Zerodha Vs ICICI Direct – 6 Point Comparison To Know Who Is Better?

  • Post last modified:March 13, 2021
  • Post category:Stock Market
  • Reading time:18 mins read
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In this Zerodha vs ICICI Direct comparison, we will try to find out who is best amongst two and why? Having said that if we talk about both this broker, zerodha is a discount broker whereas ICICI is a full-time broker, so to be honest comparing both on one scale can’t be the right thing to do.

However, they both are in same business and industry and functioning among same group of people, therefore a comparison can be made on the different services offered by them in every segment. By the way if you want you can read the separate review of zerodha and Icici direct by clicking on this links.(Zerodha Review, ICICI Direct Review)

If you ask me why we are comparing Zerodha and ICICI it is because they both hold the top 3 positions in India. Zerodha being at the top with more than 33,91,059 active clients, second in the list is Upstox who recently dethroned ICICIDirect from 2nd position with 1.9 million active clients whereas ICICIDirect is at third with about 15,56,887 clients as per NSE data ending 28 February 2021. (the no. keeps on changing)

Many of you might be aware that this was not always the case, ICICI Direct have hold the top position for a long period of time until the Zerodha dethroned them in last 3 years. I am ready to give credit to zerodha for their hard work put as they have reached to the top position at the same time you can’t take away the credit from ICICIDirect too.

There are many other banks in India who offers the broking services, but ICICI is at the top amongst them due the major changes they do internally time to time, few of them I have tried to show you below as well while comparing.

Let us see now through comparing zerodha vs Icici direct on different parameters see what both has to offer to their clients and which is best for you as an individual trade and investor.


About Zerodha Vs ICICI Direct:

Before we dig deeper to understand the various services offered it becomes utmost import to know in brief about zerodha and Icici direct history and present facts.


About Zerodha Vs Icici Direct  


Another point which I wanted to mention, Recently in September 2020 , Icici direct has partnered with MCX (Multi commodity exchange) to offer commodity derivative trading.

Similar thing about zerodha is, they are about to launch their own lending platform to provide loans but the dates are not announced as of now. Zerodha and Icici both are depository participant (DP) for both NSDL and CDSL.


Zerodha Vs ICICI Direct Margin Comparison:

As a matter of great concern for many traders as well as brokers, due to SEBI new margin rules made for intraday exposure to get limited in forthcoming months i.e. from December 2020, I do not find any point discussing the margin offered by both anymore.

The new upfront margin collection in cash segment has been kept at flat 20%, which means now the leverage for all stocks would be 5x also the penalty provision for short-collection/ non-collection of upfront margin in cash segment has been postponed till 1,dec, 2020.

This means regardless of any broker you won’t get more than 5X times margin in equity cash segment and in FNO you need to have the full margin span+exposure to take any position.

However, this will get implemented in a phased manner from Dec,1,2020 till Aug. 2021, so no need to worry as of now. Incase, if this rules get postponed or any changes get made I am still showing by comparing the margin for Icici direct and zerodha.

As a matter of caution i always says every trader to remember that the margin is a double edge sword, the more you take the more riskier your trade becomes. So, it is always advisable to use the margin but in limited way.

Check out the below image to know the margin/leverage/exposure offered by zerodha and Icici direct.


Zerodha Vs ICICI Direct Margin Comparison


As you can see on the left Zerodha margin plans are quite straightforward and they do provide its clients enough margin and most importantly within limits. Just to let you know up to 4x means if you want to buy 1 lot of nifty index which is about 1L, you would require up to rs.25000 and above.

For buying option, the margin requirement is equal to option premium for both brokers. However, Icici direct margin plan is little complicated, let me try to explain you in detail.

ICICI Direct offers 2 products named as Margin and Margin Plus to its clients. These are intraday products which means you buy and sell the stock on the same day and cannot be held to the next day.

ICICI Direct Margin Product?

Margin is a product offered for intraday trading by Icici direct. The margin required is as low as 2% of the total trade value. In this product type you can converts the intraday trades to delivery trades. Which means if you trade is profitable and you want to convert it in delivery and take the shares in demat you can do so by giving the full margin.



ICICI Direct Margin Plus Product?

Margin Plus is another product offered by ICICIdirect. You can trade with margins as low as 0.25%. It gives you leverage up to 300 times. Having said that unlike margin product where you do not required to put a definite stop-loss and target for our trade, under Margin Plus it requires you to put a Stop Loss Trigger Price (SLTP) and a target price.

Similar to this for future and option there is future plus and option plus products available to get the higher margin.

In general regardless of this 2 products you can get some margin benefit in Icici direct for normal orders as well.

