Best Trading Platforms UK - February 2024 | InvestingReviews (2024)

Table of Contents
My best rated trading platforms in the UK, February 2024 Best overall trading platform in the UK: IG Best trading platform in the UK for copy trading: eToro One of the best platforms in the UK for range of CFDs: Plus500 Best trading platform in the UK to trade forex: AvaTrade Best low cost trading platform: Pepperstone Best for professionals and for research: Interactive Brokers Best trading platform for tools and products: Saxo Markets Best trading platform for share dealing: Interactive Investor Best easy-to-use trading platform: AJ Bell Best trading platform for beginners in the UK: Hargreaves Lansdown What’s my methodology? View best trading platforms in 60 seconds How to choose the best trading platform for you Beginner traders What’s the difference between a trading platform and an online broker? How I’ve chosen this list of best trading platforms in the UK Some common trading platform terminology explained What is online stock trading? What are ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds)? What is a diversified portfolio? What is a stockbroker? Tax and Trading in the UK Tax on spread betting and CFDs in the UK Tax on stock trading Which type of trading is best? Scalping Day trading Swing trading Most asked questions about best UK trading platforms How do you choose a share dealing platform in the UK? What trading platforms can I use in the UK? How much starting capital do you need to start investing? What should a beginner invest in? Who has the cheapest online trading? What do I need to open an account with an online trading platform in the UK? Best UK Trading Platforms FAQs What is the best platform for day trading UK? Do I pay UK tax on share dealing?

It’s not just about trading; it’s about your financial future. That’s why I’ve scrutinised over 140 platforms to bring you my hand picked selection of the best trading platforms available in the UK.

I’ve downloaded and used each of these platforms, testing parameters such as fees, tools, education, and customer service to ensure you get off to the best possible start.

Best overall platform

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Go to platform

Capital at risk. T&Cs apply.

Over 17,000 markets

  • Free demo account
  • Advanced charting tools
  • Extensive educational content

Best for Copy Trading

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Go to platform

Capital at risk. T&Cs apply.

Top copy traders

  • Demo account
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Realtime copy trading

Featured CFD trading

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Go to platform

Capital at risk. T&Cs apply.

25+ million users

  • Over 2800 CFD contracts
  • Guaranteed stop-loss orders
  • Proprietary trading platform

Table of Contents

  • My best rated trading platforms in the UK, February 2024
  • What’s my methodology?
  • View best trading platforms in 60 seconds
  • How to choose the best trading platform for you
  • What’s the difference between a trading platform and an online broker?
  • How I’ve chosen this list of best trading platforms in the UK
  • Some common trading platform terminology explained
  • Tax and Trading in the UK
  • Which type of trading is best?
  • Most asked questions about best UK trading platforms
  • Best UK Trading Platforms FAQs

My best rated trading platforms in the UK, February 2024

  1. IG – Best overall trading platform
  2. eToro– Best for copy trading
  3. Plus500 – One of the best for CFD trading
  4. AvaTrade– Best for forex trading
  5. Pepperstone – Best for low-cost trading
  6. Interactive Brokers – Best forprofessionals and research
  7. Saxo Markets– Best for tools and products
  8. Interactive investor – Best for DIY investors
  9. AJ Bell– Best for ease of use
  10. Hargreaves Lansdown – Best for premium service

Best overall trading platform in the UK: IG

IG is the biggest spread betting and CFD provider in the UK, offering access to 17,000 markets across the globe. With low rates and excellent tools and market research, this easy-to-use online trading platform easily swooped into my top spot.

Best Trading Platforms UK - February 2024 | InvestingReviews (5)

Key Features:

  • Comprehensive online trading platform suitable for both beginners and professionals
  • MT4, L2 dealer, and ProRealTime platforms offering advanced charting tools, alerts, and risk management tools
  • Over 17,000+ markets available for trading
  • Offers both Share Dealing ISA and IG Smart Portfolio
  • Established for over 45 years with 313,000+ clients worldwide
  • Free trading platform demo account
  • Excellent educational resources, including the IG academy

Who Should Use IG?

IG is suitable for moderately experienced traders and professionals. New investors can benefit from the Smart Portfolio and IG Academy; however, I would say this is not ideal for complete novices in spread betting. This is an excellent low-cost option for retail investors who are likely to make more than three trades per quarter.

