What is Demat Account: Meaning, Types & Benefits

Understanding Demat Account: Your Key to Hassle-free Investment

We all know about savings accounts with banks. It allows easy access to our funds while offering security from theft and mishandling. A Demat account does the same for investors. Nowadays, the Demat account is a prerequisite for stock investment.

Demat Account is an account that is used to hold shares and securities in electronic format. The full form of Demat account is a dematerialised account. The purpose of opening a Demat account is to hold shares that have been bought or dematerialised (converted from physical to electronic shares), thus making share trading easy for the users during online trading.

In India, depositories such as NSDL and CDSL provide Free Demat account services. Intermediaries, depository participants or stockbrokers. Each intermediary may have Demat account charges that vary as per volume held in the account, type of subscription, and terms and conditions between a depository and a stockbroker.

What is a Demat Account?

In the world of investing, the Demat account serves as your personal safety deposit box. It’s like a digital wallet where you stash your shares, bonds, ETFs, and other securities, safeguarded from the tumultuous winds of paperwork and manual errors. Demat, a term derived from ‘dematerialized account’, allows you to hold and manage all your securities electronically, rather than handling physical certificates. It’s a move from the cluttered world of paper to the streamlined, digitized world of ease and convenience.

The Evolution of Demat Account

Let’s embark on a time travel to the mid-90s, an era when the Indian stock market was grappling with inefficiencies of the physical share certificates. Frauds, lengthy transfer processes, and paperworks were in the spotlight until the Demat account strode onto the stage as the superhero of the stock market, revolutionizing the way investments were handled.

The advent of Demat accounts, governed by the two depositories – National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) and Central Depository Services Limited (CDSL), marked a significant turning point, ushering in transparency, security, and most importantly, simplicity into the investment process.

Dematerialization Process

The process of dematerialization is detailed and crucial for investors to understand. The following section contains the process of dematerialization:

1.  Investor surrenders all the physical certificates owned by him to the DP for dematerialization
2.  The DP updates the depository about the request of conversion of shares into electronic form
3.  The DP submits the certificates to the registrar of the Issuer Company
4.  Registrar confirms the request for dematerialization after consulting with the depository
5.  The registrar of the Issuer Company dematerializes the securities and certificates post-confirmation
6.  The registrar updates the account and informs the depository about the completion of the dematerialization process
7.  The Depository updates the investor’s account, and the DP is duly informed of the act
8.  The DP updates the Demat account of the investor

Demat Account vs. Trading Account: What’s the Difference?

These two accounts are as complementary to each other as Batman and Robin, working together in the world of stock trading. A Demat account, as we have discussed, is like a bank locker holding your securities. On the other hand, a trading account is your tool to buy or sell securities in the stock market. It’s like your passport to the marketplace.

The beauty of this system? When you buy a share, your trading account orchestrates the purchase, and your Demat account receives and holds the purchased share. In contrast, when you sell a share, your Demat account releases the share, and your trading account manages the sale.

Why Do You Need a Demat Account?

Think of a Demat account as a treasure chest of benefits, vital to both seasoned investors and greenhorns venturing into the investment landscape.

Safe and Secure Transaction

Gone are the days of worrying about misplacing your share certificates or becoming a victim of forgery or theft. Your Demat account ensures that your securities are securely tucked away in electronic format, safe from physical damage or loss. It’s your virtual vault with an extraordinary level of security.

Easy Accessibility

Imagine having access to your investments anytime, anywhere. In our increasingly digital world, your Demat account is just a click away. Whether you’re sipping coffee in your home or sunbathing at a beach, all you need is an internet connection, and you can access, monitor, and manage your investments right at your fingertips.

Simplified Tracking

Tracking a vast portfolio of different investments can be akin to herding cats. With a Demat account, your entire portfolio is condensed into a single account, making tracking and managing your investments as easy as pie.

Now that you have a broad understanding of the concept and the undeniable necessity of a Demat account let’s dive into its diverse types in the upcoming section.

Types of Demat Account

There are three types of Demat Accounts:

  • Regular Account – A Regular Demat account is a standard Demat account that Indian investors (who reside in India) use. SEBI recently introduced a similar Demat account known as Basic Services Demat Account (BSDA). The only difference between a Regular Demat account and BSDA is the maintenance charge. The maintenance charge of BSDA is zero if the amount is between ₹ 0/- to ₹ 50,000/- and a minimal amount of INR 100/- is charged if the amount is between ₹ 50,000 to ₹ 2,00,000. Every broker has to follow similar maintenance charges for BSDA. 
  • Repatriable Account – Non-Resident Indians use this account, and it plays an active role in transferring funds abroad. The Repatriable account needs to be linked with the NRE bank account. However, repatriation depends upon the laws of the host country and the foreign country, and the transference of funds is possible if laws allow it and if the governments are not impeding the transfer process. 
  • Non-Repatriable Account – This is a variant of Repatriable Account, and Non-Resident Indians also use it. However, funds cannot be transferred abroad through this account, and it needs an associated NRO bank account to function effectively.

