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International Share Trading Accounts

Compare international share trading accounts to buy and sell global stocks.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

International share trading accounts allow you to access overseas stock exchanges to trade shares in some of the world’s biggest companies. Major banks and numerous online share trading platforms offer these online share trading accounts.

This guide shows you how to buy international shares from Australia. It also answers all your questions about trading international shares and allows you to compare international share trading accounts so you can find a broker to trade easily, cheaply and quickly.

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
Go to site
More info

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.

Compare international share trading accounts

1 - 8 of 8
Name Product Standard brokerage for US shares Currency conversion fee Markets
eToro (global stocks)
US$0
50 pips (US$0.50 for every AU$100 exchanged)
Global shares, US shares, ETFs
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.
IG Share Trading
US$0
0.70%
ASX shares, US shares, UK shares, ETFs, and more
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
Exclusive
Tiger Brokers
US$1.99
N/A
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, US shares, ETFs
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)
US$9.5
0.60%
ASX shares, US shares
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
US$0
0.60%
ASX shares, Global shares, mFunds, ETFs
$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).
Bendigo Invest Direct
$0
0.60%
ASX shares, Global shares, Options trading, mFunds, ETFs, Warrants
Gain access to 12 markets from one account with Bendigo.
Invest in Australian shares and access major international markets through a trusted local brand. Plus, fine tune your investment knowledge with Bendigo’s advanced research and analysis tools.
Saxo Capital Markets (Classic account)
US$4
1%
ASX shares, Global shares, ETFs
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.
Superhero share trading
US$0
50 pips (US$0.50 for every AU$100 exchanged)
ASX shares, US shares, ETFs
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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Compare up to 4 providers

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.

What is international share trading?

International share trading is the process of buying and selling shares in companies listed on global stock exchanges. An international share trading account allows Australians to trade shares in global companies instead of being limited to companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). For example, Facebook is listed on the American stock exchange, Nasdaq. So if Australians wish to buy Facebook shares, they’ll need to do this via an international share trading account.

How to buy international shares from Australia

Buying international shares can be done in 4 easy steps:

  1. Compare brokers with access to global stocks.
  2. Open your account by providing an 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.

Investing in the global share market is a lot like investing in the Australian market. However, you'll need to find the right stockbroker or online trading platform.

This guide explains what to look for in an international share trading account, how to open one and what to do with the account once you've opened it.

Read on to learn more, or start with the basics of share trading if it's new to you. If you already know how to buy international shares, you can simply compare brokers and open an account.

Which global stock exchanges can I access?

The global markets available will vary between providers, so it's best to check if a provider can access the particular stock exchange you're looking for before you open an account. However, most international share trading platforms will provide traders access to the following major global exchanges and more:

  • Australia – The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)
  • United States – The New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq
  • United Kingdom – London Stock Exchange
  • Europe – Euronext
  • Asia – Japan Exchange Group, Shanghai Stock Exchange, Hong Kong Stock Exchange

What are the benefits of international share trading?

Some of the major benefits of international share trading include, but are not limited to:

  • Access more shares. The Australian share market only represents around 2% of the world's shares. International share trading allows you to access thousands of global shares that you wouldn't have access to if you were trading on the ASX alone.
  • Invest in major global brands. You can invest in shares of major global companies such as Facebook, Tesla, Amazon, PayPal, Google and Apple.
  • Diversification. Investing in global stocks as well as local Australian shares will ensure your portfolio is more diversified. An internationally diversified portfolio will help protect you from any major dips in the Australian market.
  • 24/7 trading. You can trade 24 hours a day rather than being restricted to trade within set hours.
  • Cheaper brokerage. Depending on where you trade, it can be cheaper to buy overseas shares then to invest in Australia

International share trading brokerage fees

Trading international shares can incur different fees and commissions than what you would pay when trading Australian shares. Here's an idea of the fees you can expect to pay when trading shares on the New York Stock Exchange or the London Stock Exchange.

ProviderNew York Stock Exchange brokerage feeLondon Stock Exchange Brokerage Fee
IG Share TradingUS$0£0
Saxo Capital Markets Share TradingUS$4£8
CommSec International Trading AccountUS$19.95US$39.95 or 0.40%, whichever is greater

What are the risks of international share trading?

International stock exchanges give you access to many more investment options than those listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). However, it can carry a few more risks than the domestic market, foreign exchange rate risk, liquidity risk and risk from changes in foreign governments. Here are some things to be aware of:

Exchange rate volatility. You will need to convert Australian dollars into a foreign currency to buy shares listed on an international stock exchange. When you convert the money back to Australian dollars, there’s a risk the exchange rate will be worse than when you purchased the foreign currency.

Liquidity. You can only realise capital gains (or losses) after settling a sell order. Overseas stock exchanges can have fewer participants and a lower trading volume. So if you’re trading on a small international stock exchange, there’s a chance you may not be able to find a buyer for your shares and will have to sell at a significant discount.

Foreign policy. Just as the Australian Government’s policies can impact your bottom line, overseas governments can introduce policies and restrictions that can reduce your return on international investment. Many companies also have operations running in politically unstable regions. Political turmoil such as a military coup or civil war can derail foreign investments. Do your homework carefully before investing.

