What is a Demat Account?

In the 21st century, financial transactions have evolved leaps and bounds from their traditional roots. Among the cornerstones of this digital financial revolution in India stands the Demat Account. An outstanding tool for anyone dabbling in the stock market, it offers a seamless, electronic storage solution for holding shares and securities. But what truly is a Demat Account? Why is it considered indispensable for modern traders and investors? And how does it streamline the complexities of the financial investments?

Find all the answers in this comprehensive guide.

Demat Account Definition

A demat account can be defined as an electronic storage or repository used to hold shares, securities, bonds, government securities, mutual funds, ETFs, insurances etc. at one place in an electronic format. Introduced in India in the 1990s, the advent of the Demat Account marked a significant shift from physical share certificates to a more efficient digital form. This transformation was driven by the need to eliminate the challenges associated with paper shares, such as forgery, delays in transfer, and damage or loss of certificates.

Managed by two main depositories in India, the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) and the Central Depository Services Limited (CDSL), Demat Account also known as dematerised account have become indispensable for trading and investing in the Indian stock market. It streamlines transactions and ensures swift, secure, and hassle-free operations.

Process of Dematerialisation

Dematerialisation, often abbreviated as ‘Demat’, is a conversion of physical shares or securities into a digital format. This transformation is carried out to facilitate electronic trading and eliminate the myriad challenges of handling physical share certificates.

In the Indian financial market, when an investor opts for dematerialisation, their physical share certificates are surrendered. In return, an equivalent number of shares are credited to their Demat Account electronically.

This ensures a safer storage mechanism, devoid of risks like theft, forgery, or damage, and streamlines the trading process. Transactions are faster, settlements are more efficient, and the trading experience becomes more user-friendly.
To undergo In order to transition to a dematerialisation account, an investor typically approaches a Depository Participant (DP) with their physical share certificates, after which the DP facilitates the conversion and ensures the electronic credits to the investor’s Demat Account.

Over the years, dematerialisation has profoundly reshaped the Indian stock market, promoting transparency, efficiency, and a modern approach to trading.

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Types of Demat Accounts

In the Indian financial market, the Demat Account simplifies the complex world of securities trading. Yet, while the core function of the Account remains consistent, its types vary, each catering to a unique set of investors with distinct needs. For those venturing into the world of online trading, understanding the nuances of these types is pivotal:

Regular Demat Account

This is the standard version of the Demat Account, primarily tailored for residents of India. It facilitates the buying and selling of securities in the domestic stock market. Ideal for Indian residents keen on diving into the stock market as frequent traders or long-term investors.

Repatriable Demat Account

Designed exclusively for Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), this account stands out because it allows the transfer of funds abroad, offering NRIs a blend of investment flexibility and repatriation. Ideal for NRIs seeking to invest in the Indian stock market while retaining the option to move their funds overseas.

Non-Repatriable Demat Account

Another offering for NRIs, this account type, is similar to its repatriable counterpart, but with a restriction: funds cannot be transferred abroad.Ideal for NRIs who plan to invest and retain their funds within India, either for domestic commitments or long-term plans.

Minor Demat Account

The minor demat account acknowledges the financial aspirations of the young. Opened in a minor’s name, it’s operated by a designated guardian until the minor reaches the age of majority. Ideal for minors aiming to start their investment journey early, with the guidance and oversight of their guardians.

Joint Demat Account

Reflecting the nature of joint bank accounts, this Demat Account permits two investors, often family members, to hold shares jointly, fostering collective investment decisions. Ideal for couples, siblings, or close relatives keen on collaborative investments.

Institutional Demat Account

Institutions have unique trading needs, often involving vast volumes of securities. This account type is molded to fit these requirements, offering tailored solutions for institutional trading.Ideal for financial stalwarts like banks, mutual funds, or other large-scale institutional investors navigating the vast seas of the stock market.

Each of these account types is designed to cater to the unique requirements of different segments of investors, ensuring flexibility, convenience, and efficiency in trading activities.