As I said the margin won’t be a factor anymore with recent changes, so in my opinion it does not even make sense to look it so keenly as it will be going to be equal for all brokers from December, 2020.

So overall when we compare Zerodha vs Icici Direct in terms of margin ICICI are much ahead of zerodha in most of the segments.


ICICI Direct Trading and Demat Account Charges


Zerodha Vs ICICI Direct Brokerages Comparison:

To be very honest I can’t compare and show you the brokerage for both the brokers inside one image, reason being with zerodha the brokerage structure is very easy but with ICICI they have (I really do not know why) a very complicated brokerage structure.

Therefore I have tried to explain them step by step in order to not confuse you much and in the end of this brokerage comparison I have put the verdict about whose brokerage is lesser. So, let us start with zerodha followed by ICICI Direct.

Zerodha Brokerage Charges:


Zerodha Review On Brokerages


Zerodha brokerage is what make them ahead in the game, as you can see there is no charge for taking delivery of the trades to your demat account. Whereas for intraday trades across equity, currency, commodity, it is flat Rs.20 or 0.03% (whichever is lower).

What they mean is, suppose you bought stock xyz priced at Rs.100, quantity 100 on intraday basis,

so the total turnover would be bought 100, sold 100(100*200) =  20,000 on this amount they will charge either whichever amount is lower as 0.03% of 20000, is Rs.6 so they will charge that instead of flat Rs.20.


ICICI Direct Brokerage Charges:

Update: I think ICICIdirect have listened to the people demands and have slashed the brokerage in every segment. They have come up with new brokerage plan termed as NEO, Here is the new brokerage structure as per ICICIdirect from December 07,2020:

ICICI Direct NEO Plan Brokerage Charges Review:


the new brokerage structure as per ICICIdirect from December 07,2020


Apart from above segments i.e. equity intraday, Future and options they have also reduced the brokerage in Commodity and Currency segments:

The New ICICIdirect NEO Brokerage In Currency Segment (FNO):


The New ICICIdirect Brokerage In Currency Segment (FNO


New brokerage would be @ ₹20 per order only. There would not be any brokerage on lots. New brokerage is effective from December 7, 2020.

The New ICICIdirect NEO Brokerage In Commodity Segments (FNO):


The New ICICIdirect Brokerage In Commodity Segments (FNO)


New brokerage would be @ ₹20 per order only. There would not be any brokerage on lots. New brokerage is effective from December 7, 2020.

Open your ICICI direct bank, Trading & Demat A/C Free With NEO Brokerage Plan Here

As a reference below old plans are given:

So, if we see they have 3 different brokerage plans under which they again have different charges for every segments.

These plans are:

  2. ICICIDIRECT PRE-PAID Brokerage Plan

Let us see how much they charges for every segments under each different plans:


I-Secure Plan of ICICI Direct is a percentage based brokerage plan and dependent on the trade value. If the client’s trade value is less the below mentioned amount, then minimum brokerage needs to paid.
Equity Delivery and Intraday:

The minimum brokerage for transactions up to ₹6364 on stocks quoting more than ₹ 10 is ₹ 35 per trade or 2.5% of the trade value whichever is lower. Brokerage on stocks quoting up to ₹10 would be levied at ₹0.05 per share.

Segment Value
Equity Delivery Brokerage trade value exceeding ₹6364- .55% or 55 paisa
Equity Intraday Brokerage trade value exceeding ₹6364 – .27% or 27 paisa
Brokerage in Margin and Margin Plus:

The minimum brokerage for transactions up to ₹ 50000 is ₹ 25 or 2.5% whichever is lower.

Trade Type Value
For trade value exceeding ₹50000 .05% or 5 paisa
Brokerage in Future, Future Plus and Future Plus Stop Loss:
Trade Type Value
Brokerage .05% or 5 paisa
Flat Brokerage on other leg of Intraday square off ₹ 50
Brokerage in Options & Option Plus:
Trade Type Value
Brokerage Rs 95 per lot
Flat Brokerage on other leg of Intraday square off ₹ 50 per lot
Brokerage in Options & Option Plus under Options 195 Plan:

Options 195 plan is for active intraday Options traders who trade actively & frequently and require pricing that would help to break-even early.

Brokerage Under 195 Plan for Intra-day trades Effective Brokerages per lot in Brokerage applicable as per I-Saver / I-Secure plan per Lot** in 
1545 15.45 95
** Under normal brokerage, brokerage on 2nd leg in case of Intra-day square off is 50


Brokerage in Currency Futures:
Trade Type Value
Brokerage .05% or 5 paisa
Flat Brokerage on other leg of Intraday square off ₹ 10 per lot
Brokerage in Currency Options:
Trade Type Value
Brokerage ₹ 25 per lot
Brokerage on Second leg of Intraday square off ₹ 10 pet lot

ICICI Direct  Prepaid Brokerage Plan:

ICICI Direct Lifetime Prepaid Brokerage Plan:

With Lifetime Prepaid Brokerage Plan you get discounted brokerage rates and you save on your transaction cost. Prepaid brokerage plan comes with a Life time validity of 15 years.

