Our bottom line
Trading 212 is geared towards ‘technical’ traders – those using chart patterns and news events to help determine when to buy and sell. Its user-friendly mobile app has over 15 million downloads and an average of 4.4 stars on Trustpilot. The app is free to download, with no fees on stock/ETF trades.
Top feature of Trading 212’s account
Trading 212’s practice account is ideal if you’re new to stock trading. All you need is your name and email to begin. Trading 212 lets you play with a virtual £50,000. View the tutorials, place fantasy trades and try its 60+ trading tools – all without risking a penny of your hard-earned cash.
Trading 212 commission prices
A Trading 212 account is free, with zero fees on stock and ETF trades. And you don’t pay any penalties for leaving your account idle. Trading 212 makes its money on the small “spread” between the bid and ask prices. Normally, when you buy a stock, you pay a little over the market price. When you sell a stock, you receive slightly under the market price. This leaves a small sum in the middle for your broker. These differences are nominal, but on several million trades add up to a lot of money.
Fees you should know about
Trading 212 lets you buy and sell UK stocks with zero fees. This really is a tremendous bonus. Many accounts charge you around £10 whenever you place a trade. If you’re a buy-and-hold investor, these fees don’t matter too much. However, if you’re trading frequently, they add up fast. Buy and sell just 5 stocks and you could lose around £100 even if those share prices didn’t fall! With Trading 212 you don’t have this worry.
In March 2021, Trading 212 introduced a currency conversion charge of 0.15% “applicable to all buy/sell orders and dividends received, but only for shares denominated in a currency different from your account currency”.
The app is free to download. You pay no subscription fee and no penalties for inactivity.
Buying shares and ETFs with Trading 212 Invest
Trading 212 offers 3,000+ stocks and ETFs from the US, UK and European markets. Buying shares is a breeze. Companies are divided by industry – financial, healthcare, energy, technology, you name it. Choose a sector that interests you. Trading 212 lets you compare short-term price charts at a glance. When you click a company, you’re shown the current market price. An easy-swipe slider lets you dial up to the number of shares you wish to buy. Before you place a trade, you’re shown a review of your order with a brief time limit to accept. Trading 212 also lets you buy fractional shares. This is a huge help if you have a small account or want to diversify across several companies. As I write this (06/07/2020), one share of Amazon costs over $3,000. That’s a lot of money to stake on one share. Fractional shares solve this problem by letting you invest in a piece of one share. You have more control over how much you buy.
If you’re unsure about the suitability of an investment for your circumstances, you’ll want to seek out your own independent financial advice.
Trading 212’s platform
Trading 212 is easy and intuitive. It’s actually fun to use. However, this can also be dangerous. When you’re on a mobile app, swiping around on a whim, it’s easy to make haphazard decisions with your money. Trading 212 also lets you toggle into a ‘CFD platform,’ where you can take leveraged positions “on margin.” The subject is too in-depth for this review. However, understand that leveraged trading is riskier. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, then you can lose a lot of money extremely fast. Fortunately, Trading 212 lets you practice with a virtual £50,000. It’s ideal if you’re still learning. You can play with the trading tools, watch its tutorials and make crazy bets with your pretend cash.
Trading 212’s research offerings
As I’ve said, Trading 212 seems to be geared towards the short-term trader. This is most evident in its research tools. Broadly speaking, there are 2 types of stock research – fundamental analysis and technical analysis. Fundamental analysis is all about judging the fair value of a company. You might look at debt levels, price-to-earnings ratios, cash flow etc. This helps you decide if the stock is a fair price. Technical analysis is based more on chart patterns. You might use indicators – like moving averages, trading volumes and Fibonacci lines – to help you estimate where the price is heading next.
Although both methods have merit, fundamental analysis is more suitable for long-term investors. And Trading 212 has virtually no fundamental research tools. However, as a technical platform, it’s terrific. You can pull up charts on any available company. Play around with its 60+ chart tools and indicators to help you gauge whether the price is going up or down. There’s also a newsfeed of economic data, with analyses to help you predict how the markets might react. If you’re a beginner, Trading 212 is also full of helpful video tutorials, so you can learn as you go along. These videos are clear and succinct, usually under ten minutes, with no waffle.
Do be mindful that any investment information and expert opinion provided on Trading212’s website is not personal advice and is designed for investors who are happy making their own investment decisions. If you’re unsure about the suitability of an investment for your circumstances, you’ll want to seek out your own independent financial advice.
Service and support
You can open a practice account with just your name and email address. If you like the platform, and you’re ready to use real money, you’ll need proof of your ID and address. Then, you can open your account with a £1 deposit. You can contact Trading 212 through 24/7 live chat, email and phone. However, I’ve noticed the website steers you towards their online ‘Help Centre’ and email contact form; I get the impression they’d prefer you didn’t call.
Is Trading 212 Invest right for you?
If you’re interested in short-term stock trading, then Trading 212 is certainly for you. You should at least set up a practice account to see how it works. The tools are easy and intuitive. It’s fun. And the tutorials don’t bog you down with technical jargon and waffle. Personally, I would use Trading 212 for my “casino money,” as opposed to a serious retirement portfolio. Yes, you could use this app to hold stocks long-term. (And you can even use an ISA wrapper, so your gains are tax-free). However, a diversified retirement portfolio might also include bonds and other types of funds not available on Trading 212. Or you may also want personalised financial advice from an expert consultant. Trading 212’s zero-fee trading is a huge positive, but shouldn’t be a deciding factor for buy-and-hold investors.
The Motley Fool receives compensation from some advertisers who provide products and services that may be covered by our editorial team. It’s one way we make money. But know that our editorial integrity and transparency matters most and our ratings aren’t influenced by compensation. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers.