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 are hoping for.

Best Trading Platforms in the UK

Updated On: May 15, 2022
Best trading platform UK 2022

Contents:

Best Trading Platforms in the UK

We've compiled a list of some of the best trading platforms in the UK. These are trading apps, websites and platforms where you can buy, sell and gift UK and overseas stocks and shares, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), investment trusts (ITs) and other trading products.

Capital at risk. Other charges apply.

Compare some of the best trading platforms in the UK below:


eToro - 0% Commission on real stocks; Buy/sell cryptocurrencies

eToro Logo
Annual Platform Fee
£0
Dealing Charge
£0
Regular Investor Charge
£0

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: Cryptoassets are a highly volatile unregulated investment product with no UK or EU investor protection. Your capital is at risk. Additionally, 68% 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.

Your capital is at risk. Other fees apply. For more information, visit eToro.

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InvestEngine - Low cost; 500+ Commission-free ETFs

InvestEngine Logo
Annual Platform Fee
0% - 0.25%
Dealing Charge
£0
Regular Investor Charge
£0

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 allows you to invest via a Stocks and Shares ISA, Personal Account or Business Account. Capital at risk.

Promo: £25 welcome bonus for new customers who invest at least £100. Terms apply.

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Freetrade - Low cost; Commission-free trading; Beginner-friendly

Freetrade
Annual Platform Fee
£0
Dealing Charge
£0
(0.45% FX fee)
Regular Investor Charge
N/A

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 mobile 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 between £3 and £200.

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. The reward probability is weighted, so more expensive free shares will be rarer. 

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Interactive Investor - One free trade every month; Lots of research

Interactive Investor
Annual Platform Fee
£120 - £240
Dealing Charge
£7.99 - £3.99
Regular Investor Charge
£0

Interactive Investor has more than 40,000 investments to choose from, including UK and overseas shares, funds, investment trusts, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). You get a free trade every month, which you can use to buy or sell any investment. The site 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.

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Freedom24 - IPO stocks at initial price; Over 1,000,000 instruments

Freedom24 by Freedom Finance Logo
Annual Platform Fee
€0 - €2400
Dealing Charge
€0.02 - €0.008 per share
Regular Investor Charge
N/A

Freedom24 is an online trading platform by Freedom Finance offering access to over 1,000,000 trading instruments. Its unique value proposition is that it allows everyday investors to participate in IPOs directly, with as little as US$2,000. Freedom Finance Europe Ltd is the only EU-based stockbroker listed on Nasdaq, which allows retail investors to participate in "big name" IPOs (like Airbnb, Snowflake, Robinhood). Since launching in 2008 with the Facebook IPO, Freedom Finance has offered its 400,000+ worldwide clients participation in 250+ IPOs through an easy-to-use online platform. Freedom24 gives its customers access to over 1,000,000 trading instruments, including 35,000 stocks, 3,100  ETFs, 147,000 bonds, 855,000 options and 500 futures across 15 stock exchanges. Customers also have access to a free demo terminal which you can use to practice your trades before committing real money. In terms of pricing, Freedom24 has four service plans to choose from, with varying costs per plan. Freedom Finance (Freedom24) does not offer an ISA or SIPP.

Please note: Investments in securities and other financial instruments always involve the risk of loss of capital.

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Fineco Bank - Commission-free trading up to £500; No platform fee

Fineco Bank Logo
Annual Platform Fee
£0
Dealing Charge
£2.95
Regular Investor Charge
£0

Fineco Bank 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, and CFDs. Users can also invest and trade directly in GBP, EUR, USD, Swiss Franc and 20+ currencies. Fineco Bank's products include a Trading Account and Stocks and Shares ISA.

Promo: Apply with the link below by the 29th of July 2022, and trade commission-free up to a maximum commission amount of £500. Terms apply.

Please note: When you invest money, your capital is at risk. 68.16% 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.

