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Alternatives to CommSec: 7 trading platforms to consider

Looking for a new broker? Here are 7 alternatives to Commsec

Australia's largest and most well known online broker might be CommSec, but that doesn't mean you have to sign up with them.

In 2024, there are literally dozens of share trading platforms in Australia for you to choose from.

Each broker has its pros and cons when it comes to available markets, trading tools and costs. So it's a good idea to compare your options before deciding on the trading platform that meets all your investment requirements and offers the best value for money.

Below we've listed some online trading platforms for you to consider. Like CommSec, these brokers offer Australian and global shares as well as a good selection of trading and research tools.

1. IG Markets

IG Share Trading logo
5/5 ★★★★★
Similar platforms Read review
Capital at risk
Practice with $20K virtual money
Access to educational content hub
Trade shares, forex & commodities
IG is our top pick for low costs because it has among the lowest fees across the board for ASX, US and other global stocks. It also has consistently low brokerage fees whether you're investing a few hundred or several thousand dollars at a time, plus a competitive currency exchange fee of 0.70%.
  • Practice with $20K of virtual funds
  • Improve trading skills on IG Academy
  • Switch to real trading of ASX and global stocks
  • Trade on desktop or mobile
  • Not suitable for casual investors. The IG app is targeted more towards active traders than casual investors.
Brokerage fee per trade:
AU stocks: $5 or 0.05% if you make 3 or more trades in the previous month. $8 or 0.1% of your trade (whichever is higher)
US stocks: US$0
UK stocks: £0
Other markets available: Details here

ETF brokerage fees:
AU ETFs: $5 or 0.05% if you make 3 or more trades in the previous month. $8 or 0.1% of your trade (whichever is higher)
US ETFs: US$0
UK ETFs: £0
Other markets available: Details here

Inactivity fee: if you make fewer than 3 trades during that time.

Currency conversion fee: 0.70% of trade value

2. CMC Invest

CMC Invest logo
5/5 ★★★★★
Go to site Read review
Capital at risk
$0 brokerage for global stocks
$0 brokerage on ASX buy orders
Sophisticated research tools
CMC Invest was rated the best trading platform in Australia (overall) for 2023 thanks to its impressive range of trading tools and low costs. The platform is intuitive enough for new investors but has the tools and product range to keep experienced traders satisfied. If you sign up to the pro account, you'll also get access to currencies, commodities and options. Check out CMC Invest if you want an excellent all-rounder.
  • Trade Australian and global stocks
  • Low trade fees on stocks and ETFs
  • Suitable for new investors and advanced traders
  • High-quality trading and research tools
  • Limited global markets. Only 4 global markets are commission-free to trade. Other global markets cost $59 per trade in brokerage while ASX stock trading starts at $11.
Brokerage fees:
AU stocks: $0 brokerage (for buy orders up to $1,000) and $11 or 0.10% (whichever is greater) for all other buy and sell orders.
US stocks: US$0
UK stocks: £0

ETF brokerage fees:
AU ETFs: $0 brokerage for trades up to $1,000 (applied to the first buy order per ETF per day). $11 fee for trades up to $10,000. $15 fee for trades equal to or greater than $15,000.
US ETFs: US$0

Options:
ASX: $33/contract
US: Not available
Other markets available: Details here

Inactivity fee: $0

Currency conversion fee: 0.60% of trade value

3. Selfwealth

Selfwealth (Basic account) logo
4/5 ★★★★★
Similar platforms Read review
Capital at risk
Flat $9.50 brokerage fee per trade
No inactivity fee or subscription fee on basic account
Buy CHESS-sponsored Australian shares and US shares
Selfwealth offers a flat-fee structure for investing across a number of markets including in Australia, Hong Kong and the US. The platform gives investors access to several tools including market analysis, a stock screener tool and access to a community to help find opportunities. While the platform can suit beginners with education and research features, other capabilities such as the ability to open your own SMSF cater to more sophisticated traders.
  • Flat-fee brokerage
  • Research and education tools
  • Community access
  • SMSF setup capability
  • Limited markets
  • No access to other trading types such as crypto
Brokerage fee per trade:
AU stocks: $9.50 flat fee
US stocks: US$9.50 flat fee
Other markets available: Details here

