In a nutshell
Trading 212 is an awesome trading platform. Trades are commission free, and the costs are super low. The range of investments is huge, from stocks to currencies, and the customer service is amazing. One of the best platforms out there 5 stars from us.
cracked open 🥥
Trading 212 is super popular. Not just in the UK but across the world. The main reason? Commission free trading and investing!
Trading 212 is leading the way with free trading – that’s no fees at all to buy and sell investments. Pretty great right? Traditionally, you’d be paying anywhere from £5 to £11.95 per deal with stock brokers (such as Hargreaves Lansdown). That seems pretty pricey these days!
It’s also much more than a stock broker (a place to buy and sell stocks, shares and funds). Stocks are where you own a tiny part of a company, and a fund is a group of shares combined).
You can trade CFDs (Contract For Differences), which is trading the price of an asset (e.g. a share), rather than buying an actual share.
Trading CFDs mean you can trade with more money than you actually have, by borrowing funds from the broker (called leverage or margin trading), and can trade the price going down too (called going short).
This means the investment option range is much larger too, as the platform just needs to know the current price of an asset. So, you can trade stocks and shares, funds, commodities (like gold and silver) and foreign exchange (currencies).
Trading 212 is available on its website, and also on mobile, with great apps on both Apple and Google devices. They are very highly rated on both, 4.5 out of 5 on Apple, from over 178,000 reviews, and 3.9 out of 5 on Google Play store, from over 125,000 reviews. Pretty great!
If you’ve heard enough already, here’s where to get started with Trading 212¹. Otherwise, let’s dive into the details more.
Is Trading 212 good for beginners?
Yep! It’s easy to get started and use.
Whichever platform you choose, there’s going to be a learning curve when it comes to trading, but overall Trading 212 is one of the easier ones to understand and get going.
It’s super simple to find and trade stocks and funds, all nicely categorised too.
There’s a great section to help you learn – with some great videos on pretty much every topic you’d want, such as Technical Analysis (looking at charts).
To help with researching, when you look at a stock, you’ll get all the information you’ll ever need.
This includes what they do, who the management team are and all the financial info. That’s things like revenue, profit and cash flow. And it even includes investing ratios (quick indications of how a company is performing, great for beginners and pros alike).
How Trading 212 works
There’s 3 types of accounts you can choose from (or you can have all 3).
Standard investment account
There’s a standard account with no tax-free benefits (a General Investment Account), for buying stocks, shares and funds.
Then there’s an ISA account (a Stocks & Shares ISA), where all your investing is tax-free! (You can only pay into one of these per year, and add up to £20,000). Just like the standard account, this account is just for buying stocks, shares and funds directly.
And then there’s a CFD (Contract For Differences) account – which is where you are trading the price of assets rather than buying the assets themselves. This is the popular account with traders, and has the full range of investment options, that’s stocks, funds, commodities and currencies (foreign exchange).
The CFD account is where you can trade with leverage (borrowed money for larger trades), and trade either price direction (so you can trade the price going lower (going short)). If you’re not quite sure what CFDs are, we cover this shortly.
More about CFDs
It’s up to you which assets you want to trade and buy, and how you want to trade, it’s all straightforward and intuitive. There’s explainer videos and information on how to trade and get started too.
Also there’s a hotlist, with the most popular assets (also called instruments) being traded, with the biggest risers and fallers in price too. Pretty handy to get a quick indication of how the markets are doing.
By the way, there’s no self-invested personal pension (SIPP) account option. Which is where you can make investments yourself, within a pension, and benefit from tax-free saving and a government bonus of 25% added automatically.
If you’re interested in a SIPP, check out the best private pensions.
How CFDs work
Let’s run through how CFDs work as they’re one of the main reasons people use Trading 212. You don’t have to use them though! You can still just buy stocks and shares commission free.
CFD stands for Contract For Differences, and they’re quite simple really, although they sound complicated!
They act very similar to buying an actual asset (such as a stock), however you don’t actually buy them, instead you enter into an agreement with Trading 212 (a contract), about the direction of the price (up or down), and when you close the trade (end the contract), you settle the difference between the price you purchased it at, and the price now.
So if the price had gone up, and you were ‘long’, which means simply a contract for the stock going up in price, you would get the difference from Trading 212 (your profit), and if the price had actually gone down, you’d have to pay the difference (make a loss).
As you are entering into an agreement about the price, rather than buying the stock, it means you have the option to trade with borrowed money (from Trading 212), so you can trade with more than you could do buying the stock directly.
And of course trade the price going down, which you can’t do when you buy the asset directly.
Make sense? They’re a great addition to a trading and investment strategy, but do be sensible, especially when using leverage, as not only does it increase the potential for profit, it can also increase your losses.
Range of investments
The range of investments with Trading 212 is large. You can trade stocks and shares, funds (such as ETFs, exchange-traded funds, indices (whole stock exchanges), commodities, and currencies (foreign exchange).
Let’s run through each one a bit more.
Stocks and shares
There’s over 10,000 stocks and shares on Trading 212. That’s way above average.
They cover stock exchanges from across the globe, not just the UK and US, there’s all the major European stock exchanges too. It’s not too common to find this, most online stock brokers, particularly the commission free ones, will just offer the UK and US.
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
You can trade exchange-traded funds, which are funds listed on a stock exchange (groups of shares combined into one investment). Simple right?
There are thousands of ETFs out there, all a bit different. They can represent a theme or an industry, such as green energy companies, electric vehicles or AI companies.
