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Best Online Trading Platform Australia 2020

Picking the best trading platform, can be hard. There are many online brokers that offer their services to Australian citizens. In this article we go over the top online brokers for Australians in 2020. Share trading platforms have different features, fees, trading software to name a few. The ASX or Australia Stock Exchange has a market cap of $1.44 trillion (16th in to the world – Wikipedia). Through online brokers, Australians have access to the largest online exchanges in the world. ASIC (Australian Securities & Investments Commission) is one of the top-tier online brokers regulators.

Best online brokers in Australia

Here are Australia’s best online share trading platforms for 2020:

  1. Plus500 – Best Online Broker Australia – Visit Plus500
  2. eToro – Best Trading Platform for Beginners – Visit eToro
  3. SwissQuote – Best Specialized Services – Visit SwissQuote
  4. SaxoBank – Best for Professionals – Visit SaxoBank
  5. Questrade – Low Fees For Stocks – Visit Questrade
  6. CMC Markets – Best Platform – Visit CMC Markets
Plus500 Logo Blue

Best Trading Platform Overall – Visit Plus500

Plus500 takes the crown as the best trading platform in for Australians. Listed on the LSE this global CFD broker is regulated by several top-tier financial authorities. Among others, Plus500 is registered and regulated in Australia (AFSL Number 417727).

etoro trading platform logo transparent

Best Trading Platform For Beginners – Visit eToro

eToro is the best for beginner traders. Their trading platform is intuitive and easy to use. Best of all, eToro offers 0% commissions on stock and ETF trades. Their social trading platform is the best in the industry, especially for beginners.

SwissQuote logo

Best Specialized Services – Visit SwissQuote

SwissQuote is backed by Swissquote Bank SA. Swissquote was founded in 1996 and is a government regulated financial entity. Registered in Switzerland, Swissquote provides trading services to asset managers, brokers and high net worth individuals around the world.

Saxo Markets Logo

Best for Professional Traders

Saxo Bank online trading platform was launched founded in 1998. Registered and regulated in 15 financial jurisdictions around the world, Saxo Markets is a popular choice among professional traders. Backed by a bank it hold more than $17 billion in client’s deposits from around the world.

Questrade Logo

Good for Stocks

Questrade is a Canadian trading platform offering their services to Australian traders. Regulated by the Regulatory Organization of Canada (IROC), Questrade is a popular choice by traders.

CMC Markets Logo

Great Web Trading Platform

A UK-based online broker offering regular financial instruments as well more innovative products such as CFDs and spreadbetting contracts. CMC markets is regulated by FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) and therefore considered a safe broker.

Other Online Share Trading Platforms to Consider

  • Westpac – 4.0 Stars – It is on the expensive side for Australians, but offers access to 30 international exchanges. Westpac offers the option for high-end research by Morningstar along with free reports, stock recommendations plus stock screener and great charting features.
  • CommSec – 4.0 Stars – although their share trading fees are on the higher end, CommSec offers trading at 25 exchanges around the world. It is also one of the largest online brokers in AUS, offers great trading tools and market research.

There are a many things you should consider before you decide which trading platform you go with. The quality of its customer support, what kind of shares you can buy, other instruments you can trade, how much do you have to pay per trade, and which research tools are available are just a few. For example, if you want to trade Forex you might want to pick a different broker than for CFD trading. But before we dive into the specifics of the best online brokers we will be presenting in this roundup, let us provide you with some market data about online trading in Australia.

The Australian Stock Exchange, known as ASX, is the 12 largest in the world by market capitalization and it is an important puzzle piece in Australia’s economic development. As a result, Australians have grown more interested in share trading over the years as a way to capitalize on the growth of the country’s corporations.

Meanwhile, information technologies have contributed to further expand the scope and reach of share trading online within the country. Online trading platforms have opened new markets that were previously inaccessible, especially for less-experienced traders.

Buy and sell shares of businesses around the world is now easier than ever by taking advantage of the increasing number of share trading platforms available, even though choosing the right one for your needs and demands may be exhausting, considering the wide array of options.

