Stock Trading Platform UK 2023 – Low Fees Platforms Compared
If you’re looking to buy and sell shares online – you’ll first need to find a trusted stock trading platform.
Put simply, there are dozens of FCA-regulated providers that allow you to trade stocks – so you need to focus on a set of key metrics. This should include fees and commission, tradable stocks, payments, and customer support.
In this guide, we review stock trading platforms UK investors are accepted at in 2023. We also show you how to get started with a stock trading account through a simple step-by-step walkthrough
Stock Trading Platform UK List
In our search for a stock tracking platform UK traders are accepted at we found that the following providers are popular. You can scroll down for a review of each trading platform below.
*not available for existing ECN clients, other fees may apply
Stock Trading Platforms in the UK Reviewed
With so many stock trading platforms to choose from in the UK, knowing which provider to open an account with can be a time-consuming task. After all, not only do you need to ensure that your desired stock markets are supported, but you also need to look at how much the broker charges in day trading fees.
To ensure you find one of the most reputable UK trading platforms for your needs- below we review a selection of UK providers.
We found that eToro is a popular stock trading platform UK for several key reasons. First and foremost, this platform gives you access to 17 stock markets. This covers everything from the UK, US, Germany, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, and Hong Kong.
With over 2,400 stocks supported and more being added on a weekly basis – you’ll never be short of options. We also like the eToro stock library as it gives you two options in terms of strategy.
If you simply want to invest in stocks on a long-term basis – this can be achieved at the click of a button. But, you also trade stocks at eToro in the shape of CFDs – which gives you more flexibility. Either way, eToro is also one of the cheapest stock trading platforms in the UK – as you won’t pay any commissions to invest, trade, or sell shares.
There are no ongoing platform fees either and withdrawals cost just $5. The main fee that you need to factor in is the 0.5% FX conversion charge that you pay on deposits. This shouldn’t put you off – as it’s important to remember that you won’t pay a surcharge to access non-UK markets.
Plus, eToro goes one step further in the fee department as it waivers the 0.5% stamp duty tax that you would otherwise pay on UK-listed stocks. This essentially counters the 0.5% deposit fee. When it comes to account minimums, eToro offers fractional shares.
This means that you can invest in any stocks of your choosing from just $50 upwards. This makes eToro a popular choice if you wish to create a diversified portfolio of stocks with a small amount of money. We should also make reference to the automated trading platform features offered on eToro.
This includes a Copy Trading facility that allows you to mirror the positions of experienced traders. Or, you might opt for an eToro CopyPortfolio – which is professionally managed by the eToro team. This covers a variety of strategies and sectors – such as a basket of vaccine stocks, renewable energy stocks, and dividend stocks.
In terms of payments, this social trading platform allows you to fund your stock trading account with a UK debit or credit card. E-wallets like Paypal and Skrill are also supported – as are bank transfers. You can open your account online or via the eToro mobile app – which is available on iOS and Android.
The latter is appropriate for those of you that wish to trade stocks while on the move. Finally, when it comes to regulation, eToro is authorized and licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Even more importantly, the platform is covered by the FSCS.
79% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
With over 650,000 customers worldwide, Alvexo is a regulated online broker offering a wide range of products including CFD on Commodities, Indices, Stocks, and ETFs. “Trading real brokers for real traders” is how the company describes itself.
In 2014, market veterans founded Alvexo, providing real-time quotes on over 450 assets and a range of intuitive trading platforms. Several tools are available for market analysis for beginners and advanced traders.
|Stock trading fee||Variable Spreads|
|Forex trading fee||Variable spreads. 2.9% for EUR/USD on its Classic account|
|Inactivity fee||$10 per month after three months|
*not available for existing ECN clients, other fees may apply
76.22% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Although we discuss fees in more detail later, we should note that all stock trading platforms charge spreads. The one exception to this rule is Libertex – which allows you to trade stocks without paying a spread – meaning the bid/ask price is the same.
This gives you the chance of day trading stocks and subsequently targeting smaller profit margins. Libertex – which was launched way back in 1997 – offers an extensive range of stock CFDs – most of which are based in the US.
This includes stocks from a variety of sectors – including but not limited to tech, finance, consumer goods, cannabis, and telecommunications. When it comes to commissions, this will vary depending on the stock that you wish to trade. This can vary from 0% to 0.5% – so you’re always getting a good deal nonetheless.
