CommSec review: Is Australia’s most trusted broker worth it in 2023?

Complete CommSec review from a long-term investor and customer. Is Australia’s most trusted share trading brokerage platform right for you?

CommSec review

Commonwealth Securities Limited (CommSec) is the share trading platform provided by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. CommSec was established in Sydney in 1995, and is Australia’s largest and most trusted trading platform where over 55% of Australian investors choose to invest through CommSec. It’s free to create an account and there are no inactivity fees for Australian trading, and like most trading platforms you pay brokerage on transactions on a sliding scale according to the size of the trade.

This article will review my personal experience investing through CommSec share trading, explore its various features, pricing structure, benefits and trade-offs to determine whether it is a suitable investing platform for someone on the path to Financial Independence, as well as a sneak peek look into the CommSec Pocket microinvesting platform.

The Good

  • CHESS sponsored access to share markets
  • Well designed mobile app, easy to buy and sell
  • Links easily to other Commonwealth Bank accounts
  • Well designed website, optimised for mobile and tablets
  • No inactivity or ongoing account fees
  • Buy and sell international shares through their new International Shares Trading Accounts at competitive rates (including fractional shares)

The Bad

  • Depending on the investing style can have expensive brokerage fees
  • Customer support is slow, but helpful once you get connected. Hold music is infuriating.
  • In general, a focus on profit rather than user experience.

Verdict: CommSec has over 50% of the market share for retail investors in Australia, and customers can pay a premium for convenience, brand loyalty and perceived security. For those after better value, look at something like Pearler share trading.

CaptainFI is not a Financial Advisor and the information below is not financial advice. This website is reader-supported, which means we may be paid when you visit links to partner or featured sites, or by advertising on the site. For more information please read my Privacy PolicyTerms of Use, and Financial Disclaimer.

CommSec logo

CommSec share trading Review

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia are the biggest bank in Australia, and odds are that you have either had an account with them or used their services at some stage in your life (dollarmites program in school, anyone?). Commbank are actually one of the largest companies in Australia – currently, they are ranked #2 in the Vanguard Australian Shares ETF (ASX:VAS) by market capital, having recently been overtaken by BHP Group Limited. This means if you are an index investor like me, you probably own quite a significant number of shares in the company, and therefore own part of CommSec!

So it’s no surprise then that being one of the biggest and most trusted names in Australia, they have created Australia’s most trusted share trading platform. CommSec has a great track record and was first established back in 1995. I have personally been a CommSec share trading customer since 2016 when I signed up and slowly began my investing journey (of course, I didn’t realise it at the time but I had been investing via my superannuation since I got my first job in 2006!).

It turns out that CommSec is actually used by the majority of all investors (and traders) in Australia, with a whopping 55% market share – the other banks make up most of the rest, followed up by a small share provided by Fintecs like IG, Selfwealth and Pearler.

CommSec share trading has a great app for mobile devices and tablets which is fully capable of trading on, a website with more functionality and even a proprietary trading software for frequent traders. CommSec offers a range of investing options including Australian and International shares, as well as other more complex financial products across personal, joint, trust, corporate and even Self Managed Super Funds (SMSF) accounts.

You can directly settle trades or there are even margin lending options (borrowing to invest). You don’t have to be a Commonwealth Bank customer to use CommSec, but it can be integrated with your banking if you are. CommSec share trading and even its microinvesting subsidiary CommSec Pocket are both CHESS sponsored and are seen as the safest share trading platforms in Australia.

CommSec provides some great insights into the market and are partnered with large quantitative analysis investment firms like Morningstar Premium and Goldman Sachs to provide investors with unique market research. They also provide a heap of good educational content in the CommSec Learn (which is really just their blog for SEO purposes) and through social media where they post videos (called The Markets)

Want to make more money to invest?

Before we go any further, if you are interested in knowing how to make more money in order to invest towards reaching financial independence check out my detailed article on how to make money online.

How I use CommSec

I used CommSec with a standard individual CDIA investor account (Commonwealth Direct Investor Account), which is the simplest and cheapest way for investors to get started investing with CommSec. They create a cash management account for you (which can be linked to your CommBank accounts and app) and you need to transfer funds into it which will be used to settle trades which will occur on day T+2 (i.e. transaction day plus two business days to settle). If you don’t have the funds on T+2, you will be charged a dishonour fee.

