Typically trading for less than £1 in the UK or $5 in the US, penny stocks could potentially be a great way to further diversify your portfolio.
You have many different trading platforms to choose from when it comes to penny stocks. So, my guide will tell you about some of the best penny stock brokers UK, and what you need to know about investing in penny stocks.
Also consider: Best Shares to Buy Now
Top penny stock providers for December 2023
Browse my list of the best penny-stock platforms for UK investors below
A great broker for trading penny stocks in the UK is Admiral Markets.
There is no withdrawal fee or a required minimum deposit when you use the platform – however, there is an inactivity fee of $10 every month, though this will only be charged if the balance in your account is positive.
When it comes to trading fees, there is no commission on stock or contracts for difference (CFD) trades.
If you would prefer to trade penny stock derivatives rather than shares, Admiral Markets may be what you’re looking for.
Indeed, the broker offers access to 3,252 stock CFDs and 372 ETF CFDs.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% 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.
Its user-friendliness comes from the ability to customise features across the platform to better suit your experience.
You are required to make a minimum deposit of £100 when you open an account with AvaTrade, and you will face an inactivity fee of $50 for every quarter of not using your account.
However, there is no commission on trades when you use AvaTrade.
The platform even offers a social trading feature, which allows you to copy from and interact with more experienced traders.
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.
CMC Markets is another broker with relatively low fees that allows you to trade penny stocks.
Indeed, the broker charges nothing for purchase orders up to the value of $1,000, and any made above this value are charged at either $11 or 0.1%.
There is also no minimum deposit required when you first open an account.
And even though the platform only offers customer support five days a week, it does provide a plethora of different research, analysis and learning resources that are free for you to use.
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 69% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading 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.
One of the great things about trading penny stocks on Fidelity’s platform is the low charges.
Indeed, the broker has no trading fees involved when you invest in penny stocks, and you aren’t required to make a minimum deposit when you open your account.
Better yet, you won’t be charged an inactivity fee if you don’t use your account for some time, so if you’re more of a casual investor, this could be the right account for you.
While many different brokers have educational materials for you to use and learn from, Fidelity supports users in a slightly different way. It offers financial advice agents who are there to help you build a solid investment strategy.
Capital at risk.
Another great UK-based broker that offers access to penny stocks is Hargreaves Lansdown.
The platform has a huge variety of different penny stocks and even offers some penny stock ETFs.
Hargreaves Lansdown’s fee structure is slightly higher than other brokers – while you can open an account with as little as $1, you will typically be charged on trades depending on how many you made in the previous month.
Hargreaves Lansdown’s trading charges are as follows:
- £11.95 for every trade if you made 0 to 9 trades in the previous month
- £8.95 for every trade if you made 10 to 19 trades in the previous month
- £5.95 for every trade after making 20 or more trades in the previous month.
These higher costs can make it a less attractive option for penny stock trading.
This fee structure differs slightly if you invest in funds with your Hargreaves Lansdown account. For funds, charges are tiered, and the levels are as follows:
- An annual fee of 0.45% on the value of your first £250,000 worth of funds or ETFs within your account.
- A 0.25% yearly charge on the value of your funds if you hold between £250,000 and £1 million.
- A 0.1% annual charge on the value of your funds held within your account if you hold between £1 million and £2 million in funds.
If you hold funds over the value of £2 million in your Hargreaves Lansdown account, you won’t be charged anything.
Capital at risk.
IG is potentially one of the best brokers on offer if you want to trade penny stocks in the UK.
When you open an account with IG, you are given access to an extensive suite of research materials to assist you in the analysis of different penny stocks.
Also, if you still aren’t a confident investor, IG’s academy offers free webinars, online courses, seminars and learning materials to improve your investing knowledge.
Unfortunately, IG’s fee structure is relatively high if you want to trade penny stocks.
The trading fee varies depending on where the company is located and the number of trades you made in the previous month. You will also be required to make a minimum deposit of £250 when you first open an account.
Capital at risk.
Interactive Brokers is another fantastic broker that lets you trade penny stocks.
The platform offers fairly low commission rates on penny stock trades – typically less than £1 for every share.
Better yet, there is no minimum deposit required when you first open an account, and there is no inactivity fee either.
