How to invest in US stocks from Australia

Find the cheapest brokerage fees when you trade US stocks from Australia.

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If you’re looking to invest in shares, you don’t have to limit your portfolio to Australian companies. Today there are plenty of online trading platforms that give you access to many major international stock exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ in the USA.

Buy US shares in 4 steps

  1. Compare brokers with access to US stocks
  2. Open your account by providing ID
  3. Fund your account by transferring money from your bank account
  4. Search and select the shares you want to invest in and start trading

Share Trading Account Offer

IG Share Trading Offer

$0

monthly fee

$8

standard trade

Share Trading Account Offer

Special offer: Earn up to 10,000 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 accounts that trade US stocks

Updated April 6th, 2020
Name Product Standard brokerage fee for ASX shares Standard brokerage for US shares Inactivity fee Currency conversion fee Markets
IG Share Trading
AUD 8 or
0.1%
USD 10 or
2 cents per share
$50 per quarter if you make fewer than three trades in that period.
0.50%
ASX shares
Global shares
Forex
CFDs
Margin trading
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.
SelfWealth Share Trading (Basic account)
AUD 9.5
N/A
$0
N/A
ASX shares
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.
Bell Direct Share Trading (Silver account)
AUD 15 or
0.1% for first 10 trades monthly
N/A
$0
N/A
ASX shares
mFunds
Invest in Australian shares, options and managed funds from the one account with no inactivity fee.
Bell Direct offers a one-second placement guarantee on market-to-limit ASX orders or your trade is free, plus enjoy extensive free research reports from top financial experts.
CMC Markets Stockbroking (Classic account)
AUD 11 or
0.1% for first 10 trades monthly
USD 19.95 for
up to $5000 shares
$15 per month if you make no trades in that period.
Up to 0.60%
ASX shares
Global shares
Forex
CFDs
Margin trading
Options trading
mFunds
Access a broad range of investment products from Australia and overseas.
Take advantage of IPOs and 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.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Updated April 6th, 2020
Name Product Minimum Opening Deposit Minimum Opening Deposit Commission - ASX 200 Shares Available markets Platforms
Plus500 CFD
AUD 100
100
No commission
ASX shares, global shares, indices, options, ETFs
Plus500 Web Trader
CFDs are complex financial products and traders are at high-risk of losing all of or more than their initial investment.
Finder exclusive offer: Open a new trading account and receive a welcome bonus of AU$110 when you deposit your first $370 and enter the bonus code “Special200”. T&C’s apply.
Trade Australian and international CFDs on shares, forex, indices, commodities and more.
eToro CFD
USD 50
50
No commission
ASX shares, global shares, indices, cryptocurrencies, commodities, ETFs
eToro Trading Platform
CFDs are complex financial products and traders are at high-risk of losing all of or more than their initial investment.
Join the largest social trading network in the world.
AxiTrader CFD
USD 0
0
$0 for standard account, USD$7 per round trip for Pro account
Forex pairs, Metals, Commodities, Index CFDs
MetaTrader4, MetaTrader4 Next Gen, Psyquation, AutoChartist, WebTrader, Axi-One ECN
CFDs are complex financial products and traders are at high-risk of losing all of or more than their initial investment.
AxiTrader uses the popular MT4 trading platform along with several free add-ons. Live chat, email and phone support available 24 hours a day, Monday to Friday.
Important: AxiTrader is undergoing a review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal into a recent decision by ASIC to suspend its Australian financial services (AFS) licence. Until a final decision has been made by the Tribunal, AxiCorp can continue normal operations. 
IG Markets CFD
AUD 0
0
0.08% with $7 minimum
Indices, FX, Shares, Commodities, Cryptocurrency, ETPs
MetaTrader 4
ProReal Time
CFDs are complex financial products and traders are at high-risk of losing all of or more than their initial investment.
Introductory offer: Build confidence by trading at lower minimum trade sizes for the first six weeks. Plus, receive a reduced commission on Australian shares CFDs. T&C's apply. Trade from over 15,000 markets with Australia's leading service for CFD trading and forex.
ThinkMarkets CFD
$0
$0
From $7 or 0.08%. (whichever is higher)
Forex, indices, commodities, metals, share CFDs, ETF CFDs, futures
MetaTrader4, MetaTrader5, ThinkTrader
CFDs are complex financial products and traders are at high-risk of losing all of or more than their initial investment.
Trade forex, commodities and CFDs using MetaTrader4/MetaTrader5 platforms or access advanced analysis tools through ThinkTrader.
City Index CFD
AUD 0
0
0.08% with $5 minimum
ASX shares, 4,500 global shares, indices
MetaTrader 4
At Pro
Advantage Web
CFDs are complex financial products and traders are at high-risk of losing all of or more than their initial investment.
Trade CFDs on indices, FX, global & Australian shares and commodities, plus access other markets such as metals, bonds and interest rates.
Pepperstone CFD
USD 200
200
No commission
ASX shares, global shares, indices, cryptocurrencies, commodities
MetaTrader 4
MetaTrader 5
cTrader
CFDs are complex financial products and traders are at high-risk of losing all of or more than their initial investment.
Trade stock indices on the global market, via Pepperstone's MetaTrader 4 and cTrader client terminals.
FP Markets CFD (Professional Account)
AUD 1,000
1,000
0.10% with $10 minimum
ASX shares, 6 global exchanges, indices, cryptocurrency
IRESS
CFDs are complex financial products and traders are at high-risk of losing all of or more than their initial investment.
Trade CFDs with FP Markets using the IRESSTrader platform. Trade CFDs on international equities, futures and forex.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Not all brokers or trading platforms provide access to global stock exchanges, so if you want to buy and sell US shares, you'll need to find one that offers the service for a cost effective brokerage fee.

