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These are the 10 best trading platforms of 2021 according to the latest information:
- Best overall broker: CMC Markets
- Best low-cost broker: Superhero
- Best for US stocks: eToro
- Best for Australian share trading: SelfWealth
- Best for international share trading: Interactive Brokers Australia
- Best for beginners: Sharesies
- Best for active traders: Interactive Brokers
- Best for ETFs: Superhero
- Best for long-term investing: SelfWealth
- Best for penny stocks: Interactive Brokers
Are you looking for the best online brokers in Australia? With activity in the stock market surging last year, there are now dozens of share trading apps to choose from in Australia in 2021 offering record low prices.
But picking a share trading platform is about more than just the fees. The best platform for you will depend on how often you trade, which markets youre investing in and how experienced you are.
To make it easier, weve compared some of Australias top share trading platforms by looking at fees, features and available products. To get the best results, we compared 39 different features, including fees structures, support options, trading tools and range of markets.
How did we pick this list?
We use a proprietary algorithm that calculates the ranking of our share trading platforms based on fees, features, available markets and user experience. Bear in mind that the brokers displayed on this page may not always be the best for you and youre encouraged to compare for yourself. Although we work hard to track and compare each and every broker in Australia, this may not always be the case.
For more information about how we calculated our categories, head to our share trading ranking page.
Best overall broker
CMC Markets offers extensive features and options to suit all traders, including CHESS-sponsored Australian shares, global shares and currencies. You also get extensive trading tools including advanced technical charts, stock watchlists and conditional orders.
Best low-cost broker
Superheros share trading platform offers both US and Australian stocks for the lowest brokerage fees in Australia. Australian shares are $5 per trade order, US stocks are $0 per trade and ETFs cost $0 for purchase orders. The platform is available on both mobile and desktop and is user-friendly enough for beginners to get started.
Best for US stocks
eToro is well known for its social features that allow users to imitate the trades made by other popular traders. The platform launched US share trading in Australia in 2020 and more recently European and Hong Kong stocks. Its a top choice for US stocks thanks to its $0 brokerage fees, low currency conversion rate and trading features.
Disclaimer: eToro offers both stock and CFD trading. CFDs are considered high-risk products where you could lose more than your initial capital.
Best for Australian share trading
SelfWealth offers Australian (CHESS-sponsored) and US-listed stocks and ETFs. For Australian (ASX) share trading, the platform offers a low-cost flat brokerage of $9 per trade as well as an extensive list of research features, including portfolio and stock analysis tools, news updates and watchlists.
Best for international share trading
- Stocks from 33+ countries
- Low brokerage fees for global share trading
- Low currency conversion rate
- Fractional share trading
Interactive Brokers is ranked number 1 for international share trading thanks to its long list of of global markets, cheap global brokerage fees and low currency conversion fee. It also offers a number of markets not typically available on Australian apps, including access to global bond markets and over-the-counter (OTC) small-cap stocks out of the US.
Best for beginners
- Easy to navigate
- Low brokerage fees for Australian and global share trading
- Invest from a few cents, Australian, NZ and US shares
- Fractional share trading
Sharesies is an easy-to-use share trading platform that offers stocks and ETFs from Australia, New Zealand and the United States. The app is great for beginners because it has no minimum investment (you can invest a few cents at a time) and low brokerage fees for local and global stock trading. Theres also educational content offered through the platform and no ongoing fees to worry about.
Best for active traders
- Extensive technical analysis charting tools
- Extensive research tools including stock analysis
- News, company announcements feeds
- Margin, options, CFD, Forex, trading options
Interactive Brokers has extensive trading tools for active traders, such as advanced charting, fractional shares and a long list of conditional order options. Its brokerage fees are among the lowest on the market for Australian and global share trading, especially for high-frequency traders. Users can also trade OTC stocks.
Best for ETFs
Superhero made waves when it launched onto the Australian scene last year thanks to its super low brokerage fees and easy-to-use design. The platform charges no brokerage fees when you invest in Australian-listed ETFs, a flat $5 brokerage fee for Australian stocks and $0 brokerage on US stocks. Because it also has no ongoing fees, this makes it a top pick for long-term and ETF investing.
Best for long-term investing
With no monthly subscription or inactivity fees for the standard account, SelfWealth customers can buy and sell Australian (CHESS-sponsored) and US shares for a flat $9.50 fee without worrying about ongoing costs. SelfWealth also offers excellent research features, such as portfolio tracking tools, stock recommendations and company analysis.
Best for penny stocks
- Stocks from 33 countries
- OTC stock trading
- Fractional investing
- Conditional orders
Interactive Brokers is one of the few online brokers to offer OTC stock trading here in Australia. IB also features advanced trading tools, global share trading and an extensive list of conditional order types.
Compare share trading platforms
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.
The best app for beginners is going to be very different to a platform that suits active or professional traders. Meanwhile, somebody that wants to invest in Australian shares and ETFs may have no interest in currencies trading or international markets.
The fees can also change depending on how often you trade in a month, a quarter or a year. In fact, recent Finder research found that the average share trader could save approximately $1,048 in brokerage fees a year by switching to a more suitable broker (calculated on 7 trades per month of $1,000).
