Best Online Brokers in the UK

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Thomas Drury
Thomas Drury

Thomas Drury

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Seasoned finance professional with 10+ years' experience. Chartered status holder. Proficient in CFDs, ISAs, and crypto investing. Passionate about helping others achieve financial goals.

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Dom Farnell
Dom Farnell

Dom Farnell

Co-Founder

Dom is a Co-Founder and of TIC. A passionate investor and seasoned blog writer with a keen interest in financial markets and wealth management.My goal is to empower individuals to make informed investment decisions through informative and engaging content.

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Last Updated 16/01/2024
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Please bear in mind that the value of investments can decrease in addition to increasing, which means there is a possibility of receiving an amount lower than your initial investment. It is generally advisable to retain your investments for a minimum of five years in order to maximize the likelihood of achieving your desired returns. Capital at risk.

Quick Answer: Which are the Best Online Brokers in the UK for 2024?

  1. Trading 212 (4.5 stars): Best for beginners and casual investors. It offers a user-friendly interface, zero commission fees, and a vast array of stocks and ETFs. Ideal for those who want a straightforward, cost-effective trading experience.

  2. Lightyear (4.5 stars): Great for general stock and share trading with its simplified, intuitive platform. While it doesn’t offer an ISA, it’s excellent for those seeking a no-fuss, direct investment approach with competitive pricing.

  3. Interactive Investor (4.2 stars): Best suited for active, experienced investors. Known for its extensive range of investment options and comprehensive research tools, it offers a more hands-on approach with a flat-fee pricing model.

  4. IG (3.9 stars): Ideal for both trading and long-term investing. IG is renowned for its robust platform, offering a wide range of investments and advanced analysis tools, catering to more sophisticated investors.

  5. Etoro (3.9 stars): Stands out for its social trading feature, appealing to those who value community insights and collaborative investing. Offers a range of stocks and ETFs, with a unique angle on learning from and copying other traders.

designed to highlight the Best Online Brokers in the UK, featuring digital devices displaying interfaces of leading online brokerage platforms, along with symbols representing the UK financial market and the variety of investment options these brokers offer. The design aims to convey trust, innovation, and the excellence of these platforms, appealing to UK investors seeking top-notch digital trading and investment services

Online Broker Comparison Chart

Trading 212
Lightyear
Interactive Investor
Etoro Logo
Etoro
IG
Regulator
FCA
FCA
FCA
FCA
FCA
Mobile App Usability
4.5/5
4.6/5
4/5
4.2/5
3.5/5
Variety of Assets
12,000+ global stocks & ETFs, commodities, forex
Stocks 3000+, ETF's 1000+
1,000+ ETFs, Stocks (UK & International), Bonds, Ethical Investments
Stocks, cryptocurrencies, CFDs
18,000+ markets, stocks, ETFs, commodities, currencies, bonds, funds
ISA Available
Yes
No
Yes
Yes (in conjunction with Moneyfarm)
Yes
Trust Pilot Score
4.6/5
4.8/5
4.7/5
4.3/5
4./5
Fee Score
4/5
4.5/5
4.2/5
3.5/5
4/5
Overall Review Score
4.5/5
4.4/5
4.4/5
3.9/5
3.9/5

Top 5 Best Online Brokers in the UK

Our selected partners stand out in the crowded field of online trading. Each one brings something special to the table, whether it’s user-friendly interfaces for beginners or advanced tools for seasoned traders. Our top picks for 2024 include Trading 212, Lightyear, Interactive Investor, IG, and Etoro.

trading 212 logo white and black linking to homepage
4.5/5

TIC Trading 212 Score 4.5/5

Use code TIC to get a free share worth up to £100

Trading 212 - Best for beginners and casual investors

Trading 212 is an online brokerage platform that allows individuals to trade a wide range of financial instrument.

