Nutty

Lightyear

review

Is it any good?

Updated
March 29, 2024

In a nutshell

Lightyear is a great, low cost investing and stock trading app. There’s a good range of investment options (over 3,000 stocks and ETFs), you can store multiple currencies, and the app itself is modern and super slick. 4 stars from us.

Nuts About Money rating

Lightyear rated 4 stars

The world of investing moves fast, and Lightyear is the new kid on the block, and its app could well be lightyears ahead.

Lightyear review

It’s a very low cost investing and trading app, with a low flat fee per trade (we’ll cover the fees below).

The range of investments is good, and you can buy and sell (trade) stocks and ETFs (groups of investments) from the UK, US, Europe and even a few Chinese companies.

Plus with Lightyear, you can store multiple currencies if you want to, meaning you could avoid currency conversion fees altogether.

The downside? There’s no Stocks & Shares ISA, which means you may pay tax on your profits. If you’re only looking to invest within an ISA, check out Trading 212¹ – it’s commission-free with a huge range of investments (you’ll get a free share worth up to £100 with Nuts About Money too).

The app itself is awesome, and super easy to use. it’s on both Apple and Android, and very highly rated – 4.7 out of 5 on the Apple App Store and 4.5 on Google Play.

Lightyear app rating

One great feature about the app is you get all the key information you need to make informed decisions when you view a company’s stock (within the app). There’s even analyst ratings, suggesting if it’s a good buy or not.

Lightyear company stock information

Like the sound of Lightyear already? Here’s where to download Lightyear¹. You can also get 10 free trades if you use the promo code NUTSABOUTMONEY, as long as you deposit at least £50. (T&Cs apply.)

If not, let’s dive into the details...

Is Lightyear good for beginners?

Yep. That’s if you’re looking to make your own decisions around which investments you want to make, for instance, trade stocks and shares, and other investments.

If you are looking for experts to manage your investments for you, and grow your money over the long term, Lightyear probably isn’t for you. For this, we recommend an expert-managed investment platform, such as Moneyfarm¹, who will handle everything, you simply add your cash. Here’s our Moneyfarm review to learn more.

Expert-manage platforms

If you’re new to stock trading, and keen to buy and sell investments yourself, with you making all the decisions, well then it could be perfect for you.

You don't need much cash to get started, and because there’s low fees, in theory you can grow your money a bit faster than platforms with much higher trading fees like Hargreaves Lansdown

What’s quite useful, when you’re looking at companies to trade, you’ll actually get a lot of information about the company or investment too, all within the app – and this can be super handy to make better informed decisions.

You can check out the market cap (total value) of a business, the earnings per share (how much it makes in profit for each share), and whether it pays dividends and at what rate (giving profits back to shareholders – the people that own the stocks).

Plus there’s analysts ratings – showing whether they think it’s a good buy or not, and the financial performance of the business too (for instance it’s profit per year). You can even see the latest news about the company.

Lightyear analyst ratings

This might all sound super complicated, but you’ll soon pick it up while browsing through companies you are interested in buying.

Get 10 free trades

Sign up with code NUTSABOUTMONEY, deposit at least £50 and get 10 trades for free!

Visit Lightyear¹Visit Lightyear¹

T&Cs Apply. Capital at risk.

Range of investments

Overall, the range of investments is good, and there’s a good range of both stocks and shares and ETFs (exchange-traded funds). 

Stocks and shares

Stock and shares are where you own part of the company, a ‘share’ of the company, and are traded on stock exchanges all across the world.

On Lightyear, there’s over 2,000 US stocks, and a range of the most popular companies in the UK, Europe, and even China.

So that’s companies like Tesla, Apple, Google, Alibaba, Baidu, large banks like HSBC, and even football clubs like Manchester United.

Lightyear range of investments

If you’re looking for big popular brands, and the most successful companies, Lightyear probably has them.

There’s just over 200 UK stocks available (and new ones added all the time). So, if you’re looking to invest in UK companies, they will likely have what you’re after if it’s a larger company – although no guarantees if it’s a bit smaller, such as those listed on the AIM (Alternative Investment Market).

It's worth mentioning, new stocks and shares are added all the time to Lightyear.

Fractional shares

You can also trade fractional shares with Lightyear (if they’re US stocks). This is where you buy a small portion of a single share (a fraction), and are perfect if you don’t have a large balance in your account and want to invest in a range of shares (some shares can have a very high value).

For instance, let’s say one Netflix share is worth $600, that’s quite a bit of cash to invest in a single company for most investors.

Lightyear fractional shares

Now with fractional shares, you can invest as much or as little as you like in Netflix, and you’ll receive the portion back in shares. So, if you invest $100, you’ll get ⅙ of a Netflix share. Make sense?

Note: with fractional shares, you can only buy them at the current market price, rather than setting an order for the price you'd like to buy at in the future (called a limit order). This applies across almost all investment platforms offering fractional shares.

ETFs (exchange-traded funds)

There’s also an okay range of ETFs, also called exchange-traded funds. These are a collection of lots of different investments, for instance stocks and shares, all pooled together into one single investment – making it much easier and cheaper to buy – so very popular with investors.

