Keen to start stock trading or already a pro? We’ve got you covered. Here’s the best stock trading platforms in the UK.
The best stock trading platform overall is eToro. It’s easy to use, low cost, has a huge range of investments and you can even copy the pros. We also recommend XTB, and Trading 212 if you want to invest tax-free within an ISA – it’s commission-free, and has a great range of investment options. If you only want to buy ETFs, check out InvestEngine, it’s completely free.
Keen to start stock trading or already a pro? We’ve got you covered. Here’s the best stock trading platforms in the UK.
eToro is great. It's a trading platform with great social trading features that makes trading fun. 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).
Platform experience: great
Device options: website & phone app
Stocks & Shares ISA: no
Pension (SIPP): no
Range of investments: huge
Fractional shares: yes
Spread fees: yes (low)
Currency conversion fee: 0.50% on non-USD deposits
XTB offers commission-free investing (up to $100,000 per month, and 0.2% after that). The platform is easy to use, there's a wide range of investment options (over 3,000 stocks and 300 ETFs), and the customer service is excellent.
There's a low minimum investment of just £10 too.
It's also one of the best options for trading CFDs – with high leverage margin trading (borrowed money) and the ability to trade both price directions (so shorting too).
It works great on mobile, as well as desktop and tablet.
Platform experience: awesome
Device options: website, tablet and phone app
Stocks & Shares ISA: no
Pension (SIPP): no
Range of investments: large
Fractional shares: no
Crypto: yes (not UK)
Account fee: free
Cost per trade: free
Spread fees: yes (low)
Currency conversion fee: 0.50%
Trading 212 is a platform built for everyone in mind – there's over 2,000,000 customers! It’s great for beginners to get started, and perfect for experienced investors too with a huge range of investment options.
It’s also the cheapest platform out there, completely commission free, and the lowest fees when buying foreign stocks.
AJ Bell is well established, with a good reputation.
It's one of the cheapest traditional stock brokers out there (charging a low annual fee).
There's a huge range of investment options – pretty much every investment out there (including both funds and shares).
The customer service is great too.
Overall, it's one of the best options.
InvestEngine is great for investing in exchange-traded funds (ETFs). That’s all they do – and they're very good at it.
It's so low cost, there's in fact no InvestEngine fees at all (to make your own investments).
And for the experts to manage your investments, it's only 0.25% per year.
There's a great range of ETFs (over 550), and the app is pretty great too.
Stock trading is hugely popular, and that means there’s lots of stock trading platforms out there to choose from – it can be hard to choose what one is the best, but don’t worry, we’ve tried and reviewed almost all of them to find the best online brokers in the UK.
Here’s the criteria we used:
From the wide range of stock trading apps and platforms, we’re only showing you the best of the best – ones that we recommend to our friends and family (and readers), and use ourselves here at Nuts About Money.
Whichever one from our list you choose to use, you can be sure you’re using a trustworthy platform, that’s easy to use, has low fees and a great range of investment options (things to invest in).
You also don’t need to pick just one, you can start with one, and move on to another if you like – you can have as many accounts on as many different stock trading platforms as you want, there’s no limit.
The only main restriction is that you can only pay into one Stocks and Shares ISA each tax year (we'll cover all this below), but you can still trade and invest outside of an ISA…
In fact, we often recommend doing so, and use your ISA with an investment platform managed by the experts (such as the 5* rated Moneyfarm¹), so your savings are in safe hands, and managed by the experts to grow your money over time.
The easiest stock trading platform to use is eToro¹ – it's perfect for beginners (and advanced traders). Plus, it’s very low cost trading, and they’ll even pay Stamp Duty for you too (we’ll cover fees more below).
Plus, you can copy advanced traders and pros, so you can learn the best investment strategies, or simply just follow what they’re doing. There’s also a great range of educational resources too.
And one last thing. You can also start with a demo account too – so invest with ‘fake’ money, before you deposit real cash.
Not 100% sure what stock trading is? Let’s run through it.
Traditionally, it’s buying and selling shares of companies listed on a stock exchange, with the strategy of making money from your investment.
A share means you own part of a company, it’s a ‘share’ of the company, and these have a value depending on how well the company is performing (e.g. it’s profit).
Shares are traded on a stock exchange, and a stock exchange is simply a place to buy and sell shares. For instance in the UK, we have the London Stock Exchange (LSE), and in America, they have the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and a few others.
However, other investments are typically pooled into the term ‘stock trading’ these days. And the most common is exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These are collections of lots of different shares all grouped together into a single investment, called an investment fund – and you guessed it, they’re traded on stock exchanges too, making them exchange-traded funds.
ETFs can be things like lots of companies within the same industry, e.g. the technology industry, or the medical industry. Or, they could be a collection of shares on a stock exchange, such as the top 100 companies in the UK (called the FTSE 100), or the S&P 500, which is the top 500 companies in America. There's a massive range to choose from, literally 1,000s of options available.
