The best online share trading platforms of 2020

We compared the fees, trading tools and features to find 10 of the best online brokers in Australia.

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Best share trading platforms in Australia (July 2020)

  1. Best overall broker: Saxo Capital Markets
  2. Best for cheap broker fees: IG
  3. Best for beginners: Stake
  4. Best for active traders: Interactive Brokers
  5. Best for long-term investing: Bell Direct
  6. Best for international shares: Interactive Brokers
  7. Best for ASX shares: Bell Direct
  8. Best for US stocks: eToro
  9. Best for penny stocks: Interactive Brokers
  10. Best overall trading features: CMC Markets

Are you looking for the best online brokers in Australia? With so many options to choose from, it's not easy picking the right platform for your investment style.

So, to make it easier on you, we've compared some of Australia's top share trading platforms by looking at fees, features and available products.

How did we pick this list?

We use a proprietary algorithm that calculates the ranking of our share trading platforms based on fees, features, available markets and user experience. For more information about how we calculated our categories, head to our share trading ranking page.

Because trading apps often focus on a key market, it can save money to have more than one platform. For example, you could have one app to trade US stocks, one for ASX shares and another for forex markets.

Our guide ranks share trading apps based on different trader categories. To get the best results, we compared 39 different features, including fees, support, trading options and range of markets.

To find out more about how we rated these products, including how we measured different brokerage fee structures, read our full methodology. If you want to start by comparing brokers, you can use our comparison table below.

Compare online brokers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Standard brokerage fee Standard brokerage for US shares Inactivity fee Currency conversion fee Markets
IG Share Trading
AUD 8 or
0.1%
USD 0
AUD 50 per quarter if you make fewer than three trades in that period
0.70%
ASX shares
Global shares
Forex
CFDs
Margin trading
Active trader brokerage discount: or if you've placed trades or more in the prior month.
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.
eToro Share Trading (US stocks)
N/A
USD 0
USD 10 per month if there’s been no login for 12 months
0.50%
Forex
CFDs
US shares
Zero brokerage share trading on US stocks with trades as low as $50.
Note: This broker offers CFDs which are volatile investment products and most clients lose money trading CFDs with this provider.
Join the world’s biggest social trading network when you trade stocks, commodities and forex from the one account.
CMC Markets Stockbroking
AUD 11 or
0.1%
USD 19.95
AUD 15 per month if you make no trades in that period
0.60%
ASX shares
Global shares
Forex
CFDs
Margin trading
Options trading
mFunds
Access a broad range of investment products from Australia and overseas.
Invest in managed funds, trade shares, warrants, options and CFDs listed across the ASX, SSX and Chi-X, and other major global exchanges, including US, Canada and UK markets.
ANZ Share Investing
AUD 19.95
AUD 59
No
0.60%
ASX shares
Global shares
Margin trading
Options trading
Earn 1 Qantas Point per AU$3 spent on brokerage fees on certain instruments.
Access Morningstar reports, company announcements and and live pricing via ANZ’s share investing platform. Available for desktop and mobile.
Westpac Online Investing Account
AUD 19.95 or
0.11%
USD 19.95
AUD 63.50 per year on the global markets account
0.60%
ASX shares
Global shares
Options trading
US shares
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Compare up to 4 providers

Important: Share trading can be financially risky and the value of your investment can go down as well as up.

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Standard brokerage fee Standard brokerage for US shares Inactivity fee Currency conversion fee Markets
IG Share Trading
AUD 8 or
0.1%
USD 0
AUD 50 per quarter if you make fewer than three trades in that period
0.70%
ASX shares
Global shares
Forex
CFDs
Margin trading
Active trader brokerage discount: or if you've placed trades or more in the prior month.
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.
eToro Share Trading (US stocks)
N/A
USD 0
USD 10 per month if there’s been no login for 12 months
0.50%
Forex
CFDs
US shares
Zero brokerage share trading on US stocks with trades as low as $50.
Note: This broker offers CFDs which are volatile investment products and most clients lose money trading CFDs with this provider.
Join the world’s biggest social trading network when you trade stocks, commodities and forex from the one account.
CMC Markets Stockbroking
AUD 11 or
0.1%
USD 19.95
AUD 15 per month if you make no trades in that period
0.60%
ASX shares
Global shares
Forex
CFDs
Margin trading
Options trading
mFunds
Access a broad range of investment products from Australia and overseas.
Invest in managed funds, trade shares, warrants, options and CFDs listed across the ASX, SSX and Chi-X, and other major global exchanges, including US, Canada and UK markets.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers


1. IG Share Trading

Best for cheap broker fees

Good for

  • $0 brokerage fees for global shares
  • Lowest ASX broker fees for active traders
  • Wide range of markets available including stocks, forex and CFDs

Not so good for

  • Not the most suitable for beginners
  • $50 per quarter inactivity fee if you make 3 trades or less in that time

IG set a new standard for low fees in 2020 when it released $0 commission trading on global stocks and $5 brokerage on Australian shares. This update means IG now offers the lowest broker fees at almost all levels of trading, but this is especially the case for high-frequency trading. For 30 trades of ASX shares a year, you pay just $150 in broker fees – most brokers we reviewed charge double this amount or more.

Brokerage fee: From $5 for ASX shares and $0 for US shares

Other top low-cost brokers: Saxo Capital Markets, SelfWealth and OpenTrader

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More info


2. CMC Markets

Best trading features

Good for

  • Trade shares, forex, CFDs and options
  • Global share trading
  • Access managed funds (mFunds)
  • Trade on the ASX, Chi-X and SSX

Not so good for

  • $15 inactivity fee per month if you make no trades
  • Harder than some other platforms for beginners

CMC Markets offers a great range of trading options and features, including CHESS-sponsored Australian shares, global share trading, forex and CFDs. CMC also offers products that aren't easily accessible, such as OTC stocks, CHi-X and SSX-listed stocks and mFunds. The broker's trading features include advanced charting tools, news, stock watchlists and conditional orders.

Brokerage fee: From $11 for ASX shares

Other top brokers: IG, Saxo Capital Markets and Interactive Brokers

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More info


3. Bell Direct

Best for long-term investors

Good for

  • No inactivity fee
  • No subscription fee
  • Easy to pick up for beginners
  • Access ASX CHESS-sponsored shares

Not so good for

  • Brokerage fees not the lowest
  • No global share trading

Bell Direct is easy to pick up for beginners and offers a range of features to keep experienced traders satisfied. Although it has middle-of-the-road brokerage fees, it’s a top pick for long-term investors because it has no inactivity fee or subscription fee. This is key for investors that prefer to buy or sell shares just a few times a year or less without being penalised. It also offers managed funds (mFunds), a range of broker orders and stock analysis.

Brokerage fee: From $15

Other top brokers: SelfWealth, Stake and Saxo Capital Markets

More info


4. eToro

Best for US stocks

Good for

  • Zero broker fees for US stocks
  • Fractional shares
  • Copy trading feature
  • Easy for beginners

Not so good for

  • $10 per month fee if you don’t log in for 12 months
  • Only US shares available

eToro is well known for its social features that allow users to learn from each other and to imitate the trades made by successful traders. The platform launched US share trading in Australia in June 2020 alongside its CFD, forex and cryptocurrency trading features. It’s a top choice for US stocks thanks to having zero brokerage fees, a low currency conversion rate and a range of trading features such as news updates and charting tools.

Brokerage fee: $0 for US stocks

Other top US stock brokers: IG, Stake, PhillipCapital

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More info


5. Stake

Best for beginners

Good for

  • $0 brokerage on all US stocks
  • No monthly or inactivity fee for the basic account
  • Easy-to-use platform
  • Offers fractional investing

Not so good for

  • You can't buy ASX shares, you can only buy US stocks
  • High currency conversion fee
  • Limited features

Stake is a great choice for total beginners thanks to its easy-to-use platform, low fees and low minimal investing. With Stake, you can only trade US stocks, but it's a nice starter for new traders because you pay $0 commissions and you can invest as little as $10 at a time through fractional investing. If you're a beginner and keen to invest in Australian shares, SelfWealth received the highest score for an ASX beginner platform.

