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Best Trading and Investment Platforms UK

A trading platform is basically a neat bit of software that allows you to buy and sell stocks through an online broker. Trading platforms have opened up the world of trading to everyone in the UK and across the globe, regardless of wealth or knowledge.

So, if you’ve had your eye on AstraZeneca stock or would like a piece of the Tesla pie, then an online trading platform could be just the ticket. It’s surprisingly easy to start buying and selling stock online in the UK, less so to actually turn a profit doing it. However, the best trading platforms in the UK have a wealth of tools and features at your disposal to help you make a success of it and with fees that are a far cry from what a traditional broker would charge, more and more people, from beginners to seasoned traders, are turning to online trading platforms for their investment journey.

Choosing the best trading platform in the UK for your unique requirements is important and best not left to chance, however, the sheer volume of the best investment apps in the UK can often lead to a paralysis of choice. That’s why, here at Investing Reviews, we’ve done all the leg work for you, wading through all the information to select the best trading platforms in the UK to match your immediate needs as an investor.

Top 10 trading platforms for UK investors at a glance

eToro

RECOMMENDED

eToro

Best for low-cost trading
Minimum deposit £50
0% commission trading stocks

67% 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.com/trading/fees

AvaTrade

NEW

AvaTrade

0% commission fees
Minimum deposit £100
Zero deposit fees

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Interactive Investor

Interactive Investor

Best for Investing in Funds
Lowest cost per trade: £7.99
Platform fee: £9.99 per month

Capital at risk.

Fineco Bank

Fineco Bank

Lowest cost per trade: £2.95
Platform fee: £0

Get 100 commission free trades use Promocode FIN100-AF

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 65.11% of retail investor accounts lose money due to CFD trading with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

AJ Bell Youinvest

AJ Bell Youinvest

Lowest cost per trade: £4.95
Platform fee: 0.25%

Remember that investments go up and down in value, and you could lose money as well as make it. How you’re taxed will depend on your circumstances, and the rules can change.

IG Investments

IG Investments

Lowest cost per trade: £3
Platform fee: £24 quarterly

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 66% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown

Lowest cost per trade: £5
Platform fee: £0

Capital at risk.

Freedom 24 Freedom Finance

Freedom24 by Freedom Finance

One of the leading platforms

Practice trading using unlimited demo account
The demo mode is free of risk
Easy to use platform

Capital at risk.

InvestEngine

NEW

InvestEngine

Suitable for both experienced investors and newcomers.
New customers get a £50 welcome bonus!

Capital at risk.

Best Overall Trading Platform

IG Investments

IG Investments

IG is the biggest spread betting and CFD provider in the UK, offering access to 17,000 markets across the globe. With low rates and excellent tools and research, this easy to use trading platform easily swooped into our top spot.

IG come in as a very low-cost option for investors who are likely to make more than three trades per quarter. Whilst IG Investments caters to experienced investors, it’s not to be overlooked by novice investors with great learning resources in the IG Academy and a free demo account that provides scope for you to ‘try before you buy.’ IG also offer 24-hour support which is great for people who like to trade out of hours as well as great analytics tools and a thriving IG community.

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 66% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Best Trading Platform for Beginners

Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown really look after beginners, offering varying levels of support including pre-selected portfolios, help with investment suggestions, or simply giving you the space to make your own selections. They also have a robust education section with plenty of free information to help you make informed decisions.

Hargreaves Lansdown have a really extensive range of funds, ETFs and shares, however, for investors with larger portfolios, their pricing structure could work out a bit more than the market average. One of the advantages at Hargreaves Lansdown is that you are able to access professional investment advice.

Best Trading Platform for Tools and Research

Trading 212

Trading 212

Trading 212 have over 500k subscribers on their YouTube Channel, where they provide hundreds of educational videos covering topics such as ‘How to Buy Your First Share’ through to ‘How to Use a Tight-Stop Strategy to Trade a Breakout’. One of the indicators of the massive success enjoyed by Trading 212 is their recent decision to suspend all new accounts as they catch up on the sheer volume of account requests.

Trading 212 provide excellent educational resource on their trading platform with their demo account which allows new traders to gain practical, hands on experience using £50,000 of virtual funds. This provides the means with which to learn how the platform works as well as how to successfully navigate the stock market.

Trading 212 also offer commission free trading, which can dramatically reduce your fees making them a very low cost provider.

As an alternative to Trading 212 I would recommend eToro who also have zero commission trading and over 10 million subscribers who make up the eToro community as well as the ability to perform ‘Copy Trading’. Read more about eToro below.

Due to unprecedented demand, Trading 212 have taken the decision to pause the opening of new accounts at this time.

I recommend eToro as an alternative.

eToro

 

No thanks! Take me to Trading 212

67% 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.

