AJ Bell Dodl

review: is it any good?

Updated on
January 22, 2024

In a nutshell

Dodl is an easy to use and low cost investing app – great for beginners and those wanting a more hands-off approach. There’s different accounts suited for different types of saving goals (such as a Lifetime ISA for saving for your first home), a good range of investment options to choose from, and the customer support is pretty good too. 5 stars from us.

Our rating

Dodl rated 5 stars
Nutty

AJ Bell Dodl

cracked open 🥥

AJ Bell Dodl, or as we’re going to call it from now on ‘Dodl’, is a slimmed down version of the giant investment platform AJ Bell…

If you’re new to investing, AJ Bell is one of the biggest investment platforms in the UK (that’s a place to buy and sell investments, also often called a broker). Here’s our AJ Bell review if you’d like to learn more (and here’s the AJ Bell website¹).

Dodl is designed for those who are just starting out investing, and those who prefer a bit more of a hands-off approach – and it’s pretty great at it.

Dodl app

Dodl offers the full range of investment accounts available in the UK, which are an Investment ISA (also called a Stocks and Shares ISA), Lifetime ISA, Pension and General Investment Account (GIA) – we’ll cover what all those are in detail below if you’re not quite sure.

Here’s where things are a bit different from its big brother, there’s a limited range of investments, and they’re hand-picked by AJ Bell to suit people just starting out (making them less complicated to understand for new investors).

That’s a good thing by the way, it makes investing a lot simpler, and not as overwhelming and complicated (we’ll cover the basics below to get you up to speed).

Dodl review

And finally, it’s low cost. There’s a low fee of 0.15% of your investments (with a minimum of £1 per month, per account). Other options to invest can range from 0.15% to 2%+.

Oh, one last thing before we get into the nitty gritty – it’s only available as an app on your phone. And it’s pretty highly rated, with a massive 4.6 out of 5 on Apple (no rating yet for Google).

Dodl app rating

If you’ve heard enough already, and keen to get started, here’s where to download Dodl¹.

What’s the difference between Dodl and AJ Bell?

Good question! AJ Bell it one of the largest investment platforms in the UK, started way back in 1995 – it’s also one of the cheapest, and has a huge range of investment options from across the world. In fact, there’s over 450,000 customers with a total of over £75 billion. That’s a lot!

Dodl, then, is part of AJ Bell, you could say it’s their modern investment app, designed for those a bit more inexperienced when it comes to investing (perhaps a bit younger too). 

Dodl stocks and shares

Behind the scenes, it’s all AJ Bell, and effectively the same investment platform – just you’ll only be able to pick from a few investment choices, rather than the full range on AJ Bell. Oh, and use the jazzy Dodl app of course (the AJ Bell platform can be quite complicated).

So, if you know what you’re doing with investing, give AJ Bell¹ a try. If you’re new, go for Dodl¹, it’s much simpler and easier, and lower cost too.

Is Dodl good for beginners?

Yep! It’s designed for beginners in fact. You don’t need to know too much to get started with Dodl – and once you’re up and running, you’ll be able to start learning the basics of investing too.

The investment options are relatively simple to understand, and are well categorised, such as technology, healthcare and travel (e.g. companies in those industries). And investment funds (groups of investments), categorised by risk level. We’ll cover the investments more below.

There’s also a great educational area, where you can learn all about the various investing accounts (such as how to use a Lifetime ISA to save for your first home), and an overview of any taxes you might pay when investing.

Dodl for beginners

You can also start with just £25 too – so you can build up your savings over time, rather than having to invest a lot of money to start with (like some other investment platforms).

Dodl rated 5 stars

Dodl is easy to use and low cost – great for those new to investing. Get started on the Dodl website.

Visit Dodl¹Visit Dodl¹

Investment account options

Right, here’s where the magic happens as they say, and with finance, that’s mostly the tax-free benefits of investment accounts. Here’s the accounts you can get with Dodl…

Lifetime ISA

A Lifetime ISA, or LISA, is designed to help you save for your first home, and you’ll get a massive 25% bonus from the government on all of the money you add – and you can add up to £4,000 per year (so £1,000 per year free). Pretty great right? Oh, and you won’t pay any tax on the money you make. Kerching!

