Nutty

The best day trading platforms (UK)

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Updated
April 11, 2024

In a nutshell

The best day trading platforms are Plus500 and eToro. They both have their own awesome trading platforms, low fees and a wide range of investment options. For beginners, we recommend eToro – it’s easy to use, low cost and you can learn from and copy the pros.

Keen to start day trading? Or already a pro and looking for the best platform. Here’s the best day trading platforms (scroll down for the best platform for beginners).

Best day trading platform for beginners

New to trading?

Check out eToro. It’s low cost, easy to use, and you can copy advanced traders.

Visit eToro¹Visit eToro¹

76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading.

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Best overall
eToro rated 5 stars

eToro

eToro is great. It's an easy to use, low cost, trading platform, with a huge range of investment options. It's crazy popular, with a huge community you can get involved in, learn from and copy their trades!

It’s also got the largest range of assets to trade, including stocks, ETFs, crypto, CFDs, currencies and commodities (such as gold).

Highly recommended for beginners to get started, and there's great features for more experienced traders too (such as margin trading).

Learn more

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Platform experience: great
Device options:
website & phone app
Support:
24/5
Stocks & Shares ISA:
no
Pension (SIPP):
no
Range of investments:
huge
Stocks:
yes
ETFs: yes
Fractional shares:
yes
Crypto:
yes
CFDs:
yes
Forex: yes
Spread fees: yes (low)
Currency conversion fee:
0.50% on non-USD deposits

Pros

• Very easy to use
• Low trading fees (commission-free stocks)
• Awesome trading software
• Good range of investment options
• Offers CFD trading (alongside regular investing)
• Available on desktop, tablet and mobile
• 24/5 support
• Demo account

Cons

• No 3rd party integrations

76% 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.

New to trading?

Check out eToro. It’s low cost, easy to use, and you can copy advanced traders.

Visit eToro¹Visit eToro¹

76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading.

Best day trading platforms overall

New to trading?

Check out eToro. It’s low cost, easy to use, and you can copy advanced traders.

Visit eToro¹Visit eToro¹

76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading.

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Best overall
Plus500 rated 5 stars

Plus500

Plus500 is one of the top trading platforms in the world. It’s well established, secure, and super popular – there's over 24 million users across the world.

The platform is user friendly, packed with trading tools, and some great, unique features such as +Insights – where you get information (insights) based on other traders on the platform, such as what investments are trending, and which are most bought and sold etc – it's all very cool, and super useful.

It’s low cost too (commission-free), and the customer service is excellent. It's the go-to trading platform for most traders.

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Platform experience: awesome
Device options: website, tablet and phone app
Support: 24/7
Stocks & Shares ISA: no
Pension (SIPP): no
Range of investments: large
Stocks: yes
ETFs: yes
Fractional shares: no
Crypto: yes (not UK)
CFDs: yes
Forex: yes (CFDs)
Account fee: free
Cost per trade: free
Spread fees: yes (low)
Currency conversion fee: 0.70%

Pros

• Great trading experience
• Great mobile app
• Unique insights from all trades on the platform
• Low cost overall
• Good range of investment options
• Excellent customer service
• Free and unlimited demo account
• Trustworthy and reliable

Cons

• No 3rd party integrations
• Inactivity fee

Plus500UK Ltd authorised & regulated by the FCA (#509909). Note: 81% 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.

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Low cost
Admirals rated 5 stars

Admirals

Admirals is a great broker all-round, reliable and trustworthy (established over 20 years ago). 

There’s a huge range of investment options to trade (via CFDs) or invest in (buy directly), it’s low cost, and the trading software is great (MetaTrader 4 or 5).

You’ll also benefit from free access to advanced trading tools, saving £100s per year (called StereoTrader and MetaTrader Supreme Edition).

The customer service is excellent too.

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Platform experience: excellent
Device options: website & phone app
Support: 24/5
Stocks & Shares ISA: no
Pension (SIPP): no
Range of investments: huge
Stocks: yes
ETFs: yes
Fractional shares: yes
Crypto: yes
CFDs: yes
Forex: yes
Spread fees: yes (low)
Currency conversion fee: 0.30%

Pros

  • Low cost overall
  • Trustworthy and reliable
  • Huge range of investment options
  • Excellent education resources
  • Great trading platform with free advanced features
  • Trade on mobile, web and tablet
  • Excellent customer service
  • Free demo account

Cons

  • Must use MetaTrader (but a great option)
  • No interest on cash

Nuts About Money rating: 5 stars
‍Fees:
low
‍Minimum deposit:
£1

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Trading experience
XTB rated 5 stars

XTB

XTB is an awesome trading platform. The trading software (xStation 5) is one of the best out there – it's super easy to use, and has all the trading features you need – with a great charting system. And trading speeds are fast. Mobile trading is great too.

