CommSec Review

Richard Montana | August 2, 2022

Operating since 1995, CommSec (Commonwealth Securities Limited) is an online broker based in Sydney, Australia. They enable you to trade Australian and international stocks through their proprietary web and mobile trading platforms, with intuitive interfaces, advanced charting tools, and fast trade execution speeds. I found them to have a great selection of trading tools for professional market analysis and educational resources to help bring beginners up to speed. They may not have the cheapest fees when compared to other brokers, but you do get access to plenty of technical analysis tools and fundamental data to help you make informed investing decisions. If you don’t mind paying extra for access to quality platforms and data, they are certainly worth a look for anyone in Australia who wants to invest or trade online.

Pros & Cons
  • Easy-to-use website and mobile app
  • Invest anytime, anywhere with as little as $50 into themed options
  • Large variety of 7,000+ contract for difference markets
  • Plenty of financial instruments including shares and ETFs
  • Access to Australian and international securities
  • Minimal entry requirement to start investing
  • Trading shares is affordable, simple and flexible
  • Good range of educational resources for beginners
  • It's free to join and there are no monthly account fees
  • Active trader program that gives personalised support, priority access and exclusive offers
  • Quick and easy 5-minute account opening process
  • Excellent customer support provided
  • Australian clients only
  • Few account funding options
  • Limited account currencies
  • Platform and data fees apply
  • Inactivity fee for international trading accounts
  • Currently do not support cryptocurrency trading

Summary

With over 20 years of online trading experience, CommSec remains one of the oldest and most widely used investing platforms in Australia for the retail market. Clients can trade international shares, indices, currencies, commodities and listed managed investments. I like this broker as they have a good selection of proprietary trading tools easily accessible through their web-based and mobile trading platforms. This can help greatly when it comes to conducting in-depth market analysis.

The broker is a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Whilst anyone can open a CommSec share trading account without being a Commonwealth Banking customer, it would allow you to easily view and move between banking and trading accounts with a single login. I think this is integration is more convenient than switching between multiple accounts for different purposes.

Convenience, flexibility and great value aren’t all a CommSec Share Trading Account offers. On the CommSec website you’ll find everything you need to invest with confidence, whatever your level of experience — free real-time quotes, market depth, live announcements and live charting, no conditions attached. There is an active trader program that gives personalised support, priority access and exclusive offers.

They make it possible for investors to open an account and start trading with a minimum deposit from just $50. Disappointingly, the broker doesn’t have a demo account option for you to try out their products and services before making a financial commitment. If this is important to you, then Pepperstone is another Australian broker you might want to take a look at.

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Regulation

When it comes to choosing a broker, regulation is one of the first things that I look for. I would always prefer to use a regulated brokerage firm as they must follow rules and procedures that have been put in place to protect investors. I am pleased to see that CommSec is regulated which means that I personally wouldn’t have any problem using them for my day trading activities.

Commonwealth Securities Limited (CommSec) is a wholly owned but non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia. They are a market member of the Australia Stock Exchange (ASX) and Cboe Australia — a clearing participant of ASX Clear Pty Limited and a settlement participant of ASX Settlement Pty Limited.

Being a subsidiary of one of the biggest banks in Australia offers them some level of trust among Australians, whilst they are regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) — the agency that regulates financial market operators in Australia.

Countries

CommSec is based in Sydney, Australia and does not offer its services to international clients. They make it clear on their website that the information on their site is directed and available to and for the benefit of Australian residents only. So, if you are not living in Australia, even if you are a citizen, please feel free to look for another option in our broker reviews.

If you are currently living overseas, you may be able to trade with the broker if you are CHESS sponsored with CommSec and have an Australian bank account linked for the settlement of your trades. Some restrictions apply to applicants from different jurisdictions depending on various legal and regulatory requirements.

Platforms

CommSec has a powerful web-based trading platform, as well as a mobile application of the platform. CommSec’s online platform makes information quicker and easier to understand and the mobile and tablet apps let you trade on the go. CommSec Pocket lets you invest anytime, anywhere, at a low cost.

CommSec WebTrader

The broker offers their proprietary web-based platform which has a user-friendly interface and provides you with a lot of helpful analytical and trading tools, with access to their own community forum, advanced real-time charting, stock screeners, trading limits, stock announcements, and many others. I like the web trading platform as it is compatible with all the popular web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox. This means that you can easily access it from any device without needing to download or install any additional software.

