What is CMC Markets like for share trading?

By   |   Verified by David Boyd   |   Updated 7th June 2021

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 have to offer.

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 for 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.
  • Stockbroking Pro 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.

Details and fees for the Stockbroking Standard account

There are three different types of standard stockbroking account with CMC Markets:

Classic

CMC Markets' standard trading platform, free to open, with access to free research and 20-minute-delayed overseas data, plus live ASX data.

The brokerage fee is the greater of 0.10% or $11 per trade, for your first 10 trades in the month.

Active Investor

Access to everything in the Classic account, plus free access to Stockbroking Pro, including live data, daily emails containing technical analysis, as well as eScreener research reports.

To access this tier you need to make 11 to 30 trades every month, or execute more than five trades and incur more than $500 in brokerage fees per month.

The brokerage fee is the greater of 0.08% or $9.90 per trade, for your 11th to 30th trade each month.

Premium Trader

All of the Active Investor benefits plus free live or dynamic data (for which a fee is normally payable). You will be given access to exclusive premium client events and award-winning research materials.

Premium traders need to execute more than 30 trades a month.

The brokerage fee is the greater of 0.075% or $9.90 for all trades when you execute more than 30 trades in the month.

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 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 a Macquarie Cash Management 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 & 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.
  • 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.

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.