You don’t have to use a CDIA account and can link any other cash account, however, if you don’t use their CDIA account option you will pay hefty brokerage fees which are explained more in the section on fees and brokerage below. It’s certainly in your interest to do what I did, and just open a CDIA account and then transfer money into it before you want to make a trade.

Initially, I was ‘stock picking’ with the help of my friends at the Barefoot Investor and Motley Fool, and also enjoyed the share analysis stuff provided within the CommCec platform such as the Morningstar Premium ratings and Goldman Sachs recommendations etc, but eventually, I got wise and figured out I was under-performing the index at Best.

It turns out getting your investing ‘advice’ from within a share trading platform is probably a bad idea at best, and well, getting hot tips from the internet on a subscription service is just as bad. See the problem is that once you pay someone for stock tips and financial advice on what shares to buy, you then have to KEEP paying them to figure out when you sell! It’s a sneaky business model but it works by getting clueless individuals hooked.

So I checked myself before I wrecked myself, read up online about the FIRE movement, checked out what index funds the barefoot investor bought, then further proceeded to read a ridiculous number of books from the Captains library before deciding on my new personal approach to investing.

Overall, I found CommSec share trading very easy to use and I like how much educational material they had on their website. I personally am not a fan of their website layout though which I think has too many bulky menus and sliders getting in the way and taking up valuable screen space, so, in the end, I just used the CommSec app on my phone and tablet to trade my shares – eventually moving out of all direct share holdings and into index fund ETFs and LICs.

CommSec features review

As I mentioned, CommSec has a heap of very attractive features, especially for new investors who are looking for a simple, easy, and highly trusted share trading platform.

CHESS sponsorship of CommSec

CommSec share trading is fully CHESS sponsored which means they issue you an individual Holder Identification Number (HIN) and your shares are registered with the Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS) on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). Put simply, you don’t need to trust CommSec and your shares are legally registered in your name against your individual HIN, rather than being held in trust by CommSec for you (which is how a lot of low-cost share trading platforms like Robinhood and Superhero work).

If you ever decide CommSec is no longer for you, you are in control and you just yoink your shares out using your HIN, and transfer them to someone else. Just like switching your superannuation, electricity company or romantic partner. I have done this before, and it only took a week for my shares to move across brokers.

Account types on CommSec

Whilst CommSec share trading is only available to Australian clients, there are a number of different CommSec account types you can open within the platform, including;

  • Individual Accounts
  • Joint Accounts
  • Company accounts
  • Trust Accounts
  • Self Managed Super Fund Accounts
CommSec investing account options
You can open a variety of different account ownership types in CommSec. [Source: CommSec]

CommSec Margin loan

CommSec does provide a margin lending product with strict eligibility criteria, with interest rates at the time of writing currently ranging from about 8.49 to 9.40% and brokerage fees the same as for standard investing. There are a number of additional fees including a $200 application fee.

I have never taken one and I do not currently plan to. Whilst I don’t give out personal or financial advice, I can say that margin lending is more than likely NOT suitable for you. Margin lending is a dangerous game – whilst you might magnify your gains and it seems like easy money in a bull market, you can also magnify your losses in a correction and get ‘Margin-called’ where the banks basically hit you up for extra cash to keep your loan to value ratio above a certain threshold for their risk appetite.

Sure as shit, Mr Murphy will come out to play during a down-turn and the falling prices will probably last just a few days longer than you can remain solvent. If you run out of cash, you could be forced to sell your shares at a massive loss. Margin lending can therefore change your appetite when it comes to investing, making you more conservative and needing to hold lots of cash which you can’t actually deploy.

If the market is dropping that is when I am grinning and rubbing my hands together, deploying all of my extra dollars into the market to work for me as I pick up a bargain and buy future income streams at a discounted price. But when you have a margin loan, you are likely holding onto those dollars and needing to use them to prop up your LVR which means you’re actually not buying any extra shares or taking advantage of the situation.