Tax legislation. The capital gains and other tax implications of trading international shares are more complex than if you were only trading Australian shares. You may need to pay for professional tax advice.

Different time zones. You’ll need to manage opposite time zones when buying or selling shares in major international markets like America and Europe.

What fees and charges are involved with international share trading?

  • Admin fee. Some providers charge a registration fee, ongoing membership or admin fee to use their brokerage services.
  • Brokerage fee. The brokerage fee is either a flat fee or a percentage of trade, whichever is greater. You may be able to find a deal on brokerage fees as a new customer.
  • Foreign exchange commission. The international share trading account provider will take a margin when exchanging funds from Australian dollars to a foreign currency.
  • Market fees. A charge or fee for trading in a particular market. For example, sell trades in the US are subject to pay SEC fees and trades in the UK attract a stamp duty charge. Local exchange fees can also apply.

Invest in global exchange traded funds (ETFs) and exchange traded options (ETOs)?

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and exchange-traded options (ETOs) provide alternative ways for Australians to access international shares.

An ETF is a fund traded on an exchange the same way as a share. An ETF consists of many different types of assets. For example, stock ETFs can comprise hundreds of shares from specific industries such as energy or mining. ETFs mirror the movements and returns of a particular market. There are many global market ETFs that are listed in Australia, including:

Options contracts (ETOs) give you the "option" to buy a security in the future for an agreed price. For example, equities options let you trade now on a company's future performance.

Invest in international shares through managed funds

It’s possible to invest in international shares through managed funds. Some global-themed managed funds are available through select online share trading platforms thanks to the ASX Mfund settlement service.

When you buy and sell units in an mFund, you can track your units along with other investments such as shares and ETFs in a single place online.

How to find the best international share trading platform

When you’re comparing international share trading accounts, make sure to consider the following features:

  • Brokerage fees: This is a commission for executing a trade and is a flat fee or a percentage charge, whichever is greater. Providers charge a brokerage fees per trade. Some may even offer free brokerage deals.
  • Available markets: Where can you trade? Almost every provider can give you access to the US, but not all platforms let you trade in some areas of Asia and Europe.
  • If you can trade options: Consider whether you can trade ETOs, ETFs along side shares, and in which markets. Only some international share trading accounts let you trade options.
  • Execution speed: Check how long it takes for funds to clear and execute the trade.
  • The buffer: The account provider will take a couple of percentage points extra as a buffer against international currency fluctuations. This happens in the time it takes for the trade to clear.
  • Exchange rate margin: The account provider will often charge a bit extra on top of the real currency exchange rate to make a profit when converting Australian dollars to a foreign currency and vice versa.
  • Trading platform: Is smartphone compatibility with a mobile app an important feature, or are you happy with a browser-based platform? Either way, the trading platform should be easy to use. You should also be able to access account services such as tax, profit and loss, and dividend reporting tools quickly and easily.
  • Registration fees: Are you required to pay a registration or membership fee to open the international share trading account?
  • Education and research tools: Check which market tools and resources you can access to educate yourself about different companies and foreign markets are on offer. Fundamental analysis and charting tools are key to making better trades.
  • Customer support: Can you contact the provider outside business hours? Do they provide a dedicated account manager for clients?

Big Four banks international share trading account comparison

We’ve compared the Big Four Banks international share trading platforms in the table below. The brokerage fees listed in the table apply to share trading. Options transactions attract an additional fee per contract.

Big Four Banks share trading account comparison
CBAWestpacANZNAB
Global markets
25
25
11
7
Brokerage fee (US shares)
  • US$19.95 or trade up to US$5,000
  • US$29.95 or trade up to US$10,000
  • 0.31% or trade above US$10,000
  • US$19.95 or trade up to US$5,000
  • US$29.95 or trade up to US$10,000
  • 0.31% or trade above US$10,000
  • $59.95 or trade up to $10,000
  • 0.59% or trade over $10,000
  • $14.95 or trade up to $5,000
  • $19.95 or trade $5,001.00 – $20,000.00 in value
Trade options
  • Shares & ETFs (all countries)
  • ETOs (US)
  • Shares & ETFs (all countries)
  • ETOs (US)
  • Shares (all countries)
  • Shares (all countries)
  • EFTs (some countries)
Partner bank
LLC (Pershing) – [Bank of New York Mellon]
LLC (Pershing) – [Bank of New York Mellon]
Citigroup Global Markets Australia Pty Limited
Citibank
Access
Online and phoneOnline and phoneOnlineOnline

How do I open an international share trading account?

You can apply for an international share trading account online in less than 15 minutes. Compare accounts in the table above and click on the site to begin your application.

Eligibility

Application requirements can vary between different international share trading account providers. Generally, eligibility requirements for personal applicants will include:

  • Be over the age of 18
  • Have an Australian residential address
  • Have a valid contact number

Documentation and ID needed

If you’re a new customer to the share trading platform, you’ll need to verify your identity before you can begin to make trades. Have the following information on hand when you start your application for a share trading account.