It's one of the largest in the world, and the go-to place for foreign exchange and CFD trading. With high leverage margin trading (borrowed money) and the ability to trade both price directions (so shorting too).

You'll also get up to 4.9% interest on cash in your account (GBP).

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It works great on mobile, as well as desktop and tablet. And the customer service is excellent, with your own personal account manager.

Platform experience: awesome
Device options: website, tablet and phone app
Support: 24/5
Stocks & Shares ISA: no
Pension (SIPP): no
Range of investments: large
Stocks: yes
ETFs: yes
Fractional shares: no
Crypto: yes (not UK)
CFDs: yes
Forex: yes
Account fee: free
Cost per trade: free
Spread fees: yes (low)
Currency conversion fee: 0.50%

Pros

• Low trading fees
• Awesome trading software
• Good range of investment options
• Offers CFD trading (alongside regular investing)
• Available on desktop, tablet and mobile
• Personal account manager and 24/5 support
• Demo account
• No minimum investment

Cons

• No stocks and shares ISA
• No pension
• Can be complicated to use (using the trading platform)

XTB is authorised & regulated by the FCA (#522157). 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with XTB Limited. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Our criteria for determining the best day trading platforms

Day trading is very popular both in the UK and across the world, and there’s lots of day trading platforms out there! Trading platforms can make trading much cheaper, faster and more efficient than traditional investing (e.g. buying stocks and shares via a stock broker).

We’ve reviewed pretty much all of them to determine the best.

Best day trading platforms

Here’s the criteria we used:

  • The day trading platform experience
  • Fees (trading costs and account fees)
  • Trading tools and features
  • Range of investment options
  • Customer support
  • Customer reviews

The best trading platforms for day traders above are all platforms we’re happy to recommend to our friends and family, and our readers of course. They’re the best out there, highly regarded and trustworthy. Not to mention super popular. We even use them ourselves here at Nuts About Money.

And best of all, you don’t have to pick one and be stuck with it. If you don’t get on with the platform, simply move onto the next until you find one you like. You can have as many trading accounts as you like, from as many different platforms.

What is a day trading platform?

A day trading platform is an investing platform made for more frequent traders (so not buying and holding for the long term. Instead, usually lots of trades per day, or a high volume over a week).

And, they typically offer Contract For Differences (CFDs), rather than the ability to buy assets directly (e.g. stocks and shares). We’ll cover CFDs in more detail below.

Using CFDs means the online trading platform can typically offer much lower fees too, and on a huge range of investment options – as you’re simply trading the price of the asset, rather than buying and owning the asset (so less admin and regulation for the platform). Again, more of CFDs below.

Plus, you can use more advanced trading features such as margin trading and trading both price directions (more on those later too).

What’s the best day trading platform for beginners?

Not quite sure where to start? Don’t worry – we’ve all got to start somewhere!

The best place to start as a beginner is eToro. Their platform is easy to use, has low fees, and a wide range of investment options. But, best of all, there’s lots of educational resources to learn, and you can even copy the pros and advanced traders to learn about their advanced trading strategies and how they make trades. You can even chat with other traders!

Best day trading platform for beginners

It’s all pretty social and cool, and highly recommended. In fact, they call it social investing, and it’s worth checking out. Here’s our eToro review to learn more, or simply head over to the eToro website¹.

Oh one more thing, you can start with a demo account too (fake money). Although we don’t typically recommend this if you’re keen to start trading more seriously, as it doesn’t have the same psychological effect as trading real money (e.g. most people just gamble it away fast).

Nuts About Money tip: start a trading journal documenting all your trades and your reasons behind them – you’ll soon be a lot more focused and understand your trading decisions better in order to improve.

Contract for Differences (CFDs)

When you day trade, you’ll often trade CFDs (Contract For Differences), rather than trade stocks and shares (assets) directly (e.g. buying a share, or investment fund).

Trading CFDs might sound a bit complicated, but they’re pretty straightforward really, and work very similar to the same as the asset (e.g. stock) itself, but have a few extra benefits.