Trading Australian shares on CommSec

Using CommSec you can access all publicly traded Australian shares on the ASX, including a wide range of Exchanged Traded Funds and Listed Investment Companies. This is CommSec’s ‘bread and butter’ and where the overwhelming majority of all their business takes place. It is more than likely all you need to access to satisfy 99% of your investing needs, since even if you want international exposure in your portfolio you can buy an ETF that contains international shares that is listed on the ASX – like Vanguards VTS ETF or Blackrocks IVV ETF – that’s how I personally do it!

Trading International shares with CommSec

If you really want to buy individual international shares like the US tech giants Apple, Microsoft and Facebook or other international shares available on the foreign exchanges, CommSec allows you to trade international shares through either an International Shares Trading Account or an International Shares Plus Trading Account. To create an International Sares Trading Account, you will need to apply and complete a W8-BEN-E Tax form, which CommSec will lodge with the US IRS on your behalf. Buying international shares through here is a little pricey though, and to be honest it’s a bit of a clunky system.

I never actually figured out how to do this properly though, and after three attempts at submitting the paperwork (yes actual, legit pieces of paper I needed to print, fill out, scan, and then email to Commsec – what a joke!) required to start this account I honestly just gave up. I choose instead to invest in international shares through Exchange Traded Funds in line with my investment strategy, which I learned was a way better way of doing business for me.

With the latest updates to the CommSec international trading platform, the application process has now been streamlined and digitised with claims that you can be ready to trade in as little as 5 minutes.

International Shares Trading Accounts users have access to 13 of the largest foreign exchanges and is accessible through both the website and app. With the ability to now transfer money to and from your linked account in real time and the option to use funds from sales prior to settlement, this update is a large step forward for the Commsec international trading.

A new addition to the CommSec international trading platform is the ability to purchase fractional shares in a range of US and international companies. This feature allows you to purchase parts of individual shares and can be great for diversifying, especially when certain share prices can range from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Derivatives, Options and CFDs on CommSec

If you absolutely must, you can use Commsec to trade Derivatives, Options or Contracts for Differences (CFDs) on something like 7000 or more contracts. The base cost is $34.95 up to $10,000, and then 0.35% of the trade, but there are also a whole host of other fees and charges you need to pay along the way, including for access to the special derivatives trading software WebIRESS / CommSec One. You can see CommSec’s Rates and Fees section for more information, but it will probably give you a headache like it did to me.

Derivatives are very complex financial products, they do not work like normal shares and don’t actually represent anything other than a gamble on the future price of whatever the contract is on (they do not represent the asset or have tangible underlying value like an actual share has). Personally, I steer clear of them and you would do best to do so also – around 80% of retail investors lose money when it comes to derivatives and CFDs. CFDs don’t just cost retail investors money, dumb trading of them caused a number of incredibly large banks and insurance firms to go bankrupt. This trickles down through the economy and ends up costing everyone.

Toxic, unregulated derivatives called Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDO) and insurance products called Credit Default Swaps (CDS) based on subprime mortgages (mortgages to risky borrowers) got horribly out of hand in the years leading up to the 2008 market crash.

Essentially risky loans (subprime loans) were just grouped together and re-branded as ‘safe’ bonds (e.g. as mortgage backed securities), and these were then traded on the secondary CFD market. The sub-prime mortgage crisis (critical level of mortgage defaults due to rising interest rates and lowering house prices putting stress on weak borrowers) led to the banking crisis where a number of large banks such as Lehman Brothers went bankrupt due to being highly leveraged into these stupid CFDs, CDOs and CDS’.

This led to a big loss of trust within the banks, corporate and individual investors panicked and the subsequent stock market crash led us into the great recession which ‘required’ bank bail outs and Quantitative Easing to ‘inflate away the loss’ and keep the economy afloat. If you want to see Margo Robbie explain this in a bubble bath, I’d recommend watching the movie ‘The Big Short’.

If you are looking for ways to make money online, there are much safer and easier ways than trading derivatives and hybrids – such as content sites.

