In the past, to purchase stock you were required to set up an account with a brokerage firm and then contact your broker when you wanted to make a trade. The broker would then call your trade in to the floor, and a trader would execute it. However, you no longer need to call a broker and wait for him or her to perform the trade, because it is now possible to purchase the stocks immediately through an on-line brokerage firm.
Sign up for an account through an on-line brokerage company. There are links to "E*TRADE," "ShareBuilder" and "Zecco" below, but there are many more to choose from. Click "Sign Up," and follow the prompts to complete your registration.
Transfer money into the brokerage account. This will normally take one business day to be processed and appear in your account.
Once the money has posted to your account, find the ticker symbol of the stock you want to buy on the site's research page. Once you know the symbol, go to your site's quotes page, type in the symbol and click "Get Quote," or your site's equivalent.
Select "Buy" once the quote comes up. Select the amount of shares you would like to purchase. Then you will be asked if you would like to place a market order or a limit order. With a limit order, you set the exact price you want to pay. A market order buys the stock at the price sellers are asking at the moment.
Confirm the trade when your site asks you to, and in a moment you will receive a notification that your trade was accepted or declined. Your trade will usually only be declined if you do not have enough funds to cover it.