However, some users have reported that the platform can be quite challenging to use and navigate. And, unfortunately, if you’re struggling to figure out the platform, Interactive Brokers only offers support five days a week.
So, if you’re still a beginner when it comes to investing in penny stocks, you may want to consider using a platform that is easy to use and offers extensive educational materials.
Capital at risk.
If you’re looking for a well-designed platform that is easy to use, then interactive investor may be what you’re looking for.
The broker offers penny stock trading, though you may find trading fees to be on the higher side.
Indeed, interactive investor charges £7.99 for every trade on US stocks. Meanwhile, there is no inactivity fee involved when you use the broker, and there is no minimum deposit when you first open an account.
There is also a monthly flat fee of £7.99 required for using interactive investor’s standard trading account, while you will be charged £12.99 a month when you use its pension builder.
If you were looking to trade securities other than penny stocks with interactive investor, you may want to consider a different broker. This is because interactive investor typically only supports the trading of traditional products, such as funds or shares.
Capital at risk.
XTB is another broker that offers access to penny stocks, and although it is headquartered in Poland, it is regulated in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
There are no minimum deposit requirements or withdrawal fees when you use XTB, and you can trade shares and ETFs for free up to a €100,000 monthly value, after which you will be charged 0.2%.
However, there is an inactivity fee – after 12 months of inactivity, you will typically be charged €10 a month.
As well as research tools that give you the chance to analyse different penny stocks, XTB also offers a “trading ideas” feature, which, as the name suggests, gives you share tips.
Capital at risk.
What are penny stocks?
A penny stock is a company that trades for less than £1 a share in the United Kingdom, or lower than $5 in the US.
Just because these penny stock companies have low share prices, doesn’t mean all of them perform poorly – many drive the price down by issuing new shares as the price climbs.
Since shares represent control over a company, a business can prevent itself from being taken over by a majority shareholder by issuing new shares.
However, some penny stock companies can be smaller and less frequently traded, which can sometimes result in less liquidity. That means you could potentially have a harder time offloading shares when you come to sell them.
It’s important that you keep an eye on the liquidity of a penny stock company if you want to invest in it. Wider bid spreads, which is the value that the asking price exceeds the bidding price for shares, are typically more common with penny stocks thanks to this liquidity.
Some of the best penny stocks are household names, such as Lloyds Banking Group and Cineworld, while others you may not have heard of, such as Greatland Gold or AFC Energy.
You can find out more about some of the best penny stocks you should keep an eye on later in my guide.
What risks are involved with penny stock trading?
Penny stocks are usually considered high-risk investments compared to other, more traditional forms of investing.
Lower liquidity and higher volatility can cause investors to potentially lose their entire investment due to swings in stock prices.
This is why penny stock traders will often use stop-loss limits on their orders. Stop-loss orders allow you to input a particular value for how low you’re willing to let your investment fall in value. If your penny stock then reaches this value, it will automatically be sold to limit your losses.
You should also keep in mind that there’s typically less available information about penny stock companies. Unlike a well-established blue-chip company, it can be trickier to find reliable industry news or corporate performance information surrounding the company.
Without adequate information about a company, you may find it difficult to gauge how its price could move on the stock market, and whether they have any important milestones approaching that could influence the stock price, like the release of a new product.
As mentioned, penny stocks tend to have lower liquidity, which can open them to manipulation. For example, the “pump and dump” scheme involves tricking investors into buying large quantities of shares, which drives the price up on the stock market, attracting more investors. When the stock price has been artificially increased, the scammer will then sell all their shares for a good price.
The different ways you can invest in penny stocks
When you first think of investing in penny stocks, chances are the first thing that comes to mind is purchasing shares normally from stock exchanges.
Though, you may be surprised to hear that there are several different ways you can invest in both UK and international stocks. So, continue reading my guide to find out the various ways you can invest, and which would best suit you.
Purchase shares individually
As the name suggests, purchasing shares individually involves buying penny stocks through your broker.
You can then sell your shares at a later date when the price has increased in order to turn a profit. Or, if the company offers dividends, you can hold onto your penny stocks and rely on dividend payments.
However, it’s worth noting that not all penny stock companies offer dividend payments since they tend to be smaller companies with less revenue, or larger companies going through financial issues.