So, rather than buying the asset directly, you’ll trade the price of the asset instead. You’ll open a contract with the broker (or with another trader via their CFD trading platform), which is an agreement to settle the difference in price of the underlying asset in the future. For instance, the price of an Apple share in the future.

If the Apple share goes up in value, and if you sell, you’ll get the difference from the broker, and if the share goes down in value, you’ll lose the difference. Make sense? That’s how they get the name ‘Contract For Differences’, as it's a contract about the difference in price.

Contract for Differences (CFDs)

A major benefit is you can trade both price directions, so you can go ‘long’, which is predicting the price will increase in the future, or go ‘short’, which is predicting the price will fall in the future (you can’t often do this when trading the asset directly).

Plus, you can use leverage (also called margin trading). This is where you can borrow money from the broker (the online trading platform), to trade with more money than you actually have. This can amplify your profits, and also your losses.

Imagine you deposited £50 to your trading account, and you want to make a trade with 5x leverage (also called 5:1 leverage). Your £50 can be the deposit (also called security or collateral), to trade with £250 (5 x £50 = £250).

So, if the price of the asset you want to trade increases by 10%, you’ll make 10% of £250, which is £25, rather than 10% of £50, which is £5. Pretty good right?

Leverage trade - up

However, if the asset drops in value by 10%, you would have now lost £25, rather than £5. Which is 50% of your initial deposit. Not great.

Leverage trade - down

It’s super important to be careful with leverage, and only use it as part of a working trading strategy.

Spread betting

Spread betting is similar to CFDs, they trade the price of the asset too (rather than buying the asset directly). However, a spread bet will have an expiration date, which is a date in the future when the trade (bet) will end, at which point you’ll settle the difference. 

Note: a CFD does not have an expiration date.

This means that you won’t pay any Capital Gains Tax, as it’s technically classed as gambling (betting).

If this sounds interesting, learn more with IG¹ – they actually invented it.

Spread betting

Types of assets to trade

Let’s run through all the different types of assets you can trade on a day trading platform. There’s quite a few!

Stocks and shares (equities)

These are where you own a part of a company, you own a ‘share’ of the company. Shares are traded on stock exchanges (places to buy and sell shares) all across the world, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in America and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in the UK.

Stocks and shares

All the shares combined equal the total value of the company (it’s market capitalisation), and this can change over time depending on lots of things, such as the stock market in general, and the performance of the business (e.g. how much money it makes).

ETFs (exchange-traded funds)

Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are super popular with investors – they’re a collection of lots of different investments all pooled together into a single investment, making it much easier and cheaper to buy and sell (and build a diversified portfolio for long-term investors).

For instance, you could have lots of different companies within the same industry, such as healthcare or technology.

ETFs (exchange-traded funds)

ETFs get their name as they are also traded on stock exchanges, just like shares.

By the way, if you only want to buy ETFs (perhaps for long-term investing), check out the best ETF platforms.

Indices

Indices, or an index (stock market index), is a set group of assets on a stock exchange (stock market). For instance, the top 100 companies in the UK (the FTSE 100), or the top 500 companies in the US (S&P 500).

They’re lots of different indices, and typically a different index for most economies across the world, and so provide a good opportunity to make trades based on a specific country’s economy.

Commodities

Commodities are real things, like coffee, oil, sugar, and gold and silver. There’s a lot out there, and typically open 24 hours per day, 5 days per week.

Forex (foreign exchange)

Trading foreign exchange is also super popular across the world. It’s trading one currency for another, for instance GBP (Pounds) to USD (US Dollars). It’s an exciting, global market that’s always moving and open 24 hours per day during the working week – and prices react to lots of breaking news. If this sounds interesting to you, here’s our guide to the best forex trading platforms.

Foreign exchange (forex or FX)

Crypto

You can also trade crypto (although not via CFDs in the UK). These are digital tokens on a blockchain, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. In the UK,  eToro¹ is the only place to trade crypto alongside other assets. Or, check out the best crypto exchanges.

Day trading fees

When it comes to fees, day trading is a bit different to regular investing – and often much lower cost overall.

There’s typically no account management fees (also called a platform fee), which is a fee a typical online stock broker would charge to hold your investments. Or, share dealing fees, which is a charge to buy and sell investments (such as shares).

The fees you will pay with an online trading platform are spread fees.

