With energy prices rising, switch to a cheaper plan
Compare Prices Now

International share trading: nabtrade vs CommSec

Is CommSec or nabtrade the better choice for global share trading?

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

When it comes to Australian online share trading, both nabtrade and CommSec are market leading brokers. We know how difficult it can be to find Australian brokers who offer affordable and convenient ways to trade international shares, so we've published this guide to help you find the account that works best for you.

Keep reading and you'll discover that we've compared the account features of both nabtrade and CommSec. If you want more specific details on either account, you can always click through to the our individual broker review pages.

Share Trading Account Offer

eToro (global stocks)


Standard brokerage - US shares

Share Trading Account Offer

Get $0 brokerage on US, Hong Kong and European stocks with trades as little as $50 when you join the world's biggest social trading network.

  • $0 brokerage for US, Hong Kong and European stocks
  • Trades starting from $50
  • Fractional shares
  • Copy top traders
Go to site
More info

Important: Share trading carries risk of capital loss.


Disclaimer: Trading CFDs and forex on leverage is high-risk and losses could exceed your deposits.

Example 1: Buying Apple shares

Say you want to buy Apple Inc shares with either nabtrade or CommSec to the value of $1,100, the fees for the trade would be as shown in the table below:

Apple share priceUS$220US$220
Total cost of share parcel (5 shares)US$1,100US$1,100
Brokerage feeAUD$14.95US$19.95
Foreign currency conversion feeAUD$7.15 (0.65% of trade value*)US$6.60 (0.6% of trade value)
Total feesAUD$22.10 (approx US$14.90)US$26.55

*Nabtrade expresses its foreign currency conversion fee as a spread ranging from 0.50% to 0.80% of trade value.

In dollar terms, this ranges from AUD$4.97 to AUD$7.94 in the above example. The actual amount charged to your nabtrade account depends on the time of the transaction.

Rates accurate at 31 August 2021.

As you can see, the comparison is far from straightforward due to a couple of key factors. The first cost that needs to be considered is the brokerage fee. CommSec’s fee is the higher of the 2 and is also charged in US dollars instead of Australian dollars.

However, nabtrade also charges a foreign exchange conversion fee of between 0.50% and 0.80% of the transaction value. So not only will the cost of your transaction vary depending on the percentage amount of the fee, but it will also depend on the value of your transaction and the exchange rate market at the time.

Taking current exchange rates into account at the time of writing, in the above example nabtrade offers the most cost-effective solution. However, as you will see in the example below, that may not always be the case with larger transactions.

Example 2: Buying Pfizer shares

Say you want to buy $5,000 worth of Pfizer shares on the NYSE, the brokerage fees for CommSec and nabtrade are shown in the table below:

Pfizer share priceUS$36.78US$36.78
Total cost of share parcel (136 shares)US$5,002.08US$5,002.08
Brokerage feeAUD$19.95US$29.95
Foreign currency conversion feeAUD$32.50 (0.65% of trade value*)US$30.01 (0.6% of trade value)
Total feesAUD$39 (USD$29.38)US$29.95

In this example, CommSec's brokerage fee is now just above nabtrade's. This is what has impacted the broker fees:

  • nabtrade’s brokerage fee for trades over AUD$5,000 (and below $20,000) rises to AUD $19.95.
  • CommSec’s fee for trades over US$5,000 (and below $10,000) rises to US$29.95.
  • As this is a much larger transaction than the first example, the foreign currency conversion fee charged by nabtrade rises substantially.

So if you're wondering whether nabtrade or CommSec is the more affordable option when you need to trade shares on a US stock exchange, the answer is that it depends on the size of your transaction. For smaller trades, nabtrade will usually be the more cost-effective option, but if you need to place a large trade then CommSec will probably come out on top, although this also depends on which global exchange the stocks are listed.

Foreign exchange conversion fees

Both nabtrade and CommSec charge a foreign exchange conversion fee. This is sometimes called the FX fee, conversion rate, foreign exchange rate or FX spread. Regardless, it's the fee you're charged to convert Australian dollars into foreign currency.

Whenever you execute an international share trade with nabtrade, a foreign exchange transaction occurs where you need to convert the Australian dollars in your trading account into US dollars in order to buy shares on a US stock exchange. nabtrade charges an FX spread of between 0.50% and 0.80% of the value of your trade depending on the time of trade.

Meanwhile, CommSec charges a flat FX fee of 0.6% per trade, regardless of currency exchange required or time of trade.

International brokerage fees

It's worth pointing out that the brokerage fees charged by nabtrade and CommSec vary depending on the size of your international trade. This can obviously have a huge bearing on the total cost of your transaction, so it's worth examining the tiered fee structure of each provider when comparing nabtrade vs CommSec.