As a specialist CFD trading platform, Libertex allows you to go long or short on your chosen stock. You can also apply leverage of up to 1:5 on all stock trades – meaning a £100 account balance translates into £500 in trading capital. Libertex offers a native trading platform that is suitable for newbies – which you can access online or via the mobile app.
The MetaTrader 4 trading platform (MT4) is also supported, should you want access to more advanced trading tools and features. The minimum deposit at Libertex is just £100 – and the provider supports a range of convenient payment methods. This includes debit/credit cards, bank transfers, and several e-wallets. Once you fund your account for the first time, the minimum deposit drops to just £10.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 74% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money
Skilling is a recently launched stock trading platform that specializes in CFDs. The provider – which is regulated by the FCA, offers a number of stand-out features. At the forefront of this is the Skilling trading app.
The app – which is available to download for free on Android and iOS phones, gives you access to hundreds of markets. This includes a selection of US-listed stocks, alongside indices, forex, and commodities.
Irrespective of which stocks you decide to trade, Skilling won’t charge you any commissions. Spreads on its stock CFDs are also very competitive. For example, Apple stocks can be traded with a spread of just $0.49, Facebook at $1.09, and Tesla at $2.50. You can also apply leverage to your stock CFD trades, with UK retail investors capped at 1:5.
Getting started with an account takes minutes at this UK stock trading platform – with the minimum deposit standing at just £100. You can deposit funds at the click of a button with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or bank transfer. Finally, Skilling is also compatible with MT4 and cTrader – should you want access to advanced trading tools and technical indicators.
Your capital is at risk when trading CFDs with this provider.
As you likely know, if you’re thinking about investing via a Stocks and Shares ISA – you will need to find a suitable online broker. One of the UK stock trading platforms in this respect is IG. The brokerage – which was launched more than four decades ago, offers a huge selection of stocks.
This includes thousands of UK stocks from both the London Stock Exchange and AIM, as well as dozens of international markets. If you are planning to add your stock investments to your ISA, then IG charges a flat commission of £8 per trade.
If, however, you place 3 or more trades in a 30-day period, the commission goes down to just £3. Take note, IG will charge you a quarterly custodial fee of £24 should you fail to trade at least three times over a 3-month period. As such, this does make IG somewhat expensive – especially when you factor in its share dealing account fees.
On the other hand, if you are a regular trader – you’ll benefit from free US stock trades – on the proviso that you place at least three orders per month. Additionally, IG also offers a CFD stock trading facility. This isn’t suitable for ISAs and you will pay a variable commission. This stands at 0.10% on UK stocks. Non-UK stocks are charged at different rates depending on the market.
If making tax-efficient trades is important to you, then you might consider the IG spread betting facility. This allows you to trade in a similar way to stock CFDs – but you won’t pay any tax on your capital gains. In terms of payments, IG requires a minimum deposit of £250 and it supports debit cards and bank account transfers.
Your capital is at risk.
7. Hargreaves Lansdown
We are not huge fans of Hargreaves Lansdown – simply because the online brokerage firm is one of the most expensive investment platforms in the UK. As noted earlier, you’ll pay £11.95 per trade when you buy and sell stocks.
With that said, not only does Hargreaves Lansdown have a positive reputation, but it is a popular online stock broker UK if you’re interested in IPOs. All you need to do is register your interest on the Hargreaves Lansdown website, and you’ll be noticed when a new IPO has been announced.
Then, it’s just a case of deciding how much you wish to invest in the IPO, and Hargreaves Lansdown will take care of the rest. Additionally, this popular online broker is also one of the well-known platforms for research and analysis. You’ll find detailed market insights, stock price analysis, and fundamental research tools – all of which can be accessed free.
You don’t, however, need to open an account with Hargreaves to read its research materials. Nevertheless, if you do decide to proceed with this broker, the minimum deposit is just £1 – which you fund with your UK debit card. The platform offers thousands of shares and is regulated by the FCA. Your capital is also protected by the FSCS.
Stock Trading Platform UK Fees Comparison
As you may have noticed, stock trading fees in the UK can and will vary depending on which platform you use. Below you will find a fee comparison table of share trading platforms UK wise.
|Trading Platform||Share Dealing Fee||CFD Stock Trading Fee||Platform Fee|
|Libertex||N/A – CFDs only||0%-0.5%||Free|
|Plus500||N/A – CFDs only||0%||Free|
|Skilling||N/A – CFDs only||0%||Free|
|Plus500||N/A – CFDs only||0%||Free|
|IG||£3 or £8||From 0.10% (Minimum £10)||£24 per quarter if placing less than 3 trades|
|Hargreaves Lansdown||£5.95 – £11.95||N/A||Free|
Fees at stock trading platforms can change, so always check this before opening an account.
