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Online share trading platforms

Compare online trading platforms and find out what you need to know about trading shares in Hong Kong.

Looking to trade shares online? There are a number of online platforms available, but it’s important to compare them before you sign up. This guide will teach you how online share trading platforms work, how you can make money from trading through the Hong Kong Exchanges (HKEX) and other markets, what fees you’ll pay and what all the investment terms mean.

Compare online share trading accounts in Hong Kong

1 - 7 of 7
Name Product Minimum commission for online transactions Online trading commission Tradable stocks
HK stocks: HK$0
US stocks: US$0
HK stocks: HK$0
US stocks: US$0
Hong Kong stocks, US stocks
Ends on 30 September 2022: Welcome offer for new customers
Open an account to enjoy up to HK$1,400 rewards. Awarded an iPhone 14 for trading option contracts. Enjoy up to HK$8,500 rewards by transferring shares to your Longbridge account, you can even get HomePod mini & coupons if you transfer shares over HK$100,000 for the first time with a friend. T&Cs apply.
Valuable Capital
HK stocks: HK$3 + HK$15 platform fee
US stocks: US$0.99 + US$1 platform fee
HK stocks: 0.03%,
US stocks: US$0.0049
Hong Kong stocks, US stocks
Ends on 30 September 2022: Welcome offer for new customers
Open an account online to enjoy the rewards: 1 share of Apple value up to HK$1,200, zero commissions for HK & US stock, and more. Furthermore, you can enjoy stock transfer-in reward of up to HK$6,000. T&Cs apply.
Offers tradable CFDs for a range of underlying assets, such as commodities, Forex, ETFs, cryptocurrencies and more. It also offers commission-free investments in real stocks.
HK stocks: HK$0 + HK$10 platform fee
US stocks: US$0
HK stocks: HK$0,
US stocks: US$0
Hong Kong, China stocks, US stocks
Ends on 13 October 2022: Welcome offer for new customers
Free access to U.S. market Level 2 Quotes for a month. Enjoy US$70 Tesla share and 3 margin IPO subscription fee discount coupons upon transaction completion. Get extra US$30 Tesla shares after completing 3 long option transactions. T&Cs apply.
uSMART Securities
HK: HK$0 + HK$12 platform fee
US: US$0 + US$1.88 platform fee
HK: HK$0
US: US$0
Hong Kong stocks, US stocks
Ends on 31 October 2022: Welcome offer for new customers
Enjoy lifetime $0 commission for US Stock and $0 plattform fee for HK stock. Complete the specified requirements within 30 days after successful registration to get 2 shares of Apple and online investment course coupon. T&Cs apply.
Saxo Markets
HK $18
CFD Service. Your capital is at risk.
Saxo Markets provides an online platform for trading stocks, shares, CFDs, and forex around the world
Zacks Trade

Compare up to 4 providers

How does online share trading work?

Online share trading is exactly what it sounds like: you use an online platform to buy, sell and trade shares online. These platforms can be available on a website or as an app and let you set up an account and trade shares from the Hong Kong Exchanges (HKEX) or other stock exchanges globally. For Hong Kong-listed companies, all trading is done through the HKEX, which lists more than 2,400 (Main board and GEM board) companies. Overseas shares are traded on a variety of exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the NASDAQ and the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Many platforms also let you trade other types of investments, such as index funds, ETFs and more. You can also make use of online tools such as copying high-profile investors, in-depth research on stocks and easy access to data to inform your trades.

Another huge benefit of trading shares online is that it’s often cheaper than using a full-service stockbroker. When you buy shares online, you’ll pay a brokerage fee for each transaction, which typically ranges from $0 to $100 for HKEX trades, as opposed to $100 to $150 for full-service brokers.

How to buy shares online

Buying shares is a relatively simple process:

  1. Choose an online share trading platform
  2. Sign up for an account
  3. Choose the shares you want to buy
  4. Place your order
  5. Pay for the transaction
  6. Monitor the performance of your shares
  7. Sell your shares (if you want to)

The standard HKEX trading hours are 9.30am to 4pm HKT Monday to Friday, while other global exchanges keep similar hours. Along with shares, you can trade Exchange Traded Products such as Exchange Traded Funds (which track the performance of a range of stocks) and Leveraged and Inverse Products. Keep in mind there’s a minimum order of a lot when buying shares in a company on the HKEX, however, some trading apps get around this by offering fractional investing, just as others choose to impose a higher minimum limit. To buy shares online, simply open an account with an online share trading platform such as those listed in the table above.

What features should I look for with online share trading platforms?

  • Advice and research options. Online brokers sometimes offer market news and updates as well as other research tools that will let you investigate the trading history of individual stocks.
  • Bank account integrations. Some services let you transfer money easily from your trading account to a transaction or savings account. Others offer linked debit cards to use with your accounts.
  • Access to Hong Kong shares and global markets. Not all online platforms offer shares from every market. Check the platform lets you invest where you want.
  • Investment options. Other products offered by some online brokers include forex, CFDs, managed funds and options trading.
  • Strong customer support. Check what level of customer support is available, what hours it’s available and if the support team is based locally in Hong Kong. This is particularly important for new traders.

