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Compare Our 13 Top-Rated Stocks and Shares ISAs of 2022

By George Sweeney (DipFA) | Updated: 27th January 2022

On this page, we’ve listed our top-rated providers of stocks and shares ISAs based on our experts’ extensive ongoing research of the market. We’ll help you understand how stocks and shares ISAs work and how to compare offers for yourself. 

What to consider when comparing stocks and shares ISAs:

  1. Our star rating: Our ratings are based on factors that we believe are important to the average user of stocks and shares ISAs. We humbly suggest using this rating to help you decide, as we’ve spent countless hours making sure it brings the best accounts to the top.
  2. Fees: Aim to keep fees as low as possible, but be sure to read the fine print. One platform might charge a very low platform fee, but have high trading fees. Make sure you evaluate the total cost you’ll face from an account.
  3. Platform ease of use: Look for platforms that are user-friendly and easy to navigate. 
  4. Investment selection: It’s ideal that your stocks and shares ISA platform has a wide selection of investments. Even if you plan to invest simply – for example, in low-cost ETFs – a wider selection ensures that you can find the most low-cost provider.
  5. Extra features and benefits: The features that tend to matter most in a stocks and shares ISA account are news, research and tools. Be sure to check out the extra offerings an account may have.

With these five factors in mind, you’re ready to start looking for the best stocks and shares ISA for you.

The Motley Fool's top-rated stocks and shares ISAs at a glance:

Broker Great For Star Rating
IG Stocks & Shares ISA* Active investors who want a lot of choice
Interactive Investor Stocks and Shares ISA * Beginners or experts looking to invest and minimise tax
Hargreaves Lansdown Stocks and Shares ISA * Investors making lots of trades or those who prefer funds
Barclays Smart Investor Investment ISA * Investors that want assistance when choosing stocks and funds
Fineco Bank Stocks & Shares ISA * Both technical traders and those investing in UK equities
Saxo Markets Stocks and Shares ISA * Experienced investors interested in leading global exchanges
Charles Stanley Direct Stocks and Shares ISA Straightforward investors who prefer funds
Halifax Stocks and Shares ISA Regular tax-free investing in funds and shares
iWeb Stocks and Shares ISA Investors looking for a simple, low-cost Stocks and Shares ISA
Fidelity Stocks & Shares ISA Novice investors.

Full list of The Motley Fool’s top-rated stocks and shares ISAs:

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 *.

Great For: Active investors who want a lot of choice

5 stars question mark
IG Logo
Visit Site

Go to IG's Secure Website

The IG Stocks & Shares ISA not only offers a huge choice of investments, but also two solid ‘account type’ options. You can opt for IG’s successful Share Dealing account, which offers active investors cheap commissions and a large variety of investments. Alternatively, if you like a more managed approach, then you can go with IG’s Smart Portfolio ISA, where your investments are fully managed based on your chosen risk profile. Plus, if you just can’t choose between the two, there is also the option to split your ISA allowance between the two account types.

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

  • 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, exit or transfer fees
  • Management fee for Smart Portfolio ISA of 0.5%
  • No custody fee if you make three or more trades in a quarter
  • **The platform fee is free on the Share Dealing ISA if you make 3+ traders 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

  • The ability to split ISA allowance between two account types
  • Huge choice of investment options
  • Access to resources and learning materials
  • PLATFORM FEE:

    £8**
  • Share dealing charge:

    £8.00

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

  • 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, exit or transfer fees
  • Management fee for Smart Portfolio ISA of 0.5%
  • No custody fee if you make three or more trades in a quarter
  • **The platform fee is free on the Share Dealing ISA if you make 3+ traders 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: Beginners or experts looking to invest and minimise tax

5 stars question mark
interactive investor logo
Apply Now!

On Interactive Investor's Secure Website

Interactive Investor is a market-leading investing platform, and their Stocks and Shares ISA is top-notch. With unparalleled investment options, this seems great for beginners and more experienced investors. The free trade makes it good value for people investing on a monthly basis, and there are additional plans to suit more active investors.