Pros

Cons

Please bear in mind that the value of investments can decrease in addition to increasing, which means there is a possibility of receiving an amount lower than your initial investment. It is generally advisable to retain your investments for a minimum of five years in order to maximize the likelihood of achieving your desired returns. Capital at risk.

Lightyear Logo
4.5/5

TIC Lightyear Score 4.5/5

Lightyear - Best Overall Broker App

Lightyear is a user-friendly and low-cost trading platform that offers a range of stocks and ETFs, with a focus on simplicity and accessibility for beginners. It stands out for its multi-currency account feature, competitive fees, and the unique advantage of earning interest on uninvested cash.

Pros

Cons

Please bear in mind that the value of investments can decrease in addition to increasing, which means there is a possibility of receiving an amount lower than your initial investment. It is generally advisable to retain your investments for a minimum of five years in order to maximize the likelihood of achieving your desired returns. Capital at risk.

interactive investors logo for interactive investor review
4.2/5

TIC Interactive Investor Score 4.2/5

Interactive Investor - Best suited for active, experienced investors

Interactive Investor is a well-established UK-based investment platform offering a comprehensive range of investment options including stocks, funds, and ETFs, along with a variety of ISA and pension products. Known for its fixed-fee pricing structure, it caters well to both active traders and long-term investors, providing extensive research tools and resources.

Pros

Cons

Please bear in mind that the value of investments can decrease in addition to increasing, which means there is a possibility of receiving an amount lower than your initial investment. It is generally advisable to retain your investments for a minimum of five years in order to maximize the likelihood of achieving your desired returns. Capital at risk.

Etoro Logo
3.9/5

TIC eToro Score 3.9/5

eToro - Ideal for both trading and long-term investing.

eToro stands out for its unique social trading features, including copy trading, which allows users to mimic the trades of experienced investors, making it an innovative choice especially for beginners. The platform offers a diverse range of trading options including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs, catering to various investment preferences and strategies.

Pros

Cons

Please bear in mind that the value of investments can decrease in addition to increasing, which means there is a possibility of receiving an amount lower than your initial investment. It is generally advisable to retain your investments for a minimum of five years in order to maximize the likelihood of achieving your desired returns. Capital at risk.

IG logo red and white linking to IG homepage
3.9/5

TIC IG Score 3.9/5

IG - Best for a range of markets and additional trading services

IG is a leading online trading and investments provider offering a comprehensive range of over 18,000 markets, including stocks, ETFs, forex, and commodities, ideal for traders seeking extensive market access. Renowned for its advanced trading platforms and robust educational resources, IG caters to both experienced traders and those keen on developing their trading skills.

Pros

Cons

Please bear in mind that the value of investments can decrease in addition to increasing, which means there is a possibility of receiving an amount lower than your initial investment. It is generally advisable to retain your investments for a minimum of five years in order to maximize the likelihood of achieving your desired returns. Capital at risk.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing an Online Broker

Selecting a broker is not merely about fees or the user interface; it’s about ensuring your financial safety, getting the best tools, and achieving your investment goals. Here are some pivotal factors to consider:

  • Regulation: Always opt for brokers overseen by reputable regulatory bodies, like the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.

  • Fees & Costs: Understand both trading and non-trading fees. Sometimes, a seemingly small fee can eat into profits in the long run.

  • Platform Usability: Your trading platform should be intuitive, stable, and offer all the tools you need.

  • Asset Range: Ensure the broker provides a wide range of assets, catering to both your current and future trading interests.

Top Brokers for Investing in Stocks

The UK boasts several reputable online brokers, each offering unique features. Among the best are Interactive Investor, Trading 212, and IG, which provide robust platforms, competitive fees, and extensive research tools. Before settling on a broker, consider factors such as fees, platform usability, customer service, and the range of available assets.

How to Invest in Stocks from the United Kingdom

Investing in stocks has become increasingly accessible for individuals in the UK. With technological advancements and a plethora of online brokers, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process.

