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Compare Our Top-Rated Share Dealing Accounts in the UK

By The Motley Fool Personal Finance Team | Updated: 13th January 2022

Picking the best online brokerage for you doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, getting your trading portfolio up and running online can be fairly simple, and often cheap. We’ll help you understand how to compare brokers and where to get started.

What to consider when comparing online brokers:

  1. Our star rating: Our ratings are scored out of five stars and are based on the factors we believe are most important to the average user of brokerage accounts. We humbly suggest using this rating to help you decide, as we’ve spent countless hours making sure it brings the best platforms to the top.
  2. Fees: All else equal, lower share dealing fees and lower platform fees are better. When you pay fewer fees, more of your money can help build your portfolio. Our Brokerage Calculator can help you compare the total cost across brokers to get the full picture of what you’ll pay. 
  3. Investment selection: It’s ideal that your share dealing account has a wide selection of investments to choose from. Even if you plan to invest simply, a wider selection ensures that you can find the most low-cost provider.
  4. Platform ease of use: Look for platforms that are user-friendly and easy to navigate. You’ll want to be able to find information and place trades on the platforms quickly and easily.
  5. Extra features and benefits: Online brokers can vary considerably on how many bells and whistles come with their platform. Especially for beginner investors, look for extra offerings like company data and analyst research.

With these five factors in mind, you’re ready to start looking for the best share dealing account for you.

Fill 16

Compare trading platform costs

Trading fees, FX charges and holding fees can all add up. Our broker cost calculator makes it easy for you to see which providers offer the best value based on how you plan to invest.

Here are The Motley Fool's top-rated online trading platforms in the UK:

Broker Great For Star Rating
FinecoBank Multi-Currency Trading Account * Low-cost deals for active traders
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account * Long-term investing in shares
Interactive Investor Share Dealing Account Review * Trading funds and trusts, and monthly share dealing
DEGIRO Share Dealing Account * Experienced investors looking for low costs and a broad international reach
IG Share Dealing Account * Active investors who want lots of control and choice
Barclays Smart Investor Investment Account * Novice investors looking for support
Saxo Markets Share Dealing Account * Intermediate and advanced traders
Freetrade Simple and cheap investing.
eToro Active traders looking for zero-commission trading on stocks.
Halifax Share Dealing Account Regular investing (rather than trading) in funds and shares

Offers from our affiliate partners appear first and are ordered from highest rating to lowest, followed by other top-rated offers. You can read more about our ratings and page sort here. Offers from affiliate partners are marked with a *.

Top Product

Great For: Low-cost deals for active traders

5 stars question mark
Fineco Bank
Apply Now!

On FinecoBank's Secure Website

* Affiliate partner

FinecoBank’s Multi-Currency Trading Account lets you trade at low commission prices: UK share trades cost just £2.95 and US trades a flat $3.95. This account also lets you trade directly in many local currencies. Better still, there’s no ongoing platform fee to pay if you only hold equities, ETFs or bonds.

Read full review >

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

More details [+]

The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back all the money you put in. All investments carry a varying degree of risk and it’s important you understand the nature of these risks. The Motley Fool believes in building wealth through long-term investing and so we do not promote or encourage high-risk activities including day trading, CFDs, spread betting, cryptocurrencies, and forex.

Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, administrative costs, withholding taxes and different accounting and reporting standards. They may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection. Exchange rate charges may adversely affect the value of shares in sterling terms, and you could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Any performance statistics that do not adjust for exchange rate changes are likely to result in an inaccurate portrayal of real returns for sterling-based UK investors.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Low-cost trading on shares and ETFs: just £2.95 per UK trade, $3.95 per US trade, and €3.95 per European trade
  • No annual fee for holding shares, ETFs or bonds in your account
  • Free fund dealing, with a max. annual platform fee of 0.25% for holding funds
  • No additional fees charged for online currency exchange, just the cost of the spread
  • Welcome offer: open your account using promo code TRD500-ML and during your first 3 months you can trade without incurring commission charges – up to a total commission amount of £500 (T&Cs apply)

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

what we like

  • Low-cost trading fees and FX charges
  • No annual fee for holding shares, ETFs or bonds
  • Max. annual platform fee of 0.25% for holding funds
  • Welcome offer: during your first 3 months you can trade without incurring commission charges – up to a total commission amount of £500 (T&Cs apply)
  • Platform Fee:

    From £0.00

  • Share Dealing Charge:

    £2.95 for UK trades, $3.95 for US trades, €3.95 for EU trades

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

- More details

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Low-cost trading on shares and ETFs: just £2.95 per UK trade, $3.95 per US trade, and €3.95 per European trade
  • No annual fee for holding shares, ETFs or bonds in your account
  • Free fund dealing, with a max. annual platform fee of 0.25% for holding funds
  • No additional fees charged for online currency exchange, just the cost of the spread
  • Welcome offer: open your account using promo code TRD500-ML and during your first 3 months you can trade without incurring commission charges – up to a total commission amount of £500 (T&Cs apply)

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

Great For: Long-term investing in shares

5 stars question mark
Hargreaves Lansdown Logo
Apply Now!

