In a nutshell
Trading 212 is an awesome investment platform. It’s commission-free, with a huge range of investment options – and you can invest within an ISA. You can also store and trade in multiple currencies, avoiding conversion fees (although they’re very low anyway, 0.15%). You’ll earn interest on cash, and can lend out your shares for more interest too. Finally, the customer service is amazing. 5 stars from us.
cracked open 🥥
Trading 212 is super popular with over 2,000,000 customers. 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. There’s also no account fees, or any other hidden fees. Pretty great right?
Traditionally, you’d be paying anywhere from £5 to £11.95 per deal with traditional stock brokers (such as Hargreaves Lansdown), plus fees to hold investments, or have an account.
With Trading 212, you'll also be able to convert and hold multiple currencies, so you can save even more cash from currency conversion fees – even though Trading 212 has the lowest exchange rate out there anyway (0.15%).
Plus, you can earn interest on your uninvested cash.
In terms of investments – there’s a huge range of investment options, from over 13 stock exchanges around the world.
You can invest within a Stocks & Shares ISA, so you can invest tax-free, and they also have an option to trade CFDs, which have some great advantages for advanced traders (such as margin trading (trading with borrowed money)), and provide more options to invest in, such as commodities (e.g. gold), and even foreign exchange (forex) – more on CFDs later.
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 175,000 reviews, and 4.2 out of 5 on Google Play store, from over 125,000 reviews. That’s pretty impressive!
Anyway, we’re getting a bit carried away. If you’ve heard enough already, here’s where to get started with Trading 212¹ – you’ll also get a free share worth up to £100 too (use code NUTS).
Otherwise, let’s dive into the details more.
Nuts About Money tip: if you’re not interested in investing within an ISA, check out eToro¹ too – it’s commission-free, easy to use, and a huge community to get involved with (and learn from).
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 up there with the best, alongside eToro¹.
It’s super simple to find and trade stocks and investment funds, (ground of investments) 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).
Investment account options
There’s 3 types of accounts you can choose from (or you can have all 3).
General Investment Account (GIA)
There’s a standard account with no tax-free benefits (a General Investment Account), for buying stocks, shares and funds.
Stocks and Shares ISA
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.
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 day traders, and has the full range of investment options, that’s stocks, funds, commodities and currencies (foreign exchange). We’ll run through CFDs in more detail just below.
Unfortunately, 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.
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 (such as 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 (ETFs), which are groups of other investments, such as stocks, all pooled into a single investment – and they’re bought and sold on stock exchanges.
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.
CFDs (Contract For Differences) are where you can trade the price of an asset (e.g. a stock), rather than buying the asset directly. You enter into an agreement with the broker (Trading 212), to settle the difference in price of an asset in the future (it’s just like buying a share, and selling it later).
CFDs can often be a bit cheaper as you avoid share dealing fees, (although Trading 212 is commission-free anyway), and also allows you to use some advanced options to potentially boost your profit…
You can trade with leverage (borrowed money), and use a small deposit to buy a larger number of an asset (CFD) than you otherwise could. This is high risk, and only for advanced traders.
You can also trade either price direction, so you can trade the price going lower (going short), as well trading the price increasing (going long).
There’s also a bigger range of investment options – such as commodities (real things like oil and grain), and foreign exchange (currencies).
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), and take-profit orders (selling at a certain price in profit).
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.
There’s lots more too. It's really helpful.
The hotlist has the most popular assets being traded are, with the biggest risers and fallers in price too. Pretty handy to get a quick indication of how the markets are doing.
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.
This feature is unique in the UK to Trading 212, and it’s where you can buy and sell US stocks outside of the typical market hours. This is called pre-market trading and after-hours trading. The regular trading hours in the US are 9:30am to 4pm Eastern Time (ET), pre-market hours are 4am to 9:30am, and after-hours hours are 4pm to 8pm.
