The best share dealing accounts (UK)

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Fact checked.
March 27, 2024

In a nutshell

The best share dealing accounts are eToro, XTB, Trading 212 and AJ Bell. They’re all low cost and have a great range of investment options, all with great service. If you’re just starting out, we recommend eToro.

Are you keen to start investing? Or maybe a pro already and looking for the best share dealing account to use? We’ve got you covered.

Here’s the best share dealing accounts in the UK...

Best share dealing account for beginners

New to share dealing?

Check out eToro. It’s low cost, easy to use, and has a great range of investments.

Visit eToro¹Visit eToro¹

76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading.

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eToro rated 5 stars


eToro is one of the best investment platforms out there - and is by far the most popular, with over 30 million customers.

Why? eToro is very low cost (commission-free stocks), easy to use, and has lots of awesome trading features. There's also a community of other traders to learn from and even copy.

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

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eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk.

New to share dealing?

Check out eToro. It’s low cost, easy to use, and has a great range of investments.

Visit eToro¹Visit eToro¹

76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading.

Best share dealing account overall

New to share dealing?

Check out eToro. It’s low cost, easy to use, and has a great range of investments.

Visit eToro¹Visit eToro¹

76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading.

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Low cost
XTB rated 5 stars


XTB offers commission-free investing (up to $100,000 per month, and 0.2% after that). The platform is great, and 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).

You'll also get up to 5.2% interest on cash in your account (GBP).

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It works great on mobile, as well as desktop and tablet.

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%

Capital at risk.

Best share dealing account with an ISA

New to share dealing?

Check out eToro. It’s low cost, easy to use, and has a great range of investments.

Visit eToro¹Visit eToro¹

76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading.

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Free share up to £100 - use code NUTS

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Best ISA
Trading 212 rated 5 stars

Trading 212

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.

Learn more

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Not investment advice. Investments can rise and fall, and your capital is at risk.

Our criteria for the best share dealing accounts

When using the right investment strategy, investing can be a game changer for your financial future – your money can compound over time and grow seriously big. We’ll cover how it all works below, but for now here’s the criteria we’ve used to determine to compare share dealing accounts and determine the best:

  • Range of investments
  • Fees
  • Share dealing experience
  • Customer reviews
Best share dealing accounts (UK)

There’s a lot of online share dealing platforms out there – we’ve used so many! And the ones we’re recommending here are the best out there. They’re ones we recommend to our family and friends (and readers), and use ourselves here at Nuts About Money.

So, whichever one you choose to use, you can be sure it’s one of the top ones out there. And by the way, you can even try all of them and see which one you prefer – you aren’t limited to a certain number of share dealing accounts like you are with Stocks & Shares ISAs (we’ll cover ISAs in detail below).

What is share dealing?

Not quite sure what share dealing actually is? Don’t worry. We’ll explain all.

Share dealing is often used as a generic term for investing, and it originates from simply buying shares – so let’s cover those first, and often, lots of investing is done via investment funds (we’ll explain those too).

What is a share?

A share is where you own part of a company (a business), you own a ‘share’ of the company. These can be bought and sold (traded) across the world on stock exchanges (a place to buy and sell shares), such as the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in the UK, or the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the USA. In fact, there’s stock markets (exchanges) in almost every country in the world.

Stocks and Shares

Shares have an individual value which together represents the total value of the company, which can go up or down in price, normally depending on the performance of the business, or stock market in general.

Often when a company wants to raise money for growth and expansion, and if they’re big enough, they can begin issuing shares on a stock exchange called an initial public offering (IPO). This allows them to sell shares to the public (like us) and so becomes a public company. Prior to this happening, they’d be known as a private company.

Companies can also pay out a share of their profits to shareholders, which is called dividends.


What is an investment fund?

Shares can be great investments, but to build a well diversified investment portfolio (your total investments combined) that is suited to long-term growth, you’ll need to buy lots of shares in lots of different companies, and often different types of investments. This is where investment funds come in.

Investment funds are groups of shares, and sometimes other investments such as bonds (we’ll cover those below) and commercial property, all packaged together into a single investment, making it much easier to buy and sell. For instance, you could have an investment fund made up of green energy companies, or electric car companies, or some that track the top companies in the UK (FTSE 100). There’s lots out there!