Brokerage fee: $0 for US shares

Other top brokers for beginners: eToro (US shares), SelfWealth (ASX shares), CommSec Pocket (ETFs)

More info


6. Interactive Brokers

Best for active traders

Good for

  • Cheap broker fees
  • Long list of global markets
  • Advanced trading features
  • OTC stock trading available

Not so good for

  • Designed for advanced traders
  • $10 minimum monthly spend

Interactive Brokers has an extensive range of trading tools for active traders, such as advanced charting, fractional shares and a long list of conditional order options. Its brokerage fees are among the lowest on the market for Australian and global share trading, especially for high-frequency traders, and users can also trade OTC stocks, forex, CFDs and commodities.

Brokerage fee: From $5 for ASX shares and $0.0035 per US share

Other top active brokers: IG Share Trading, Saxo Capital Markets and eToro

More info


7. Bell Direct

Best for ASX shares

Good for

  • No inactivity fee
  • Offers managed funds (mFunds)
  • Access Australian IPOs
  • Buy CHESS-sponsored shares

Not so good for

  • Brokerage fees not the lowest
  • No global share trading

Bell Direct offers Australian CHESS-sponsored shares, margin trading, options trading, IPOs and managed funds (mFunds). Its brokerage fees aren't the lowest on the market, but it doesn't have any monthly fees and there are no minimum monthly trade requirements. Bell Direct is simple enough for new investors while offering an extensive range of trading features, including charting tools, watchlists, stock analysis and news alerts.

Brokerage fee: From $15

Other top ASX brokers: CommSec, Westpac Share Trading and Saxo Capital Markets

More info


8. Interactive Brokers

Best for international share trading

Good for

  • Stocks from 33 countries
  • Low brokerage fees for global stocks
  • Low currency conversion fee
  • Fractional investing

Not so good for

  • Minimum $20 per month spend
  • Not designed for beginners

Interactive Brokers is ranked number 1 for international share trading thanks to its range of global markets, cheap global brokerage fees and low currency conversion fee. It also offers a number of markets not typically available on Australian apps, including access to global bond markets and OTC small-cap stocks out of the US.

Brokerage fee: From US$0.0035 per US share and GBP£1.00 for UK stocks

Other top international brokers: IG, Saxo Capital Markets and Westpac

More info


9. Interactive Brokers

Best for penny stocks

Good for

  • Stocks from 33 countries
  • OTC stock trading
  • Fractional investing
  • Long list of conditional orders

Not so good for

  • Minimum $20 per month spend
  • No CHESS-sponsored shares

Interactive Brokers is one of the few online brokers to offer over the counter (OTC) stock trading here in Australia. IB also features advanced trading tools, global share trading and an extensive list of conditional order types. This sets Interactive as one of the best brokers for both active traders and penny stock traders.

Brokerage fee: From $5 for ASX shares and $0.0035 per US share

Features: ASX shares, global markets, forex, CFDs, OTC stocks, margin trading, conditional orders, charting tools, watchlists and 24-hour customer service

More info


10. Saxo Capital Markets

Best overall trading platform

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Good for

  • Stocks from 37 countries
  • Offers stocks, forex and CFDs
  • Low broker fees

Not so good for

  • Not the most suitable for beginners
  • CHESS-sponsored shares more expensive

With an extensive range of trading tools and options, Saxo is a one-stop shop for trading. The online broker offers some of the cheapest broker fees on the market for Australian and global shares as well as access to forex, CFD and commodities markets. The main downside is that it’s not the most suitable platform for beginners.

Brokerage fee: From $6.99 per trade for Australian shares

Other top overall brokers: CMC Markets, Interactive Brokers and PhillipCapital

More info

How to pick the best online broker

With dozens of share trading platforms in Australia, it's not easy to work out which one is best suited to you.