On Hargreaves Lansdown's Secure Website

* Affiliate partner

Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) is the UK’s market leading share dealing broker, providing easy access to an extensive range of funds, ETFS, UK and overseas shares. HL offers a robust service with an easy-to-use website and plenty of free information to help make your investment decisions — although keep in mind this isn’t a substitute to seeking out independent financial advice. In our view, the ‘Fund and Share’ account is great choice for long-term share investors looking to manage their portfolio online.

Read full review >

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

More details [+]

The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back all the money you put in. All investments carry a varying degree of risk and it’s important you understand the nature of these risks. The Motley Fool believes in building wealth through long-term investing and so we do not promote or encourage high-risk activities including day trading, CFDs, spread betting, cryptocurrencies, and forex.

Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, administrative costs, withholding taxes and different accounting and reporting standards. They may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection. Exchange rate charges may adversely affect the value of shares in sterling terms, and you could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Any performance statistics that do not adjust for exchange rate changes are likely to result in an inaccurate portrayal of real returns for sterling-based UK investors.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Market-leading platform
  • No annual fee for holding shares & ETFs
  • Lower share dealing fees if you trade more often
  • † Other charges may apply - see website for details

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

what we like

  • Market-leading platform
  • No annual fee for holding shares & ETFs
  • Lower share dealing fees if you trade more often
  • Platform Fee:

    £0

  • Share Dealing Charge:

    £5.95 - £11.95

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

- More details

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Market-leading platform
  • No annual fee for holding shares & ETFs
  • Lower share dealing fees if you trade more often
  • † Other charges may apply - see website for details

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

Great For: Trading funds and trusts, and monthly share dealing

5 stars question mark
interactive investor logo
Apply Now!

On Interactive Investor's Secure Website

* Affiliate partner

Interactive Investor’s share dealing platform is straightforward and uncomplicated, which means it could be a good choice for both the newbie and the more seasoned investor. The platform provides access to a wealth of investment choices, including UK and International shares, funds, investment trusts and ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds). Interactive Investor will even alert you to the latest IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) as they come to the market.

Read full review >

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

More details [+]

The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back all the money you put in. All investments carry a varying degree of risk and it’s important you understand the nature of these risks. The Motley Fool believes in building wealth through long-term investing and so we do not promote or encourage high-risk activities including day trading, CFDs, spread betting, cryptocurrencies, and forex.

Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, administrative costs, withholding taxes and different accounting and reporting standards. They may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection. Exchange rate charges may adversely affect the value of shares in sterling terms, and you could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Any performance statistics that do not adjust for exchange rate changes are likely to result in an inaccurate portrayal of real returns for sterling-based UK investors.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Trading credit worth £7.99 every month with all three available plans
  • The platform is very user friendly and easy to use
  • The flat fee structure makes it easier to anticipate total fees for the year
  • Investors can choose between a selection of shares, funds, investment trusts and ETFs
  • The platform keeps investors informed about the latest IPOs
  • † Reflects the ‘Investor’ pricing plan. Fees for other plans differ. See our full review for more information.

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

what we like

  • Trading credit every month worth £7.99
  • A choice between three different price plans
  • Easy-to-use platform
  • Platform Fee:

    £9.99

  • Share Dealing Charge:

    £7.99

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

- More details

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Trading credit worth £7.99 every month with all three available plans
  • The platform is very user friendly and easy to use
  • The flat fee structure makes it easier to anticipate total fees for the year
  • Investors can choose between a selection of shares, funds, investment trusts and ETFs
  • The platform keeps investors informed about the latest IPOs
  • † Reflects the ‘Investor’ pricing plan. Fees for other plans differ. See our full review for more information.

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

Great For: Experienced investors looking for low costs and a broad international reach

4.5 stars question mark
DEGIRO Logo
Apply Now!

On DEGIRO's Secure Website

* Affiliate partner

For experienced investors who trade frequently, DEGIRO has a lot to offer: global reach, ultra-low costs, and a relatively easy-to-use trading platform that’s now available on mobile. For those who want a little more hand-holding, or who don’t trade so frequently – or globally – then a DEGIRO account will probably have less appeal.

 

Read full review >

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

More details [+]

The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back all the money you put in. All investments carry a varying degree of risk and it’s important you understand the nature of these risks. The Motley Fool believes in building wealth through long-term investing and so we do not promote or encourage high-risk activities including day trading, CFDs, spread betting, cryptocurrencies, and forex.

Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, administrative costs, withholding taxes and different accounting and reporting standards. They may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection. Exchange rate charges may adversely affect the value of shares in sterling terms, and you could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Any performance statistics that do not adjust for exchange rate changes are likely to result in an inaccurate portrayal of real returns for sterling-based UK investors.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • ‡£1.75 per trade for UK shares
  • ‡€0.00 per trade for US shares
  • Commission-fee trading on around 200 tracker ETFs on DEGIRO’s free selection list.
  • €2.00 commission per trade on other ETFs (€3.90 for Tradegate Exchange listed ETFs)
  • †A €2.50 “exchange connection fee” is charged per non-UK exchange on which you trade, per calendar year
  • Headquartered in The Netherlands, DEGIRO is subject to Dutch financial regulations, which bar brokers from holding client funds. Investors used to facilities such as dividend reinvestment will therefore find that DEGIRO can’t oblige

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

what we like

  • Fast, simple trading of shares and ETFs
  • Ultra-low commission charges
  • Direct access to a wide range of international exchanges
  • Platform Fee:

    From £0.00

  • Share Dealing Charge:

    From €0.00

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

- More details

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • ‡£1.75 per trade for UK shares
  • ‡€0.00 per trade for US shares
  • Commission-fee trading on around 200 tracker ETFs on DEGIRO’s free selection list.
  • €2.00 commission per trade on other ETFs (€3.90 for Tradegate Exchange listed ETFs)
  • †A €2.50 “exchange connection fee” is charged per non-UK exchange on which you trade, per calendar year
  • Headquartered in The Netherlands, DEGIRO is subject to Dutch financial regulations, which bar brokers from holding client funds. Investors used to facilities such as dividend reinvestment will therefore find that DEGIRO can’t oblige

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

Great For: Active investors who want lots of control and choice

4.5 stars question mark
IG Logo
Visit site

Go to IG’s Secure Website

* Affiliate partner

IG are establishing themselves as a top choice for traders worldwide. Their share dealing account offers active investors cheap commissions and an incredible choice of investments. Designed for more experienced investors, there’s a wide range of tools available on the platform. They also provide access to an excellent selection of investment information and resources.

Read full review >

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

More details [+]

The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back all the money you put in. All investments carry a varying degree of risk and it’s important you understand the nature of these risks. The Motley Fool believes in building wealth through long-term investing and so we do not promote or encourage high-risk activities including day trading, CFDs, spread betting, cryptocurrencies, and forex.

Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, administrative costs, withholding taxes and different accounting and reporting standards. They may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection. Exchange rate charges may adversely affect the value of shares in sterling terms, and you could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Any performance statistics that do not adjust for exchange rate changes are likely to result in an inaccurate portrayal of real returns for sterling-based UK investors.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Low commissions on US and UK shares for active traders (if you make three or more trades per month, the commission drops to £3 for UK shares/£0 for US shares the following month)
  • No account opening fee
  • Plenty of investing resources in the IG Academy
  • No custody fee if you make three or more trades in a quarter
  • † The platform fee is free if you make 3+ trades per quarter, otherwise it’s £24 per quarter. Commissions paid are deducted from the fee.

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

what we like

  • Huge choice of investment options
  • Good value for active traders
  • Excellent access to resources and learning materials
  • Platform Fee:

    £8.00

  • Share Dealing Charge:

    £8.00

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

- More details

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Low commissions on US and UK shares for active traders (if you make three or more trades per month, the commission drops to £3 for UK shares/£0 for US shares the following month)
  • No account opening fee
  • Plenty of investing resources in the IG Academy
  • No custody fee if you make three or more trades in a quarter
  • † The platform fee is free if you make 3+ trades per quarter, otherwise it’s £24 per quarter. Commissions paid are deducted from the fee.

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

Great For: Novice investors looking for support

4 stars question mark
Barclays Logo
Apply Now!

On Barclays's Secure Website

* Affiliate partner

Barclays Smart Investor makes it easy to take your first step into investing. For those who are beginners, or short on time, it has five Ready-made Investment funds created and monitored by experts.

Read full review >

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

More details [+]

The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back all the money you put in. All investments carry a varying degree of risk and it’s important you understand the nature of these risks. The Motley Fool believes in building wealth through long-term investing and so we do not promote or encourage high-risk activities including day trading, CFDs, spread betting, cryptocurrencies, and forex.

Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, administrative costs, withholding taxes and different accounting and reporting standards. They may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection. Exchange rate charges may adversely affect the value of shares in sterling terms, and you could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Any performance statistics that do not adjust for exchange rate changes are likely to result in an inaccurate portrayal of real returns for sterling-based UK investors.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Ready-made Investment funds for novice investors.
  • Comprehensive Research Centre.
  • A cost calculator is available to help you to work out potential fees before committing to opening an account.
  • † The platform fee is £4 per month minimum, or the sum of 0.2% p.a of funds plus 0.1% p.a of other investments in the account, whichever is greater based on the value of your investment. This fee is capped at £125 per month.
  • ‡ Dealing charge is £3 per online transaction for funds and £6 per online transaction for all other investments. All automated regular investments are £1 per transaction. All telephone transactions are £25 each.

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

what we like

  • Five Ready-made Investment funds
  • Barclays' Funds List can help narrow down choices
  • Simple pricing structure and a cap on monthly fees
  • Platform Fee:

    From £4

  • Share Dealing Charge:

    From £3

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

- More details

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Ready-made Investment funds for novice investors.
  • Comprehensive Research Centre.
  • A cost calculator is available to help you to work out potential fees before committing to opening an account.
  • † The platform fee is £4 per month minimum, or the sum of 0.2% p.a of funds plus 0.1% p.a of other investments in the account, whichever is greater based on the value of your investment. This fee is capped at £125 per month.
  • ‡ Dealing charge is £3 per online transaction for funds and £6 per online transaction for all other investments. All automated regular investments are £1 per transaction. All telephone transactions are £25 each.

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

Great For: Intermediate and advanced traders

4 stars question mark
Saxo Markets logo
Apply Now!

On Saxo's Secure Website

In terms of resources, expertise and tools, Saxo Markets is easily among the best platforms I’ve seen. However, it is not the easiest to use. Beginners may find it daunting.

While the fees are not high, they are infuriatingly complicated. And investors need a £500 minimum to get started. These are factors to consider if opening a small account.

Read full review >

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

More details [+]

The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back all the money you put in. All investments carry a varying degree of risk and it’s important you understand the nature of these risks. The Motley Fool believes in building wealth through long-term investing and so we do not promote or encourage high-risk activities including day trading, CFDs, spread betting, cryptocurrencies, and forex.

Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, administrative costs, withholding taxes and different accounting and reporting standards. They may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection. Exchange rate charges may adversely affect the value of shares in sterling terms, and you could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Any performance statistics that do not adjust for exchange rate changes are likely to result in an inaccurate portrayal of real returns for sterling-based UK investors.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Platform may be daunting for beginners
  • Long-winded and complicated fee structure
  • £500 account minimum
  • † There’s no platform fee, so long as your account is active. However, if you “only hold cash funds”, you’re charged £25 per quarter.

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

what we like

  • Outstanding research tools and analysis
  • Enormous range of investment options
  • Free demo version available
  • Platform Fee:

    £0.00

  • Share Dealing Charge:

    £8.00

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

- More details

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Platform may be daunting for beginners
  • Long-winded and complicated fee structure
  • £500 account minimum
  • † There’s no platform fee, so long as your account is active. However, if you “only hold cash funds”, you’re charged £25 per quarter.

* This is an offer from one of our affiliate partners. Click here to learn about how and why we work with partners.

Great For: Simple and cheap investing.

5 stars question mark

If you want cheap and simple investing right at your fingertips, Freetrade could be the platform for you: the commission-free trading coupled with just a £2 minimum investment makes it a great app to dip your toes into the world of stock-picking. 

Read full review >

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in. Tax benefits depend on individual circumstances and tax rules, which could change.

More details [+]

The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back all the money you put in. All investments carry a varying degree of risk and it’s important you understand the nature of these risks. Remember that taxes can be complicated and the tax benefits of this product depends on your personal circumstances. Tax rules are subject to change. The Motley Fool believes in building wealth through long-term investing and so we do not promote or encourage high-risk activities including day trading, CFDs, spread betting, cryptocurrencies, and forex.

Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, administrative costs, withholding taxes and different accounting and reporting standards. They may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection. Exchange rate charges may adversely affect the value of shares in sterling terms, and you could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Any performance statistics that do not adjust for exchange rate changes are likely to result in an inaccurate portrayal of real returns for sterling-based UK investors.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Free trading with no commission charge.
  • No monthly, annual, or inactivity charges for a basic general investment account.
  • Invest from as little as £2.
  • Ability to purchase fractional shares of US companies.
  • Additional monthly account fees apply for a Freetrade Stocks & Shares ISA or Freetrade Plus account.
  • On non-UK trades, a foreign exchange (FX) rate is charged equal to the current spot rate plus 0.45%.

what we like

  • Free trading
  • Simple and straightforward account opening
  • Attractive mobile app platform
  • PLATFORM FEE:

    £0.00
  • Share dealing charge:

    £0.00

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in. Tax benefits depend on individual circumstances and tax rules, which could change.

