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Best UK Trading Platforms 2021

Steve Miley

Oct 26, 2021

If you want to trade or invest in stocks and shares in the U.K., or invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds or an investment trust, you will need to open an online trading account.

Picking the right online broker for you, that suits you, is therefore an important choice — and not necessarily a simple one. Each share dealing platform charges different fees while offering various investment options, trading tools, education, and market research.

For our 2021 Annual Review, we spent over 10 weeks assessing different U.K. share dealing accounts. In total, 53 individual variables were assessed to find the best online broker.

Best UK Trading Platforms for 2021

  • IG - Best Overall Platform
  • Interactive Brokers - Best for Research and Professionals
  • FinecoBank - Excellent pricing
  • Trading 212 - Easy to use
  • Saxo Markets - Best Online Trading Platform
  • Freetrade - Cost and Simplicity
IG
Overall

Best Overall Platform

Minimum Deposit $0.00
ISA Yes
SIPP Yes

$0 Online Trade Commissions.

IG stands out as a top U.K. broker, thanks largely to its excellent online trading platform. Rates are relatively low, trading tools and research are outstanding, and the platform and mobile apps are easy to use. Read full review

Pros

  • Wide offering of investment choices
  • Competitive commission rates
  • User-friendly, robust trading platform and mobile apps

Cons

  • Commissions are not as low as at some newer competitors
  • Research, though strong, still has room for improvement
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$0 Online Trade Commissions.

Interactive Brokers
Overall

Best for Research and Professionals

Minimum Deposit $0.00
ISA No
SIPP No

Exclusive: New client offer, special margin rates.

Professional traders are brilliantly serviced with the tools and capabilities of Interactive Brokers. Less-experienced traders benefit from the low commissions and excellent research available in the web-based Client Portal platform. Read full review

Pros

  • Extremely competitive commission structure for both casual and frequent traders
  • Two robust platforms serve both professional and less-experienced traders
  • Far-reaching offering of investment choices

Cons

  • ISA and SIPP accounts are not available
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Exclusive: New client offer, special margin rates.

FinecoBank
Overall

Best Online Trading Platform

Minimum Deposit $0.00
ISA Yes
SIPP No

For the price-conscious trader, FinecoBank is a solid share dealing option with a broad range of investment options; but educational materials and research reports are lacking. Read full review

Pros

  • Low costs for buying shares in the U.K. and overseas
  • Broad range of products, including stocks, ETFs, funds, bonds and CFDs
  • Now offers ISA accounts

Cons

  • Average trading platform and mobile app
  • Room for growth in educational or research content
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Trading 212
Overall

Excellent pricing

Minimum Deposit $1.00
ISA Yes
SIPP No

Trading 212 offers low-cost trading without lots of bells and whistles. Though tools, research and investments are limited, its user-friendliness and pricing may be an attractive option for the beginner trader. Read full review

Pros

  • Zero commission on all trades
  • User-friendly platform and mobile app
  • Fractional shares available

Cons

  • 0.70% fee for deposits above £2,000
  • Educational content is average
  • Research is limited
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Saxo Markets
Overall

Most Investment Options

Minimum Deposit $500
ISA Yes
SIPP Yes

Saxo Markets offer an excellent share dealing experience by combining the brilliant SaxoTraderGO trading platform with over 30,000 international products. Pricing, though, is higher than most of its U.K. competitors. Read full review

Pros

  • Excellent, user-friendly SaxoTraderGO trading platform
  • Equally strong mobile trading app
  • Extremely broad product offering, including SIPP and ISA accounts

Cons

  • On the expensive side
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Freetrade
Overall

Balanced Offering

Minimum Deposit $0.00
ISA Yes
SIPP Yes

Freetrade's commission-free model allows trading of fractional shares with a user-friendly mobile trading app, and the educational offering is of good quality. Research and range of investments are limited, however, and there is no online trading platform. Read full review

Pros

  • Zero commission for trading major U.K. and U.S. shares
  • Stocks, fractional shares, ETFs, investment trusts, SPACs and REITs
  • User-friendly mobile trading app

Cons

  • Limited research
  • No online trading platform
  • Cannot invest in bonds or funds
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Best Trading Platform UK Rankings

Scored on 419 data points, here are our final rankings for 2021, sorted by Overall rank.

BrokersCommissions & FeesOffering of InvestmentsPlatform & ToolsResearchOverall RatingVisit Site
IGVisit Site
Interactive BrokersVisit Site
FinecoBank
Trading 212
Saxo Markets
Freetrade
DEGIRO
Capital.com
eToro
Hargreaves Lansdown
Interactive Investor

Your capital is at risk.

Other trading platforms

In addition to the six U.K. stock brokers listed above, we reviewed five other platforms: DEGIRO, Capital.com, eToro, Hargreaves Lansdown, and Interactive Investor. Here are our high-level takeaways for each broker.