1. Find an Online Broker

Choosing the right broker is paramount. Here are some criteria to consider:

  • Regulation: Ensure the broker is regulated by a reputable authority, like the FCA.

  • Reputation: Look into user reviews, testimonials, and industry accolades.

  • Platform: Evaluate the trading platform’s ease of use, tools, and resources.

Person in a group call at their computer

2. Open Your Account

Opening an account typically involves the following steps:

  • Identity Verification: Provide personal details and verify your identity, often through a passport or driver’s license.

  • Financial Details: Some brokers might request details about your financial status or trading experience.

  • Set Preferences: Configure account settings, such as leverage and communication preferences.

3. Fund Your Account

Once your account is open, deposit funds to start trading. Most brokers accept:

  • Bank Transfers

  • Credit/Debit Cards

  • eWallets (e.g., PayPal or Skrill)

  • Check the broker’s minimum deposit requirement and any associated fees.

4. Find and Trade Stocks

With your account funded:

  • Research: Utilise the broker’s tools and resources to identify potential stock investments.

  • Execute Trades: Buy or sell shares through the trading platform.

  • Monitor: Regularly review your portfolio and adjust as necessary.

The Best Online Stock Broker for Beginners

Starting in the world of stock trading can be overwhelming. With numerous brokers, platforms, and features to choose from, beginners often find themselves in a maze of options. It’s crucial, however, to pick a broker that caters to the specific needs of novice traders.

Why Choose a Beginner-Friendly Broker?

Beginners need a platform that is user-friendly, offers educational resources, and provides support when things get confusing. The goal is to learn the ropes without feeling overwhelmed.

Features to Look for:

  1. Intuitive User Interface: A clean and straightforward platform helps beginners navigate without the added confusion.

  2. Educational Resources: Look for brokers that provide webinars, tutorials, articles, and demos to educate new traders.

  3. Customer Support: Responsive customer support can be a lifeline for beginners facing issues.

  4. Practice or Demo Accounts: These allow beginners to practice trading with virtual money, offering a risk-free way to learn.

  5. Transparent Fee Structure: As a beginner, it’s essential to understand what you’re being charged for, without hidden costs lurking in the background.

Recommended Brokers for Beginners:

While there are many options available, Interactive Investor, Trading 212, and IG have been known for their beginner-friendly features, especially Trading 212, which offers a straightforward interface and a wide range of educational resources.

Bull and bear pulling away from each other with green and red arrows

What Does Commission-Free Mean?

“Commission-free” is a term often used by online brokers and trading platforms to denote that they do not charge a specific fee (or commission) every time you buy or sell a security, such as a stock or ETF.

Breaking It Down:

  1. Traditional Commission Structure: In the past, every time an investor bought or sold stocks, they paid a fixed fee to the broker, known as a commission. These costs could add up, especially for active traders.

  2. Modern Commission-Free Platforms: Many online brokers have shifted to a commission-free model to attract investors. This means you can trade without incurring charges for each transaction.

  3. How Do They Earn? You might wonder how these platforms make money if they don’t charge commissions. They have alternative revenue streams, such as:

    • Spreads: The difference between the buy and sell price of a stock.

    • Payment for Order Flow: Some brokers receive compensation for directing orders to particular parties for trade execution.

    • Monthly Fees or Account Charges: Some platforms might charge a flat monthly fee for using their services.

    • Interest on Cash: Brokers might earn interest on the uninvested cash in your account.

Is Commission-Free Truly Free?

While commission-free trading reduces costs, it’s vital to be aware of other potential fees. Always read the fine print, understand the platform’s pricing structure, and ensure there are no hidden charges.

Broker Fees in the United Kingdom

Understanding broker fees is crucial for profitability:

  • Commissions: Some brokers charge a fixed fee per trade.

  • Spreads: The difference between the buying and selling price.

  • Inactivity Fees: Charged if you don’t trade for an extended period.