Other Financial Products on CommSec

If Derivatives or Options weren’t enough for you, CommSec also offer you other financial products that you can also scratch your head over, become confused and probably also lose money with like;

  • Company issued options
  • Installment warrants
  • Endowment warrants
  • Mini trading warrants
  • Partly Paid securities
  • Fixed Interest Securities (i.e. Term deposits, Bills or Bonds)

Which if I am honest, I know practically nothing about except for the fixed interest securities (which I don’t buy myself because I would rather have the money in shares where it performs better long term).

CommSec brokerage fees

CommSec share trading has a fairly complex brokerage fees structure that depends on what you are trading, what kind of account you use, and which market you are buying in. I will cover some of the basic fees here, but you should always consult the Product Disclosure Statement and Fees and Services Guide to understand exactly what you’re getting yourself in for.

CommSec Brokerage fees – Australian shares

CommSec has a sliding brokerage structure based on the size of your trade. Currently, the Fee structure is broken into threshold amounts of $1000, $3,000, $10,000 and $25,000;

Up to $1,000$5
$1,001 – $3,000$10.00
$3,001 – $10,000$19.95
$10,001 – $25,000$29.95
$25,000 + 0.12% of trade
CommSec CDIA and Margin loan share trading account brokerage fee structure

If you are settling trades into a non-CDIA cash trading account, then you will pay a $29.95 fee up to $9,999, and then .31% of the value of the trade thereafter.

Critics of CommSec claim that this is unacceptably high, however, the majority of trades made fall into the $3,001-$10,000 bracket at $19.95 brokerage. For someone on the path to Financial Independence making one monthly trade, this realistically only amounts to $239.40 per year. Whilst it would be nice to see CommSec lower their brokerage costs, the majority of Aussie investors are willing to pay this for the simplicity and security of the CommSec platform.

If we are talking bang-for-buck here, spending your time developing a profitable side hustle or addressing the latte factor is going to save you MUCH more than the hundred bucks you might save per year switching brokerage platforms. Of course for investors who are making much more frequent purchases, or even frequent traders, there might be better options out there.

CommSec also have some pretty ridiculous fees for phone trading and other legacy products, but to be honest I am not even going to go there because well, no one who uses any of those products would even be reading this blog (but it starts at $60 per trade…).

CommSec brokerage fees – international shares

With the recent changes to brokerage costs, international share trading with CommSec is now quite competitive when buying US stocks and has the advantage of access to a total of 13 international markets overall. The fees for this are shown below;

CommSec International Brokerage Fees Table
CommSec International share trading account brokerage fee structure. [Source: CommSec]
CommSec International Foreign Exchange Fees Table
CommSec charge a 0.55% Foreign Exchange fee to transfer currency from AUD. [Source: CommSec]

In addition to these brokerage costs, there is also a number of taxes and market fee’s associated with access to these markets, which CommSec pass onto you at cost (i.e. they don’t mark them up). These depend on the specific markets your going into, depending on that country’s regulations.

CommSec customer service and support

Considering the company size and volume of inquiries they must get, I think CommSec share trading handle their customer service support alright, and its clear that although the customer support team might not be very large, they are especially knowledgable and helpful once you are connected. Especially so during the sign-up process (which is a bit meh overall) where I rung up and got them to ‘hold my hand’ through the entire process.

The CommSec customer service team provides various ‘layers’ of customer support. This starts with their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, which is pretty decent, and of course points to their Product Disclosure Statements and other information and guides (which you should definitely read and not skip over like I did when I signed up to CommSec!).

Next, they offer a Questionnaire form, which I think is pretty average and basically just leads you to the email support anyway. I haven’t tested it out lately but when I first signed up and was sending emails I was getting same day responses when I had a heap of silly questions. Well they are silly looking back on them now, but I was dead serious at the time, like: “Hey CommSec, why can’t I find AFIC showing up on CommSec? All I can see is AFI the Australian Foundation company which sounds like it sells concrete – I wanted the LIC from the barefoot investor“…

When I was really impatient, I just called the phone support. I was on hold for a while, but it wasn’t too excruciating. CommSec provide numbers for both callers within Australia and overseas, as well as an option for Chinese language support should you decide to speak Mandarin to them.

