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Best Automated Trading Platforms in the UK

Tobi Opeyemi Amure
Reviewed by:
Best automated trading platforms UK

In a nutshell, the best automated trading platforms in the UK are eToro, IG, and CMC Markets. eToro is known for its social trading features, while IG boasts advanced charting tools. CMC Markets offers a wide range of financial instruments.

Looking for your perfect automated trading platform?

I’ve tested, scored, and ranked the best automated trading apps and platforms in the UK.

Whether you’re searching for security, user-friendliness, or extensive trading options, I’ve got you covered.

5 Best Algorithmic Trading Platforms Ranked

Here is a quick list of the best automated trading platforms to use in the UK based on my hands-on analysis:

Your capital is at risk.

  1. eToro – Best for beginners
  2. IG – Best for selection of over 19,500 instruments
  3. CMC Markets – Best for using MetaTrader 4
  4. AvaTrade – Best low-cost platform
  5. XTB – Best for CFDs

Best Platforms Compared for UK Traders

Here I’ve compared the platforms based on five key rating criteria you must consider and compare:

RankTrading platformMinimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
1eToro$100.80%£0Stocks, indices, ETFs,
currencies, commodities,
crypto
2IG£2500.4Varies£0Real stocks & ETFs, exchange-traded securities,
CFDs (currency pairs, stock indices, stocks, ETFs,
commodities, crypto, bonds, and futures)
3CMC Markets£1000.50%£0Forex, stocks,
commodities, indices
4AvaTrade$00.6$0.02 per share£0Stocks, indices, ETFs,
currencies, commodities,
crypto, bonds
5XTB£00.60%£0Forex, indices,
commodities, stocks,
ETFs, CFDs

Reviews

In 2023, around 2 in 5 Brits (42%) invest and trade, up from 36% in 20211.

Choosing the best automated trading platform is crucial for newcomers in the market.

Having worked in the retail investment sector in London over the last four years, I had the opportunity to experience the rise first-hand.

Additionally, in my role working for one of the UK’s leading financial companies, “a trustworthy and respected provider of news, education and market analysis for the everyday investor”, I was able to work with and test some of the biggest platforms on the market.

Using my experience in this field, I’ve compiled a list of the best automated trading apps and platforms in the UK based on five key criteria:

  1. Minimum deposit
  2. S&P 500 CFD spread (average)
  3. Commission
  4. Platform fee
  5. Types of assets

Factors such as safety, usability, trading platforms available, research tools, educational materials, and additional features were also considered.

All the platforms I’ve reviewed below are regulated by the UK’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or similar.

You can read about how we test platforms here.

This article was reviewed by Tobi Opeyemi Amure, a trading expert and writer at InvestopediaInvesting.com, and Trading.biz.

1. eToro – Best for beginners

eToro - Overall best automated trading platform for beginners UK.

The overall winner on my list of the best automated trading platforms and what I recommend to beginners is eToro.

It is the perfect platform for hands-off traders and those just starting.

The platform is user-friendly and offers various trading options, including stocks, forex, ETFs, indices, and commodities.

eToro is beginner-friendly, with simple step-by-step guides on how to start trading and a wide range of educational materials.

eToro’s biggest advantage is that it allows you to automate trades.

If you’re not sure how or what to trade, the CopyTrader feature allows you to automatically replicate the trades of successful traders on the platform.

All copy trades on eToro are done by hand, setting it apart from platforms that use both manual and auto methods.

eToro CopyTrader feature.

Additionally, the platform offers social trading features, where users can connect with other traders and follow their strategies.

If you’re confused or not sure where to start, the automated trading app facilitates a collaborative environment where users can engage in discussions, share insights, and learn from each other’s experiences.

This community-driven approach adds significant value to the trading journey, providing opportunities for networking and gaining valuable knowledge.

Overall, I recommend eToro as a top-rated auto trading platform if you’re looking for low-cost stock trading, ease of use, and a thriving social trading community where you can learn and copy from professionals.

It’s worth noting that as of 2023, eToro announced that they reached 30 million registered users worldwide2.

On top of this, they have an ‘Excellent’ rating on Trustpilot with over 18,000 reviews.

eToro Trustpilot review.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
$100.80%£0Stocks, indices, ETFs,
currencies, commodities,
crypto

Read my complete eToro review.

Pros:

  • Commission-free stock trading
  • Extensive range of financial assets
  • Intuitive automated trading interface
  • Features like CopyTrader and social trading are available
  • Regulated by top-tier authorities like FCA

Cons:

  • Lacks technical analysis features

Your capital is at risk.

2. IG – Best for selection of over 19,500 instruments

IG - Best automated trading platform for selection of over 17,000 instruments
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

IG is a global broker listed on the stock market. They offer a full trading package, high-quality research tools, top education, and many markets to trade in.

