What is CMC Markets like for share trading?

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 20th April 2022

Finty review CMC Markets
  • Trade Australian and global shares plus a wide range of other investment products.
  • Pay low brokerage fees – and in some cases no brokerage fees.
  • Take advantage of CMC Markets' long-established global reputation and cutting-edge technology.

CMC Markets offers a trading platform both for people looking to dip their toes in for the first time, and for veterans. They're a multi-award winning trading platform, but are they for you?

The only way to find out how it stacks up is to investigate what they offer and how much it costs. Focussed on share trading, find out what CMC Markets has to offer.

Compare what CMC Markets offers against other brokers with our share trading comparison.

What is CMC Markets?

CMC Markets is a UK-based and LSE-listed company that has been around for more than 30 years, and is one of the world's leading stockbroking, forex trading and CFD (Contract for Difference) platforms.

They have a popular and well-developed mobile app, and a great reputation for customer service, winning over 50 awards in the last two years. These have been awarded for customer satisfaction, technology development and trading tools.

CMC Markets also provides access to up-to-date market data – some of it for free.

It's not just a place to trade. It's a great place to develop your skills, since there are lots of educational resources available to account holders.

Reports are generated daily by their in-house analysts, making research quick and easy for you.

CMC Markets products

The CMC Markets highlights:

  • Access to many international stock markets across the world, including in Australia, to trade shares and ETFs.
  • Australian trading includes ASX, SSX (Sydney Stock Exchange for growth oriented companies) and the Chi-X derivatives market.
  • Low trading fees (and no fee at all in some cases to buy Australian US, Canadian, Japanese and UK stocks).
  • Forex pair trading.
  • CFDs (a high-risk trading instrument where 80% of retail investors lose money).
  • Commodity trading.
  • Cryptocurrency trading.
  • Trading in government debt instruments such as bonds and treasury notes.
  • Exchange traded options.

How CMC Markets works

CMC Offers four platforms:

  • Next Generation for access to the full product range.
  • MetaTrader4 for CFD trading only.
  • Stockbroking Standard, a free account to trade global shares and ETFs, including access to free research and 20-minute-delayed overseas data, plus live ASX data.
  • Stockbroking Pro, with additional features for more advanced traders, for a $49 monthly fee.

If you want to make trades on the move there is a mobile app available for both Apple and Android devices.

Fees for the Stockbroking Standard and Pro accounts

The brokerage fee for online buy orders up to $1,000 is $0, with a limit of one fee-free order per day.

Subsequent buy orders in the same day, and any buy orders above $1,000 as well as all sell orders, attract a fee which is the greater of $11 or 0.10% of the order value.

Alpha Trader

At CMC Markets' discretion, some clients may be invited to be classified as an Alpha client for the purposes of receiving premium services such as live data, daily emails containing technical analysis, eScreener research reports, exclusive premium client events and award-winning research materials.

For Alpha Traders, online buy orders up to $1,000 are still free, and for larger buy orders and all sell orders the brokerage fee is the greater of 0.075% or $9.90.

Other fees

Phone trades will incur a fee of $59.95, whatever your membership tier. The same $59.95 fee is charged for orders for listed products outside Australia, US, UK, Canada, and Japan, even if the order is placed online.

How to apply for a CMC markets account

You will have to complete an online form, requiring your name, contact details, ID verification documents (driver's licence, Medicare card, passport), and bank account details.

As well as opening a live account, this will give you access to the demo version when using CMC, but you can also open a demo account containing virtual funds by supplying just your email address, name, phone number and password. If you're new to share trading, this is a great way to get started and used to trading. New accounts lose money often.

You'll also be guided in how to open an ANZ Cash Account, an interest-bearing account you use to settle your trading transactions. You can fund the account by direct deposit from your normal bank account. Debit and credit cards are an alternative funding option, but attract a small percentage fee per transaction.

Getting your CMC Markets account and bank account fully registered can take a couple of days.

Who CMC Markets is designed for

Thanks to the low fees and a huge range of products, CMC Markets is a great place for experienced frequent traders to operate.

However, since CMC provides a wide range of educational tools, it can be a good place for people who are new to the stock exchange, forex trading, and other markets to start. But if you are looking for a Robinhood-style experience, CMC is not for you and you could consider Superhero, Stake, or Sharsies instead.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Low brokerage fees for Australian trading, very competitive when compared with other long-established brokers like Bell Direct and the major banks' broking platforms.
  • Zero brokerage fees for trading in US, UK, Japanese and Canadian markets, and for one Australian share or ETF buy order per day with a value up to $1,000.
  • Huge range of trading options, including shares, ETFs, options, commodities, forex products, indices, cryptocurrencies and government debt.
  • Award-winning platform, including awards for customer service, their website and mobile apps.
  • Different order types available, including market price orders, stop-loss orders, take-profit orders, limit orders and stop-entry orders.
  • Over 30 years' experience in broking, so you're in the hands of experts.

Cons

  • Relatively expensive phone trades. If you prefer to trade over the phone then the fees for this service are around $60.
  • High fees for some global trading. If you want to trade stocks outside Australia, UK, US, Canada and Japan, commission costs are higher, the greater of 0.59% or $59.95.

Alternative trading platforms

CMC Markets may not be for everybody. It may be worth checking out other options.

  • CommSec. As well as having access to ASX, you also get a large choice of international markets. Fees are relatively low, but rise sharply when you trade larger amounts and in international markets.
  • eToro. While it may be best known for its social trading feature, trade US stock, ETFs, commodities, CFDs, crypto, and forex.
  • Pearler. Designed for long-term investors rather than frequent traders. Includes auto top-up for investing.
  • Spaceship Voyager. Choose a portfolio and let experts manage it for you. Low annual portfolio fees, based on a percentage of the amount you invest.

Comparisons

Choosing a broker can be challenging. Use these side-by-side comparisons to quickly and easily compare CMC Markets against similar brokers.

Verdict

CMC Markets is more likely to suit the experienced trader, with its wide range of tradable investment products more suited to professionals than beginners. There are, however, many educational tools available, including a demo account you can use for virtual trades before committing real funds. You can choose to confine yourself to simple, low-cost trading in Australian, US, UK, Japanese and Canadian shares and ETFs, and ignore the risky territory of CFDs, forex and cryptocurrency. These more complicated products will always be there if and when you feel you have sufficient knowledge to take them on.

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