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How to open a share trading account

How to choose the best share trading account for your needs and start investing in Australian and international markets.

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Steps to open a trading account

  1. Choose a broker
  2. Select your membership level
  3. Provide ID
  4. Link bank account
  5. Submit application
  6. Start trading

Traditionally, investing was only for the rich due to the high costs and needing a broker. But now there's a host of online share trading platforms and apps that allow you to take control of your finances without the need for a middle man.

If you want to invest in shares, you'll need to sign up to a stock broker. You have two choices here – you can hire the services of a traditional full-service broker or you can do the trading yourself through an online broker (aka share trading platforms).

Online brokers allow you to buy and sell shares in publicly listed companies over the Internet. Where previously you needed to call up a broker to buy and sell the shares for you, these days investors can trade directly by opening an online share trading account for a much lower cost.

Share Trading Account Offer

eToro (global stocks)

USD 0

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
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Important: Share trading carries risk of capital loss.

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

Open a share trading account today

1 - 10 of 10
Name Product Standard brokerage fee Inactivity fee Markets International
eToro (global stocks)
US$0
US$10 per month if there’s been no login for 12 months
Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Yes
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.
ThinkMarkets Share Trading
$8
No
ASX shares
No
Exclusive: Sign up through Finder and get 3 months of free trading up to 50 trades. Offer available to new customers only.
Following your first three months, enjoy $8 flat fee CHESS sponsored brokerage as well as free live stock data all from the convenience of an easy-to-use mobile app
IG Share Trading
$2.50 for July + August ($5-$8 standard fee applies thereafter)
No
ASX shares, US shares, UK shares, ETFs, and more
Yes
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
$6.49
No
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, US shares, ETFs
Yes
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)
$9.5
No
ASX shares, US shares
Yes
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
$0
No
ASX shares, Global shares, mFunds, ETFs
Yes
$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).
GO Markets Share Trading
$7.70
No
ASX shares, Forex, CFDs, ETFs
No
Zero brokerage on your first 20 trades
Trade 2,500 ASX listed shares from desktop or mobile and enjoy $0 brokerage on your first 20 trades, $7.70 trades after.
Saxo Capital Markets (Classic account)
$5
No
ASX shares, Global shares, ETFs
Yes
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.
Bell Direct Share Trading
$15
No
ASX shares, mFunds, ETFs
No
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.
Superhero share trading
$5
No
ASX shares, US shares, ETFs
Yes
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.
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Important: Share trading can be financially risky and the value of your investment can go down as well as up. Standard brokerage is the cost to purchase $1,000 or less of equities without any qualifications or special eligibility. Where both CHESS sponsored and custodian shares are offered, we display the cheapest option.

Why trade shares online?

When people think of share trading, many still imagine a crowded and chaotic trading room floor.

The reality is that these days the vast majority of share trading is done online. According to a report from Investment Trends, the number of active online investors in Australia reached 1.25 million in late 2021.

Trading shares online is less expensive than hiring a full-service stock broker. You place trades yourself whenever is most convenient and may apps have simplified this process for absolute beginners.

There are of course risks attached to trading shares, including the potential to lose the money you invest, so it’s important to make sure you’re aware of those risks before you start trading.

See the finder.com.au share trading guide.

How do I choose an online share trading platform?

You'll need to carefully consider your trading needs before deciding on the right online share trading platform. For example if you want to buy Australian shares, you'll need to open an ASX share trading account. If you want to buy US stocks, you'll need a platform with access to Wall Street.

Some of the main things to consider include:

  • Trading experience. Some online share trading platforms, for example CommSec and SelfWealth, are designed to suit retail investors, rather than institutional investors and traders. Other trading platforms have special features geared towards highly experienced traders, such as advanced charting tools, speedy execution of trades and live market data. These features may come at a cost, however, and may not add much value if you are a less experienced trader.
  • Available markets. Some share trading platforms only provide access to companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) while others will also allow you to place trades on international markets. Some trading platforms will also provide access to other trading instruments, for example forex and contracts for difference (CFDs).
  • The fees involved. There are two main costs you need to consider when choosing a share trading platform: the brokerage fee and the ongoing fee. The brokerage fee applies each time you place a trade and is usually around $10-$25, varying on size. Newer providers are coming into the market and are looking to compete on price. Ongoing subscription fees are charged monthly and vary depending on the provider and the account features you select.
  • Trading resources. From educational tutorials to research and investment advice, check what tools a platform offers to help you make informed trading decisions.
  • Customer service. If you ever have a problem or need help with a trade, check to make sure you will be able to access prompt and helpful customer support.

How to open a share trading account

The exact process for opening a share trading account varies depending on the trading platform you select. However, you'll generally need to complete the following steps when signing up:

  1. Choose your broker. Research a range of options to find the online stockbroking provider that offers all the features you want at an affordable price. Some providers also offer a choice of share trading platforms, for example a free web-based platform for casual investors and a more complicated software package with a monthly subscription fee for experienced traders.
  2. Choose your membership level. Some providers offer a choice of membership tiers, each with a different level of features and a different ongoing fee. For example, you may need to choose between a Bronze, Silver or Gold trading account.
  3. Provide your details. You'll need to provide your full name and a valid form of photo ID, as well as your email address, phone number, residential address and Tax File Number (TFN).
  4. Link your bank account. You’ll need to supply details of the bank account which will be used to finance your trades and you may be required to deposit a minimum amount. Some share trading platforms will also require you to open a cash management account with a specific financial institution before you can start trading.
  5. Submit your application. Your application to open a share trading account will usually be processed within 1-2 business days.
  6. Start trading. Once your application has been approved you can login to your account and start trading.
It’s also worth pointing out that it can be a lot easier to open a share trading account if you're an existing customer of the same financial institution; for example if you’re a CommBank customer opening a CommSec share trading account. In this case, you won’t have to provide your name, contact information or proof of ID.

Did you have these enquiries about opening a share trading account?

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    ChauDecember 1, 2018

    I am not an Australian , How can T open An trading Account ?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnDecember 6, 2018Staff

      Hi Chau,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      This depends on the share trading platform you select. Some are only open to Australian residents while others accept customers from all over the world. You may check this by going to the share trading platform’s website and looking for the requirements necessary in creating an account. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  2. Default Gravatar
    RachelJune 16, 2017

    When setting up an online trading account, does the funding account have to be in your own name or can it be a nominated third party’s account, eg a partner or a parent?
    Thanks

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RenchJune 17, 2017Staff

      Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      If you wish to apply with your name and someone else, e.g. your partner, you can apply for a joint account. Please note that the steps may vary slightly depending on the broker of your choice.

      Cheers,
      Rench

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