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How to find the best online share trading platform

Research and compare share trading platforms to find the right one for you.

Thanks to the rise of online share trading platforms in the past couple of decades, it’s now easier than ever before for Australians to buy shares online. Some popular share trading platforms include:

  • CommSec Share Trading
  • Saxo Capital Markets Share Trading
  • CMC Markets Share Trading
  • IG Share Trading
  • Macquarie Online Trading

You can compare online share trading accounts in this guide, plus learn how to choose one that's right for your investment needs.

Share Trading Account Offer

IG Share Trading

$0.00

monthly fee

$8.00

standard trade

Share Trading Account Offer

Competitive broker fees on Australian and international shares

  • Monthly fee: $0.00
  • Brokerage fee - standard trade: $8.00
  • International: Yes
  • Support - After hours: Yes
  • Type of broker: Online only
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Promoted
Rates last updated June 22nd, 2018
Name Product Monthly Fee Standard Brokerage Fee Margin trading - Online IPOs / Floats International Description
IG Share Trading
$0
$8
Yes
Yes
Yes
Low brokerage fees on Australian and international shares. Earn 25 Qantas Points when you trade Australian shares, 50 Qantas Points when you trade international shares (T&C's apply).
SelfWealth Share Trading
$0
$9.50
No
No
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.
Saxo Capital Markets Share Trading
$0
$6.99
Yes
No
Yes
Access over 19,000 Australian and global shares.
CMC Markets Stockbroking Account
$0
$11
Yes
Yes
No
Trade shares, warrants, options, EFTs, managed funds, bonds and IPOs with CMC Markets today.
HalifaxOnline
$0
$14.95
Yes
Yes
Yes
Trade US and Australian shares, options, futures and CFDs with no registration fees. Trade 24/7 on your desktop, tablet or smartphone.
Macquarie Online Trading Account
$0
$19.95
Yes
Yes
Yes
Trade Australian shares, ETFs, warrants and mFunds.

Compare up to 4 providers

Updated June 22nd, 2018
Name Product Annual fee on balances less than $5000 Annual fee on $5001 - $9999 balances Annual fee on $50,001 - $99,999 balances Annual fee on $100,001 - $199,999 balances Minimum Deposit Investments Used Number of Portfolios
$60
$60
0.60%
0.55%
$2,500
ETFs
5
Invest in Australian and global shares, cash, fixed income/bonds, property and emerging markets.
$0
0.05%
0.05%
0.05%
$1
Equities
1
Invest in Australian shares, global shares and cash markets.
$0
0.10%
0.10%
0.10%
$1
Equities
1
Invest in Australian shares, global shares and cash markets.
N/A
N/A
0.50%
0.50%
$10,000
ETFs
5
Invest in Australian and global shares, property, infrastructure, emerging markets, bonds and cash.
$15
0.275%
0.275%
0.275%
$5
ETFs
6
Invest in Australian and international stocks, fixed income/bonds and cash.

Compare up to 4 providers

Get started trading shares

The goal of share trading is to generate wealth in one of the following ways:

  • Take advantage of capital gains when the price of the shares you own rises over time
  • Receive an income from dividends a company pays to you (to give shareholders a portion of its profits
  • A combination of the above

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; you can start by purchasing as little as $500 worth of shares. However, ensuring that you make successful trades is where it can get more difficult.

It’s also worth pointing out that, just like any other investment, shares carry a degree of risk. There is the chance that you could lose the money you invest, so be sure you know what you're getting into before you start trading.

ALSO READ: 7 Steps to Buying Shares

How to find a share trading platform

Before you can start buying and selling shares, you'll need to find an online share trading platform. However, with a wide variety of options available, choosing the right share trading account can be a tricky task.

Some people opt for the share trading platform offered by their bank. For example, Commonwealth Bank customers can open a CommSec account to access the stock market, while Westpac customers can trade shares with Westpac Online Investing.