Best Trading Platforms For Low Cost Trading

eToro

eToro

eToro is a great option for traders looking for low cost and unlimited trades. eToro have a massive range of financial products to choose from but one of the features I really liked was the ability to take part in social trading and copy trading, a strategy which allows you to mirror the trading activities of successful traders on the eToro trading platform in the UK. This can provide invaluable guidance for traders with less confidence, however eToro also has a massive incentive for experienced traders as their Popular Investor Program rewards successful traders for allowing others to copy their positions with monthly payments that can add up to significant amounts. This means that regardless of whether you are a pro trader or a complete novice, eToro offer plenty of incentives and one of the most cost effective platforms.

eToro also offer their traders a Demo Account with $100,000 of virtual cash with which to build a virtual portfolio without risking any of your own money. The technical analysis tools at eToro are also worth a mention with analyst recommendations and market sentiment indicators both available on the eToro and app and eToro web platform.

67% 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.com/trading/fees

Freetrade app

Freetrade

Freetrade is another provider that offers a commission free trading platform but one of the most attractive offerings here is that when you open a new account and deposit as little as £1, Freetrade will award you with a free stock worth up to £200. This is a great way for small investors to get their investment journey off the ground. What’s more, once you have your free share, there is ample opportunity to earn more free shares by recommending your friends and family to the Freetrade trading platform. At Freetrade there are no withdrawal and deposit fees and no inactivity fee. The general investment account is free of any charges, however you will pay £3 a month for the ISA which is a little steep for small investment pots.

What I liked about the Freetrade trading platform is its simplicity. It’s a perfect place for new investors to get to grips with the stock market. The mobile app is well designed and user friendly and provides access to over 1000 stocks and ETFs.

Best Trading Platform For Investing in Funds

Interactive Investor

Interactive Investor

Interactive Investor really is a one stop shop for investors with different accounts to choose from within the one flat monthly fee. They have an extensive range of investment options for traders looking to build their own portfolio, however, for traders who are just getting started they also offer ‘Quick Start Funds’.

Interactive Investor have won awards for their intuitive and easy to use web based trading platform as well as for their ii mobile app. Traders can access watch lists and in-depth market research as well as take advantage of trading fees that can be as low as £3.99.

Best Trading Platform For Ease of Use

AJ Bell Youinvest

AJ Bell Youinvest

AJ Bell have successfully streamlined online investing to make it as easy as possible for all walks of life. Their trading platform has a clean, easy to use interface as well as outstanding customer service to help you overcome any issues you might experience. There are over 70 active and passive funds to get you started and AJ Bell offer plenty of guides to help you along the way.

AJ Bell also dedicate a section of their site to people who are new to investing where they can help identify which account will suit your needs as well as provide you with useful bits of information to get you started.

Best Trading Platform For Frequent Traders

Fineco

Fineco Bank

Fineco Bank are a recent addition to the UK market and have entered the space with a highly competitive share dealing price of just £2.95 per trade. They offer a multicurrency account and plenty of options for buying shares outside of the UK where you can trade in local currencies. They have also picked up a number of awards at the London Forex Show including Best Trading Tools, Trading Platform, and All Round Provider in 2020.

Fineco Bank have a fully diverse offering of investments with a massive product portfolio and excellent trading tools. However, for less confident investors, they also offer fully managed portfolios and no minimum deposit which makes them a great option for both new and seasoned investors.

How I’ve Chosen This List of Best Trading Platforms in the UK

I have conducted hours of vigorous research in order to identify the trading platforms in the UK that I believe will best meet your needs as an investor. To clarify how I have gone about this process, here are some of the factors that I have taken into consideration:

Fees and Charges

Custody fee – This is the fee that you pay to the platform for taking care of and managing your investments. This fee is a major consideration as small costs can really start to erode your investment gains.

Cost per trade – This is the fee you will pay every time you buy or sell stocks and shares. Some platforms have zero trading fees which is great, however, you need to weigh up whether they are providing you with all the other features you require from a trading platform.

Frequent trader – some trading platforms UK will reward you for trading more frequently with a reduced fee. This is only relevant if you feel you would be trading more than a certain amount of times each month. Otherwise you will need to pay the cost per trade fee.

Investment trusts fee – Investment trusts allow you to pool your money together with other investors into a ‘trust’. The trust manager will then use these pooled assets to invest in shares and financial assets on your behalf. The charge for an investment trust is usually based on a percentage of the amount of money you put into the trust.

Ease of Use

Trading can be a complex endeavour and the design and usability of the platform you choose can have an impact on how efficient you are at managing your portfolio. We have therefore assessed each trading platform UK to identify which ones will allow you to make quick, accurate trades in an online environment that can help instill a sense of confidence.

Market Research and Education

This section is especially important for beginners who require high levels of research and education in order to help them learn trading and make profitable decisions regarding their investments. Webinars, blogs, videos, seminars and tracking options are all important educational tools to help beginners get up to speed.