Final Thoughts:

IG Investments stands out as a versatile platform catering to a wide range of investors. Their extensive market offerings, combined with competitive fees and a robust educational academy, make them a top choice for those looking to delve into the world of trading. However, beginners should exercise caution, especially when exploring leveraged products.

Pros:

  • Multiple funding and withdrawal options
  • Intuitive desktop trading platform and mobile trading app
  • Extensive research tools and educational content through IG Academy
  • No transfer fees for electronic shares

Cons:

  • No copy trading or backtesting integration
  • Not ideal for very infrequent trader
  • Some advanced research tools require additional fees

Fees:

  • IG Smart Portfolio: 0.72% on the first £50,000; 0.22% on amounts over £50,000
  • Share Dealing ISA: £8 for 0–2 trades, £3 for three trades and over (up to £25,000)
  • Custody fee of £24 per quarter (can be waived under certain conditions)

Products:

  • Non-Leveraged: ETFs, Shares, Bonds, and Commodities
  • Leveraged: Spread betting, Forex, Options, CFDs, Cryptocurrencies

Visit Site

IG Review

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Best trading platform in the UK for copy trading: eToro

eToro is a multi-asset, low-cost platform offering 0% commission on real stocks. It is also the world’s leading social trading platform.

Best Trading Platforms UK - February 2024 | InvestingReviews (7)Key Features:

  • Allows users to copy trades of successful traders in real-time
  • Offers a wide range of assets: stocks, forex, commodities, and cryptocurrencies
  • User-friendly web and mobile applications
  • Demo account available for practise
  • Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority

Who Should Use eToro?

This is a good option for most traders. Beginners in the UK can benefit from the demo account and copy trading, while experienced traders can explore a wide range of assets with low trading fees.

Final Thoughts:

eToro stands out for its social trading capabilities and a wide range of assets. The platform is user-friendly, making it a suitable trading platform for beginners; however, while it offers competitive fees for stock trading, users should be aware of other associated fees. Overall, eToro is a robust platform for those interested in social trading and a diverse range of assets.

Pros:

  • Free stock trading
  • Quick and easy trading account setup
  • Well-designed online trading platform with social trading features

Cons:

  • Limited educational resources
  • Foreign exchange and withdrawal fee
  • High forex fees compared to competitors

Fees:

  • 0% commissions on real stocks
  • Conversion fees for non-USD transactions
  • $5 withdrawal fee
  • Inactivity fee of $10/month after 12 months of dormancy

Products:

  • Offers CFDs, forex, real stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, commodities, and indices
  • ISA product provided by Moneyfarm
  • Unique features like CopyTrader and CopyPortfolio enhance trading experiences

Visit Site

eToro Review

76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Your capital is at risk. Other fees apply. For more information, visit etoro.com/trading/fees

One of the best platforms in the UK for range of CFDs: Plus500

Plus500 is a multi-asset broker offering a range of financial products, including CFDs, shares, and futures.

Best Trading Platforms UK - February 2024 | InvestingReviews (9)Key features:

  • Proprietary online trading platform for mobile and web
  • Offers over 2800 CFD contracts
  • Commission-free trading with a free lifetime demo account
  • Heavily regulated and listed on a stock exchange
  • Provides trading tools like negative balance protection and guaranteed stop-loss orders
  • Recently launched “Insights,” a real-time data trading tool

Who should use Plus500?

This platform is best for CFD traders seeking powerful trading tools to boost their performance, but this is not ideal for those who frequently enter and exit the financial markets.

Final thoughts:

Plus500 stands out as a leading CFD broker in the UK, especially for active traders. Its commission-free trading, combined with a well-designed interface, makes it a popular choice. The platform is secure and transparent, being listed on the stock exchange and disclosing all financial information. However, potential users should be aware of the risks associated with CFD trading. Advanced traders might find the platform lacking in some sophisticated functionalities.

Pros:

  • Commission-free trading
  • User-friendly platform with tight spreads
  • Guaranteed stop-loss orders
  • Exclusive Insights advanced trading tools

Cons:

  • Only offers CFD trading
  • Charges inactivity fees

Fees:

  • No commissions; earnings through spreads
  • No deposit or withdrawal fees
  • Inactivity fee of $10/month after 3 months of no login
  • Currency conversion fee of 0.7%

Products:

  • Extensive range of CFDs, including forex, stock indices, shares, commodities, EFTs, and options
  • Plus500 Invest, a new share trading platform, is launching soon in the UK

Visit Site

Plus500 Review

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Best trading platform in the UK to trade forex: AvaTrade

AvaTrade is a global, award-winning CFD, crypto, and forex broker that also offers spread betting to residents of the UK.

