How to buy shares in Australia for beginners in 2024

Our stock market experts explain how to buy shares in Australia at a low cost while staying safe with a regulated stock broker.
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Updated: Apr 11, 2024
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Anyone can invest in the stock market, and buying shares in Australia is a simple, accessible way to build your wealth over a long period of time.

Our team of stock market experts have pooled their decades’ worth of experience to create this guide. Together, Dan Ashmore, CFA, Head of Research, Prash Raval, Financial Writer, Katya Stead, News Reporter, and Harsh Vardhan, Editor of News have been covering the markets for leading publications and investing their own money for more than 30 years.

Together, they’ve identified the most important things you need to know in order to invest in stocks in Australia successfully. Learn the different investment options available to you, how to find a quality, low cost trading platform, and how to place your first order to buy stocks.

This guide is a live document, constantly updated with the latest information on prices and the most up-to-date research. We also believe in sharing knowledge, so you can contact our experts directly for the latest advice on how to buy stocks from Australia.

Without any further ado, let’s learn how to buy shares in Australia.

How to buy shares Australia (Quick start guide)

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1. Decide how you want to invest in shares

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Buying stocks in Australia can simply mean picking individual companies you want to invest in, but there are other options available too. You can buy shares in an exchange traded-fund (ETF), sign up to an automated investment platform, buy and sell stock CFDs, or use your bank account to open a stocks-savings account. Choose which approach suits your budget and your goals best.

2. Sign up to one of the best Australia trading platforms

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To invest in stocks from Australia, you need to create an account with one of the best trading platforms in Australia. We recommend Plus500 as the best place to buy stocks in Australia.

Creating an account typically only takes a few minutes, but you will need to supply some government-issued ID, like a passport or driving licence as part of the process. 

The top brokers use modern technology that can verify your identity based on these documents in minutes, so once you’ve uploaded your details you should be approved and ready to start buying stocks very quickly.

1
Min. Deposit
100 €
Best offer
User Score
10
Trade +2000 CFDs on Shares, Options, Commodities & more
Unlimited risk-free Demo Account
0 commissions & attractive spreads with up to 1:5 leverage
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
American Express, Apple Pay, Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card, Discover, Google Pay, Mastercard, PayPal, SEPA, Trustly, Visa, , skrill
Full Regulations:
ASIC, FCA, FSA, MAS, cysec-250-14-regulator, isa-regulator

Buy or sell stock CFDs with Plus500. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

3. Place your order to purchase stocks

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Log into your share brokerage account, search for the stock you want to buy, and enter your order details.

Those details include how many stocks you want to buy and the price at which you want to purchase them. Once you’ve done that, confirm the order.

As soon as the order is executed, you can find your shares in your trading account portfolio, where you can track their price and decide when you want to sell.

Congratulations, you’re now a shareholder!

Where to buy stocks in Australia

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These are our top ranked stock brokers for Australian investors. They each offer an inexpensive and convenient way to invest in shares in Australia, combined with top-tier regulation from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

Sort by:

1
Min. Deposit
$ 100
Best offer
User Score
10
Trade +2000 CFDs on Shares, Options, Commodities & more
Unlimited risk-free Demo Account
0 commissions & attractive spreads with up to 1:5 leverage
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
American Express, Apple Pay, Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card, Discover, Google Pay, Mastercard, PayPal, SEPA, Trustly, Visa, , skrill
Full Regulations:
ASIC, FCA, FSA, MAS, cysec-250-14-regulator, isa-regulator

Buy or sell stock CFDs with Plus500. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

2
Min. Deposit
$ 100
Best offer
User Score
9.9
Invest/buy real stocks and ETFs with 0% commission fees
Invest for dividends and get payout on stocks on Ex-Dividend day
Over 11 payment methods, including PayPal
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Credit Card, Debit Card, PayPal, UnionPay, WebMoney, Wire Transfer, Yandex, neteller, skrill
Full Regulations:
ASIC, CySEC, FCA

eToro Service ARSN 637 489 466. AFSL 491139. Capital at risk. See PDS and TMD.