Lightyear's exchange-traded funds (ETFs)

On Lightyear, there’s currently just over 200 ETFs, and these cover all the most popular ones. There’s new ones added all the time too.

There’s all the key index funds too – for instance, funds that track the top 100 companies in the UK (FTSE 100), or the top 500 companies in the US (S&P 500). And, ETFs that just focus on dividends (companies paying their profits to shareholders), or others focusing on property etc.

There’s a good enough range to build a well diversified portfolio for long-term investing.

By the way, there’s no Lightyear fees when buying ETFs. How good is that? However, you will pay fees within the ETF itself (which is the same whichever investment app you use to buy ETFs).

Multi-currency accounts

As with Lightyear you can trade in multiple currencies and buy stocks and shares from across the world, you can actually store multiple currencies within your account too.

Currently you can store: Pounds (GBP), Dollars (USD) and Euros (EUR).

There’s also HUF (Hungarian Forint), but currently only available if you’re a Hungarian customer.

You can also deposit and store money foreign money into your account. This means you could save on currency conversion fees (more on those below).

Account options

General Investment Account (GIA)

A General Investment Account is the only account you can open with Lightyear. It’s a no-frills account in terms of tax-free saving, but that’s okay as you’ll only pay tax if you earn a fair bit of profit per year (£6,000) – and only if you sell your investments.

General Investment Account (GIA)

Note: you can also only pay into one Stocks and Share ISA (more on those below), so, if you’ve got that with another company elsewhere with perhaps the experts looking after it (highly recommended), this is the account you’d use to buy individual shares anyway, wherever you were trading.

Note: if you do have to pay Capital Gains Tax, you’ll pay 10% if you earn less than £50,270 per year, and 20% if you earn more.

Note: you can have as many GIA’s as you like, on all the different investment platforms.

Stocks & Shares ISA

There’s no Stocks and Shares ISA with Lightyear unfortunately.

A Stocks and Shares ISA is where you can invest completely tax-free, so you won’t pay any tax on your investments ever – that’s Capital Gains Tax, Income Tax and Dividend Tax.

Stocks & Shares ISA

You have an ISA allowance of up to £20,000 per year to invest, and you can only pay into one per tax year (April 6th to April 5th the following year).

If you’re new to investing, we highly recommend letting the experts manage your ISA, and build it up to a nice big pot over time – then you make your own investments within a General Investment Account (GIA). For an expert managed account, we recommend Moneyfarm¹ – they’re one of the best performing Stocks and Shares ISAs, have low fees and are super easy to use. 

If you only want to invest within a Stocks and Shares ISA, check out the best investment platforms for all your options.

Pension

Unfortunately there’s no self-invested personal pension (SIPP). Which have some great tax benefits for saving for the future. And you automatically get a 25% bonus on all your contributions (it's like free money).

Personal pension

If you’re keen to invest within a pension, check out the best pension providers. Our favourite is PensionBee¹, they’re easy to use, have a great record and low fees. Here’s our PensionBee review to learn more.

Crypto

You can’t trade crypto unfortunately, if you want to trade crypto, check out the best crypto exchanges, and eToro¹ – it's easy to use. Here’s our eToro review to learn more about them.

No cryptocurrency trading

CFDs

You cannot trade CFDs (Contract For Differences), which is trading the price of the stock, rather than buying it directly. These are for advanced traders. If you are interested, check out the best CFD trading platforms to learn more.

Interest on uninvested cash

A pretty great feature with Lightyear is that you’ll earn interest on your uninvested cash balance, so even if your money isn’t invested, it’s still growing in your account.

The interest rates are currently pretty high, although they are likely to change frequently so please double check on the Lightyear app¹.

Currency Interest rate (per year)
Pounds 4.25%
US Dollars 4.25%
Euros 2.75%

These interest rates were true as of 22/7/2023.

Lightyear fees

Lightyear is very low cost, you won’t pay a fee to open an account or deposit cash (unless you deposit by card), and withdrawals are free too. The only fees you’ll pay are related to making investments (trading fees).

That’s a fixed fee per trade – if you’re buying shares (ETFs are free of Lightyear fees). And, then if you’re making investments not in your local currency (e.g. not in Pounds), or another currency in your account, you’ll pay currency conversion fees (more on those below).

Trading fees

These are fees every time you buy an investment, so think carefully before you make trades, especially for low amounts (such as £20 per investment).

Shares Fee
US shares 0.1% (max $1)
UK shares £1
EU shares €1
ETFs Free

Currency conversion fee

The only fee you’ll pay is when you need to convert currencies, which you would do in order to buy foreign stocks such as US stocks or European stocks. This is called a currency conversion fee and is 0.35%.

So, if you converted £100 to Dollars, you’d pay £0.35 in fees, as simple as that.