Best Trading Platforms UK - February 2024 | InvestingReviews (11)Key Features:

  • Global, award-winning CFD, crypto, and forex broker
  • Offers spread betting for UK residents
  • Facilitates over 2 million trades monthly
  • Over $1.47 trillion in traded value since 2006
  • Five customizable trading platforms cater to all levels
  • Access to over 250 financial instruments
  • AvaSocial mobile app allows you to research, copy, set budgets and limits, and access automated trading

Who should use AvaTrade?

AvaTrade is a great option for all levels of traders. Novices can benefit from extensive educational resources, while professionals will appreciate the advanced trading platforms.

Final Thoughts

AvaTrade is a reliable platform regulated by multiple global bodies. It stands out for its platform options and extensive educational resources. This is an option suitable for both beginners and advanced traders, although potential users should be aware of inactivity fees and it is worth noting that forex fees are around industry average.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive educational content
  • Wide selection of trading platforms
  • Quick trading account opening process

Cons:

  • Average forex fees
  • Limited tradable assets
  • High inactivity fees

Fees:

  • Transparent trading costs
  • Competitive CFD trading fees
  • Forex fees around industry average
  • No account, deposit, or withdrawal fees
  • £50 administration fee after 3 months of inactivity
  • Minimum deposit: $100

Products:

  • 1250+ instruments available, including Forex, Cryptocurrencies, Stocks, Commodities, and Indices
  • Does not offer real stocks, bonds, or mutual funds

Visit Site

AvaTrade Review

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Best low cost trading platform: Pepperstone

Pepperstone is a renowned online CFD trading platform that offers a wide range of trading services. Pepperstone, with its headquarters in the UK, provides traders with a comprehensive trading experience tailored to their needs.

Best Trading Platforms UK - February 2024 | InvestingReviews (13)

Key Features:

  • Pepperstone offers access to multiple trading platforms, including TradingView, MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and cTrader
  • Traders can access a variety of financial instruments, including forex, commodities, indices, and equity
  • Pepperstone provides professional forex trading market analysis, insights, and education

Who Should Use Pepperstone?

Ideal for forex and CFD traders of all levels. Not suitable for those looking to trade real stocks in the UK and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

Final Thoughts

Pepperstone offers a comprehensive trading experience with a variety of platforms and trading tools. Their focus on customer service and competitive fees makes them a top choice for CFD and forex traders. However, those interested in real stocks or ETFs might need to look elsewhere.

Pros:

  • Traders have the flexibility to choose from multiple platforms based on their trading preferences
  • Especially beneficial for high-volume traders
  • The platform offers a wide range of educational materials, including articles, videos, and webinars

Cons:

  • Only forex and CFDs are available
  • Demo account available for only 30 days

Fees:

  • Competitive spreads with no inactivity or trading account fees. Commissions vary by platform and trading account type
  • Standard (zero commissions with a spread) and Razor (raw spread with a commission)

Products:

  • Forex
  • Index CFDs
  • Commodity CFDs
  • Cryptocurrency CFDs (professional traders only)
  • ETFs
  • Currency index CFDs
  • Social trading
  • Spread betting

Visit Site

Pepperstone Review

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75.6% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Best for professionals and for research: Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers is an excellent all-round platform offering a stocks and shares ISA, a Self Invested Personal Pension, up to 4.83% interest on instantly available USD cash balances, and a wide range of platforms from which to trade on more than 150 markets.

Best Trading Platforms UK - February 2024 | InvestingReviews (15)Key features:

  • Offers stocks and shares ISA and a Self Invested Personal Pension
  • Up to 4.83% interest on USD cash balances
  • Trade on more than 150 markets
  • Mobile and desktop platforms are available
  • Extensive range of products, including stocks, ETFs, forex, mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, CFDs, and more
  • Socially responsible investing with Impact Dashboard
  • Automated trading with robo-advisor arm

Who should use Interactive Brokers?

Interactive Brokers is best suited for advanced traders and active traders, although beginners can use the web platform and Global Trader for a simpler experience.

Final Thoughts:

Interactive Brokers offers a comprehensive trading platform with a vast array of tools and products. Their low fees and extensive product range make them a top choice for both advanced and beginner traders. The platform’s security measures and long-standing reputation in the industry add to its credibility. However, the complexity of some of its tools may be overwhelming for beginners.