Gain exposure through a fund
You can also get exposure to a variety of different penny stocks through a fund.
A fund is a type of pooled investment in which money is accumulated from investors and subsequently reinvested in many different companies.
Funds are usually overseen by fund managers, who are typically experts in their field. Since fund managers will try to spread risk by diversifying funds, you are gaining instant diversification by investing in one.
The share value of the fund then depends on the performance of its constituent companies. If the value of its investments increases, so does the value of the fund.
Much like trading individual shares, you can either invest in a fund and wait until the price has increased then sell your units, or you can hold onto them and rely on dividend payments.
You typically have two options when you’re looking to invest in a penny stock fund: you can either find a fund that includes your desired company, or one that specifically tracks penny stock companies.
Some examples of specific penny stock funds could be the iShares Micro-Cap ETF, or the First Trust Dow Jones Select MicroCap Index Fund.
You should keep in mind that when you invest in a fund, you may face higher costs and charges. And, since penny stock funds are usually actively managed, you are compensating the work of the fund managers who are overseeing the fund.
Now, this is where things tend to get slightly complicated. Instead of directly investing in penny stocks, or gaining exposure to them through a fund, you may want to try your hand at derivative trading.
Before you do so, it’s important to note that more than half of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs since they are considered high risk, so you should ideally do plenty of research before you attempt derivative trading.
There are a couple of different ways you can start trading derivatives, so if you’re wondering how spread bets or CFDs work, read on to find out how the two methods differ from one another.
Spread betting involves “betting” on the movement of a company’s share price.
When you open a spread bet position, you will usually state whether you believe the company will increase or decrease in value.
You then “stake” money on this position, and every point of movement will affect your payout.
For example, if you were to stake £100 for every point of movement for a penny stock company, and the company’s value did indeed move by two points in the direction you predicted, you would earn £200.
Of course, if the company’s value moved two points in the opposite direction, you would lose £200.
“Contracts for difference”, or CFDs, differ slightly from spread betting.
With CFDs, you will instead receive the difference in price from when you opened your position.
When you first open a CFD position, you are given a “margin”; this is the percentage of the investment you actually have to pay. So, if you wanted to invest £1,000 in CFDs, but the margin was only 5%, you would only need to pay an upfront investment of £50 to your broker.
If you opened a CFD position stating that the value of a particular company would increase, and it did indeed rise from £10 to £15, then you would turn a £500 profit without needing to pay the initial £1,000 ask.
Of course, if the value of the above company fell from £10 to £5, you would be required to pay the broker the £500 difference on the margin.
This is why trading CFDs can be particularly risky – if you make many different deals at once, and they don’t go your way, you could end up losing a lot of money.
Of course, the values in the above example will differ slightly when you trade penny stocks, but it can still be easy to accumulate losses quickly.
As has been previously mentioned, it’s vital you keep in mind that derivative trading is very complex and is considered high risk – so much so that more than half of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs or spread betting.
What is the best way to invest in penny stocks?
The best way to day trade penny stocks wholly depends on your reasons for investing in the first place, and your experience levels.
For example, if you’re still new to penny stock trading, you may want to consider investing in companies directly or gaining exposure to them through a fund.
Or, if you’re more experienced with penny stock trading, or you’ve tried your hand at derivative trading before, you may want to consider spread betting or CFDs.
Similarly, if you are investing for an income rather than growth over a longer period of time, individual shares or funds may be the option for you.
How to start investing in penny stocks
So, now that you know exactly what penny stocks are, and some of the best trading platforms available, you may be wondering how you actually go about day trading penny stocks.
The process is simple enough, so continue reading my guide to find out how to invest in penny stocks.
1. Decide which broker you want to use
First off, you need to decide which penny stock trading brokers you want to open a trading account with.
Using the information above in my guide, you ideally want to compare the different trading platforms and figure out which best suits your needs.
For example, when beginners buy penny stocks, they may want to consider trading platforms that offers in-depth research, analysis and trading tools.
Or, if you were planning on trading large volumes of shares, you may want to think about opening an account with a penny stock broker with lower trading fees.
2. Set up an account with your broker
Now that you’ve decided which penny stock broker you want to use, the next step is opening an account with that broker.
This process is simple enough – usually you will be required to input your information, and potentially upload any relevant financial documents the penny stock broker needs to confirm your identity.