- More details

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Free trading with no commission charge.
  • No monthly, annual, or inactivity charges for a basic general investment account.
  • Invest from as little as £2.
  • Ability to purchase fractional shares of US companies.
  • Additional monthly account fees apply for a Freetrade Stocks & Shares ISA or Freetrade Plus account.
  • On non-UK trades, a foreign exchange (FX) rate is charged equal to the current spot rate plus 0.45%.

Great For: Active traders looking for zero-commission trading on stocks.

4.5 stars question mark

“The world’s leading social trading platform”, global multi-asset investment platform eToro offers zero-commission trades on stocks, while there is no platform fee to pay. For those looking to trade stocks from the UK and beyond regularly, who are happy with a taxable, US$-denominated account, eToro might be a great choice.

Read full review >

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

More details [+]

The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back all the money you put in. All investments carry a varying degree of risk and it’s important you understand the nature of these risks. The Motley Fool believes in building wealth through long-term investing and so we do not promote or encourage high-risk activities including day trading, CFDs, spread betting, cryptocurrencies, and forex.

Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, administrative costs, withholding taxes and different accounting and reporting standards. They may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection. Exchange rate charges may adversely affect the value of shares in sterling terms, and you could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Any performance statistics that do not adjust for exchange rate changes are likely to result in an inaccurate portrayal of real returns for sterling-based UK investors.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Being able to see what other traders are up to, via eToro's social trading features, might be appealing to some.
  • eToro does allow and promote leveraged trading using CFDs, and alternative investments, which can lead to excessive risk and losses in excess of initial capital (at the time of writing, eToro stated that 67% of CFD traders on its platform lose money)
  • As all accounts are denominated in US$, there will be a conversion charge for deposits and withdrawals made in GBP. There is also a $5 withdrawal charge.
  • Free demo account and eToro Trading School resource (including webinars, courses, podcasts, guides, etc)
  • eToro does not offer an ISA or SIPP so this will be a taxable account.

what we like

  • Zero-commission trading on stocks
  • Access to a wide selection of UK and international stocks and ETFs
  • No platform fee
  • PLATFORM FEE:

    £0.00
  • Share dealing charge:

    £0.00

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

- More details

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Being able to see what other traders are up to, via eToro's social trading features, might be appealing to some.
  • eToro does allow and promote leveraged trading using CFDs, and alternative investments, which can lead to excessive risk and losses in excess of initial capital (at the time of writing, eToro stated that 67% of CFD traders on its platform lose money)
  • As all accounts are denominated in US$, there will be a conversion charge for deposits and withdrawals made in GBP. There is also a $5 withdrawal charge.
  • Free demo account and eToro Trading School resource (including webinars, courses, podcasts, guides, etc)
  • eToro does not offer an ISA or SIPP so this will be a taxable account.

Great For: Regular investing (rather than trading) in funds and shares

4.5 stars question mark

If you’re keen to trade much more frequently than one day a month on average, perhaps there are more suitable platforms for your needs. But it suits me to invest my savings on a set day each month; doing so keeps my trading fees extremely low, and as such I’m a very happy accountholder!

Read full review >

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

More details [+]

The value of your investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back all the money you put in. All investments carry a varying degree of risk and it’s important you understand the nature of these risks. The Motley Fool believes in building wealth through long-term investing and so we do not promote or encourage high-risk activities including day trading, CFDs, spread betting, cryptocurrencies, and forex.

Stocks listed on overseas exchanges may be subject to additional dealing and exchange rate charges, administrative costs, withholding taxes and different accounting and reporting standards. They may have other tax implications, and may not provide the same, or any, regulatory protection. Exchange rate charges may adversely affect the value of shares in sterling terms, and you could lose money in sterling even if the stock price rises in the currency of origin. Any performance statistics that do not adjust for exchange rate changes are likely to result in an inaccurate portrayal of real returns for sterling-based UK investors.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Competitive £9.50 dealing fee relates to online transactions only; Halifax charges a £25 commission for share-dealing over the phone
  • No monthly fees to use the platform
  • Only £2 per trade using the scheduled investment service
  • Comprehensive Share Centre
  • Online Funds Centre
  • Dividend Diary option where you can see companies due to pay dividends each month
  • **No monthly fees to use the platform; £36 customer administration fee (covering any and all accounts held) taken annually.

what we like

  • Competitive reduced dealing commission once a month
  • No annual platform charge
  • Flat rate pricing avoids any confusing percentage-based fees
  • PLATFORM FEE:

    £0**
  • Share dealing charge:

    £9.50

Risk Warning

Investments involve various risks, and you may get back less than you put in.

- More details

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Competitive £9.50 dealing fee relates to online transactions only; Halifax charges a £25 commission for share-dealing over the phone
  • No monthly fees to use the platform
  • Only £2 per trade using the scheduled investment service
  • Comprehensive Share Centre
  • Online Funds Centre
  • Dividend Diary option where you can see companies due to pay dividends each month
  • **No monthly fees to use the platform; £36 customer administration fee (covering any and all accounts held) taken annually.