CommSec contact

The quickest way to get contact with CommSec is On Twitter. You can hit up @CommSecSupport which is like a pseudo-live chat and they respond pretty quick. This is honestly your best bet to get questions answered quickly, although they often point you to email support for complex questions. I love hitting companies up on social media because when it’s public they are forced to get back to you quickly or they look bad and it damages their reputation.

Signing up to CommSec share trading

Signing up to CommSec is a fairly straightforward three step process.

  • Step 1 – Getting Started: link your existing Commonwealth accounts (if applicable), choose a funding/settlement option (either CDIA, linked bank account or Margin loan), and account type (Individual, Joint, Trust, Company or SMSF).
  • Step 2 – Enter your Personal details: Including Name, DOB, Occupation, Address, Phone number, Email Address and Tax File Number.
  • Step 3 – Review and Submit your application
commsec brokerage fees
Three of the sign up options for CommSec [image: CommSec]

You can do it all online fairly quickly, however, due to the current high demand for sign ups CommSec claim that it might take up to two weeks for them to process your application. Generally speaking though all you need to do is follow the bouncing ball on the CommSec website and the sign up process is fairly well designed with large buttons and font and clearly labelled directions.

If you already are a Commonwealth Bank customer and have NetBanking access, the process to open a CommSec account is more streamlined (since they already have your personal financial details), and you just log in using these credentials to expedite the process. If you haven’t ever banked with Commonwealth Bank or used NetBanking, don’t worry as it’s not an issue – again you just follow the bouncing ball and fill out your details along the way.

I personally had my CommSec trading account created in a couple of days, but I believe you can open a CommSec account much more quickly these days.

Using your CommSec account

You can use your CommSec account either on the Web client or on the mobile application (phone or tablet). I chose to almost always just use the mobile application because it was easier on the go, but eventually I deleted it off my phone to stop myself from gawking at my portfolio. I think just using the web client is better as it makes it harder to access and therefore you are less likely to ‘hawk-eye’ your shares and panic sell them.

CommSec mobile trading application
CommSec Mobile trading application [Source: CommSec]

The first trade you make with CommSec must be at least $500 value, but then after that they claim you can purchase smaller amounts of shares if you wish. However, with Brokerage costing $10 for trades under $1000, generally speaking you want to make larger trades to make it ‘worth your while’ and minimise the brokerage as a percentage of the trade.

CommSec placing orders
CommSec web log in [Source: CommSec]

CommSec provide detailed guides on how to use their web client to make trades. Essentially once logged in, you use the ‘shares’ Tab and fill out the ‘Place Order- shares’ webform. You select to either buy or sell the share, enter the Share ticket code (ASX ticker), Quantity (or Value), and then choose from a Limit order (where you set the price) or a market order (where the trade executes at whatever the floating market price is currently). You can set this to expire at a certain date, or to expire at the end of the days trading. This will take you to a confirmation screen where you can confirm to place the order, which will then execute whenever the ASX matches you up with an opposing order within the floating price range.

I used to get really caught up on limit orders, but now I’m happy to pay a little more (i.e. a few cents per share) so it executes quicker and I’m signed out of the share trading app quicker.

CommSec Learn

CommSec feature a great education center focused on their blog, which has a comprehensive archive of Articles, Insights, Learning pieces, Webinars and Frequently Asked Questions, ranging from investing basics for beginners, right through to more complex strategies like stock picking and trading.

“Whether you’re just starting your investment journey or looking to brush up on your skills, CommSec Learn will help build your investment knowledge for free.”

CommSec Learn

CommSec The Markets

The Markets is CommSecs corporate outreach program where their employees, executives and representatives reach out on social media to discuss share market news, market data, reports and videos. This can be a useful source of investing knowledge, but it does get a bit ‘noisy’ and can lead people into stock picking and following their buy and sell indications.

“Get the latest share market news and reports, videos, stock prices and trends – from the leading team at CommSec.”

CommSec The Markets

Microinvesting with CommSec Pocket

If you’re still learning the ropes and not quite ready to hit the big leagues and get serious investing in your own name through CommSec just yet, they have produced an awesome educational microinvesting platform called CommSec Pocket. CommSec Pocket is the Commonwealth Bank’s response to the microinvesting fintechs and is aimed squarely at younger millennials and Gen Z. This helps you to learn about investing and gradually build up some ‘skin in the game’.