CommSec Platform

CommSec Platform

CommSec Mobile App

The CommSec mobile application is also as good, with most of the interesting features of the web version, such as the interactive and customizable charts, conditional orders, stock watchlist, and comparison charts. With the CommSec Mobile App, you can stay on top of the market and trade, whenever you like and wherever you are. I find trading apps very handy for when I need to quickly check my positions and the latest market news.

CommSec Pocket

CommSec Pocket is a simple investing app that brings investing within the reach of those who may have found it too complicated. You can start investing with as little as $50, and gradually build a portfolio over time. Choose from 7 themed investment options and invest in something that appeals to you, like tech, sustainability leaders, or the biggest 200 companies on the Aussie market. They will help you along the way with bite-sized tips, videos, and articles to teach you all about the share market.

CommSec Pocket

CommSec Pocket

When you invest via CommSec Pocket, you’ll be buying units in an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). ETFs are funds that trade on a stock exchange, just like shares – the difference is that an ETF represents an investment in a selection of companies and assets, while a share represents an investment in just one company. One ETF can give you exposure to a whole diverse portfolio. Every ETF in CommSec Pocket has a theme you can choose from, covering different industries, markets or countries. All investments come with some degree of risk, so it’s important to do your research before you commit to anything.

IRESS Viewpoint

IRESS Viewpoint is a web-based application powered by the IRESS platform which is a provider of stockmarket data. CommSec have integrated IRESS Viewpoint with their online platform to facilitate orders on all trading accounts linked to your login. You can also view Portfolio, Open Order and Fund information on your accounts. With a winning mix of data, software and on-the-ground support, ViewPoint combines responsive design, real-time market data and access to 130+ markets for a seamless digital trading experience.

IRESS Viewpoint

IRESS Viewpoint

CommSecIRESS is dynamic, real-time data-streaming and trading platform for ASX-listed securities, including Australian shares, warrants, ETFs and ETOs. Ideal for active traders, CommSecIRESS has a great range of features — historical data, market map, alerts and watchlists — all integrated with your portfolio for fast and easy order placement. And you can customise the desktop to suit your trading style which is great. CommSecIRESS is a flexible subscription service that allows you to subscribe each calendar month – so there’s no ongoing commitment. And if you trade regularly, they will even give you free access.

I am really impressed by the IRESS ViewPoint platform and consider it one of the best trading platforms out there. It is a true multi-asset platform with investors and speculators in mind. Providing a global reach to equity markets via pure DMA (Direct Market Access), traders enjoy a fully customisable interface with rich graphics. ViewPoint can be easily configured to meet each user’s specific trading and market data needs without the hassle of managing multiple software programs.

Some of the key features of the IRESS platform include:

  • Over 50 analytical charting tools and 59 technical indicators
  • Compatible with Windows 7 and above and Mac OSX
  • Highly configurable charts with rich graphics
  • Optional market depth feature
  • Advanced order management for complex strategies
  • Create multiple watchlists and view in-depth information
  • Realtime news with search criteria and custom filter functions

Tools

CommSec has a very good variety of advanced tools to help traders stay on top of their game. Some of them include the Stock Watchlists, CommSec Executive Series, Market Reports, Morningstar Premium Ratings, and Goldman Sachs Stock Recommendations. You will find there are plenty of tools already included within the platforms where you can setup chart templates to be as simplistic or complex as you need them to be. There is everything required for performing technical, fundamental and price action analysis.

Stock Watchlists

CommSec makes it possible for you to research the markets and keep a list of stocks that you are interested in by setting up custom watchlists. I find this a convenient way to keep tabs on the market when I am waiting for opportunities to arise. It saves the hassle of needing to sift through thousands of financial instruments for a few that matter most to you.

CommSec Executive Series

From time to time, CommSec’s analysts interview top executives of the leading companies in Australia to offer traders insights into potential trading opportunities. This can be a good way to become aware of some market movements that you may have otherwise been unaware of. I would always like to confirm any signal with my own market analysis rather than acting on the insights blindly.