Note: stock trading is often called investing too, and we tend to call buying investments (e.g. shares) for the medium-to-long-term, investing, and buying investments for the short-term, trading.
An online stock trading platform, or stock broker, (or even a share dealing platform) is a place to buy and sell stocks and shares, and other investments, such as ETFs (exchange-traded funds) online. You’ll sign up to the platform online, they'll have a range of investment options, and it’s all over to you to decide which investments you want to make.
We also call these a self-managed investment platform, as you’re making the investment decisions yourself. The alternative is an expert-managed investment platform, and that’s of course where the experts handle the investments for you – all you need to do is add your cash, and they’ll grow your money over time using sensible investment strategies for long term growth.
Expert-managed investment platforms are highly recommended, either as an alternative to making your own investments, or in addition too. The fees for expert-managed services have reduced significantly over the years due to technology.
As mentioned above. our top recommendation is Moneyfarm¹ – they’ve got a great track record of investing, low fees and expert advisors on hand to help with any questions you might have.
Stock trading apps have become super popular in recent years, thanks to commission-free trading! They’re effectively exactly the same as a stock trading platform, except they’re an app on your phone.
They’re not quite as established as some of the traditional stock brokers such as AJ Bell and Hargreaves Lansdown, and often don’t have as many investment options (number of stocks to buy), but they provide a much cheaper way of investing.
One of the best stock trading apps in the UK is Lightyear¹, the app experience is great.
It can be a very good idea to trade stocks and shares yourself if you know what you are doing – or prepared to learn!
In order to be successful trading it can be very complicated, and you’ll need to determine a great investment strategy that consistently performs well over time. But as long as you’re willing to put the time in, and ideally enjoy it, there’s lots of money to be made over time.
However, if you’re a beginner, or not too experienced, we often recommend letting the experts manage your investments, or most of them at least. They know what they’re doing, and use tried and tested strategies to grow your money over the long term. You don’t have to worry about a thing!
Again, one of the best expert-managed investment platforms is Moneyfarm¹, they’ve got a great investment record. In fact, they’re the best performing Stocks and Shares ISA. They’re got low fees too and are really easy to use, with expert advisors on hand to help.
You could use your investment ISA (more on that below) with Moneyfarm, and then use a stock trading platform to make your own trades alongside if you want to, having the confidence your savings are with the experts while you’re learning the tricks of the trade.
Here’s what you can typically invest in when using a stock trading platform.
Stocks and shares are the main asset class (type of investment) you can buy on stock trading platforms (that’s how they get their name!). A share is part of the ownership of a company, so you can buy and own a ‘share’ of the company.
All of the shares combined equal the total value of a company, called its market capitalisation. This value can change up and down depending on things like how much the company makes (its performance), and the stock market in general.
These are traded on stock exchanges across the world, such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in America, and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in the UK.
Investment funds, often called mutual funds, are collections of lots of different investments all packaged into one single investment, making them easy and cheaper to buy (than buying them all individually).
For instance, you could have the top 100 companies in the UK (called the FTSE 100), in a single investment fund. Or, you could have lots of different companies in the same industry, such as healthcare or manufacturing.
Lots of investment funds can also be traded on stock exchanges, just like shares, and these are called exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and they’re super popular with traders and investors.
Bonds are loans to governments (government bonds) and large corporations (corporate bonds), and they’ll pay interest to you. They’re typically seen as safer than stocks and shares, but typically don’t provide as much of a return as stocks over time.
Commodities are real things such as silver, gold, oil, coffee, grain – there’s lots out there.
On some stock trading platforms you can trade cryptocurrencies too. These are digital tokens, things like Bitcoin and Ethereum. If you’re keen to trade crypto, eToro¹ is one of the best options that also offers traditional investments (like stocks and shares). Or check out the best crypto exchanges, if you only want to trade crypto.
This is where you’re essentially swapping one currency for another (e.g. Pounds to Dollars). It’s an exciting, global market and open 24 hours a day, 5 days per week.
There’s a few different account options when investing in the UK, let’s run through them.
A General Investment Account (GIA) is a regular investment account, sometimes called a brokerage account or trading account. They have no tax-free benefits, but allow you to invest as much as you like, and you can have as many accounts as you like, across different stock trading platforms.
A Stocks and Shares ISA (also often called an investment ISA) is an awesome account to save and tax-free. Everything you make is completely tax-free, forever! So you don’t have to worry about Capital Gains Tax, Income Tax, or Dividend Tax, which are all types of taxes you might have to pay otherwise.
You can invest up to £20,000 per tax year, which runs from April 6th to April 5th the following year, and this is called your annual ISA allowance, and applies to all of your ISAs in total (e.g. a Cash ISA (for saving cash) or Lifetime ISA (for saving for your first home)).