How Does A Demat Account Work?

  • Trading with a Demat account is comparable to trading in person, except that a Demat account is electronic. You start trading by entering an order into your online trading account. Both trading and Demat accounts must be linked for this reason. When an order is placed and it is processed by the exchange.
  • Before final processing of the order, the Demat account information, the market price of shares, and the availability of shares are checked. Following the conclusion of the procedure, the shares are shown in your statement of holdings.
  • When a shareholder intends to sell shares, a delivery instruction letter detailing the stock must be given. The account is then debited for the shares, and the cash value is credited to the trading account.
  • There are three types of Demat accounts that you can open, and if you are an Indian resident, you will be primarily dealing with equity trading and investment. So, you can find these three accounts.

Exploring the Benefits of a Demat Account

Reduced Paperwork

Waving goodbye to the physical share certificates, Demat account ushers in an era of digital convenience, eliminating the need for paperwork. No more shuffling through documents or fretting over losing your certificates, you can now have all your investments neatly tucked away in your digital vault.

Lower Risks

Paper securities come with several risks like damage, theft, forgery, or loss. Demat accounts significantly mitigate these risks, providing a safe haven for your investments. It’s like having a state-of-the-art security system for your precious assets.

Quick and Convenient

Time is money, especially in the world of finance. Demat accounts ensure quick transactions, enabling you to buy or sell your securities with just a few clicks. No more waiting for weeks for your share certificates to arrive. The convenience it brings is simply unparalleled.

Wide Range of Securities

Demat accounts are not just limited to shares. You can hold a variety of securities like bonds, ETFs, mutual funds, and more, giving you a spectrum of investment avenues to choose from.

Documents Required for Opening a Demat Account

  • PAN card
  • Aadhar card
  • Address Proof
  • Passport size photos
  • ID proof

Making the Most of Your Demat Account

Choosing the Right Depository Participant

Just as you would carefully choose a financial advisor, it’s crucial to choose the right Depository Participant (DP). Consider factors like reputation, service quality, and fees before making your choice.

Understanding the Charges

While Demat accounts offer a plethora of advantages, they come with certain charges such as account opening fees, annual maintenance fees, and transaction fees. Having a clear understanding of these charges will help you manage your account more efficiently.

Checking Your Demat Account Regularly

Regular monitoring of your Demat account is as essential as regularly servicing your car. It keeps you up-to-date with your investment performance, enabling you to make timely decisions.

Demat Jargons

  • Demat: Demat stands for dematerialisation. It is a process of storing securities in a digital format. SEBI has made the Demat account mandatory for stocks investors.
  • Depository participant: A depository participant is an agent of the depository, offering Demat account opening services. They are registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
  • Depository: A depository holds and offers a Demat account. In fact, all securities owned by investors in digital format are stored with the depositories. There are two primary depositories – NSDL and CDSL. All depository participants (DP) are listed with a depository.
  • NSDL: NSDL stands for National Securities Depository Limited. It was formed in 1996 when the Demat account was introduced to the Indian stock market. As of November 30, 2021, NSDL had 2,45,96,176 active investors accounts.
  • CDSL: The Central Depository Services Ltd is the other depository besides NSDL. It has 592 enlisted partners and 5,26,37,291 active accounts.


A Demat account is your personal genie in the world of investments. From storing your securities to enabling smooth transactions, it is your reliable companion in your financial journey. With the right understanding and effective management, a Demat account can be the catalyst propelling you towards your financial goals. So why wait? Dive into the world of investing with your Demat account today.

Frequently Asked Questions about Demat Accounts

How can I open a Demat Account?

Opening a Demat account is a straightforward process. Choose a Depository Participant, fill in the account opening form, submit the necessary documents, and voila, your Demat account is ready.

Can I have more than one Demat Account?

Yes, there are no restrictions on the number of Demat accounts one can open. However, maintaining multiple accounts comes with increased management and fees.

What are the charges involved in maintaining a Demat Account?

Charges for a Demat account may vary across Depository Participants and can include account opening fees, annual maintenance fees, and transaction fees.

Is it safe to hold securities in a Demat Account?

Yes, it is safe. Demat accounts provide a highly secure environment for your investments, greatly reducing risks associated with physical securities.