Commsec pocket review; is microinvesting worth it?

Commsec Pocket review from an experienced and long term ETF investor. Is this Microinvesting platform from Commonwealth Bank worth your time?

Commsec pocket review

Commsec pocket is a micro investing platform that gives investors easy and relatively cheap access to seven different Exchange Traded Funds. With a minimum trade of $50 and $2 brokerage (up to $1000, and then .2% thereafter), Commsec Pocket has some of the industries lowest brokerage fees if used appropriately (if you only invest small amounts, these brokerage fees are too high).

With the size of CommonWealth bank behind it, Commsec Pocket is fully CHESS sponsored and the shares are held fully in your name and not under a custodianship structure like competing microinvesting platforms.

“Commsec Pocket aims to lower the barriers for new investors that find investing in shares too expensive or complex by simplifying choice”and reducing costs.”

Richard Burns, CommSec executive general manager

The Good

  • Only need $50 to get started investing
  • Automatic investing feature
  • CHESS sponsored holdings
  • Very easy to use
  • Quick to sign up
  • Great way to learn about investing

The Bad

  • Limited choice of only 7 ETFs
  • ETFs available have high management fees
  • Must invest large amounts for brokerage to be cost effective
  • Must have a linked Commonwealth Bank account
  • Large number of fake positive reviews online

Verdict: Commsec Pocket is easy to use, but there are better microinvesting platforms such as Stake, Spaceship and Raiz. Commsec Pocket looks like it was created as an advertising platform to onboard younger customers into the Commonwealth brand.

commsec pocket review
CommSec Pocket makes investing simple, quick and easy through the Commsec Pocket phone app

Commsec pocket review – microinvesting to get started

If you are still learning the ropes on investing and not quite ready to hit the big leagues and get serious investing in your own name through Commsec just yet, this awesome educational microinvesting platform might be for you. Commsec Pocket is the Commonwealth Bank’s response to the microinvesting fintechs and is aimed squarely at helping younger millennials and Gen Z get into the market.

Basically, Commsec Pocket helps you to learn about investing and gradually build up some ‘skin in the game’.

“Investing might seem hard, and you may think you need a lot to get started. That’s why we made CommSec Pocket, a simple investing app that brings investing within your reach. You can start investing with as little as $50, and gradually build a portfolio over time.”

Commsec Pocket

Investing through Commsec Pocket

Commsec Pocket allows you to invest into 7 different Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), which they call investment ‘themes’. These themes are;

commsec pocket review
CommSec Pocket ETF themes
  • Aussie top 200: ASX top 200 index fund
  • Aussie Dividends: ASX-30 high dividend yield
  • Global 100 index: The worlds biggest 100 blue chip companies by market capital
  • Emerging markets: 800+ growing companies within Asia
  • Health Wise: A combination of 100+ medical and healthcare companies
  • Sustainable leaders: Top 200 ‘green’ companies
  • Tech Savvy: Top 100 US technology innovators, such as ‘FAANG’ stocks (Facebook, Apple, amazon, Netflix and Google)

Be aware, that these funds all have their own individual unit prices which fluctuate with the market, and each ETF theme has a different ongoing management cost.

Fees of Commsec Pocket

CommSec pocket has a minimum transaction amount of $50, and charge a $2 brokerage fee for each transaction. For a transaction this small, the brokerage would be 4% which is ridiculously high IMO, however if you make larger transactions of over $500 then this becomes under .4% which is much more reasonable, and the maximum benefit for this brokerage structure is with $1000 transactions which costs you only .2%.

Above $1000, brokerage changes stays at a set .20% (e.g. a $2000 investment would cost you $4). If you invest but don’t actually have enough to cover the trade, you will be charged a dishonor or late settlement charge of $10.

Each investment theme charges an ‘issuer management fee’ of between 0.09% to 0.67% of the investment balance, depending on which option you pick.

