Always remember that investments can go down as well as up in value, so you could get back less than you put in. A rule of thumb is to hang on to your investments for at least five years to give them the best chance of providing the returns you want.
We've put together a list of the best share dealing accounts in the UK. These are the best share dealing platforms, apps, websites and brokerages for buying, selling and holding UK and overseas exchange-traded instruments, including stocks and shares, funds, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), exchange-traded commodities (ETCs), investment trusts (ITs), contracts for differences (CFDs) and other instruments.
Please keep in mind that when dealing shares, your capital is at risk. The fees below are not exhaustive–other charges apply. ISA, pension and tax rules also apply.
Compare the best share dealing accounts in the UK:
Interactive Investor, recently acquired by wealth management giant abrdn, is the second-largest investment platform in the UK. Interactive Investor is well known for its fixed charges (as opposed to percentage-based fees like most other investment platforms), and it has been providing investment services and financial information since 1995. If you choose to invest with Interactive Investor, you’ll gain access to over 40,000 investment options, including UK and overseas shares, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs. This is the widest choice of UK and international investments offered by any investment platform in the UK. You will also be able to access 17 global exchanges, including exchanges in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. These include markets such as the FTSE 100, FTSE 250, FTSE All-Share, NASDAQ, Dow Jones and more. In addition to the exchanges above, Interactive Investor offers Japanese, Indian and Chinese shares in the form of ADRs (American Depositary Receipts).
Interactive Investor gives you a free trade every month, which you can use to buy or sell any investment. After that, trades usually cost £5.99. Interactive Investor also offers a free regular investing service that allows you to invest regularly without paying a trading fee each time. The site also has lots of expert ideas, research and insights, which can be helpful when choosing investments. Interactive Investor’s services include a Trading Account, Stocks and Shares ISA, SIPP and Junior ISA.
Capital at risk.
eToro is a multi-asset platform that offers both investing in stocks and cryptoassets, as well as trading CFDs. It is entirely free to open an account with eToro, and all registered users receive a US$100,000 demo account for free, which you can use to practice trading until you become confident. eToro gives you real-time access to thousands of stocks, ETFs and cryptocurrencies from top exchanges worldwide. If you prefer to select a ready-made portfolio, eToro has over 40 fully allocated, balanced investment portfolios, focusing on market segments you can understand and to which you can relate. Some of the portfolios include MetaverseLife, BigTech, GoldWorldWide, Vaccine-Med, BitcoinWorldWide, Diabetes-Med, Driverless, GigEconomy, and many more. These portfolios are a grouping of several assets, such as stocks, cryptocurrencies, ETFs, and even people, bundled together based on a predetermined theme or strategy. Withdrawals incur a fee of US$5, and FX rates apply to non-USD deposits and withdrawals. eToro does not offer an ISA or SIPP.
Please note: When you invest, your capital is at risk. 81% 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. Additionally, cryptoassets are highly volatile and unregulated in the UK. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.
Your capital is at risk. Other fees apply. For more information, visit eToro.
InvestEngine is a UK low-cost investment platform providing a choice of managed portfolios tailored to you and commission-free DIY investing to help you build long-term wealth. Users can invest in over 500 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) from iShares, Vanguard and other leading brands. With InvestEngine, you can invest in two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can select from one of the Managed Portfolios on offer, where the team of experts at InvestEngine will take care of the day-to-day investment decisions for you. These portfolios attract a platform fee of 0.25% per year. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from 500+ commission-free ETFs and build their portfolios themselves. With the DIY Portfolio, there are no platform fees. All InvestEngine portfolios are free of setup fees, dealing fees, ISA fees or withdrawal fees.
InvestEngine stands out amongst its competitors as one of the cheapest investment platforms in the UK because it charges no platform or management fees on its DIY Portfolio and just 0.25% a year for the Managed Portfolio. You can start investing with InvestEngine with as little as £100. InvestEngine’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, Personal Account or Business Account.
Capital at risk.