For this reason, this guide intends to help you in your search for the right broker if you live in Australia by presenting you with the best online brokers available.

In our guide, we will go over the best online share trading platforms in Australia.

Contents

Why should you read this guide?

This guide will save you time. You could invest in more profitable trading-related activities, such as reading books about trading. Or researching the best trading tools you can use to get some ideas about what to trade.

On the other hand, while each online share trading provider is unique in its own way, you can still compare them based on a set of variables. We have summarized those variables in a way that can help you in comparing them more easily.

1 – Plus500

The top spot for the best trading platform goes to Plus500. Plus500 is regulated and registered in Australia. This broker offers a wide variety of financial products through CFDs. The company is also listed on the LSE (London Stock Echange). Plus500 is considered a safe broker and our top recommended broker for both beginners and experienced traders alike.

What’s best about this broker?

Plus500 is considered safe and is regulated by top-tier financial authorities. For an added layer of security and peace of mind, their company fully discloses their financials and is listed on a stock exchange. Financial products offered are well rounded and traded via CFDs.

What can you trade?

Currently plus500 offers:

  • Stock CFDs
  • Stock Index CFDs
  • Commodity CFDs
  • ETF CFDs
  • Spot Currency Pairs
  • Cryptocurrency

Brokerage Fees & Commissions

Plus500 doesn’t charge a commission or trading fees, as the fees are built into the bid/ask spread of the CFDs. Fees charged by Plus500 are fairly low compared to its closest competitors. First 5 withdrawals per month are free, which is a plus for small trading accounts. There is a $10 inactivity fee per quarter for accounts that are inactive for 3 months. Overnight funding fees are also charged for holding positions for longer than a day.

Pros & Cons

PROS
CONS
Safe and reliable broker
Not good for long term investing (only CFDs)
Regulated in many top tier jurisdictions
No Fixed Spreads
Wide variety of CFD instruments available
Great for day trading
5 Free Withdrawals per month

2 – eToro

eToro Logo

eToro is headquartered in Israel but they have permission to operate in Australia as they are registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

Additionally, eToro also operates legally in the UK, which increases its credibility as it is also regulated there by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of that country.

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What’s the best thing about this broker?

One of the coolest features is known as ‘social trading’. The platform provides a social-media like platform where you can engage and exchange ideas with fellow traders and you can even follow them and copy their portfolios if you feel their performance is good enough to rely on their judgment when it comes to picking the most profitable financial instruments. Their platforms offers typical order types and a negative balance protection.

What can you trade?

Their platform allows you to trade currencies, cryptocurrencies, stocks, ETFs, commodities, CFDs, and indexes.

Brokerage Fees & Commissions

eToro has 0% commissions on stock and ETF trades that apply to Australian clients.

On the other hand, for commodity, forex, and cryptocurrency trades eToro charges a spread every time you make a trade. That is true for every online broker. A spread is the difference between the price the buyer is willing to pay and the price the seller will receive. This spread varies from one instrument to the other and you should refer to their website to identify how much you’ll pay for trading a specific asset.

Meanwhile, there are other fees such as withdrawal fees, wire transfer fees, cryptocurrency transfer fees, and overnight fees, which are applied if you hold the securities for longer than a day.

The minimum amount required to open an account is fairly low, AUD $200.

Pros & Cons of eToro

PROS
CONS
Opening an account with eToro is fairly simple and should take no more than a few minutes.
Their educational materials are fairly limited to learning how to use the platform and not so much on trading ideas and actionable research.
They offer a wide variety of asset classes including commodities, foreign currency pairs, stocks, and ETFs.
There are minimum limits on your withdrawals and you have to pay a fee for taking money out of the platform.
Their social trading feature allows you to profit from the knowledge of more experienced traders by copying their portfolios. You can also check their performance in real time.
Higher fees and spreads on certain foreign currency pairs and commodities.
They have educational materials available including podcasts, blogs, and video tutorials you can rely on to learn how to use the platform.
They are regulated by two important government agencies in Australia and the UK.