It’s one of the best automated trading platforms in the UK for the versatility and selection of assets.

It offers three ways to automate your trades:

  • ProRealTime: This platform allows automated trading with no coding needed. It has strategy tools and a detailed backtesting suite. With over 100 indicators, it caters to both new and experienced traders. If you trade four times a month, it’s free.
  • MetaTrader4: With MT4 you can create your own trading algorithms, indicators, and orders. Use Expert Advisors (EAs) to find opportunities using set rules. EAs can alert you or open positions automatically.
  • API: More technical, but you can create your own trading platform. Code your tactics, use IG’s technology for best results, view current and past market data, study tools, and trader views, and handle watchlists.

One of its greatest advantages is its vast selection of over 19,500 tradable instruments (largely through CFDs and spread bets). Many are available for trading 24 hours a day.

The broker maintains competitive spread charges, starting as low as 0.1 pips.

In terms of non-trading costs, there are deposit and withdrawal fees, while the inactivity fee is favorable, only coming into effect after two years of inactivity.

IG’s mobile app is one of the best in the industry, boasting extensive charting features, including 30 technical indicators, 20 drawing tools, and 16-time frame options across different chart types.

IG provides a wide selection of top-notch research tools, blending their resources with third-party offerings. This encompasses Reuters news, trade signals, IGTV shows, economic calendars, and daily blogs.

They also offer advanced features, such as a customisable screener, a “Recommended News” section personalised to your account, content from DailyFX, and a social network called IG Community for collaborative research and insights sharing.

IG stands out in education, providing various resources like videos, articles, webinars, and DailyFX guides. The IG Academy offers courses based on experience levels, complete with progress tracking and quizzes.

Their IG Community, consisting of 64,000+ members, adds crowd-sourced educational content. In summary, IG’s educational offerings are comprehensive and in my experience leave little room for improvement.

I recommend IG for retail forex and CFD traders seeking a trusted broker with top-notch tools (including auto trading features), research, and access to a wide range of global markets.

Their web trading platform is among the best available, making IG suitable for all types of day traders.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
£2500.4Varies£0Real stocks & ETFs, exchange-traded securities,
CFDs (currency pairs, stock indices, stocks, ETFs,
commodities, crypto, bonds, and futures)

Read my complete IG Markets review.

Pros:

  • Access to more than 19,500 tradeable instruments
  • Choice of three diverse trading platforms
  • Comprehensive educational and research resources
  • No charges for deposits and withdrawals

Cons:

  • High stock CFD fees
  • Higher initial deposit requirement

3. AvaTrade – Best low-cost platform

AvaTrade - Best low-cost UK automated trading platform.

For a free automated trading platform, consider Avatrade.

AvaTrade offers commission-free forex and CFD trading, with a small monthly maintenance fee.

AvaTrade is fast, reliable, and user-friendly. It offers an intuitive user interface and a full range of tools to take advantage of automated trading.

AvaTrade provides access to a wide selection of markets, including stocks, forex, indices, commodities, and cryptocurrencies.

It has advanced charting features, an automated trading feature, and advanced risk management tools. You can set up your customised trading strategies and automatically execute trades with the click of a button.

AvaTrade offers three auto trading features, Capitalise.ai, DupliTrade, and ZuluTrade. Each monitors the markets and finds the best entry and exit points.

AvaTrade also offers low spreads, fast execution, and 24-hour customer support.

With its advanced features and user-friendly platform, AvaTrade is an excellent choice for those looking to start their automated trading journey.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
£1000.50%£0Forex, stocks,
commodities, indices

Read my complete AvaTrade review.

Pros:

  • Hassle-free account setup
  • Zero charges for deposits and withdrawals
  • Outstanding research capabilities

Cons:

  • Limited selection of available assets

4. CMC Markets – Best for using MetaTrader 4

CMC Markets - Best automated trading platform for using MetaTrader 4.

If you’re looking for an automated trading app with exposure to MetaTrader 4 and over 200 instruments, CMC Markets has got you covered.

It’s one of the top automated trading platforms in the UK and offers a wide variety of features that make it an ideal choice for seasoned traders.

CMC Markets provides a user-friendly mobile app and also supports the popular MetaTrader 4 platform. This platform lets you customise your experience using multiple indicators, overlays, and set up automatic trading.

Overall, the CMC Markets offers an extensive trading experience. Their costs, platforms, user-friendliness, education, mobile apps, research, market variety, and trading tools stand out.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
$00.6$0.02 per share£0Stocks, indices, ETFs,
currencies, commodities,
crypto, bonds

Pros:

  • Extensive product selection
  • Ideal for automated forex trading in the UK
  • MetaTrader 4 enables complete trade automation
  • Top-notch customer support and educational materials
  • Zero minimum deposit requirement
  • Competitive fees

Cons:

  • Expensive spreads for CFDs
  • Lacks back-testing

5. XTB – Best for CFDs

XTB is a well-known broker listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and is regulated by several financial authorities globally, including the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

When it comes to trading platforms, XTB provides the xStation 5 software that is compatible with web, desktop, mobile, and tablet devices. The diverse range of over 5,000 assets you can trade on XTB includes stocks, shares, ETFs, indices, commodities, and forex.