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

  • Invest up to £20,000 free from tax on gains
  • Flat fee gives you access to stocks and shares ISA, junior ISA, and trading account
  • Different plans available for more frequent traders
  • SIPP can be added for £10 per month
  • ** 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

  • Excellent choice of investment options and resources
  • One free trade every month worth £7.99
  • No minimum opening amount and no exit or transfer fees
  • ** Reflects the ‘Investor’ monthly pricing plan. Fees for other plans differ. See our full review for more information.
  • 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. Tax benefits depend on individual circumstances and tax rules, which could change.

- More details

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Invest up to £20,000 free from tax on gains
  • Flat fee gives you access to stocks and shares ISA, junior ISA, and trading account
  • Different plans available for more frequent traders
  • SIPP can be added for £10 per month
  • ** 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: Investors making lots of trades or those who prefer funds

4.5 stars question mark
Hargreaves Lansdown Logo
Apply Now!

On Hargreaves Lansdown's Secure Website

As the UK’s largest investment platform, Hargreaves Lansdown are experienced at what they do. For years they’ve been a prominent and reliable choice for people looking to invest. The stocks and shares ISA from Hargreaves Lansdown is well rounded and will suit many long-term investors, especially those who prefer funds in my opinion.

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

  • Share dealing charge gets cheaper with more trades
  • Ready-made portfolios available
  • Open an account with just £100 or £25 per month
  • †0.45% on first £250,000 of funds (lower thereafter), 0.45% on shares capped at £3.75 per month

* 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

  • No charge for buying or selling funds
  • Excellent mobile app for share dealing
  • 12 month account satisfaction guarantee or refund of account charges (terms apply)
  • PLATFORM FEE

    Up to 0.45%†

  • SHARE DEALING CHARGE

    £11.95

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

  • Share dealing charge gets cheaper with more trades
  • Ready-made portfolios available
  • Open an account with just £100 or £25 per month
  • †0.45% on first £250,000 of funds (lower thereafter), 0.45% on shares capped at £3.75 per month

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

Great For: Investors that want assistance when choosing stocks and funds

4 stars question mark
Barclays Logo
Apply Now!

On Barclays's Secure Website

* Affiliate partner

Investors can choose from thousands of different investments in Barclays’ investment ISA, including funds, UK shares and bonds. Smart Investor itself is an online direct investing service that allows account holders to research potential investments.

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

  • There is no charge for setting up the account, for account inactivity or for cash withdrawals.
  • 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

  • Choose from thousands of investments
  • Five Ready-made Investment funds available
  • Barclays' Funds List can help narrow down fund choice
  • 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. Tax benefits depend on individual circumstances and tax rules, which could change.

- More details

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • There is no charge for setting up the account, for account inactivity or for cash withdrawals.
  • 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: Both technical traders and those investing in UK equities

4 stars question mark
Fineco Bank Logo
Apply Now!

On Fineco's Secure Website

Fineco’s Stocks & Shares ISA is one of the cheaper brokerages available. And still, its research tools are far superior to many of its low-cost peers! There’s also 0% platform fee until the end of the 2022/23 tax year if you open your ISA by 30 April 2022 (with a maximum 0.25% platform fee when the promotion ends).

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

  • No minimum deposit needed to launch your account.
  • Regular platform fee is 0.25% of your account balance per year, but capped at £2.95 per month†.
  • 0% platform fee until the end of the 2022/23 tax year if you open your ISA by 30 April 2022.
  • You need a Fineco bank account to make quick cash deposits.
  • Research tools geared towards technical traders using price chart analysis.

