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.
The best share dealing accounts are Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell, and Interactive Investor. These are seasoned, highly reputable brokers for trading stocks, ETFs, index funds, and other investment products in the UK.
If you are looking for an easy-to-use, low-cost mobile app for share dealing, the best trading apps are eToro, Freetrade, and InvestEngine.
Scroll down for a detailed review of our top ten share dealing accounts. These are the best share dealing accounts for buying, selling and holding UK and overseas exchange-traded instruments, including stocks, funds, bonds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), exchange-traded commodities (ETCs), investment trusts (ITs), and contracts for difference (CFDs).
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.
Here are the best share dealing accounts in the UK:
Hargreaves Lansdown, a FTSE 100 company and the UK’s largest investment platform, is the best share dealing account in the UK. Although not the cheapest, it compensates with unrivalled stock research and trading tools, prioritising long-term client relationships and financial security. There is almost no stock, fund or investment trust you cannot find on Hargreaves Lansdown, along with detailed information on fund composition, performance data and advanced charting. With Hargreaves Lansdown, you can access over 15,000 instruments, encompassing over 2,500 funds, UK and overseas shares, bonds, ETFs, ETCs, investment trusts and more.
With Hargreaves Lansdown, you can build your investment portfolio in three ways. You can pick your own investments to match your values and goals, select ready-made portfolios, or pay a financial adviser to choose investments for you. The ready-made portfolios can be used as all-in-one investments. Pick one from the different risk levels, and you are good to go. You will still have to monitor your portfolio as with any other investment. If you pay for financial advice, the specialist investment adviser will recommend a suitable portfolio of investments for your goals and ensure that your portfolio is cost-effective, well-balanced, diversified, and ideal for your stage in life. Advanced or more confident investors who want to pick their own investments 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.
AJ Bell is one of the UK’s largest online investment platforms, and its mission is to make investing as easy as possible for anyone. The platform offers thousands of investment options for the DIY investor, including shares, funds, bonds, investment trusts, ETFs, ETCs, and warrants.
There are multiple ways to get started with AJ Bell, depending on your risk tolerance and investing savviness. 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. Investment ideas are diversified ready-made baskets of investments that you can select based on your personal preference and attitude to risk. There are eight total investment ideas, each built by a specialist team, and you can pick the right one for you depending on whether you are seeking to simply grow your money over time or receive an income whilst still growing your money. Expert investors can take advantage of the stock and fund screeners and complex instruments available on AJ Bell and build their portfolios themselves.
AJ Bell charges an annual platform fee ranging from 0.25% to 0% depending on the size of your portfolio. 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 products include a Share Dealing Account, Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, SIPP and Junior SIPP.
Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor, commonly hailed as one of the best online trading platforms in the UK, is a subsidiary of wealth management giant Abrdn and the second-largest investment platform in the country. Also well known for its fixed monthly subscription fees (as opposed to annual percentage-based fees like most other investment platforms), Interactive Investor has been providing investment services and financial information to UK customers since 1995.
If you choose to invest with Interactive Investor, you will gain access to over 40,000 investment options, including UK and overseas shares, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs. This is the second-widest choice of UK and international investments offered by an investment platform in the UK. Interactive Investor allows you to build your portfolio in multiple ways depending on your investment goals, attitude to risk and personal preferences. Beginner investors or those who prefer ready-made investments can build their portfolios using Interactive Investor’s Quick-Start Funds, an easy way to start investing where you choose from six low-cost funds prepared by the team of experts at Interactive Investor. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds and shares and build their portfolios themselves. Interactive Investor gives you access to 17 global stock exchanges, including exchanges in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. These include markets such as the FTSE 100, FTSE 250, FTSE All-Share, S&P 500, NASDAQ, NYSE, Dow Jones and more. In addition to the above, Interactive Investor offers Japanese, Indian and Chinese shares in the form of American Depositary Receipts (ADRs).
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. It also offers a free regular investing service that allows you to deposit as little as £25 a month towards your investments without paying a trading fee each time. For those investing £30,000 or less, Interactive Investor offers a cheaper plan called Investor Essentials that costs just £4.99 a month. This plan does not come with the monthly free trade. Interactive Investor 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, often regarded as the best trading platform in the UK, is a multi-asset platform that offers both investing in stocks and cryptoassets, as well as trading CFDs. With eToro, UK traders have real-time access to thousands of stocks, ETFs, indices, commodities, forex, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs from top exchanges worldwide. Catering to both beginners and expert traders, eToro provides an impressive range of fundamental and technical analysis tools, including market news, economic data, social media and news sentiment trends, and advanced charting tools. ProCharts, a professional-grade technical analysis tool available on this top UK trading platform, allows users to compare charts from different financial instruments and time frames. eToro also offers risk management tools, such as Stop Loss, Take Profit, and Trailing Stop Loss, to help you better manage your positions and protect your investments.