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Hargreaves Lansdown - Lots of research, ideas and tips

Hargreaves Lansdown
Annual Platform Fee
£0
‍‍(Fund & Share Account)
Dealing Charge (Online)
£11.95 - £5.95
Regular Investor Charge
£1.50 per deal

Hargreaves Lansdown has thousands of investments to choose from, including UK and overseas shares, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs. It 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 Fund and Share Account, Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA, and SIPP. These services are intended for investors happy at making their own decisions.

Capital at risk. Other charges apply.

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DEGIRO - Cheap share dealing; 200 Commission-free ETFs

DEGIRO logo
Annual Platform Fee
£0
Dealing Charge
£1.75 + 0.014% (UK Stocks)
Regular Investor Charge
£0

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, click here. 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.

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Stake - Commission-free trading; Fractional shares; Analyst ratings

Stake Logo
Annual Platform Fee
£0
Dealing Charge
£0
Regular Investor Charge
£0

Stake is a global commission-free brokerage that gives you access to 4,500 US stocks and ETFs via a mobile app and web interface. You can choose to upgrade to Stake Black to access more sophisticated features for US$9/month (or US$90 a year). Stake Free gives you access to all assets on the platform, unlimited commission-free trades, advance order types, and fractional trading. Stake Black gives you access to analyst ratings, price targets, full company financials, and trading on unsettled funds. FX rates apply to non-USD deposits and withdrawals. Stake does not offer an ISA or SIPP. Capital at risk.

Promo: Promo code: KOODY. Stake offers a free stock (Nike, GoPro, Dropbox or a mystery stock) for each new user that opens an account and funds it with at least £50 within 24 hours of opening the account.

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AJ Bell Youinvest - Cheap if you make 10+ trades a month

AJ Bell Youinvest
Annual Platform Fee
0.25%
(max £3.50 per month)
Dealing Charge (Online)
£9.95 - £4.95
Regular Investor Charge (Online)
£1.50 per deal

AJ Bell Youinvest has thousands of investments to choose from, including individual stocks and shares, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs. Share dealing is cheap if you make 10+ trades a month. AJ Bell Youinvest's services include a Share Dealing Account, Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA, and SIPP.

Capital at risk.

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Bestinvest - Low cost; Lots of investment options and research

Annual Platform Fee
0.4% - 0% (DIY)
0.2% - 0% (Ready-made)
Dealing Charge (Online)
£4.95
Regular Investor Charge
£0

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 their free guides and articles if you need any inspiration. They are quite popular for their Spot the Dog guide which shows a list of poorly performing funds you probably want to avoid.

Bestinvest’s products include a Stocks and Shares ISA, General Investment Account and SIPP. Capital at risk.

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Compare Trading Platforms for Stocks and Shares ISAs

The table below shows you a list of some of the best trading platforms in the UK and representative examples of their fees.

Typically, your annual fees depend on whether you hold funds or shares in your stocks and shares ISA. Here, we assume you only plan to invest in individual stocks and shares.

If you plan to invest in funds, use our dedicated investment fees comparison tool for funds or robo-advisors.

The table shows the annual charges (platform and dealing charges only) for holding individual stocks and shares in a self-select or do-it-yourself ISA.

Self-select ISAs are a type of stocks and shares ISA that give you the freedom to select the specific investments that make up your portfolio.

Depending on the provider you choose, you'll have the option to select individual shares, bonds, funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), investment trusts (ITs) and more and manage your portfolio yourself or choose from a range of managed and ready-made portfolios.

To make the best use of the table below, click on the column headers to sort from the most expensive to the cheapest trading platform and vice versa.

To make the best use of the table below, click on the column headers to sort from the most expensive to the cheapest trading platform and vice versa.


For example, if you want to see the cheapest online broker for a lump sum investment of £20k, click once on the £20,000 lump sum header. To see the most expensive broker for a lump sum investment of £100k, click twice on the £100,000 lump sum header.


Continue this exercise on all the headers until you find what you are looking for. Then scroll down to read our assumptions and to learn more about self-select ISAs and online stock brokers.

We haven't included any calculations for regular investing, but we note the regular investor charges in the second column. 