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3 – SwissQuote

SwissQuote logo

SwissQuote is an online broker backed by Swissquote Bank SA, a government-regulated financial entity registered in Switzerland and founded in 1996 to provide share trading services to asset managers, brokers, and high-net worth clients around the world.

This online broker is considered one of the safest in this list since it is backed by a strong investment bank, yet this benefit translates into higher fees.

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While based in Switzerland, the platform is also available for clients in the Middle East, Malta, Europe, and Asia, and it considers itself to be a “global trading platform”.

What’s the best thing about this platform?

In general, SwissQuote is more appealing to sophisticated investors who are willing to pay above-market fees for specialized services including robo-advisory, offshore banking, and asset management services.

What can you trade?

The company’s Swiss unit allows investors to trade stocks, funds, options, and futures while the UK-based subsidiary offers CFDs and forex market trades. Global accounts have access to all the products the company has to offer through all of its subsidiaries.

Brokerage Fees & Commissions

The company requires no minimum deposit for Expat accounts (basic accounts), while corporate and trust accounts require a minimum deposit of USD$1,200 and USD$2,000 respectively.

Stock and ETF trades pay a 0.25% fee per trade while bonds pay a higher 0.30% fee. Trade commissions on options, futures, and foreign currency trades vary depending on the location of the client.

Support

Limited to phone calls and it is available from Sunday to Thursday during office hours.

Pros & Cons of SwissQuote

PROS
CONS
Highly trusted due to its banking backing.
The user interface of its platform is a bit confusing.
The platform can be translated into various languages.
Not all research materials and tools are free.
No inactivity fees.
Above-market commissions and spreads.
Demo account available.
High-quality educational material.
The account opening process tends to be expedited.
Sophisticated services available (robo-advisory, portfolio management).

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4 – SaxoBank

Saxo Markets Logo

SaxoBank online share trading platform was launched in 1998 and it has become one of the go-to platforms for Australian traders due to its credibility and worldwide presence.

The platform is available in 15 different jurisdictions and holds more than $17 billion in client’s deposits from around the world. It was also featured in our online trading platforms in Singapore.

Saxo advertises a 3-step account registration that initiates with the submission of an application form. After that, the trader will add funds to the account by using one of its many payment methods and, finally, the account will be activated to allow the trader to conduct his operations freely.

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What’s the best thing about this broker?

SaxoBank’s extensive experience in the financial industry makes it a great choice for those with higher-than-average safety concerns. Additionally, the company’s online share trading interface is often qualified as extraordinary, featuring great charting tools, order types and research materials.

What can you trade?

SaxoBank’s platform provides access to stock, bonds, commodities, futures, ETFs, CFDs, options, and foreign currency pairs. The platform advertises that it offers more than 140 different forwards and more than 182 spot forex pairs.

Brokerage Fees & Commissions

The minimum amount required to open an account with SaxoBank is AUD$3,000 which puts it at the high-end of most online platforms in this particular area.

SaxoBank charges $6.99 per transaction for Australian stocks and $3 for US-listed ETFs. They also earn from the spreads when it comes to CFDs, currency, and option trades and charge $0.85 per lot for futures and listed options.

Fees may vary depending on the type of account selected. Inactivity fees also apply.

Support

SaxoBank offers a 24/5 support platform but no live chat alternative. Certain types of accounts also allow for the possibility of reaching out to Saxo’s staff of expert traders to ask for insights on potential transactions.

Pros & Cons of SaxoBank

PROS
CONS
Great reputation, banking background.
Higher than average fees on bonds, futures, and options.
Authorized and regulated by ASIC.
Higher than average minimum deposits (starting at AUD$3,000).
No withdrawal fees.
Customer support is unavailable during the weekends.
Good trading interface.
Identity checks may take longer than usual.
Broad portfolio of products to trade.
International shares are available.
Good research tools and educational materials.
Demo account available.

5 – Questrade

Questrade Logo

A Canadian online broker that is regulated by the Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IROC), this makes it a reliable choice for traders seeking a brokerage firm apart from the traditional options.