3
Min. Deposit
$ 100
Best offer
User Score
9.9
Open an MT5 account to go long or short on 250 of the largest US, Australian, and European stocks
Instruments in 21 time-frames and 80 pre-installed indicators
Multi jurisdiction regulation by ASIC and VFSC
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Credit Card, Cryptocurrencies, PayPal, Wire Transfer, neteller, skrill
Full Regulations:
ASIC, CySEC, FCA
74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money

What to consider before buying stocks in Australia

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Take some time to decide your ultimate investing goal and set yourself a budget before you buy any stocks. Are you investing for retirement, to create a new source of income, or to grow your pot in preparation for a big purchase?

Do you want to be an active investor, actively choosing which stocks to buy from the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), or are you happy to let someone else make the decisions for you?

The answers should influence how you invest. With a long time horizon, you can afford to start with a smaller pot, while investment strategies that aim to generate steady returns in line with the Australian stock market are more appealing. 

With a shorter time frame, you may need to be more active in picking your own stocks to buy in Australia in an attempt to ‘beat’ the market. 

The different ways to invest in stocks in Australia

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Buying stocks in Australia can mean a few different things. You can, of course, buy shares in a company you like, but nowadays there are lots of investment strategies that are designed specifically for beginners who don’t have the desire or the expertise to pick their own stocks.

Here is a summary of the various options open to you, and what type of investor they’re most suited for.

  • Buy individual stocks. The traditional way to invest in Australia. Research a company’s performance and buy shares in it, with the goal of selling your stocks later at a higher price. This approach is best if you have some experience of the stock market already, and/or the time to research lots of companies to find the right investment.
  • Buy shares in an ETF. An ETF (exchange-traded fund) is a fund that contains lots of stocks grouped together. You can buy shares in an ETF like you would a single company, but instead of a share in one business you get a share of lots of businesses. ETFs are ideal for investing in the Australian stock market as a whole, or for anyone who doesn’t have the time or experience to pick individual stocks.
  • Invest through a robo advisor. A robo advisor is an automated investment platform that buys and sells stocks for you. Typically, you deposit a lump sum, or set up a regular deposit, answer a few questions, and the robo advisor chooses how to invest that money based on your answers and its unique algorithm. Robo advisors are ideal if you only have a small amount of money or just want to ‘set and forget’ your investing.
  • Buy and sell stock CFDs. CFDs (contracts for difference) are financial products that take their value from an underlying asset. The allow you to speculate on stock price changes and are generally designed for rapid buying and selling based on technical analysis of price charts. These are higher risk and require more expertise to trade, but offer the potential for more immediate gains than long term investing.

How much money do I need to buy shares in Australia?

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The equivalent of $10 is usually enough to meet the minimum deposit requirements with a stock broker. You can start investing with a small amount, though you might be better off buying shares in an ETF or using a top Australian robo advisor as opposed to spending it all on one stock.

If you have a smaller budget, then you can build it up by rounding up your spare change into an investment pot (there are investment apps in Australia that can do this for you), by setting up regular deposits, or by investing in stocks that you can earn extra income from in the form of dividends.

To start building your own portfolio, you may want the equivalent of about $100, so that you can spread your risk by buying a few different Australian stocks, but there’s no ‘right’ amount that you must have. 

How much does it cost to buy and sell shares in Australia?

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Many Australian share dealing platforms offer commission-free trading, making it possible to buy stock in Australia with no fees or commissions. Rather than a fixed brokerage fee, it’s more common to find platforms that charge you through the ‘spread’, which is the difference between the buy and sell price of a stock.

You can compare the costs of buying stock in Australia by looking at the spread. The wider the gap between the two prices, the more the platform is charging you.

What are the best stocks to buy in Australia?

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The right answer is different for every person and is constantly changing, depending on the stock price and the economic situation in Australia. Ultimately, you want to find stocks that will be worth more in the future than the price you pay for them now.

Companies on the Australian stock exchange (the Australian Securities Exchange) are often valued based on a set of criteria, such as how much money they make every year, how big the market for their product or service could be, and whether they pay out dividends.

Here are some terms and metrics to be aware of when you’re deciding which stocks to buy.

Market capitalization

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Market capitalization, often referred to as market cap, is the total market value of a company’s outstanding shares. It’s calculated by multiplying the current stock price by the total number of outstanding shares. 

