CommSec review: CommSec share trading account

Commsec Share Trading
Commsec Share Trading

Start buying and selling Australian shares with CommSec’s trusted share trading account.

CommSec is the fully owned, online trading arm of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. As one of Australia’s big four banks with over 20 years of share trading experience, it's a highly trusted brand for both casual and experienced investors alike.

With a CommSec share trading account, clients can buy shares online quickly, easily and most importantly, affordably. Whether via their browser or mobile app, our CommSec review shows clients have access to real time quotes, news and state of the art charting to help give them the competitive advantage required to succeed in the share market.

Product Name Commsec Share Trading
Type of Broker Online only
ASX Products Shares
Company issued options
Instalment warrants
Endowment warrants
IPOs/floats
Available Markets ASX
NASDAQ
NYSE
AMEX
Standard brokerage fee for ASX shares
Support Phone
Email
Live chat

Quick verdict

Good for
  • Trusted brand
  • News and research
  • Data and monitoring tools
Not so great for
  • WebIRESS charting isn't free
  • Lack of live-chat support

Share trading accounts similar to CommSec

Updated December 16th, 2018
Name Product Monthly fee Standard brokerage fee for ASX shares Margin trading - Online IPOs / Floats International shares
$0
$8 or 0.1%
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Yes
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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).
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$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.
$0
$6.99 or 0.1%
Yes
No
Yes
Access over 19,000 Australian and global shares.
$0
$15 for trades up to $10,000
Yes
Yes
No
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.

Compare up to 4 providers

Who is CommSec?

CommSec is one of the most trusted names in the Australian share trading industry. After launching in 1995 and initially only offering the ability to trade Australian shares, CommSec has now expanded into the full featured trading institution that we see today. Clients can invest in not only Australian shares, but also international shares, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), margin lending, contracts for difference (CFDs) and even fully administer their own self-managed super fund (SMSF).

While you don't need to be a current banking customer of the Commonwealth Bank to open a CommSec share trading account, they do integrate single logins if you are. This allows current clients to easily view all of their accounts together and gives them the ability to flick between their Netbank and CommSec accounts without logging out. If you've experienced the confusing mess that flicking between multiple accounts and logins can serve up, you'll know how handy this type of full online banking integration can be.

What are the key features of a CommSec share trading account?

A CommSec share trading account offers many features that are appealing to both novice and advanced investors alike – the biggest being their data feed and research sections on all listed securities being second to none and offered free to all clients.

While brokerage fees aren't the lowest, starting at $19.95 for Australian shares, you most definitely get what you pay for when it comes to CommSec. The added security that a trusted name like CommSec provides, when combined with the ability to pay for trades through a Commonwealth Direct Investment Account (CDIA), make the costs look fair.

Single Commonwealth Bank login

Current clients of the Commonwealth Bank can use a single login to seamlessly switch between both CommSec and Netbank, keeping all your finances easily accessible in the one place. If you choose to go down this path, a Commonwealth Direct Investment Account (CDIA) can be set up. A CDIA can act as a low brokerage fee settlement account while also being used as an everyday transaction account, viewable right next to your current bank balances within NetBank. It also gives you the option of a debit Mastercard attached to the account.

Earn interest on your cash between investments and remove the need to move money from one account to another when it comes time to buy shares. You can also use the Commonwealth Bank's ATM network and NetBank online banking. Interest on these accounts is calculated daily and paid monthly, with no account keeping fees.

Real time prices, news and research

All CommSec share trading accounts provide clients with free real-time market prices and data. With a CommSec share trading account, you're able to stay up to date with the latest news and releases as they happen. Whether it's news from a specific company or a market-wide, macro release, you can access reports, videos and analysis from CommSec analysts directly within the platform.

Trade international shares and ETFs

CommSec allows you to invest in not only local share markets, but also key overseas markets. Within the one account, clients have the ability to buy shares in US companies such as Apple or Google.

As well as having the ability to buy international shares outright, you also have access to exchange traded funds (ETFs) for cost-effective exposure to markets and asset classes that you may not otherwise have access to.

Browser and app account access

CommSec share trading account holders can log in and place trades through a number of portals. Trades can be placed online via a web browser, through the CommSec mobile app for iPhone and Android, or simply by calling up and placing an order over the phone. Having multiple ways to access your account is not only a plus for convenience, but also for security. Even without Internet access, you have the peace of mind that comes with having phone access to the CommSec office.

What markets can I trade with a CommSec share trading account?

With a CommSec account, you have access to more markets than just simply Australian shares.