Pros:

  • Low fees: among the lowest in the industry
  • A vast selection of international investments
  • Up to 4.83% interest on cash balances

Cons:

  • Trading platform can be complex for beginners

Fees:

  • £3 / €3 per trade for Western European Stocks
  • No added spreads, trading account minimums, or platform fees
  • Tiered and fixed pricing structures available

Products:

  • Stocks, ETFs, forex, mutual funds, bonds, options, futures, CFDs, crypto, and more
  • Stocks and shares ISA and SIPP available
  • Fractional shares for European stocks and ETFs

Visit Site

Interactive Brokers Review

Investing in financial products involves taking risk.Your investments may increase or decrease in value, and losses my exceed the value of your original investment.

Best trading platform for tools and products: Saxo Markets

Saxo Marketsoffers access to forex, futures, commodities, options, stocks, bonds, and ETFs, but it is their highly competitive pricing structure on CFDs that makes it a particularly attractive option for this asset class.

Key Features:

  • Over 660,000 users globally
  • Facilitates over 180,000 trades daily
  • Access to 40,000 instruments on 37 exchanges
  • Offers both non-leveraged and leveraged products
  • Managed portfolios in partnership with BlackRock and Morningstar

Who should use Saxo?

Saxo is best suited for advanced traders due to its comprehensive tools and extensive product range. While it offers a professional edge, it might not be the best choice for beginners.

Final Thoughts:

Saxo Markets offers a robust platform for seasoned traders. Its extensive tools and products, combined with its professional sheen, make it stand out in the UK market. However, its complexity and fee structure might deter beginners or those looking for a simple trading experience. The other thing to consider is that Saxo have a high minimum deposit. At $2,000, the minimum deposit may serve to deter investors looking for an entry level platform.

Pros:

  • User-friendly stock trading platform
  • Extensive product portfolio
  • Top-notch research facilities

Cons:

  • High fees for certain products like bonds, options, and futures
  • No 24/7 support
  • Account verification can be slow
  • High minimum deposit

Products:

  • Non-Leveraged: Stocks, Bonds, Commodities, Managed portfolios
  • Leveraged: Forex, CFDs, Futures, Commodities, Forex options, Listed options, Trading strategies

Visit Site

Saxo Markets Review

61% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs, or any of our other products work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. The value of your investments can go down as well as up. Losses can exceed deposits on some margin products. Professional clients can lose more than they deposit. All trading carries risk.

Best trading platform for share dealing: Interactive Investor

interactive investor is a comprehensive investment service with a full suite of products, including ISAs, SIPPs, share dealing, fund investing, CFDs, and IPOs. Here’s why interactive investor is one of my top choices for managing my own portfolio:

Key Features:

  • ISAs, SIPPs, Share Dealing, Fund Investing, CFDs, and IPOs
  • Flat fee structure introduced in 2019, with a certain number of free trades within the monthly fee
  • Mobile trading app available for both Android and iOS
  • 24-hour Monday-to-Friday customer support and an active discussion forum
  • Recent acquisition of The Share Centre, making it one of the largest platforms with over £30 billion in investments
  • Multiple awards won, including “Investment Platform of the Year” in 2022

Who should use interactive investor?

Interactive Investor is best suited for DIY investors with significant portfolios. The platform’s fixed fee structure is cost-effective, especially for those with larger portfolios. The wide range of share-dealing investment options complements various investment strategies. However, always remember that investments can fluctuate in value.

Final Thoughts:

For anyone looking for a comprehensive stock trading platform in the UK, Interactive Investor is a top contender. With its user-friendly interface, diverse product range, and competitive platform fee structure, it’s ideal for both novice and experienced investors.

Pros:

  • User-friendly web and mobile trading platforms
  • Wide range of investment options
  • Economical for larger portfolios

Cons:

  • More affordable investment options are available for portfolios under £1,000
  • Basic charting tools

Fees:

  • Investor Essentials Plan: £4.99/month for investments up to £30,000
  • Investor Plan: £9.99/month
  • Super Investor Plan: £19.99/month

Products:

  • Stocks & Shares, ETFs, Investment Trusts, Bonds, ISAs, SIPPs, and more
  • Quick Start Funds provide new investors with passively managed funds from Vanguard and actively managed funds from BMO

Visit Site

interactive investor Reviews

Capital at risk.