  • Photographic identification such as your passport, driver’s licence or proof of age card
  • Your tax file number (TFN) or exemption code (optional)

Companies, organisations and trusts must be registered in Australia and lodge a US Withholding Tax Treaty Statement to trade in the United States. If you’re opening the account in the name of a trust or company, you’ll also need to supply:

  • Australian Company Number (ACN)
  • Australian Business Number (ABN)

Pros and cons of international share trading

Pros

  • Access more markets
  • Access major global brands
  • Portfolio diversification
  • 24/7 trading

Cons

  • More fees and costs involved
  • Complex tax rules
  • Foreign currency exchange rates will affect your returns
  • Competing time zones

Tips for people when trading international shares

International share trading accounts can give you access to some of the biggest names in the world. However, there are risks and issues to consider. For example, foreign regulatory considerations, time zone differences and lack of overseas market knowledge. Keep the following tips in mind if you’re just starting out:

  • Always have a phone number for your broker.
  • Check the deposit requirements before signing up.
  • Trading frequently? You might be eligible for discounts.
  • Always be aware of the fees involved.
  • Ensure you have access to the international markets you want.
  • Ensure the site security – 128 bit encryption is a must.
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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45 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    chrisSeptember 26, 2018

    Hi I am just starting out. I live in Australia and want to know what is the best broker in your opinion to use to trade mainly stocks. I want a broker that is partnered with a good desktop platform. I had a look at IG but i do not like there web platform and their partnership with MT4 only really allows for forex and commodity trading not share trading. Can you help?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaSeptember 30, 2018Staff

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      As a comparison website, we can’t provide specific recommendations to our users. However, the best broker for you depends on your specific needs, preference, and budget. For this reason, you may want to assess these factors before you choose a platform.

      What I can suggest is for you to explore further your options. On this page, you will see a table that allows you to conveniently compare your options. You can compare according to monthly fees and margin trading, to name a few. Once you found the right one for you, click on the “Go to site” green button to learn more or initiate your application. From there, you should know more about your options and identify the right one for you.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  2. Default Gravatar
    MarkAugust 9, 2018

    Looking at international shares it appears that the Australian brokers all use ‘custodian’ accounts overseas and that the shares aren’t actually registered in my name. Why is this so and is there an alternative?
    It would seem that the custodian could be loaning my shares to people who short the stock.

    Thanks!

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniSeptember 3, 2018Staff

      Hi Mark,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Dedicated custodian services are quite common, and qualified custodians are strictly regulated. Brokers will often use them to manage customer assets. A custodian account by itself isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm.

      These custodial services are intended to reduce the risk of misappropriation of customer funds, and sometimes a service might be legally required to use a qualified custodian.

      If you don’t feel confident with the custody arrangements made by a broker, and want an alternative, it might be a good idea to contact the broker for more information.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  3. Default Gravatar
    RoderickMay 2, 2018

    I hold shares in a company quoted in Australia which I wish to sell. I am a UK resident which appears to make this trade very complicated and as yet I have not found a broker either in the UK or Australia that can deal for me.

    • Default Gravatar
      NikkiMay 3, 2018

      Hi Roderick,

      Thanks for your message and for visiting finder – the leading comparison website & general information service built to give you advice in your buying decision needs. How are you doing today?

      We understand that you are facing challenges trying to find a broker to sell your shares. However, lease note that we’re a product comparison website and we do not represent any company we feature on our site. We provide general information on products to assist you in your buying decision process hence we cannot recommend product / service that is rightfully fit for you.

      You may choose from the brokerage firms we have on the page above. For more information, you can click the “more” under the “GO TO SITE” button. Once you’ve decided, you may click the “GO TO SITE” to be directed to their page.

      Hope this helps! Feel free to message us anytime should you have further questions.

      Cheers,
      Nikki

  4. Default Gravatar
    RebeccaMarch 12, 2018

    Hello – I own shares listed on the Swiss stock exchange that I want to keep. I have left the company where I bought the shares and I need to move them to another brokerage account in the next 3 weeks or the company will sell them and transfer the money to me.

    I am an Australian based in Australia and would need to move the shares to an Australian account (I think). NAB can do it but it will take 6 weeks. Can you give me any advice?

    Thank you.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayMarch 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for your question.

      Transferring your shares can be done through an off-market or online. You may check our guide on how and which account you can transfer your shares. You can use our comparison of share trading accounts to see which platform suits you. If you like to check the main page of the platform, please click on the ‘Go to site’ button.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      May

  5. Default Gravatar
    AlexFebruary 5, 2018

    I have an overseas broker & trade only on the LSE in GB pounds.
    I want to do same with an Australian on line Broker trading in & keeping portfolio in GB pounds

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayMarch 1, 2018Staff

      Hi Alex,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      That could be possible as the international share trading platforms above can provide access to the global exchanges such as the UK’ FTSE and ISEQ (Ireland). I would suggest that you get in touch with a provider listed above to discuss your trading options like trading in and keeping portfolio in GBP.

      Cheers,
      May

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