Freetrade is a UK mobile trading app that gives you access to thousands of UK and overseas stocks, ETFs and investment trusts covering different sectors and markets worldwide. The Freetrade app can be accessed on iOS and Android and offers a slick and easy-to-use user interface and experience. The app is also a great choice for both beginners and experienced investors. With Freetrade, you can invest in fractional shares of even the most expensive US shares with as little as £2. Depositing, trading and withdrawing on Freetrade are commission-free (other charges may apply). FX rates also apply for US stocks at the spot rate + 0.45%. Freetrade’s products include a Stocks and Shares ISA, General Investment Account and SIPP.
Promo: Get a free share worth £10 when you join Freetrade and fund your account with at least £50.
Please note: When you invest, your capital is at risk. The value of your investments can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than you invest. ISA rules apply. SIPP eligibility and tax rules apply. Free share terms and conditions apply.
FinecoBank is one of Europe's largest banks, with 20+ years of leadership history in brokerage and over 30 million orders processed every year. Its core mission is to make online trading simple by providing direct access to the markets in just one click. With Fineco, you can access 26 global markets and trade over 20,000 financial instruments worldwide on a single account, including UK and overseas shares, ETFs, funds, bonds, CFDs, forex, commodities and options. Users can also invest and trade directly in GBP, EUR, USD, CHF and 20+ currencies. When you open a trading account with FinecoBank, you will have the option to navigate the market through PowerDesk, an advanced trading platform accessible on the web that offers intuitive chart trading, personalised dashboards, personalised listings and technical analyses, all on one screen. In-house training to improve your trading knowledge and acquire specific trading skills for forex, options, CFDs, or general trading is also available to all FinecoBank customers. FinecoBank's products include a Trading Account and Stocks and Shares ISA.
Promo: Apply with the link below by the 30th of June 2023 and trade commission-free up to a maximum commission amount of £500. Terms apply.
Please note: When you invest, your capital is at risk. 65.11% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Bestinvest is a UK investment platform offering about 2,500 funds, UK shares, investment trusts and ETFs. With Bestinvest, you can invest in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can build their investment pot by selecting one of Bestinvest’s ready-made investments. These investments are fully diversified and created and managed by the team at Bestinvest. Once you’ve picked one, you don’t need to do anything else. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds, shares, ETFs and ITs and build their investment portfolios themselves. Bestinvest also has an investment search tool that makes it easy to browse and filter all of the investments, and you can use its free guides and articles if you need any inspiration.
Bestinvest is quite popular for its Spot the Dog guide which shows a list of poorly performing funds you probably want to avoid. Bestinvest’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, General Investment Account and SIPP.
Capital at risk.
AJ Bell is one of the UK’s largest online investment platforms, and it is on a mission to make investing as easy as possible for you. The platform offers a wide range of investment options for the DIY investor, including shares, funds, investment trusts and ETFs. Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can get a little, or a lot, of help from AJ Bell’s specialists by selecting one of the investment ideas on offer. There are eight total fund ideas, each built by a specialist team, and you can pick the right one for you depending on your attitude to risk and whether you’re seeking to simply grow your money over time or receive an income whilst still growing your money.
AJ Bell charges an annual platform fee ranging from 0.25% to 0%. Dealing fees for buying and selling investments online are £1.50 for funds and £9.95 for shares (reducing to £4.95 if there were 10 or more online share deals in the previous month). AJ Bell’s services include a Share Dealing Account, Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA, SIPP and Junior SIPP.
Capital at risk.
DEGIRO is an award-winning investment broker that allows you to trade in stocks, bonds, ETFs, options, futures, warrants, certificates and more across 50 international exchanges. It offers tens of thousands of regulated financial instruments that enable investors to diversify their portfolios worldwide. With DEGIRO, you can invest in up to 200 commission-free ETFs. This means you may not have to pay a dealing charge when you invest in just ETFs (terms apply). Dealing in UK stocks costs £1.75 + 0.014% per deal, while US stocks cost €0.5 + $0.004 per share and Irish stocks are €4 + 0.05% per deal. To make sense of the charges, visit DEGIRO. DEGIRO currently has over 1 million customers across 18 countries. It is suitable for both beginners and advanced investors, and you can access the platform on any device via the web portal or mobile app. DEGIRO does not offer an ISA or SIPP.
Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown is a FTSE 100 company and the biggest investment platform in the UK. Its core mission is to build long-term client relationships by becoming a trusted partner and financial champion, ultimately helping you increase your financial security for the future. If you choose to invest with Hargreaves Lansdown, you will gain access to over 2,500 funds, UK and overseas shares, ETFs, ETCs, investment trusts and more. With Hargreaves Lansdown, you can build your investment portfolio in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made investment portfolio can build their portfolios by choosing from a range of ready-made options where the team of experts at Hargreaves Lansdown will take care of the day-to-day investment decisions for you. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds, shares and other investments and build their portfolios themselves.
Hargreaves Lansdown does not charge a platform fee on its Fund and Share Account but charges 0.45% (capped at £45) a year on its ISA and 0.45% (capped at £200) a year on its SIPP. It offers most products, including a Fund and Share Account, Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA, and SIPP. These services are intended for investors who are happy making their own decisions.
Please note: Your capital is at risk. The fees quoted here are not exhaustive. Other charges apply.
XTB is an easy-to-use, fully customisable European trading platform and one of the largest stock exchange-listed FX & CFD brokers in the world. It provides retail traders instant access to hundreds of global markets. With XTB, you can trade in stock CFDs, ETF CFDs, forex, indices and commodities. XTB also has an extensive library of educational materials containing videos, webinars and courses suitable for both beginners and experienced investors, which you can find in the Learn to Trade section of the XTB website. When you sign up, you will have access to a dedicated account officer who will help you understand your needs and how XTB works. It’s free to open a trading account with XTB. Deposits in GBP and EUR are free of charge, but withdrawals below £60 have £12 processing fee. Inactive accounts also attract a monthly fee of €10.
XTB has offices in over 13 countries, including the UK, Germany and France, and over 315,000 customers worldwide. XTB does not offer an ISA or SIPP.
Please note: Contracts for Difference (CFDs) are leveraged products and carry a significant risk of loss to your capital, as prices may move rapidly against you, and you may be required to make further payments to keep any trades open. Between 74% and 89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. These products are not suitable for all clients. Therefore please ensure you fully understand the risks and seek independent advice.
Saxo Markets is the UK division of Saxo Bank, a large European bank that allows you to invest in 60,000+ financial products from stock markets worldwide. With Saxo Markets, you can invest in UK and overseas stocks and shares, bonds, ETFs, forex, CFDs, futures, commodities and options. Saxo Markets allows you to invest in one of two ways depending on your investing savviness: Beginner investors or those who prefer to choose a ready-made portfolio can select from one of the managed portfolios on offer where Saxo experts navigate the markets and manage your investments on your behalf. The average cost of this managed portfolio is 0.95% per year (including fund costs). Advanced or more confident investors can choose from the range of financial products on offer and build their portfolios themselves. Saxo Markets traders benefit from extensive charting with 50+ technical indicators, integrated trade signals, news feeds and risk-management features via the SaxoTraderGO platform. Advanced traders can access even more sophisticated trading features on SaxoTraderPRO, Saxo Bank’s desktop-only advanced trading platform.
Saxo Markets has different transaction fees grouped into trading tiers. If you plan to trade high volumes, you can upgrade your tier to get lower transaction fees. The Classic tier, which attracts the highest trading fees, costs 0.10% (min. £8) per deal for UK Stocks and US$0.02 (min. US$10) per deal for US Stocks. Other fees apply. Saxo Markets’ suite of products includes a Trading Account, Stocks and Shares ISA and SIPP.
Please note: Capital at risk. 73% 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.
To make sense of the charges, use our share dealing charges comparison table.
Share dealing or stock trading is a way to buy and sell shares in publicly listed companies.
Publicly listed companies are companies listed on a stock exchange, such as the London Stock Exchange or the New York Stock Exchange.
To trade shares, you need to open a share dealing account with an investment platform or stock broker. You can also use an Individual Savings Account (ISA), General Investment Account (GIA) or Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) to trade shares
There are two ways to buy stocks and shares. You can either buy individual company shares directly (through a stock broker) or invest in a fund (which pools money from you and other investors to buy lots of shares).
Funds tend to be a cheaper and less risky way to invest in shares as you'll be spreading the costs and risks with other investors within the fund.
