not only for charging zero brokerage on delivery and lower brokerage on intraday trading but also for making the brokerage system easy.
People end up paying higher charges where the fee structure is too complex to understand, a case with ICICI direct.
ICICI Direct Vs Zerodha Margin
ICICI Direct charges interest rate and fee for providing the margin facility. For the ICICI Direct NEO plan, you would need to pay 0.025% per day when you keep shares as a margin, which is quite high.
Zerodha doesn’t charge any margin-providing fee.
Let’s side by side compare the margin provided by both Zerodha and ICICI Direct.
|Intraday||Up To 5x||Up to 5X|
Winner – Zerodha is the winner for me, as you need to pay a margin fee to ICICI Direct.
Zerodha Trading Platforms vs ICICI Direct Trading Platforms
Zerodha offers 3 different trading platforms to its customer
- Kite 3.0 – Web-based trading platform
- Kite Mobile – Trading mobile app
- Sentinel – Market price alerts tool
ICICI Direct provides 3 different types of trading platforms
- ICICI Direct mobile app
- Trade Racer Web – Web-based platform
- ICICIdirect Trade Racer – Desktop trading software
I tested the web trading platforms of both Zerodh and ICICI Direct. I am fully satisfied with the performance of both the stockbrokers in terms of ease of use and technical indicators.
For me both are winners.
But a few traders complain that Zerodha platforms hang occasionally before market closing due to load on servers.
ICICI Direct vs Zerodha Customer Support
Zerodha users sometimes face service downtime during trading hours. Zerodha continuously keeps improving its technology to provide a better trading experience to its customers.
If we compare Zerodha customers with the full-service brokers, then still can be improved. But I would admit Zerodha provides the best service as compared to other discount brokers in India.
Zerodha provides the best customer service as compared to all other discount brokers in India but if we compare with ICICI Direct then I would say ICICI direct customer service is better.
Why You Might Prefer Zerodha Demat Account
Zerodha is the leading discount broker in India with more than 1 Crore+ customers. You should open Zerodha Account if
- You are a trader or about to start trading, wants to keep the brokerage cost low
- A stock investor who wants free delivery
- Do not require research advisory
- Advanced trading tools with easy user interface
If these are your requirements then Zerodha is the best option for you to open a Demat & trading account.
Why You Might Prefer ICICI Direct Demat Account
You should prefer an ICICI Direct account only if
- You already have an ICICI savings account
- You rarely do trading/investment or want to keep stocks for a long period
- You want to keep all your financial accounts with the same company
- You don’t mind paying a higher brokerage and AMC fee
Which is better, Zerodha vs ICICI Direct?
After comparing Zerodha and ICICI Direct based on common features like account charges, brokerage charges, margin, trading platforms, and customer support, Zerodha comes out as a winner.
You should open a Zerodha account if all your trading and stock investment requirements are fulfilled.