CommSec has excellent security measures applied to both web and mobile access to your trading account. Standard features include multi-layer authentication, auto timeout and financial transactions protected by 128-bit SSL encryption.
As you can see in our CommSec review, Australia features heavily in this broker’s assets, which is to be expected, as only Australian residents are accepted as clients. However, CommSec also offers clients the opportunity to trade selected shares from 25 global stock exchanges.
During our CommSec review, we found the website a pleasure to use and very responsive. It is easy to navigate using the ‘hover over’ menu and to find the information you want without endless clicking or reversing your steps. The colour scheme is easy on the eye, with content written in plain fonts. We are also pleased to report that it is completely devoid of annoying features like moving images and pop-ups.
Evidently, the broker has invested heavily in native apps suited to both Android and Apple devices; you can access the appropriate version using direct links on the website.
For Apple iPhone or iPad you will need iOS 10.3 or above and for Apple Watch, OS 3.0 or later. Android owners can use the app on any device with Android 5.0 or higher, but it is optimised for Samsung S6, S7, S8 and S9. The apps also work on older devices, but some clients have reported slow response times and a lack of auto updating.
How to Trade – Quick and painless account registration
One thing we noticed whilst completing our CommSec review; Australia as a country and its mainstream companies are of prime importance to this operator; the services it offers to clients reflect that.
When opening a CommSec trading account, ensure that you have the required personal documents ready to upload; ID, proof of address, TFN (Tax File Number) and bank details; this will speed the process considerably.
If you open a CDIA account with CommSec Australia, you can fund your trading account quickly and easily and also enjoy lower trading fees – holders of a CDIA account pay $10.00 per trade versus the standard $29.95; a big saving, especially for active traders.
You can select an account suited to your budget and investment goals. For beginners or low-level traders, the CommSec Pocket account provides a perfect start, requiring an initial investment of just $50. Rather than trading in single shares, you are investing in themed ETFs, offering more diversity. There are no account fees and you pay just $2 per ETF unit bought or sold. All trading is online, with a unique app provided to monitor your account.
A Standard Share Trading Account requires a higher investment amount of $500. Thereafter you can access all of the shares and other opportunities available, including the purchase of global shares, using either a web portal or mobile app.
One other cost factor to consider is the CommSec IRESS platform; available to clients at a cost of $82.50 per month. However, the subscription fee is waived for active traders, those with a portfolio of $500,000+ and CommSec One accounts.
If you have read through a few broker reviews, you are likely to be aware of the reasons for a broker to offer only one account funding option. Clients sometimes comment that payment options are ‘inadequate’ but it is commonplace for stockbrokers to limit this functionality for clients purchasing shares.
Our SelfWealth review is another good example of the stockbroker environment. Although that broker has a different business model, it also only accepts bank transfer for financial transactions and the movement of funds to or from a trading account.
You do need to know that CommSec Australia operates a two-day settlement policy, abbreviated as T+2. T represents the date you buy or sell shares, verified on your trading account.
If you sell shares, financial settlement of the trade happens two days later. Conversely, when you purchase, you are not required to settle up until 8.00am two days after the purchase date. Always remember that the settlement period relates to working days (Monday to Friday).
CommSec has one of the most organised and efficient customer service set ups we have reviewed. As well as a phone trading hotline available 24/7, other members of staff are appointed to deal with separate aspects of trading, each having a separate contact number and email address. It is always reassuring to know that if you need to contact CommSec, you are certain to communicate with someone who has the right knowledge at their fingertips.
From our CommSec review Australia, its citizens and their wellbeing are evidently a priority to this operator. The broker even has a dedicated team that deals with financial problems caused by unexpected trading losses. After a brief telephone interview, you are appointed a n adviser who can help you get back on track by pausing interest payments, offering concessions and establishing an affordable repayment plan.
Customer service personnel are contactable by telephone, web form, email or via Twitter. Different hours apply to various support sections, with all of the relevant details under the ‘Support’ tab on the broker’s website. Tests we undertook during our CommSec review gave response times of less than a minute for phone calls and under eight hours for a written enquiry, which is excellent.
Security is another area we found exemplary during our CommSec review, Australia is very stringent on this subject and the broker surpassed expectations, without over-complicating the sign up process. Having all of the necessary documents and information to hand, you are good to go in around ten minutes, less if you are already a Commonwealth Bank client.
Once registered, whether trading from your PC or mobile device, you can be certain that online security is a top priority. Financial transactions are securely encrypted using 128-bit SSL keys and your login is subject to multi-layer authentication.
From information sourced during our CommSec review, Australia takes care to ensure that account applicants for financial products are over the age of 18. However, suitable adults can open an account ‘in trust’ for a minor until they are of age; an excellent opportunity for parents to secure their children’s financial future.
Reputation and Customer Feedback – 90% of clients gave a CommSec rating of ‘Excellent’
One area we always check is the opinion of a broker’s clients on forums and social media. Judging from the findings of our CommSec review, Australia holds a consistently high opinion of this broker, especially in respect of customer service and speed of trade execution.
We saw a few negative comments, but we certainly found no indication of any CommSec scam activity suggested. The only negative feedback (and there was very little to find) related to slow response times from customer service and delayed payments.
Our CommSec review process includes certain tests we complete related to broker services, one of which involves contacting customer support. Phone lines were answered within one minute, even during busy trading periods and our email enquiry received a response in less than eight hours, so no complaints.
Regarding the delayed payment comments, we believe that these were the result of a misunderstanding about the trade settlement process, which for CommSec Australia is T+2. The ‘2’ is working days, so a payment could take four days to reach your trading account, if the trade date fell on a Friday. We certainly found nothing to substantiate either of the negatives raised.
CommSec is a subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank, one of the oldest and most highly-respected financial corporations in Australia. Whilst operating under rigid ASIC regulation, we consistently found CommSec safe; going above and beyond to protect client funds in its custody.
Current CommSec ranking places it third in the top five Australian stockbrokers, on a par with peer operators offering physical shares and associated assets. If you intend diversifying your trading portfolio with other types of financial instruments, you will find our IC Markets review and our Interactive Brokers review also make interesting reading.
Throughout our CommSec review, Australia and its economy was at the forefront of the broker’s priorities, but not in a negative context. It highlights that CommSec Australia clients have more opportunities to invest in their own country’s businesses.
Throughout the research process we completed to bring you this comprehensive CommSec review, we have only one small criticism; the lack of a demo account or trial version of the bespoke IRESS platform. Otherwise, we found nothing but positives, bearing witness to CommSec’s extraordinary attention to even the smallest details.
Whether you are an experienced trader with a substantial portfolio looking for a change, or a complete beginner starting out on your investing career with a limited budget, we are confident that CommSec should feature high on your broker shortlist.