DEGIRO: DEGIRO offers cheap stock trading on a modest trading platform, charging only £1.75 + 0.014% per trade, with a maximum charge of £5. Fees for trading funds, however, are more costly. DEGIRO does not offer ISA or SIPP accounts and lags competitors in fundamental research and education. Read Full Review

Capital.com: The lowest fees on our annual survey come from Capital.com, with commissions at zero and no “hidden” charges. This is clearly attractive, though the limited offering of investment options and lack of web-based or desktop trading platform mean Capital.com comes up short for an investor or trader looking for the complete package. Previously better known for its CFD trading platform, Capital.com have branched out to offer direct investing and trading in shares." Read Full Review

eToro: If you’re looking for a broker with zero-commission stock trades and a functional and easy-to-use platform, with the bonus of an excellent copy trading option, then eToro may be the broker for you. Do watch out for the hidden fees, and know that the research area and range of investments on offer are not as robust as at many of the more traditional brokers. Read Full Review

Hargreaves Lansdown: Hargreaves Lansdown provides an extremely thorough and comprehensive selection of investment options and very high-quality research (some of which is created in-house) alongside a user-friendly mobile app. However, pricing is expensive, the charting tools are average and educational resources are only in line with industry standards. Read Full Review

Interactive Investor: Interactive Investor, or ii, is a good choice for investors who desire research reports and in-house recommendations for funds. But fees are high given the below-average tools, platform, and mobile app on offer. Interactive Investor struggle to remain competitive with commissions and fees, particularly for fund investors and active share traders. Read Full Review

FAQs

Is day trading legal in the UK?

Yes, day trading is legal in the U.K. Day trading is simply buying and then selling a particular asset, such as a share in a company like BP, within the same trading day. Although there are no regulatory blocks to day trading, it’s important to trade through a regulated and trusted broker, such as those in our annual analysis of the best brokers. Many of the providers in our survey are regulated in the U.K. by the respected Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA.

How much do stockbrokers charge in the UK?

There are a number of different pricing models used by stockbrokers in the U.K., which yields a significant difference in charges. Some of the disruptors in the U.K. stock brokerage world, such as Freetrade and Trading 212, offer commission-free trading; but sometimes there are other fees, which we note in our annual review of brokers in the U.K. Some providers charge a flat fee, such as £9.99 per trade, whilst others charge a percentage of the value of the trade, with a minimum or maximum commission — for example, 0.02% maximum or £5 minimum.

What are the best UK stock trading apps?

Our picks for the best U.K. stock trading apps for 2021:

  • Saxo Markets - Best overall stock app
  • Hargreaves Lansdown - Best stock app for longer-term, professional investors
  • Interactive Brokers - Best stock app for usability
  • IG - Best stock app for traders
  • Fineco Bank - Best stock app for simplicity

What UK stock broker offers the lowest fees?

Notably low-cost share dealing in the U.K. is offered by market disruptors such as Capital.com, Freetrade and Trading 212, who cite zero-commission trading — although there are some other costs and fees users may incur, as detailed in our annual review of the best U.K. brokers. DEGIRO and FinecoBank also offer low fees for trading individual shares: DEGIRO's fee for trading individual shares in the U.K. is £1.75 + 0.014% per trade, with a maximum charge of £5; FinecoBank charges £2.95 for U.K. shares and ETFs.

What is the best trading platform in the UK?

The SaxoTraderGO platform from Saxo Markets is the best online trading platform in the U.K. SaxoTraderGO comes loaded with trading tools and excellent usability, regardless of whether you are a beginner or seasoned trader. Like the SaxoTraderGO web platform, the SaxoTraderGO mobile app is also brilliant. The one downside of Saxo Markets is pricing, which is more expensive than most U.K. brokers.

How do you choose a share dealing platform?

When choosing a share dealing platform, first consider the investment and account options available. For example, not all U.K. brokers offer ISA and SIPP accounts, nor do all U.K. brokers support U.S. shares trading. Next, compare the trading fees and any monthly or quarterly account fees. Finally, assess the trading platforms themselves by comparing the mobile apps, trading tools, and available market research. Ease of use is another area you may want to consider if you are a new trader.

How do I buy stocks online in the UK?

To buy stocks online, follow these steps.

  1. Select a U.K. broker, then open and fund the account.
  2. Research the stocks you want to buy using the trading tools and market research provided.
  3. Once you choose a stock to buy, fill out the order ticket with the number of shares you want to purchase.
  4. Place your trade.

You now own shares of stock! For more educational resources before you start trading, we recommend reading StockTrader.com’s 10 great ways to learn stock trading.

What is an ISA?

An Individual Savings Account is a means of tax-free saving and investing. Currently, for the 2021/22 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 SIPP?

A Self-Invested Personal Pension, or SIPP, is a tax-efficient means of saving funds for retirement in the U.K. SIPPs are government approved, and enable individuals to make their own investment decisions. Unlike more traditional pension models where investment choice is often restricted to a limited number of funds, a SIPP offers investors the ability to self-direct their investments.

Summary

To recap, here are the best share dealing platforms overall for 2021.

UK.StockBrokers.com 2021 Review

Methodology

For the 2021 StockBrokers.com U.K. Review, we assessed, rated, and ranked 11 U.K. share dealing platforms over a 10-week time period. Each broker was exhaustively tested on all available platforms and graded on 53 different variables. In total, over 17,000 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. Our team.


About the Author

Steve Miley

With 30 years of experience in institutional financial markets, Steve has won multiple awards from Technical Analyst Magazine, including "Best Independent Fixed Income" and "Best FX Research." In addition to his work with StockBrokers.com, Steve is the founder of The Market Chartist, where he provides market research for institutional clients; and is editor-in-chief for FXExplained.co.uk.



All pricing data was obtained from a published web site as of 10/22/2021 and is believed to be accurate, but is not guaranteed. The StockBrokers.com UK staff is constantly working with its online broker representatives to obtain the latest pricing data. If you believe any data listed above is inaccurate, please contact us using the link at the bottom of this page.

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