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Finder’s Share Trading Platform methodology

This is how we've compared investment products for the Finder Awards, Best Broker categories and Top Picks.

To find you the best online brokers, we rely on our proprietary algorithm which calculates the rankings of our share trading platforms.

We give share trading platforms a score so that we may give them a ranking in our Finder Awards, 'Best online broker' page, top broker picks displayed at the top of selected pages and for star ratings on review pages.

Set up by Finder's data scientists and investment experts, our algorithm takes into account broker fees, trading tools, educational resources and the list of available stock markets on each platform.

Quick stats

  • Trading platforms compared: 38
  • Trading features compared: 117

How do we choose our "Top Picks"?

Our top picks are displayed at the top of many of our share trading guides and feature 3-5 'Best for X' categories.

The brokers are awarded titles using the methodology below and Finder's editorial team decides which top picks to display based on research around user demand.

How do we rate brokerage fees?

There's no getting around the fact that a lot of share trading platforms have complicated fee structures. The brokerage fee (sometimes called the commission) can depend on how often you trade per month, how much you spend per trade and which country the stocks you're buying are from.

And while some brokers offers flat fees, others are percentage-based or "tiered", meaning the more frequently you trade the lower your fee. Others are a combination of tiered, percentage-based and flat.

To narrow this down, we compare the total broker fees a person would need to pay if they made 1 to 30 trades per month at trade values of between $100 and $10,000. We also compared fees for stocks listed in Australia, the US and the UK, which are the three most popular share trading markets in Australia.

By doing this, we can evaluate which online brokers are better suited to various trading styles such as active traders, long-term investors, ASX investors and global share trading investors.

Other fees we include:

  • ETF brokerage
  • Options trade fees
  • Inactivity fees
  • Live data fee
  • Account fees
  • Foreign exchange fee

Which features do we compare?

Along with broker fees, we look at whether share trading platforms have the following features:

  • The number of stock markets available
  • Margin trading
  • Managed funds and mFunds
  • Fractional investing
  • Educational resources and training options
  • Conditional order types
  • Access to ASX and US stock options
  • Charting and technical analysis tools
  • Support options
  • Mobile accessible
  • Appropriateness for beginners
  • The ability to trade Forex, CFDs, warrants and futures
  • User ratings on the App and Play stores
  • Minimum trade amount
  • Micro and auto-invest features
  • Ready made portfolios
  • Availability of cryptocurrency
  • Broker ratings or price targets
  • Dividend filters and search tools
  • Access to IPOs
  • ESG filters, ratings and portfolios
  • Copy trading and social trading
  • P/E and EPS ratios
  • Watchlists
  • News feed and market updates
  • Tax reporting functionality
  • Cash management account
  • SMSF or Super account access
  • Minor accounts
  • Live data access
  • Online demo account
  • Personal financial advice access

How do we decide which features are more important?

Our selected brokerage fee categories and trading features are weighed based on the expertise of Finder's banking and investments team as well as user research to show which features are the most important to different investor types. The ratios may change as we update the formula to provide a better comparison experience for our users.

Does Finder compare all share trading platforms in the market?

No, but we're trying our best to make that happen. Because it takes a long time to find and properly analyse broker fees and features, and it's important that we don't share misinformation, we may not be able to cover 100% of the market. However, we do list the majority of Australia's most popular and well-regarded online brokers.

The process of gathering this data in Australia is quite manual. Our banking and investment team hunts down online brokers that are available to most Australian users and exclude those that are limited to "wholesale" (i.e. professional) investors.

We also exclude platforms that don't offer direct share trading via a stock exchange – this includes most robo-advisers, micro-investment platforms and CFD-only providers.

Star ratings on review pages

Star ratings are displayed on our broker review and 'broker vs broker' pages to help you identify strengths and weaknesses. To find an overall score, we take into account six key categories:

  • Fees
  • Available countries
  • Available securities
  • Trading tools
  • Research and education
  • Customer support
Scoring criteria
Fees
  • Brokerage on trades of $100, $1000, $10,000
  • Brokerage on 1 to 30 trades per month
  • Inactivity fees
  • Account fees
  • Brokerage fee for options
  • Currency conversion fee
Available countries
  • The number global stock markets accessible through the platform by country
Available securities
  • Australian stocks, global stocks, options, ETFs, forex, CFDs and mFunds
Trading tools
  • The number of conditional orders offered
  • Advanced charting tools
  • Margin trading
  • Fractional trading
Research and education
  • Broker analysis
  • Stock forecasting
  • News feed
  • Training options or educational material
  • Online demo
Customer support
  • 24/hour support
  • Live chat
  • Email support
  • Phone support
Overall
  • Overall score averaging the above criteria

The Finder Score on our comparison tables

The Finder Score is displayed on our comparison tables as a way to help our readers compare share trading platforms. It's calculated based on 4,370 data points within 8 categories:

  • Fees
  • Tradable instruments
  • Trading features
  • Research tools
  • Education and training
  • Available markets
  • Customer support
  • User experience

It's worth noting that the Finder Score is a broad overall rating that covers a range of fees and features, so it may not be reflective of the product that's best suited to you. For instance, a customer looking for a beginner-friendly platform will have a different set of criteria to a day trader – however both products may have a similar score.

Finder's Customer satisfaction awards

Our customer satisfaction awards use a different methodology as our regular product awards.

The Finder customer satisfaction awards recognise Australia's favourite brands across a huge number of categories. We survey thousands of real Australians to understand how they feel about their recent product purchases to help you make a decision about what product to get. It's an independent awards program calculated by our data and insights team. Commercial partnerships do not influence the results in any way.

Finder worked with leading insights company Dynata to ask Australians to rate the brands they know and use for our Customer Satisfaction Program.

Customer satisfaction awards methodology: Share trading platforms

  • 1,252 Australians were asked to review a share trading platform they had previously used.
  • Brands had to receive a minimum of 45 responses in this category to be eligible for the award.
  • We then judged them based on 6 categories:
    • Customer service
    • Fees
    • Features and benefits
    • Ease of application
    • Performance
    • Overall experience
  • Respondents were also asked whether they would recommend each product to a friend. This result was scored out of 5 as a percentage. For example, if 80% of respondents said they would recommend a product, it received a score of 4 out of 5.
  • The final score was calculated as an average of all metrics scored.
  • Finder's Customer Satisfaction Awards is an independent awards program and commercial partnerships do not influence the results in any way.

Customer satisfaction awards methodology: Robo-Advisors (investment apps)

  • 726 Australians were asked to review a Robo-Advice or auto-investing platform they had previously used.
  • Brands had to receive a minimum of 45 responses in this category to be eligible for the award.
  • We then judged them based on 5 categories:
    • Customer service
    • Fees
    • Performance
    • User Experience
    • Overall experience
  • Respondents were also asked whether they would recommend each product to a friend. This result was scored out of 5 as a percentage. For example, if 80% of respondents said they would recommend a product, it received a score of 4 out of 5.
  • The final score was calculated as an average of the 5 metrics scored.
  • Finder's Customer Satisfaction Awards is an independent awards program and commercial partnerships do not influence the results in any way.

Other questions

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. Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) for the product on the provider's website.

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