* 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

  • Simple, extremely competitive platform fee 
  • No hidden charges
  • Platform demo available with a personal trading coach
  • Platform Fee

    £2.95†

  • Share Dealing Charge

    £2.95

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

  • No minimum deposit needed to launch your account.
  • Regular platform fee is 0.25% of your account balance per year, but capped at £2.95 per month†.
  • 0% platform fee until the end of the 2022/23 tax year if you open your ISA by 30 April 2022.
  • You need a Fineco bank account to make quick cash deposits.
  • Research tools geared towards technical traders using price chart analysis.

* 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 interested in leading global exchanges

4 stars question mark
Saxo Markets logo
Apply Now!

On Saxo's Secure Website

Saxo’s Stocks & Shares ISA has many of the elements an experienced and confident investor might want and need. It has a substantial range of eligible stocks, ETFs and investment trusts across leading global exchanges.

For investors who know what type of investments they want, they are likely to find it here with Saxo. Added to that, its pricing looks competitive and its risk management features help provide a safety net for even the most capable of investors.

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

  • † £25 platform fee per quarter if your account is inactive and continues to hold funds. No platform fee if you are paying a custody fee of 0.12% p.a. (0.08% for VIP pricing).
  • ‡ £8 share dealing commission for UK exchanges.
  • 11,000 eligible stocks, ETFs, investment trusts and bonds across global exchanges
  • Digital support as standard

* 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

  • Like any stocks and shares ISA, invest up to £20,000 in a tax-free account
  • Risk management tools
  • No platform fee if you pay a custody fee
  • PLATFORM FEE:

    †£25
  • Share dealing charge:

    ‡£8

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

  • † £25 platform fee per quarter if your account is inactive and continues to hold funds. No platform fee if you are paying a custody fee of 0.12% p.a. (0.08% for VIP pricing).
  • ‡ £8 share dealing commission for UK exchanges.
  • 11,000 eligible stocks, ETFs, investment trusts and bonds across global exchanges
  • Digital support as standard

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

Great For: Straightforward investors who prefer funds

4.5 stars question mark

If you mostly invest in funds or make a small number of trades, I believe you’ll find Charles Stanley Direct’s Stocks and Shares ISA particularly appealing.

Additionally, offering ready-made multi-asset funds is really helpful for beginner investors. 

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

  • Flat £11.50 commission for stocks and shares trading
  • Invest from just £50 per month or £500 lump sum
  • Flexible ISA so you can withdraw money simply
  • Easily invest and manage your portfolio using the app
  • **Based on assumed account holdings of £10,000 for comparability. Platform fee is 0.35% of your holdings capped at £20 per month maximum

what we like

  • No charges for buying or selling funds
  • No platform fees if you make one or more paid trades per month
  • Ready-made multi-asset funds with low fees
  • PLATFORM FEE:

    £20**
  • Share dealing charge:

    £11.50

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

  • Flat £11.50 commission for stocks and shares trading
  • Invest from just £50 per month or £500 lump sum
  • Flexible ISA so you can withdraw money simply
  • Easily invest and manage your portfolio using the app
  • **Based on assumed account holdings of £10,000 for comparability. Platform fee is 0.35% of your holdings capped at £20 per month maximum

Great For: Regular tax-free investing in funds and shares

4.5 stars question mark

By conducting trading during its Countdown Commission offer periods, I’m able to keep costs very low. What’s more, the recent introduction of a £36 annual customer administration fee that covers all Halifax investing accounts I hold means an even cheaper experience than I had before.

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

  • Competitive £9.50 dealing fee relates to online transactions only; Halifax charges a £25 commission for share-dealing over the phone
  • Only £2 per trade using the scheduled investment service
  • Invest up to £20,000 in a tax-free account
  • 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

  • No custody charges for fund holdings
  • Competitive reduced dealing commission once a month
  • Flat rate pricing avoids any confusing percentage-based fee
  • PLATFORM FEE:

    £0**
  • Share dealing charge:

    £9.50

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

  • Competitive £9.50 dealing fee relates to online transactions only; Halifax charges a £25 commission for share-dealing over the phone
  • Only £2 per trade using the scheduled investment service
  • Invest up to £20,000 in a tax-free account
  • 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.