How to Choose the Right Stock Trading Platform UK for You
We have covered the stock trading platforms currently active in the UK investment scene. However, it’s also a good idea to perform a bit of extra research yourself to ensure the platform is right for your trading needs. The way to do this is to focus on a number of core factors – such as regulation, tradable stocks, commissions, user experience, and payment methods.
To help you find the right stock trading platform UK for you, below we elaborate on these key metrics in more detail.
Before you sign up with a UK stock trading platform – it’s crucial that you check the provider’s regulatory standing. In most cases, stock trading platforms in the UK will be regulated by the FCA. This means that you can avoid the worry of choosing a shady broker – as the FCA is one of the most stringent regulators in this space.
For example, all FCA-regulated stock trading platforms must:
- Comply with all UK laws surrounding securities trading and investments
- Install a KYC (Know Your Customer) program – meaning all active traders need to have their identity verified
- Keep client money in segregated tier-one bank accounts – ensuring the platform doesn’t use your capital for its own day-to-day expenses
- Adhere to regular audits
In addition to choosing an FCA-regulated provider, reputable stock trading platforms will also be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). This means that in the unlikely even the platform runs into financial problems – your capital is protected up to the first £85,000 – should they go bankrupt.
At the other end of the spectrum, choosing a stock trading platform that isn’t licensed by the FCA – or is regulated by an offshore body, means that your capital is at risk.
Some traders in the UK prefer to stock with UK-listed stocks. This would mean that you are trading equities listed on the FTSE 100, FTSE 250, or even the AIM (Alternative Investment Market).
However, there might come a time where you also wish to add some international stocks to your portfolio – especially those listed in the US.
- The NASDAQ and NYSE exchanges contain some of the largest and most recognized companies in the world. Think along the lines of IBM, Disney, Tesla, Facebook, Amazon, Visa, and Microsoft.
- Additionally, if you want to trade stocks listed in the emerging markets, the reliable stock brokers UK give you access to high-growth exchanges in Singapore, Brazil, Indonesia, Thailand, and Russia.
- You should also look to see whether the stock trading platform gives you access to IPOs. This will allow you to invest in or trade companies that have just gone public.
It goes without saying that you should always check what fees and commissions you will be liable for when trading stocks online. This can come in various forms, so below we explain what fees to keep an eye on in your search for stock brokers in the UK.
Share Dealing Fees
When you buy stocks online through a traditional brokerage, you will pay a share dealing fee. This is a flat fee that is charged when you buy a stock and again when you cash out.
This means that irrespective of how much you are investing – the fee will always remain the same. This will actually suit large-scale traders more than those investing small amounts.
- Popular stock trading platform Hargreaves Lansdown charges a share dealing fee of £11.95
- Let’s suppose you buy £150 worth of BP stocks
- In paying £11.95 on this trade, your commission actually amounts to just under 8%
- In other words, you need to value of BP stocks to rise by at least 8% just to break-even
Fortunately, low-cost stock trading platforms like eToro do not charge any share dealing fees. This means that in the above example – you could have invested £150 into BP shares and saved £11.95.
Stock Trading Commission
While share dealing fees are aligned with traditional share investments, variable commissions are charged when you engage in actual trading. By this, we mean buying and selling stocks throughout the trading day – as opposed to investing over several years.
- For example, let’s say your chosen platform charges a commission of 0.1% to trade UK stocks
- We’ll then say you placed a buy order on HSBC stocks at a value of £100
- In doing so, you would pay a commission of £0.10
- Then, we’ll say you close your HSBC stock trade when it is valued at £150
- Again paying a small commission of 0.1% – this time your fee amounts to £0.15
A variable commission is much more viable for small stock trading stakes, as your fee is relative to the amount you stake. However, keep an eye on platforms that have a ‘minimum’ commission in place – as many do.
Note: You might have noticed that when discussing eToro – all figures are quoted in US dollars. Although this is the platform’s primary currency, this FCA-regulated broker allows you to deposit and withdraw funds in pounds and pence with ease.
