Together with technological advancements and the development of the internet, the financial world has certainly progressed as well. While classic investment vehicles and ideas will always be valid, no matter how good or bad the economy is actually going, the popularity and availability of information have brought more and more choices to the average investor. Of course, not all of these are good choices – some bring little revenue, other have tax issues, while a small percentage are straight up scams. In this complex world, how can a person know which online investment program is reliable and will fulfill its objectives?

Thankfully, there are a few things any investor can look out for when choosing an online investment program. They range from general information about the company that offers the program and their trading style and go all the way to the opinions and feedbacks of other customers. Although we will present more tips and tricks, we can boil them all down to two clear statements:

1) do as much research you can about the program and

2) if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. In practice, here are a few things you should look out for:

-The background of the company and the investment program. Is the company a reputable bank, investment fund/mutual fund/other financial institution, or an up-and-coming startup? Or are we just talking about a select few people asking you for money, which they will then trade in your name? Most financial institutions have the same investment programs both online and offline and have to pass some very strict regulations in order to sell them to the broad public. If the company is also present offline and is strictly regulated, the investment program is probably legit.

-The risk/reward ratio regarding interest. Think about it this way: after the financial crisis of 2007, the S&P 500 had an average yearly growth rate of 7-8%. This number can be taken as an industry benchmark – if an investment program promises you a 30% annual return, they are either a complete scam or try hazardous trades. Usually, these high risk/high reward programs end up in disaster for their customers, who lose all their money before getting the chance to win any interest. – Market feedback and pedigree. If the investment program has been around for tens of years, you know it’s a safe bet. Online information about most top-notch programs can be found very easily, and you can even get in contact with investors who have used an individual program for a good couple of years.

If you’re having trouble gauging the market’s opinion regarding a certain investment program, it’s best to stay clear of it – there’s usually a reason why people are not jumping into investing in it. To sum up, a reliable online investment program is one which is managed by a trustworthy company or group of individuals, with average-to-good but steady annual returns, and with good customer feedback and plenty of ways to reach them. Online programs shouldn’t differ very much from offline ones – the only added benefit they give is flexibility. At the end of the day, an investment program should bring its customers safe, steady profits, regardless of the fact if it’s online or offline.