Great For: Investors looking for a simple, low-cost Stocks and Shares ISA

4.5 stars question mark

For beginner & intermediate investors, the iWeb Stocks and Shares ISA account shouldn’t be ignored. Operated by Halifax Share Dealing, this account offers a wide range of tax-efficient, lower cost investment opportunities. However, limited access to foreign markets might frustrate more adventurous investors.

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

  • Basic platform with no mobile app
  • Access to investments across seven world markets
  • † One-time £100 fee when you open an account, but you won’t pay any annual administration fees
  • ‡ If you sell or buy any international stock, iWeb converts the price into GBP, adjusts the exchange rate by 1.5%, and keeps the difference as commission
  • Invest up to £20,000 per tax year into an ISA
  • Access to research tools

what we like

  • Low commissions and no platform fees
  • No penalties for inactivity
  • UK based telephone and live chat available 5 days a week
  • PLATFORM FEE:

    £0.00†
  • Share dealing charge:

    From £5‡

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

  • Basic platform with no mobile app
  • Access to investments across seven world markets
  • † One-time £100 fee when you open an account, but you won’t pay any annual administration fees
  • ‡ If you sell or buy any international stock, iWeb converts the price into GBP, adjusts the exchange rate by 1.5%, and keeps the difference as commission
  • Invest up to £20,000 per tax year into an ISA
  • Access to research tools

Great For: Novice investors.

4 stars question mark

Fidelity’s Stocks & Shares ISA is ideal for novice investors. Its tools help you find suitable investments based on your own specific preferences. While it’s not your cheapest option, Fidelity’s fund discounts may help you recoup the cost of your account. Small account holders can also reduce the cost by setting up a regular savings plan.

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

  • Easy-to-use search tools help target the right investments for you.
  • Discounts available on over 200 funds.
  • Call Centres based in the UK and Ireland.
  • *Platform fee 0.20-0.35% of your account balance per year
  • **Sharedealing charge £10 online, £30 over the phone.

what we like

  • Easy-to-use search tools help target the right investments for you.
  • Discounts available on over 200 funds.
  • Call Centres based in the UK and Ireland.
  • PLATFORM FEE:

    £45*
  • Share dealing charge:

    £10**

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

  • Easy-to-use search tools help target the right investments for you.
  • Discounts available on over 200 funds.
  • Call Centres based in the UK and Ireland.
  • *Platform fee 0.20-0.35% of your account balance per year
  • **Sharedealing charge £10 online, £30 over the phone.

What is a stocks and shares ISA?

A stocks and shares ISA (individual savings account) is a tax-free investment account that allows you to invest your savings up to a certain allowance each year. This can include individual shares, investments funds, bonds, and a whole host of other options (depending on the platform you use).

Using a stocks and shares ISA can be a terrific way of investing for your future because it gives you hugely generous tax advantages that you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else.

Any money held inside the wrapper is shielded from tax on things like dividend and capital gains tax. This can help turbo-charge your overall investment returns throughout your lifetime.


A stocks and shares ISA protects your investments from taxes on both dividends and on capital gains, and can allow you to build a diversified portfolio over time, outside of the grasp of the taxman. You can tuck away up to £20,000 a year into one, and can access it at any age, making it one of the most invaluable tools for UK investors.

How do stocks & shares ISAs work?

Simply put, a stocks and shares ISA is a type of savings account that you can use to invest and potentially earn a return. You can use your ISA allowance to buy shares in listed companies each tax year, resulting in potential profits earned from the equities.

Any UK tax resident over 18 can hold an account. You have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to deciding where to hold your ISA and different platforms will suit different types of investors.

Whether you want complete control over your investments and lots of choice, or if you would prefer fewer options and an easy-to-use interface, there is a stocks and shares ISA for you.

What makes a good Stocks and Shares ISA account?