ETF brokerage fees:
AU ETFs: $9.50 flat fee
US ETFs: US$9.50 flat fee
Other markets available: Details here

Inactivity fee: $0

Currency conversion fee: 60 bps of trade value

4. Saxo Invested

Saxo Invested logo
3/5 ★★★★★
Go to site Read review
Capital at risk
Low brokerage fees
Extensive global market access
Technical analysis tools
Saxo Invested is designed for seasoned traders, giving access to a wide range of Australian and international stocks, ETFs, bonds, and other trading instruments such as CFDs. You can also access a wealth of research and trading tools to inform your investment decisions such as market trends, stock lists and news feeds. Brokerage fees start from an affordable $3 with a minimum funding of AUD$1,000.
  • Australian and international stocks
  • Access a large range of trading options
  • Educational resources and tools
  • Market analysis and investment ideas
  • Rewards for active traders
  • May not suit beginner investors
  • No automated trading tools
Brokerage fee per trade:
AU stocks (Issuer sponsored): $3 or 0.08%, whichever is higher
AU stocks (Chess sponsored): $14.9 or 0.1%, whichever is higher
US stocks: US$1 or 0.08%
UK stocks: £3 or 0.08%

ETF brokerage fees:
AU ETFs (Issuer sponsored): $3 or 0.08%, whichever is higher
AU ETFs (Chess sponsored): $14.9 or 0.1%, whichever is higher
US ETFs: US$1 or 0.08%
UK ETFs: £3 or 0.08%

Options:
US: US$2

Inactivity fee: $0

Currency conversion fee: 0.25% of trade value

5. Bell Direct

Bell Direct Share Trading logo
3/5 ★★★★★
Similar platforms Read review
Capital at risk
1-second ASX trades
Trade US and Australian shares
Access trading analysis, research and tools
Bell Direct is an online broker catering to Australian investors. It promises fast ASX trading with a 1-second placement guarantee. You can also trade US stocks, ETFs, options, invest in IPOs and more. The platform offers a number of tools to help you decide what to invest in, including exclusive research from Bell Financial Group’s global analysts, filters to compare ETFs and mFunds, tax reporting, daily trading ideas and access to a mobile app.
  • Australian and US shares
  • Fast 1-second ASX trades
  • Education tools and resources
  • Mobile app
  • Limited market access
  • Fees for some data access
Brokerage fees:
AU stocks:
For your first 10 monthly trades:
$15 for trades up to $10,000
$25 for trades $10,000 - $25,000
0.1% for trades over $25,000
For 11-30 trades per month:
$13 or 0.08% of the trade value, whichever is greater
For 31 trades onwards per month:
$10 or 0.08% of the trade value, whichever is greater
US stocks: Not available
UK stocks: Not available

ETF brokerage fees:
AU ETFs:
For your first 10 monthly trades:
$15 for trades up to $10,000
$25 for trades $10,000 - $25,000
0.1% for trades over $25,000
For 11-30 trades per month
$13 or 0.08% of the trade value, whichever is greater
For 31 trades onwards per month
$10 or 0.08% of the trade value, whichever is greater
US ETFs: Not available

Options:
ASX: $30 or 0.3%, whichever is greater
US: Not available

Inactivity fee: $0

6. nabtrade

nabtrade logo
4/5 ★★★★★
Similar platforms Read review
Capital at risk
Free research facilities
Integrated banking features
Educational resources
nabtrade offers a well-rounded platform for investors looking to get started or continue building up their portfolios. Investors can access over 10,000 instruments including shares, bonds and managed funds as well as tailored solutions such as setting up their own SMSF. You can purchase shares in Australia, the US, the UK, Hong Kong and Germany through nabtrade. There are also educational tools and insights on offer for those looking for stock and investment tips, including market commentary.
  • Purchase shares in the US, the UK, Hong Kong and Germany
  • Linked cash account that earns interest
  • Competitive fee structure for larger trades
  • Access over 10,000 securities including shares, bonds and managed funds
  • Limited international share trading
  • 24/7 support is not available
Brokerage fee per trade:
AU stocks:
$9.95 fee for trades up to $1,000
$14.95 for trades $1,000.01 - $5,000
$19.95 for trades $5,000.01 - $20,000.00
0.11% of trade value for trades over $20,000.00
US stocks:
$9.95 for trades up to $1,000
$14.95 for trades between $1,000.01 - $5,000
$19.95 for trades between $5,000.01 - $20,000.00
0.11% of trade value for trades over $20,000.00
UK stocks:
$9.95 for trades up to $1,000
$14.95 for trades between $1,000.01 - $5,000
$19.95 for trades between $5,000.01 - $20,000.00
0.11% of trade value for trades over $20,000.00
Other markets: Details here