Best easy-to-use trading platform: AJ Bell

AJ Bell is a top-tier stock trading platform, especially for those prioritising ease of use. It’s an ideal solution for individuals with small to medium portfolios seeking a cost-effective, user-friendly platform.

Key Features:

  • Established in 1995, pioneering the first online SIPP in 2000
  • Manages assets worth over £56.5 billion with nearly 295,000 customers
  • Multiple awards, including Which Recommended Provider for Investment Platforms for five years running 2019–2023,
  • Offer a range of products, including SIPP, Junior SIPP, Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior Stocks and Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA, and Share Dealing account

Who Should Use AJ Bell?

If you’re someone who wants to save on costs for a modest portfolio and isn’t a finance professional or keen on extensive share trading, AJ Bell is for you. Their focus on ready-made portfolios combined with low fees makes it an attractive option. However, if you have a larger portfolio, you might want to consider alternatives like Interactive Investor for a more favourable fee structure.

Final Thoughts:

AJ Bell offers a robust platform for those new to investing or those who prefer a more hands-off approach. Their competitive fees and user-friendly interface make them a top choice for many. AJ Bell stands out for its simplicity; however, those with larger portfolios might find better value elsewhere.

Pros:

  • User-friendly across devices (phone, iPad, laptop)
  • Among the most affordable for small and medium portfolios
  • No fees for account setup, inactivity, holding, or withdrawals

Cons:

  • Percentage platform fee structure may not be ideal for larger portfolios
  • Cheaper platform fees can be found elsewhere

Fees:

  • No account set up, inactivity, holding, or withdrawal fees
  • Regular investment services at £1.50 per deal
  • £9.95 per share deal for the first 0-9 trades each month
  • £29.95 fee for phone deals

Products:

  • Offers a variety of products, with the SIPP personal pension being the star
  • Unique offerings like Junior SIPP accounts and Junior ISAs
  • AJ Bell Passive Funds available for those preferring hands-off investing

Visit Site

AJ Bell Review

Capital at risk.

Best trading platform for beginners in the UK: Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown, often referred to as the “Rolls Royce” of investment platforms, offers a premium service with an extensive range of assets and products. However, this comes at a price, especially with their high trading and management fees. But considering they hold the largest market share in the UK, it’s evident that many find the cost justifiable.

Key Features:

  • Stocks and Shares ISA, Junior ISA, SIPP, Fund and Share Account, Active Savings Account, and more
  • Phone consultations, in-person consultations with financial advisors, and award-winning customer service
  • Share Dealing Customer Satisfaction at the Finder Awards 2023; Best Online/Mobile Access at the Colwma City of London Wealth Management Awards 2023

Who should use Hargreaves Lansdown?

Hargreaves Lansdown is ideal for those who prioritise excellent customer service, a wide range of investment choices, and a user-friendly investment platform. The ability to consult with financial advisors is a significant advantage, especially for newcomers to the investment world. However, the platform might be pricier for those with larger portfolios due to its tiered fee structure. In my opinion, if you’re looking for a comprehensive platform with a proven track record in the UK, Hargreaves Lansdown is worth considering.

Final Thoughts:

While the fees might be on the higher side, the peace of mind and extensive services offered by the UK’s largest platform might just make it worth the investment.

Pros:

  • Extensive selection of investment products
  • User-friendly trading platforms
  • High-quality educational tools

Cons:

  • High fees for stocks and ETFs
  • Only GBP as a base currency
  • No digital registration for clients outside the UK

Fees:

  • Trading fees are the primary cost
  • Tiered management fees based on portfolio size
  • Share-dealing charges vary based on trading frequency

Products:

  • Over 3,500 funds available
  • Access to shares listed on multiple stock exchanges, bonds, ETFs, and more

Visit Site

Hargreaves Lansdown Review

Capital at risk.

What’s my methodology?

When putting together this list, I first made sure that I used every trading platform. This not only gives me a feel for the platform in question but also how they compare to each other. I also go through a predetermined checklist of attributes that include:

  • How does the pricing structure work and is it competitive?
  • How quick and easy is it to open an account?
  • What are the lead times for depositing and withdrawing money?
  • What is the minimum deposit?
  • What trading platforms are on offer and what are the tools and features like?
  • What markets and products are available?
  • What research is available to aid your decision-making?
  • How responsive and knowledgeable is customer service?
  • How robust is the educational offering?
  • And lastly, I always check that the platform in question is fully regulated and meets minimum standards of safety.

