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Barclays Smart Investor Review

Elizabeth Anderson

Written by Elizabeth Anderson
Fact-checked by Steven Hatzakis
Edited by Carolyn Kimball

January 19, 2024

Your capital is at risk.

Barclays Smart Investor is an investment platform offered by Barclays Bank that, like other DIY platforms, offers a wide range of investments and accounts. I found it complicated to open an account as a non-Barclays bank customer, and you can’t buy or sell investments through the app if you don’t have a Barclays bank account. If you can get past that, Barclays is a good value for those with a midsize portfolio who like flat fees. Trading fees are on the lower side, particularly if you choose regular investing.

4/5 Stars Overall
  • Minimum Deposit: £0.0
  • ISA: Yes
  • SIPP: Yes

Barclays Smart Investor pros & cons

thumb_up_off_alt Pros

  • Low fees: £1 per trade for regular investing
  • Wide range of investments, including mutual funds and bonds
  • Great research tools for comparing stocks and funds

thumb_down_off_alt Cons

  • Financial advice only available to those with above £500,000
  • Fees are on the higher side for those with small or large portfolios
  • Time-consuming to open an account if you are not already a Barclays Bank customer
  • Limited mobile app options if you do not have a Barclays bank account

Overall summary

Feature Barclays logoBarclays
Overall Rating 4/5 Stars
Charges & Fees 4/5 Stars
Investment Choices 5/5 Stars
Mobile App 2.5/5 Stars
Website 4.5/5 Stars
Ease of Use 3.5/5 Stars
Education 5/5 Stars

Charges and fees

Barclays Smart Investor charges a minimum of £4 per month once you have paid cash into your account or added an investment. Maximum fees are £125 a month, or £1,500 a year. Service fees are 0.2% per year for mutual trusts, 0.1% for shares and ETFs, or £48 (whichever is highest).

When it comes to buying and selling shares, you’ll pay £6 per trade on U.S. and U.K. shares and £9 for companies listed on other international markets including Germany and Canada. Fees are £3 for trading funds. If you have a regular investment plan, where you buy the same investment monthly, trading fees are reduced to £1 at Barclays.

Barclays Smart Investor sits mid-range among brokers when it comes to charges. As an example of how Barclays compares to other brokers on costs, if you hold £49,999 worth of shares and trade four times a year, you’ll pay charges of £74 a year with Barclays Smart Investor. This compares to £92.80 with Hargreaves Lansdown, £81.80 with AJ Bell, £75.84 with Interactive Investor. On the other hand, you’ll pay nothing if investing through a general dealing account with Trading 212, eToro or XTB.

For investors who regularly trade funds, the £3 fee per trade can be off-putting as many other brokers offer fund trades for free. You’d likely save money by investing through Vanguard, which specialises in low-cost funds and ETFs.

Scenario pricing: When calculating annual share dealing costs, trading frequency and account balance are the two most important factors to consider. Assuming a £30,000 portfolio in a traditional, taxable share dealing account, here are four scenarios of how much Barclays would cost based on trade frequency:

  • 5 trades per year = £78
  • 12 trades per year = £120
  • 36 trades per year = £264
  • 120 trades per year = £768
  • 3 fund trades per year = £69
Feature Barclays logoBarclays
Minimum Deposit info £0.0
Share Trading: 0-9 Deals/ Month info £6
Share Trading: 10-19 Deals/ Month info £6
Share Trading: 20+ Deals/ Month info £6
Annual Custody Fee: £0 - £250,000 info £48 - £500
Annual Custody Fee: £250K-£500K info £500 - £1,000
Annual Custody Fee: £500,000 - £1m info £1,000 - £1,500
Annual Custody Fee: £1m and over info £1,500
Bonds - Corporate - Fee info £6
Bonds - Government (Gilts) - Fee info £6
ETFs - Fee info £6
Investment Trusts - Fee info £6
Telephone Dealing Fee info £25
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Our guides can help you choose the right broker for you and the way you trade: whether you consider yourself an investing beginner, a more experienced active trader, or a mobile-first trading enthusiast.

Mobile trading apps

I found it quite difficult to log in to the Barclays Smart Investor app for the first time. You need to register to use the app, and for this you’ll need your account number and membership number — which is sent in the post. There are quite a lot of numbers and passwords to remember. It is probably much easier if you already bank with Barclays and have registered for online access to your accounts.

When I tested the app, I found it prone to glitches and error messages when I tried to fund my account. I also found it difficult to search stocks or find market information, even after putting money in my investment account.

A big downside is that customers who don’t have a Barclays current account can currently only view their investments, not trade, via the app. However, Barclays says it will be adding this additional functionality early next year. In the meantime you will have to manage your investments online or open a Barclays bank account.

Overall, I found the Barclays mobile app wasn’t a great user experience.


The Barclays Smart Wealth site is very comprehensive. Once you are into your account, you can easily find investments, view news and research, and manage and open an account.

It’s easy to search for a stock or fund at the top right of your account. When selecting an investment, such a stock, you can see a chart of historical performance up to five years. You can also compare how this stock has performed compared to several indices including the FTSE 100 and S&P 500.

You can’t compare how a stock has performed compared to other companies on a chart, which is a useful feature offered by many other platforms. However, you can see recent share price performance by similar companies in the sector in table form.

Prices are delayed by 15 minutes. Live prices are available but only by paying to access Active Trader run by external provider Web Financial Group (WFG). You’ll also get access to more charting tools and can create a watch list, which doesn’t appear to be an option through the Smart Investor platform. You have to open a separate account with Web Financial Group to access the Active Trader platform, as you cannot log in through Barclays Smart Investor.

