Last Updated on July 2, 2024 by Chin Yi Xuan

In the past, investing in the US stock market via Malaysia-regulated brokers has always been complex and expensive.

This caused many investors to opt for overseas brokers to invest in the US market. However, all this changed when Rakuten Trade launched their much-anticipated US stock trading service.

So, is it good?

Right off the bat, I’d say Rakuten Trade is the only local broker that I can actually recommend for Malaysian investors to invest in the US market. HOWEVER, I do not recommend it for active traders.

Intrigued to know why? Wonder if you should use Rakuten Trade to access the US stock market? Let’s find out in this full review!



Highlights of Rakuten Trade US Stock Trading

  • Affordable fees (like finally!): Rakuten Trade now allows users to invest in the US market in either MYR or USD, with commissions from as low as RM1 (MYR trading) or USD1.88 – USD25 (USD trading). This is one of the lowest among Malaysia-regulated platforms.
  • Powerful features: Rakuten Trade users get perks such as Fractional share trading, FREE live datafeed, and a transparent conversion rate while investing in the US market.
  • Access to 3 major markets: Trade the Bursa Malaysia, US, and Hong Kong stock market with Rakuten Trade!
  • Room for improvements: No short-selling, no margin trading, and a lack of order execution feature (eg. Market order) means there is room for improvements for Rakuten Trade.
  • In short, Rakuten Trade is a great option for investors looking to access the US market at an affordable price. That said, active traders may find the lack of certain features restrictive. 
Rakuten Trade US stock trading review

Rakuten Trade US stock trading fees

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room: Is Rakuten Trade’s fee affordable?

For this, it is helpful to know that there are 3 kinds of regulated brokers in Malaysia offering access to overseas market, namely:

  • Traditional investment banks that offer expensive brokerage fees, usually too shy to display their fees transparently on their website. (eg. Maybank)
  • Dedicated brokers trying to disrupt the local brokerage scene with ‘affordable’ fees. Unfortunately, they are still far from affordable, especially for investors with small capital. (eg. FSMOne)
  • Lastly, we have Rakuten Trade which offers a fee structure that is actually sensible for Malaysian investors to access the US stock market.

As of April 2023, Rakuten Trade has updated its fee structure to as low as RM1/trade. This makes it very fee-friendly to trade with a small amount on Rakuten Trade.

Well, just check out the comparison table below between Rakuten Trade, M+ Global, FSMOne, and Maybank – and decide for yourself:

Rakuten Trade (Trading with MYR)M+ GlobalFSMOneMaybank
1% of Trade Value (min. RM1): <RM699.990.1% of Trade Value, or Min. USD3.00
0.08% of Trade Value or
Min. USD3.80
Flat USD 25 (Transaction < USD6,250)
RM9: RM700 – RM9999.990.4% (Transaction > USD6,250)
0.10%: RM10k – RM99,999.99
RM100: RM100k & above
Rakuten Trade (Trading with USD)
0.1% of Trading value, or min. of USD1.88 – USD25
Rakuten Trade vs M+ Global vs FSMOne vs Maybank fee comparison for US stock trading

Comparing in trading value (RM) side-by-side, this is how much platform fee you’ll be paying using each Malaysia-regulated platform to buy US shares:

Trade ValueRakuten Trade
(MYR trading/USD trading)
M+ GlobalFSMOneMaybank

As you can see, for most scenarios, Rakuten Trade offers a more flexible and affordable fee structure for investors without incurring heavy commissions.

Personally, I think Rakuten Trade’s fee structure is game-changing among local brokers.

Now, investors can access the US stock market via a Malaysia-regulated broker at a fraction of the cost, especially for beginner investors with small capital.

Trading experience (Features) 

#1 User-friendly interface

Rakuten Trade built their US stock trading service on top of their existing trading platform. As a long-time user, I think this is good news because Rakuten Trade’s platform is really simple to use.

Either from Rakuten Trade’s website or iSpeed app, you can switch between Malaysia and US markets easily.

Rakuten Trade US Stock Trading
Rakuten Trade user interface is simple to use, be it via website or app.

#2 FREE Live Datafeed (*scroll down further for an important update)

Another plus point with Rakuten Trade is all US stock prices are quoted live (ie. Real-Time) on Rakuten Trade.

For many platforms, you’ll usually have to pay for live data, else you’ll only receive a 15-mins delayed datafeed. This is the case for MIDF Invest, another Malaysia-regulated broker that offers US stock trading. 

MIDF Invest only offer delayed pricing, where you have to pay for real-time datafeed.
MIDF Invest only offers delayed pricing, where you have to pay for real-time datafeed.