There are four elements that separate the mediocre stocks and shares ISA accounts from the best ones:

  1. Low fees
  2. Easy to use
  3. Helpful account features
  4. Wide selection of investments

For different investors the order of importance of each element could be different. But if you focus on finding a platform with a combination of these elements, you’ve likely found yourself a fantastic account.

Let’s take a look at each factor: 

1. Low fees

When it comes to fees, aim to keep them as low as possible. The main fees to consider are the ongoing platform fees, trading fees, and fund custody fees. Understanding the total costs is important because this will have an impact on your long-term returns. So make sure you understand all the charges when looking into a platform.

2. Easy to use

To determine the ease of use of a platform, you can sometimes sign up for a sample account with a broker. If that’s not possible, you can simply navigate around the broker’s main website. If the main website is difficult to navigate and unhelpful, then it’s likely the accounts may not be especially user friendly either.

3. Helpful account features

The features that tend to matter most in stocks and shares ISA accounts are: news, research, and tools. There are free resources online for all three of these, but for some investors, having news and research directly in their investing account is useful. These tools can also help you narrow down the options, when looking for investments you want to invest in.

4. Wide selection of investments

Finally, it’s ideal if your stocks and shares ISA platform has a wide selection of investments. Even if you plan to invest in simple funds, your strategy could evolve as you learn more about investing. For those of you looking for individual shares across different markets, it’s vital to have a large choice of options available to create a well-diversified investment portfolio.


When can you invest in a Stocks and Shares ISA?

The ISA allowance is yours on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis. It expires at midnight on 5 April each year, and if you haven’t used it by then, you lose the allowance for good. However, if you miss the deadline, your new allowance kicks in the very next day, on 6 April.

Waiting could be a mistake, though. We all have our long to-do lists, but you don’t want to let saving for retirement fall to the bottom of that list. The sooner you start the better, as that way your money has much longer to grow.

How much can you invest in an ISA?

Currently, you can invest up to £20,000 into your stocks and shares ISA account during the 2021/2022 tax year. This has been the limit for a number of years, but it could change and be made either higher or lower in the future.

Therefore, it’s well worth trying to make the most of your ISA allowance each tax year because they may not be there forever. And any unused allowance does not get carried over into the following year.

The 2021/2022 tax year ISA allowance is £20,000.

Fees on stocks and shares ISAs

Here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of fees you may encounter when you’re searching for the best stocks and shares ISA accounts:

  • Platform fee – It’s hard to find a stocks and shares ISA provider that doesn’t charge an ongoing account fee. This could be a flat monthly amount or an annual fee that is charged as a percentage of your holdings. So how much you have in your account could determine which option works out cheaper for you.
  • Trading fees – Every time you buy or sell an investment in your stocks and shares ISA, you may have to pay a trading fee or commission charge. The lower the better, as that means more money will stay (and grow) in your account.
  • Fund custody charges – In addition to a platform fee, some brokers charge a fee for holding investment funds in your account. It is possible to find accounts that don’t charge a fee, so if investment funds are a big part of your strategy, the best stocks and shares ISA might be an account that doesn’t charge you a custody fee.
  • International dealing charge – If you do use an account that lets you buy overseas shares, platforms may charge a foreign exchange (FX) conversion rate to buy international investments. This is often a fairly low percentage of the transaction, but it can make a big difference if you plan on buying lots of overseas investments. 

What is the best performing stocks and shares ISA?

The stocks and shares ISA is just a type of account. So, judging how well a stocks and shares ISA account performs will be based purely on the investments held within the account.

You can give yourself the best chance of seeing strong performance by looking for an account with low fees and lots of choice. Because if you put two ISA accounts head-to-head and chose the exact same investments, the account with the lowest fees would be the one that ends up performing the best. 

A great account will increase the likelihood you’ll be successful, but ultimately, the best performing stocks and shares ISAs will depend on the quality of investments you put into your account.


Which type of stocks and shares platform should you choose?

One of the first decisions you’ll make before opening your account is whether you want to pick all your investments yourself (DIY) or if you’d like some ready-made portfolio options. Each has their own benefits and drawbacks:

DIY portfolio

If you go down this route, you will shoulder all the responsibility for choosing your investments and managing the portfolio. This can be great fun, and means you have total control, but it also means you have to make all the decisions. Having to do this might not be enjoyable for everyone because of the added pressure of researching and monitoring all investments. But for those who have the time and are interested in the world of investing, this can be a cheaper way to invest.

Ready-made portfolio

This is where you can basically hand over control of your investment selections. Doing this can lead to higher fees but it does mean that the platform uses experts or an algorithm to choose your investments. The ready-made option is good for beginners and those who don’t want to spend time building and maintaining an investment portfolio.

Some platforms will give the choice to use either option in your stocks and shares ISA account. This can be good for those who may want to start out with a ready-made portfolio and then progress to a DIY style once you feel more comfortable. 

You can always try out different methods. So don’t feel like choosing ready-made or DIY is setting your strategy in stone, because you can always adjust your approach or move accounts if you want to. 


How to open a stocks and shares ISA 

The process of opening a stocks and shares ISA will vary depending on what platform you choose. 

Most providers will allow you to open an account on their website or through a dedicated app on your phone. However, some will also let you call up and open your account over the phone. And if you were to open an account with a bank, they sometimes let you arrange an account in-branch. 

Opening a stocks and shares ISA account is often a very smooth process and other than some basic personal information, your National Insurance (NI) number is usually the only additional thing to provide. 

If you find the process difficult or frustrating, it may be worth considering a different provider. Because an unnecessary complex account opening procedure could be a signal that the platform won’t be easy to use.


Are stocks and shares ISAs covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)?

If your stocks and shares ISA provider is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), it should be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). That means that if your ISA provider goes bust, your money and assets are protected up to £85,000 per eligible person, per firm.

It’s important to note that this only applies to a firm failing. Any value your investments lose due to fluctuations in the stock market are not protected.   

How to pick the best stocks and shares ISA for you

There’s no single best stocks and shares ISA account — it’s all about what’s best for you. There will be loads of different factors that will determine which account best suits you as an individual. 

1. Outline your investing strategy and financial goals

Take some time to really think about your investing strategy and goals before you get started. This will help you choose the type of platform and account features you will need.

2. Choose the right platform for you

Now you’re ready to choose a DIY platform or a ready-made portfolio. You can always change platforms at a later date, so don’t feel that picking your first stocks and shares ISA account is the most important decision in the world.

3. Start funding your investment ISA

Do your initial research carefully and aim to load up your investment ISA with shares and funds that you believe in. Along with that, consider holding those shares and funds for the longer run. It typically doesn’t work out well when you chop and change every time a stock dips or if there is a wider market correction.

Should you switch ISA providers?

You can only pay new money into one ISA wrapper in any given financial year, although you can keep wrappers open from previous years. For simplicity, you may prefer to transfer all your holdings onto the same platform, but switching to a new provider could make sense in some instances.

Lower fees is a prime reason to consider a switch. If fees are the reason for switching, make sure to do some quick calculations to make sure you’ll truly save with the new platform. Remember to consider all main fees together — trading fees, platform fees and custody charges. If the trading fees on the new platform are lower, but the platform fee is much higher, you may not save as much as you think.

When considering a switch also take note of whether your old platform may impose hefty exit penalties on withdrawals.

That said, switching can be a great idea. Saving on fees is one great way to win with a new provider. But additional research and tools can also be useful if you find those lacking from your current platform.

Switching can also be great for investors looking for expanded investment options. Some investors start out keeping it simple with funds or ETFs, and may choose their first account with those in mind. But over time, they may want to expand their horizons to investing in individual shares. If their old provider doesn’t have a good selection of shares, making a switch could be the right move.