The third column shows the share dealing charges for ad hoc investments. 


And the fourth and fifth columns show the annual charges for lump sum investments of £20k and £100k, respectively. 


Capital at risk. ISA rules apply. Other charges apply.


Platform Regular
Investor Charge
Dealing
Charge
£20,000 £100,000 Learn More
AJ Bell Youinvest1.509.95161161DETAILS
Barclays1.006.00120172DETAILS
Bestinvest4.95139459DETAILS
Charles Stanley11.50208378DETAILS
Close Brothers8.95157357DETAILS
EQI1.5010.99192407DETAILS
Fineco2.957171DETAILS
Freetrade0.003636DETAILS
Halifax Share Dealing2.009.50150150DETAILS
Hargreaves Lansdown1.5011.95188188DETAILS
iDealing9.90139139DETAILS
IG8.00192192DETAILS
Interactive Investor (Investor)7.99120120DETAILS
Interactive Investor (Super Investor)3.99240240DETAILS
InvestEngine10.0000DETAILS
iWeb5.00160160DETAILS
Strawberry7.50160340DETAILS
Willis Owen1.507.50170440DETAILS
X-O5.957171DETAILS
Primary Data Source: The Lang Cat

Notes

  1. InvestEngine: If you go for the commission-free DIY Portfolio service, the only costs are the annual charges and buy/sell market spreads of the ETFs you invest in. There are no platform or dealing fees.

Assumptions

The calculations above are based on the following scenarios:


  1. £20,000 lump sum (a year's ISA allowance)
  2. £100,000 lump sum (if you have some ISAs from previous years and are transferring in)


We also assume that you will make 12 ad hoc deals in the same year.


A deal is either one of buying or selling an investment. It is also called a trade. 


We use the colours green, amber, and red to indicate how expensive or cheap a stock trading platform is compared to the others. The cheapest stock trading platforms are coloured green, the more expensive ones red, and the others amber.


Keep in mind that a platform showing up as green doesn't make it the best trading platform for you, as cheap doesn't always equal good. Depending on what you are looking for, some of the more expensive trading platforms could have a wider variety of stocks, bonds, funds, ETFs, and more.


If you are investing small amounts and choose to go with the cheapest trading platform for that amount, note that some of the more expensive platforms become cheaper as your pot increases. Consider Interactive Investor, for example.


Additionally, we show the costs which apply to the first year only. It is important to mention this because, with trading platforms like iWeb, your charges reduce after the first year. Whereas with platforms like EQi, your charges might increase after the first year.


Finally, for each online stock broker listed in our stocks and shares ISA comparison table, your money is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to £85,000 per person.


If you have questions, please ask the community.

What is Stock Trading?

Stock trading or share dealing 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 stock trading 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.

How to Buy Stocks and Shares

There are two ways to buy stocks and shares. You can 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 regularly invest in stocks and shares (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.

How to Pick Stocks

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 stock-picking methods below:


  1. Research: Investing in shares requires knowledge about the companies you are investing in. The best way to acquire such knowledge is through research. Websites like Morningstar, Hargreaves Lansdown, Interactive Investor, ADVFN and Citywire provide company news, financial research, analysis, and commentary.
  2. Study economic cycles: The global economy will grow and shrink over time. When the economy is growing, most sectors tend to do well. But when the economy is shrinking, and things aren't as rosy, only certain sectors continue to do well. Industries that produce or sell everyday essentials such as food, beverages and pharmaceuticals tend to do well in every economic climate. In comparison, industries such as retailing and aerospace that provide non-essential products or services tend to mirror the health of the economy. Understanding these cycles can help you decide what shares to buy and when.


  1. Become comfortable predicting the future: If you can make predictions about how the world will change in the next 10 to 20 years and what industries are poised to benefit from this change, you can begin to invest in stocks and shares accordingly. For example, how will climate change affect energy companies and automobile manufacturers in the next 10 or 20 years? What changes do you anticipate in online retailing, financial services and healthcare?