  • Australian shares. Buy shares in Australian companies that are listed on the ASX.
  • International shares. Buy shares in international companies that are listed on over 25 of the biggest global stock exchanges. Exchanges include the NYSE, NASDAQ, LSE and the TYO.
  • Contracts for difference (CFDs). Gain access to CFDs, allowing you to either trade short term market swings or to hedge your overall share holdings.
  • Options trading. Trade options that allow you to buy more shares in a company at a specific price level. CommSec also gives trading access to some exchange traded options.
  • Exchange traded funds (ETFs). Buy and sell managed funds that can be traded on the ASX. CommSec gives access to a number of Australian and international ETFs.

What account types are available with a CommSec share trading account?

Whether you choose a CommSec CDIA, your own account or a margin loan, the following comparison table has been sourced from CommSec's getting started section and is a handy overview of what you can expect when it comes to trade settlement:

CommSec share trading account types

What types of customer support are available from CommSec?

A broker the size of CommSec is naturally expected to have a high level of customer support access. On the back of the Commonwealth Bank's renewed focus on customer service, CommSec certainly delivers on this expectation. Whether you have queries, problems or want to execute an order, you have a number of choices when it comes to getting in contact with CommSec.

  • Frequently asked questions (FAQ). The CommSec FAQ page is highly in-depth and allows you to search its database with a question that may have already been answered.
  • Phone support. CommSec has two English speaking numbers, one for clients within Australia and another for clients overseas. It also has a Cantonese/Mandarin number for use within Australia.
  • Email support. The support email address allows clients to articulate their problems via text in a longer format and questions are usually answered within one business day.
  • Questionnaire form. Unfortunately this form doesn't lead to a live chat session. The questionnaire form on its support page feels a little bit redundant, especially because attaching any supporting screenshots or documentation will open up an email window anyway.
  • Twitter support. CommSec has now opened a dedicated @CommSecSupport Twitter handle and goes some way to supplementing the broker's lack of live chat feature.

Overall, CommSec customers can expect a high level of customer support. The Commonwealth Bank is known for its customer service focus and this flows through to its share trading arm.

The only disappointing feature when it comes to CommSec's customer service is the fact that it doesn't have a live chat option. The live form on its website isn't actually live at all and is nothing but an email that still takes time to be received and answered later in the day – frustrating for clients who have quick questions that could be easily answered on the spot by a live chat representative.

What are the fees I can expect from a CommSec share trading account?

A CommSec share trading account has some basic fees and brokerage charges that you need to be aware of.

  • Brokerage fees. CommSec's brokerage fees vary depending on how you place your trades and the cash settlement method that you choose.
    • Trades placed through a CDIA cash settlement account. If you're a CHESS sponsored customer and settle through either your CDIA account or a CommSec margin loan account, for trades up to $10,000, you'll incur a $19.95 brokerage fee. This fee rises to $29.95 for trades between $10,000 and $25,000 and to 0.12% for trades over $25,000.
    • Trades placed through a non-CDIA cash settlement account. If you choose to settle your trades through a different cash settlement account then trades up to $10,000 will incur a $29.95 brokerage fee. This fee rises to 0.31% (for trades over $10,000 and $59.95 for trades over $10,000 that are placed over the phone).
  • Ongoing account fees. You pay nothing when you first open a CommSec share trading account and there are no monthly account keeping or inactivity fees.

You can see that in terms of brokerage fees, it's highly beneficial for clients to settle through a Commonwealth Bank account and use the CommSec online platform rather than placing them over the phone.

How do I pay for shares on a CommSec share trading account?

You have a few options when it comes to paying for your share trades through CommSec. Keep in mind that when it comes to share trading, 'T+2' is shorthand for the trade date plus two days. It indicates when share trades must be settled.

  • Automatic Direct Debit. On T+2, CommSec will automatically direct debit from your nominated debit bank account. This is the most simple and common way to pay for your share trades.
  • BPAY. The alternative to automatic direct debit for Australians is through BPAY. Your unique, personal BPAY details can be found within your CommSec share trading account profile page and can be used as an alternative.

What are the pros and cons of using a CommSec share trading account?

Pros

    • Trusted share trading name. Not only is CommSec a trusted institution in the Australian share trading space, its intuitive user interface makes buying and selling shares a seamless process.
    • News and research. Having access to CommSec's team of trusted analysts is a huge positive for traders looking to gain an edge in their share trading decision making.
    • Data and monitoring tools. CommSec's data and monitoring tools including company profiles, releases and market alerts are second to none.

Cons

  • Access to WebIRESS isn't free. Unfortunately the popular piece of charting software isn't included in a basic CommSec account. However, it can be added for a monthly fee or by completing a minimum number of trades.
  • Lack of live-chat support. Sometimes you just want a quick answer to a short question. The fact you can only call or email your questions is inconvenient.

How do I open a CommSec share trading account?

