Page last updated: 05 August 2021

Online investing platforms

Online investing platforms enable you to trade shares and other financial products yourself online. They are usually easy to use and often cheaper than a share broker, but you need to be comfortable making your own decisions as you won’t receive advice and often you won’t receive research reports.

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An online investing platform is a website or mobile application used to invest within the financial markets.

Online platforms have made investing more accessible.  You can invest smaller amounts of money at relatively low cost and they’re easy to use.  They can be an opportunity to learn about investing by doing it. 

One of the ways that some platforms allow you to invest small amounts is through fractionalised investing, which allows you to buy portions of shares instead of purchasing an entire share.  This allows you to have access to more highly priced shares which you may normally not be able to afford.  There are platforms which also allow you to buy full shares.

Many of us are familiar with platforms that allow us to invest in shares, bonds, exchange traded funds (ETF) and other managed funds.  

Some platforms also offer investments that are higher risk, including derivatives like options trading and cryptocurrency.  Generally these types of investments are not suitable for the average investor and are best approached with caution.  To find out more see Understanding the risks

We have commissioned research about online investing platforms, to help understand the type and profile of investors in retail platforms, and the associated risks and behaviours. We will use the findings to help prioritise future activities and messages to reach new investors.

See the media release for an overview of the findings, or download the full research pack.

Download a larger PDF version. Based on Kantar Public research of 1900 investors using online investing platforms.

5 ds of investing FOMO

The five D’s of DIY investing

Recent research by the FMA into online investing platforms found 31% of all online DIY investors jumped into an investment because they didn’t want to miss out. Additionally, 27% said they invested based on a recommendation from someone they know without doing their own research.

If you’ve got investing FOMO, first consider the Five D’s of DIY investing.


The five D’s of DIY investing

Discover more about online investing

Choosing an online investing platform

Is online investing right for you? Here are some things to think about if you decide that online investing is for you

Read more

Using an investing platform

Investment goals are the first step to using investing platforms, then focus on products that will help you reach those goals.

Read more

Understanding the risks

Online investing platforms make investing 'easy' but aren't exempt from their share of risks or scams.

Learn more