However, just because your bank has a share trading platform doesn’t mean it’s the best platform for you, as others may offer lower fees and a wide range of features that better suit your requirements. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to hunt around for other platforms to see what’s available.

How to compare share trading platforms

Consider the following features when comparing the features of competing online share brokers:

    • Fees. Every online trading platform will charge you a fee for every buy or sell transaction, with many fees around the $20 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.
    • Your needs. If you’re just a casual investor, do you really need a share trading platform that offers a whole lot of complicated bells and whistles? Similarly, some platforms targeted at entry-level traders may not have all the features an experienced investor needs.
    • Access to market data. Your trading decisions will be partly based on what is happening in the market at any given time, so the information your platform provides about changes in share prices is very important. Does it deliver dynamic, real-time or delayed market updates?
    • Research. Successful traders are usually well-informed traders, so you may be able to benefit from the research and expert analysis offered by an online trading platform. Daily market reports, buy and sell recommendations and company financial reports can all provide useful information.
    • Trade methods. Can trades only be placed online or can you also buy and sell over the phone? How accessible is the broker’s trading platform?
    • 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 your trades, record dividends and pass on any relevant information to the ATO at tax time.
    • Margin loans. A margin loan lets you borrow money to invest and uses your shares as security. If you're looking to borrow money to build your portfolio, check to see whether the platform provider offers margin loans.
    • Customer support. What support will be provided when you need help placing a trade? Look for online help centres as well as phone, email and live online chat support. Do they offer customer service 24/7?
    • Education. Does the platform 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 processes does the provider implement to deal with fraud?
    • Premium service. If you require high-level service, does the platform provide a dedicated service manager to oversee your account and trades?

By taking all the above factors into account, you'll be able to narrow your choices down to the share trading platforms that suit your needs.

Find the right share trading platform for you

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.
  • 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.

Did you know?

We provide a breakdown on how to compare the best online share trading platforms that you can use to buy shares in a company. However, make sure you analyse your trading needs before deciding on a trading platform. This article discusses the key features provided by different trading companies, including brokerage and monthly fees and the trading platform type.

Brokerage and monthly fees mentioned are correct at the time of publication and users are requested to read all scheme-related documents carefully before enrolment.

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.

Brokerage fees vary greatly between providers but typically start at around the $15 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 feeMonthly fee
CMC Markets Stockbroking - Classic AccountFirst 10 trades: $11 or 0.10%
11th to 30th trade: $9.90 or 0.08%
31st trade onwards: $9.90 or 0.075%
$0
nabtrade SilverTrades up to $5,000: $14.95
Trades $5,000.01 - $20,000: $19.95
Trades of more than $20,000: 0.11%
$0
nabtrade PlatinumTrades up to $5,000: $14.95
Trades $5,000.01 - $20,000: $19.95
Trades of more than $20,000: 0.11%
$19.95
Westpac Online Investing - Integrated Account$19.95 or 0.11%$0
Bell Direct - SilverFirst 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)
$0
CommSec Share Trading AccountUp 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%
$0
HSBC - SilverUp to $20,000: $19.95
$20,000 plus: 0.11%
$0
Macquarie Online Trading - Silver$19.95 or 0.12% (whichever is greater)$0
ANZ Share Investing1st 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 value2nd and subsequent trades each month:
$19.95 or 0.11% (whichever is greater)
$0
St.George directshares - directshares Trading Account1st 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 value2nd and subsequent trades each month:
$19.95 or 0.11% (whichever is greater)
$0
Suncorp - Share Trade$0 - $10,000: $21.95
$10,000 - $25,000: $29.95
Over $25,000: 0.12%
$0
IG Share Trading$8 or 0.1% (whichever is greater)$0

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.

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

The most important questions about share trading you were too afraid to ask

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13 Responses

  1. 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

  2. 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

    • finder Customer Care
      LouMay 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

  3. 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.

    • finder 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

  4. Default Gravatar
    BenJanuary 20, 2017

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

    • finder 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

  5. 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.

    • finder 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

  6. 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!

    • finder 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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