Investment Choice

This will be especially important for experienced traders who are creating a highly diversified portfolio. Having a broad spectrum of global investment options including stocks, ETFs, funds, trusts etc from various stock markets, is what seasoned investors have come to expect. Of course this can be overwhelming for novice investors who may prefer to invest in a pre-made portfolio or engage in copy trading.

Accounts on Offer

This is an important consideration in order to ensure you are being as efficient as possible with your investing. If you are between the ages of 18 and 40 and saving for your first home, then the most efficient account would be the Lifetime ISA as this attracts a government bonus of 20%. Remember that outside of the personal allowance, all income and returns from your investments are subject to tax at your usual rate. Therefore, you may want to consider a tax wrapper, such as an ISA. However, if you are already at the annual allowance for your ISA then a General Investment Account might be more attractive.

Safety

Here at Investing Reviews, we always ensure that the trading platforms UK we recommend meet minimum safety standards. This includes being authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as well as adequate security and protection of data within the site or app. Some apps also utilise biometric identification and many of the providers listed above are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme which means your account balance is protected up to the sum of £85,000 should the provider go bust.

Demo Account

If you would like to practice trading before you risk any of your money then you may be best to select a trading platform UK that provides its users with a demo account. A demo account will give you a certain amount of ‘virtual money’ with which to trade on the stock market. These are useful tools to help you get to grips with the setup of the trading platform UK and to familiarise yourself with the various assets on offer.

IG Demo Account
IG Demo Account

Some Common Trading Platform Terminology Explained

What is online stock trading?

Online stock trading is when you buy shares using an online trading platform UK, in the hope that you will then sell them at a higher price, thus turning a profit. Online stock trading has replaced more traditional stock brokers in the UK and around the globe, and often presents a more accessible and affordable way of stock trading.

What is an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund)?

An EFT is a collection of investments which can include stocks, commodities, bonds, and other investment assets which are all then traded on exchanges just like stocks. ETFs provide a passive investment strategy that is often low in cost and can help diversify your portfolio.

What is a diversified portfolio?

A diversified portfolio contains a mix of stocks and bonds, from around the globe, in companies of various sizes and sectors. This is to ensure that if one sector, or country was to experience a sudden fall in value for any reason at all, the remainder of your portfolio would be robust enough to prevent you from experiencing a complete loss.

What is a stock broker?

A stock broker is a professional body that buys and sells shares on behalf of a client. In this case the trading platform UK is the stock broker and you are the client. It is impossible for anyone to buy or sell stock without first becoming a member of an exchange or belonging to a firm that is a member.

What is a stop-loss order?

A stop-loss order enables you to instruct your trading platform UK to buy or sell a specific stock, once that stock reaches a predetermined price. This can act to limit your potential loss on a security position. As an example, were you to buy shares in a company that are worth £10, and you were then to place a stop-loss order for £8, should the price of the shares fall below £8 your shares will then be sold automatically to prevent you from experiencing a further loss.

What are retail investor accounts?

Retail investor accounts belong to investors who are buying and selling stocks and shares for their own personal profit rather than on behalf of an organisation.

What is CFD trading?

CFD trading refers to the buying and selling of Contracts for Difference. CFDs provide the opportunity to speculate on the rise or fall in price of an asset, without ever taking ownership of the asset. With CFD trading, you only make a profit if your predictions on the movement of price are correct. Whilst CFD trading can have the potential to produce high returns, it is also high in risk and can result in severe losses. A high percentage of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs.

What is day trading?

Day trading is a popular endeavour in the UK and refers to the buying and selling of financial instruments in a single day in order to take advantage of small market movements. It involves making fast decisions and executing a vast number of trades for a small profit each time. Day trading is not for the faint hearted or novice investor. Day trading would usually be conducted from share trading platforms UK and it is often said that it is best left for pro investors.

Trading Platform FAQs

What is the best online trading platform for social trading UK?

eToro is one of the world’s leading platforms for social trading with a vast array of social features including copy trading which allows you to copy successful traders. There is also The Popular Investor program which encourages successful traders onto the platform by incentivising them with rewards of up to 2% of their assets under management.

What are the best UK stock trading apps?

Whilst almost all trading platforms UK will have a web platform from which to trade, some investors prefer to have access to their portfolio whilst they are on the move, and therefore more and more stock trading platforms UK are providing a trading app from which to execute your trades.
Trading apps vary a great deal in terms of functionality and usability, however, here at Investing Reviews we have identified eToro as a great trading app, with their low cost model of free trades on a user friendly trading app that provides access to stocks, indices, ETFs, Cryptocurrencies, forex and commodities.

How do you choose a share dealing platform in the UK?