Hence, it’s great to see Rakuten Trade offering free live datafeed for users. This means that the price displayed for a stock will always be at-the-moment stock price.

Rakuten Trade offers live datafeed for free
Rakuten Trade offers live datafeed for free

*Update 31/3/2023: Subscribe to continue to get FREE live datafeed for US stock market!

Starting April 2023, users that wish to get access to FREE real-time US stocks datafeed will have to subscribe for it at Dashboard -> Setting -> ‘Apply for real-time US datafeed’.

Thereafter, you will continue to enjoy FREE real-time US stocks datafeed – just remember to resubscribe every year!

Rakuten Trade US free datafeed subscribe

#3: Buy US stocks in MYR or USD – your choice!

Newly launched in August 2022, Rakuten Trade users can now store USD in their Rakuten Trade account.

This allows users the flexibility to trade US stocks and ETFs with either MYR or USD.

Furthermore, users also have the choice to receive USD or MYR when selling their US stocks.

Related Post: When to buy US stocks in MYR, and when to buy in USD?

Rakuten Trade Buy US stocks in USD
Trade US stocks in MYR or USD – your choice!

#4 Live Conversion + Tight MYR-USD Exchange Rate

Rakuten Trade offers a relatively tight MYR-USD spread for users to easily convert between both currencies within the platform.

Furthermore, the conversion process happens real-time, enabling users to convert MYR to USD (and vice versa) with the latest rate and trade right away.

Lastly, unlike certain brokers, there are no extra fees involved in currency conversion (aside from the spread) so there are no worries about hidden fees.

#5 NEW: Fractional Trading for US market

Starting May 2023, Rakuten Trade launched its Fractional Share Trading for US stocks and ETFs.

With fractional trading, Malaysians can buy US shares from 0.01 units instead of the full unit, while selling shares at 0.0001 units. This is a much-awaited feature and it’s great to see it landed on Rakuten Trade.

READ MORE: How to buy fractional shares with Rakuten Trade

Rakuten Trade Fractional Shares Trading

3 Areas of Improvement & why this might not be for active traders

With the launch of US stock trading service, Rakuten Trade is set to disrupt the Malaysia brokerage scene.

That said, I think there are some areas of improvement for Rakuten Trade. Below are 5 key areas that I think Rakuten Trade should strive to improve on to serve users better:

(a) Lack of basic order execution features

One thing that I found lacking while using Rakuten Trade to trade US stocks is the missing of (basic) order execution features such as Market Order.

Unfortunately, the only execution option on Rakuten Trade is Limit Order.

  • Market Order is an execution feature that allows investors to buy or sell shares at the immediate best price. As such, it is available in most stock trading platforms that I’ve used in the past (even Rakuten Trade’s own Bursa trading)
  • Limit Order allows investors to line up their orders to buy or sell shares at a specific price or better.

While this may not be a huge issue for most long-term investors, a lack of Market Order execution may turn off some investors who prefer not to wait for their orders to be matched, or day-traders that require immediate market execution. 

I’ve reached out to Rakuten Trade’s team on this matter, and it seems like there is no plan to add execution features like Market Order on their US stock trading service for the time being.

Market Order vs Limit Order
Market Order vs Limit Order

(b) Limited stocks to trade (but it’s improving!) 

Secondly, despite offering access to the US market, Rakuten Trade does not actually offer all of the stocks listed in the US market.

That said, Rakuten Trade has been gradually adding new US stocks and ETFs since their launch. As of July 2023, Rakuten Trade offers about 920+ stocks25+ ADRs & 240+ ETFs listed on the NYSE and Nasdaq exchanges. 

While you may trade the most well-known US stocks (eg. Apple, Tesla, Microsoft) and ETFs (eg. VOO, VTI) tradable on Rakuten Trade, there are some other US stocks that you may not find on Rakuten Trade.

As an example, as a REIT enthusiast, I have no access to stocks like Innovative Industrial Properties Inc (IIPR), which is a bummer.

[Note]: If you have a stock that you want to trade on Rakuten Trade, you can email your request to Rakuten Trade on the matter.

Rakuten Trade continues to add new tradable US shares & ADRs with time.

(c) No short selling and margin trading

Short selling and trading with margin are not available on Rakuten Trade too.

Essentially, this means that the only direction that you can execute on Rakuten Trade is for a stock to go up in price.

Also, you are only able to trade US stocks with the cash that you have in your Rakuten Trade account without access to margin facilities.

While this may turn off some stock traders, it shouldn’t be an issue for most long-term investors.

Regardless, having all these features will certainly help Rakuten Trade serve the needs of different retail participants in the market. 

Who should use Rakuten Trade to trade US stocks?

