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However, here are a few handy hints. Read on to find out what might work best for you.
Choosing a trading platform is a little more complicated than it might seem. There’s plenty of things you need to consider when you are choosing a platform.
When it comes to beginners, the needs can differ from industry professionals.
To help beginners out, we sourced a list of top brokers for beginners using a Finder proprietary algorithm. Here’s are some of the features we included:
Plus judgement call by editorial team on whether the platform is easy to use for beginners (rated A, B, C).
The platform offers zero brokerage on US, European and Hong Kong shares, as well as CFDs, forex and cryptocurrency trading.
There are many different kinds of share trading and beginner investors should try to work out what works best for them prior to signing up to a new broker.
Investors can either be passive or active and they can choose to trade between exchange-traded funds or individual shares.
The category you fall into will greatly determine what type of broker you should sign up with.
So before signing up ask yourself the following questions:
There’s a distinct difference between trading and investing. Traders try to make money from stock movements, while investors try to buy quality businesses for the long-term.
When it comes to beginners most should favour investing. This is because actively trading is incredibly complex and comes with more risk.
Regardless, you would need a broker that matches your style.
For traders, a low brokerage fee and advanced features are key. They might find trading tools more important than an inactivity fee.
While an investor might only buy once or twice a year meaning they need a broker without inactivity fees, but they might want features including broker recommendations.
Will you be placing all your trades online, via a mobile app or over the phone? It is important that your broker’s services match your individual needs.
Some investors choose to focus exclusively on the Australian market while others want broad exposure to the world. Before signing up to a broker it is important to know what you can buy with each. Most brokers will charge different fees depending on location, which can impact your decision.
Brokers fees will largely vary depending on how much you are investing. This means you should find a broker that matches your needs. If you have a small balance you want a broker that lets you trade with less. If you have a large balance try to avoid a percentage based fee.
When you sign up to a share trading platform you’ll be facing various types of fees. The more you pay in fees the less you’ll end up pocketing from your investments.
They range from:
Broker fees. This is the fee that is charged every time you buy and sell shares. Brokers charge different fees depending on the product you’re trading, the size of the trade you make and how often you trade per month.
Monthly fees. Some brokers are more aimed at active traders and will charge a subscription or inactivity fee for those who trade less. This may or may not suit you depending on your trading requirements.
Foreign exchange fees. This one is for investors buying shares overseas. If you’re interested in trading global stocks, you’ll want to check what the foreign exchange (FX) fee is for converting your Australian dollars to the foreign currency of choice.
This varies greatly depending on the broker you choose. Some will let you start trading from as little as 1 cent, while others will need you to have a minimum $500. If you are looking for CHESS sponsored shares (explained in our glossary here) you will need at least $500 before starting.
This largely depends on your individual style and needs. But generally speaking a low cost broker that doesn’t charge an inactive fee will work for most new investors.
You can, but it will again depend on the broker you choose.
Cameron Micallef is an investments writer for Finder. He has previously worked on titles including Smart Property Investment, nestegg and Investor Daily, reporting across superannuation, property and investments. Cameron has a Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies/ Commerce from the University of Wollongong. Outside of work Cameron is passionate about all things sports and travel.
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