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  • Writer's pictureDonnelle Brooks

CommSec Review: A Comprehensive Guide to Australia's Leading Online Trading Platform

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

As one of Australia's oldest banks, it stands to reason that Commonwealth banks trading platform Commsec would be a trusted choice for people seeking a share trading platform. In the digital age of finance, online trading platforms have become a go-to solution for investors looking to take control of their portfolios. Among the many choices available, CommSec shines as one of Australia's leading and most reputable online trading platforms. In this article, we'll explore the features, benefits, and services offered by CommSec, helping you make informed decisions about your investment journey.

What is Commsec?

CommSec, short for Commonwealth Securities, is a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, making it a part of one of the country's most established financial institutions. It is renowned for its user-friendly interface, extensive investment options, and comprehensive market research tools, catering to both novice and seasoned investors.

Key Features and Benefits of Commsec

Commsec allows you to place orders for securities on the ASX, as well as 13 international markets including Europe, United States and Asia. Let's look at the features.

Diverse Investment Options

CommSec provides access to a wide range of investment opportunities, including shares, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), options, warrants, and more. This diversity allows investors to build well-rounded portfolios tailored to their financial goals and risk tolerance.

User-Friendly Interface

CommSec's intuitive platform ensures a seamless user experience, even for those new to online trading. With easy navigation and clear information, investors can manage their portfolios with confidence. Watchlists are a particularly good feature.

Comprehensive Research Tools

Keeping abreast of market trends is crucial for successful investing. CommSec offers a suite of research tools, including market analysis, company reports, and live market data, empowering investors with valuable insights to make informed decisions.

Mobile Trading App

CommSec's mobile app enables investors to trade and monitor their portfolios on the go. The app provides real-time market updates, portfolio tracking, and secure access to account information, making it a convenient tool for active investors. I do find, however, that their mobile app leaves a lot of to be desired compared to their web browser. It is quite difficult to find info about dividends on the mobile app.

Customer Support

CommSec's dedicated customer support team is available to assist users with any questions or concerns related to the platform or trading processes, ensuring a smooth experience. Their Commsec customer support is much more helpful than their banking help, which is a series of links to help articles and chatbots. I found that when I needed to close an account, human help was available in less than 24 hours.

How to Sign Up to Commsec

Signing up with CommSec is a straightforward process. Users need to create an account, provide the necessary identification documents, and link their bank account to fund their trading activities. You will need to upload a photo of yourself holding your drivers license as part of the approval process. Once approved, investors can begin exploring the platform's features and start trading.

What is CommSec Pocket?

For those seeking a more straightforward approach to investing, CommSec Pocket offers a user-friendly mobile app focused on exchange-traded funds (ETFs). With a selection of curated investment options, CommSec Pocket appeals to investors looking for a hassle-free way to start investing. Their brokerage fees for Commsec pocket are higher than other microinvesting options though, so I wouldn't recommend this feature. Instead, take a look at Raiz or Spaceship.

Is Commsec Safe?

As part of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, CommSec adheres to rigorous security protocols to safeguard users' personal and financial information. Industry-standard encryption and multi-factor authentication are employed to ensure data protection and secure transactions. I would say this is one of the greatest benefits of Commsec.

Commsec Fees and Costs

CommSec charges brokerage fees for each trade, and fees vary depending on the trade size and investment type. However, they also offer frequent promotions, competitive pricing, and fee waivers for regular traders, making it cost-effective for investors with various trading volumes.

Commsec Brokerage Fees

Up to and including $1,000 - $5

Over $1,000 up to $3,000 - $10

Over $3,000 up to $10,000 - $19.95

Over $10,000 up to $25,000 - $29.95

Over $25,000 - 0.12%

The Downsides of Commsec

While Commsec is a solid platform, it isn't perfect. This is what lets it down

Fees and charges

CommSec, like any brokerage service, charges fees for various services, including trading, account maintenance, and data subscriptions. These fees can eat into your profits, especially for frequent traders or those with smaller account balances. I would suggest trading strategically. For instance, a $1020 dollar trade would cost you $10, whereas a $990 trade would only be $5, so use your head before pressing the order button.

Limited access to international markets

CommSec primarily focuses on the Australian market, which means it may not provide access to a wide range of international stocks and exchanges. If you're interested in trading international securities, you may find limited options. I personally found it challenging to get set up to buy international shares on Commsec, and prefer to expose myself to international markets through ETFs.

Complexity for beginners

CommSec's platform may be overwhelming for inexperienced investors. The interface and trading tools might have a steeper learning curve for newcomers to the stock market. A little bit of pre knowledge is required, like terms such as Good for Day and At Market.

Platform limitations

While CommSec offers a comprehensive platform, it may not have all the advanced features and tools that some experienced traders seek. This could be a drawback for those who require more sophisticated trading capabilities.

What is an At Limit Order on Commsec?

At Limit Orders are a fundamental tool in the world of financial markets and trading. These orders allow investors and traders to specify a particular price at which they are willing to buy or sell a financial asset, such as stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrencies. Unlike market orders, which execute immediately at the current market price, limit orders only execute when the market price reaches the specified limit price or better. This provides traders with a level of control and precision in their trading strategies, enabling them to target specific entry or exit points. At Limit Orders can be a valuable risk management tool, as they help traders avoid unexpected price fluctuations and ensure that their trades are executed at a predetermined price level, which can be particularly useful in volatile markets.

If you place an At Limit order on Commsec, and the transaction is not processed in 20 days, your At Limit order is cancelled

What is An At Market Order on Commsec?

An At Market Order, often referred to simply as a market order, is a type of order used in financial markets and trading. When an investor or trader places a market order, they are instructing their broker to execute the trade immediately at the current market price. Unlike limit orders, which specify a particular price at which the trade should occur, market orders prioritize speed of execution over price. This means that market orders are typically filled quickly, but the final executed price may vary slightly from the current quoted price due to market fluctuations. Market orders are commonly used when traders want to buy or sell an asset promptly and are less concerned about getting the absolute best price. However, in highly volatile markets, the price difference between the quoted and executed prices can be more substantial, making market orders riskier in such conditions.

An At Market order on Commsec can only be made when the market is open, between the hours of 10am and 4pm Sydney time. An at market order can not be placed for a share that is currently ceased trading.

What is a Good For Day Order on Commsec?

A Good for Day (GFD) order is a type of time-in-force order used in trading and financial markets. When a trader places a GFD order, they specify that the order should remain active and eligible for execution only during the current trading session of the day. If the order is not filled by the end of the trading day, it expires automatically, and any unfilled portion of the order is canceled. This type of order is commonly used by traders who have a specific price target in mind for their trade but want to ensure that the order does not remain open indefinitely. GFD orders provide traders with control over the duration of their order, allowing them to reassess their trading strategy if market conditions change.

For example, if a trader places a GFD limit order to buy a stock at a specific price and the market price never reaches that level during the trading day, the order will expire at the end of the day, and the trader will need to decide whether to place a new order or adjust their strategy for the next trading session.

The Bottom Line

CommSec's reputation as a leading online trading platform in Australia is well-earned, given its comprehensive features, user-friendly interface, and commitment to customer support. Whether you're a seasoned investor or just starting your investment journey, CommSec provides the tools and resources needed to navigate the financial markets with confidence. From diverse investment options to valuable research tools, CommSec empowers you to take control of your financial future. Begin your investment journey with CommSec today and unlock the potential of online trading.

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