Our team spent over 100 hours assessing different share dealing accounts for buying shares online in the UK. In total, 46 individual variables were assessed to find the best online broker.
Choosing the right share dealing account is a critical decision for any UK investor. Since each UK trader has their unique strategies, preferences, and needs, we have assessed the top nine brokers currently available to invest online with.
Best Share Dealing Accounts
Here are the top share dealing accounts for buying shares online in the UK.
- Saxo Markets - Best Overall
- IG - Excellent Pricing and Platform
- Interactive Investor - All-Around Great Offering
- Hargreaves Lansdown - Best Research
- DEGIRO - Lowest Fees
Saxo Markets provides a brilliant all-around share trading experience for UK residents. The fees for buying shares are not the cheapest; however, the SaxoTraderGO trading platform is excellent, and there are over 30,000 international products available to trade. Read full review
Excellent Pricing and Platform - Visit Site
Founded in 1974 and respected as one of the most trusted brokers in the world, IG offers competitive commissions on shares (£3.00 - £8.00 per trade), brilliant trading tools, a proper mobile app, and share dealing across 19 international exchanges. Read full review
All-Around Great Offering
Interactive Investor lacks education and a robust trading platform but provides investors transparent pricing alongside brilliant fundamental research for stocks, funds, investment trusts, and ETFs. Read full review
Best Offering of Investments
While Hargreaves Lansdown is among the most expensive brokers for share dealing, it offers a rich offering of investments, excellent market research, and a proper mobile app. Read full review
DEGIRO, known for its low-cost trades, provides investors a diverse offering of products through a basic trading platform. With no minimum deposit, the fee for trading individual shares in the UK is £1.75 + 0.022% per trade, with a maximum charge of just £5.00. Read full review
Best for Beginners
Barclays Smart Investor offers competitive share dealing commissions (£6 per trade) alongside an excellent selection of research tools and education. However, there is no dedicated mobile app for share dealing and the trading tools offered are just average. Read full review
Best for Beginners
AJ Bell Youinvest charges £9.95 per trade with a discounted £4.95 per trade rate for investors who place over ten trades a month. AJ Bell offers high-quality research driven by Morningstar as well as an impressive mobile app. Conversely, AJ Bell offers an average trading platform and basic educational resources. Read full review
3.5 Stars Overall
Lloyds Bank offers trades between £8 - £11, with the opportunity to receive £1.50 trades with reoccurring investments. Overall, the average platform, tools, and research, as well as the lack of a mobile app, do not justify joining Lloyds unless you make reoccurring investments. Read full review
3.5 Stars Overall
Halifax offers competitive pricing for reoccurring and infrequent traders, sound charting, and proper research. That said, Halifax provides no dedicated mobile application and, overall, trails industry leaders. Read full review
Lowest Shares Trading Fees
The best share dealing account for you will depend on whether you are a frequent trader or casual investor, and whether you have a small or large portfolio. Some brokers offer discounted rates for more frequent trading, whilst others charge flat fees. Similarly, some charge holding fees that depend on the size of the account, whilst others have a flat overall fee structure.
Our top pick in the category of Commissions & Fees is DEGIRO. Unlike most share dealing accounts, there are no management/administration/custodial charges for their share-dealing account.
When considering any share dealing account on fees and commissions alone, first identify what type of trader or investor you are. Is your portfolio large enough for management charges to be an important consideration? On average, how many trades do you place each month? Do you invest primarily in stocks, funds or other asset classes?
Next, calculate the overall trading cost to you; crunch the numbers. To help, read our detailed commission notes for each broker. You can also compare brokers side by side using the comparison tool.
Best Share Trading Platform
For many traders, quality trading tools and a robust charting platform are crucial to success. Our research find two brokers shined in this area: Saxo Markets and IG. With standalone trading platforms packed full of features, both brokers provide an excellent platform experience for UK share dealing.
Best Offering of Investments
Investing encompasses a wide variety of asset classes across the global markets. This broad-spectrum ranges from long-term investments in mutual funds and government bonds to share dealing and CFDs, among others. In our UK review, we focused on the full range of brokerage offerings. Overall, Hargreaves Lansdown and Saxo Markets take the crown in 2020.
Research is a crucial area for any online share dealing broker trying to differentiate itself from its competitors. With third parties providing much of the data for the research content, companies that offer comprehensive in-house research, as well as a user-friendly interface, are winners in our eyes.
Overall, Hargreaves Lansdown and Barclays were the clear winners in this category. Closely behind were Interactive Investor and Saxo Markets, who both received 4.5 stars in our research category.
Best Trading App
- Saxo Markets - Excellent all-around app
- IG - Best Mobile Charting
- Hargreaves Lansdown - Great all-around app
For most share dealing brokers, mobile apps focus on just basic account management, trading, and research, if an app is offered at all. For our winners, the mobile experience delves far deeper and brings a full-featured standalone trading experience to iPhone and Android devices. Saxo Markets, IG, and Hargreaves Lansdown are our favorites for 2020.
What is a share?
A share is a small portion of a company. When you purchase a share, you are investing in that company. Corporations sell shares to investors to raise money to advance their business. When you buy a share, you want the share price to rise so that when you sell it, you make a profit.
How do you choose a share dealing broker?
When selecting a stockbroker, it's essential to consider commissions and fees, research, the trading platform, investment offerings, and mobile trading capabilities. Compare Share Dealing Brokers.
What stockbroker offers the lowest fees?
The cheapest share dealing account for you will depend on whether you are a frequent trader or casual investor, and whether you have a small or large portfolio. DEGIRO and Interactive Investor rank as two of the cheapest options.
Which stock trading site is best for beginners?