This is a basic summary of my method. For a more detailed version of how I review the platforms, please refer to thispage.

View best trading platforms in 60 seconds

Best Trading Platforms UK: Review 2023

How to choose the best trading platform for you

There are some key considerations when deciding which trading platform is best for your investment objectives, educational needs, and preferred access to markets.

One main consideration is to make sure they are Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated.

You will need to decide exactly what you need from the trading platform in question, taking into account your level of experience, whether you are an active or passive investor, the level of resources you require, the securities offered, whether you require fully managed funds or wish to pick and choose your own investments, what you are saving for, and therefore the type of trading account you require.

The first step to finding which trading platform is best for you is to know what tools and resources you require. This will depend on a number of factors, but most crucially, you should consider what investment experience you currently have.

Beginner traders

Complete beginners looking to build their experience would benefit from good educational resources, glossaries, how-to videos, and access to highly responsive support staff. A beginner may also benefit from a live paper trading account where they can practise their trades before risking any of their personal funds.

Platform comparison table for beginners

The following table will provide you with an insight into how the platforms scored out of 5 when I tested each one. This should help you decide which trading platform is best for you at a glance.

PlatformOverall scoreDemo accountSupportMinimum depositSocial tradingEducationAssets offered
Plus500354.5£100433
eToro454$1052.55
AvaTrade4.554$100554
Pepperstone434.5£0543
Interactive Brokers453.5£054.55
Interactive Investor304.5£004.54.5
AJ Bell405£0054.5
Hargreaves Lansdown3.504.5£004.54
IG454£0054
Saxo Markets3.533$2,00004.55

What’s the difference between a trading platform and an online broker?

An online broker provides access to stock markets, and a trading platform is the trading software that you use to execute trades with that broker. The two are often used together: you may open an account with a broker and then use the broker’s trading platform to place trades, or you may open an account with a broker and then use a different trading platformfrom that same or a different vendor.

So, if you’ve had your eye onAstraZeneca stockor would like tobuy Tesla shares, then an online trading platform could be just the ticket. It’s surprisingly easy to start buying and selling stock online in the UK, less so to actually turn a profit doing it.

Some of the stock trading platforms in the UK have a wealth of tools and features at your disposal to help you with your investment journey. And to make sense of it, with fees that are a far cry from what a traditional broker would charge, more and more people, from beginners to seasoned traders, are turning to online trading platforms for their investment journey.

Also consider: My guide to theBest Stock Trading Apps UK

How I’ve chosen this list of best trading platforms in the UK

I have conducted hours of vigorous research in order to identify the top platforms in the UK that I believe will best meet your needs as an investor. To clarify how I have gone about this process, here are some of the factors that I have taken into consideration:

Fees and Charges

Custody fee: This is the fee that you pay to the platform for taking care of and managing your investments. This fee is a major consideration, as small costs can really start to erode your investment gains.

Cost per trade: This is the fee you will pay every time you buy or sell stocks and shares. Some platforms have zero trading fees, which is great; however, you need to weigh up whether they are providing you with all the other features you require from a trading platform.

Frequent trader: some platforms in the UK will reward you for trading more frequently with a reduced fee. This is only relevant if you feel you will be trading more than a certain number of times each month. Otherwise, you will need to pay the per-trade fee.

Investment trusts fee: Investment trusts allow you to pool your money together with other investors into a ‘trust’. The trust manager will then use these pooled assets to invest in shares and financial assets on your behalf. The charge for an investment trust is usually based on a percentage of the amount of money you put into the trust.

Ease of Use

Trading can be a complex endeavour, and the design and usability of the platform you choose can have an impact on how efficient you are at managing your portfolio. I have therefore assessed each UK trading platform to identify which ones will allow you to make quick, accurate trades in an online environment that can help instil a sense of confidence.

Market Research and Education

This section is especially important for beginners who require high levels of research and education in order to learn trading and make profitable decisions regarding their investments. Webinars, blogs, videos, seminars and tracking options are all important educational tools to help beginners get up to speed.

Investment Choice

This will be especially important for experienced traders who are creating a highly diversified portfolio. Having a broad spectrum of global investment options, including stocks,ETFs,index funds, investment trusts, etc., from various stock markets is what seasoned investors have come to expect. Of course, this can be overwhelming for novice investors who may prefer to invest in a pre-made portfolio or engage in copy trading.

