How to find the best online share trading platform

Compare brokerage fees, trading tools and features to find the right online share trading platform for you.

Thanks to the rise of online share trading platforms in the past couple of decades, it’s now easier than ever for Australians to buy shares online. Use our guide to compare online share trading platforms and find out how to choose the one that's right for your investment needs.

Share Trading Account Offer

IG Share Trading Offer

$0

monthly fee

$8

standard trade

Share Trading Account Offer

Special offer: Earn up to 10,00 Qantas Points on a new IG Share Trading account.
Competitive broker fees on Australian and international shares

  • Monthly fee: $0.00
  • Brokerage fee - standard trade: $8.00
  • International: Yes
  • Support - After hours: Yes
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Compare share trading platforms

Updated August 21st, 2019
Name Product Monthly fee Standard Brokerage Fee Margin trading - Online
$0
$8.00 or 0.1%
Yes
Special offer: Earn up to 10,000 Qantas Points when you start trading on a new IG Share Trading account. T&C applies.
Enjoy some of the lowest brokerage fees on the market when trading Australian shares, international shares, forex and CFDs, plus get access to 24 hour customer support.
$0
$6.99 or 0.1%
Yes
Access over 19,000 Australian and global shares.
$0
$15 for first 10 trades
Yes
Enjoy tiered brokerage fees, Bell Potter research and eligible market-to-limit orders placed onto the ASX in under a second. For a limited time, get a custom deal based on your trading preferences when you switch to Bell Direct.
$0
$11 for first 10 trades
Yes
Trade shares, warrants, options, ETFs, managed funds, bonds and IPOs with CMC Markets today.
$0
$9.50
No
Trade ASX-listed shares for a flat fee of $9.50, regardless of the trade size. New customers receive free access to Community Insights with SelfWealth Premium for the first 90 days. Follow other investors and benchmark your portfolio performance.

Compare up to 4 providers

How to compare share trading platforms

Consider the following features when comparing online share trading platforms.

  • The fees. Almost every online trading platform will charge you a brokerage fee when you buy or sell shares, with many fees around the $15 to $30 mark. However, fees may be calculated as a percentage of the transaction amount for larger trades. Some providers will also charge an ongoing annual or monthly fee on top of this, especially with the more feature-dense platforms.
  • What can you trade? Some trading platforms will give you access not only to Australian shares but also international shares, allowing you to trade large well-known companies from around the world. Some platforms will also allow you to trade CFDs, forex, indices, currencies and much more, so look for this functionality if it's important to you.
  • Ease of use. Share market trading can be complicated and often requires you to respond quickly to market changes. With this in mind, look for a platform that allows you to make fast and precise trades with minimum fuss.
  • Access to market data and research. Does the platform offer dynamic, real-time or delayed market updates? Some platforms offer research and broker analysis on individual stocks that can come in handy.
  • Trade options. Consider the options available when you are buying or selling shares. Can you place orders at market and/or at limit, and are stop loss orders an option to add more flexibility to your trading?
  • Reporting. Check what reporting tools each platform offers to help you track how your trades are performing, record dividends and pass on any relevant information to the ATO at tax time.
  • Margin loans. If you're looking to borrow money to build your portfolio, check to see whether the platform provider offers margin loans.
  • Customer support. Look for phone, email and live online chat support. Do they offer customer service 24/7 if you're having trouble placing a trade?
  • Education. Some platforms also feature a range of educational tools and resources, such as how-to guides and webinars, to help you get more out of your trading account.
  • Security. How secure is the platform and what measures are in place to ensure the safety of your funds?

Popular share trading platforms in Australia

Platform Platform features
IG Share TradingPlatform supports local and international trading
CMC MarketsPlatform supports local and international trading
Saxo Capital MarketsAccess over 19,000 Australian and global shares
CommSec Share Trading AccountCheap brokerage with no inactivity fee on Australian shares. Can be linked to CommBank accounts.
SelfWealth Share TradingPlatform with flat low-cost brokerage fee and zero ongoing costs.

