- With Westpac Share Trading, you can invest online and offline, by telephone.
- The feature-rich Westpac Share Trading platform is suitable for new and seasoned investors and offers features valued by frequent traders.
- The commission structure, similar to standard offerings by other platforms, gives favourable terms including margin trading to Westpac Cash Investment Account holders.
Westpac Share Trading has been around for two decades, helping Australian investors to grow their wealth. The platform offers access to a wide range of Australian and international asset classes. As one of the Big Four banks, Westpac Share Trading also lets investors place orders by telephone, although at a higher cost than placing them online and using a mobile app.
This is what the platform offers and how it compares with others available in Australia.
In this review
Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX: WBC), commonly called Westpac, is an Australian banking and financial services company. It was established in 1817 as the Bank of New South Wales, making it Australia’s oldest bank. It was renamed Westpac in 1982, following its merger with the Commercial Bank of Australia.
Westpac provides a wide range of services including consumer, business and institutional banking as well as wealth management services. Westpac's many subsidiaries include St.George Bank, BankSA, BT, Westpac New Zealand, Bank of Melbourne, BT Funds Management, BT Securities and Westpac Securities.
What is a Westpac Share Trading account?
A Westpac Share Trading account is your entry ticket to the world of investing and to Westpac's feature-rich share trading platform. Its features would appeal to investing novices and seasoned investors alike who are seeking Australian and international investment opportunities.
The account enables you to access investments in more than 30 international exchanges and covers a variety of investment assets from stock and bonds, funds, forex, and derivatives.
Aside from online trading and investing through the Westpac Share Trading app, you may also invest by telephone when you have a share trading account with Westpac. The latter is a feature that is not available with most online trading platforms.
Who is Westpac Share Trading for?
Westpac Share Trading is for Australian individuals, companies, trusts and SMSFs and has many features that would be useful to casual investors and active traders alike. It lets you buy and sell Australian shares on ASX and Chi-X as well as those listed in more than 30 international stock exchanges including the Nasdaq, NYSE, LSE, HKEX, and TSE.
You need to be 18 or older to open a share trading account. Westpac Share Trading is meant for Australians and requires a bank account in Australia. Chances are you have a bank account, credit card or mortgage with Westpac.
- Wide range of asset classes including Australian and international securities.
- Westpac Share Trading app for investing on the go.
- Flexible trading with a new account, an existing account or margin loan.
- More favourable trading terms and facilities for Westpac clients and those with a Westpac Cash Investment Account.
- Charting tools for:
- Accessing a broad range of indicators
- Quick comparisons
- Customisable timeframes
- Using trend lines
- Variety of flexible chart styles
- Free, unlimited trading alerts for:
- Share prices
- Trading volumes
- Market announcements
- Ex-dividend shares, and more
- Conditional orders:
- Free you from the need for constant market monitoring
- Comprises an order to buy or sell a stock and a trigger to specify market conditions before order execution
- Research packages:
- Free daily share tracker email service
- Free share recommendations from Consensus, Morningstar Quantitative
- Morningstar Premium recommendations ($20, but rebated based on transaction numbers and brokerage fees for month)
Fees and charges
- No account opening fees.
- No maintenance fees.
- Brokerage fee:
- Online and through an app: greater of $19.95 or 0.11% of transaction value.
- Trades over phone charged at $59.90 or 0.44% of transaction value, whichever is greater.
- Morningstar Premium research: $20 a month.
- Other research and alerts are free.
What markets does Westpac Share Trading cover?
Westpac Share Trading covers a wide variety of investment assets listed in Australian and international exchanges:
- Australian shares on ASX and Chi-X.
- International markets, including US exchanges.
- Exchange-traded options and listed company options.
- ASX-listed warrants.
- Contracts for differences (CFDs).
- Managed funds.
- Exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
- Exchange-traded commodities (ETCs).
- Listed unit trusts.
- Listed convertible notes.
- Listed fixed-interest securities.
- Initial public offerings (IPOs).
How do I set up a Westpac Share Trading account?
You can open a Westpac Share Trading account online in 5 to 10 minutes. To do so you will need:
- One form of identification.
- Your tax file number.
- Complete the online application.
- Enter your personal details.
- Submit your application.
- Funding your trading:
- Trades under $18,136 can be effected through a Westpac Cash Investment Account;
- Link to any Australian bank account.