The UK (GMT) is 5 hours ahead of Eastern Time during the winter months, and 6 hours ahead during the summer (BST), so you can trade US stocks in the UK from 9am (GMT), all the way to 1am (GMT) – that’s a lot of trading hours!
This can be highly beneficial as you can make trades based on news and events that happen outside of regular market hours (such as early morning in the US).
However, do bear in mind that there are fewer people trading (called less liquidity), which means trades can take longer to go through, and there can be more sudden price changes (called higher volatility), and larger differences between the buy and sell prices (called wider spreads).
As there’s lots of different stocks available from around the world, on all the different stock markets, when you buy the shares they’ll be in the currency of that country. This can be a problem if you’ve only got Pounds (GBP), as you need to convert them to the currency you need in order to buy the shares, and this can involve a currency conversion fee.
For instance, if you want to buy Tesla shares on the NASDAQ (US stock exchange), you’ll need Dollars. Normally, Trading 212 will simply convert your Pounds to Dollars when you buy the shares, all automatically, so it’s not a big deal, you’ll just have to pay a conversion fee, which is really low anyway, just 0.15%.
However, you can now load your account with Dollars, or a range of different currencies (12 currencies from across Europe, including Euros) – and not have to worry about converting your money at all, saving you a small fee every time you buy or sell shares.
This isn’t actually that common with stock brokers, it’s pretty unique. Learn more, and view the full range of currencies on the Trading 212 website¹.
If you’ve got a fair amount of shares, you could lend your shares out in return for daily interest payments – and the interest can be huge with certain stocks (sometimes over 50% per year).
It works because other investors sometimes borrow shares for certain short-term trading strategies, such as ‘shorting’, which is where they borrow shares to sell, and then buy back at a later date, when they think the price will be lower. (This is very high risk, and not for most traders.)
Share lending is all handled automatically by Trading 212, all you have to do is enable the feature.
And, you’ll still get any dividends payments if there are any (the company paying out its profits to shareholders).
You can still sell your shares whenever you like, and they’re never at risk of being lost – the value of your shares is held separately as government bonds, and updated daily to reflect the current price of your shares.
Note: you can’t do this within an ISA, only the General Investment Account (GIA). But don’t worry, you can have both accounts.
Earn interest on uninvested cash
If you’re got some cash lying around in your investing account, not currently invested in stock and shares, or any other investments (called uninvested cash), you can earn interest on it.
Currently, you’ll get interest on your Pounds (GBP), Dollars (USD), and Euros (EUR). The rate you’ll get varies, but is generally pretty good. You can check the interest rates on the Trading 212 website¹.
Trading 212 fees
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 – although there’s really not many fees outside the currency conversion fee.
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. Typically currency conversion fees are around 0.50% (such as with eToro), but with traditional brokers, it can be a lot more, for instance Interactive Investor is a whopping 1.5%.
However with CFDs, this rate goes up to 0.50% (but still one of the lowest).
Note: this is also called a foreign exchange fee, or FX fee.
You can also avoid this fee completely by using the currency you want to buy stocks in. For instance, you can keep Dollars in your account to buy US stocks, and there won’t be any conversion fees at all. You’ll also make interest on your money while it’s not invested.
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 Apple Pay and Google Pay), and this is free up to £2,000. After that it’s 0.70%.
There’s no withdrawal fees either, or inactivity fees (which you can find on other platforms).
Trading 212 customer support
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.
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.
What do the people say about it?
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
- Multiple currencies
- Earn interest on uninvested cash
- Earn interest from lending shares
- Stocks and Shares ISA
- CFD trading
- Great trading features
- 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 if you want to trade CFDs.
You can avoid the currency conversion fee altogether by holding multiple currencies too.
And as an added benefit, you’ll earn interest on your uninvested cash, and can lend out your shares to earn more interest – pretty cool.
Plus, you can invest within a Stocks and Share ISA for tax-free investing.
To top it all off, 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. You’ll also get a free share worth up to £100 – use the promo code NUTS.