When making a switch, contact your new platform to see if it can offer you any deal to cut the cost of ISA transfers. It may also give you the choice of transferring your funds as they are or selling them and reinvesting the cash.

Alternatives to stocks and shares ISAs

If after all this, you’re not sure a stocks and shares ISA is right for you, here are some other individual savings accounts that may be a good option for you:

Cash ISA

A cash ISA has an allowance of £20,000 per year and are good options for anyone who may need access to their funds quickly.

If you’re trying to choose between a cash ISA and a stocks and shares ISA, the biggest difference is how you put your cash to work. A cash ISA is essentially a savings account with favorable tax treatment. That means that the risk to your money is relatively low, but the potential return on your money is also relatively low.

With an investment ISA, you can invest in the stock market, meaning shares, ETFs, funds and the like, are all on the table. There is a greater potential for better investment returns (via both capital gains and dividend income), but the risk to your cash is also higher.

The choice, then, boils down to your risk appetite and the returns you’re looking for. Do you have a long investing time horizon? Can you handle it if the value of your shares investment falls? Then an investment ISA might be a good choice for your individual savings account. But if your top priority is protecting your cash, then a cash ISA may be the better bet.

Lifetime ISA (LISA)

A lifetime ISA can be opened by any adult under the age of 40. Up to £4,000 can be invested in a LISA per year, which can be used for an individual’s first home purchase or their retirement. The government then adds 25% to all amounts invested. If you invest the maximum £4,000 in a Lifetime ISA per year, you will receive a £1,000 bonus.

You can put either cash or stocks and shares into a lifetime ISA.

If you’re only planning to save for a few years before buying a home, then the less volatile nature of a cash account may make more sense.

However, if you’re using your LISA to save for your retirement a few decades away, then stocks and shares should provide you with much greater growth prospects although their value will be more volatile along the way.

Junior ISA

A junior ISA allows you to deposit up to £9,000 a year tax-free for your child under 18 years old. Junior ISAs become adult ISAs when your child turns 18.

You can put money into a savings account or into stocks and shares. If you want, your child can have one cash JISA and another JISA for stocks & shares.

But again, generally speaking, you might expect the long-term returns from a cash JISA to be lower than a stocks and shares ISA. But it’s likely to be less volatile. 

Our ratings methodology for stocks and shares ISAs

With many stocks and shares ISA providers to pick from in the UK, our aim is to help you make the best choice for you. Our ratings are scored out of five stars and are based on the factors we believe are most important to the average user of stocks and shares ISAs.

Here are the factors we focused on in creating our ratings:

  • Platform fee – Unlike a standard share-dealing account, it’s hard to find an investment ISA provider that doesn’t charge an ongoing account fee. It might not surprise you to hear that our preference is for lower fees.
  • Trading fees – Every time you buy or sell a share in your stocks and shares ISA, you’ll have to pay a trade fee. Once again, lower is better, as that means more money will stay (and grow) in your account.
  • Fund custody charges – In addition to a platform fee, some brokers charge a fee for holding funds in your account. Here it is possible to find accounts that don’t charge a fee, so if funds are a big part of your investing approach, it’s ideal to find an account that doesn’t charge a custody fee.
  • Ease of use – We gave higher scores to platforms that were well-built and easy to navigate. This may matter less for the most experienced investors, but all else equal, an easy-to-use platform is definitely a plus.
  • Research and other features – Some platforms featured research and tools to help choose investments for your Stocks and Shares ISA. We gave points to those platforms that provided these extras.
  • Fees for overseas investing – When you buy shares from outside the UK, you’ll usually face extra fees from your broker. Sometimes this is just a currency-conversion fee, but sometimes there are multiple fees stacked on top of each other. As with the other fees, we favor lower fees here too.

