Day trading is an increasingly popular way to make a side hustle or a full-time living off the minute-to-minute fluctuations in the financial markets.
In order to profit from this style of short-term trading, you need a dedicated trading platform that offers access to a variety of markets, real-time research tools, and advanced technical analysis features.
In this guide, we’ll help you find the best day trading platform in the UK for 2021.
In This Guide
There are dozens of day trading platforms in the UK, but it’s essential to get the right one for your trading style if you want to turn a profit. So, we rounded up the 6 best day trading platforms in the UK in 2021:
5 Providers that match your filters
Cost per trade
Fees per trade
67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs.
67.7% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
Your capital is at risk.
There is no guarantee you will make money with this provider. Your capital is at risk.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the best trading platforms for day trading in the UK. We tested out each platform to offer in-depth reviews and to highlight what type of trader each platform is best for.
eToro is the overall best online trading platform for day traders in the UK. This online broker offers an enormous range of assets, including over 2,000 global shares, more than 40 forex pairs, and 15 cryptocurrencies (including Bitcoin). eToro also offers hundreds of ETFs, bond trading, and commodity trading.
All trades on eToro are 100% commission-free. You just pay a spread, which is typically at or below the UK average for stocks and forex.
What’s especially nice about eToro for stock trading is that you can choose between share dealing and CFD trading. While most day traders will opt for CFD contracts since they offer leverage up to 5:1, trading shares directly doesn’t incur rollover and other contract fees.
eToro has its own research and analysis interface, which is available on the web and as a mobile trading app. The charting software comes with more than 100 built-in technical studies and drawing tools, making it perfect for chartists. In addition, eToro includes price targets from professional analysts for most stocks.
Another unique feature that eToro offers is a social trading platform. You can share ideas with other day traders and find hot financial instruments to trade. You can even see how market sentiment around an asset is changing and time your trades accordingly. eToro also supports copy trading, so you can automatically mimic the moves of more experienced traders.
eToro is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is considered highly trustworthy. Moreover, all accounts are insured under the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The broker offers 24/5 customer support by phone and email in case you run into any issues with your account.
74% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site
Capital.com is the best UK CFD trading platform for day trading stocks. This CFD brokerage carries over 3,000 stocks from the US, UK, Europe, and Asia. All share trades are completely commission-free, and Capital.com’s spreads are well below the industry average. Plus, Capital.com doesn’t have an inactivity fee or other account fees to worry about.
Capital.com offers several different trading platforms, which you can choose among based on what features you most want.
The Web Trader platform is a custom interface that offers advanced charting with over 75 technical indicators. It also features an integrated news feed, a discovery pane where you can quickly scan for the financial instruments experiencing the greatest volatility, and personalised watchlists. There is one catch, though - Web Trader doesn’t support price alerts.
Alternatively, you can take advantage of Capital.com’s integrations with MetaTrader 4 or TradingView. MetaTrader 4 is designed specifically for forex trading and is one of the most popular day trading platforms in the world. Capital.com has a whopping 142 forex pairs to trade, among the most of any UK day trading platform.
TradingView is a third-party analysis platform that’s perfect for more experienced traders. You have the ability to create fully custom indicators using a built-in scripting language, as well as the option to borrow custom indicators from other traders.
Capital.com is regulated by the FCA and offers incredibly responsive 24/7 customer service. You can open an account with just a £15 minimum deposit.
If you’re interested in day trading forex, Libertex is the top day trading platform for the task. This forex trading platform offers 50 different currencies, including a selection of the most popular exotic forex pairs. Libertex also offers trading on a handful of stocks, stock indices, ETFs, and commodities.
One of the things that set Libertex apart from other forex brokers is its pricing structure. Libertex charges fixed commissions instead of variable spreads. These start at just 0.03% for popular forex pairs, so they’re very inexpensive. More important, since the commissions are fixed, you know exactly how much a trade will cost you - there’s no more guessing what spread you’ll pay as the markets move.