What is a share dealing broker?

A share dealing broker is a company that facilitates the process of buying and selling shares for investors. And while humans are still often involved in the process, there are often computers matching the buyers and sellers. 

In the past, we could say that brokers were the actual people that facilitated the buying and selling of shares. Today, it’s as often referring to a platform on which you buy and sell shares.

In short, when we talk about brokers, we’re talking about the companies and people that facilitate the buying and selling of shares. Simple as that.

Features of the best brokers

There’s no such thing as the best brokerage account, as what’s best for each person may look a little different. But when looking for the best broker for you, here are a few things to consider:

  • Low trading fees: The less fees you pay, the more money you keep to build your portfolio. There are more than just trading fees to consider, but all else being equal, the best brokers have lower fees.
  • Platform usability: It should be easy for beginners to navigate the platform, place trades, and manage their portfolio. Period.
  • Investment selection: The best brokers have wide selections of investments to choose from, whether that be major UK companies, index funds, or foreign stocks.
  • Extra features and analysis: Great brokers have extra features to help beginner investors, like stock screeners, company data, and sometimes even analyst research.
  • Customer service: It’s essential to have good customer service for when you inevitably have to get in touch with someone. Whether that be mobile apps, online chat, or phone lines, frequent availability and quick response times are a must.

Understanding share dealing fees

There are several different share dealing fees, so it’s important to understand the nuances of each one. Note that you should always read the fine print of your brokerage account, as there may be additional fees that we’re not listing here. These are just the few main ones you should be aware of.

To see which provider has the lowest fees based on how you plan to invest, check out our Brokerage Calculator.

Platform fees

Sometimes this is called a ‘platform fee’, sometimes it’s a ‘monthly fee’ and sometimes it may be called something else, but the bottom line is that this is an ongoing fee that you have to pay to maintain your account. In some cases it’s paid monthly, while in others you pay once per quarter.

Trading fees

Trading fees (or dealing fees) are the fees you pay when you buy or sell shares. Most brokers charge a flat fee, such as £10 per trade, but some charge a percentage of the trade value instead.

Fund charges 

In some cases, brokers charge management fees if you hold funds (as opposed to just shares) in your portfolio. These charges vary more than most other fees you’ll face, so if you plan to hold funds in your account, it’s a very good idea to pay attention to these fees.

Overseas dealing charges 

When you purchase shares of companies outside of the UK, there are often extra charges that come along with that. In some cases this is a currency conversion fee (a percentage of your trade value), in some cases it’s a flat fee and in some cases it’s a conversion fee plus an additional flat fee.

How have trading platforms in the UK changed over time?

The biggest change in trading platforms over the last few years is the move from full-service brokers to online brokers.

Full-service brokers

As mentioned, in the past, a broker might actually be a person that you’d go to — or call on the phone — for help buying or selling shares. And that broker would almost always charge you a very generous commission for those services.

Today, you can still find these ‘full-service brokers’. Though maybe not as comparably expensive as in the past, they’re still quite expensive. And they’re probably not terribly interested in working with you unless your account has seven digits or more.

Online brokers

One of the biggest changes to this picture in our lifetimes was the rise of online share dealing brokers. These are websites focused on enabling you to trade the shares you want, quickly, easily and at a much lower cost than the full-service brokers.

These days, most brokers charge £12 or less for a standard share trade. And while the full-service brokers look for massive account sizes, account minimums at online brokers are typically very low, if there’s a minimum at all.

This landscape continues to change though. As online share dealing brokers continue to grow, they’re offering more and more services that you’d previously only expect to find at a full-service broker. So depending on how much assistance you need placing trades or researching shares, you may be able to find online brokers that offer a higher level of support.

Reasons to choose an online broker

The answer here may seem simple: cost. For many investors, the cost of a full-service broker eats up most, all or even more-than-all of their investment gains. It simply doesn’t make sense.

The low fees of online share dealing make much more sense for investors without massive portfolios. Which, of course, isn’t to say that investors with massive portfolios shouldn’t use online brokers — after all, doesn’t everyone love saving money?

But the appeal of an online brokerage account goes beyond the fact that the fees are much more attractive. Here are a few additional reasons that we like online brokers:

  • Ease of use — Fancy making share trades in your pyjamas? With an online broker, you can simply turn on your computer — or, in many cases, your mobile — and you can quickly be investing.
  • Research — Not all online brokers offer research as part of their platform, but many do. And while it’s important to come to your own conclusions about your investments, getting additional insight from quality research can be helpful in the process.
  • Screeners and other tools — Like the research, whether you’ll have access to screeners and other investing tools varies from broker to broker. However, many online brokers, even those with the lowest commissions, do have tools that you can use to quickly narrow down the daunting number of companies to an easier list to research.
  • Low account minimums — It’s not uncommon to find online brokers now that have no account minimum. And those that do, tend to have low minimums. That means that you can start investing earlier in your financial life. And at least in the past, the earlier you started investing, the better off you were.