Why you can trust us to compare stocks and shares ISAs

Here at The Motley Fool, we provide expert reviews that highlight the things that actually matter when making decisions that affect your personal finances. We’ve published thousands of articles on sites well-known sites around the world, and sometimes we even get talked into putting on a tie to appear on TV networks. But don’t worry: You’ll find that our reviews are all jargon-free and written in plain English. As investors who manage our own portfolios through online brokerage firms, we have personal experience with many of the most popular online brokers which informs our view on brokers, how they compare, and pitfalls to look out for, to help you decide what might be best for you.

The bottom line on Stocks and Shares ISAs

HMRC has presented us with a great opportunity to invest for our future whilst saving on taxes. A Stocks and Shares ISA won’t be the right choice for everyone, but this combination of share-market investing and tax benefits has the potential to really boost your long-term savings.

And thanks to online brokers, the ability to buy and sell shares in just a few clicks has liberated private investors and opened from them up to a world of opportunity. However, you should handle this freedom carefully. Resist the temptation to over trade – constantly buying and selling shares on the latest market news – as this will rack up dealing charges that will eat into your overall returns.

So do your initial research carefully and aim to load up your investment ISA with shares and funds that you believe in. Along with that, consider holding those shares and funds for the longer run. It typically doesn’t work out well when you chop and change every time a stock dips or if there is a wider market correction.

And of course, remember to check any orders carefully before you click ‘buy’ or ‘sell’. A slip of the finger can cost you dear, and if you are a DIY investor there is no one to blame but yourself.

Getting started with a stocks and shares ISA and choosing the right broker may seem complicated, but you should soon get the hang of it.

Please note that tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each individual and may be subject to future change. The content of this article is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to be, neither does is constitute, any form of tax advice. Readers are responsible for carrying out their own due diligence and for obtaining professional advice before making any investment decisions.



Frequently Asked Questions

How do stocks & shares ISAs work?

Simply put, S&S ISAs are a form of savings accounts that differ from the perhaps more traditional Cash ISA, as instead of - well - cash, these allow you to use your ISA allowance to buy shares in listed companies each tax year, including any profits earned from the equities!

There are two different routes into investing in a Stocks & Shares ISA: you can either pick the investments yourself, or you can choose to invest through a professional advisor (note: the latter would incur an additional annual management fee).

What are the benefits of a stocks and shares ISA?

S&S ISAs are ‘tax wrappers’ for up to £20k of investments over a 12-month period - this essentially means that you won’t have to pay tax on the money you’ve invested in shares, or the returns you (hopefully) make! And that’s the real benefit: while Cash ISAs typically offer interest rates between 0.5-1%, successful stock-picking has the potential to yield a greater return.

What are the disadvantages of a stocks and shares ISA?

Note the word ‘successful’ above - that’s not always the case when investing in stocks and shares! So yes, you can - and probably will, at some point - lose money on an investment. And if that’s the case more often than not, then holding savings in a Cash ISA would have been more profitable (a low yield is better than no yield, after all!)

How risky are stocks and shares ISA?

The ISA itself arguably isn’t risky; however, the investments an account holder makes can both rise and fall in value. So the risk factor comes from stock-picking - though there are premium services that conduct in-depth research and offer regular recommendations in exchange for a small monthly fee (Motley Fool Share Advisor springs to mind…)

How do I withdraw money from a stocks and shares ISA?

Account holders will have to sell their assets to ‘release’ their value (minus any transaction fee) but then it’s as simple as arranging a bank transfer, which is done on the same platform in just a few clicks.

If you’ve bought income stocks, then you’re able to withdraw the value of any dividends once they’re paid into your account.

How many stocks and shares ISAs can I have?

Each tax year, you can only pay into one Stocks and Shares ISA. In theory, you could open a new Stocks And Shares ISA the following tax year with a new platform, though having multiple accounts makes it harder to track the value of all your investments (remember, we can only pay into one active investment ISA each tax year).


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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, are based on our understanding of current legislation, which could change in the future, and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. The information provided does not constitute investment advice, nor may our statements suit your circumstances. Past investment experience is not a guarantee of future returns.