Now that’s actually very cheap, if you compare currency exchange fees with other brokers and investment apps, here’s what you’d pay:

Investment platform Currency conversion fee
Trading 212 0.15%
Lightyear 0.35%
Freetrade 0.45%
eToro 0.50%
AJ Bell 0.75%
Hargreaves Lansdown 1%
Interactive Investor 1.5%

Fast deposit fees

If you’re keen to have your money added ‘lightning fast’ from a card, you’ll have to pay 0.5%. Although the first £500 is free.

Customer support

The customer support is good overall.

There’s a great help centre on the website and app, which covers pretty much everything to do with your account, such as how to buy and sell investments, and things like dividends and taxes too.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for, you can also email support, and the response is pretty quick.

Lightyear customer support

Unfortunately there’s no live chat (chatting on their app or website). And they don’t offer the ability to speak to anyone over the phone (traditional stock brokers are likely to offer this).

Is Lightyear safe?

Yep! It has permission to operate in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). That means it’s been reviewed and approved to offer you investments. If you’re a bit of a legal buff, they’re technically an appointed representative of RiskSave Technologies Ltd.

Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

However, Lightyear is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which covers your money up to £85,000 if Lightyear were to go out of business.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

Your investments are still protected, as they’re held separately from Lightyear’s own funds. In case Lightyear were to go out of business, they’d still be returned to you.

Plus, if you hold US stocks, you are protected up to $500,000 by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation. And with European stocks you are protected by the Estonian Investor Protection Sectoral Fund, which provides protection up to 20,000 euros.

Lightyear customer reviews

Customers love Lightyear. On the popular reviews website Trustpilot, it’s got a score of 4.7 out of 5. Not bad. In fact, it’s excellent!

Lightyear Trustpilot rating

Most customers love how awesome the app is, and how easy it is to buy stocks and shares. Plus the analysis and extra information provided about each stock.

Pros and cons of Lightyear

Here’s a run through of the pros and cons of Lightyear.

Pros

  • Awesome mobile app
  • Can also use their website (web app)
  • Low trading fees
  • Very low cost overall
  • Multi-currency account
  • Great interest rate on uninvested cash

Cons

  • Not commission-free
  • Not a huge  range of UK stocks (although over 200)
  • No Stocks & Shares ISA
  • No personal pension
  • No live-chat support

Our thoughts

We really like Lightyear. How can you not when it’s low cost?!

ETFs are completely free of Lightyear fees, and you’ll only pay fees on shares (around $1, or £1), and currency conversion fees when buying foreign stocks (e.g. US stocks), and it’s a pretty low fee (0.35%). You can also hold multiple currencies within your account too, so could avoid this altogether.

If you’re new to trading and investing, it’s a great place to start and learn. It’s easy to use, and you’ll be able to buy the shares you’re after in no time. Plus, there’s a good amount of analysis for each stock too – so you’ll learn as you trade, and find new opportunities too.

The range of investments is good for US stocks, and does include stocks and ETFs (exchange-traded funds) from across the world.

Unfortunately, a Stocks & Shares ISA isn’t available, which is great for tax-free investing. However, a great strategy is to let the experts manage your Stocks and Shares ISA, and make your own investments within a regular trading account, such as Lightyear. 

Check out the best investment platforms, for the top expert-managed Stocks and Shares ISAs.

You’ll also get a great saving rate on uninvested cash too – when you’re on the sidelines waiting or a good investment.

Overall, it’s really good. We’re giving it 4 stars. If you’d like to learn more or get started, here’s where to download Lightyear¹ (get 10 free trades with promo code NUTSABOUTMONEY too).

Is there a deal?

Yep! And it's a pretty good one.

Get 10 free trades when you sign up and use the promo code 'NUTSABOUTMONEY', as long as you deposit at least £50. Enjoy!

T&Cs Apply.

Some legal stuff from Lightyear

As we’ve written a review, Lightyear has asked us to let you know some information before you sign up and invest, so here it is:

Your capital is at risk. The provider of investment services is Lightyear Financial Ltd for the UK and Lightyear Europe AS for the EU. Terms apply: golightyear.com/terms. Seek qualified advice if necessary.

By the way, Nuts About Money will be paid a referral fee if you open an account and deposit funds through some of the links on this page. Thanks for your support, it helps us keep the lights on here!

Get 10 free trades

Sign up with code NUTSABOUTMONEY, deposit at least £50 and get 10 trades for free!

Visit Lightyear¹Visit Lightyear¹

T&Cs Apply. Capital at risk.

Get 10 free trades

Sign up with code NUTSABOUTMONEY, deposit at least £50 and get 10 trades for free!

Visit Lightyear¹Visit Lightyear¹

T&Cs Apply. Capital at risk.

Get 10 free trades

Sign up with code NUTSABOUTMONEY, deposit at least £50 and get 10 trades for free!

Visit Lightyear¹Visit Lightyear¹

T&Cs Apply. Capital at risk.

Fact checked icon
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.

Get 10 free trades

Sign up with code NUTSABOUTMONEY, deposit at least £50 and get 10 trades for free!

Visit Lightyear¹Visit Lightyear¹

T&Cs Apply. Capital at risk.

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