For customers who prefer ready-made investment portfolios, eToro has over 40 fully allocated, balanced investment portfolios, focusing on market segments you can understand and relate to. Some of the portfolios include MetaverseLife, BigTech, GoldWorldWide, Vaccine-Med, BitcoinWorldWide, Diabetes-Med, Driverless, and GigEconomy. 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. eToro also offers Copy Trading, a unique feature that allows everyday investors to copy the trades or investments of top-performing traders on the eToro platform. Anyone can copy trades on eToro, and likewise, anyone can give others access to copy their trades. If you are an expert trader approved to participate in eToro’s Popular Investor Program, where others copy your trades, you will be eligible to receive monthly earnings.
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 practise trading until you become confident. Trading on eToro occurs in USD, so a currency conversion fee will apply if you deposit or withdraw in a currency other than USD. Withdrawals incur a fee of US$5 (£4), and the minimum withdrawal amount is US$50 (£40). For UK customers, eToro offers an eToro Money app which allows you to convert your GBP to USD free of charge, thereby reducing your foreign exchange costs. eToro does not offer an ISA or SIPP.
Please note: Your capital is at risk. 80 - 90% 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. Copy Trading does not amount to investment advice. Other fees apply. For more information, visit eToro.
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.
FinecoBank users enjoy advanced tools, interactive charts and automatic orders via the website, mobile apps or PowerDesk platform. PowerDesk is an advanced and fully customisable trading platform with powerful charting, analytics tools, and stock screeners. The large spectrum of indicators and chart analysis available on PowerDesk will satisfy the needs of even the most experienced traders. PowerDesk also offers powerful risk management tools such as Stop Loss, Take Profit, Trailing Stop, Conditional Orders, One-Cancels-the-Other (OCO) and Basket Orders. Users can also access real-time prices across thousands of products, with live P&L updates and economic data. FinecoBank recently launched another robust trading software, FinecoX. It is quite similar to PowerDesk, with the main difference being that FinecoX is directly accessible across various browsers, so there is no need to download the software. In-house training to improve your trading knowledge and acquire specific trading skills for forex, options, CFD, or general trading is also available to all FinecoBank customers. FinecoBank is suitable for both beginners and experts. 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. 65.49% 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.
Freetrade, widely recognised as one of the best stock trading apps in the UK, is a mobile trading app that gives you access to thousands of UK and overseas stocks, ETFs, REITs, and investment trusts covering different sectors and markets worldwide. The Freetrade app can be accessed on iOS, Android and desktop devices and offers a slick and easy-to-use user interface and experience. The app is 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 apply to US stocks at the spot rate + 0.45%. To get the most out of Freetrade, you can choose from three subscription plans. The Basic Plan costs £0.00 per month and allows you to open a General Investment Account (GIA) and trade commission-free. The Standard Plan costs £4.99 per month and allows you to open a Stocks and Shares ISA in addition to your GIA. With the Plus Plan at £9.99 a month, you get a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) and a Stocks and Shares ISA in addition to your GIA. Dealing on Freetrade is commission-free irrespective of the subscription plan you choose. Freetrade’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, General Investment Account (GIA) 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.
InvestEngine is a low-cost ETF investment platform that provides 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 leading global asset managers.
With InvestEngine, you can invest in two ways depending on your tolerance for risk and savviness as an investor: beginner investors or those who prefer 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 are a selection of ETFs based on your preferences and risk tolerance. Once you’ve selected one, you do not have to do anything else besides monitor the performance of your investments. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from 500+ commission-free ETFs and build their portfolios themselves. InvestEngine also offers fractional investing, which allows you to buy bits and pieces of an ETF with as little as £1. This enhances your ability to build a diversified portfolio even if you have a small amount of money to invest. With the DIY Portfolio, there are no platform fees. However, the managed portfolios attract a fee of 0.25% per year. All InvestEngine portfolios are free of set-up fees, dealing fees, ISA subscription fees or withdrawal fees.
InvestEngine stands out amongst its competitors as one of the cheapest trading platforms in the UK because it charges no platform or management fees on its DIY Portfolio and just 0.25% a year on its managed portfolio. You can also start investing with as little as £100. InvestEngine’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, Personal Account and Business Account.
Capital at risk.