Spread fees

Spread fees vary hugely depending on which assets you are trading, and the more volume (liquidity) there is in the market at that time (how many people are trading), generally, the more people trading, the lower the fees.

Spread fees are often represented as ‘points’, which is the smallest digit on the left hand side of a decimal point of the asset price. For instance, if an asset is £100.00, then 1 point is £1.

And with forex (foreign exchange), it’s often represented as ‘pips’, which is the smallest number on the right hand side of the decimal point. For instance, if a currency is priced as £2.1234, a pip would be 0.0001.

We know, it’s a bit confusing! But don’t worry, the online trading platform will let you know the fees when you make a trade.

Currency conversion fees

If you want to trade assets not in your local currency, for instance buying shares in Europe or in America, you’ll need to convert your Pounds to the relevant currency. 

This is normally all handled automatically when you buy and sell an investment, and the platform will charge a small fee to do this, called a currency conversion fee (or foreign exchange fee), which can range from 0.15% to 1.5% depending on which investment platform or broker you use.

All of the best day trading platforms we recommend above have some of the lowest currency conversion fees out there. As a recap, they’re XTB¹, IG¹ and eToro¹.

Can I trade within an investment ISA?

When investing in the UK, there’s a few great accounts where you can save tax-free, such as a Stocks and Shares ISA and a personal pension.

With these accounts, you normally won’t pay any Capital Gains Tax, Income Tax or Dividend Tax as your money grows, and these are all types of taxes you could pay when buying assets directly.

Pension vs ISA

However, unfortunately these accounts are not suited to day traders – as within these accounts you’ll need to buy the assets directly. Often, they’re typically suited to long-term investing rather than short term day trading.

By the way, we’re big advocates of long-term investing here at Nuts About Money. If you’re not investing for your future (yet), we highly recommend it. You can invest alongside day trading.

We often recommend simply letting the experts handle things for your long term investments, and two of the best options out there are Moneyfarm¹ (here’s our Moneyfarm review) for an investment ISA, and PensionBee¹ (here’s our PensionBee review) for your pension. 

Both super easy to use, low fees and a great record of investment growth. You can also check out the full range of options with the best investment platforms

General Investment Account (GIA)

Day trading typically means trading within a General Investment Account (GIA), or often simply called a trading account. These have no tax-free benefits, but that also means there’s no limits on how much you can deposit, or how many accounts you can have – so you can open as many as you like, with as many different platforms as you like, and pay in as much as you like too.

So, you will have to pay Capital Gains Tax on your trading profits. That’s if your profits exceed £3,000 per tax year (your Capital Gains Tax allowance), and you'll pay it on anything over this amount.

General Investment Account (GIA)

You’ll pay 10% if your total annual income is below £50,270, and 20% if your income is above this.

Note: a tax year runs from April 6th to April 5th the following year.

Is day trading safe?

It’s perfectly safe (and legal) to invest and day trade in the UK, as long as you use a day trading platform authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

They’re the people who review and approve financial companies in the UK, and make sure they’re treating customers fairly and looking after their money correctly.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

To check if a financial firm is authorised, check the FCA register. All of our recommendations above are authorised by the FCA.

Typically, this also means you are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means you are protected by up to £85,000 should anything happen to the financial firm, such as going out of business.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

This normally only applies to your deposits, rather than trading profits, and doesn’t cover every type of trading. However, CFDs are normally covered.

Note: FSCS protection only applies to retail investor accounts (retail investors), rather than professional traders.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t lose money if you make a bad trade, or have an unprofitable trading strategy. We only recommend trading using a solid investment strategy and trading plan.

Let’s recap

That’s it for the best UK trading platforms for day traders. We hope you’ve learnt a lot about trading and investing in general. Trading can be very hard, and there’s lots to learn, but the payoff can be pretty large for the people who are successful.

Choosing the right trading platform for you can be a huge benefit, both in your overall trading experience, being able to use advanced trading tools and simply for learning the ropes.

If you are just getting started, we recommend checking out eToro¹ – it’s easy to use, low cost, has great educational resources and you can even copy the pros.

Thanks for reading, and all the best out there trading!

New to trading?

Check out eToro. It’s low cost, easy to use, and you can copy advanced traders.

Visit eToro¹Visit eToro¹

76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading.

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New to trading?

Check out eToro. It’s low cost, easy to use, and you can copy advanced traders.

Visit eToro¹Visit eToro¹

76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading.

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