The first opportunity you'll have to invest in shares is when the shares are created and offered to the public for the first time. This is called an Initial Public Offering (IPO) or 'Going Public.'
Companies go public to raise money to fund their activities.
Once shares are created, they can be bought or sold on the stock exchange. This is called the secondary market because it comes after the IPO.
Most investment platforms are online and will allow you to invest in stocks and shares regularly (e.g. £25 per month) or occasionally (e.g. a lump sum of £1,000).
Whether you choose to go online or offline, you need the services of a stock broker or share dealing platform to buy shares. Stock brokers offer three types of services - execution-only, advisory or discretionary.
Deciding what shares to buy can be intimidating for the first-time investor, but it doesn't have to be. We've summarised our top five methods below. Hargreaves Lansdown also has a free stock-picking guide which you can download on it's website.
Share dealing platforms charge several fees for using their services. The main ones are the annual platform charge, dealing charge, transfer out charge and inactivity charge.
The following are the taxes on share dealing in the UK:
When you buy UK shares electronically, you will pay a 0.5% Stamp Duty Reserve Tax (SDRT) to the government.
If you purchase UK shares using a stock transfer form, you will pay Stamp Duty if the transaction is over £1,000.
Stamp Duty on Irish registered stocks is 1%.
You do not pay Stamp Duty on AIM stocks or Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs).
When you sell shares or other investments, irrespective of the country where the shares are registered or the currency the shares are denominated in, you may have to pay Capital Gains Tax if you make a profit.
You may have to pay tax on the following:
You only have to pay Capital Gains Tax on your overall gains above your tax-free allowance.
This tax year, the Capital Gains tax-free allowance is £12,300 (£6,150 for trusts). This means you will not have to pay tax on the first £12,300 profit you make from selling your stocks and shares.
Additionally, the first £2,000 you receive in dividend payments is tax-free. Visit GOV.UK for more information on the tax on dividends and the dividend allowance.
You may also be able to reduce your tax bill by deducting losses or claiming reliefs - this depends on the asset. Another way to limit your tax bill is by trading certain kinds of leveraged products. Please speak to your tax adviser for more information. Also, visit GOV.UK for more on Capital Gains Tax allowances.
Here a few common stock market terms you should know:
A share is a unit of equity ownership of a public company. When you buy a share, you own a small unit of a public company.
If you bought a share in Apple, for example, you would become a part-owner of Apple. If it performs well, you will benefit from its success. If it doesn't, you may lose some money.
Companies issue shares to raise money to fund their activities. People invest in shares to benefit from the successes of companies they believe in.
You may also come across the word stock or equity. In most situations, stocks, equities and shares refer to the same thing. Stocks could also mean all your shares in one or more companies.
Investing in stocks and shares can be a great way to grow your money and can offer you higher long-term returns than leaving your money in a savings or current account. There are two ways you could benefit from investing in shares:
The stock market is a marketplace where shares and other assets are bought and sold.
There are several stock markets around the world, and in the UK, the main exchange is the London Stock Exchange (LSE). The LSE offers trading in shares from big names you'd have heard of, such as Vodafone on its main market to smaller companies such as ASOS listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM), its junior market.
Anyone can buy shares on the London Stock Exchange, but you need to go through a stock broker.
An index is a group of shares of companies representing a particular market segment. These companies are usually grouped by size and value.
In the UK, the main indices are the FTSE 100 (an index of the 100 largest companies on the LSE), the FTSE 250 (an index of the next 250 largest companies) and the FTSE All-Share (an index of all shares listed on the LSE's main market).
Indices are used as benchmarks to gauge the movement and performance of market segments. For example, the FTSE 250 can be used to gauge the fortunes of the UK economy.
Share prices are initially set by the company issuing the shares and subsequently determined by demand and supply.
Demand means the number of people who want to buy the shares, and supply means the number of people who want to sell. While there is no perfect equation that tells us exactly how share prices will behave, several factors can affect demand and supply, such as:
Here are the best online stock trading sites for beginners in the UK:
Here are the best share dealing accounts in the UK:
Use our share dealing charges comparison table to get a sense of how each platform charges for regular investing and ad hoc share dealing.
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