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Best Stock Trading Apps UK 2024

Tobi Opeyemi Amure
Reviewed by:
Best stock trading apps UK

In a nutshell, the best stock trading apps in the UK are Plus500, renowned for its intuitive interface and versatile trading tools; eToro, popular for its social trading capabilities and a wide array of stocks; and Spreadex, offering a diverse range of stocks coupled with competitive spreads.

Looking for your perfect trading app?

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

Using your phone to trade gives you the power to tap into global markets seamlessly on the go.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced trader, I’ve got you covered.

16 Best Stock Trading Apps UK Ranked

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

Your capital is at risk.

  1. Plus500 – Award-winning mobile app for trading CFDs1
  2. eToro – Best stock trading app UK for beginners
  3. Spreadex – Best mobile trading app for tight spreads
  4. Freetrade – Best stock trading app UK for free share upon signup
  5. interactive investor – Best trading app UK for a large selection of investment options
  6. InvestEngine – Best trading app for ETFs
  7. AJ Bell – Best stock trading app for frequent traders
  8. Pepperstone – Best stock app for CFDs & spread bets
  9. AvaTrade – Best trading app UK for low spreads & fees
  10. Trading 212 – Best for low-cost & diverse investment options
  11. Trade Nation – Best for fixed low-cost spreads
  12. XTB – Best for low-cost trading & extensive educational resources
  13. Hargreaves Lansdown – Best for in-depth market analysis
  14. Capital.com – Best for CFD trading & extensive market access
  15. IG – Best for experienced traders & advanced trading tools
  16. Webull – Best for commission-free US stock trading

Best Trading Apps Compared for UK Traders

Here I’ve compared the trading apps based on four key rating criteria you must consider and compare.

What are the best trading apps in the UK?

RankTrading appMinimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
1Plus500£100£0Offers CFDs on forex, cryptocurrencies,
stocks, commodities, ETFs, options, indices
No
2eToro£7.50£0 (zero commission for real stocks
and ETF trades)
Stocks, indices, ETFs, currencies, commodities, cryptoYes, with Moneyfarm
3Spreadex£0Varies based on spreadStocks, forex, ETFs, indices, commodities, futures, sporting eventsNo
4Freetrade£0£0Stocks, ETFs, investment trusts, REITs, SPACs, IPOsYes
5interactive investor£0£3.99Stocks, funds, trusts, warrants, ETFsYes
6InvestEngine£100£0ETFsYes
7AJ Bell£500£1.50 – £9.95Stocks, funds, trusts, bonds, ETFsYes
8Pepperstone£0£0Forex, commodities, indices, currency indices, crypto, shares, ETFsNo
9AvaTrade£100£0Forex, stocks, commodities, indicesNo
10Trading 212£1£0Forex, stocks, commodities, REITs,
CFDs
Yes
11Trade Nation£0Fixed low-cost spreadsForex, stocks, commodities, indicesNo
12XTB£0£0Forex, stocks, commodities, indices,
ETFs
No
13Hargreaves Lansdown£1Based on the previous month’s activity
£5.95 – £11.95 per trade
Stocks, ETFs, funds, trustsYes
14Capital.com£20£0Stocks, indices, ETFs, commodities, forexNo
15IG£250Variable spreadReal stocks & ETFs, exchange-traded securities, CFDs (currency pairs, stock indices, stocks, ETFs, commodities, crypto,
bonds, and futures)
Yes
16Webull£0£0Stocks, options, indices, ETFs, commodities, forexNo

Best Stock Trading App UK Reviews

The rise in the use of trading apps in the UK has been significant over the last few years, with estimated downloads reaching around 7.1 million or 13% of the adult population2.

It’s easy to understand why. Who wouldn’t want to have the ability to work towards financial freedom and trade on the go?

Having worked in the retail investment sector in the financial heartbeat of the UK (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 trading apps on the market.

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

  1. Minimum deposit
  2. Trading fees
  3. Types of investments
  4. ISA availability

Factors such as usability, education materials, and additional features were also considered.

All the trading apps I’ve reviewed below are available on Android and iOS, and more importantly, regulated by the UK’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

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. Plus500 – Award-winning mobile app for trading CFDs

Plus500 - Award-winning mobile app for trading CFDs.