Libertex offers its own proprietary trading platform, but most forex traders will gravitate instead towards the forex broker’s MetaTrader 4 integration. MetaTrader 4 enables you to create custom forex signals, set up automated trading, and develop and test custom technical indicators. The platform is also highly customisable, so you can monitor your watchlists and multiple charts throughout the day.
The one downside to Libertex’s trading experience is that the platform doesn’t offer trade ideas or professional analysis. There is a market news feed and economic calendar to help you spot potential markets to trade. But for the most part, you’ll need to rely on your watchlists to stay ahead of the financial markets.
Libertex is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission. The platform offers 24/5 customer support and has won a number of awards for its support in the past. All UK trading accounts are covered under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Skilling is one of the best online brokers if you’re a day trader looking for discounted fees. This broker is compatible with the MT4 trading platform that gives you access to a huge variety of advanced day trading tools.
This trading platform has two different retail investor accounts available. The Standard account offers zero-commission CFD trades with spreads starting from 0.7 pips. There are no inactivity fees to worry about and trading account fees are minimal overall.
The Premium account, which is designed specifically for forex trading, is more interesting. You pay a commission of 35 USD per million traded, but the spread can be as low as 0.1 pips - that is, 0.001% of your trade value. For forex traders who use the available 30:1 leverage to make big bets on the currency market, this pricing structure is incredibly attractive.
Skilling has more than just forex trading, of course. The platform offers over 700 stock CFDs from US, UK, and European stock exchanges, as well as commodity and index trading.
Skilling offers three different trading platforms, including a cTrader platform for algorithmic trading and an integration with MetaTrader 4. The Skilling Trader platform - the primary trading platform - offers an excellent trading experience thanks to its customisable layout and unlimited watchlists. It also includes a section of featured assets, which can be very helpful for discovering volatile instruments to trade.
The brokerage also has a mobile trading app, which mimics the look and feel of the web trading platform. It’s very straightforward to use and works well for trading on the go. The Skilling mobile app is available for iOS and Android devices.
Skilling is regulated by CySEC, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission. The broker offers customer support 5 days a week, but only during daytime trading hours.
Plus500 is another multi-asset online broker in the UK that offers a lot of great features for day trading. Plus500 carries nearly 2,000 global stocks and ETFs, dozens of forex pairs, commodities, and stock indices. The main reason we think this is one of the best trading platforms for day traders, though, is that it offers stock options trading.
Surprisingly few UK brokerages offer options trading. With Plus500, you can use options to hedge risk while day trading, leverage your trades beyond the margin allowed at other brokers, and speculate on the timing of price movements in addition to the magnitude.
Plus500 has its own custom day trading platform that’s very capable. It includes almost 100 built-in indicators and drawing tools, plus a market news feed and an economic calendar. We especially like the alerts capability of this trading platform, since you can set real-time alerts based on price, percent change, or even market sentiment. The entire Plus500 platform is available as a mobile app for iOS and Android, too.
If you’re looking for maximum customisation, Plus500 doesn’t offer that. You cannot create custom indicators, and the trading platform doesn’t integrate with third-party tools to allow you to apply robo-trading or trading signals. That said, the platform is incredibly easy to get started with, so it offers a great trading experience for newer-day traders. Plus500 also has a library of educational video tutorials to help you start trading.
Plus500 is regulated by the FCA and trades as a public company on the London Stock Exchange. So, the brokerage is considered extremely trustworthy. Plus500 also offers 24/7 support, although only by email.
72% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
IG has been around for more than 45 years and is one of the most well-established brokerage firms in the UK. It’s also one of the best online trading platforms for day traders, and particularly for day traders who want to place spread bets. Spreading betting is free from capital gains taxes in the UK and IG offers this style of trading on more than 17,000 financial markets.
Even better, spread betting and CFD trading with IG are inexpensive. For spread betting, trading spreads start at just 0.1 pips for stocks and 0.6 pips for forex. If you’re new to spread betting platforms, you can try it out using IG’s demo account without risking real money. For CFD trading, IG charges a fixed commission of 0.1% for UK and EU stock exchange shares and 0.02 USD for US stock exchange shares.