Nabtrade brokerage fees for international shares

All figures in AUD

Trade typeTransaction sizeBrokerage
Online trading (all global markets)Up to and including $5,000$14.95
$5,000.01 - $20,000$19.95
Over $20,0000.11% of trade value
Over the phoneAll$59.95 or 0.55% of trade value (whichever is greater)

CommSec brokerage fees for international shares

All figures in USD

MarketBrokerage fee
USA$19.95 for trades up to $5,000
$29.95 for trades up to $10,000
0.31% of transaction value for trades above $10,000
Canada$65 or 0.75% of transaction value (whichever is greater) + 0.15% execution fee
Asia Pacific$39.95 or 0.40% of transaction value (whichever is greater)
Europe and Middle East$39.95 or 0.40% of transaction value (whichever is greater)

Other factors to consider when comparing online share trading platforms

Although the fees that apply to international share trading are undoubtedly an important factor when comparing share trading platforms, there are several other features to consider before you choose a platform. These include:

  • Inactivity fees. Both CommSec and nabtrade charge inactivity fees on international trading accounts. CommSec's inactivity fee is $25 annually, nabtrade's inactivity fee is 0.50% of the average daily international holding balance monthly.
  • Market data. How can you access market data through each platform? Are prices delayed or can you access live or dynamic data? Are there any additional costs attached?
  • Research and analysis. Compare the analysis and insights you can access through the platform to help you make better trading decisions. This could include market news, in-depth analysis of individual stocks and buy and sell recommendations.
  • Ongoing fees. Some share trading platforms trade an ongoing monthly or annual membership free, others are offered free of charge and fees only apply when you place a trade.
  • Accessible markets. Compare the international stock exchanges and shares you can access through each trading platform. Can you also access other international investments, for example exchange traded funds (ETFs) or exchange traded options (ETOs)?
  • Trading options. Check to see what sort of flexible trading options are available to help you take advantage of changing market conditions, for example stop loss orders and limit orders.
  • Customer support. If you ever have a question about a trade or need assistance, how will you be able to access customer support? Does the provider have a good reputation for responding to enquiries quickly and helpfully?

Compare International share trading accounts

If neither CommSec or nabtrade look right for you, why not compare some of the other brokers in the table below or head to our international share trading page to find out more.

1 - 8 of 8
Name Product Standard brokerage for US shares Currency conversion fee Markets
eToro (global stocks)
50 pips (US$0.50 for every AU$100 exchanged)
Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Zero brokerage share trading on US, Hong Kong and European 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 currencies from the one account.
IG Share Trading
ASX shares, US shares, UK shares, ETFs, and more
For the months of July and August, trade Aussie shares from $2.50 and international shares from $0. T&Cs apply.
Enjoy some of the lowest brokerage fees on the market when trading Australian shares, international shares, plus get access to 24-hour customer support.
Tiger Brokers
Tiger Brokers
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, US shares, ETFs
Exclusive to Finder: Sign up to Tiger through Finder and on completion of your first deposit of any amount or transfer of shares receive 4 extra free grab shares. T&Cs apply.
Get started with $0 brokerage on ASX and US stocks for the first 3 months upon completion of your first qualifying deposit. Also receive a free Apple share if you deposit $3,000 or more.
SelfWealth (Basic account)
ASX shares, US shares
Trade ASX and US 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.
CMC Markets Invest
ASX shares, Global shares, mFunds, ETFs
$0 brokerage on global shares including US, UK and Japan markets.
Trade up to 35,000 products, including shares, ETFs and managed funds, plus access up to 15 major global and Australian stock exchanges. Plus, buy Aussie shares for $0 brokerage up to $1,000. (Limited to one buy order per stock per trading day).
Bendigo Invest Direct
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, mFunds, ETFs, Warrants
Gain access to 12 markets from one account with Bendigo.
Invest in Australian shares and access major international markets through a trusted local brand. Plus, fine tune your investment knowledge with Bendigo’s advanced research and analysis tools.
Saxo Capital Markets (Classic account)
ASX shares, Global shares, ETFs
Access 22,000+ stocks on 50+ exchanges worldwide
Low fees for Australian and global share trading, no inactivity fees, low currency conversion fee and optimised for mobile.
Superhero share trading
50 pips (US$0.50 for every AU$100 exchanged)
ASX shares, US shares, ETFs
Sign up & fund your account with A$100 or more and receive US$10 of Tesla stocks on Superhero. T&Cs apply.
Enjoy $0 brokerage on US stocks and buying ETFs as well as a flat $5 fee to trade Australian shares.

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. “Standard brokerage” fee is the cost to trade $1,000 or less of ASX-listed shares and ETFs without any qualifications or special eligibility. If ASX shares aren’t available, the fee shown is for US shares. Where both CHESS sponsored and custodian shares are offered, we display the cheapest option.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    AlanSeptember 8, 2016

    Hi There
    Keen to progressively invest in global equities, not trade.
    I see live market depth is available. Any charge for this?

    Are the fees for conditional orders only charged on execution?

    What is your minimum investment transaction?

    Many Thanks, Alan

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ClarizzaSeptember 9, 2016Staff

      Hi Alan,

      Thanks for your question.

      Just to confirm, we are a comparison website and provide general advice only. Which broker are you referring to? If you would like to find out more, the following pages may help:


Go to site