Accounts on Offer

This is an important consideration in order to ensure you are being as efficient as possible with your investing. If you are between the ages of 18 and 40 and saving for your first home, then the most efficient account would be the Lifetime ISA, as this attracts a government bonus of 20%. Remember that outside of the personal allowance, all income and returns from your investments are subject to tax at your usual rate. Therefore, you may want to consider a tax wrapper, such as an ISA. However, if you are already at the annual allowance for your ISA, then a General Investment Account might be more attractive.

Safety

Here at Investing Reviews, we always ensure that the trading platforms we recommend meet minimum safety standards. This includes being authorised and regulated by theFinancial Conduct Authority (FCA), as well as adequate security and protection of data within the site or app. Some stock trading apps also utilise biometric identification and many of the providers listed above are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which means your account balance is protected up to the sum of £85,000 should the provider go out of business.

Demo Account

If you would like to practise trading before you risk any of your money, then it may be best to select a trading platform that provides its users with a demo account.

A demo account will give you a certain amount of ‘virtual money’ with which to trade on the stock market. These are useful trading tools to help you get to grips with the setup of the trading platform and to familiarise yourself with the various assets on offer.

Best Trading Platforms UK - February 2024 | InvestingReviews (20)

Some common trading platform terminology explained

What is online stock trading?

Online stock trading is when you buy shares using an online trading platform in the hope that you will then sell them at a higher price, thus turning a profit. Online stock trading has replaced more traditional stock brokers in the UK as a way to trade stocks in the UK and around the globe and often presents a more accessible and affordable way to trade stocks.

What are ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds)?

An EFT is a collection of investments that can include stocks, commodities, bonds, and other investment assets, all of which are then traded on exchanges just like stocks.

Exchange Traded Funds(ETFs) provide a passive investment strategy that is often low in cost and can help diversify your portfolio.

What is a diversified portfolio?

A diversified portfolio contains a mix of stocks and bonds from around the globe, in companies of various sizes and sectors. This is to ensure that if one sector or country were to experience a sudden fall in value for any reason at all, the remainder of your portfolio would be robust enough to prevent you from experiencing a complete loss.

What is a stockbroker?

A stockbroker is a professional body that buys and sells shares on behalf of a client. In this case, the trading platform is the stock broker and you are the client. It is impossible for anyone to buy or sell stock without first becoming a member of an exchange or belonging to a firm that is a member.

Tax and Trading in the UK

It’s important to understand how different financial assets are taxed in the UK. These can depend on your personal circ*mstances but you may have to pay extra tax on money you make from investments, depending on which tax bracket you fall into.

Tax on spread betting and CFDs in the UK

Spread bets are tax-free for the majority of UK residents. This includes stamp duty and capital gains tax. While no stamp duty is due for CFDs, there is a capital gains tax on your profits, which may be applicable to your circ*mstances.

Tax on stock trading

Profits made from trading stocks are subject to income tax. The amount you pay will depend on your personal allowance, which includes the money you earn through interest, wages, pensions, and other incomes. Your personal allowance is tax-free up to an annual limit of £12,500.

When it comes to UK capital gains tax (CGT), this will be charged on any profits from the sale of your stocks and shares that exceed £12,300. Again, the amount you pay will depend on your tax bracket, with higher or additional rate payers being subject to 20% CGT on their gains and basic rate taxpayers being subject to 10% CGT on their gains.

The exception to this occurs when the investments are being held within a stocks and shares ISA and remain within the ISA limits.

Stamp duty is also a consideration when purchasing stocks and shares using a stock transfer form or paper share transfer. This includes online purchases using an electronic paperless share transaction. This is charged at a rate of 0.5% when you purchase more than £1,000 worth of stocks and shares. The actual amount charged is rounded up to the nearest £5.

Which type of trading is best?

The type of trading that is best for you will depend on several factors, including your trading experience, how frequently you plan to trade, whether you are trading to fulfil shorter-term plans or long-term objectives, and what your appetite for risk is. Below, I have detailed some active trading strategies.

Scalping

Scalping involves utilising small movements in the price of a security in order to generate a profit. This method can generate quick gains; however, there are a number of factors to consider.

  • This involves a high frequency of trading so you will need to commit time.
  • Generally, positions are held for a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • The frequency of trading can generate high commissions and spreads.
  • It requires focus and discipline.
  • Scalpers are required to manage multiple positions and limit their exposure to risk.