I’d recommend Plus500 if you’re looking for a more comprehensive trading experience, that is a step up from beginner-focused trading apps like eToro.

That’s not to say Plus500 isn’t good for beginners. With its demo trading account and learning academy, it’s a great platform for beginners who want to level up in their trading and learn how to properly use trading tools and charts.

It’s perfect if you want to trade CFDs – a trading vehicle characterised by high-risk yet high-potential upsides. This is because every trade made via CFDs essentially increases your debt as you are borrowing capital for each trade.

The beauty of CFD trading, though, lies in its flexibility; it allows you to place orders regardless of market swings.

However, the risk inherent to this method is undeniable and losses can accumulate quickly, so you must know what you are doing.

Fortunately, Plus500 offers ‘Negative Balance Protection’ under ESMA rules, ensuring you don’t lose more than your account balance, but be cautious.

This serves as a more secure measure compared to the traditional standard stop-loss.

Plus500 is not just a high-risk CFD platform.

It is a comprehensive trading app designed for what might be termed ‘intermediate traders’ – individuals who are more informed than the average retail investor but not as capital-rich as day traders.

The app provides access to a wide array of cutting-edge trading tools and securities, without compromising on its user-friendly interface.

One unique aspect of Plus500 is its knowledge base that provides a step-by-step guide on using its provided securities, ensuring even novice users can bridge the knowledge gap and improve their trading acumen.

This added layer of support aids in responsible trading and helps traders navigate the complexities of the market.

However, don’t forget that Plus500’s very strength – its complexity and array of tools and securities – also introduces an increased risk factor. This is particularly the case when dealing with volatile securities offered by the platform.

With over 10,000 user reviews on Trustpilot, a majority of which are positive, and regulated by the FCA (#509909), Plus500 is one of the best trading apps for those looking for a complete trading experience.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£100£0
Offers CFDs on forex, cryptocurrencies,
stocks, commodities, ETFs, options, indices
No

Read my full Plus500 review.

Pros:

  • Intuitive, user-friendly platform
  • Easy and efficient account setup
  • Demo trading account & learning academy
  • Fast and responsive customer service

Cons:

  • Could be more in-depth research tools

82% 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.

2. eToro – Best stock trading app UK for beginners

eToro, overall best stock trading app UK for beginners.

A close runner-up on my list of the best trading apps and what I recommend to beginners is eToro.

The trading app is well-designed and user-friendly, offering features like stop-loss orders for auto-closing losing trades and allowing affordable investments via fractional shares.

In my experience using eToro, I have found it to be a trustworthy and secure platform, backed by stringent regulations (FCA-registered) and industry-leading security measures.

This reassures users that their investments and personal information are well-protected.

One aspect that sets eToro apart from its competitors and its biggest advantage is its thriving community of traders from around the world.

If you’re confused or not sure where to start, the 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.

The platform offers a range of trading instruments, including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and more. I have personally used eToro for stock trading in the UK and found their execution speeds to be commendable, ensuring timely trades and minimising slippage.

eToro is the number one platform for copy trading. It boasts one of the world’s largest copy-trading communities and its innovative CopyTrader feature.

If you’re not sure what to trade, this unique functionality allows you to automatically replicate the trades of successful traders on the platform.

eToro copy trading feature.

For beginners, it’s a great way to learn about trading, while experienced traders can diversify their portfolios and potentially boost their returns.

A brand new feature eToro just launched is that you can now earn up to 5.3% interest on unused balances in the platform, pretty cool!

Considering key decision-making factors, eToro delivers in terms of performance, reliability, and accessibility. The platform offers traders real-time market data, fully customisable charts, and deep research tools for smart decision-making.

eToro is a top pick for UK traders due to its easy interface, strong security, active community, and unique features, suitable for new and expert investors.

Finally, it’s worth noting that as of 2023, eToro announced that they reached 30 million registered users worldwide.

On top of this, they have an ‘Excellent’ rating on Trustpilot (which is quite rare for a trading app), with over 18,000 reviews.

eToro Trustpilot review.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£10£0 (zero commission for real stocks
and ETF trades)
Stocks, indices, ETFs, CFDs, currencies,
commodities, crypto
Yes, with Moneyfarm

Other fees: $5 withdrawal fee, $10 inactivity fee, currency conversion fees.