CommSec Pocket allows you to invest into 10 different ETFs (exchange traded funds), which they call investment ‘themes’. These themes are;

CommSec Pocket ETF options
CommSec Pocket themes. [Source: CommSec]
  • 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)
  • Diversified Equities: 8,000 companies across over 60 markets
  • Aussie Sustainability: Top 100 Australian ‘green’ companies
  • Aussie Corporate Bonds: 50 different Australian corporate bonds

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, meaning CommSec Pocket is relatively speaking, quite an expensive way to invest.

CommSec Pocket has a minimum transaction amount of $50, and charge a $2 brokerage fee for each transaction. For this transaction, the brokerage would be 4% which is ridiculously high IMO, however, if you make larger transactions of over $500 then this is under .4% which is much more reasonable. Above $1000, brokerage changes at a floating .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.

Microinvesting with CommSec Pocket is different to conventional microinvesting platforms because CommSec Pocket are 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.

Does CaptainFI use CommSec?

I will always have a sweet spot in my heart for CommSec. They introduced me to the wonderful world of Investing and I devoured all of their educational material and blog content. I made so many terrible rookie mistakes on CommSec, agonizing over how to make trades execute quicker by changing buy orders a few cents at a time, trying to pick stocks and carefully studying all their ‘free’ quantitative analysis tools as well as many internet stock tipping sites and subscriptions.


After I learned a bit about the share markets, I realized that for my personal circumstance, I was much better suited to an index style of investing where I only needed to make one trade or so per month into an exchange traded fund rather than constantly monitor the share markets. I didn’t need any of the whizz bang flashy lights, proprietary trading software, access to Contracts for Differences or Options, or any ‘quantitative advice’. I wouldn’t need to be buying or selling shares based on any particular BUY HOLD or SELL recommendations from the Barefoot Investor, The Motley Fool, Morningstar or any of the other ‘firms’ requiring hefty monthly or annual premiums.

I ‘switched lanes’ within CommSec and began only investing in ultra low fee ETFs (exchange traded funds) and low cost LICs in line with my investing strategy. CommSec worked brilliantly for this and I knew exactly how to use the online trading platform. I continued to do so for quite some time.


Eventually I got wise to the fee structure of CommSec, what CHESS sponsorship meant, and that there were lower cost brokers out there. I realised I could shift my investments to a lower cost broker and I wouldn’t have them instantly stolen because they weren’t as big and powerful and trustworthy as the Commonwealth Bank, and I could actually save a few hundred bucks a year by doing so.

Now I know not everyone is interested in shifting to a cheaper broker than CommSec, and I can personally vouch that CommSec is a great platform and I really enjoyed using it. In fact, the majority of all Australian investors use CommSec (55%). If you like it and it suits your needs and personal circumstances, stay with CommSec. If you want to save money, you are probably going to have a far better return modifying your behavior to spending less (i.e looking into the latte factor) rather than shifting brokers. However, it is worth noting that we can’t control the market, only the fees we pay along the way. Depending on how frequently you trade, most Australians on the path to Financial Independence can probably save a few hundred bucks a year in brokerage by shifting from CommSec to a cheaper broker just like I did.

So which Broker Did I go with? Check out my Personal Resources page where I explain all the tools I use, and tune in for my monthly Net Worth Updates where I provide a step-by-step explanation of every financial move I make over the month.

Managing your CommSec portfolio

The CommSec share trading portfolio management tracking is terrible. It does not factor in dividends or share splits, and is actually really misleading – so you should not look at it. It is actually designed to encourage you to trade more frequently. Repeat after me “I will not use it”!

To get accurate portfolio tracking without resorting to disgusting excel spreadsheets you need to be using Sharesight which is a free accounting tool.

Finance professionals and companies often use a paid Sharesight subscription in their ‘backend’ which helps them manage massive amounts of data (such as multiple client portfolios etc), but for you and me, we can use Sharesight completely FREE as long as you have less than 10 shares. The free account is more than enough for the average person, but you can upgrade to a paid subscription which gives you some more features.