Indices (stock exchanges)
You can also trade the stock exchange itself, well a group of shares that represent a stock exchange. These can be ETFs too.
For instance, the FTSE 100 index is the top 100 companies in the UK – often used to represent the economy of a country. This is the same for all stock exchanges across the world.
Commodities are real things, such as gold and silver, but also oil and other physical goods, even things like grain. There’s a good range of commodities on Trading 212.
Currencies (foreign exchange)
Currencies are super popular to trade. Often called foreign exchange, you are simply trading one currency for another, for instance GBP to USD (Pounds to Dollars). Trading 212 has pretty much every currency you’d want to trade (called currency pairs).
You can’t trade crypto unfortunately. This is partly because of the regulation in the UK, where CFDs are not allowed to be used with crypto.
Trading 212 trading features
Trading 212 has got all the features you’d expect from one of the best trading platforms in the world.
Key trading features
There’s limit orders (buying at a certain price), stop-loss orders (selling at a certain price if the trade goes against you – great for managing risk),
Also, there’s no restrictions on the amount of trading you can do per day either (some brokers have limits).
Another great feature is their in-built charts to view historical prices, and the last trade prices.
Rather uniquely, there’s also a calendar with everything that could have an impact on the markets and your investments.
For instance, you can find out when the next Bank of England base rate decision is, or the next FOMC meeting is (Federal Open Market Committee), which is the US version – deciding interest rates.
There’s lots more too. It's actually really helpful.
Auto invest is a feature to set up regular payments to invest into stocks and funds that you want to purchase as part of a long-term investment strategy. It’s a great way to pound cost average in.
How much is Trading 212?
Now we’ve mentioned commission free quite a few times, but let’s take a look at the actual costs for everything. It’s not entirely fee free, they need to make money somehow!
Currency conversion fee
So all trading is free, however if you purchase investments in a different currency, such as buying US stocks, you’ll have to convert your Pounds to Dollars to do so, and as a result, there is a currency conversion fee of 0.15%.
This is actually really low, you’ll struggle to find cheaper elsewhere. If we look at comparisons with other platforms and brokers, Freetrade is 0.45%, eToro is 0.5% and Interactive Investor is a whopping 1.5%.
However with CFDs on Trading 212, this rate goes up to 0.5% (but still one of the lowest).
When you trade CFDs, there will be spread fees, these are a kind of hidden fee within the price of an asset. Effectively, the price is slightly higher than the true value at that moment in time, or lower if you are selling.
A spread fee is very common with all trading platforms. These actually vary depending on what you are trading, and even change depending on the time of day. It’s all down to the liquidity in the market (that’s how many people are trading an asset at any given time).
We won’t go through all the spread fees now, as there’s a lot! It changes per asset. However they are one of the cheapest out there. You can learn more about spread fees on the Trading 212 website¹.
When depositing money into your account, it’s free with a bank transfer, and these are instant too.
You can also deposit by card (and Google pay), and this is free up to £2,000. After that it’s 0.7%.
There’s no withdrawal fees either, or inactivity fees (which you can find on other platforms).
The customer support is amazing.
It’s 24/7 and the average response time is just 29 seconds. Simply send them a message within your account. They’re super friendly too.
If you’re happy with a bit of a slower response, you can send in a ‘support ticket’ and they’ll get back to you via email. There’s no phone number to call however.
Finally, there’s a big help centre which has got answers to pretty much every question you might have, which includes how to use Trading 212 but also trading in general.
Is Trading 212 safe?
Yep! It’s perfectly safe.
Trading 212 is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). That means they’ve been reviewed and are approved to look after your money.
They are also part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which means should anything happen to them, such as going out of business, you’ll get up to £85,000 back, if Trading 212 are holding your cash.
However, if you have investments (such as owning shares), you actually own the assets, and so you have extra protection. Trading 212 cannot access these investments, they are in your name and can only be returned to you.
Trading 212 customer reviews
Customers love Trading 212. On the popular reviews website Trustpilot, it has an excellent score of 4.6 out of 5, and from over 20,000 reviews. That’s impressive!
It’s especially impressive for a financial services firm, where customer service is often lacking and their scores are pretty poor. For instance, Barclays has a score of just 1.4 out of 5.
Trading 212 pros and cons
Let’s take a quick recap and have a look at the pros and cons of Trading 212.
- Commission free trading
- Huge range of investment options
- Stocks and Shares ISA
- CFD trading
- Great mobile app
- Lots of resources to learn
- Awesome customer service
- No crypto
- No personal pension
- There’s not any other cons!
We love Trading 212. Commission free trading, what’s not to love?
It’s also got a great range of investment options, from traditional stocks to currencies, and the platform is great, including the mobile app!
And when it comes to fees in general, they’re super low. In fact, one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest. There’s no account fees, no deposit fees, no withdrawal fees, really the only fees you pay is a currency conversion fee and that’s very low (0.15% for stocks), and low spread fees when you trade.
Plus, you can invest within a Stocks and Share ISA for tax-free investing. And the customer service is also amazing, and super responsive.
Overall, it’s an awesome trading platform. 5 stars from us.
If you’re keen to get started or learn more, head over to the Trading 212 website¹.
Is there a deal?
Yep! And it's a pretty good one.
You can get a free share worth up to a massive £100 if you sign up with the promo code 'NUTS'. Pretty good right? Just head over to the Trading 212 website¹ to get started.
Some legal stuff from us
We believe sensible investing is a great option to build wealth long term, however this review shouldn't be taken as investment advice. Investments can both rise and fall, and your capital is at risk.