Features of Demat Account

While primarily serving as an electronic repository for shares and securities, comes packed with a suite of features that make trading a seamless and efficient experience in the Indian financial market:

Electronic Storage

Physical share certificates come with numerous challenges, from damage to theft. A Demat Account eliminates these risks, offering a secure digital storage solution.

Easy Access

This account, linked with online trading platforms, gives investors real-time access to their holdings, allowing them to track and trade anytime, anywhere.

Multiple Securities

Beyond just shares, it can hold many securities, from mutual funds to government bonds, all in one place.

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Automatic Updates

Corporate actions like stock splits, dividends, or mergers automatically get updated in the Demat Account, sparing investors the manual hassle.

Reduced Costs

It significantly reduces transaction costs by eliminating paperwork and manual interventions, making trading more economical.

Loan Collateral

Many financial institutions accept securities held in a Demat Account as collateral, enabling investors to avail loans against them.

Nomination Facility

Investors can nominate individuals who can claim the securities in the unfortunate event of the account holder’s demise. The features of this Account not only simplify the trading process but also offer investors a suite of tools and conveniences, enhancing their trading experience in the dynamic Indian financial landscape.

Benefits of a Demat Account

A pivotal innovation in India’s financial landscape, has transformed how investors trade and manage securities. Beyond its primary function as an electronic repository, a Demat Account offers a plethora of benefits that cater to the modern-day investor’s needs:

Safety and Security

Elimination of Risks – With the account replacing physical share certificates, risks associated with theft, loss, forgery, or damage is effectively eliminated.

Convenience and Ease

Unified Portfolio – Investors can maintain a diversified portfolio of shares, bonds, mutual funds, and more, which can all be stored in a single Account.

Anywhere Access – With online access, investors can view and manage their holdings anytime, anywhere, offering unparalleled flexibility.

Instantaneous Transactions

Quick Transfers – The electronic format ensures that securities are transferred instantly, eliminating the long waiting periods associated with physical share transfers.

Reduced Costs

Lower Expenses – The absence of paperwork and stamp duties associated with electronic transfers considerably reduces transaction costs.

Automatic Updates

Hassle-free Adjustments – Corporate actions like dividends, mergers, or stock splits automatically reflect in the Demat Account without requiring manual intervention from the investor.

Nomination Facility

Future Planning – Investors can nominate beneficiaries for their Demat Account, ensuring smooth transmission of securities in unforeseen circumstances.

The advantages of a Demat Account extend beyond mere convenience. It offers a holistic, efficient, and secure environment, making it an indispensable tool in the modern financial ecosystem of India.

Learn more about Benefits of Demat Account

How to Open a Demat Account?

Taking the leap into India’s stock market necessitates having a Demat Account. Opening one is a systematic process. Know what are the steps involved in the account opening process.

Choose a Depository Participant (DP)

Start by identifying a DP, such as banks, brokers, or online platforms. Compare their services, fees, and customer reviews.

Fill out the Application Form

Complete the application form provided by the DP. Ensure all details are accurate to avoid discrepancies.

Submit Necessary Documents

Along with the application, submit the aforementioned documents for identity, address, and income verification.

In-person Verification

As a part of the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms, many DPs conduct in-person verification. The DP’s representative may meet the applicant to verify the details and documents.

Receive a Beneficiary Owner Identity (BO ID)

Once the application is processed and approved, the investor receives a unique Beneficiary Owner Identity (BO ID) number. This number serves as the identity for all transactions.

Access and Operate

With the account active, investors can now access their Demat Account online, making trading and managing securities effortless & they can open a dematerialised account in a few steps.

Know Complete Step By Step Process of How to Open Demat Account

What are the Documents Required for Opening this Account?

To ensure transparency, security, and compliance with regulations, certain documents are mandated for this process:

Proof of Identity (POI)

  • PAN Card: Mandatory for every individual

  • Aadhaar Card, Voter’s ID, or Passport: As additional identity proofs.

Proof of Address (POA)

  • Passport or Voter’s ID

  • Aadhaar Card.