The platform claims to have over CAD$ 9 billion under administration and adds more than 50,000 every single year. Also, the platform was awarded as the Best Online Broker in 2019 by Money Sense.

This online share trading platform may be the best for investors in Australia who wish to focus on buying and selling international shares, more specifically US and Canada shares, due to its low fees.

What’s the best thing about this broker?

Questrade offers investors the possibility of managing their own portfolios as any other broker, but also offers asset management services for those who wish to leave their funds in the hands of a professional team.

This service is called Questwealth Portfolios and it offers pre-built low-priced exchanged-traded funds, which are passively-managed investment vehicles for investors in Australia and all around the world.

What can you trade?

Questrade offers investors the possibility of trading stocks, ETFs, initial public offerings (IPO), stock options, mutual funds, bonds, international equities, and precious metals.

Brokerage Fees & Commissions

There is no minimum deposit to open an account on Questrade and no closing fees either.

Stock trades are priced at 1¢ per trade with a minimum $4.95 commission and a maximum amount paid per trade of $9.95. ETF trades are free.

Questwealth portfolio management fees start at 0.25% for the first $100,000 and then go down to 0.20%.

Support

You can talk to a customer service rep through the phone or through a live chat feature.

Pros & Cons of Questrade

PROS
CONS
Low fees for stock investments and free ETF trades.
The account opening process takes longer than average for international customers.
Great alternative for Australia residents seeking to buy shares in the US and Canadian markets.
Non-Canadian users pay higher withdrawal fees.
High-quality customer service.
Inactivity fees apply and are higher than average.
The fees for its asset management service are below the market average.
Forex trading is not available.
Great platform interface.
Educational material for investors is available yet in an unstructured way.
Great research tools containing actionable market data.

6 – CMC Markets

CMC Markets Logo

The company was founded in 1989 and its CMC Markets Asia Pacific Pty Ltd and CMC Markets Stockbroking Limited subsidiaries are regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

This online broker offers the possibility of opening a regular share trading account or a CFD share trading account, separating the two activities as their scope and nature are significantly different.

What’s the best thing about this broker?

This platform is a nice alternative for casual investors in Australia as it offers a 0.1% (or $11) commission for the first 10 trades every month. This means that low-frequency traders and investors can benefit from lower costs if they follow a buy and hold approach.

What can you trade?

CMC Markets offers a wide range of products for investors including forex pairs, commodities, CFDs, stocks, treasuries, cryptocurrencies, international shares, and indexes.

Brokerage Fees & Commissions

No minimum deposit is required to open a CMC Markets account.

The first 10 trades of each month cost $11 (or 0.1% of the total), while Pro accounts offer up to 30 trades at a price of $9.99.

Trading fees for CMC Markets are not publicly disclosed and they tend to vary depending on the nature and instruments involved in each trade.

CFD commissions vary widely depending on the instrument and the underlying asset.

There are no withdrawal or deposit fees. There is a monthly inactivity fee for trading CFDs, but no inactivity fees for stocks.

Support

CMC Markets features a live chat. You can also reach them via phone call or e-mail.

Pros & Cons of CMC Markets

PROS
CONS
Below-market fees for most products.
Confusing fee structure.
Low fees for casual investors.
Customer service has some negative feedback.
Great platform interface.
Educational and training materials are available.
One of the best CFD and spreadbetting brokers in Australia.

Best online broker for beginners

The best broker for beginners in Australia is eToro. eToro features a very intuitive and easy to use trading platform. Furthermore, the social trading capabilities are perfect for beginner traders. Visit eToro

What is the cheapest online trading site?

It is hard to determine the cheapest online trading website. There are many factors that go into calculation the final trading price.

What is the best trading platform?

  1. Plus500 – Best Online Broker Australia – Visit Plus500
  2. eToro – Best Trading Platform for Beginners – Visit eToro
  3. SwissQuote – Best Specialized Services – Visit SwissQuote
  4. SaxoBank – Best for Professionals – Visit SaxoBank
  5. Questrade – Low Fees For Stocks – Visit Questrade
  6. CMC Markets – Best Platform – Visit CMC Markets

What you should look out for when picking an online trading platform?