Read my full eToro review.

Pros:

  • Commission-free trading for stocks and ETFs
  • Smooth and straightforward account setup process
  • Access to social trading features

Cons:

  • $5 charge for withdrawals
  • Limited to a single account currency option
  • Room for improvement in customer support services

{etoroCFDrisk}% 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. Other fees apply. Your capital is at risk. For more information, click here.

3. Spreadex – Best mobile trading app for tight spreads

Spreadex - Best mobile trading app for tight spreads.

Spreadex, an award-winning UK trading app, stands out for its user-friendly interface and robust functionality, catering to both CFD traders and sports bettors.

Renowned for its excellent customer service, the app offers a seamless trading experience with a wide range of CFDs and forex pairs, backed by efficient charting tools. Key features include transparent fee structures with no hidden costs, enhancing its appeal for cost-conscious traders.

Safety is a top priority for Spreadex, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), ensuring a secure trading environment.

The platform’s 20+ years of stability and compliance add to its reliability.

However, the app is limited in market variety, focusing mainly on forex and CFDs, and lacks comprehensive educational resources and a demo account, which may deter new traders.

While it boasts numerous awards for its mobile app, the absence of features like biometric login and third-party platform integration like MT4 are minor drawbacks.

Spreadex is a top choice for UK traders looking for a reliable and efficient trading app, especially for those interested in combining financial and sports spread betting.

Its blend of advanced tools, customer service excellence, and a secure trading environment makes it a standout choice in the mobile trading space.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£0Varies based on spreadShares, forex, ETFs
indices, commodities
futures, sporting events
No

Read my full Spreadex review.

64% of retail investors lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider.

4. Freetrade – Best stock trading app UK for free share upon signup

Best stock trading app UK for free share upon signup.

Another top contender is the stock trading app from Freetrade, a relatively new player in the UK trading industry having launched their app in 2018.

With Freetrade, you can trade US, UK, and European stocks with zero commission.

Plus, you get a free share worth between £10-£100 when you open and fund your account with at least £50.

Freetrade also offers a Standard Subscription Plan, which includes a full list of stocks and Freetrade ISA investment. You can even buy fractional shares in US stocks for just £2, making it an attractive option for investors looking to start investing with a smaller amount of money.

Freetrade provides features like performance analysis, returns breakdown, and curated stock insights to inspire investment.

The share trading app is user-friendly and easy to use, making it perfect for beginners. It lets investors trade stocks for free, a great option if you’re looking to save money and boost returns.

Freetrade offers many learning tools like articles, videos, and forums. This commitment to education cultivates a supportive environment so you can learn and grow your trading skills.

In terms of performance, Freetrade offers a diverse range of investment options, including stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

The platform’s intuitive search and analysis tools empower users to research and evaluate investment opportunities effectively.

Freetrade also provides real-time market data and comprehensive charts, allowing investors to monitor their portfolios and make data-driven decisions.

In summary, I’ve found that Freetrade is a top choice for UK investors looking for a user-friendly and one of the simplest stock trading apps.

The platform has an easy interface, offers free trades, gives learning tools, and follows regulatory compliance. Both new and expert traders can trust it, so you won’t have to worry.

I’d recommend Freetrade for its commitment to user experience and its mission to democratise investing in the UK, a much-welcomed company in the UK finance industry.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£0£0Stocks, ETFs, investment trusts,
REITs, SPACs, IPOs
Yes

Other fees: £5.99/month for Stocks and Shares ISA, £11.99/month for Self-invested personal pension (SIPP) plus other benefits.

Pros:

  • Commission-free trading for stocks and ETFs
  • Swift and user-friendly account registration process
  • Excellent mobile trading platform

Cons:

  • Limited product variety in the portfolio
  • Lack of research tools

5. interactive investor – Best trading app UK for a large selection of investment options

interactive investor - Best trading app UK for a large selection of investment options.

The stock trading app from interactive investor is perfect for DIY investors with a bit of experience.

Its greatest advantage is that you will get access to over 40,000 UK and international investment options, with a flat fee that works well for larger portfolios.

The trading app gives tools to help with smart investing. It has many tax wrappers, and you can pick the best, like an online SIPP.