ETFIndexManagement Expense Ratio
Aussie Top 200iShares Core S&P/ASX 200 ETF (IOZ)0.09%
Aussie DividendsSPDR® MSCI Australia Select High Dividend Yield Fund (SYI)0.35%
Global 100iShares Global 100 ETF (IOO)0.40%
Emerging MarketsiShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEM)0.67%
Health WiseiShares Global Healthcare ETF (IXJ)0.47%
Sustainability LeadersBetaShares Global Sustainability Leaders ETF (ETHI)0.59%
Tech SavvyBetaShares NASDAQ 100 ETF (NDQ)0.48%
Commsec Pocket 7 ETF investment Themes

Finally, consider you will need to maintain a linked Commonwealth bank account. If you do not meet the income deposit requirement of $2000 per month, you will be charged a $4 account management fee. This means if you only want a commonwealth account for access to Commsec pocket, you should factor this $48 annual fee into the equation too. CommBank may waive the monthly fee some times, for example if you’re under 25 or are a student.

Commsec Pocket is CHESS sponsored

Microinvesting with Commsec Pocket is different to other conventional microinvesting platforms because Commsec Pocket is CHESS sponsored, and you will receive a HIN just like you would with a conventional ‘grown up’ Commsec account. This is a pretty big deal for most investors and is a major draw card for Commsec Pocket over other educational microinvesting platform brokers like Stake, Raiz, Spaceship Voyager or Superhero.

Automatic investing with Commsec Pocket

A massive feature of Commsec Pocket is the auto invest feature. You can make one-off transactions, but best of all you can actually schedule automatic regular transfers into one of the seven themes of your choice.

“CommSec Pocket auto investing is our latest innovation that will help empower more Australians to grow their wealth. We will continue to listen to our customers and find new ways to help all Australians access the opportunities the share market can bring,”

Richard Burns, CommSec executive general manager

This is an absolute game changer, and really means you can benefit from a ‘set and forget’ hands off approach to your investing. As you will learn in your investing journey, automating your investing and removing emotion and decision points as much as possible is the key to long term success.

commsec pocket review

Opening a Commsec Pocket Account

Opening a CommSec Pocket account is pretty straightforward. The first thing you are going to need to do is download the Commsec Pocket app. You will also need a Commonwealth Bank account.

commsec pocket review
Commsec Pocket app

Once you have both of these sorted, open the app and follow the bouncing ball. The app is very intuitive and will guide you through setting up your account.

commsec pocket review

After you have transferred money into it CommSec Pocket (your Commonwealth Bank account) you can then make your first investment. You can scroll through the choice of the 7 investing themes as discussed above, and then making your investment choice. Before deciding, make sure you thoroughly research your investment choice, risk exposure and the ongoing management fees.

commsec pocket review

After you enter what you want to buy, you can confirm the transaction. You can also set this to become a regular investment using their ‘Auto invest’ option.

Tracking Commsec Pocket performance and tax using Sharesight

sharesight
Sharesight is the best way to track your investment portfolio

Of course, no review would be complete without discussing the tax implications of Investing in Commsec Pocket. If you buy, hold or sell fractional ETFs on the CommSec Pocket you are going to eventually have to deal with tax – both Capital gains and dividend income. This is a huge pain in the behind, and why I outsource this crappy and time consuming job to Sharesight who automatically track all of my portfolio holdings, dividends, capital gains and tax liabilities.

Sharesight has the functionality now to track fractional shares of ETFs, which is a game changer for microinvesting platforms. Check out my detailed review of Sharesight and how it can save you time and money.

sharesight review
Sharesight can track fractional share investments on CommSec Pocket

Frequently asked questions about Commsec Pocket

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions I get about Commsec Pocket

What is Commsec Pocket

Commsec pocket is a micro investing platform that gives investors easy and relatively cheap access to seven different Exchange Traded Funds

Is Commsec Pocket good

Commsec Pocket is easy to use, but there are better microinvesting platforms such as Stake, Spaceship and Raiz. Commsec Pocket looks like it was created as an advertising platform to onboard younger customers into the Commonwealth brand.