What is the best online trading platform in the UK?

There’s no one-size-fits-all here, so when choosing an investment platform, it’s important to consider your needs and not get hung up with an outside view of which broker is the ‘best’ (yes, even if that’s our ‘best’!).

To do this, you’ll want to consider what is most important to you in a broker. The top online brokers have compelling offerings, but these offerings vary slightly and will advantage certain investors. To make the best choice, it may help to consider what kind of investor you are, since that can help match you up with one online investment account or another.

Here are a few examples of investor types and the type of broker that they might match well with:

Brand new to investing

Beginner investors will probably want a balanced offering. Paying sky high commissions won’t work, since you likely don’t have a very big portfolio. But the stripped-down platforms that you find with most ultra-low-cost brokers may prove bewildering to a new investor. A bigger name online broker with a balanced offering will also likely offer tools and research that can help a new investor start off on the right foot.

Steady fund-focused investor

This type of investor will want to look for an online stock broker that offers a broad selection of funds, and/or a good selection of low-fee funds. If you’re this kind of investor, you’ll also want to aim to steer clear of fund custody fees and inactivity fees.

Hardcore investing veteran

As someone with many years of experience, this kind of investor can typically leave aside extra research and a pretty interface in favor of dirt-cheap commissions. They still may want some screeners and other tools to help in their search for the very best shares, but even the lowest-rate online brokers tend to have some tools for their customers.

Of course this doesn’t cover all of the possible types of investors. And even among these three types there may be crossovers. For instance, a hardcore investing veteran may be willing to pay a bit more in commission in order to have access to research. And perhaps there’s a brand new investor that’s not scared off by a spartan investing interface. But the bottom line is to understand what your needs are as an investor, and look for those features in your online broker.

The difference between investing and trading

We like to think of investing as a long-term approach to market, where you are buying and holding in order to build wealth over an extended period of time. Trading, on the other hand, typically refers to shorter-term strategies and higher-volume activities to maximize returns daily, weekly, or monthly. 

At The Motley Fool, we believe that long-term investing is your best bet at building wealth over time. But those who want to focus more on short-term trading, or do a mix of both trading and investing, still have the option to choose online brokers or online trading platforms, depending on how you want to use them.

Online trading platforms

  • Typically have lower fees because of higher levels of activity
  • Typically have access to more detailed information charts and data
  • May require a certain number of trades per month

Online brokers

  • May have lower commission rates for those who trade more than a certain number of trades or over a certain value per month or quarter
  • Less likely to allow you to trade currencies or futures
  • More likely to offer research and stock-screening tools

If you’re new to investing or are an experienced investor looking to do a good amount of research, you’re better off sticking with a basic online broker. If you’re an experienced investor just using a broker for executing trades or simply wanting to trade in the short-term, an online trading platform is more likely a better fit for you.

How much money do I need to start investing?

If you’re new to investing in stocks, you might think that you need a large sum of money to open a share dealing account. These days, this simply isn’t the case. Some online brokerage firms have required minimums, but how much money you need to start investing depends more on what you invest in, where you open an account, and your personal preferences and financial circumstances.

Of course, the more you invest, the more you stand to gain – or lose. Before you decide how much you want to invest, it’s important to evaluate the health of your entire financial picture and your willingness to potentially lock your money away for a number of years, or lose it entirely.

How to buy shares online

In order to buy shares, you’ll need a share dealing account. This is where you’ll buy, sell and hold your shares. Once you’re set up with a share dealing account, you need to decide which shares you want to buy.

Once you’ve decided on the shares to buy, you will place the trade through your share dealing service. You’ll be alerted by your broker when that order has been ‘filled’ and the shares will appear in your portfolio. For a highly-traded share that you buy with a market order, completing the trade could happen in a fraction of a second. While a limit order on a thinly-traded share could take hours to complete, if your broker is able to fill the trade at all.

While becoming a good investor takes patience, study and practice, buying the shares isn’t terribly complicated at all. Looking for more help? Check out this step-by-step breakdown of how to buy shares.