You can find the automated trading feature on both xStation 5 and xStation Mobile.

The platform uses robots and automatic trading systems, known as expert advisors, to place orders based on criteria set by experts.

XTB gives tools to help build strategies, understanding the need to watch automated trades closely. They also offer a demo account with fake money to test before fully using it.

The platform is user-friendly and flexible, helping you tweak your strategies as you learn. No upfront deposit is required, but trading fees can be high for budget-conscious traders.

Overall, XTB is a respected multi-asset broker with a vast range of forex and CFDs. Their xStation 5 platform is feature-rich, supported by comprehensive learning resources, and offers.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
£00.60%£0Forex, indices,
commodities, stocks,
ETFs, CFDs

Pros:

  • Commission-free stocks and ETFs for investments up to 100k per month
  • Free and quick deposit and withdrawal process

Cons:

  • Primarily limited to CFDs
  • Inactivity fees

Factors to Consider When Deciding

Choosing the best automated trading platform that fits your needs involves considering several factors.

Along with the key rating criteria I used to rank the platforms, here’s what to look for and compare:

  • Trading Goals & Strategy: Understand what your goals are and what strategies you plan to use. Different platforms may cater better to different strategies, such as day trading, swing trading, or long-term investing.
  • Market & Asset Types: Ensure that the platform supports the markets and asset types you wish to trade. Some platforms might specialise in forex trading, while others might cater more to cryptocurrency or stock trading.
  • Ease of Use: The platform should be user-friendly and intuitive, especially if you are a beginner.
  • Automated Trading Features: Look at the specific automated trading features offered by the platform. This can include the ability to backtest strategies, program your algorithms, or use pre-built algorithms.
  • Security & Regulation: The platform should have robust security measures in place and be regulated by an established financial authority.
  • Costs: Pay attention to the cost structure, which can include trading fees, data fees, and subscription costs. Some platforms may also have minimum deposit requirements.
  • Customer Support: It’s essential to check that the platform provides reliable customer support that can help you with any issues that arise.
  • Demo Account: A demo or paper trading account can allow you to test out the platform and your strategies without risking real money.
  • Reputation & Reviews: Don’t forget to check out reviews from other users and research the platform’s reputation in the industry.
  • Integration with Brokers: If you have a preferred broker, ensure that the automated trading platform can be integrated with it.

By considering these factors, you can find the best automated trading app and platform that matches your specific needs and circumstances.

I recommend you take advantage of free trials or demo accounts to test out different platforms before making a decision.

Final Thoughts

Having tested and reviewed the top automated trading platforms in the UK, you should now know which one is best for you.

I’ve considered the features, risks, and other aspects of each platform when reviewing and testing them.

With the right automated trading platform, you can invest your money and stay on track to reaching your financial goals.

Automating a trading process can be a great way to save time and energy, and the platforms available in the UK make it easier than ever.

FAQs

What is the best automated trading app UK?

The best automated trading apps in the UK include eToro, IG, and AvaTrade. Each app presents unique features catering to different trading styles. Comparing their tools, fees, and user feedback can help determine the best fit for individual traders. It’s essential to choose based on personal trading goals and experience.

Can you really make money with automated trading?

Yes, it is possible to make money with automated trading. Automated trading systems can execute trades quickly and efficiently based on predefined rules and strategies. When properly designed and implemented, automated trading can help capture trading opportunities, manage risk, and potentially generate profits. However, it’s important to note that success in automated trading depends on factors such as the quality of the trading strategy, market conditions, risk management techniques, and ongoing monitoring and adjustment. It’s recommended to thoroughly test and optimise automated trading strategies and stay informed about market trends to increase the chances of success.

Is automated trading legal in the UK?

Yes, automated trading is legal in the UK. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates financial activities in the UK, including automated trading. Traders and investors are allowed to use automated trading systems and algorithms to execute trades in the financial markets, as long as they comply with relevant regulations and follow proper risk management practices. While automated trading is legal, individuals should ensure they understand the risks involved and make informed decisions when using automated trading systems.

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Sources:

  1. https://www.finder.com/uk/investment-statistics ↩︎
  2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1262787/etoro-registered-users/ ↩︎

Will Fenton is the founder of Sterling Savvy. He is a personal finance expert and writes about trading, investing, budgeting, and other financial topics.

Along with his education in Economics & Finance, he has experience working in the financial services industry in London working for one of the UK’s leading financial companies, “a trustworthy and respected provider of news, education and market analysis for the everyday investor”.

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