Once you have assessed whether you will be paying a share dealing fee or variable commission – don’t forget to check what spreads you will be charged. This is typically overlooked by newbie traders, so allow us to explain further.
In a nutshell, all stock trading platforms in the UK – with the exception of Libertex, make money through the spread. This is how they are able to offer commission-free trading. The spread is simply the difference between the ‘bid’ and ‘ask’ price of a stock. If the gap between these two prices is too big, then you are indirectly paying more to trade.
To give you an idea:
- eToro offers an average variable spread of 0.20% on major stocks
- This means that when you open your stock trade – the value of your position will immediately stand at negative 0.20%
- In other words, you need the value of your stock to increase by 0.20% to get back to the break-even point
- Any gains above 0.20% is pure profit
Now, the key problem is that many stock trading platforms in the UK fail to state what the spread is on a particular market. As such, to ensure you are not getting a bad deal – quickly calculate this yourself.
For example, in the image above – you can see that Hargreaves Lansdown is offering a bid (buy) and ask (sell) price on GlaxoSmithKline shares of 1,224.40p and 1,225.00p respectively. This works out at a spread of just 0.049% – which is competitive.
Unfortunately, you’ll then get hit with an £11.95 share dealing fee – which completely wipes out the competitiveness of the spread.
Another stock trading fee that is overlooked by newbies is that of overnight financing. This is a daily fee charged when you keep a leveraged CFD stock position open overnight. Each stock trading platform will have a set time when this kicks in – such as 6 pm.
This means that for each day you keep a CFD trade open past 6 pm, you will pay a small fee. This is why CFD trading platforms – although appropriate for low fees, leverage, and short-selling – are suited for short-term strategies.
Trading Tools & Features
If you’re the type of individual that is simply looking for a platform to buy and sell stocks – then you might not be too concerned about trading tools. However, this might be somewhat short-sighted, as we came across a plethora of notable features that can take your stock trading endeavors to the next level.
This includes the following:
The thing about stock trading – as opposed to buying shares, is that you get to determine whether you think the equity will rise or fall in value. In order to do this, you need to choose a stock trading platform that offers CFDs (contracts-for-differences). This is simply a financial instrument that tracks the real-time price of the stock – meaning that you don’t actually own it.
All of the UK trading platforms reviewed on this page offer CFDs – so you can choose from a ‘buy order’ if you think the share price will increase or a ‘sell order’ if you think it will decrease.
An additional benefit of choosing a stock trading platform that offers share CFDs is that you can apply leverage. This allows you to ‘multiply’ the size of your stake. In the UK, retail investor clients can apply leverage of up to 1:5 when trading stocks.
For example, if you had an account balance of £200 and applied leverage of 1:5 on a Royal Mail stock CFD – this means that you can enter a stock trade worth £1,000. Once again, all of the shares trading platforms UK that we have reviewed today offer leverage.
This particular tool is a must if you wish to engage in passive stock trading. In a nutshell, the Copy Trading feature offered by eToro allows you to mirror the buy and sell positions of a successful trader.
- You invest £500 into a stock trader that uses eToro
- The trader stakes 10% of their balance on BT stocks
- In turn, you automatically allocate £50 into this trade (10% of £500 investment)
- The trader you are copying makes a 25% profit on this BT stock position
- As such, you walk away with a profit of £12.50 (25% of £50 stake)
As you can see from the above, the Copy Trading tool allows you to sit back and actively trade stocks without lifting a finger. This means no stock analysis, charting research, or market evaluation.
One online stock broker UK that we came across – eToro, allows you to buy ‘fractional shares’. This means that you can buy a small fraction of one stock – rather than needing to spend more than your budget allows. The minimum investment will vary from platform to platform – but at eToro, it’s just $50. That amounts to about £35 at current exchange rates.
- Let’s say that you wish to invest in Google (Alphabet) stocks
- At current prices, one Google share is worth $2,003 – or about £1,400
- You decide to stick with the minimum – so invest £35 into Google
- This means that you own approximately 2.5% of a single Google stock
Crucially, your profits and losses will still work out the same when engaging in fractional ownership. For example, if Google stocks increase in value by 50%, your £35 investment would now be worth £52.50. As such, the specific number of shares that you own is irrelevant, as gains are based on the amount you invest.
Unless you are thinking about using a Copy Trading tool, then it’s important to choose a stock trading platform that offers relevant, up-to-date financial news. This will allow you to make informed decisions about which stock trades to place.