Market Reports

The broker’s expert team tries to keep you up to date on what is going on in the markets through live share market news and reports, videos, stock prices, and trends. I was really impressed with the detail that the market reports go into and think it is a great additional service for clients to take advantage of. This is the type of market research that can cost thousands if you were to subscribe with a third-party provider. It is nice to have everything all under one roof.

Morningstar Premium Ratings

Morningstar Premium is a subscription service that will give investors access to detailed information on various investment types. CommSec provides you with Morningstar Premium ratings for stocks in various sectors. I find this rating helpful in choosing the stocks to trade. Morningstar is considered one of the most respected sources of information, analysis, and ratings on funds in individual securities. With Morningstar Premium, you’ll have full access to that information. The fund screener tools will help you narrow down the very large field of funds to a digestible number of choices.

Goldman Sachs Stock Recommendations

Another great feature this broker has is that you can get access to cutting-edge research from the Goldman Sachs stock recommendations. They talk about trends shaping markets, industries and the global economy. I think it is always helpful to get an opinion from as many experts as possible before take a position.

Education

Whether you’re just starting your investment journey or looking to brush up on your skills, CommSec Learn can help build your investment knowledge for free. There you will find a plethora of helpful educational resources to make sure you have a clear understanding of the markets before you start. CommSec’s expert team keeps you up to date with live share market news and reports, videos, stock prices and trends.

  • Structured pathways to guide your learning
  • Bite-sized topics, so you can jump in and out
  • Learn at your own pace in your own time

They are loaded with all the support, information and resources you need to build your confidence and make the right money moves according to your own individual preferences. Whatever your level of investment experience, there’s always more to learn. CommSec Learn is designed to help you do just that.

CommSec has three major educational resource pages on its website:

Learn the Basics

This section introduces you to basic knowledge about investing and trading, which will kickstart you in your trading journey. I like how this section is graded into three levels: investing basics, choosing investments, and investment management.

Insights and Education

This section helps you to develop your investing knowledge and skills with in-depth insights, strategies, and trading ideas. It covers a good variety of topics for everyone to learn something new. I like how you can refine your strategy with in-depth articles and videos from the experts.

Webinars

The broker has a big collection of recorded webinars that cover a range of trading ideas and strategies. You can see how professionals place and manage their trades. I find this to be an excellent way to improve trading strategies and learn from the hands-on experience of others.

Markets

CommSec offers trading in shares listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, which is an impressive choice of more than 2,000 stocks. They readily offer traders margin loans to boost their portfolio and trading capacity if this is something that you are looking for. With CommSec, you can also trade CFDs, warrants, fixed-income securities, and managed funds. Overall, I think they have an excellent selection of investment options for everyone to create a diversified portfolio, regardless of your interests.

The broker also gives you access to around 25 of the biggest stock exchanges around the world, including the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, Tokyo Stock Exchange, and the London Stock Exchange. Therefore, you have the opportunity to trade over 100 blue-chip companies in different parts of the world, as well as Exchange-Traded Options (ETOs) and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). Just keep in mind that to have access to these international securities, you will need to open a CommSec International Securities Trading Account.

Unlike some other brokers, CommSec offers you flexibility with trading limits which allow you to place trades and take immediate advantage of market opportunities. You’ll also have access to a great choice of products to develop your trading strategies and diversify your portfolio, including Margin Loans, Options, Warrants and International Shares.

Australian shares

Invest in Australian companies listed on the ASX, with brokerage from as low as $10.002 per trade. Use free research, live quotes and trading tools to help you invest with confidence.

Exchange Traded Funds

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are funds that trade on a stock exchange like ordinary shares. They combine the investment advantages of managed funds with the ease and cost-effectiveness of share trading.

Warrants

Warrants trade on the ASX and provide leveraged exposure to underlying shares, indices, currencies, commodities and listed managed investments.

MINIs

MINI trading warrants (MINIs) are a type of trading warrant that provide the potential for a high return for a relatively small capital investment.

Partly Paid Securities

Partly Paid Securities do not require full payment upfront; you make a small initial investment to acquire the security and pay additional instalment(s) over time.

Company Options

Company Options are issued by a company to raise capital and trade on the ASX. They provide the holder the right but not the obligation to buy additional shares in the company at a specified price.