  • Passport-size photographs for the application form.

Proof of Income

  • It is required for trading in derivatives and is optional for others.

  • Recent salary slips, IT return statements, or net worth certificates.

Bank Proof

  • A canceled cheque or a recent bank statement to verify bank details.

While these are standard requirements, investors should liaise with their chosen Depository Participant (DP) to ascertain any specific additional documents that might be required, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free account opening process.

How Does a Demat Account Work?

This is the digital bridge between stock market trades and securities ownership. It serves as an electronic vault where your purchased securities are stored. But how does this process unfold?

Opening the Account

Initiation – To start, an investor must approach a Depository Participant (DP), which could be a bank, a brokerage firm, or an online platform.

Documentation The investor submits necessary documents, including PAN, Aadhaar, passport-size photographs, and bank details, to open the account.

Purchasing Securities

Trading Account Linkage The Demat Account is linked to a trading account. When an investor buys securities through the trading account, the request is processed and forwarded.

Depository Communication The trading account communicates with the central depository to initiate the transfer of securities.

Storing Securities

Once the purchase is confirmed, the securities are safely stored in the Demat Account electronically.

Selling Securities

Sale Initiation When an investor decides to sell, they place a sell order through their trading account.

Demat Account Debit Upon execution of the sale, the corresponding number of securities is debited from the Demat Account.

Corporate Updates & Benefits

Any corporate actions like dividends, bonus issues, or stock splits automatically reflect in the Demat Account without the investor’s manual intervention.

Statement of Holdings

The investor receives periodic statements, much like bank statements, detailing their holdings and transactions.

The A Demat Account simplifies the trading process, offering a transparent, efficient, and systematic way for investors to manage their securities in the Indian financial market.

Fees & Charges Associated with a Demat Account

While a demat account offers numerous benefits, investors must understand the demat account fees with it to ensure the smooth functioning and maintenance of the account, and they vary among different Depository Participants:

Account Opening Charges

Some Depository Participants (DPs) might charge a fee to Open demat account online . However, to attract customers, many DPs often waive this fee.

Annual Maintenance Charges (AMC)

DP charges a recurring annual fee for maintaining this account. It covers administrative costs and varies across DPs.

Transaction Charges

Every time an investor buys or sells securities, a transaction fee is levied. This might be a flat fee or a percentage of the transaction value.

Security or Custodian Fee

A fee is charged for managing the securities in this Account, often based on the volume of securities held.

Dematerialisation Charges

A fee is levied when converting physical share certificates to an electronic format. This might be per request or based on the number of shares.

Identification Numbers Associated with a Demat Account

In electronic securities trading in India, two essential identifiers are associated with a Demat Account: the Demat Account Number and the DP ID.

Demat Account Number

The Demat Account Number is a unique 16-digit number assigned to an investor when they open a Demat Account. It serves as the investor’s identity for all their electronic transactions.

Whenever an investor buys or sells securities, this number is used to credit or debit the respective securities to or from the account. It’s akin to a bank account number but tailored for the stock market.


The DP ID , or Depository Participant Identification, is a unique 8-digit number assigned to the Depository Participant. There are two primary depositories in India: the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) and the Central Depository Services Limited (CDSL).

Each DP registered with these depositories has a unique DP ID. It identifies the intermediary institution with which the investor has opened their Account.

Together, the Demat Account Number and DP ID ensure that every electronic transaction is precise, with securities accurately credited or debited to the right accounts, ensuring transparency and efficiency in securities trading.

While these are standard charges, it’s essential to note that the exact amounts can vary widely among DPs. Investors should thoroughly review the fee structure before selecting a DP, ensuring clarity and avoiding unforeseen expenses in their trading journey.

While the process is systematic, it’s essential to remain vigilant. Ensure all details are accurate, and liaise with the DP for any queries or clarifications, ensuring a seamless experience in the dynamic world of electronic trading.


Frequently Asked Questions

Any individual, whether a resident of India or a Non-Resident Indian (NRI), can open this account. Even minors, under guardianship, can have a Demat account.