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Share Trading Finder™ – online share trading accounts

If you want to buy and sell shares you need to find the right platform.

Name Product Available Investment Types Min. Monthly Fee Available Markets
OFFER
BlackBull Markets Share Trading
Shares
$0
US, NZ, AU, Funds with exposure to multiple markets
Exclusive: Sign up through Finder and get 5 free shares with a minimum first time deposit of $1,000. T&Cs apply.
Trade 23,000+ shares and access 80+ global markets across the US, New Zealand, Australia and more, plus benefit from extended trading hours, no monthly fees, 24/6 dedicated local support and a mobile trading app available on both Android and iOS.
Sharesies
Shares, ETFs, Managed Funds, Index Funds
$0
US, NZ, AU, Funds with exposure to multiple markets
Trade and invest in more than 8,000 companies, ETFs and managed funds across New Zealand, the US and Australia.
OFFER
Hatch
Shares, ETFs
$0
US
Sign up to Hatch through Finder and get a $20 top-up when you deposit $100 or more.
Invest in more than 4,700 US companies and over 1,200 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) - no minimum investment or monthly fees.
OFFER
Tiger Brokers
Shares, ETFs, Options
$0
US, AU, Funds with exposure to multiple markets
Exclusive: Sign up to Tiger Brokers and use code FINDERNZ to receive a $10 stock voucher on your first deposit, as well as a $30 stock voucher if you deposit within 3 days of opening your account. T&Cs apply.
Trade shares in more than 7,000 companies across the US, Australia and Asia, as well as ETFs, options, futures, CBBCs and more. No minimum investment or monthly fees apply.
OFFER
Stake
Shares
$0
US
Sign up through Finder and use referral code "FINDERNZ" for a free stock valued up to US$150.
Trade more than 4,500 US-listed stocks and ETFs through Stake with $0 fees on trades.
Zacks Trade
Zacks Trade
Shares, ETFs, Bonds, Options
$0
US, AU, Funds with exposure to multiple markets
Trade and invest in global shares, ETFs, bonds, and options across more than 90 international exchanges with no inactivity and maintenance fees.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Online share trading makes it easy and affordable for anyone to begin investing in shares through the New Zealand Stock Market (NZX), US stock markets and beyond. In this guide, you’ll learn how online share trading platforms work, how to make money from stocks, what kinds of fees you’ll pay and what all that confusing terminology means.

Looking for a specific type of investment? You can find more information on term deposits, managed funds, super and forex on our Investments homepage.

How does online share trading work?

In the pre-Internet era, the only way to buy or sell shares was by hiring a full-service stockbroker, which could be expensive and time-consuming.

However, times have changed and now investors can buy and sell shares themselves predominantly through online trading platforms. The standard NZX trading hours are 10am to 5pm NZST Monday to Friday, while other global exchanges keep similar hours.

Using an online platform is far cheaper than using full-service brokers. When you buy shares online, you’ll pay a brokerage fee for each transaction, which typically ranges from $15 to $30 for NZX trades, as opposed to $75 to $100 for full-service brokers.

Brokerage fees are an important factor when comparing online trading platforms; however, there are other things to consider too. While share trading accounts tend to highlight their lowest available brokerage fee, this is usually impacted by how often you trade and how much you trade. Some accounts also have monthly inactivity fees if you don’t place any trades for a specific period of time.

How can I make money from shares?

There are two main ways to make money from share trading:

  • 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 to make a profit.

What other types of investments are out there?

Along with shares, you can trade index funds, such as exchange-traded funds (which track the performance of a range of stocks) and other products.

Keep in mind there’s a minimum first order of $500 when buying shares in a company on the NZX. 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.

For a more detailed guide on the process of buying shares, take a look at our 7-step guide to buying shares online.

What is a blue-chip share?

Blue-chip shares are large companies that are financially strong and have a solid track record of producing good earnings to shareholders. Typically, they are industry leaders and household brands. Investing in blue-chip shares could be a good strategy for beginners, as they are usually considered to be very stable and have been in the market for a long time. For example, Sky City, Fonterra, Auckland International Airport, Fisher & Paykel and Vector, are considered blue-chip shares.

What should I look for in an online broker?

When choosing an online share trading platform, consider the following factors:

  • 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 (e.g. global shares, local shares, options), how often you trade in a month and the size of the trade.
  • Monthly fees. Some brokers 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.
  • Availability of 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.
  • Integration with bank accounts. 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 global markets. If you want to invest in offshore exchanges, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), check what options are available with each service.
  • 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 NZD to the foreign currency of choice.
  • Other trading options. Other products offered by some online brokers include forex, CFDs, managed funds and options trading.
  • Customer support. Check what level of customer support is available, what hours it’s available and if the support team is based locally in New Zealand. This is particularly important for new traders.

Is my online broker safe?

Before you start downloading software, check whether the online broker has a good reputation and is a trusted provider in the community.

You can start by looking at some of our online reviews and doing a bit of research on user experience.

Next, look at the team behind the platform.

Find out how long it has been offering online share trading services. Is it backed by a large bank or financial institution?

There are several other key details to look out for:

  • 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.

Protect your information

  • 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.

    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 be aware of how major events, such as national elections or COVID-19, are impacting 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.
    • Consider blue-chip companies. This is a good strategy for people new to the share market, as blue-chip often have more stable returns, are less volatile and often pay dividends.
    • Diversify. Say you had $5,000 to invest in the share market. Rather than invest it all in one 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 the one basket.

    Share trading glossary – learn the key share trading terms and what they mean

    • Bear market: This term refers to when prices on the market are falling, and further falls are expected to occur.
    • Blue-chip stock: A blue-chip stock is a large company with a steady history of turning a profit.
    • Brokerage fee: This is the fee you must pay to a share trading platform when you use the platform to buy or sell shares.
    • Bull market: Opposite to a bear market. This term applies when share market prices are rising and expected to continue to rise.
    • Contract note: This confirms a buy or sell transaction and includes details such as the type of share, the price paid and the quantity traded
    • Dividend: Companies can distribute their profits or earnings to shareholders in the form of dividends. A dividend is calculated as a number of cents for each share you own.
    • Float: The initial raising of capital through public subscription to a security.
    • Fundamental analysis: This involves analysing the financial statements of a business to determine its overall financial standing.
    • Futures: Futures are contracts to buy or sell an asset at a specified future date.
    • Limit order: A limit order specifies the maximum (when buying) or minimum (when selling) price you are willing to accept for a share transaction.
    • Listed company: Listed companies have shares that are purchased and sold through the NZX.
    • Live price: This is the price of a share at a precise moment in time.
    • Market order: A market order is an order to buy or sell a share at its current market price.
    • NZClear (New Zealand Electronic Registries Interface System): This NZX system settles share trades and acts as the central registry for the electronic transfer of share ownership.
    • NZX: The abbreviation for the New Zealand Stock Market, New Zealand’s primary stock exchange
    • NZX 50 Index: This is an index of the performance of the share prices of around 50 of New Zealand’s biggest companies. Also referred to as the NZ50.
    • Short selling: This is when you borrow a security and subsequently sell it, with the obligation to buy it back in future at a much lower price.
    • Volatility: This reflects the amount of fluctuation in share prices.
    • Warrant: This gives its holder the right to purchase a security within a certain timeframe and at a specific price.
    • Yield: This is your return on an investment and is expressed as a percentage.

    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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