How do fees work with online share trading platforms?

  • Broker fees. This is the fee that is charged every time you buy and sell shares. Brokers charge different fees depending on the product you’re trading (for example, global shares, local shares and options), how often you trade in a month and the size of the trade.
  • Monthly fees. Some brokers in Hong Kong charge ongoing subscription fees or additional inactivity fees if you don’t make any trades within a certain period of time. This may or may not suit you depending on your trading requirements.
  • Foreign exchange fees. If you’re interested in trading global stocks, you’ll want to check what the foreign exchange (FX) fee is for converting your Hong Kong dollars to the foreign currency of choice.

Is trading shares online safe? What are the risks?

As with any type of investment, there are risks to trading shares online. Some of the risks remain whether you trade online or not, for example, you can lose some or all of your investment. Other risks are with the online platform you choose to use.

Before you start using a platform, check whether the online broker has a good reputation and is a trusted provider in the community. There are several key details to look out for:

  • Reviews. Find out other users’ experiences with the platform by reading customer reviews.
  • Experience. Find out how long it has been offering online share trading services in Hong Kong. Is it backed by a large bank or financial institution?
  • Encryption. Reputable online trading platforms rely on encryption technology to protect your sensitive information. This means that when you log in to a broker’s website, no one will be able to see any of the information transmitted between you and the broker.
  • Login information. Check out what information you will need to provide in order to log in to your account. While many providers only ask for a username and password, others may ask you to enter an additional security code.
  • Online checks. Does the provider offer online checks and restrictions to reduce the risk of fraud? For example, do you receive an SMS code that you will need to enter before trading or do you need to answer an online security question?
  • Previewing trades. When talking about online share trading security, it’s also important to check that there are measures in place to prevent you from placing the wrong trade. For example, does the trading platform show you a preview screen outlining the full details of a transaction, such as the total cost and the total shares purchased, before placing a trade?
  • Processes for dealing with fraud. Next, check to see what will happen if you’re a victim of fraud via your trading account. Does the provider have processes in place to reimburse you for any losses you suffer through no fault of your own if you are the victim of fraud? Are there any exclusions to when this cover applies?
  • Customer support. It’s vital that if something ever goes wrong with a trade or you have a problem with your account, you can quickly access assistance from a company representative. Check to see when and how you can get in touch with the customer support team.

How to protect yourself when you trade online

  • Watch out for scams. Just as online share trading technology has grown more sophisticated, so too have the methods used by scammers to trick people into giving up their account details.
  • Keep your login details safe. This is an obvious tip, but one you should always remember. Never give your account login details to a third party, and don’t leave your computer unattended while you’re logged in to your account.
  • Keep a copy of your records. Keep a record of all your online share trading transactions. Your records could be in a digital or hard-copy format, but should always be stored in a safe place. This will ensure that you have evidence to refer to if something goes wrong with your account or if you suspect you may have been a victim of fraud.
  • Look after your computer. Make sure that you always keep your antivirus software up to date to protect your computer against malware and other viruses. In addition, check that you only ever log in to the trading platform via a secure Internet connection.

How can I make money from shares?

Investors in shares are fractional owners of a business, meaning they will profit based on the future outlook of the business or by getting part of the company paid to them.

There are 2 main ways to make money from share trading in Hong Kong:

  • Capital growth. If you can sell your shares for a higher price than what you paid for them, you’ll make a profit. This is known as capital growth, given that your initial capital (your shares) has increased in value. This is possible both with short-term investments (where you sell the shares after a brief period of time) and over longer periods.
  • Dividends. Some (but not all) companies pay regular dividends to their shareholders based on the amount of profit they make, which can provide an ongoing income stream plus tax advantages for certain investors. Dividend payments are a great form of passive income and it means investors may never need to sell their shares in order to make a profit. Some companies offer dividend reinvestment strategies allowing you to increase your holdings by giving you more shares.

Tips for online share trading

Here are some tips to help get you started:

  • Read the news. It’s important to stay up to date with the broader economy and learn how major events such as national elections impact the share price of various companies.
  • Research companies before buying. If you want to buy shares in a company, research as much as you can about the company before making your final decision. It’s a good idea to read the company’s annual reports and meeting minutes to learn what’s in the pipeline and what changes will be made that could affect their share price.
  • Upskill. It can be easy to lose a lot of money by making a poor investment decision or by simply clicking on the wrong button if you don’t know what you’re doing. Practise trading on a demo account first and consider taking an online investment course.
  • Consider blue chip companies. This is a good strategy for people new to the share market, as blue-chip companies often have more stable returns, are less volatile. These are shares of large companies that are financially strong and have a solid track record of producing good earnings for shareholders. For example, big banks such as HSBC, Hang Seng Bank, Bank of China (Hong Kong) and ICBC are considered blue chip shares.
  • Diversify. Say you had 5,000 HKD to invest in the share market. Rather than invest it all in 1 company, consider spreading it out across a few companies from different industries. Diversification will help lower your risk, and ensure you don’t have all your eggs in one basket
    Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

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