While imperfect, Rakuten Trade has offered something that all local brokers failed to do: Access to the US stock market at a truly affordable fee via a Malaysia-regulated platform.

In my opinion, Rakuten Trade is a great option if you are:

  • Seeking for a Malaysia-regulated broker to invest in the US stock market.
  • Looking to access the US market at a truly affordable fee.
  • Looking for a user-friendly platform to invest in the US stock market.

At the same time, it may not suit people who are:

  • Active day traders that require market execution (instead of limit order) or more advanced execution features.
  • Traders that need access to margin and the ability to short-sell stocks.
  • Investors or traders that want exposure to more exotic stocks that are not within Rakuten Trade’s list of tradable stocks.

In short, unless you are an active trader, chances are you’ll like what Rakuten Trade has to offer.

If you are keen to open a Rakuten Trade account, consider using my referral link below! For that, you’ll get:

  • 1000 Rakuten Trade (RT) points worth RM10 to offset your brokerage fee.
  • + 1000 RT points when you deposit an initial deposit of RM500 or more.
  • + 1 RT point for each RM10 share value when you transfer your shares from other brokers to Rakuten Trade.
  • + 1288 RT points worth RM12.88 when you activate foreign share trading (US & HK market) feature.
  • Get RM30 GrabGifts Voucher* for each market that you trade on for the first time (applicable to Bursa Malaysia, US, and HK markets). (Campaign Period: 1/7 – 30/9/2024, T&C applies)

Aside from that, Rakuten Trade users get +1 RT point for every RM1 brokerage paid! Click HERE for the full T&C on RT points

Open A Rakuten Trade Account Today!

Related Post: Guide – How to activate US stock trading on Rakuten Trade

How can you use these RT points?

These RT points are amazing, as they can be converted into brokerage rebates, Air Asia rewards, Boost stars, and Bonuslink points which are redeemable for rewards. 

p.s. Click HERE for the full T&C of your account opening reward.

Select 'NoMoneyLah' under 'Educator' to get your RT points!
Select ‘NoMoneyLah’ under ‘Educator’ to get your RT points!

Summary: Is Rakuten Trade a good platform to invest in the US market?

As a whole, Rakuten Trade has offered Malaysians a game-changing manner to invest in the US stock market via a locally-regulated broker.

An affordable fee structure, user-friendly interface, and transparent conversion rate should convince many investors to forgo the need to open a foreign brokerage account (and experience all the hassle of funding & withdrawals).

Unless you are an active day trader or you require access to less familiar stocks, I am sure you’ll be happy with what Rakuten Trade has to offer.

If you are keen to open a Rakuten Trade account, consider using my referral link by clicking on the button below!

Open A Rakuten Trade Account Today!

How to sign up to trade US stocks via Rakuten Trade

(A) How to sign up for US stock trading if you are new to Rakuten Trade:

Step 1: Sign up for Cash upfront account

If you are new, you’ll have to sign up for a Rakuten Trade Cash Upfront account.

Consider using my Rakuten Trade referral link by clicking the button below, and you’ll get 1000 RT points (RM10) which can be used to offset your brokerage fee! 

Open A Rakuten Trade Account Today!

If you need help, click HERE for my step-by-step guide to open a Rakuten Trade account.  

Step 2: Get your Rakuten Trade account within 2 working hours

Your Rakuten Trade account will be activated within 2 working hours.  

Step 3: Log in to your Rakuten Trade account and apply for Foreign Stock Trading

Log in to your Rakuten Trade account either via the website or Rakuten Trade’s iSpeed app. You can locate the Foreign Trading activation button easily within the Rakuten Trade platform.  

Activate Foreign Equity Trading Account on Rakuten Trade

Step 4: Submit your application for US stock trading

Spend 1 minute to share some info required to trade the US stock market. Then, submit your application. 

Activate Foreign Equity Trading Account on Rakuten Trade

Step 5: Your Foreign Trading account will be enabled within 2-3 working days

(B) How to sign up for foreign trading if you are an existing Rakuten Trade user:

If you are an existing Rakuten Trade user, just follow Step 3 to Step 5 above and you’ll be good to go!


This post contains affiliate links, which afford No Money Lah a small referral (and in return, support this blog) if you sign up for an account using my referral link. The information stated above is based on my personal experience and for purpose of sharing such experience only. It is not intended as professional investment advice. Please contact Rakuten Trade for more information.


Chin Yi Xuan

Hi there! I am Yi Xuan. I am a writer, personal finance & REIT enthusiast, and a developing trader with the goal to become a full-time funded trader. Every week, I write about my personal learnings & discovery about life, money, and the market.

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