The list of variables you should analyze when picking a platform is a bit extensive and that is why this guide is so useful to help you save time and effort. Here is a non-exclusive list of some of the characteristics we will be analyzing throughout this guide:

  • Available markets and securities – depending on what exactly you are looking to trade you should pick your share trading platforms accordingly. You may like CFDs as they allow you to trade on virtually anything without having to commit that much money in buying the underlying asset or you may prefer ETFs to invest in broad-market indexes.
  • Margin accounts – a margin account allows you to use leverage to boost your returns. Each broker offers a certain degree of leverage you can rely on for your transactions and it is often expressed as ratio i.e. 20:1, 15:1. This ratio means that for every dollar you put into the account you may borrow 20 or 15 from your broker to increase the size of your positions.
  • Support – customer support is something you don’t think you need until you run into an issue. For that reason, the best online brokers offer top-notch customer chat support to address any issue investors may face during their journey.
  • Types of orders – the availability of different types of trade orders is important to help you lock in profits even while you are not staring at the screen. This includes stop-loss, trailing stop-loss, and limit orders which are quite useful for investors.
  • Security – since there will be money involved, one of the major concerns investors have about online brokers is how safe their money and personal information is.
  • Research tools – you are probably not going to wake up every single morning with one (or many) brilliant trading ideas. This is why research tools are something you should look for in a share trading platform.
  • Education & training materials – trading is a journey, not a race. Learning is part of that journey and your broker can be of assistance in that regard by providing you with educational material you can take advantage of to enrich your knowledge and hopefully your returns.
  • Cost of trading – trading platforms have different ways of charging for trading online by using their systems and it is important that you understand how much you will be paying to buy shares – or sell them – before you pull the trigger.
  • Interface and ease of use – even though the best brokers offer mobile apps and user-friendly desktop interfaces there are certain unique elements that each of their systems bring to the table that may be convenient for some while uncomfortable for others. Since you will be interacting with these interfaces on a daily basis you should make sure you are comfortable with it before deciding which broker you will sign up with.
  • Extra features – each online broker has its own way to present itself to traders as the ‘best’. They often do this by introducing some convenient features their competitors do not offer.

What kind of financial instruments can you trade on these online trading platforms?

Brokers tend to offer a wide range of asset classes. They may offer you the possibility of trading commodities, stocks, bonds, currencies, or cryptocurrencies, among other financial instruments, and they might do this through different investment vehicles.

For example, certain platforms allow you to buy and sell shares or bonds, while others may offer exchange-traded funds (ETF), which are investment vehicles that use a pool of capital to buy certain financial instruments based on their individual objective.

On the other hand, other platforms may offer Contracts for Difference (CFDs), which are innovative financial contracts that allow the trader to benefit from the fluctuation in the price of the underlying security without actually holding the asset.

How safe are online stock brokers?

It is safe to trade stocks online. Online brokers are regulated and they do their best to eliminate threats.

While trading is an activity that involves certain risks, your online trading platform should be safe. After all you trust them with your money.

One way to achieve this is to make sure your broker is registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) or a peer authority from a foreign country if they are not registered in Australia. These entities are in charge of overseeing and regulating brokers within their respective countries.

How can I start trading if I live in Australia?

Investors in Australia can engage in online share trading by opening a stock brokerage account. The minimum deposit, the time it takes to approve each account, and the tools available once the account is opened vary from one share trading platform to the other.

However, most online brokers approve new accounts in less than 5 days and accept various payment methods for depositing money into the account.

Best Online Brokers Australia for Beginners

Here are the best online brokers for beginners for Australians:

BROKER
BEST FOR
WEBSITE
Plus500
Best Trading Platform for Australians
eToro
Best Social Trading Platform
SwissQuote
Best Specialized Services
SaxoBank
Best for Professionals
Questrade
Low Fees For Stocks
CMC Markets
Best Trading Platform

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