- When you are ready to begin investing, take the path that suits you best:
- Online: Login> Navigate to Trading> Share Orders> Place Order;
- Mobile app: Download the app from the App Store or Google Play, use your choice of access (PIN, Touch ID or Face ID) and follow steps (see "How do I use the Westpac Share Trading app?");
- By phone: Call Westpac Share Trading on 13 13 31 and Westpac staff will place trades on your behalf.
- Brokerage rates differ based on the method you choose and phone trading is costlier than trading online or using the mobile app.
Pros and cons
- No account opening fees.
- No maintenance fees.
- Simple brokerage cost structure (not tiered)
- Tradable assets: ASX listed assets, 30 plus international stock exchanges.
- Trade online, by phone or app (costs vary).
- Settlements: Through a Westpac Cash Investment Account, Margin loans, From any bank.
- Variety of useful features: Free risk-management tools, automated trading alerts, free daily share tracker emails, free share recommendations from Consensus and Morningstar Quantitative.
- Support isn't available 24/7.
- No discounts for frequent traders.
- No WebIRESS access (stockmarket information).
- Morningstar Premium research recommendations at a cost ($20 a month but rebated on high transaction numbers or sizes).
What is the minimum amount I can trade on Westpac Share Trading?
The ASX has set $500 as the minimum marketable parcel of shares and Westpac Share Trading follows the rule. That is, $500 is the minimum order size of your initial purchase of any share or other security. Afterwards, through Westpac Share Trading, you may top up on the same share or asset with transactions less than $500.
What are the trading limits for a Westpac Share Trading account?
Your trading limits are determined by the type of settlement account that is linked to your trading account.
For trading accounts linked to a Westpac Cash Investment Account:
The trading limit is calculated as follows:
Trading limit = Weighted portfolio value + Cash Investment Account balance - Reserved funds + Trading account balance - Open buy orders
In assigning weightage to portfolio, Westpac assigns:
- 100% to S&P/ASX200 index shares in your portfolio;
- 50% to shares outside the S&P/ASX200 index; and
- 0% of the value to currently non-tradable shares.
The trading allowance is a default threshold that Westpac Share Trading sets, which allows you to place orders without upfront cash deposits.
For trading accounts linked to other bank accounts:
Trading limit = Weighted portfolio value + Trading allowance + Trading account balance - Open buy orders
For trading account linked to a margin loan:
The trading limit for each customer depends on their credit limit, available funds and the LVR of the asset to be purchased. You can get more details from your margin lender.
Can I buy shares for my child with a Westpac Share Trading account?
You can open a Westpac Share Trading account for your child (a minor) who is less than 18 years old even though minors cannot trade in shares. You may then trade in shares, which are held in trust until the child turns 18. At that point the shares may be transferred to your child who can then trade in shares under their own name.
In opening such an account, you need to use the Trust/SMSF account application and provide necessary details, including your (the adult's) name as the trustee.
Does Westpac have a share trading app?
The Westpac Share Trading app, downloadable from the App Store and Google Play store, is iPhone and Android-ready. You can use it to trade and manage your investments on the go, from wherever you are.
You can use the Westpac Share Trading app to trade in Australian shares, ETFs and warrants listed on the ASX.
The app gives you access to live price quotes and offers market depth, announcements, stock charts and news updates. You can use the app to view live market indices as well as major currency exchange rates. The Westpac Share Trading app can be tailored to view, create and edit your own watchlists. The app empowers traders with free unlimited share price alerts and other updates on share prices and trading volumes, ex-dividend dates and market-sensitive announcements.
Can Westpac Share Trading be accessed from my Westpac online banking facility?
If you are a Westpac customer with online banking, all you need to do is login to online banking and click “Online Investing (Equity)” to access your Westpac trading account.
Is Westpac Share Trading CHESS sponsored?
Australian Securities Exchange (ASX Ltd) operates the CHESS (Clearing House Electronic Subregister System) subregister and requires each investor to be sponsored by a broker.
Westpac Share Trading clients are broker-sponsored by the Australian Investment Exchange Ltd (AUSIEX) on the CHESS subregister. Your trading account comes with an assigned single Holder Identification Number (HIN).
Westpac Share Trading has a lot in common with what's on offer at the other big banks in terms of market access, tradable assets, and costs. Crypto is noticeably absent, as it is on its closest competitors. However, if you already bank with Westpac, getting started with this platform is easy. The overall trading experience is certainly not as slick as what you might expect from one of the more modern investing apps, but it does get the job done.
If you are just getting started with investing, alternatives like eToro may be worth considering since the detailed analysis and ratings that appeal to experienced investors require a steep learning curve that may discourage you from investing.
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