We typically recommend letting experts manage your Stocks and Shares ISA, to benefit from long-term growth using sensible investment strategies, and then make your own investments with a GIA alongside, if you want to.
A personal pension is the perfect account to save for retirement. It’s tax-free as your money grows, and you’ll get a massive 25% bonus on all of your contributions.
You can save as much as £60,000, or as much as your total income, whichever is lower, each tax year.
Personal pensions are a great way of boosting your retirement income later in life, and work alongside a workplace pension (a pension your employer will set up for you if you’re employed), and the State Pension (the government pension).
However, you won’t be able to withdraw any cash until you’re at least 55 (57 from 2028), it’s intended for retirement. And when you do, you’ll be able to withdraw the first 25% tax-free, and with the remaining 75%, you might have to pay Income Tax, it depends on your income at the time.
There’s two types of personal pensions – the first often simply called a ‘personal pension’ is where the experts handle things, and grow your money over time (highly recommended). And the second is a self-invested personal pension, and this is where you make all the investment decisions, such as which stocks and shares, or investment funds to buy.
We highly recommend PensionBee¹ for your pension, they’ve got a great track record of growing your money over time, have low fees, and are easy to use.
And if you want to make your own investments within a SIPP, AJ Bell¹ is a great option.
You can also check out the best personal pensions for the full range of personal pensions.
If you’ve got kids, you could also invest in a Junior ISA. This is where you can invest all in their name, and they’ll get the cash when they turn 18. You can invest up to £4,000 per tax year.
When trading and investing, you might have to pay Capital Gains Tax (unless all of your investments are within a tax-free account such as an ISA or a personal pension).
Capital Gains Tax is a tax on your profits, and you’ll have to pay it if you make a profit of over £6,000 per tax year (you only pay it on profit above this).
The amount you’ll pay is either 10% or 20%. It’s 10% if your total income (e.g. your salary) is less than £50,270 per year, and 20% if your income is above this.
When buying shares in the UK (so listed on the London Stock Exchange), you’ll likely have to pay Stamp Duty Reserve Tax. This is similar to what you pay if you purchase a property, except it’s on shares.
The amount you’ll pay is 0.50% of the purchase price. The stock trading platform will handle everything for you, and take the payment at the same time as when you buy.
It doesn’t apply to any shares outside of the UK, for instance buying Amazon shares in the US.
Frequent traders (also called day traders), often avoid Stamp Duty by using a different type of trading platform, where they trade the price of an asset, rather than buying it directly. These are called Contract For Differences (CFDs).
If that sounds interesting, learn more with our guide to CFDs and the best CFD trading platforms. They also provide advanced trading tools for more experienced traders and can have cheaper trading fees overall.
By the way, eToro¹ also offers CFDs, but better than that, they’ll actually pay the Stamp Duty for you. Another reason why we think they’re a great trading platform (alongside low cost trading and being easy to use).
Unfortunately, stock trading isn’t completely free – although it’s certainly getting cheaper! Most of the best stock trading platforms are commission-free (meaning no fees to buy and sell), and they even have no account management fees either (fees to hold investments, sometimes called a platform fee).
Share dealing fees (fees to buy and sell) and account management fees are common with more traditional online stock brokers, such as AJ Bell¹, and they’re still a great option – one of the lowest cost traditional brokers.
However, the more modern online trading platforms, they’ve done away with all of these fees, and instead, all you’ll pay is a currency conversion fee…
This is a fee to exchange your currency to the currency of the shares you want to buy (also called a foreign exchange fee).
For instance, if you want to buy US shares, you’ll need US Dollars, so you’ll need to convert your Pounds (GBP) into US Dollars (USD) to do this. The trading platform will do this for you automatically when you buy, and charge a small fee too.
Currency conversion fees can range from around 0.15% to 1.5%, depending on which platform you are using. And of course the ones we recommend (eToro¹, XTB¹ and Trading 212¹) are some of the lowest you’ll find.
It’s very safe to trade stocks and shares in the UK, and it’s all legal. But, you can still lose money without the right investment strategy.
Stock trading platforms are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They’re the people who make sure your money is safe and secure, and looked after properly.
You can check the FCA register if you want to check if a stock trading platform is authorised (all our recommendations are).
This also means that your money is normally also protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Meaning you could get up to £85,000 compensation if something happens to the stock trading platform, such as going out of business.
Note: FSCS protection only applies to retail investors (retail investor accounts), so ‘everyday’ people, rather than professional traders.
That’s it for the best UK trading platforms. We hope that’s made stock trading easier to understand, and given you a clearer picture of what to expect, if you’re new to trading and investing that is.
Investing can have a massive impact on your future finances when using a sensible investment strategy – and it can often be easier to simply let the experts handle things. We recommend checking out Moneyfarm¹ if that sounds good to you.
And for making your own investments, here’s a recap on the best stock trading platforms:
Thanks for reading, and all the best trading and investing!