When you're ready to open a CommSec share trading account, simply click the open account button on the CommSec website, then begin the following four-step process:

  1. Residency check
  2. Offer details
  3. Offer document
  4. Register interest

In order to complete the account opening process, have the following documentation handy:

  • You must first be 18 years or older
  • Name
  • Address and contact details
  • Valid email address
  • Mobile phone number
  • Tax file number

CommSec share trading account frequently asked questions

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17 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    jeremyMarch 15, 2018

    Is it possible to set up and purchase shares in an ITF (in trust for) my young 15 year old daughter with commsec?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaMarch 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Jeremy,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      One of the requirements to use the CommSec platform is for the user to be 18 years old and above. CommSec’s website mentioned this:

      “CommSec cannot trade on behalf of a minor. You can however open an account in the name of an adult who will act as trustee until the minor turns 18. Once the minor has turned 18, the shares can be transferred into an account in their name.”

      Just in case you want to explore other share trading platforms, you may want to check out this page.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  2. Default Gravatar
    ArielFebruary 14, 2018

    Is there a minimum amount I need in my cash account for trading or investing ?

    • Default Gravatar
      JoelMarch 1, 2018

      Hi Ariel,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      No, you’re not required to have a minimum savings/money in your cash account so you can trade/invest. But of course, if you are linking your bank account to the CommSec Share Trading Account, during the payment process, you should make sure to have enough funds in your bank account to pay for the shares.

      Aside from paying through a linked bank account, you can also pay for your shares via BPAY or visiting a CBA branch.

      Cheers,
      Joel

    • Default Gravatar
      JoelMarch 1, 2018

      Hi Ariel,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      No, you’re not required to have a minimum savings/money in your cash account so you can trade/invest. But of course, if you are linking your bank account to the CommSec Share Trading Account, during the payment process, you should make sure to have enough funds in your bank account to pay for the shares.

      Aside from paying through a linked bank account, you can also pay for your shares via BPAY or visiting a CBA branch.

      If you need anything else, please send us a message anytime.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  3. Default Gravatar
    BobJuly 6, 2017

    If I buy US shares from Company X thru Commsec will Commsec own the shares on my behalf or will I be the actual owner? i.e. on the company share register for this share purchase who will be listed as the owner? many thanx.

    • Default Gravatar
      DanielleJuly 10, 2017

      Hi Bob,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      When you buy a share through CommSec, you become a part owner of that company. You will receive similar benefits to owning any business, such as a share of profits distributed through dividends, and usually the right to vote at company meetings. For more details you may contact CommSec directly or refer to their website.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

  4. Default Gravatar
    kellyMay 1, 2017

    Hi, I’m going to New Zealand for a month and would like to trade ASX through Commsec while I’m over there. Is this allowed or do I need to open an international Account to be able to trade ASX through Commsec?

    • Default Gravatar
      ArnoldMay 3, 2017

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for your inquiry.
      Yes, it is allowed. You can trade through the CommsecMobile app. It manages and monitors your investments, trade and stay on top of the market on the go with the free CommSec Mobile App, available through the iPhone App Store or Google Play.

      You can use your existing account in trading, no need to create a new one. Please visit this page – https://www.finder.com.au/share-trading/commsec-online-share-trading – for more information about this feature.

      Hope this information helped.

      Cheers,
      Arnold

  5. Default Gravatar
    ParashosOctober 5, 2016

    I like to have excess on my account commsec

    • finder Customer Care
      ClarizzaOctober 6, 2016Staff

      Hi Parashos,

      Thanks for your comment. I have emailed you direct.

      Thanks,
      Clarizza

  6. Default Gravatar
    KEVINJuly 19, 2016

    WHAT INTEREST RATE DO YOU PAY ON FUNDS HELD IN
    CDIA. IS IT CALCULATED ON A DAILY BASIS?

    • finder Customer Care
      ClarizzaJuly 20, 2016Staff

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for your question.

      Just to confirm we are a comparison site finder.com.au – we provide general advice only. If you would like to know the current interest rate paid on funds held in a CDIA please contact CommSec Share trading.

      Regards,
      Clarizza

  7. Default Gravatar
    KolJune 6, 2016

    Can I go to commonwealth bank branch and deposit cash into CDIA? I don’t have a key card for this account.
    My CDIA needs more funds for the transaction I made today and I’m not sure online transfer will make it to the settlement date.

    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyJune 7, 2016Staff

      Hi Kol,

      Thanks for your question.

      Yes you should be able to deposit cash into your CDIA directly at a branch.

  8. Default Gravatar
    ChiApril 6, 2016

    Hi there,

    Currently, I live in Australia and I’m trading shares, so when I leave Australia, can I retain my account and then continue trading?

    Best regards.

    Chi

    • finder Customer Care
      ShirleyApril 7, 2016Staff

      Hi Chi,

      Thanks for your question.

      Yes as long as you have sufficient funds in your Commsec account you can continue trading.

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