Check out my detailed review of how I use Sharesight to manage my index funds, or Captain FI readers can actually get this bonus sign up offer which gives them four months of premium for free if they ever feel the need to upgrade

sharesight review
Sharesight is the best way to manage your investment portfolio

Frequently asked questions about CommSec

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about CommSec

Is CommSec safe?

Yes, CommSec or Commonwealth Securities is safe, and are Australia’s largest full service for fee online brokerage platform. They are backed by the Commonwealth Bank which is one of Australia’s largest publicly listed companies (on the ASX), and are trusted by over 55% of Australian investors. Both CommSec and NetBank (Commonwealth Bank of Australia online banking portal) feature the following safety features;

  • Client IDs and Passwords
  • SMS two factor authentication security
  • Secret questions
  • Phone pin
  • State of the art fraud monitoring software

Is CommSec good?

CommSec is a good choice if you are an infrequent trader making large investments. They offer complicated financial products such as Margin lending and Contracts for Difference, however, there are much better and cheaper fee options for long term investors looking to invest in either direct shares, Listed Investment Companies or Exchange Traded Index Funds.

CommSec App review

The CommSec app is great. You can make investments or sell shares on the app as well as check your balances, portfolios and read reports. I personally stopped using the app as I found I was checking it too often, and so preferred to use the web client.

What are the CommSec brokerage fees?

CommSec charges a scaling brokerage fee depending on trade size. Below $1000 it is $5, below $3,000 it is $10, below $10,000 it is $19.95, below $25,000 it is $29.95 and above $25,000 it is .12% of the trade value.

Up to $1,000$5
$1,001 – $3,000$10
$3,001 – $10,000$19.95
$10,001 – $25,000$29.95
$25,000 + 0.12% of trade
CommSec CDIA and Margin loan share trading account brokerage fee structure

Do you have a CommSec app review?

Yes, the CommSec app is great. See guidance above for a review on the CommSec app.

Is CommSec international trading any good?

Sort of, with the new updates to international trading, CommSec has improved greatly. While they now provide access to 13 international markets and fractional shares the fees on these are still quite high.

How to buy shares in CommSec?

Buying shares in CommSec is easy. Simply navigate to Trading > Shares > Place order and then place a buy order. See guidance above for more information.

How to sell shares in CommSec

Selling shares in CommSec is easy. Simply navigate to Trading > Shares > Place order and then place a sell order. See guidance above for more information.

How to reinvest dividends through CommSec?

You can not reinvest dividends directly through CommSec. After buying a share, you must select the share dividend reinvestment option through your registry (this is usually either Link market services or Computershare for ASX listed shares). Another option (which is how I do it) is to have dividends paid to your brokerage account, and then you can use this towards your next share investment which helps with portfolio balancing.

Is CommSec Expensive?

Moderately, depending on how you invest CommSec ranges from being competitive to having some of the highest brokerage fees of all Australian trading platforms.

What is the minimum trade on CommSec?

The first trade has a minimum investment of AUD $500, and then you can purchase smaller amounts of shares to add to existing shareholdings. Realistically, buying parcels of shares below $500 is not recommended due to high brokerage fees.

How to buy international shares through CommSec

You can buy international shares through CommSec by opening a linked International Shares Trading account. You must first create a CommSec account and then contact customer support.

Can I buy and sell shares on the same day with CommSec?

Yes, you can buy and sell shares on the same day in CommSec. The difference between trades will be paid or debited from your linked account on settlement day (T+2).

How do I open a CommSec account?

Opening a CommSec account is quick and easy. From the CommSec webpage, click the ‘login’ window. Under the log in section, select the button ‘New to CommSec? Join now’

How do I put money on CommSec?

You can put money on CommSec by depositing into your Commonwealth bank CDIA account using standard bank transfer with your account name, number and BSB, or via OSKO. If you are an existing Commonwealth Bank customer, you can transfer funds between accounts in your NetBank login.

What is the difference between CommSec and CommSec Pocket?

CommSec is a full service broker, whereas CommSec Pocket is a microinvesting platform. In CommSec Pocket, you can buy fractional shares of 10 ETFs in minimum $50 lots, whereas on CommSec you can buy any listed share in whole share amounts with minimum $500.