It’s worth keeping in mind that if you’re based in the United Kingdom and want to start trading penny stocks from the US, you may have to complete a W8 BEN form.
3. Make a deposit to your brokerage account
Now you’re ready to make a deposit to your penny stock broker account.
Again, this is a simple enough process. All you need to do is input the value of money you wish to deposit and make sure it enters your account, typically using a credit or debit card.
Be mindful of inflation
One thing you should be wary of is how much money you deposit into your broker account.
You ideally only want to deposit the amount of money you are planning on investing in penny stocks.
When you deposit money into an investment account, it’s unlikely that you will earn interest on any uninvested money. And, with inflation currently so high, there’s a chance your savings’ purchasing power will be eroded in real terms.
You should also only deposit and invest what you can afford. If you end up losing money, you may end up unable to pay your bills or afford your current lifestyle.
4. Decide how you want to invest in penny stocks
Next, you’ll need to figure out how you want to invest in penny stocks in the first place.
If you’re still a beginner to penny stock trading, you may want to consider either trading shares traditionally, or gaining exposure to them through a fund.
Of course, you can always try your hand at penny stock CFDs or spread betting, but you should be aware of the complexity of these financial instruments – more than half of retail investor accounts lose money trading derivatives.
5. Make the investment
When all of the above steps have been followed, you’re finally ready to start trading on penny stock markets.
Simply search for the company or fund you wish to invest in, decide how many shares you’re going to buy, and then make the purchase.
Or, if you wish to trade derivatives, all you need to do is search for the specific instrument and open a position.
The work doesn’t stop when you buy penny stocks though – you need to ensure you keep an eye on any price fluctuations with your penny stocks.
You may want to set up a stop-loss limit on your position to ensure that, if prices drop too much while you aren’t monitoring your order, you won’t lose too much money.
Now that you know what penny stocks are and how to invest in them, you may be asking yourself: what are the benefits of trading penny stocks over regular shares?
Well, like most things, penny stocks come with benefits and disadvantages. Continue reading to discover what these are, and the big differences between penny stocks and traditional shares.
Pros of penny stocks
Typically low cost
As the name suggests, penny stocks typically trade for lower prices than other investments.
This means that you don’t have to put forward as much initial capital to get on board and buy penny stocks as you would with a traditional blue-chip company.
This can be great for beginner investors – large companies with high share prices can often seem daunting for newcomers.
Chance of higher returns
Penny stock companies can be smaller and less established than their traditional counterparts.
This attracts investors, as it brings the opportunity for higher returns if the company does indeed become larger.
If the company you invested in ends up becoming a higher valued business, you could turn a profit on your initial investment if share values increase by a decent amount.
Cons of penny stocks
There is sometimes less available information
Some of the penny stock companies you may be considering investing in could have less information available to investors.
This is because many of these penny stock companies are lesser-known compared to blue-chip companies.
You may find it tricky to find historic information, or corporate earnings figures surrounding a penny stock company, which could make it difficult to properly predict penny stock prices.
Many penny stock companies are less established or known to personal investors. This can often result in lower liquidity for investors since there are fewer people to trade stocks.
Investors may find themselves “locked in” to a particular penny stock if they can’t sell them due to low liquidity, and you could end up losing money rapidly.
Can be unpredictable
Since there is typically more volatility and less liquidity involved with penny stock companies and the stock exchanges they’re listed on, you may find it difficult to predict the prices of these companies.
There may be more fraudulent activity involved with penny stocks too, such as pump and dump schemes, which can also influence share prices.
While retail investors could make profits by trading stocks, there’s also a chance that they could lose large sums of money just as quickly.
Best Penny Stock Brokers UK FAQs
Can I trade penny stocks in the UK?
Yes, you can trade penny stocks in the United Kingdom. Before opening a trading account with penny stock brokers, you first need to ensure that it operates within the United Kingdom. We recommend trading penny stocks with Hargreaves Lansdown.
While there are UK penny stocks, you can also trade US penny stocks, though this may require extra steps, such as completing a W8 BEN form.
What’s the best penny stock broker for beginners?
The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested.
Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investments should be considered over the longer term and should fit in with your overall attitude to risk and financial circumstances.