Accounts

You can use a CommSec Share Trading Account to invest in a range of ASX-listed securities, including Australian shares, using their award-winning trading platform. I like how you are able to view free real-time share and market prices, and settle your trades through the cash account of your choice or a CDIA3 for brokerage from as low as $10.00 per trade. Commonwealth Direct Investment Account (CDIA) is a cash management account for investors allowing you to trade and transact when and where it suits you. I found them to have a generous range of accounts that you can choose from, depending on how and what you want to trade.

CommSec Share Trading Account

A CommSec Share Trading Account gives you a fast, simple and affordable way to buy and sell Australian shares. You can place orders without a deposit, so you can take advantage of investment opportunities when they arise. And you can place them however suits you best — online, on the go via the App or over the phone.

To settle your trades, you can choose an existing cash account, or access some of the lowest brokerage rates with a Commonwealth Direct Investment Account. With the brokers seamless cash integration, you can make real-time cash transfers, and login just once via either NetBank or CommSec to manage your cash and trading accounts.

CommSec Margin Lending Account

With this account, you can have access to borrowed funds, which they can easily do via their mobile trading app.

CommSec Options Account

This account enables you to trade options. I like how this account can be used in conjunction with other CommSec accounts.

CommSec CFD Account

With the CFD account, you can trade more than 7,000 different CFDs, and you can start with as low as $10. There are many different markets you can trade with a CommSec CFD account including Australian shares CFDs, international share CFDs, global indexes, forward indices (futures), commodities, and forex CFDs.

CommSec International Securities Trading Account

This account gives you access to 25 international stock markets.

CommSec One

CommSec One is an exclusive program for active traders, that you can’t get anywhere else. It offers exclusive trading benefits and dedicated support, packaged in a single program. It includes access to a dedicated CommSec One service team, who can make all the difference when you’re looking to make each trade count. Plus, get access to CommSec and industry experts, who will share insights and strategies to help build your investing knowledge. CommSec One is free to join for CommSec members. You just need to meet certain eligibility criteria over a 12 month period.

Support

CommSec provides a multichannel customer support service that includes email, phone, online chat, and an online contact form. They are available during Australian market hours to provide you with immediate support during trading hours. You can also reach them via their social media handles on Twitter and YouTube. Like many brokers, support is not available 24/7 but this isn’t a deal breaker from my perspective.

Funding

There are two main options available for making payments to your CommSec account. However, I would’ve liked to see them offer a better selection of funding methods such as inline payment processors. I often find this is the most convenient way for me to move funds around for my trading activities. You can choose from the following options:

Linking your bank account

The recommended option is to link your Australian bank account to your trading account during your application. If you place a buy order, they will automatically direct-debit from your nominated bank account two business days after its execution.

Using BPay

In addition to your nominated bank account for settlement, you can deposit funds for your buy trades via BPay. A clearance time of up to two (2) business days may apply, so it is important to organize payment early to ensure funds are clear and available on the settlement date, which is often on the second business day after your purchase order.

Conclusion

Putting everything together, I am very impressed with many aspects of CommSec and the investment products and services that they provide to clients. I like how there is plenty of choice for investors and traders of all experience levels. The platforms are versatile and user-friendly, yet packed with all of the tools that you need to conduct advanced market analysis for making informed decisions. There are lots of handy educational content for beginners and a range of account types for all trading strategies. However, I think they could improve by adding some more payment options and free demo accounts so that potential users could try out the platforms before making a commitment. That being said, they can be a great solution for anyone in Australia who are looking to manage their bank accounts and investments all in one convenient place. It’s free to join and there are no monthly account fees. Simply select the account that suits you best and you could be trading with CommSec in as little as 5 minutes.

CommSec Logo

Min $50 Deposit

CommSec is an established trading brokerage who offer industry leading service and experience for some of the best online and mobile trading solutions. Australians can trade a great selection of financial instruments on powerful platforms with access to some high-quality analytical tools and in-depth market research from the experts.

Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

About the Author

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Richard Montana
Richard has many years of experience in broker research, testing, analysis and reviews. He knows what to look for through years of trading himself with different brokers and listening to the feedback of others.

Review Methodology

For all of our broker reviews, we research, validate, analyse and compare what we deem to be the most important factors to consider when choosing a broker. This includes pros, cons and an overall rating based on our findings. We aim to help you find the best broker according to your own needs. You can read more about our review process.