Investment fund

Investment funds are often managed by experts, and each one has a different goal or theme. They’ll handle the day-to-day management of the investments, you can simply buy a share of the investment fund.

And to make it even easier, you can buy a lot of investment funds on a stock exchange, just like shares. Investment funds listed on exchanges are called exchange-traded funds (ETFs) – and they’re super popular.

What is a bond?

A bond (or gilt in the UK) is where you effectively loan your money to a government or large corporation in return for interest payments. They’re typically seen as safer investments and make up parts of investment funds.

Share dealing vs share trading

We’ve put together the best share dealing accounts for those looking to buy actual shares in companies, and perhaps hold them for a reasonable period of time (or other long-term investments such as ETFs).

The alternative is share trading, which is often referred to as day trading, and this is where you’ll buy and sell shares and other investments quickly, hoping to make a profit and move on to the next trade.

Often, this isn’t actually buying the shares themselves, it’s trading the price of the shares (and other assets, such as foreign exchange) using something called Contract For Differences (CFDs).

CFDs is where you enter into an agreement with the broker about the future price of the shares. When you close the trade (sell), you'll settle the difference, and either receive the difference or pay the difference in price.


This is normally done on an online trading platform, rather than with a stock broker and a share dealing account. You can learn lots more about CFD trading with our best CFD trading platforms. Oh and by the way, they’ll have different trading fees too (more on fees later).

What is a share dealing account?

A share dealing is an account to hold your investments in, and buy and sell shares and other investments. They’re offered by stock brokers – who are licensed companies able to buy and sell investments on your behalf (from stock exchanges). 

Share dealing account

You’ll need an investment account with a stock broker, also often called an investment platform, in order to buy investments.

You have a few different options when it comes to investment accounts, a share dealing account (also called a General Investment Account (GIA), or a trading account), a Stocks and Shares ISA (tax-free saving), and a personal pension (tax-free saving for retirement).

A share dealing account is simply one with no bells and whistles, there’s no tax-free saving (so you might have to pay tax), but there’s no limits either – you can invest as much as you like, and open as many as you want.

You will be liable to pay Capital Gains Tax, but only if you make a profit of over £6,000 per tax year, when you sell investments. The amount you pay will either be 10% if you’re a basic rate taxpayer (earn less than £50,270 per year), or 20% if you’re a higher rate tax payer (earn more than £50,270 per year).

Capital Gains Tax

Stocks & Shares ISAs

A Stocks and Shares ISA (Individual Savings Account) is an investment account that lets you save completely tax-free, forever. Everything you make from your investments is completely tax-free, so you won’t pay any Capital Gains Tax, Income Tax or Dividend Tax.

Stocks & Shares ISA

You can invest up to £20,000 per tax year (April 6th to April 5th the following year), which is your ISA allowance. However, you can only pay into one Stocks and Shares ISA per year. 

A good strategy can be to use your ISA with an expert-managed investment platform or  robo-advisor, where the experts handle everything and grow your money over time in a safe and sensible way – Moneyfarm¹ is great for this, they’re one of the best performing Stocks and Shares ISAs, and low cost too.

You can then make your own investments (if you want to) with a regular share dealing account, such as eToro¹ or Trading 212¹ (get a free share worth up to £100. Use code NUTS).

Personal pensions

A personal pension is an investment account to save for retirement, and highly recommended.

As your money grows within a pension, it’s tax-free, and you’ll get a massive 25% on everything you pay in from the government (that’s not a joke!).

Personal pension

And if you’re a higher rate taxpayer (40%) or additional rate taxpayer (45%), you can claim back some of the tax you’ve paid at these rates too. This is done on your Self Assessment tax return.

You can make your own investments within a personal pension if you open a self-invested personal pension (SIPP), or let the experts handle things with an expert-managed personal pension – we highly recommend this option, check out PensionBee¹ – they’re low cost, have a great performance record and super easy to use.

There are some limits however, you won’t be able to access the money until you’re at least 55 years old (57 from 2028). And, you can only pay in as much as your total income per year (e.g. your salary) or £60,000, whichever is lower.