Why invest in US stocks?

There are many reasons for Australian investors to own stocks listed in the US. In the last decade, Wall Street's S&P500 index has delivered returns of around 103%, while Australia's equivalent the S&P ASX200 returned around 6% for the same period. Meanwhile, the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ, both based in New York, are the two largest stock exchanges in the world in terms of market capitalisation, offering some of the most lucrative opportunities in the world.

A couple of decades ago, investing in global companies was fairly costly. Today, many trading sites allow Australian investors to buy and sell shares not only in Australia but also in the US and other international markets. This means you can access major global growth companies that aren't available in Australia, such as the world's biggest tech companies – Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, Netflix and Google (FAANG).

How can I invest in US stocks?

You can invest in international stocks through a select range of trading apps, full service brokers, online share trading platforms and exchange traded funds. However, not all of the options provided in Australia offer a US share trading feature. Before signing up to a new account or a broker, it's important to check which countries are on the books and what the associated fees are.

Online share trading platforms are one of the easiest ways to buy US-listed shares. By using a platform that offers US stocks such as Stake, IG Share Trading, CMC Markets, CommSec International Share Trading and Saxo Capital Markets, you can deposit funds into your account and start buying and selling shares.

Each platform works in a different way, however the same general rules apply as with buying Australian shares – with a few additional considerations. This means that you'll be charged a brokerage fee and an exchange fee when you trade shares. Brokerage fees are sometimes higher on international accounts and there may additional costs such as an inactivity fee.

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Which trading platforms trade US shares?

There are a growing number of Australian online share trading platforms that offer access to international stock exchanges. Some platforms offer international accounts that are separate to their Australian trading accounts, such as CommSec, while others such as IG are fully integrated on the one platform.

Here are some of the platforms that allow US share trading in Australia:

How do I compare trading platforms?

Make sure that you take the following features and questions into consideration when comparing the benefits of USA share trading sites:

  • How much is brokerage? Compare the fee each company charges every time you place a trade on US stocks. Be aware that this will be different to broker fees for ASX-listed stocks.
  • What's the exchange rate? Exchange rates vary from platform to platform and this will partly be used to offset low broker fees. Check what these are first.
  • Will you need to pay a monthly fee? Some platforms require you to pay a monthly fee in order to keep your account running or to access certain features.
  • How is market data displayed? Check how up-to-date the market data offered by each platform is — being able to make trades based on current information is critical.
  • How many international markets can you access? Some platforms offer access to a few key international markets while others let you to buy and sell shares on a much larger number of exchanges.
  • How easy is the platform to use? Is it fast, simple and convenient to execute a trade and monitor market performance?
  • What trading options are available? Is the platform just online or can you also place trades over the phone? Are flexible options like limit orders available to let you take advantage of market fluctuations?
  • Are education and research resources available? Trading shares is complex, so does the platform offer the necessary tools to increase your investment knowledge?
  • Is customer support available if you need it? How can it be accessed and when?

Compare US trading sites

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What are the pros and cons to investing in US shares?

Pros

  • Access different investment opportunities. Trading via US stock exchanges allows you the freedom to take advantage of investment opportunities that are not available in Australia.
  • Increasingly more affordable. As a growing number of online share trading platforms compete for market share, brokerage fees are becoming more affordable.
  • Diversify your portfolio. If all your investments depend on the performance of one national economy - i.e. Australia’s - is your portfolio really as diverse as you think? Buying international shares protects you against having all your eggs in one basket.

Cons

  • Brokerage fees. You’ll need to contend with potentially higher brokerage fees whenever you place a trade on an international share market.
  • Exchange rates. The AUD-USD rate fluctuates frequently which might negatively impact your investment.
  • Additional fees. International trading accounts are sometimes subject to fees that Australia-only platforms are not, such as inactivity fees and exchange fees.
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What are some of the risks?

One of the key risks to be aware of when trading US shares is that you may not have the same level of knowledge and expertise as you have when trading ASX shares. Investing in an area, industry or country which you know little about is always risky, so it always pays to make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Another factor worth considering is the tax implications of international trading. You don’t want to make any mistakes when declaring your income and find yourself on the wrong side of the ATO, so familiarise yourself with the tax treatment of your investments as soon as possible.

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