IG also offers share dealing for traders who don’t want to worry about spreads or rollover fees. There is no commission and no spread, but you will have to pay a forex conversion fee when buying the US or European shares. The good news is that IG offers more than 16,000 international shares to trade and supports extended hours so you can stay one step ahead of financial markets.
IG has its own professional trading platform called ProRealTime. This is an incredibly comprehensive platform for day trading, complete with customisable indicators, personalised watchlists, automated trading tools, and forex signals. ProRealTime was built with experienced traders in mind, so it has a definite learning curve when you first get started. But, if you’re willing to put in the work, this is one of the most powerful platforms for day trading offered by any UK broker.
IG is regulated by the FCA and is a publicly-traded company on the London Stock Exchange. The online broker offers 24/7 customer support and is widely considered one of the most responsive and trustworthy UK brokerages.
Understanding fees is a major part of choosing the best day trading platform in the UK. So, let’s take a closer look at how the fees break down for each of the trading platforms we reviewed.
Finding the best trading platform for day trading is an important first step towards turning a profit from short-term trading. So, what features do you need to prioritise when deciding what platform is right for you.
Let’s examine some of the key features you need to consider in the best online trading platform for day traders.
Regulation is crucial to know that you can trust your trading platform. While regulations might not be that exciting, they play an important role in keeping you safe in the financial markets.
For example, regulations ensure that your trades are being executed immediately and at the best price, every single time. They also ensure that your money is kept separate from your broker’s funds, an important barrier for financial accounting.
The best day trading platforms in the UK are regulated by top-tier financial watchdogs like the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Australia Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), or the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).
What assets you want to trade will play a big role in which trading platform is right for you. Most UK trading platforms offer a mix of asset classes, including stocks, ETFs, forex, commodities, and stock indices.
That said, it’s important to dig a little deeper into what’s offered. Does a broker offer access to US and UK stock exchanges only, or can you trade global shares from emerging markets in Asia and Africa? For forex trading, does a forex broker only offer a handful of major and minor currency pairs or do they offer a wide selection of exotics as well?
You should also check what instruments you can actually trade. Most trading platforms only offer CFD trading, not share dealing. This is typically an advantage for day trading since CFDs enable you to trade on margin. However, note that CFDs often carry additional overnight fees.
If you want to trade cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, you will need a cryptocurrency exchange to do so since the UK recently outlawed CFD trading for cryptos. The only Bitcoin trading platform we reviewed in this guide is eToro.
Trading fees can quickly eat into your profits from day trading. That’s why it’s so important to understand a trading platform’s entire fee structure before you sign up. Think carefully about the volumes and assets you’re likely to trade, and what kind of fees that will entail. You can also sign up for a brokerage’s demo account to see how much your trading style will cost in fees.
We covered trading fees in detail above, but it’s worth reiterating that fees apply to more than just trading. Account fees - which include charges like inactivity fees and withdrawal fees - can add up if you’re not careful. These fees can often be avoided as long as you know they exist.
Trading tools are at the heart of every trading platform, and there are a lot of different tools to think about.
To start, personalised watchlists and adaptable technical charting software are must-have tools for day traders. Look for the ability to create multiple watchlists for different markets or trading strategies. It’s also helpful if you can customise technical indicators and apply them in groups to a chart for rapid analysis.
Real-time alerts are also crucial for day trading effectively. You should be able to trigger price alerts at a minimum, but having the option to set alerts based on technical parameters or market movements is also extremely helpful.
Some platforms go above and beyond to offer unique features that can help you trade more profitably. For example, you might find discovery features that highlight instruments experiencing high volatility. Other platforms offer daily trade ideas and professional stock research. Trading platforms like eToro have a social trading network, which enables you to source ideas from thousands of experienced traders around the world.
You should also think about risk management tools. Almost every high-quality trading platform offers a stop loss option to minimize your downside risk. However, you may want to look for a trailing stop loss feature or the ability to enter one cancels the other orders.