Barclays and AJ Bell Youinvest both offer a strong selection of research, educational articles, videos, and even a podcast. Barclays is better for research, while AJ Bell offers traders a superior mobile app. Compare Barclays vs AJ Bell Youinvest.
What is the best trading app, UK?
Saxo Markets and IG both have excellent share dealing mobile apps that come loaded with trading tools. Meanwhile, Hargreaves Lansdown offers a comprehensive, easy to use mobile app that is great for everyday share investors. Compare brokers.
What share dealer offers the best trading platform?
Saxo Markets and IG offer the two best trading platforms for share dealing. SaxoTraderGo is feature-rich and appeals to both casual and active international traders. IG’s trading platform, like SaxoTraderGo, excels at charting. IG also offers a variety of technical indicators and drawing tools that are available on the desktop platform and mobile app.
What is an ISA?
An Individual Savings Account is a means of tax-free saving and investing. Currently, for the 2019/20 tax year, an individual can save up to a maximum of £20,000, which can be held in a stocks and shares ISA, a cash ISA, a Junior ISA, an innovative finance ISA, a Lifetime ISA, or in a “Mix and Match” combination of these.
What is a Junior ISA?
A Junior ISA is similar to the above ISAs, but carries a limit of £4,368 (for 2019/2020). The annual allowance can be split between cash or stocks/shares or a combination of the two. A Junior ISA is opened in a child's name, but is managed by an adult, although the child can take control of the account at age 16. The child can only withdraw funds at age 18, but 16-18 year olds can open an adult cash ISA for £20,000 together with a Junior ISA the same year, thereby saving up to £24,368 a year tax-free.
What is a SIPP?
A Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) is a tax-efficient means of saving funds for retirement in the UK. SIPPs are government approved and empower individuals to make their own investment decisions. Unlike more traditional pension models, however, where the choice of investment is often restricted to a limited number of funds (mostly run by fund managers of finance companies), a SIPP offers more scope for broader investment because it offers personal choice.
What is a Junior SIPP?
A Junior SIPP is similar to the above, but the investment is made on behalf of a child. It is possible to save/invest up to £3,600 gross for each child in each tax year, for which the government will pay 20% in tax relief (up to a maximum of £720). This means the contract contribution would be only £2,880 in this case. Investments in a Junior SIPP cannot be accessed until the child is 55 years old.
What are Funds (Unit Trusts and OEICs)?
In the UK, Funds are also commonly referred to as Unit Trusts or even Open-Ended Investment Companies (OEICs).
A Unit Trust is a collection of funds, each of which comprises investments made by investors to participate in the ownership of various investment types. These would include shares (or stocks), government or corporate bonds, commodities, and various other money market instruments.
Different investment companies or money managers then trade or invest the funds in the Unit Trust pool, with the aim of achieving maximum capital appreciation and/or income. A primary attraction of Unit Trusts is that they allow smaller investors the opportunity to have a diversified, professionally managed portfolio. An Open-Ended Investment Company (OEIC) is like a Unit Trust, but the fund is operated as a company and creates and cancels shares rather than units.
What is an Investment Trust?
Investment Trusts are like Funds or Unit Trusts in that they are pooled or collective investment vehicles. However, whereas Unit Trusts are open-ended, and new units are created as the fund grows with new investors, Investment Trusts differ in that there are a fixed number of shares in issue. Investment Trusts are quoted on the stock market as companies; for an investor to buy shares, another investor must sell.
Furthermore, Investment Trusts do not have to pay out all income as dividends, but can choose to reinvest a portion in the fund. Also, Investment Trusts can leverage or “gear” by borrowing to increases returns; a Unit Trust cannot do this.
What is an ETF (Exchange-Trade Fund)?
An Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) is an investment vehicle that usually tracks or follows an index or “average”. This could be a stock index, a commodity index, a bond index or any other financial market index. An ETF is traded like a normal stock or share (unlike a Fund) and generally has high liquidity, intraday volatility, and generally lower fees than a Fund or Unit Trust.
The price of an ETF goes up and down with the level of the underlying assets, but is also subject to demand and supply for the ETF. Owners of ETFs do not own the underlying assets, although ETF holders do have rights on profits or dividends paid.
Scored on 419 data points, here's our final rankings for 2020, sorted by Overall rank.
Best Share Dealing Accounts Summary
|Broker||Best In Class (Top 3)||Online Fee (0-9 Deals)||Annual Fee (<£250,000)||Mobile App||Overall Rating|
|Saxo Markets||Offering of Investments, Platform & Tools, Research, Ease of Use, Beginners||£8.00||0.12% (min. £108)||Yes||5.0 Stars|
|IG||Commissions & Fees, Platform & Tools||£3 - £8||£96||Yes||4.5 Stars|
|Interactive Investor||Commissions & Fees, Offering of Investments, Platform & Tools, Research, Ease of Use||£7.99||£120||Yes||4.5 Stars|
|Hargreaves Lansdown||Offering of Investments, Platforms & Tools, Research, Ease of Use||£11.95||0.45%||Yes||4.5 Stars|
|Barclays||Research, Beginners||£6||0.2% (minimum £48)||No||4.0 Stars|
|AJ Bell Youinvest||Beginners||£9.95||0.25% (Max £7.50 per quarter)||Yes||4.0 Stars|
|Lloyds Bank||None||£11||£40||No||3.5 Stars|
|DEGIRO||Commisisons & Fees||£1.75 + 0.022%||None||Yes||3.5 Stars|
For the 2020 UK.StockBrokers.com Review we assessed, rated, and ranked nine UK share dealers. Each broker was graded on 46 different variables and, in total, over 12,000 words of research were produced. Our rigorous data validation process yields an error rate of less than .001% each year, providing site visitors with quality data they can trust. Learn more about how we test and our team.