You can utilize the brokerage amount till it is exhausted within the span of 15 years.

You can choose from 6 different plans as per your need. With ICICI Direct Prepaid plans and now you can reap the same benefits with half the price. They have reduced their Plan amount by half ranging from ₹5,000 to ₹1,50,000.

With the revised Prepaid plans now you get a brokerage of 0.25% in cash instead of 0.55% and 0.025% brokerage in intra-day margin, which is, only ₹25 for a ₹1 Lakh trade and get 65% lower brokerage rates in Options at ₹35 per lot. All this comes with a nominal prepaid of only ₹5,000.

You also get the additional benefits such as instant payout when you sell your shares and exclusive research with Prepaid brokerage plans.

With Prepaid plans, brokerage on your future trades will be adjusted against the plan amount and you also get an option to take refund of the un-utilized amount after a year.


ICICIDirect  Prepaid Brokerage Plan


ICICIdirect Prime:

ICICIdirect Prime Membership Plan us the new addition this plan gives you.

More than 50% Brokerage reduction
Instant payout for your stocks sold (eATM)
Exclusive Research

ICICIdirect Prime Membership Plan

bulletAdditional Benefits:

Access to exclusive ‘Research content’ and ‘Website’ for all Prime cards
Complimentary ‘Bullet Plan’ i.e. Zero brokerage on intraday Stop Loss products for trades squared off within 5 minutes
Special reduced ‘Interest’ on delayed payments/MTF carry forward positions in Equity Margin Product
NCD/Bonds transactions along with penny stocks charged at a lower brokerage as that of cash


Now, I know it had been little frustrating to understand the brokerage structure for ICICI , but one thing i have personally observed as I have an account with ICICI is, they are trying reduce the brokerage charges across different packages they offer in comparison to older brokerage charges.

As I told you ICICIDirect makes changes time to time to stay in competition, So, overall if we see in terms of brokerage Zerodha is still indisputably offers lower rate than ICICI direct.  



Zerodha Vs ICICI Direct Trading and Demat Account Opening Charges:

No, it was not always the case, Icici direct used to charge for trading and demat account opening, however after facing tough competition from Zerodha as well as other discount brokerages such as 5Paisa, Fyers, upstox, they have decided to lure the customers with free 3 in 1 account, which is great by the way.


Zerodha Vs ICICI Direct Trading and Demat Account Opening Charges:

ICICI Direct offers 3-in-1 accounts which includes ICICI bank account, ICICI trading account, and ICICI demat account. The 3-in-1 trading account gives you the convenience of opening a demat, trading & bank account.

You can seamlessly trade in Shares, Futures & Options, Currencies, commodities, invest in Mutual Funds, IPOs and Life Insurance.

Overall, ICICIDirect is beating Zerodha in its own game by offering no charges to open the account. Moreover, for people who not only do intraday trade but make other investments, such as investment in US markets or ELSS, PPF, SIP’s, FD, RD, ETF’s etc., or looking for Loans or credit cards, Insurance etc.

ICICIDirect is a one place shop for them, you can get research reports related to stock market, stock recommendation, IPO/NFO reports and much more, There are so many things you can do with ICICIDirect at one place which is not at all possible with ZERODHA.


Zerodha Vs ICICI Direct Account Opening Process Online:

The account opening process is online and it’s very seamless and smooth. Here is what you need to do:

To open an account with Zerodha online, you can sign up using your mobile number through this link.

Similarly, to open an account with ICICI Direct just click on this and do the registration by entering your name, mobile no. and email.

You will receive an OTP to your number and you can get started with the process.

You will be required to enter your PAN, Bank account details and personal details to continue with the sign-up.

Once you sign up you need to upload certain documents listed below:

1. Your PAN card

2. Your Aadhaar

3. To complete the e Sign process, you will have to authenticate it with an OTP. So, make sure you have the number linked to your Aadhaar handy. If not, you will not be able to complete the process. If the number linked to your Aadhaar is inactive, or if you don’t have any number linked, then you can visit your nearest Aadhaar Seva Kendra to get it updated.

4. Cancelled cheque/Bank statement to link your bank account –
If your cheque is not personalized then the bank statement you upload should have both the IFSC and MICR code printed on it. If not then your application will be rejected. The bank statement has to be self-attested.