  2. Have a look at your favourite brands: It might be worth looking at and researching brands you know, love and use often. The world's biggest, most popular and most loved brands tend to be the most profitable.

  3. Build a diversified portfolio: When picking shares, it is risky to invest in just one company. If the company gets into difficulty, you could lose all you invested. It is better to build a diversified portfolio. This means you should consider investing in multiple companies, across different industries and in various geographies. Most people, including experienced investors, use funds when investing. Funds give you access to a diversified portfolio, saving you the trouble of buying shares in multiple companies.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which trading platform is best for beginners in the UK?

Here are some of the best trading platforms for beginners in the UK:

  • Freetrade - Low cost; commission-free trading; beginner-friendly
  • InvestEngine - Low cost; 500+ commission-free ETFs
  • Interactive Investor - One free trade per month; lots of research and tips
  • eToro - Buy/sell cryptocurrencies; 0% commission on real stocks
  • Stake - Free trading; fractional shares; analyst ratings


2. Where can I invest with little money?

You can invest small amounts of money with UK trading platforms such as Freetrade, eToro and Interactive Investor. Today, most investment platforms will allow you to start investing with as little as £25. Some even go lower. Freetrade, for example, allows you to start trading in the stock market with as little as £2.

3. What is a brokerage account?

A brokerage account is a taxable investment account used to buy and sell stocks, shares, bonds, funds and other investments. In the UK, a brokerage account is the same as a general investment account (GIA) or trading account. Like a standard bank account, you can transfer money in and out of your brokerage account whenever you want.

Other types of accounts which you can use to buy and sell investments include Stocks and Shares ISAs and Lifetime ISAs. ISAs or individual savings accounts are tax-free accounts, so you never pay taxes on the gains from your investments held in them.


4. How do I open a brokerage account?

To open a brokerage account in the UK, visit any of the online brokers in the comparison table above and open a General Investment Account (GIA) on their website. With the GIA, you'll be able to buy, sell and hold any investment of your choice.


5. What is a self-select ISA?

A self-select ISA is a type of investment ISA that gives you the freedom to choose the specific investments that make up your portfolio. And depending on the provider you choose, you'll have the option to either select individual investments and manage your portfolio yourself or choose from a range of ready-made portfolios. 


Self-select ISAs providers are also called Do-It-Yourself (DIY) investment platforms. 


ISAs are entirely tax-free.


6. What types of assets can be held within a self-select ISA?

When you open a self-select ISA with an online trading platform, you can invest in a range of assets, including:

  • Stocks and shares,
  • Funds,
  • Gilts,
  • Bonds,
  • Investment trusts,
  • Units trusts,
  • Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs),
  • Open-Ended Investment Companies (OEICs), and
  • Structured products.

7. How do I open a self-select ISA?

Here's how to open a self-select ISA or online stock trading account:

  1. Compare fees and features and decide on the best trading platform for you.
  2. Visit the platform's website or download the app to apply for an account.
  3. Fund your account with GBP or the required currency.
  4. Research stocks, bonds, ETFs and other investment types.
  5. Choose your investments and start building your portfolio. 

If you need help choosing investments, some trading platforms in the table above offer ready-made portfolios and financial advice. Financial advice typically attracts an extra charge.


8. What are the advantages of a self-select ISA?

Here are some advantages of a self-select ISA:

  • You have the freedom to choose the specific investments that make up your portfolio.
  • You get greater control over the design and management of your portfolio.
  • Your entire portfolio and its dividends are free of capital gains and additional income tax.
  • You pay no advice fee.

9. What are the disadvantages of a self-select ISA?

Here are some disadvantages of a self-select ISA:

  • It can be quite risky for inexperienced investors.
  • You need to keep up to date with the markets, which can be tedious and time-consuming. 


If you are unsure about choosing a self-select ISA, it might be worth seeking independent financial advice from a suitably qualified financial adviser.

10. Which app is best for trading?

Here are some of the best trading apps in the UK:


Use our comparison table above to get a sense of what each platform charges for regular investing and ad hoc share trading.

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Credits

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  2. Gov.uk

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