ETF brokerage fees:
AU ETFs:
$9.95 fee for trades up to $1,000
$14.95 for trades between $1,000.01 - $5,000
$19.95 for trades between $5,000.01 - $20,000.00
0.11% of trade value for trades over $20,000.00
US ETFs:
$9.95 for trades up to $1,000
$14.95 for trades between $1,000.01 - $5,000
$19.95 for trades between $5,000.01 - $20,000.00
0.11% of trade value for trades over $20,000.00
UK ETFs:
$9.95 for trades up to $1,000
$14.95 for trades between $1,000.01 - $5,000
$19.95 for trades between $5,000.01 - $20,000.00
0.11% of trade value for trades over $20,000.00
Other markets: Details here

Inactivity fee: $0

Currency conversion fee: 0.50% - 0.80%

7. Westpac

Westpac Share Trading logo
4/5 ★★★★★
Similar platforms Read review
Capital at risk
Trusted major bank
Global stocks
Research tools
Westpac’s online investing platform lets you invest in Australian shares, ETFs and warrants as well as more than 25 international share markets. You can start investing through Westpac with just $500. The app offers a number of tools to help you make investment decisions, including ESG ratings, watchlists, live prices, email and SMS alerts as well as tools such as conditional trading.
  • Access Australian and international markets
  • Active investors with a spend over $5,000 receive premium rewards through Trader Advantage
  • Trading tools and education
  • Conditional trading
  • No 24/7 customer support
  • Brokerage fees start higher than other brokers
Brokerage fee per trade:
AU stocks: $4.95 (trades up to $1,000); $9.95 (trades $1,000 - $3,000); $19.95 (trades $3,000 - $10,000); $29.95 (trades $10,000 - $28,000); and 0.11% of trade volume (trades over $28,000).
US stocks: USD$19.95 (trades up to USD$5,000); USD$29.95 (trades up to USD$10,000); 0.31% of trade volume (trades over $10,000).
Other markets: Details here

ETF brokerage fees:
AU ETFs: $4.95 (trades up to $1,000); $9.95 (trades $1,000 - $3,000); $19.95 (trades $3,000 - $10,000); $29.95 (trades $10,000 - $28,000); and 0.11% of trade volume (trades over 28,000).
US ETFs: USD$19.95 (trades up to USD$5,000); USD$29.95 (trades up to USD$10,000); 0.31% of trade volume (trades over 10,000).
Other markets: Details here

Inactivity fee: $0

Currency conversion fee: 0.60% of trade value

How do these trading apps compare to CommSec in terms of fees?

As you can see from the profiles above, brokerage fees range from as little as $0 to around $20 per trade, but there are almost always caveats. As a comparison, CommSec's brokerage fees start at $5 per Internet trade, but that's only on trades of up to $1,000. Here's a rundown of what CommSec charges for Australian shares (as of July 2023):

  • $5 (up to and including $1,000)
  • $10 (over $1,000 up to $3,000 [inclusive])
  • $19.95 (over $3,000 up to $10,000 [inclusive])
  • $29.95 (over $10,000 up to $25,000 [inclusive])
  • 0.12% (over $25,000)
  • No inactivity fee (on Australian shares platform)

You'll find most trading platforms have some kind of tiered system, usually based on the amount you're trading and how often. For example, using CMC Invest's classic account, you'll be charged $$0 or 0.1% (whichever is higher), though this fee falls to $9.90 or 0.08% for the 11th to 30th trade and $9.90 or 0.075% on the 31st+ trade.