Lifetime ISA

With Dodl, this is technically a Stocks and Shares Lifetime ISA, which means you can make investments within the account with the aim of it growing over time.

Investment ISA

With an Investment ISA, also known as a Stocks and Shares ISA, you’ll make investments, and your money can grow tax-free, forever! You can save up to £20,000 per year (which is your total across all the different ISAs together).

Stocks and Shares ISA

Personal pension

A personal pension is a great way to build a nice big pension pot to provide the retirement income you need – often a great idea alongside the pension you get from work. With a pension, you’ll get a massive 25% bonus from the Government on all of your contributions, and your money grows tax-free (you might pay tax when you withdraw it).

Personal pension

You can save up to your whole income (e.g. salary) per year, or £60,000, whichever is lower.

We highly recommend using a pension, whether Dodl or not. Here’s where to learn more about pensions and find the best personal pensions.

Nuts About Money tip: if you’re only looking for a pension, check out PensionBee¹ too – the experts handle everything, and it’s easy to use and low cost.

General Investment Account (GIA)

Finally, you can also invest without any tax benefits, within a General Investment Account (GIA). You can invest as much as you like, there’s no limits. You might pay tax on the money you make from investing, depending on how much you make…

General Investment Account (GIA)

There’s Capital Gains Tax if you make more than £6,000 per year (and sell the investments), which is your Capital Gains Tax allowance. You’ll either pay 10% or 20% depending on your income (20% if you earn over £50,270 per year).

Capital Gains Tax

You might also pay Income Tax on any interest you earn from your investments (the same  tax as your job).

Note: this can also be called a dealing account.

Looking to save cash?

Heads up, if you’re just looking to save cash, rather than make investments, Dodl isn’t for you – you’re not able to earn interest on any cash in your account.

If you’re looking to save cash, check out Moneybox, they’ve got a great interest rate, and you can save within a Lifetime ISA (for your first home), or Cash ISA (tax-free). Here’s the Moneybox website¹ to learn more.

If you just want a standard cash savings account, check out Chip¹ too – it’s the best rate out there.

Investment options

With Dodl, to make things a bit easier to understand, there’s a limited range of investment options for you to pick from – let’s run through them. 

Dodl investment range

Stocks and shares

Shares are where you own part of a company, so a ‘share’ of a company. They’re traded on stock exchanges across the world, such as the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in the UK, and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in the US.

Stocks and shares

All the shares of a company combined represent the total value of a company, so if a company does well (such as making more money), its value typically increases, and so does the share price.

With Dodl, you can buy shares in companies based in the UK and US, but only a handful, and only the big brands you’ll recognise, such as Barclays, Next and Sainsbury’s.

Investment funds

On Dodl, these are called ‘themed investments’. An investment fund is a group of lots of different investments all packaged together into a single investment, called a fund. The fund is typically managed by expert investors, so the investments inside the fund can change.

Investment fund

They’re typically a range of shares from different companies, and grouped together by a common theme, such as the top 100 companies in the UK (FTSE 100), energy companies, technology companies or healthcare companies.

There’s a small range of investment funds with Dodl, based on locations around the world, and industry themes.

Dodl themed investments

AJ Bell funds

There’s also a range of investment funds which are managed by AJ Bell themselves. These are based on different levels of risk – lower risk in investing typically means there’s less ups-and-downs with your money, but your money is expected to grow less than higher risk investing over time, where there can be more ups-and-downs.

AJ Bell funds

So, with Dodl, you can pick from a range of 6 different investment funds from lower risk to high risk.

If you’re investing for the long term, and aren’t likely to spend your money any time soon, often a good idea is to invest in higher risk options, so your money has the chance to grow more.

Investing risk levels

There’s also a fund designed just for sustainable investment (so no investments in things like fossil fuels), and one designed just for pensions.

To view more information on these funds, head over to the Dodl website¹.

Dodl fees

Dodl is one of the cheapest investment platforms out there, but there are a few different fees you pay when you invest.