It may even save money to have more than 1 platform. For example, you could have 1 app to trade US stocks, 1 for ASX shares and another for currency markets.
Whatâ€™s your trading style?
There are many different kinds of share traders. Once you know which category you fall into, youâ€™ll be able to more easily pick the best share trading app for you. For example, there are casual traders, active traders and long-term investors.
This will influence the features youre looking for in an online broker. From the ease of use of the system through to the market research information available, its important that the platform complements your trading needs.
Ask yourself the following questions to determine your trading style:
How often will I trade? If you buy or sell shares once or twice a month (or even less), youâ€™re a casual investor. You may want to avoid brokers that have an inactivity fee or charge higher broker fees for less frequent trades.
If you intend to buy and sell shares multiple times in a day, youâ€™re an active trader. Youâ€™d want to look for platforms that offer low brokerage for high-frequency trading and an extensive range of trading features, such as charting tools and order options.
Am I a trader or an investor? Traders try to make money from share price movements by buying and selling stocks frequently â€“ often several times in a day or week.
Investors use the buy and hold strategy by targeting quality companies they think will rise over a long time frame and possibly offer dividends. They may only buy and sell a few times in a year. Investors may find the inactivity fee more important than a stock analysis feature.
For traders, a low brokerage fee and advanced features are key. They might find the stock analysis feature more important than an inactivity fee.
How will I place trades? Will you be placing all your trades online, via a mobile app or over the phone? Make sure the app offers your preferred choice and check the fees.
What will I be trading? Do you want to trade Australian shares, US shares or other international markets? Some online brokers also offer other markets such as global currencies and cryptocurrencies. Depending on what your priorities are, you may wish to get a broker that offers all of the above or several different brokers â€“ 1 for each market.
How much money am I trading? Do you intend to invest 1 lump sum of $5,000 into the stock market or would you prefer to make several small trades of a few hundred dollars? Brokerage fees sometimes differ depending on the amount youâ€™re buying and selling per month, per year or by trade.
How to compare online brokers
There are plenty of things youll need to consider when looking at different platforms. Of course, it all comes down to how youre intending to use it.
Here are some of the key features to look at when comparing online share trading platforms:
- The broker fees. Almost every online trading platform will charge you a brokerage fee (also called a commission fee) when you buy or sell shares, ranging from around $10 to $30 per trade. These fees may be calculated as a percentage of the transaction amount for larger trades and may also be lower depending on how frequently you trade.
- Monthly fees. Some providers charge ongoing subscription or inactivity fees where youâ€™re charged if you make too few trades. This will especially be the case where a platform offers an extensive range of features for advanced traders.
- What can you trade? Some trading platforms will not only give you access to Australian shares but also international shares. Others will also allow you to trade currencies, indices, cryptocurrencies and much more, so look for this functionality if its important to you.
- Ease of use. Share market trading can be complicated and often requires you to respond quickly to market changes. With this in mind, look for a platform that allows you to make fast and precise trades with minimum fuss.
- Access to market data. Does the platform offer dynamic, real-time or delayed market updates? Some platforms offer research and broker analysis on individual stocks that can come in handy.
- Order types. Consider the options available when youre buying or selling shares. Can you place orders at market and/or at limit and are other order types such as stop/loss orders an option to add more flexibility to your trading?
- Reporting. Check what reporting tools each platform offers to help you track how your trades are performing, record dividends and pass on any relevant information to the ATO at tax time.
- Customer support. Look for phone, email and live online chat support. Does it offer customer service 24/7 if youre having trouble placing a trade?
- Education. Some platforms also feature a range of educational tools and resources, such as how-to guides and webinars, to help you get more out of your trading account.
- Security. How secure is the platform and what measures are in place to ensure the safety of your funds?
What fees will I pay to trade shares?
There are 3 main fees that commonly apply when you use online share trading platforms â€“ brokerage fees, monthly fees and foreign exchange fees if you trade global shares.
Brokerage fees vary greatly between providers but typically start at around the $10 to $20 range. For large transactions, fees of around 0.1% and up usually apply. If youâ€™re planning on making lots of trades, youâ€™ll want to keep an eye out for a platform that offers low per-trade fees.
Some providers will not charge any monthly fees at all. However, more advanced trading platforms and those that offer premium services will often charge a monthly fee that could be as high as around $80 per month. A number of brokers will waive this fee if you perform more than a certain number of trades each month.
Finally, remember that many brokers offer different membership levels â€“ for example gold, silver and platinum â€“ which offer different features and therefore attract varying fees.
- Brokerage fees. Brokerage fees (also called commission fees) are the charges that apply to each buy and sell transaction of stocks and ETFs. They usually vary depending on the size of your buy or sell order or how often you trade.
- Ongoing fees. These apply monthly or annually, but not all providers will charge ongoing fees. This may depend on how frequently you trade, for example, inactivity fees are often charged if you dont place any trades within a certain period of time.
- Withdrawal fees. Some brokers charge a fee to withdraw money from your account.
- Foreign exchange fees. If you want to buy US or other global shares, youll need to pay an exchange fee when you deposit money into your account to convert your Australian dollars to the applicable currency.
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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