Find the right share trading platform for your trading style

How can you choose a share trading platform that's right for you? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What type of trader am I? Are you a casual trader, an active trader or an expert investor? This will heavily influence the features you're looking for in an online broker and their trading platform. From the ease of use of the system through to the market research information available, it's critical that the trading platform complements your trading needs.
  • How often will I trade? If you buy or sell shares once or twice a month (or even less), you’re most likely a casual investor. The more you trade each month, the more likely you are to need a share trading platform that offers an extensive range of features and expert analysis.
  • How will I place trades? Will you be placing all your traded online, via a mobile app or over the phone? Check the fees charged for the different ways to place trades.
  • What will I be trading? While shares are the most commonly traded security, you can also trade a wide range of other securities through online brokers. Also consider whether you want access to international shares as well as Australian stocks.
  • How much does it cost? As well as ongoing fees, consider the brokerage fees that apply to your transactions and whether they may be waived or reduced if you satisfy certain criteria, such as placing a specified number of trades each month.

What fees will I pay for a share trading platform?

There are two fees that commonly apply when you use online share trading platforms:

  • Brokerage fees. Brokerage fees are the charges that apply to each buy and sell transaction, and they usually vary depending on the size of your buy or sell order.
  • Ongoing fees. These apply monthly or annually, but not all providers will charge ongoing fees. This may depend on how frequently you trade, for example inactivity fees are often charged if you don't place any trades within a certain period of time.

Brokerage fees vary greatly between providers but typically start at around the $10 to $20 range. For large transactions, fees of around 0.1% and up usually apply. If you’re planning on making lots of trades, you’ll want to keep an eye out for a platform that offers low per-trade fees.

Some providers will not charge any monthly fees at all. However, more advanced trading platforms and those that offer premium services will often charge a monthly fee that could be as high as around $80 per month. A number of brokers will waive this fee if you perform more than a certain number of trades each month.

Finally, remember that many brokers offer different membership levels – for example gold, silver and platinum – which offer different features and therefore attract varying fees .

What companies offer share trading platforms?

The table below contains details of the fees charged by a selection of share trading platforms and accounts in Australia. Keep in mind that some of these platforms are geared towards casual investors while others are designed for experienced investors.

PlatformBrokerage feeKey platform features
CMC Markets Stockbroking - Classic Account
  • First 10 trades: $11 or 0.10%
  • 11th to 30th trade: $9.90 or 0.08%
  • 31st trade onwards: $9.90 or 0.075%
  • Inactivity fee: $15 per month
Current market data Research tools Stock filtering
nabtrade Silver
  • Trades up to $5,000: $14.95
  • Trades $5,000.01 - $20,000: $19.95
  • Trades of more than $20,000: 0.11%
  • Inactivity fee: No fee with 1+ trade per year
Local and international trading Advanced order types
nabtrade Platinum
  • Trades up to $5,000: $14.95
  • Trades $5,000.01 - $20,000: $19.95
  • Trades of more than $20,000: 0.11%
  • Monthly fee: $19.95 per month
Advanced charting tools Live market data
Westpac Online Investing - Integrated Account
  • $19.95 or 0.11%
  • Inactivity fee: $63.50 per year on the global markets account
Live market data Watch list functionality
Bell Direct - Silver
  • First 10 trades per month: $15 (amounts up to $9,999), $25 (amounts ranging from $10,000 - $24,999) or 0.1% (amounts exceeding $25,000)
  • 11th to 30th trades per month: $13 or 0.08% (whichever is greater) 31st trade onwards per month: $10 or 0.08% (whichever is greater)
  • Inactivity fee: No
Bell Potter broker research Easy tax reporting tools
CommSec Share Trading Account
  • Up to and including $1,000: $10 Over $1,000 up to $10,000 (inclusive): $19.95
  • Over $10,000 up to $25,000 (inclusive): $29.95
  • Over $25,000: 0.12%*When you trade online and settle your trade to a linked CommBank cash account or CommSec Margin Loan
  • Inactivity fee: No fee on Australian shares platform
Linked CBA cash management account Broker recommendations
HSBC - Silver
  • Up to $20,000: $19.95
  • $20,000 plus: 0.11%
  • Inactivity fee: No
Daily market reports Advanced charting tools
Macquarie Online Trading - Silver$19.95 or 0.12% (whichever is greater)Market depth reports Stock watch functionality
ANZ Share Investing
  • 1st trade per calendar month: Up to $5,000: $19.95, $5,001 - $10,000: $24.95, $10,001 - $28,000: $29.95, over $28,000: 0.11% of the trade value
  • 2nd and subsequent trades each month: $19.95 or 0.11% (whichever is greater)
  • Inactivity fee: 0.50% p.a. (minimum $10)
Dynamic market data and charts Receive trading alerts
St.George directshares - directshares Trading Account
  • 1st trade per calendar month: Up to $5,000: $19.95, $5,001 - $10,000: $24.95, $10,001 - $28,000: $29.95, Over $28,000: 0.11% of the trade value
  • 2nd and subsequent trades each month: $19.95 or 0.11% (whichever is greater)
  • Inactivity fee: 0.50% p.a. (minimum $10) on international shares
Market data and education resources Easy tax management tools
Suncorp - Share Trade
  • $0 - $10,000: $21.95
  • $10,000 - $25,000: $29.95
  • Over $25,000: 0.12%
Mobile platform available Advanced order types
IG Share Trading
  • $8 or 0.1% (whichever is greater)
  • Inactivity fee: $50 per quarter
Several platforms available Broker analysis and research tools
SelfWealth
  • Flat brokerage fee of $9.50 Inactivity fee: No
Trade shares listed on the ASX

