Online Share Trading Platforms For Beginner Investors

Content Producer · 21 April 2021
Having the right online platform for you can make a significant difference to your investment journey. So, we’ve rounded up a few platforms that are typically suited to beginners.

Which online share trading platforms are suited to beginners investors?

At Canstar, we rate online share trading platforms based on outstanding value, and to do this we use a sophisticated and unique ratings methodology that compares both price and features across platforms. While we know that not all online share trading platforms are created equal, we can appreciate that some platforms are more suited to experienced investors, while others are best for those who are just starting out.

So, to help you find a platform that works for you, we have broken down our ratings by the different types of investors. There’s the casual investors, active investors and traders. (You can learn more about our methodology here.) Typically novice investors are also casual investors, therefore, we’ve laid out our 5-star winners in this category.

But first, what exactly are casual investors?

A casual investor tends to buy and sell shares occasionally (on average, once a month) and often uses a long-term strategy to review their investment portfolio. When selecting an appropriate broker, comprehensiveness of investment tools is typically not of the greatest importance, with education, ease of use and cost generally being amongst the more important factors. If this doesn’t sound like you, check out this page to help you find a platform that better suits your needs.

So, who were our 5-star winners in 2020?

So, in alphabetical order, here are our 5-star winners for casual investors:

CMC Markets

CMC Markets allows investors to access the ASX and other international markets. This platform also uses Sharesight’s online tracking and reporting service as an integrated part of its stockbroking platforms. Sharesight offers a number of reporting tools and features, these include:

  • tracking your shareholdings (10 holdings or fewer for free, make 30 trades or more per month to track unlimited holdings)
  • running tax reports and other investment portfolio reports
  • ranking your shares by performance
  • portfolio sharing
  • Xero integration

CMC Markets also has an app that you can download to your phone.

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers Australia gives investors access to 120 stock exchanges across 22 overseas markets, including market data provided 24 hours a day, six days a week.

With this platform investors can:

  • trade live directly from the platform
  • access more than 40 technical indicators and drawing tools, including integrated charts
  • access news and analysis from its in-house experts and third-party providers

The Interactive Brokers app is also available to download through the Apple app store and Google Play.

nab Trade

nabtrade is the investment arm of NAB (National Australia Bank), so if you are a NAB customer you can link it with your online banking account. With this platform investors can also trade domestic shares and international shares, managed funds and ETFs. Some features nabtrade offers investors include:

  • broker recommendations
  • access to the latest market news
  • access to educational material like trading tips and strategies.
    customisable charting

The nabtrade app can be downloaded to your phone from Apple’s App store or Google Play.

How to get started with investing?

Before even setting up an online share reading platform there are a number of things to consider.

What is your investment strategy?

What are your investment goals, do you want money for your retirement or do you want to set up an additional income stream? What’s your tolerance for risk? How much money can you invest? Before you start investing it’s so important to ask yourself these questions, as the answer should help you determine your investment strategy, particularly what your asset allocation should be and how long you need to invest for.

If you are unsure of which direction you want to head with your investments, it might be helpful to look at tried and tested investment strategies. Two popular strategies you may want to read up on are value investing and growth investing.

What you’ll need to set up you online investing account

Depending on the broker and platform that you’ve chosen, the steps to set up an account will differ. But, typically you will need to:

  • provide a form of ID
  • provide the details of the bank account you want to link to your share trading account
  • fill-out an online application

Then you should be good to go and can start trading.

If you’re comparing online share trading companies, the comparison table below displays some of the companies available on Canstar’s database with links to providers’ websites. The information displayed is based on an average of six trades per month. Please note the table is sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), followed by provider name (alphabetical). Use Canstar’s Online Share Trading comparison selector to view a wider range of online share trading companies.

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→ Looking more ways to create wealth? Learn more about Online Share Trading, Exchange Traded Funds and Cryptocurrency.

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Marissa is the Content Producer for the Wealth team at Canstar, and specialises in investment content. Her previous experience has seen her create content for wide range of industries from travel to the legal sector. Follow Marissa on LinkedIn, and Canstar Investor Hub on Facebook.

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