Pension annual allowance

Junior ISAs

If you’ve got kids, and want to save for their future(s), you also have the option to open a Junior ISA. This is where you can save all in their name, completely tax-free, and they’ll be able to access the cash when they turn 18.

Junior ISA

You can invest as much as £9,000 per tax year, which is completely separate from your own ISA allowance.

What’s the best share dealing account for beginners?

We’ve all got to start somewhere, so don’t worry if you’re new to investing and stock trading. There’s a lot to learn, and you’ll make mistakes along the way, but the benefits of a great investment strategy can really pay off in the future.

We recommend starting with eToro¹ – they’re super easy to use, have lots of educational resources and you can copy the pro’s. You can also start with a free demo account if you like. Oh, and it’s commission-free. Learn more with our eToro review.

Share dealing fees

Unfortunately buying and selling shares and investments isn’t completely free, but some are getting quite close!

Share dealing fee

Typically when buying shares, you’d pay the stock broker a share dealing fee, which can be as low as £1.50 to as high as £11.95. Although with eToro¹ and Trading 212¹ – there’s no fees at all, they’re commission-free. Plus you can get a free share worth up to £100 with Trading 212¹, use code NUTS.

Account fee

You’d also normally pay the stock broker an account fee to hold your investments, and this can be up to 0.45% per year of your total investments. Sometimes these are called platform fees.

This normally applies to holding investment funds, and up to a certain limit with individual shares (for instance up to a maximum of £3.50 per month for shares and ETFs with AJ Bell).

However, if you use our recommended brokers, eToro and Trading 212, there’s no account fees either. Are you starting to see why they’re the top share dealing brokers?

Currency conversion fees

Wherever you make investments and buy shares, you’ll normally pay a currency conversion fee if it's not in your local currency, to exchange your local currency (i.e. Pounds) into the currency of the shares. This is also called a foreign exchange fee.

Foreign exchange fee (forex or FX)

Depending on where you trade stocks, this cost can vary from 0.15% (with Trading 212¹) up to 1.5%.

Stamp Duty

Buying shares of UK businesses (UK shares), you’ll also have to pay Stamp Duty, which is simply a tax on buying shares, but it only applies to buying shares of companies listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

If shares are listed on the AIM, the Alternative Investment Market, which is the UK stock exchange for smaller companies, there’s no Stamp Duty to pay.

It’s technically called Stamp Duty Reserve Tax (SDRT), and is 0.5% of the value of the shares. 

Another reason why we rate eToro¹ as the best UK share dealing account is that they’ll actually pay the Stamp Duty for you! Pretty nice of them right?

Is investing safe?

It’s perfectly safe to invest and buy shares within a share dealing account (or any investment account) with a stock broker, or online share dealing platform.

Stock brokers and investment platforms need to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). These are the people who make sure your money is looked after properly, and they’ll regularly review the company. You can check the FCA register to find out if a company is authorised by the FCA.

Stock brokers are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority

This also means you are normally protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This gives you up to £85,000 compensation if something happens to the broker, such as going out of business. 

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

Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

Alongside that, investment platforms and brokers actually store your money and investments with a separate large bank, in your name, and they can only be returned to you.

However, all of this protection doesn’t mean you can’t lose money if your investments don’t perform as you expect. Make sure you are following a proper investment strategy.

Let’s recap

That’s all there is to share dealing accounts. We hope that’s helped you understand investing a bit more and which investment account might be right for you.

Often the best way to invest is with a Stocks and Shares ISA with an expert-managed investment platform (we recommend Moneyfarm¹, they’ve got a great track record and are low cost), and then open a share dealing account to make your own investments, and buy the shares you’d like.

We also highly recommend saving into an expert-managed pension too – check out PensionBee¹, they’re low cost and have a great track record, and easy to use. And check out the best pension providers to find some more great options.

As a recap, here’s the best share dealing platforms:

  • eToro
  • XTB
  • Trading 212
  • AJ Bell
  • InvestEngine - ETFs only

Thanks for reading, and good luck investing!

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This article has been fact checked.

This article was written by the team at Nuts About Money, and fact-checked by 2 independent reviewers. You’re in safe hands.

New to share dealing?

Check out eToro. It’s low cost, easy to use, and has a great range of investments.

Visit eToro¹Visit eToro¹

76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading.

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