Benefits of using share trading platforms

  • Control your investments. Online brokers give you the ability to take charge of your finances and invest your money in a range of local and global financial instruments.
  • Convenient. You can trade shares and boost your investment balance all from the comfort of your own home. Trading shares online can require much less legwork than for example, investing in property.
  • Affordable. The online share trading sector is becoming increasingly competitive, which is great news for consumers because it means better features and lower fees. The cost of buying and selling shares online has dropped markedly over the past couple of decades.
  • Information at your fingertips. Many share trading platforms give you access to a wealth of market news and company information to help you make informed trading decisions.

Risks of using share trading platforms

  • Lack of knowledge. The fact that you get to take full control of your investments can be a double-edged sword. While it allows you to take charge of your finances, it also means that you must rely on your own know-how to buy and sell shares. If you don’t know what you’re doing you can lose a significant amount of money.
  • Temptation to take risks. When you’re able to buy and sell shares in just a few quick clicks, it can be easy to forget that you’re dealing with real money and not just playing a game. Remember, these are serious financial decisions you are making and all trading carries a degree of risk.
  • Error. A simple typo and a failure to proof-read any buy or sell orders before you place them could cost you a lot of money. Review your orders closely before you submit them.

How do I apply for a share trading platform?

Once you’ve found the right online share trading platform, it’s quick and easy to apply for an account. If the platform is run by your bank and you already have an internet banking account, there’s often very little you have to do except deposit funds into your share trading account and start placing orders.

If you’re signing up for an account with a new provider, however, you’ll generally need to provide the following details:

  • Your name, address and contact details
  • Your tax file number
  • Your driver’s licence number
  • Your linked bank account details

Once you’ve deposited funds into your account – a minimum deposit amount may apply – you're ready to start trading.

Ready to start trading shares?

Once you've found a share trading platform and you're ready to start investing, it's actually quite easy to get started buying and selling shares. Read our guide on how to buy shares online here for a step-by-step guide to buying shares.