Feature Barclays logoBarclays
Web Platform info Yes
iPhone App info Yes
Android App info Yes
Stock Alerts info No
Charting - Indicators / Studies info 0
Charting - Drawing Tools info 0
Charting - Notes info No
Charting - Display Corporate Events info No
Charting - Stock Overlays info No
Charting - Index Overlays info Yes

Investment choices

Through Barclays Smart Wealth, you can invest in companies listed on 10 stock exchanges overseas, including ones in the U.S., France, Germany, Sweden and Canada. You can also invest in U.K. bonds and have a choice of thousands of funds and hundreds of ETFs to invest in.

The Barclays Funds List helps narrow down the funds available. The list includes different types of active and passive funds Barclays believes are key to achieving a diverse portfolio.

Barclays offers financial advice, but only for those with investable assets above £500,000. This is handled by Barclays Wealth and does not come under the Smart Investor brand.

Feature Barclays logoBarclays
Share Trading info Yes
CFD Trading info No
Funds info Yes
Research - ETFs info Yes
Bonds - Corporate info Yes
Bonds - Government (Gilts) info Yes
Investment Trusts info Yes
Spread Betting info No
Crypto Trading info No
Advisor Services info Yes


Barclays’ research centre is very good, offering a wide range of tools and resources to help inform your investment decisions. You can see the top fund risers and fallers, the top sector risers and fallers, and see the companies offering the highest dividend yields. There is also extensive research and data on global stock markets. A podcast called Word on the Street, featuring investment insights, is published each week.

Overall Barclays offers useful information for both beginner investors and those who are more experienced. The research centre is particularly strong, giving access to comprehensive market data and news.

Feature Barclays logoBarclays
Education (Share Trading) info Yes
Education (Funds) info Yes
Education (Retirement) info Yes
Client Webinars info No
Client Webinars (Archived) info No

Final thoughts

Barclays offers a very good service for investors both at the start of their investment journey and those with large portfolios. There is a wide range of investment options and you can save through an ISA, general dealing account or SIPP.

Charges are mid-range but the platform is likely to work out to be expensive if you have a small portfolio of less than £10,000 and invest in mutual funds, or if you have a large portfolio in the hundreds of thousands of pounds. In the latter case, you may be better with a platform that charges flat fees, such as Halifax or Interactive Investor.

About Barclays

Barclays dates back to 1690, when two goldsmith bankers set up their own firm. The firm was eventually christened Barclays and is now a major global financial services provider, listed on the London and New York stock exchanges. Barclays offers current accounts, savings, credit cards, mortgages, investments and wealth management.

Is Barclays Smart Investor worth it?

Barclays Smart Investor is a solid investment platform that does not charge high fees and has a wide range of account options and investments. So yes, it can be worth opening an account if you are an investor focusing on long-term saving and have a decent investment portfolio. You’ll get the best experience if you already have a current account with Barclays.

Is Barclays Smart Investor safe?

Yes, Barclays Smart Investor is very safe. The Barclays name has been around for centuries and like all financial services firms it must adhere to strict conditions set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Who is eligible for Barclays Smart Investor?

Anyone in the U.K. is eligible for Barclays Smart Investor. It’s easy to set up a general dealing account, but be aware you can only pay into a stocks and shares ISA from one provider. You don’t need to hold a Barclays bank account to open an investment account, but account setup may go more smoothly for those who are already a Barclays bank customer.

What are Barclays Smart Investor’s fees?

Barclays Smart Investor charges £6 per trade for stocks, ETFS and bonds, and £3 for mutual funds. It also charges custody fees of between £4 and £125 a month, depending on the size of your holdings.

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For the Annual Review, we assessed, rated, and ranked 17 U.K. share dealing platforms over a 10-week time period. Each broker’s platforms and features were exhaustively tested by hand and graded on 53 different variables. In total, over 25,000 words of research were produced.

We thoroughly tested and compared features of prime interest to everyday investors, including but not limited to:

  • Investment choices, such as whether the broker offers trading of shares, ETFs, funds, bonds, and CFDs; and offers SIPP and ISA accounts.
  • The broker’s charges and fees for investing.
  • Functionality and design of mobile apps and website platform, and a fluid experience moving between app and web.
  • Usability of tools such as charting and watch lists.
  • Market research, such as screening, news and analysis.
  • Educational resources including tutorials, online courses, videos, webinars and articles.

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 lead researcher and writer, Elizabeth Anderson, has more than a decade’s experience as a financial journalist and market researcher. Elizabeth’s expertise is backed by a team of veteran fellow traders, data auditors, editors and project managers who work to ensure that reviews and guides are the most unbiased and complete in the industry. Read more about our team.

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About the Editorial Team

Elizabeth Anderson
Elizabeth Anderson

Elizabeth Anderson, lead writer and researcher, has been a financial journalist for more than a decade. In addition to her work with, she has written extensively for major publications including BBC, The Times and Bloomberg. A keen investor herself, she is passionate about helping people understand finance and investing.

Steven Hatzakis
Steven Hatzakis

Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Steven is an active fintech and crypto industry researcher and advises blockchain companies at the board level. Over the past 20 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.

Carolyn Kimball
Carolyn Kimball

Carolyn Kimball is managing editor for Reink Media and the lead editor for the Annual Review. Carolyn has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at major media outlets including NerdWallet, the Los Angeles Times and the San Jose Mercury News. She specializes in coverage of personal financial products and services, wielding her editing skills to clarify complex (some might say befuddling) topics to help consumers make informed decisions about their money.