How To Open An Online Share Trading Account

Traditionally, investing wasn’t easily accessible for most – it was expensive and required a broker. Nowadays, with online share trading platforms, investing is easier and more accessible than ever before. However, if you need a helping hand to get started with an online trading platform we talk you through how to open an account.

How to start using an online share trading platform

While setting up an online share trading account will vary slightly depending on the provider, the steps will be roughly the same.

  • Choose a provider – take into consideration the type of investor you are, how often you want to buy or sell shares and what type of shares you would like to buy.
  • Select the right account for you – typically, providers have more than one type of investing account to choose from. Often there will be a basic account for the average retail investor and an account with advanced features for active traders.
  • Provide a proof of ID – in order to set up an account you will typically need to prove your identity
  • Link your bank account – this will allow you to transfer funds into your investing account. Some investment accounts may prompt you to open a cash management account which allows you to deposit funds separately to your normal bank account before investing.
  • Fill out an application – most providers will require you to fill out and submit an application form
  • Begin trading – once everything has been approved you should be able to start trading.

How to choose an online share trading platform?

Deciding on the right online share trading platform is no easy feat. There are so many platforms to choose from. But to help you narrow it down you need to consider your investment needs and goals. How often will you be trading? What kind of tools do you need? If you are new to investing you may want to consider a platform that’s easy to use and one that provides educational materials. Also, consider the fees involved with trading on the platform.

What kind of investor are you?

At Canstar, we rate and review online share trading platforms using a methodology based on different investor profiles. Understanding the type of investor you are, can help you find an online share platform that works for you.

Casual investors

Casual investors trade shares about eight times per year with an average transaction value of $15,000 per trade. Casual investors should look for user-friendly client services and support, and general education resources, since they are the most likely to use this. Casual traders should also look for cheap brokerages because fees on trading small amounts can be as much as 40-60% of the amount.

Active traders

Active investors trade shares about 40 times per year with an average transaction value of $15,000 per trade. Active investors may trade managed funds as well as direct shares. Active investors should look for detailed company and market information, and a dynamic trading platform.

Compare Online Share Trading Accounts with Canstar

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. Canstar may earn a fee for referrals.

You can learn more about our methodology here.

Main image source: Art_Photo/

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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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