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.
Compare some of the best trading platforms in the UK below:
Capital at risk. Other charges apply.
Interactive Investor has more than 40,000 investments to choose from, including UK and overseas shares, funds, investment trusts, and 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 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 crypto assets, 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. Withdrawals incur a fee of US$5, and FX rates apply to non-USD deposits and withdrawals. 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 BigTech, DividendGrowth, GoldWorldWide, Vaccine-Med, FoodDrink, BitcoinWorldWide, CyberSecurity, Diabetes-Med, Driverless, GigEconomy, Utilities 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. eToro does not offer an ISA or SIPP.
Please note: Cryptoassets are a highly volatile unregulated investment product. 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.
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.
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. Access 26 global markets and trade over 20,000 financial instruments worldwide on a single low-cost account. Invest and trade directly in GBP, EUR, USD, Swiss Franc and 20+ currencies. Fineco Bank offers Trading Account and Stocks and Shares ISA. Capital at risk.
Promo: Apply with the link below by the 31st December 2021, and trade commission-free up to a maximum commission amount of £500. Terms apply.
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 beginner 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.
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 here. 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 74-89% 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.
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.
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 Share Dealing Account, Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA, and SIPP.
Capital at risk.
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.
Typically, your annual charge depends on whether you hold funds or shares in your stocks and shares ISA. Here, we assume you plan to invest in individual stocks and shares only.
The table below 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 either select individual shares, bonds, funds, etc., 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.
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.
The calculations above are based on the following scenarios:
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 share dealing platform is compared to the others. The cheapest share dealing 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. Some of the more expensive trading platforms could have a wider variety of stocks, bonds, funds, ETFs, etc., depending on what you are looking for.
If you are investing small amounts and choose to go with the cheapest share dealing platform for that amount, note that some of the more expensive share dealing platforms become cheaper as your pot increases. Consider Interactive Investor and Halifax Share Dealing, 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).
If you have questions, please ask the community.
Here are some of the best trading platforms for beginners in the UK:
Here are some of the best trading platforms in the UK:
Use our comparison table above to get a sense of how each platform charges for regular investing and ad hoc share trading.
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.
A brokerage account is a taxable investment account used to buy and sell assets such as stocks, shares, bonds, funds and other investments. In the UK, a brokerage account is the same as a General Investment Account (GIA). Other types of accounts which you can use to buy and sell investments are Stocks and Shares ISA and Lifetime ISAs. You can transfer money in and out of your brokerage account just like a bank account.
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.
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.
When you open a self-select ISA with an online trading platform, you can invest in a range of assets, including:
Use our investment platform comparison tool above to select the best trading platform for you. Then visit the platform's website to apply for an account. Once your account is open, you will be able to choose 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.
If you are unsure about choosing a self-select ISA, it might be worth seeking independent financial advice from a suitably qualified financial adviser.
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