Account fee

For each account you have (e.g. Lifetime ISA or a pension), you’ll pay 0.15% of your investments per year (so the money you have in your account), and there is a minimum fee of £1 per month.

So, if you have 2 accounts, it’s a minimum of £2 per month, and 0.15% of your total investments.

Investment fund fees

You’ll also pay a fee that’s included within any investment fund you invest in, which is often called a management fee (or ongoing charge), and taken from the fund itself.

This can vary depending on what the fund is, and can range from 0.15% to 1.5%+ per year – you’ll see the cost before you buy.

Note: the funds managed by AJ Bell (so their own funds), have a management fee of 0.31% per year.

Stocks and shares fees

If you want to buy shares within your account, it’s commission-free, so no actual fee to buy or sell, which is pretty great. For instance, the bigger AJ Bell platform charges £9.95 per buy/sell.

However, you will pay Stamp Duty if you buy UK shares, which is a government tax, and is 0.50%.

And, if you want to buy Shares from the US, as they’re in Dollars (USD), Dodl will need to convert your Pounds into Dollars, and will charge a fee to do this – this is called a foreign exchange fee. 

Dodl shares

It’s 0.75% if your investment is under £10,000, 0.50% between £10,000 and £20,000 and 0.25% over £20,000.

This is on the medium to higher end. Foreign exchange fees can range from 0.15% all the way to 1.5% depending on the investment platform.

Customer support

The customer support is pretty good. You can chat to the support team within the app itself, and they’ll respond after a short while, or you can email in.

You can’t talk on the phone unfortunately.

There’s also a help centre with lots of common questions answered.

Dodl customer support

Is Dodl safe?

Yep. Dodl is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They’re the people who make sure financial services companies are looking after their customers and their money.

Dodl is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

Your money and investments are held with AJ Bell, who use large banks to store money separately from their own money, just for customers, and your investments themselves are held separately too.

You’ll also benefit from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which gives you protection up to £85,000 on your money and investments, should anything happen to AJ Bell, such as going out of business (unlikely). Although your investments would still exist anyway.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

Dodl customer reviews

Dodl is growing in popularity. On Trustpilot, the popular reviews website, it has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 – that’s excellent. There’s not a huge amount of reviews currently, but lots of them are 5 stars and mention how easy it is to use, and being great for first time investors.

Dodl Trustpilot reviews

Dodl pros and cons

Here’s a quick recap and the pros and cons of Dodl:

Pros

  • Part of AJ Bell (trustworthy company)
  • Easy to use
  • Low cost
  • Good mobile app
  • Offers a Stocks and Shares ISA
  • Offers a pension
  • Offers a Lifetime ISA (save for a house deposit)
  • Start with just £25

Cons

  • Limited range of investment options
  • No interest on cash
  • Not much else!

Our thoughts

We’re big fans of Dodl – anything that helps people step into the world of investing, in a sensible way, is great. Sensible investing really can help your financial future, and is one of the best ways to grow your wealth over time, and help save for specific goals, such as a house deposit.

Dodl offers the full range of investment accounts in the UK, which are a Lifetime ISA (for your first home), Investment ISA (for general tax-free investing), a personal pension (for retirement), and a General Investment Account for regular investing (not tax-free).

Dodl accounts

Alongside that, they provide a good range of investment options, that are easy to understand, and suited to match a range of financial goals, and risk levels (such as long-term saving, at a medium risk level).

The app itself is good, and really easy to use to buy investments and view your balance. Plus, the customer support is pretty good too.

As it's part of AJ Bell, one of the largest investment platforms in the UK, meaning it’s trustworthy and reliable to use.

Overall, it’s a big 5 stars from us. Here’s the Dodl website¹ to learn more and get started.

Dodl rated 5 stars

Dodl is easy to use and low cost – great for those new to investing. Get started on the Dodl website.

Visit Dodl¹Visit Dodl¹

Dodl rated 5 stars

Dodl is easy to use and low cost – great for those new to investing. Get started on the Dodl website.

Visit Dodl¹Visit Dodl¹

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