Summary: CommSec and SelfWealth are key players in the Australian online stock trading landscape. While CommSec, backed by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, offers a broad selection of investment choices including Australian and international stocks, it allows direct deposits only in AUD. SelfWealth, an Australian-native platform, stands out by offering a flat-fee trading structure and a community-based approach to investing, also accepting direct AUD deposits. For those who prioritize cost-effective trading and a community-driven experience, SelfWealth is the recommended choice.

SelfWealth vs CommSec - Winner
Table of Contents

CommSec vs SelfWealth Overview

Launched in 1995, CommSec is an established trading platform in Australia and comes with the backing of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. It has garnered a large, dedicated following with features such as real-time data streaming, international stock trading, and a comprehensive research hub. It is known for its robust desktop platform and mobile app, offering a wide range of investment products beyond Australian stocks, like options and fixed-income securities.

SelfWealth hit the scene in 2012 and has rapidly gained popularity among Australian investors. What sets it apart is its flat-fee structure and a unique social trading feature that allows users to follow and learn from other investors. SelfWealth's interface is straightforward, making it accessible on both desktop and mobile platforms. It is highly regarded for its affordability and has earned the trust of Aussie investors seeking an affordable way to trade shares.

SelfWealth Platform.
SelfWealth Platform.

Products and Services

CommSec offers a broad range of financial products, including Australian and international shares, options, and fixed-income securities. A key feature is its live data streaming and comprehensive market research tools, catering to both casual and seasoned investors. The platform also stands out for its CommSec Pocket app, which allows investors to buy into themed investment options with as little as $50. 

SelfWealth specialises in Australian shares and ETFs, operating under a fixed-fee trading structure that's highly appealing to cost-conscious traders. Unique to SelfWealth is its social trading community, where members can benchmark their performance against others and follow successful traders. While it doesn't offer options or international shares directly, its focus on affordability and community engagement has struck a chord with Australian investors.

Winner: SelfWealth gains the upper hand with its community-based features and affordable fee structure, catering to those who prioritise affordabiliy and social engagement in their trading experience.

CommSec Platform.
CommSec Platform.

AUD Payment Methods

CommSec is finely tuned to the needs of its Australian user base, providing multiple payment methods in AUD. This includes traditional bank transfers as well as CHESS-sponsored holdings, which allow seamless ownership and trading of shares. CommSec also accommodates trading on margin for those who wish to leverage their investments.

SelfWealth accepts transactions through bank and ETF transfers and also allows for HIN (Holder Identification Number) transfers from other brokers. It also accepts digital payments through PayID and BPAY.

Winner: SelfWealth holds a slight advantage, offering more diverse payment options including margin trading, which caters to different investment strategies.

Account Types

CommSec offers both individual and joint accounts, tailored for various investment needs. It caters to standard brokerage accounts as well as more specialised accounts like Self-Managed Super Funds (SMSFs). You can also open a Margin Loan account to leverage your investment potential.

SelfWealth provides a simpler set of account options but with a focus on affordability and user experience. They offer individual trading accounts and SMSFs but don't have the variety of specialised accounts that CommSec provides, such as Margin Loans. It does offer a unique 'SelfWealth Premium' account, which includes advanced features and analytics for serious investors.

Winner: CommSec has a broader range of account types, catering to both casual and advanced traders, making it the more versatile option.

CommSec Pocket.
CommSec Pocket.

CommSec vs SelfWealth Fees

CommSec employs a tiered fee model that starts at $10 for trades up to $1,000 and scales up based on the trade size, rewarding traders who engage in larger transactions. The fee structure aims to accommodate both casual and active investors. It offers a range of different account types with varying fee structures, such as CommSec Pocket, which has a flat fee of $2 for smaller investments.

SelfWealth takes a simplified approach with a flat fee of $9.50 per trade, regardless of the trade size. This transparent model is attractive to those who prefer to know exactly how much each trade will cost them. There are no additional fees for deposits or withdrawals, making it straightforward for budget-conscious traders.

Winner: SelfWealth gains the upper hand with its uncomplicated, flat-fee structure, making it easier for traders to understand their costs upfront.

Security and Regulation

CommSec, backed by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, operates within the rigorous regulatory environment of Australia's financial institutions. It is overseen by both the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), assuring a high level of trust and compliance. The platform offers multiple security layers, such as two-factor authentication (2FA), encrypted data transmission, and real-time fraud detection.

SelfWealth also has a strong focus on security, although it has an independent operational structure rather than bank backing. It is a member of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) and adheres strictly to ASIC regulations. SelfWealth employs 2FA and encrypted data protocols. In addition, it operates under a CHESS-sponsored model, which adds an extra layer of security by registering shares directly in the user's name rather than pooling them.

Winner: CommSec has a slight advantage due to its backing by a major bank and dual regulatory oversight, providing an additional layer of trust and security for Australian investors.

Final Thoughts

In comparing the two popular Australian online stock trading platforms, each comes with its own set of advantages. CommSec shines with its broad selection of investment options, robust security, and multiple account types. However, if you prioritise a cost-effective, straightforward trading experience, SelfWealth is our recommended choice.

The brokers flat-fee structure of $9.50 per trade provides clarity and predictability in transaction costs, making it highly appealing for budget-conscious investors. Its unique community-based features allow for social trading, where you can follow and learn from the strategies of successful investors. SelfWealth also offers a simplified, but effective, range of account types focused on affordability and user experience.