Moneybox is a UK investment app that allows you to invest in a range of tracker funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), exchange-traded commodities (ETCs) and US stocks. Moneybox offers two forms of investing depending on your investing savviness, investing strategy and attitude to risk. Beginner investors or those who prefer a ready-made portfolio can choose from the three ready-made portfolios on offer - Cautious (lower risk), Balanced (medium risk) and Adventurous (higher risk). Advanced or more confident investors can pick from the range of tracker funds, ETFs, ETCs and US stocks available and build their portfolios themselves.
The Moneybox app also empowers you to invest your spare change by rounding up your card transactions to the nearest pound and investing the difference on your behalf. For example, if you spend £2.30 on a snack, Moneybox will invest 70p for you. You can also instruct the app to make weekly or one-off deposits into your investment portfolio as it rounds up your spare change.
You can start investing with Moneybox with as little as £1. Moneybox offers commission-free trading on US stocks. However, fund management fees apply to other types of investments ranging from 0.12% to 0.61% per annum. A currency conversion fee of 0.45% also applies to US stocks. Moneybox also charges an annual platform fee of 0.45% and a monthly subscription fee of £1 (you get the first three months free). Moneybox’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA, Personal Pension, and General Investment Account.
Capital at risk.
Bestinvest is a UK low-cost investment platform that allows you to trade or invest in over 3,000 instruments, including shares, funds, ETFs, and investment trusts. With Bestinvest, you can build an investment portfolio in two ways depending on your personal preferences, goals and attitude to risk.
Beginners or those who prefer a ready-made investment can build their portfolio by selecting one of Bestinvest’s ready-made investment portfolios. These off-the-shelf style portfolios are created and managed by the team at Bestinvest and come with a carefully selected and diversified collection of investments. Once you have picked one, you do not need to do anything else. There are three ranges to choose from: Expert, Smart and Direct, depending on whether you want to maximise the returns for the risk you take, focus on cost-efficiency or focus on individual investments. The team at Bestinvest will walk you through the process of selecting a ready-made portfolio. Advanced or more confident investors can choose from a wide range of funds, shares, ETFs and ITs and build their portfolios themselves.
To start building your portfolio with Bestinvest, you can deposit a lump sum or set up a monthly savings plan (which allows you to automatically save or invest a set amount into your investment account every month). There are no set-up fees or fund dealing charges with Bestinvest. Bestinvest charges an annual platform fee ranging from 0.40% to 0% for DIY investing and 0.20% to 0% for ready-made investing. The dealing fee for buying and selling shares online is £4.95 per deal. Bestinvest’s suite of products includes a Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior Stocks and Shares ISA, General Investment Account, SIPP and Junior SIPP.
Capital at risk.
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.
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 in the UK, you need to open a share dealing account with an investment platform or stockbroker. 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 stockbroker) 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 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 stockbrokers or share dealing companies to buy shares. Stockbrokers offer three types of services - execution-only, advisory or discretionary.
You might like: Best Shares to Buy Now, Best ETFs, and Best Index Funds.
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 its 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 unless you’ve already used up your allowance elsewhere, for example, on the profit from the sale of cryptocurrencies.
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 are a few common stock market terms you should know:
A share is a unit of equity ownership in a public company. When you buy a share, you own a small unit of a public company.
For example, if you bought a share in Apple, you would become a part-owner of Apple. If it performs well, you will benefit from its success. If it does not, 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 stockbroker.
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 our top five stock trading sites for beginners in the UK:
Here are the best share dealing accounts in the UK:
The stockbroker with the lowest fees in the UK is InvestEngine. InvestEngine stands out amongst its competitors as the cheapest share dealing account in the UK because it charges no platform or management fee on its DIY Portfolio and just 0.25% a year on its managed portfolio. However, InvestEngine only allows you to invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
If you want a cheap stockbroker that offers a wide variety of assets, including UK and overseas stocks, ETFs, ETCs, bonds, and index funds, consider eToro, Freetrade or Interactive Investor.
The cheapest way to buy shares in the UK is to open a tax-efficient investment account such as a Stocks and Shares ISA with a commission-free share dealing platform such as Freetrade, InvestEngine or Moneybox.
Using an ISA to buy shares means you will never have to pay tax on the gains from your trades. Additionally, when you trade commission-free, you do not pay a dealing fee or a brokerage commission for buying or selling shares. Other fees, such as FX fees, withdrawal fees, ISA fees, platform fees, and stamp duty reserve tax, may apply depending on the platform you choose.
To choose a stockbroker in the UK, you need to:
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