- For example, if Vodafone announces that it has just won a government contract on 5g technology – this will all-but-certainly result in an increased stock price.
- As such, you would want to be made aware of this, and any other important news, as soon as the story breaks.
On the other hand, if you’re chosen stock trading platform doesn’t offer real-time news – this isn’t overly problematic. This is because you can obtain this information from a third-party website for free.
All of the stock broker UK providers discussed on this page offer a demo account – barring Hargreaves Lansdown. Put simply, this allows you to trade stocks with your chosen broker without depositing or risking any money.
Instead, the stock trading platform will give you an allocation of ‘paper funds’. This allows you to buy, sell, and trade stocks in live market conditions – in a 100% risk-free way.
Demo accounts are not only suitable for first-time traders – but seasoned pros that wish to test out new systems and strategies.
When you open an account with a stock trading platform, you will then be asked to make a deposit. After all, in order to make financial gains from your stock trading endeavors, you need to risk your own money. As such, check to see what payment methods your chosen platform supports.
All of the stock trading platforms UK reviewed on this page allow you to make a deposit with a debit/credit card or UK bank transfer. In the case of eToro, Libertex and Skilling – you can also deposit and withdraw funds with Paypal. Transaction fees will vary from platform to platform – so be sure to check this yourself.
Finally, it’s crucial the pick a stock trading platform that puts the customer experience at the heart of everything. This means offering a support system around the clock – preferably via a Live Chat facility.
Some of the platforms discussed today – such as Hargreaves Lansdown, also offer a telephone service. Be careful with this though, as if you place a telephone trade at Hargreaves, you need to pay a surcharge for this.
What Is The Best Free Stock Trading Platform in The UK?
There are a number of free stock trading platforms available to UK traders can investors. One of the best options to consider is eToro which allows users to practice trading for free via the demo account. You don’t even need to make a deposit to use the demo trading feature, simply create an account and begin practicing your skills. However, eToro does charge some fees for live trading (as do most stock trading platforms).
Occasionally, trading platforms may launch new customer offers that reduce fees for a specific time period. If you are looking to trade for free, it is a good idea to look out for these offers and make the most of them. Never the less, it is possible to trade with no funds through eToro’s demo trading account.
In the UK, most trading platforms will charge commissions on trades that are placed. This fee is charged to generate profit which is used to develop the platform, pay staff salaries and maintain excellent standards. While fees can be annoying, traders should consider the fact that fees often indicate a good quality trading platform.
How to Get Started with a UK Stock Trading Platform
If you’re ready to start buying and selling shares online – we are now going to walk you through the stock trading process like-for-like. For our tutorial, we are showing you the required steps to join a commission-free stock trading platform.
Step 1: Open a Trading Account
You will first need to open an account at a regulated platform. You can do this online or via your mobile phone by heading over to a provider’s website.
Follow the on-screen instructions by providing your:
- Personal information
- Contact details
- National insurance number
- Creating a username and password
- Verifying your email address and mobile number
Step 2: Confirm Identity
You will now be asked to provide a copy of your passport or driver’s license as part of the KYC process. Additionally, a copy of a recently-issued utility bill or bank account statement.
Note: You can upload the above documents later, but you will need to do this before you can request a withdrawal.
Step 3: Deposit Funds
You will need to deposit some funds into your stock trading account before you can start trading stocks.
Choose from one of the following supported payment types:
- Bank Transfer
Step 4: Search for a Stock
Now that you have a fully-funded account, click on the ‘Trade markets’ button, followed by ‘Stocks’. This will give you a full breakdown of which stocks you can trade. You can use the filter buttons to narrow your search down by the exchange (e.g. NYSE) or sector (e.g. consumer goods).
If you already know which stock you wish to trade – you can instead search for it. When the respective stock loads up, click it.
Step 5: Place a Stock Trade
If you want to apply leverage (maximum 1:5 on stocks), you can select your multiple.
To place your commission-free stock trade, click on the ‘Open Trade’ button.
Share Broker UK – Conclusion
All in all, finding the right stock trading platform UK for your needs can take a lot of time. As we have covered extensively, there are many important factors to consider before taking the plunge.
This includes everything from regulation, and supported markets to fees, spreads, and payment methods. You also need to check whether the provider offers tools like Copy Trading, leverage, short-selling, and financial news.
When choosing a stock trading platform in the UK many opt for one that’s FCA regulated and FSCS protected, with a range of stocks across different UK and international markets.