5. A photo or scanned copy of your signature proof will be required to be uploaded.

6. Income proof
It is mandatory to submit income proof if you wish to trade in Futures and options – Equity, Commodity, and Currency.  You can submit one of the below documents.
Income tax returns acknowledgment
6-month Bank statement
Latest salary slip
Demat holding statement, or
A CA certifying your net worth

Note: The documents mentioned are for a Resident Individual Account.


Zerodha Vs ICICI Direct Trading Platform Comparison:


Zerodha Vs ICICI Direct Trading Platform Comparison:


The most important part of any trading platform is the tools and resources it has to technical analysis. Zerodha and ICICI Direct both has all the indicators and types of chart required to make it possible.

Whether you want to use:

MACD indicator

Bollinger Bands indicator

RSI indicator

Volume Indicator

Support and Resistance indicator

Different Candlestick patterns etc. you name the indicator and it will be there, so all in all zerodha and ICICI Direct has everything what is needed for a hassle-free trading platform. You can add- withdraw funds directly, create or back-test trading strategies and lot more.



The reason I am not involving all the features of different trading platform, because unnecessary post will be long, however you can read them in detail if you want here for Zerodha trading platform for ICICI Direct trading platform.

Having said that Zerodha trading platform offers much better user interface as well as they have many other services integrated within the platform such as Sensibull, small case, Refinitiv, tickertape, sentinel, streak etc.

Whereas recently Icici have also signed up with Sensibull for option trading strategies moreover they have their own fundamental research team to guide you while making investments.

Overall, if you see Zerodha trading platform is better than ICICI Direct in comparison.

Open Best Trading/Demat/Mutual Funds Account Within Minutes Online paper-less and start trading & investing online in stocks, derivatives, commodities, currencies, mutual funds and ETFs  


Zerodha Vs ICICI Direct Other Services Comparison:

In this section you can see the comparison regarding all the various services offered by zerodha and Icici direct at one place.


Zerodha Vs ICICI Direct Other Services Comparison


Just to let you know the intraday square-off timing at zerodha is 3:20, where as with ICICI Direct it’s 3:25. Other than this ICICI direct recently announce launch of their Global Investment Platform.

Now you can invest in your favorite brands listed in US markets and create an intelligent portfolio. Access to global markets helps diversify your portfolio and reduce overall risk. Below are some of the features:


icici direct option selling margin


Get additional benefits with ICICI Direct now:


icicidirect offers


Whereas Zerodha is yet to launch their global investment platform in market. So overall if you see, Zerodha on one hand covers all the services a discount broker should have, on the other hand ICICI Direct being a full time broker offers all different financial services. 


No.1 broker in india


My Opinion On Zerodha Vs ICICI Direct:

I hope you have now thoroughly understood most of the services offered by Zerodha and ICICI Direct, if you ask me in Zerodha vs ICICI Direct who is better?

Zerodha in itself is the universe, whether you are a beginner or experience trader and investor, zerodha has all resources set at one place for you. Having said that Zerodha as of now is only limited to stock market and does not offer any other financials services.

Expressing my opinion in terms of all technological tools, advanced platforms, robust management I would rate Zerodha 8.9 out of 10.

So, if you are more of a trader making intraday trades on daily basis and not looking for other segments such as Fixed deposits (FD), Recurring deposits (RD), PMS services, Loans like personal loan, home loan, insurance etc. than you should go with Zerodha without any doubt.

To open an account with Zerodha right away click on this link.

Whereas if we talk about ICICI Direct it is more suitable for trading, investment as well as banking purpose. However with the new brokerage structure that ICICIdirect have launched on December 7, 2020 and slashed the brokerages to somewhat similar to zerodha, now you can do intraday trading without worrying about higher brokerage charges like previously.

If I have to rate the ICICI Direct in comparison with Zerodha, I will give 9 out of 10.

Moreover there are no charges for opening an account as of now with ICICI Direct so nothing to lose. So don’t wait, go ahead and open an account now with ICICI Direct.

So, all in all It really depends on what exactly are you looking to do, ICICIDirect is like a supermarket where you will find everything related to financials services, where as Zerodha as of now is only dedicated towards intraday trading and investing in stock market.

If you are a beginner in trading and investing, please read this amazing guide on How stock market works in India?

Learn the basics of option trading step by step here.

You can check my review on 5Paisa , Upstox Review here

You can also check my comparison for Zerodha vs 5paisa here

If, you have liked the content please do share it with your friends or on social media, as sharing do bring the good karma. If you have any questions or feedback you can leave them in comment box below.

Note: Please do your own research and make investment. Moneycontain will not be responsible for any of your losses at all. The point made is for educational purpose only and intended to give information. All investments are subject to risks, which should be considered prior to making any investments.

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