  • Overnight Fees: Applicable for positions held overnight.

  • Deposit/Withdrawal Fees: Some brokers might charge for funding or withdrawing from your account.

Researching and comparing these fees can save you significant amounts in the long run.

What Assets Can You Buy with Stock Brokers?

Stock brokers provide a gateway to a multitude of financial assets, allowing investors to diversify and tailor their portfolio according to their risk tolerance and investment goals. Here’s a look at some of the most common assets available:

Stocks & Shares

At the core, brokers allow investors to purchase stocks, which represent a share of ownership in a company. This enables investors to partake in the company’s profits and losses. Stockholders can earn through dividends or by selling the stock at a higher price than they bought it for.

Fractional Shares

Fractional shares allow investors to buy a portion of a stock rather than a full share. This is particularly beneficial for high-priced stocks, enabling investors with limited funds to invest in companies they believe in. Many modern online brokers now offer fractional share investing.

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

ETFs are investment funds traded on stock exchanges. They hold multiple assets such as stocks, commodities, or bonds and aim to mirror the performance of a specific index. ETFs provide diversification in a single purchase and are often lauded for their flexibility and liquidity.

Investment Trusts

These are closed-ended funds listed and traded on stock exchanges. Investment trusts pool together the funds of investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of assets. Their price is determined by supply and demand in the market.

Real-Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

REITs allow individuals to invest in portfolios of real estate assets. By buying shares of a REIT, investors earn a share of the income produced by the real estate investment. They offer a way to invest in real estate without having to buy property.

Open-Ended Investment Companies (OEICs)

OEICs are a type of mutual fund in the UK. They pool together the funds of various investors to purchase a diversified portfolio of assets. Unlike investment trusts, they are open-ended, meaning they can create and cancel shares based on demand.

Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)

An IPO is the first time a company’s stock is offered to the public. It provides an opportunity for investors to buy shares of a company before it’s listed on an exchange. Brokers may provide access to IPOs, allowing investors to purchase shares at the initial offering price.

Special Purchase Acquisition Companies (SPACs)

SPACs, colloquially known as “blank check companies,” are formed to raise capital through an IPO with the intent of acquiring an existing company. Investors in SPACs bet on the management’s ability to find a lucrative acquisition target.

What You Can't Typically Buy with Brokers

While brokers offer a vast array of assets, there are certain investments typically outside their purview:

  1. Direct Real Estate: While you can invest in REITs, buying physical properties is not possible through stock brokers.

  2. Certain Commodities: Some physical commodities, like grain or livestock, are generally not directly available.

  3. Art & Collectibles: Tangible assets like art pieces or rare collectibles are usually not part of a broker’s offerings.

Stamp Duty and Shares

Stamp Duty is a tax paid by investors when buying shares of UK companies. It is crucial for investors to understand this tax and its implications on their investments.

Basics of Stamp Duty on Shares:

  • Rate: Stamp Duty Reserve Tax (SDRT) on shares is typically charged at 0.5% of the purchase price. This means if you buy £10,000 worth of shares, you’ll pay £50 in SDRT.

  • Exemptions: Some shares, such as those purchased in a tax-efficient account like an ISA or SIPP, may be exempt from this duty. Also, shares bought on certain markets, like AIM, might not incur the tax.

How to Pay: When buying shares through a broker or an online platform, the platform typically deducts the necessary stamp duty and pays it on behalf of the investor.

Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs)

A SIPP is a type of personal pension that provides more flexibility in terms of the investments you can hold.

Benefits of SIPPs:

  • Choice: Unlike traditional pensions, SIPPs allow a wider range of investments, including stocks, bonds, ETFs, and property.

  • Tax Relief: Contributions to a SIPP can benefit from tax relief at your highest rate, boosting the amount saved for retirement.

  • Flexibility: You can decide where your money is invested, and if necessary, change your investments.