In addition to the tools and features a trading platform offers, it’s important to think about how smooth the trading experience is. It’s not very helpful if a platform has powerful tools, but executing a trade takes minutes instead of seconds.
The best way to evaluate the trading experience is to sign up for a platform’s demo account. Spend a few hours or days trading simulated cash with the platform to see how the interface feels and how seamlessly you can move from charting to trade entry.
Don’t forget to evaluate a platform’s mobile app as part of the trading experience. This should offer all of the same analysis tools as the web or desktop platform. Most important, the trading app needs to make it seamless to enter and exit positions when you’re away from your desk.
Most of the best day trading platforms in the UK offer a demo account. This is the single best tool you have for trying out a platform before you commit to it.
In addition, a demo account is an important tool for honing your trading strategy. Active traders rely on demo accounts to try out new indicators and trade ideas without risking real money. So, make sure that whatever platform you choose offers functionality for simulating trading.
Most trading platforms offer a wide variety of methods to fund your account, but it’s worth checking. Ideally, you can pay by credit card, debit card, bank transfer, or e-wallet. Some platforms even accept mobile payment methods like Google Pay and Apple Pay.
Be sure to check the minimum deposit required for a trading platform, since this can vary widely.
Customer support is extremely important since even a few minutes of downtime can cost you money when day trading. Look for platforms that offer round-the-clock customer service by phone or live chat. Email support is good, but it can take up to a few hours to get a response.
Ready to start day trading? We’ll show you how to get started with eToro, one of the best platforms for day trading in the UK.
The first step to trading with eToro is to register a new account. Head to the eToro website or download the mobile app from Google Play or the Apple App Store. Then click or tap ‘Join Now.’
You can create a new account using your email or by signing in with Google or Facebook.
eToro is regulated by the FCA, which requires you to verify your identity before trading. Simply upload a copy of a government-issued ID like your driver’s license or passport and a proof of address like a recent utility bill or financial statement.
Next, deposit funds into your new account. eToro requires a minimum deposit of $50 if you pay by debit card, credit card, PayPal, Neteller, or Skrill. If you pay using a bank account, the minimum deposit required is £350.
Now you’re ready to begin day trading on eToro. From your account dashboard, search for the instrument you want to buy. eToro offers stocks, ETFs, forex, indices, commodities, bonds, and cryptocurrencies.
Once you find the asset you want to trade, click ‘Trade’ to open an order form. Enter how much money you want to trade with - remember that this is priced in USD for US-based markets.
If you’re trading CFDs, you can also select how much leverage to apply to your trade. Then enter a stop loss level and take profit level to manage your trading risk.
When your trade is ready, click ‘Open Trade’ to execute your first day's trade with eToro.
Finding the best online trading platform for day traders is critical to turning a profit from short-term trading. Active traders have to consider a lot of different features and keep one eye on their trading strategy when picking which platform to use.
While all 6 platforms we reviewed have a lot to offer, we think eToro is the overall best day trading platform in the UK. Click the link below to sign up for an eToro account today and get started day trading!
74% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
The minimum amount you need to start day trading is just your broker’s minimum deposit. However, it’s a good idea to set aside at least £500 to start day trading.
Most day trading platforms offer a free demo account, although you may need to sign up in order to access it. You can day trade with the simulation without risking real money and reset the account as frequently as you wish.
You can day trade with an ISA. However, you must find a trading platform that offers ISA accounts and tools designed for day trading. Many brokerages that offer ISAs haven’t geared towards day trading.
You cannot day trade mutual funds. These funds typically settle transactions and update prices once per day, so there is no way to trade on price fluctuations throughout the day. However, you can day trade ETFs.
The UK recently banned CFD trading on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. So, you will need a cryptocurrency exchange like eToro in order to day trade Bitcoin.
Alan is the Chief Editor of TradingPlatforms.com. He is an experienced finance and investment writer who is an expert on the stock market.
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