As you know, there is a marketplace for everything that we want to trade: a vegetable market where you can buy fruits and veggies, a gold showroom that sells ornaments, coins, and other items made of the yellow metal, and so on. Likewise, there is a regulated marketplace called a ‘stock exchange’ (example: BSE and NSE) where you can trade listed-financial instruments such as:

  • Stocks
  • Commodities
  • Bonds
  • Derivatives
  • Currencies
  • Futures & Options

The main objective of a stock exchange is to ensure that the companies and clearing members abide by the rules and regulations of the exchange and also that trading happens in a legitimate manner.

Over-the-counter (OTC) market

Financial instruments that are not listed and do not meet the requirements of a stock exchange are traded on an over-the-counter (OTC) market. Compared to a stock exchange, an OTC is less formal and regulated. Stocks traded here belong to smaller and riskier entities.


Coming back to stock exchanges, India has 23 in all, out of which BSE and NSE are the major ones. Since both are stock exchanges that facilitate stock trading, many investors wonder what is the difference between NSE and BSE. Let’s look at BSE vs NSE to understand it.

What is BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange)?

Established in 1875, BSE is the oldest stock exchange in India. It is the first exchange to enjoy permanent recognition under the Securities Contract (Regulation) Act, 1956. Its benchmark index S&P BSE SENSEX was introduced in 1986 and it represents the weighted average of the top 30 listed companies traded on BSE. These stocks belong to several sectors including Auto, Banking and Finance, FMCG, and Healthcare. BSE offers trading and related services such as clearing, settlement, and depository (via CDSL), education, in an efficient, transparent, and secure manner.

Here are some interesting facts about BSE:

  • BSE was the first stock exchange of Asia
  • BSE’s capacity was 8 million transactions per day when BSE on-line trading was introduced in 1995
  • BSE has a speed of 6 microseconds, which makes it the fastest exchange in the world
  • BSE is the 12th biggest exchange in the world
  • BSE’s market capitalization as of July 2017 was over $2tn

What is NSE (National Stock Exchange)?

Known as the National Stock Exchange, NSE was established in 1992. Two years later, in 1996, NSE launched its benchmark index called Nifty 50, which was an identifying base for top 50 stocks listed on the exchange. Like BSE, NSE also offers various trading and related services such as market data, indices, clearing and settlement, depository (via NSDL – National Securities Depository Limited), and education.

Here are some interesting facts about NSE:

  • NSE introduced an electronic exchange system in the country
  • NSE is India’s largest stock exchange based on the total and average daily turnover for equities
  • As of March 2017, NSE’s market capitalization was over $1.41tn

Difference between BSE and NSE

Point of differenceBSENSE
Year of commencing operations18751994
Vision Emerge as the premier Indian Stock Exchange with best-in-class global practice in technology, products innovation and customer serviceContinue to be a leader, establish global presence, facilitate the financial well being of people
Benchmark indexS&P BSE SENSEXNifty 50
No. of companies considered in the index3050
Instruments tradedEquity, mutual funds, debt instruments, currencies, derivativesEquity, debt, equity and currency derivatives
Introduction of electronic system19951992
Number of listed entities5,089~2,000 
Transaction charges0.003%0.00325%

Often, investors have this question: ‘NSE or BSE which is better to trade stocks?’. Well, the answer is that both the stock exchanges are recognized by SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) and are efficient platforms to trade in the listed financial instruments.

Aradhana Gotur

Content Writer at Tickertape
Lives in both, own and parallel universes and loves nature, music, and words (that turn into actions)
Aradhana Gotur

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  23. Under “What is the National Stock Exchange (NSE)?” You mentioned NSE is established in 1994. Do you mean NSE started operations 1994 !? It’s confusing from that statement and from table of differences

    • Aradhana Gotur Reply

      Hey there. Actually, NSE was incorporated in 1992 and it began operating in 1994. Thanks for pointing it out. We have changed the row heading in the table as ‘Year of commencing operations’. Hope it is clear now 🙂 Again, sorry for the confusion

  24. Aradhana Gotur Reply

    Hello Subhash! Thanks for bringing it to our notice. We have updated the table with the difference in the transaction charges.

  25. You have missed a important point, there is difference in Exchange Trade Transaction Chages also between NSE and BSE you can check although it is very minor difference in terms of rs. but even 0.001 is counted in Markets
    Update your difference table with Transaction charges difference

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