Day trading

Again, day trading is a short-term trading strategy, with securities being bought and sold within the same day. Typically, day traders will close all open positions at the end of each trading day. While there is the potential to generate decent returns with day trading, there are also some considerations to take into account.

  • This is a high-risk strategy with the potential for day traders to lose significant amounts of money.
  • A good understanding of market trends and risk management techniques is required for day trading.
  • Day traders have the potential to generate high trading costs.
  • Day trading is a fast-paced strategy that requires focus.

Swing trading

Swing tradingseeks to gain from short-term price movements in the market by buying when prices are low and selling when prices are high. This usually involves holding securities from a few days to a few months. While this strategy can help reduce transaction costs, there are some factors to consider.

  • Unexpected market events can lead to significant losses.
  • Swing traders are required to commit time to monitoring positions and analysing market trends and news.
  • Discipline is required to manage risk and avoid emotional trading decisions.

Most asked questions about best UK trading platforms

How do you choose a share dealing platform in the UK?

Choosing the best share dealing platform for you is a very personal journey that will depend largely on your financial goals and aspirations. Are you saving for retirement? Then you will require a SIPP account. Perhaps you just want a tax-efficient way to grow your wealth, in which case a Stocks and Shares ISA will be required.

You will then need to ascertain whether the share-dealing platform in question has a suitable range of investment options and compare the fees charged between the providers you are considering. You should also consider the trading software and whether it effectively caters to your trading requirements.

What trading platforms can I use in the UK?

There are a number of platforms available in the UK; however, identifying the best online trading platform for you should be aligned with your unique needs.

Here at Investing Reviews, all our recommended platforms cater to UK customers and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA); therefore, it is simply a matter of selecting a platform that meets your needs from our list on this page.

How much starting capital do you need to start investing?

You can start investing with as little as £1, depending on the online trading platform you select and their minimum investment amounts. However, we would caution you to be aware of the fees associated with the platform, as these can soon eat away at your investment capital should you be starting with a small amount.

If you are new to investing and would like to try your hand without risking too much of your money, then we would recommend selecting online trading platforms with free paper accounts like eToro, where you can use virtual money risk-free.

What should a beginner invest in?

Choosing your investments is a lengthy process that requires a lot of painstaking research. There are certain metrics that can help you identify great businesses that should be long-term performers, including the price-to-earnings ratio, the price-to-earnings growth ratio and the payout ratio.

However, if you are looking for a quick way to get started and want to ensure that you are fully diversified in order to mitigate your exposure to risk, then you may be better off investing in a fund.

A fund is where lots of investors pool their money together in order to invest in plenty of different shares.

Fully managed funds are managed by professionals who will regularly make strategic adjustments in order to maximise returns. These are slightly more expensive than fixed allocation funds, which are designed to perform with minimum human intervention.

Usually thebest investment websitesin the UK will have the historical returns of their funds listed on their website, and this is certainly worth checking before you select a fund with the correct level of risk for your circ*mstances.

See also: My guide onwhere to invest money to get monthly income UK

Who has the cheapest online trading?

Trading 212,eToroandFreetradeall have the edge when it comes to cost-effective share dealing. eToro is the best online trading platform for copy trading while Trading212 is the best online trading platform for range of shares. Freetrade does have some limitations in terms of assets and research tools so this would be my pick for best online trading platform for beginners looking for low costs.

Freetrade has the same zero-commission trading and also offersfree stock when you open a new accountand deposit for the first time. The value of your free stock can be anywhere from £3 to £200 and this could possibly give them the edge when it comes to finding the cheapest online trading platform.

What do I need to open an account with an online trading platform in the UK?

Different stock trading apps in the UK will require different documents in order for you to open an account and start trading.

Most trading platforms in the UK will require the following:

  • Full name
  • Valid ID
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • National Insurance number
  • Bank account details

Best UK Trading Platforms FAQs

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about the best UK trading platforms.

What is the best platform for day trading UK?

The best platform for day trading iseToro, with over 2,000 global shares, over 40 forex pairs and 15 cryptocurrencies. eToro also offers ETFs, bond trading, and social / copy trading.

In addition to eToro and the other best UK trading platforms mentioned in this guide, others are recommended for day trading purposes. Find out more with myday trading guide.

Do I pay UK tax on share dealing?

Yes, any gains you make from share dealing on a trading platform in the UK are subject to capital gains tax at your normal rate, unless you are share-dealing from within a tax wrapper, such as aStocks and Shares ISA.

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