How Much is Real-Time Stock Data? Why Isn't It Free?

By Intrinio
August 1, 2023

Real-time stock data is an incredibly valuable data feed for making informed investment decisions, and it’s critical for almost all investors. At Intrinio, we often talk to customers who are curious about why they have to pay for access to real-time stock data. In this blog post, we will explore the pricing of real-time stock data, the factors that affect its cost, and the reasons why it isn't ever available for free. Additionally, we will provide insights on how to choose the best real-time stock data provider.

How Much is Real-Time Stock Data?

The cost of real-time stock data can vary depending on several factors, including the data provider, the type of data required, the frequency of updates, and the level of market coverage. Generally, real-time stock data is priced based on a subscription model, where users pay a recurring fee to access the data. Pricing can range from a few dollars per month for basic data feeds to thousands of dollars per month for comprehensive data packages with advanced features.

Real-time stock data comes from stock exchanges (at the source) and nearly every single stock exchange requires the payment of “Exchange Fees” to access the data - regardless of whether you are buying it from the exchange or from a data provider like Intrinio. These exchange fees can be very expensive, and are often also bundled with “display” fees and “per user” fees. So, don’t be surprised if there’s a 4-part invoice for your real time stock data! 

At Intrinio, we wish it wasn’t so complicated, and we’re constantly making an effort to simplify and streamline the process of buying real time stock data. Intrinio offers flexible pricing plans tailored to the needs of different users, allowing them to access real-time stock data at competitive rates.

Factors that Affect Real-Time Stock Data Pricing

Several factors contribute to the pricing of real-time stock data. Here are some key considerations:

Data Source and Quality: Real-time stock data providers incur costs to source data from exchanges and ensure its accuracy, reliability, and timeliness. Data providers that have direct connections to exchanges may have higher costs but offer more reliable data.

Market Coverage: The breadth of market coverage significantly influences the cost of real-time stock data. Access to global markets and a wide range of securities requires extensive data infrastructure, resulting in higher pricing.

Data Frequency and Updates: The frequency at which the data is updated, such as tick-by-tick updates or periodic snapshots, affects the pricing. Higher frequency data feeds involve more data processing and delivery resources, which can increase the cost.

Exchange Fees: As referenced above, exchanges charge a fee to every single person that accesses a real-time stock price data point (they are different for professional and non-professional users), and may also charge fees if you want to display the data publicly in any way.

Advanced Features and Analytics: Real-time stock data providers that offer advanced features, analytics tools, and integration capabilities may charge higher fees. These additional features can enhance the user experience and provide value-added insights.

Why Isn't Real-Time Stock Data Free?

Real-time stock data is not freely available due to several reasons:

Data Acquisition Costs: Real-time stock data providers invest significant resources in acquiring and processing data from exchanges and other sources. These costs include connectivity fees, data infrastructure, and compliance with data licensing agreements.

Data Distribution and Delivery: Distributing real-time stock data to end-users involves complex data processing, storage, and delivery mechanisms. Data providers bear the expenses associated with maintaining robust data infrastructure and delivering data securely and reliably.

Exchange Data Licensing: Exchanges charge fees for the redistribution of their real-time data. These fees help support the exchange's operations, ensure data integrity, and protect against unauthorized use of the data.

Value-Added Services: Real-time stock data providers often offer value-added services, such as advanced analytics, historical data, and customizable data feeds. These services require additional investment in technology, research, and development, which is reflected in the pricing structure.

How to Choose the Best Real-Time Stock Data Provider

When selecting a real-time stock data provider, consider the following factors to ensure you choose the best option for your needs:

Data Quality and Reliability: Choose a provider known for accurate, reliable, and timely data. Look for direct data sources and providers with a reputation for data integrity and robust infrastructure. Intrinio is one of the most reputable, reliable providers in the market, serving fortune 500 customers and fintech innovators.

Market Coverage: Evaluate the provider's market coverage to ensure it includes the exchanges, securities, and asset classes relevant to your investment strategy. Comprehensive market coverage allows for a holistic view of the market. Intrinio offers one of the most robust real time stock data product sets and has maintained deep, direct relationships with all major stock exchanges.

Pricing and Value: Compare pricing plans and evaluate the value proposition of each provider. Consider the level of market coverage, data quality, additional features, and customer support to determine the best value for your investment. Intrinio offers some of the most affordable real time stock data options on the market, and we make sure our plans scale with you to keep things accessible as you grow.

Customization and Integration: Assess whether the provider offers customization options and integration capabilities to tailor the data feeds to your specific requirements. This flexibility can enhance your data analysis and decision-making processes.

Customer Support and Documentation: Look for a provider that offers responsive customer support and comprehensive documentation. Prompt assistance and access to resources can significantly improve your user experience and help address any data-related issues efficiently.

Real-time stock data is a valuable resource that comes at a cost. Factors such as data acquisition, distribution, market coverage, and value-added services contribute to the pricing structure. While real-time stock data isn't free, it provides crucial insights and helps investors make informed decisions. When selecting a real-time stock data provider, consider factors such as data quality, market coverage, pricing, customization options, and customer support to choose the best option for your needs. Intrinio offers reliable real-time stock data solutions, ensuring you have access to accurate and timely market information to support your investment strategies. 

If you’d like to give them a shot, you can chat our team during business hours or request a consultation at any time so you can speak with one of our data experts. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, and we’re excited to get you on a free trial!

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