The flat fee covers all account types. With the monthly regular investing service, you avoid trading fees. Plus, Interactive Investor offers human financial advisors for those needing extra guidance.

The app offers a range of stock trading tools like fundamental and technical analysis, news, expert research, charting, and tools for analysing performance and returns.

The desktop trading platform is user-friendly and has a matching mobile app, so you can easily track your investments on the go.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£0£3.99Stocks, funds, trusts,
warrants, ETFs
Yes

Other fees: Stocks & Shares ISA and trading account starting at £4.99/month. Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) starting at £12.99/month.

Pros:

  • Intuitive trading platforms for a user-friendly experience
  • Swift and hassle-free deposit and withdrawal processes
  • Excellent customer service via phone

Cons:

  • Basic charting and analytical tools
  • Incurs a monthly account fee

6. InvestEngine – Best trading app for ETFs

InvestEngine - Best trading app for ETFs

I recommend InvestEngine as the best trading app if you plan to only invest in ETFs.

InvestEngine is most effective for ETFs, providing managed and DIY solutions for investing in stocks through funds.

The trading app is clean, modern, and user-friendly, with a range of automation tools to help you make the most of your investments.

With InvestEngine, you can access ETFs from the UK, US, and global markets. You can choose from selection of over 580 ETFs from the likes of Vanguard, iShares, HSBC, Invesco, and more.

You can create and manage your own portfolio, with the ability to set up recurring investments and buy fractional shares.

Put simply, they (ETFs) are the best way for an investor to gain diversification at a low cost, whether you’re new to investing or have been investing for a while. They are also an effective way for investors to gain exposure to securities which, due to their account size, would otherwise be very difficult to do so.

Goncalo, Investment Manager at InvestEngine. From our recent interview.

InvestEngine’s fees are competitive, with no commission or hidden costs, making it a cost-effective option for investors who want to manage their investments.

The app also provides access to news and research to help inform investment decisions, and you can track your portfolio in real time.

I would recommend InvestEngine for investors who want to take charge of their investments and get the most out of the opportunities that ETFs have to offer.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£100£0 (DIY)
0.25% (Managed)
Investment funds Yes

Read my full InvestEngine review.

Pros:

  • Extensive selection of ETFs (580+)
  • User-friendly interface
  • Low-cost managed option with a 0.25% fee
  • Excellent customer support
  • Ability to invest within a business account

Cons:

  • Limited investment options to only ETFs
  • No option for personal pensions
  • Lack of additional features

7. AJ Bell – Best stock trading app for frequent traders

AJ Bell - Best stock trading app for frequent traders

AJ Bell is a cost-effective trading app for frequent traders, with low fees for more than 10 trades per month and a modest portfolio.

It provides access to an extensive range of tax wrappers, including the first online SIPP in the UK, and is one of the largest UK trading apps.

Its user-friendly desktop platform also converts well to the mobile app, allowing investors to trade with ease. The app also offers a good selection of tools for stock trading, though it lacks price alerts.

With access to funds and ready-made portfolios with low fees, AJ Bell is a great option for those looking to make frequent trades.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£500£1.50 – £9.95Stocks, funds, trusts,
bonds, ETFs
Yes

Other fees: Annual platform fee of 0% – 0.25% for funds and 0.25% for shares (maximum £3.50/month).

Pros:

  • Trusted trading app
  • No withdrawal fees
  • Attractive pricing for mutual fund investments

Cons:

  • Annual platform fees

8. Pepperstone – Best stock app for CFDs & spread bets

Pepperstone - Best stock app for CFDs & spread bets

Pepperstone offers an all-digital platform for stock and options trading.

Founded in 2010 by two former analysts, this UK stock trading app offers user-friendly tools for both new and experienced investors.

if you’re looking for options, Pepperstone provides its own platform and supports three other popular ones: MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and cTrader.

This offers flexibility and a range of features including advanced trading tools, backtesting, and variable spreads, catering to diverse trading styles and strategies.

In particular, MetaTrader 4 features an automated market scanner, while MetaTrader 5 comes with built-in indicators and an economic calendar.

The lack of a macOS platform for cTrader is compensated for by the robust MetaTrader offerings.

Pepperstone’s extensive toolset simplifies portfolio management and market analysis, allowing real-time tracking of portfolio performance and asset allocation.