Our ratings methodology for share dealing accounts

Our ratings are scored out of five stars and are based on the factors we believe are most important to the average user of brokerage accounts. Below are the elements we focused on in creating our ratings:

  • Fees – In general, we prefer the lowest fees possible. We evaluated a broker’s platform and trading fees, fund charges, and overseas dealing charges and rewarded the brokers with the lowest fees.
  • Platform features – Stock screeners, market news and third-party research can help investors find new shares to invest in. We gave extra points to those share dealing accounts that have better research and screening tools.
  • User friendliness – Some share dealing accounts are simply easier to use than others. In these accounts, navigating the site, placing trades and managing your portfolio is more straightforward and makes life easier for newer investors in particular. ‘Pro’ investors may be fine to trade user-friendliness for lower trading fees, but we awarded points for platforms that were easier to use.
  • Introductory offers – We love an extra boost, so it’s great when a trading platform offers that in the form of free trades or discounted trades for some period of time after you open your account.

Why you can trust us to compare online brokers

Here at The Motley Fool, we aim to do right by you. We’re looking for the best financial products, and we try to lay out the pros and the cons of those products for you in plain English. The financial world can often seem dark and tangled, so our hope is to help shed some light and untangle it. As a company, we’ve been doing this for more than two decades, in the UK, the US, Australia, Germany, and beyond. When our work can help make someone’s financial life just a bit easier or richer, we consider that a job well done.

Investing in the stock market: for experts only?

One concern that new investors may have is that investing in the stock market is only for professionals. Make no mistake about it: Investing in the stock market puts your money at risk, and you can lose money. Full stop.

So why bother trading stocks at all? The answer is that in exchange for putting their money at risk, stock market investors in past years have been rewarded with returns that have often bested other types of investments.

The trick then, is to understand how to buy shares and trade stocks with less risk. And indeed there are some things you can do when buying shares that will make it less likely that you’ll lose a large share, or all, of your money. Here are a few tips that could help:

  • Avoid higher-risk trading – Not all online trading is equally risky. Trading penny stocks, CFD trading, forex trading, spread betting, and day trading are all forms of higher-risk trading. We won’t delve right now into when and whether these are appropriate, but if you’re a beginner, these will be far riskier for you.
  • Think long term – Day trading tends to be just that — trading that jumps in and out of stocks in a day or less. And often when people speak of ‘stock trader’, they’re referring to someone trading stocks over relatively short periods. Investing for the long term can often help reduce risk and improve returns. This is because investing for the long term can help ‘smooth out’ the random swings in the stock market and help you take advantage of compounding returns.
  • Consider a mutual fund, index tracker or ETF instead of individual stocks – Individual stocks can be great investments, but your entire investment rides on the success (or failure) of that one company. By investing in a mutual fund, index tracker or ETF (exchange traded fund) you instantly diversify your investment, thereby reducing your overall risk.
  • Buy shares that you understand – Each share of stock represents a share ownership in a real company. Investing successfully means understanding what you’re investing in and why. There are thousands of companies listed on the London Stock Exchange and thousands more on stock exchanges around the world. That means lots to choose from. Especially when you’re just starting buying shares, why not choose companies that you already understand? That could mean companies that you already do business with or it could mean companies that you are very familiar with from your profession.
  • Limit how much you invest – I’ve saved this for last, since, when it comes to lowering risk, this may be the most important stock trading tip of all. When you’re buying shares online, you can only lose what you invest. So if you invest less, you have the potential to lose less. The opposite is true as well. That is, when you invest less money, you stand to profit less from your investing. But when you’re just learning, this is a great way to reduce risk.

There are major benefits from investing in stocks. But it is very possible to lose money. And so it’s important that you make the ‘investment’ to learn about investing, how to invest well and how to limit your risk — especially when you’re starting out.



Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a good online share dealing account?

The short answer is: low fees, a wide selection of investments, an easy-to-use trading platform, and good investment research and tools.

The slightly longer answer is that you should find a balance among those elements to find a platform that fits your needs.

How do you choose a stock broker?

Start by considering your needs as an investor. If you're brand new to investing, for example, you may want to choose a broker that offers a simple-to-use site and plenty of investment research to buy and sell shares. If you're more experienced, you could prioritise simply choosing the broker that keeps your fees the lowest.

How do I buy shares in the UK?

In order to buy shares, you'll need a share dealing account. This is where you'll buy, sell and hold your shares. Once you're set up with a share dealing account, you need to decide which shares you want to buy (how to do that requires a much longer answer!). Once you've decided on the shares to buy, you will place the trade through your share dealing service. Looking for more help? Check out this guide to learn more about online share dealing

What is the best online trading platform in the UK?

There’s no one-size-fits-all here, so when choosing an online broker, it’s important to consider your needs and not get hung up with an outside view of which broker is the ‘best’ (yes, even if that’s our ‘best’!).

To do this, you’ll want to consider what is most important to you in your broker. The top online brokers have compelling offerings, but these offerings vary slightly and will advantage certain investors. To make the best choice, it may help to consider what kind of investor you are, since that can help match you up with one online investment account or another.


Learn more about share dealing


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.