For investors, market cap is crucial as it helps in assessing a company’s size, growth potential, and risk level. Larger companies (with higher market caps) are typically more stable, while smaller companies (with lower market caps) may offer higher growth potential but with increased risk.

Net income/earnings

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Net income, also known as net earnings, is the profit a company earns after deducting all its expenses, taxes, and costs. It’s a key indicator of a company’s financial health and profitability.

Investors pay close attention to net income as it directly impacts the company’s earnings per share (EPS), and is often used to determine a company’s value and performance. Consistent growth in net income is generally seen as a positive sign for future stock performance.

Earnings per share

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Earnings per share (EPS) is a financial metric indicating how much profit a company makes per share of its stock. It’s calculated by dividing the company’s net income by its total number of outstanding shares. 

EPS is crucial for investors as it offers a clear measure of a company’s profitability and efficiency in generating profits. It’s widely used for comparing the financial performance of different companies, especially within the same industry. Consistent growth in EPS is often seen as a positive sign.

P/E ratio

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The P/E (price to earnings) ratio is a valuation metric that compares a company’s current share price to its per-share earnings. It’s calculated by dividing the market value per share by the earnings per share. 

Investors use this as a way to evaluate whether a stock is overvalued or undervalued in relation to its earnings. A high P/E ratio could indicate that a stock’s price is high compared to earnings and possibly overvalued, while a low P/E ratio might suggest a stock is undervalued.

Dividend yield

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Dividend yield is a financial ratio that shows how much a company pays out in dividends each year relative to its stock price. It’s calculated as the annual dividends per share divided by the price per share and is usually displayed as a percentage.

For stock investors in Australia, particularly those seeking regular income, the dividend yield is a key factor to consider. It provides an idea of the income they can expect from an investment in a stock, independent of market price fluctuations.

Free cash flow

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Free cash flow (FCF) is the cash a company generates after accounting for cash outflows to support operations and maintain its capital assets. It’s a measure of a company’s financial performance and health, indicating the amount of cash it has available for expansion, dividend payments, and debt reduction, among other activities. 

For investors, a positive and growing free cash flow is typically a good sign, suggesting the company has healthy financials and the potential for growth and dividend payouts.

Can I buy international stocks in Australia?

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Yes, typically an online broker offers many more international stocks than local Australian ones from the ASX. Most investors want the option to invest in the biggest brand names, so online trading platforms that are designed to attract casual investors make sure to offer those stocks.

That means you are likely to find lots of stocks from the US market as well as other leading companies around the world, though the exact range on offer depends on the broker you sign up to. Here is a comparison of the best international trading platforms and the stocks they offer. 

BrokerUS stocksUK stocksAsian stocksEuropean stocksRest of world
eToroYesYesYesYesYes
Plus500YesYesYesYesYes
SkillingYesNoYesYesYes
AvaTradeYesNoNoYesNo
PepperstoneYesYesNoYesYes
DegiroYesYesYesYesYes
EightcapYesYesYesYesNo
Interactive BrokersYesYesYesYesYes
PublicYesNoNoNoNo

In addition, there may be a number of different ways to buy or trade international stocks, depending on the broker you choose. You may be able to buy the underlying asset, which is akin to traditional investing where you become a shareholder in the company. 

More common is the ability to buy and sell derivatives, such as CFDs or options, which are financial products that get their value from an underlying asset (in this case, a stock). These are more speculative but give you flexibility by catering to strategies that include using leverage or shorting stocks.

Bottom line

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Buying and selling stocks in Australia is accessible and achievable for everyone. You don’t need much money to get started, and there’s a range of options available depending on how much time and existing expertise you can bring to bear.

To start investing in shares from Australia, sign up to a stock broker that’s regulated by the ASIC. From there, it’s simply a case of searching for the companies you want to put your hard-earned money into and placing your first order.

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FAQs

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How do I start buying shares in Australia?
Can I buy US stocks in Australia?
Can I buy fractional shares in Australia?
Can I buy stocks in Australia without a broker?
Can you make money from buying shares Australia?


Sources & references
Risk disclaimer
James Knight
Editor of Education

James is the Editor of Education for Invezz, where he covers topics from across the financial world, from the stock market, to cryptocurrency, to macroeconomic markets.... read more.