Choosing the best share dealing platform for you is a very personal journey that will depend largely on your financial goals and aspirations. Are you saving for retirement? Then you will require a SIPP account. Perhaps you just want a tax efficient way to grow your wealth, in which case a Stocks and Shares ISA will be required. You will then need to ascertain whether the share dealing platform in question has a suitable range of investment options and compare the fees charged between the providers you are considering.

How do you buy stocks online in the UK?

Every investment journey has to start somewhere, and more and more people are choosing the online arena as a starting point. Getting up and running is relatively easy. Simply choose your stock trading platform UK, register your account and deposit funds into your account. Next utilise the trading tools and market research provided by your stock trading platform UK to select the stocks you wish to buy and complete the order ticket stipulating the number of shares you wish to purchase. Then you simply place your trade.

What trading platforms can I use in the UK?

There are a number of trading platforms available in the UK, however, identifying the best online trading platform UK for you should be aligned to your unique needs. Here at Investing Reviews, all our recommended platforms cater to UK customers, therefore it is simply a matter of selecting a platform that meets your needs from our list on this page.

What are share dealing accounts?

A share dealing account is simply an account that allows you to deposit money to buy, sell and hold your investments. Unlike an ISA a share dealing account is subject to capital gains tax on the returns you make from your investments, however, share dealing accounts, otherwise known as General Investment Accounts, offer a solution to investors who have already maximised their ISA allowance for that financial year.

How much starting capital do you need to start investing?

You can start investing with as little as £1 depending on the online trading platform UK you select and their minimum investment amounts. However, we would caution you to be aware of the fees associated with the platform as these can soon eat away at your investment capital should you be starting with a small amount. If you are new to investing and would like to try your hand without risking too much of your money, then we would recommend selecting online trading platforms with free demo accounts where you can use virtual money risk free.

Do I pay UK tax on share dealing?

Yes, any gains you make from share dealing on a trading platform UK are subject to capital gains tax at your normal rate, unless you are share dealing from within a tax wrapper, such as a Stocks and Shares ISA.

Why is it a good idea to choose an online broker?

The main reason why an online share dealing broker is a good idea is that it is the most cost effective way to trade. Historically, the costs associated with trading meant that it was only really feasible for people with a significant portfolio, in order for the potential gains to outweigh the costs. However, online share dealing platforms have opened up trading to all walks of life and all bank rolls.

Of course this isn’t the only reason they have gained in popularity so quickly. Once you have deposited money into the best online trading platform UK of your choice from your bank account, you can buy and sell financial assets at any time of day or night at the touch of a button. Not only this, most online trading platforms UK offer information and research that can help you make the best decisions possible.

Can you use Robinhood trading in the UK?

Despite plans to launch in the UK, and even opening an office in London, Robinhood have yet to open share dealing accounts to UK customers due to mounting pressure surrounding the Gamestop saga in the US. This may change in the future, however, for now, there are alternatives in the UK where you can enjoy a zero-commission trading account including Freetrade and eToro who we have recommended in our review above.

What should a beginner invest in?

Choosing your investments is a lengthy process that requires a lot of painstaking research. There are certain metrics that can help you identify great businesses that should be long term performers including price to earnings ratio, the price to earnings growth ratio and the payout ratio. However, if you are looking for a quick way to get started and want to ensure that you are fully diversified in order to mitigate your exposure to risk, then you may be better off investing in a fund.

A fund is where lots of investors pool their money together in order to invest in plenty of different shares. Fully managed funds are managed by professionals who will regularly make strategic adjustments in order to maximise returns. These are slightly more expensive than fixed allocation funds which are designed to perform with minimum human intervention. Usually an investment platform will have the historical returns of their funds listed on their website, and this is certainly worth checking before you select a fund with the correct level of risk for your circumstances.

Is Online Trading Academy any good?

At this time we wouldn’t recommend the Online Training Academy as they are currently subject to regulatory attention and a quick look at Trustpilot will reveal 2 stars out of 5 which is poor.

Who has the cheapest online trading?

Trading 212, eToro and Freetrade all have the edge when it comes to cost effective share dealing, however, at the time of writing, Trading 212 have suspended all new accounts in order to catch up with unprecedented demand. Freetrade have the same zero-commission trading, and also offer a free stock when you open a new account and deposit for the first time. The value of your free stock can be anywhere from £3 to £200 and this could possibly give them the edge when it comes to finding the most cost effective stock trading app available.

What do I need to open an account with an online trading platform in the UK?

Different trading apps in the UK will require different documents in order for you to open an account and start trading. Most trading platforms in the UK will require the following: Full name, Valid ID, Email address, Phone number, National Insurance Number, Bank account details.

What is the Financial Conduct Authority?

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a regulatory body in the UK responsible for protecting consumers, maintaining a stable industry and promoting healthy competition between financial advisors. We would recommend that you ensure any provider you consider is authorised and regulated by the FCA.

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