When it comes to features, fees and markets, there's a lot to choose from. For example, some brokers offer Australian (ASX) stocks exclusively while others offer only US stocks or a range of other products such as commodities and forex trading.

Fees also vary hugely, with some trading platforms offering lower broker fees the more frequently you trade or the more you spend. Meanwhile, other brokers have just the opposite and are better suited to someone that makes fewer or smaller trades!

However, fees aren't always the most important consideration when it comes to trading platforms. Some brokers offer very low fees but are better suited to advanced traders. So if you're looking to make a few simple investments a year – into ETFs for example – broker fees are probably less important than the platform's functionality.

What’s your trading style?

There are many different kinds of share traders – once you know which category you fall into, you’ll be able to more easily pick the best share trading app for you. For example, there are casual traders, active traders and long-term investors.

This will influence the features you're looking for in an online broker. From the ease of use of the system through to the market research information available, it's important that the platform complements your trading needs.

Ask yourself the following questions to determine your trading style:

How often will I trade? If you buy or sell shares once or twice a month (or even less), you’re a casual investor. You may want to avoid brokers that have an inactivity fee or charge higher broker fees for less frequent trades.

If you intend to buy and sell shares multiple times in a day, you’re an active trader. You’d want to look for platforms that offer low brokerage for high-frequency trading and an extensive range of trading features, such as charting tools and order options.

Am I a trader or an investor? Traders try to make money from share price movements by buying and selling stocks frequently – often several times in a day or week.

Investors use the "buy and hold" strategy by targeting quality companies they think will rise over a long time-frame and possibly offer dividends. They may only buy and sell a few times in a year. Investors may find the inactivity fee more important than a stock analysis feature.

For traders, a low brokerage fee and advanced features are key. They might find the stock analysis feature more important than an inactivity fee.

How will I place trades? Will you be placing all your trades online, via a mobile app or over the phone? Make sure the app offers your preferred choice and check the fees.

What will I be trading? Do you want to trade Australian shares, US shares or other international markets? Some online brokers also offer other markets such as forex, CFDs and cryptocurrencies. Depending on what your priorities are, you may wish to get a broker that offers all of the above or several different brokers– one for each market.

How much money am I trading? Do you intend to invest one lump sum of $5,000 into the stock market or would you prefer to make several small trades of a few hundred dollars? Brokerage fees sometimes differ depending on the amount you’re buying and selling per month, per year or by trade.

How to compare online brokers

There are plenty of things you'll need to consider when looking at different platforms. Of course, it all comes down to how you're intending to use it.

Here are some of the key features to look at when comparing online share trading platforms:

  • The broker fees. Almost every online trading platform will charge you a brokerage fee (also called a commission fee) when you buy or sell shares, ranging from around $10 to $30 per trade. These fees may be calculated as a percentage of the transaction amount for larger trades and may also be lower depending on how frequently you trade.
  • Monthly fees. Some providers charge ongoing subscription or inactivity fees where you’re charged if you make too few trades. This will especially be the case where a platform offers an extensive range of features for advanced traders.
  • What can you trade? Some trading platforms will not only give you access to Australian shares but also international shares. Others 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. 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're buying or selling shares. Can you place orders at market and/or at limit and are other order types such as 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?

What fees will I pay to trade shares?

There are three main fees that commonly apply when you use online share trading platforms – brokerage fees, monthly fees and foreign exchange fees if you trade global shares.

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.

  • Brokerage fees. Brokerage fees (also called commission fees) are the charges that apply to each buy and sell transaction of stocks and ETFs, and they usually vary depending on the size of your buy or sell order or how often you trade.
  • 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.
  • Withdrawal fees. Some brokers charge a fee to withdraw money from your account.
  • Foreign exchange fees. If you want to buy US or other global shares, you'll need to pay an exchange fee when you deposit money into your account to convert your Australian dollars to the applicable currency.

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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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