Considerations: SIPPs might come with higher charges compared to traditional pensions due to their flexibility, so it’s crucial to weigh the costs against the benefits.

General Investment Accounts (GIA)

A GIA is a standard investment account that doesn’t come with the same tax advantages as ISAs or SIPPs.

Features of GIAs:

  • No Limits: Unlike tax-advantaged accounts, there’s no limit to how much you can deposit into a GIA each year.

  • Flexibility: You can typically invest in a wide range of assets, from stocks and bonds to investment trusts.

  • Taxation: Any income or gains from the account may be subject to tax, unlike ISAs where gains are tax-free.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

The FSCS is the UK’s compensation scheme for customers of regulated financial services firms.

Key Points about FSCS:

  • Protection: If a financial firm goes bust or fails to meet its obligations, the FSCS can compensate customers. This includes deposits, investment business, and insurance.

  • Limits: For investments, the FSCS can pay compensation up to £85,000 per eligible person, per firm.

  • No Cost: The FSCS is free to consumers and is funded by levies on financial services firms.

Why It’s Important: Knowing that there’s a safety net can give investors peace of mind. However, it’s vital to remember that the FSCS doesn’t cover losses arising from the performance of an investment.

FAQs

Answer: The UK market offers a variety of online stock brokers catering to different needs. Some of the top contenders include Interactive Investor, Trading 212, and IG.

Answer: Absolutely! Many UK stock brokers offer advanced tools and platforms tailored for experienced traders to make the most out of their trading activities.

Answer: The account opening process usually involves providing some personal information, verifying your identity, setting up a funding method, and then you’re ready to start trading online.

Answer: It’s essential to understand that all investments come with risks. While some retail investor accounts may lose money, it’s crucial to research and choose a broker that aligns with your trading strategy and risk tolerance.

Answer: UK stock brokers are known for their reliability, security, and adherence to regulations. They might offer different tools or fee structures compared to international brokers, so it’s good to review the specifics before choosing a platform.

Answer: Share dealing accounts are offered by many online brokers in the UK. Platforms like Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor are among the popular choices for share dealing.

Answer: Trading online in the UK is regulated by specific entities like the FCA, ensuring the safety and transparency of the market. The tools, platforms, and assets available might differ compared to other countries.

Related Articles

Epilogue

Who Created This Content: This guide was authored by Thomas Drury is an experienced financial trader in leverage intruments, crypto and general investing.

He has over a decade experience in finance and holds Chartered Status in the financial industry, Thomas’s specialty is trading CFDs, Forex and Day Trading.

His crypto portfolio is heavily weighted towards BTC and Eth, but enjoys trading low cap crypto’s with higher volatility. Thomas’s favourite trading strategy is break out Trading.

How This Content Was Created: Our assessment of the best UK online brokerage is rooted in rigorous research and firsthand experience. Here’s our methodology:

  • Platform Testing: We actively tested multiple platforms over a span of six months, analysing their functionalities, ease of use, and reliability.

  • Fee Analysis: Each platform’s fee structure was dissected to ascertain its competitiveness in the market.

  • User Feedback: We engaged with real users and considered their reviews and experiences, lending a holistic perspective to our evaluation.

  • Market Dynamics: Regular updates from industry news, changing regulations, and market dynamics ensure the guide remains current and reliable.

  • AI-Assistance: While human judgment and expertise are at the core of our assessments, we utilized AI tools to improve structure, critique our work.

Note: Our use of AI tools is strictly for data gathering and content assistance. All conclusions drawn and recommendations made are based on human analysis and judgment.

Why This Content Was Created: Our primary objective in creating this guide is to empower traders, both seasoned and novices, with impartial, comprehensive, and actionable information to make informed decisions.

We understand the complexity of the stock trading world and aim to simplify it for our readers.

While we hope our content is discoverable by those seeking insights, our main priority is to provide genuine value to our visitors.

We staunchly oppose content creation practices that manipulate search rankings or violate any standards of integrity.

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