CommSec services let you buy and sell Australian and international shares, it also offers tools to manage and build your investments.
CommSec is owned and operated by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. With more than 20 years experience, it offers one of the best online trading solutions, phone-based brokerage and consulting services. Most customers choose to trade online, either through a web browser or via smartphone apps, for both iPhone and Android.
What is CommSec?
The CommSec website was launched in 1995 and initially offered trading in Australian stocks. It has since expanded to include international shares, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), margin lending, contracts for difference (CFDs) and administration of self-managed super funds (SMSF).
Through a partnership with Pershing LLC, a subsidiary of Bank of New York Mellon, CommSec now offers trading access to 25 global markets, including the US.Back to top
How does CommSec work?
CommSec's online tools let you research and trade listed securities, including Australian shares. You can view real-time share prices, market information and research data for free. Brokerage fees when you buy and sell start from $19.95. Share trades can be paid for either through an existing bank account or through a Commonwealth Direct Investment Account (CDIA).
- Single login. You can log in through CommSec or NetBank and switch between the two, with access to your trades and your CDIA.
- Consolidated statements. Receive one statement containing all of your activity for each account, which makes it simpler to track and manage your cash.
- News and research. You can keep up-to-date with the latest share market news and reports, videos, stock prices and trends, including daily reports on key financial events compiled by CommSec analysts.
- Trade in international shares and ETFs. CommSec allows you to invest in businesses and brands that are internationally recognised, such as Apple or Google. Exchange traded funds (ETFs) also provide access to government bonds and other market sectors. A fast-growing investment product in the US, EFTs are funds that trade on a stock exchange, just like ordinary shares. You can use ETFs for cost-effective, easy access to markets and asset classes you might not otherwise have access to, such as debt, derivatives, currency and commodities.
- Mobile app. Manage and monitor your investments, trade and stay on top of the market on the go with the free CommSec Mobile App, available through the iPhone App Store or Google Play.
Settlement account: Commonwealth Direct Investment Account (CDIA)
The Commonwealth Direct Investment Account (CDIA) is designed as a settlement account to allow easy share trading with a low per-trade brokerage fee, as well as functioning as an everyday transaction account, with an option of a debit Mastercard. Earn interest on your money between investments, so there is no need to move money from one account to another.
Interest is calculated daily and paid monthly, with no account keeping fees. You can use CommBank's ATM network and NetBank online banking. You can also enjoy unlimited electronic transactions and two assisted withdrawals each month.
What types of products does CommSec offer?
International share trading
CommSec gives you access to over 25 leading global share markets including the New York Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange. It has a partnership with Pershing LLC, a subsidiary of the Bank of New York Mellon that provides access to both US and non-US markets. You'll need to contact CommSec to transfer funds into the relevant currency on your account.
Contract for differences (CFDs)
The CFD is an over-the-counter (OTC) contract between you an CommSec, who is the CFD issuer. CommSec provides more than 7,000 different types of CFDs, from international shares to global indices. CFD trades start from as little as $10. There are a range of rates you'll need consider: commission and spreads, funding costs, currency conversion, borrowing charges and indicative margins.
Available for customers who are over 18 and are an individual, company, or trust; a CommSec Margin Loan is a flexible way of borrowing money for your investment strategy. You choose how much to borrow, when to drawn down funds from your loan and whether you prefer a fixed or variable interest rate.
If the market falls, your portfolio’s value may also fall below your loan balance. If at any time your gearing level is greater than the Margin Call Ratio or the Maximum Gearing Ratio, a margin call will be triggered. This is why it’s so important to keep in touch with the market by regularly checking updates and alerts, or with an account manager from CommSec.
Exchange Traded Options come in two types: Call options (the right to buy) and Put Options (the right to sell). Commsec charges a range of fees depending on the type of option you purchase and how you trade it.Back to top
Market insights with CommSec
CommSec offers mid-session reports and forecasting while providing live Twitter updates. You'll get free live market data with your CommSec account. There is also an Executive Series, where CommSec speaks exclusively with key representatives from Australia's leading companies. Last but not least, CommSec TV is a great visual resource to learn about what's happening in the market, with reports every morning and afternoon.
What are the pros and cons to using CommSec over another account?
- Support and education. CommSec has professional service teams to help if you have any questions or enquiries. It also offers a range of helpful information, demos and tutorial videos for investors, whether you’re a beginner or an expert.
- News and research. Daily market reports are updated three times each business day. CommSec analysts will also keep you up-to-date with the market through audio and video reports.
- Trading and monitoring tools. Customers have access to a range of online research tools including Analyst Research, Company Profiles, News, Watchlists and alerts.
- WebIRESS Access. This popular share trading software for monitoring markets and trades is not included in the basic CommSec account, but you can add it for a monthly fee or after completing a minimum number of trades.
Questions you've wanted to ask
What is the minimum amount of shares I can purchase?
The minimum amount is $500 worth of shares, warrants or contract for difference (CFDs) though there is no minimum for Exchange Traded Options.
I can't log into my account, it doesn't recognise my email. What should I do?
Please get in touch with Commsec directly as finder.com.au is unable to handle direct account enquiries.
Where can I get my history of dividend payments including franking credits?
You can access this from the company’s share registry -- if you are unsure as to who to contact, you can find the details on your holding statement or dividend summaries.
How do I pay for my shares?
Settlement normally takes three ASX settlement days unless the stock is trading under a Deferred Settlement basis. You can use automatic direct debit, BPAY, cheque or cash.
Do CommSec offer one-off trades without opening an account?
CommSec offers an option for clients to process a one-off trade if they have an issuer sponsored holding they wish to trade without opening a full CommSec trading account. You will be required to fill out a form regarding your trade (available from the CommSec website), and mail it to CommSec marking it with attention to 'One Off Trades'. You will need to pay a brokerage fee of $65 per trade up to $10,000 or 0.66% of the value of the trade if it is greater than $10,000, which will be deducted from the profits of the trade.
Why CommSec over MyWealth?
CommSec offers online trading in equities, Exchange Traded Options, Warrants, Australian and International shares and managed funds as well as providing multiple market leading trading and research tools. MyWealth, also backed by CBA, is more focused on building and managing your investments in Australian Listed securities, high interest cash accounts and term deposits, home loans, superannuation and insurance in one platform.
Share trading jargon explained
- Stock trades. Buying and selling stocks, bonds or equity securities offering potential profitable returns such as interest income or appreciation in value.
- Derivative products. A financial instrument which obtains its value of underlying entities such as an asset, index or interest rate. This includes financial contracts, structured debt and deposits.
- Contracts for difference. This is a contract between two parties, typically a buyer and a seller specifying that the seller will pay the buyer the difference between the current value of an asset and its value at the time the contract is signed.
- Company floats. Float here refers to the regular shares that a company has issued to the public that are available to trade.
- Initial Public Offerings (IPOs). This is a company’s flotation on the stock exchange; usually the first sale of stock by a private company to the public.
- Maximum gearing ratio. Gearing ratio here refers to the financial ratio that compares one’s equity or capital to borrowed funds.
- Franking credits. This is the tax paid by a company on pre-tax profits paid from dividends and may reduce the amount of tax the investor pays on a dividend income.
- Dividend. A sum of money that is regularly paid by a company to its shareholders out of profit.