Share trading glossary

  • ASX: This is the abbreviation for the Australian Securities Exchange
  • All Ordinaries: This is an index of the performance of the share prices of around 500 of Australia’s biggest companies. Also referred to as the All Ords
  • Bear market: This term refers to when prices on the market are falling and further falls are expected to occur.
  • Blue chip stock: A blue chip stock is a large company with a steady history of turning a profit
  • Brokerage fee: This is the fee you must pay to a share trading platform when you use the platform to buy or sell shares
  • Bull market: This term applies when share market prices are rising and expected to continue to rise
  • CHESS (Clearing house electronic sub register system): This ASX system settles share trades and acts as the central registry for the electronic transfer of share ownership
  • Contract note: This confirms a buy or sell transaction and includes details such as the type of share, the price paid and the quantity traded
  • Dividend: Companies can distribute their profits or earnings to shareholders in the form of dividends. A dividend is calculated as a number of cents for each share you own
  • Float: The initial raising of capital through public subscription to a security
  • Fundamental analysis: This involves analysing the financial statements of a business to determine its overall financial standing.
  • Futures: Futures are contracts to buy or sell an asset at a specified future date
  • Limit order: A limit order specifies the maximum (when buying) or minimum (when selling) price you are willing to accept for a share transaction
  • Listed company: Listed companies have shares that are purchased and sold through the ASX
  • Live price: This is the price of a share at a precise moment in time
  • Market order: A market order is an order to buy or sell a share at its current market price
  • Short selling: This is when you borrow a security and subsequently sell it, with the obligation to buy it back in future at a much lower price
  • Volatility: This reflects the amount of fluctuation in share prices
  • Warrant: This gives its holder the right to purchase a security at within a certain timeframe and at a specific price
  • Yield: This is your return on an investment and is expressed as a percentage

Frequently asked questions about share trading platforms

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15 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    jackJanuary 29, 2019

    Which trading platform has the best tax reporting for the ato?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnJanuary 30, 2019Staff

      Hi Jack,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      Though we do not have information on the best tax reporting for these companies to the ATO, you may want to contact the ATO directly to check on the statistics for this. They should have available historical data on these companies available for you. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  2. Default Gravatar
    KarenFebruary 9, 2018

    I’d like to buy shares online myself, I’ll be a casual investing in semi longterm shares, looking for a $20 to $50 share minimum purchase. I’m hoping that’s possible, I’m mid 50’s an hoping to add a little extra for retirement, any advice would be muchly appreciated, cheers

  3. Default Gravatar
    AllanMay 24, 2017

    I’m looking for a discount broker for trading Australian shares that provides data reports, particularly for end of f/y
    Cheers, Allan

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMay 25, 2017Staff

      Hi Allan,

      Thanks for your question.

      You may want to check this page to find out which share trading platform has the lowest brokerage fee. Most of them provide daily and yearly data reports.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  4. Default Gravatar
    DrMay 9, 2017

    I have shares in the UK, but with an Australian address it is hard (impossible) to find a UK agent to help with their sale. What is the best Australian option for a single trade (sell)?

    • Default Gravatar
      ianOctober 9, 2017

      My suggestion is that you do an off market transfer with a third party who is willing to buy the shares from you and arrange private cash settlement.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldMay 11, 2017Staff

      Hi Rich,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Unfortunately, we cannot recommend what is best for you. Our company finder.com.au is a financial comparison website and general information service designed to help consumers to make a better decision. Please note we do not represent any company we feature on our pages.

      On this page you can check the available options for you.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  5. Default Gravatar
    BenJanuary 20, 2017

    I noticed that amscot Stockbroking is not on the comparison list.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayJanuary 26, 2017Staff

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks for your question.

      Although we cover a wide range of products, providers and services, we don’t cover every product, provider or service available in the market so there may be other options available to you. However, you can find more information about the amscot Stockbroking on this page.

      Cheers,
      May

  6. Default Gravatar
    LeeAugust 23, 2016

    I am delighted to read this analysis. Hope to see the competition on going and interesting in future. I recently was going through some trading applications and found Forex Signals to be really successful and dependable. It helped me increase my profits in comparison to previous one.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ClarizzaAugust 24, 2016Staff

      Hi Lee,

      Thanks very much for your feedback and for your suggestion. We’re always adding to our content so keep eye out for new content from us.

      Cheers,
      Clarizza

  7. Default Gravatar
    RichardMay 30, 2016

    Hi there I think I will have to take my iPad to fountain gate plaza to have it looked at the 500pluse app is getting rejected by my I as a last resort I will get my iPad Looked at in the Apple Store at fountain gate if nothing else can be done by me!

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ShirleyMay 31, 2016Staff

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you are having issues logging into your Plus 500 account, please contact Plus 500 directly.

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