Best commsec pocket ETF

There are many pros and cons to each, however the best commsec pocket ETF would be the Global 100 iShares Global 100 ETF (IOO) in terms of global diversification, with a 0.40% Management Expense Ratio.

How to use commsec pocket

To get started using Commsec pocket, download the commsec pocket app from Google play or the App store. Follow the prompts to create an account, and then the steps in this article to make your first investment.

What is the difference between Commsec and Commsec pocket

Commsec or Commonwealth Securities is the Commonwealth Bank of Australia which is a full service broker account. Commsec pocket is much more limited in terms of investing options, however they allow investing in smaller sums.

Does commsec pocket pay dividends

Yes, commsec pocket investment options do pay dividends from the underlying ETF provider. Since you are investing in your name and your personal HIN, you receive these dividends and must pay tax on this income.

Does CaptainFI use Commsec Pocket?

I’m opening a Commsec pocket account, but that is just to learn more about it for this article. I’m not seriously going to be using it.

The bulk of my investments are actually already built up in a conventional brokerage account, where I am able to generate significant passive income already. I regularly contribute a significant portion of my income into building up this portfolio and passive income snowball with my regular investment strategy.

By going through a conventional broker I am able to benefit from lower ongoing management fee’s for the underlying exchange traded fund holdings. This also gives me greater choice in the options of ETFs I can hold – giving me more control over the specific market exposures I want.

Finally, depending on how frequently you trade and the size of the trade, the brokerage cost of a conventional broker can be better. For example, OpenTrader or Superhero both offer $5 trades, meaning you are getting cheaper brokerage as long as you are investing more than $2500 at a time.

You might find you are better off to make less regular but larger investments – but you need to weigh up the pro’s and con’s for your individual situation.

Remember to factor in the behavioral effect benefits too – building up a strong habit of regularly investing is one of the best things you can do for your long term wealth, and it might be worth paying a little bit more in brokerage to help establish this positive habit.

Summary

Commsec pocket is a microinvesting platform that gives investors easy and relatively cheap access to seven different Exchange Traded Funds. With a minimum trade of $50 and $2 brokerage (up to $1000, and then .2% thereafter), If used properly Commsec Pocket has decent brokerage fees, but if investing small amounts these fees are ridiculously high. Commsec Pocket is also completely CHESS sponsored meaning your ETF shares are held fully in your name and not under a custodianship structure like many competing microinvesting platforms.

At the end of the day, I think Commsec Pocket is a great way to learn about investing if you are a bit gunshy or overwhelmed, and it offers a reasonably cost effective way to do so.

For serious or experienced investors though, I would say don’t waste your time or money with microinvesting and you should just probably look at share trading through a conventional brokerage account. This is because making fewer, larger investments will usually save you brokerage, and choosing better ETFs will cost you less in ongoing management expense fees (or as Commsec Pocket call it, the ETF ‘issuer management Fees’).

Finally, I will leave you with this quote, which despite its pessimism, I think sums up well why Commonwealth Bank created this product

“This product is designed for millennial/first-time investors to dip their toe into the pond of investing, and by extension to draw people to the CommBank suite of products. Beware of an overwhelming number of new positive reviews online (from new accounts).”

Anonymous Reddit user

Further reading

eBusiness Institute review
pearler review
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2 thoughts on “Commsec pocket review; is microinvesting worth it?

  1. If you are still loyal to the brand and decide to invest using the Commsec Pocket then the only way to get the best bang for your buck is by invest the maximum amount of $1000.

    1. yeah in terms of brokerage I would tend to agree, $1000 and above is basically .2% in Brokerage. Although you should factor in the positive psychological benefits of establishing the habit of regular investing, which is the real key to generating long term wealth

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