Brokerage and commission fees aside, you should also consider whether the platform charges an inactivity fee. Although IG charges just $$8 per trade, its inactivity fee of won't suit everyone. Similarly, CMC Invest will charge a monthly fee of $15 if no trades have been conducted.

How do the international fees compare?

CommSec has relatively high brokerage fees for international stocks and ETFs compared to others. Here's a basic breakdown of CommSec's fees:

  • United States: USD$5.00 or 0.12%, whichever amount is greater
  • Canada: CAD$40.00 or 0.40%, whichever amount is greater
  • France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands: EUR€12.00 or 0.40%, whichever amount is greater
  • Hong Kong: HKD$130.00 or 0.40%, whichever amount is greater
  • Japan: JPY¥1,500 or 0.40%, whichever amount is greater
  • Norway: NOK175.00 or 0.40%, whichever amount is greater
  • Singapore: SGD$25.00 or 0.40%, whichever amount is greater
  • Sweden: SEK155.00 or 0.40%, whichever amount is greater
  • Switzerland: CHF₣17.00 or 0.40%, whichever amount is greater
  • United Kingdom: GBP£12.00 or 0.40%, whichever amount is greater
  • Inactivity fee: $0

Aside from CommSec, eToro, Westpac, IG, nabtrade, Saxo Invested and CMC Invest all offer global share trading options. Among these, IG, CMC Invest and eToro feature $0 brokerage for global stocks.

IG offers similar brokerage fees at $US US$0 for US stocks, £10 or 0.1% for UK and €10 or 0.1% for Germany. Other platforms, Selfwealth and Bell Direct do not offer access to global shares.

  • Currency exchange fees: It's also worth noting that when you trade international shares, your trading platform will need to perform a currency exchange for you. For example, nabtrade's foreign exchange transaction services are provided by NAB, so when you place an order for international shares you will be quoted an estimated exchange rate that includes fees and margins to protect NAB against exchange rate fluctuations. Once your trade is executed, NAB then books a foreign exchange transaction on your behalf.

Which trading accounts are the most reliable?

Like CommSec, all of the trading platforms listed on this page can offer secure and reliable trading solutions.

Some people prefer the peace of mind of dealing with an institution they know and trust.

The financial services royal commission not withstanding, a trading platform provided by one of the Big Four banks makes for a convincing argument. However, IG Markets, Selfwealth and Saxo Invested are also well-established and regulated names in the Australian share trading industry.

Each trading platform has a raft of security measures in place to ensure the safety of your funds and your security details. For example, IG Markets and Saxo Invested both keep all client funds fully segregated with top-tier Australian banks as required by the Australian regulator. Westpac Online Investing also offers 128-bit encryption when trading.

Final considerations when looking for alternatives to CommSec

When it comes to making your final share trading account decision make sure you know what's most important to you. Do you most value low brokerage costs, a wide range of international share markets or in-depth broker market analysis?

It's also essential you go through all of the fine print located in the broker's financial services guide (FSG). Note any asterisks that might lead to some type of fee that might affect your trading size or style.

If you still have questions about share trading, use our main guide to compare online share trading accounts in further detail.

Share trading platform news: June 2024

  • The first Australian Bitcoin ETF under new crypto licensing rules launched on 4 June 2024.
  • Roaring Kitty returned to Reddit for the first time in 3 years to post a screenshot of his apparent US$116m open position on GameStop (GME), spurring another flurry of trading activity on the stock.
  • GameStop and other so-called "meme stocks" are back in the news after the dramatic return of Roaring Kitty, the internet investor whop helped inspire the infamous GME short squeeze in 2021.
  • Superhero has dropped its brokerage fee from $5 to $2 for trades up to $20,000 on ASX-listed shares.
  • Australian investment app Spaceship has launched a US investing service with $0 brokerage across a range of US stocks and ETFs. Investors can get started for a low $10 minimum.
  • Australian trading platform Superhero has added a new AI feature that quickly summarises ASX company announcements selected by users.
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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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    DavidJune 26, 2016

    Just letting you know, your link to Westpac actually takes you to General Pants Co

      AvatarFinder
      ClarizzaJune 27, 2016Finder

      Hi David,

      Thanks kindly for your comment. We have now made the corrections.

      Cheers
      Clarizza

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