Which CommSec account is best?

The CommSec CDIA account is the best way to invest in your personal name through CommSec.

Do I need a commonwealth bank account for CommSec?

No. You do not need to already have a Commonwealth Bank account to use CommSec. During the sign up process they will create you a linked CDIA account to use with CommSec. Existing netbank customers will have this process sped up by virtue of having all their details on file and previously verified by Commbank.

How to pay for shares in CommSec

The best way to pay for shares in CommSec is via a linked CDIA account. When you trade, payment will occur on settlement at T+2, 2 days after the CommSec trade. You can also pay for transactions from external accounts, however this is more expensive and not recommended.

Is CommSec good for beginners?

Yes, CommSec is good for beginners and is one of the easiest brokerage platforms to get started using. The only drawback is the cost.


Commonwealth Securities Limited (CommSec) is the trading platform provided by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Established in Sydney in 1995, CommSec is Australia’s most trusted trading platform with over 55% of Australian investors choosing to invest on CommSec. CommSec covers the entire spectrum of investors, starting with CommSec Pocket for microinvesting and beginners, CommSec for Investors and CommSec One (WebIRESS) for traders. Whilst they are the biggest broker in Australia and provide a great service, they are somewhat let down by their relatively expensive brokerage fees.

CommSec has a decent app for mobile devices and tablets which is fully capable of trading on, a website with more functionality, and a even a proprietary trading software for frequent traders. CommSec and its microinvesting subsidiary CommSec Pocket are both CHESS sponsored and are seen as the safest trading platforms in Australia, having the majority of market share for Australian retail investors.

When deciding whether CommSec is for you or you will choose one of the other stock brokers, you need to read their Product Disclosure Statement, privacy policy, and consider whether it is appropriate for your personal circumstances. I have been a CommSec customer since the beginning of my Financial Independence journey, however as I learned more about investing and the impact of fee’s, I ended up switching to using a lower-cost broker. Realistically though, brokerage fees are just the icing on the cake so to speak, and it’s much more important to get your behavior, saving and investor mindset sorted first, and then educate yourself on different types of investments and investment structures as appropriate to your personal circumstances. These will typically have a much greater impact on your wealth generation than saving a few bucks on brokerage.

Other brokers to choose from

Big 4 banks

Fintechs and smaller banks

Microinvesting platforms

Financial Disclaimer

Financial Disclaimer: CaptainFI is NOT a financial advisor and does not hold an AFSL. This is not financial Advice!

I am not a financial adviser and I do not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). In this article, I am giving you factual, balanced information without judgment or bias, to the best of my ability. I am not giving you any general or personal financial advice about what you should do with your investments. Just because I do something with my money (or use a particular service or platform) doesn’t mean it is automatically appropriate for your personal circumstances. I do not recommend nor endorse any financial or investment product, and my usage or opinion of any product should not be interpreted as an endorsement, advertisement, or intent to influence.

I can only provide factual information based on my journey to Financial Independence, and that is provided for general informational and entertainment purposes only. I make no guarantee about the performance of any product, and although I strive to keep the information accurate and updated as it changes, I make no guarantee about the correctness of reviews or information posted.

Remember – you always need to do your own independent research and due diligence before making any transaction. This includes reading and analysing Product Disclosure Statements, Terms and Conditions, Service Arrangement and Fee Structures. It is always smart to compare products and discuss them, but ultimately you need to take responsibility for your use of any particular product and make sure it suits your personal circumstances. If you need help and would like to obtain personal financial advice about which investment options or platforms may be right for you, please talk to a licensed financial adviser or AFSL holder – you can take the first steps to find a financial advisor by reading this interview, or by visiting the ASIC financial adviser register and searching in your area.

For more information please read my Privacy PolicyTerms of Use, and Financial Disclaimer.

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2 thoughts on “CommSec review: Is Australia’s most trusted broker worth it in 2023?

    1. You don’t need to be a banking customer of Commonwealth Bank to open a CommSec share trading account, but it does allow you to easily view and move between banking and trading accounts with a single login

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