The platform provides indicators and analytics for price and volume analysis and even incorporates social media analytics to aid investment decision-making. This makes it one of the easiest ways to track market fundamentals and the direction of stocks.

Additionally, the platform is robust in its security, ensuring your investments are protected.

Setting up a trading account with Pepperstone is straightforward, requiring no minimum investment and charging no trading fees.

Funding options are flexible, including bank or wire transfer, with balances held in either USD, EUR, or cryptocurrency, depending on the user’s location.

Withdrawals can also be made easily to an external account. However, it should be noted that customer support is limited to 24/5, which may be a drawback for some investors requiring round-the-clock assistance.

While the platform is not commission-free, it offers flexibility allowing investors to choose what suits their financial strategy best. A lack of inactivity charge adds to its appeal.

From stocks, ETFs, options, to futures, the trading possibilities on Pepperstone are vast, making it great for UK traders seeking an intuitive, flexible, and comprehensive trading app.

With this in mind, I would recommend Pepperstone if you aim to improve your trading strategy, plan to utilise its demo accounts, and spend time studying its learning materials.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£0£0
Forex, commodities, indices,
currency indices, crypto, shares, ETFs
No

Read my full Pepperstone review.

Pros:

  • Quick onboarding process
  • Excellent customer support
  • No-fee deposits and withdrawals

Cons:

  • Primarily offers CFDs
  • Basic features on the MetaTrader platform

9. AvaTrade – Best trading app UK for low spreads & fees

AvaTrade - Best trading app UK for low spreads & fees

AvaTrade is a broker based in Ireland.

It is important to note AVA Trade EU Ltd is incorporated in Ireland and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland (Reference No.: C53877), not the FCA.

At AvaTrade, users can speculate on price changes in stocks, commodities, indices, and currencies using CFD trading.

For example, if you want to trade Microsoft stocks, just open a CFD account with AvaTrade and use their platform to trade on its price changes.

You can buy a leveraged Microsoft stock CFD to go long or short, letting you profit if the stock price goes up or down. What truly matters is the direction you predict the price to move.

While some may find its depth overwhelming, others see it as a rich source of insights for informed trading decisions.

It also offers a wide range of trading options and a strong set of communication tools between traders, ensuring that users can find the best strategies for their trading needs.

However, AvaTrade’s strength is also its drawback. The platform’s complexity can make it appear inaccessible to many potential users.

At the same time, if you’re a trading enthusiast who values comprehensive market analytics over user-friendly interfaces, and is unafraid of a steep learning curve, AvaTrade may be your best bet.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£100£0
Forex, stocks, commodities, indicesNo

Read my full AvaTrade review.

Pros:

  • Quick and straightforward account setup
  • Zero-cost options for deposits and withdrawals
  • Robust research features

Cons:

  • Limited to options
  • Steep fees for account inactivity
  • Complex user interface

10. Trading 212 – Best for low-cost & diverse investment options

Trading 212 - Best for low-cost & diverse investment options.

Trading 212 distinguishes itself as one of the most cost-effective stock trading apps in the UK, catering to a wide range of investors with its commission-free trading across various markets.

It stands out for its minimal fees, with no platform or share trading fees and a very competitive foreign exchange fee of just 0.15%. The platform also allows the holding of multiple currencies within accounts, adding to its versatility.

With a minimum trade requirement of just £1, Trading 212 is accessible to both beginners and long-term investors. The app offers a diverse range of over 12,000 stocks, ETFs, and other investment options across UK, US, and European exchanges.

Trading 212 is unique in offering the ability to lend out shares to short-sellers, creating an opportunity for passive income through interest payments.

The app is user-friendly and highly rated on app stores, offering advanced charting options, a variety of stock filters, and basic performance data. However, it has limited company analysis tools. Trading 212 also provides valuable resources like a community trading forum, demo accounts, and investment guides.

One of Trading 212’s key features is its ISA account, which is free of maintenance fees, unlike many other platforms. The app’s design is both functional and visually appealing, receiving regular updates for usability improvements.

However, there are some drawbacks, including a 0.7% fee for deposits over £2,000 and a 0.15% FX fee for non-UK investments.

Additionally, the real-time price updates can lag, and the app’s performance varies between operating systems, with the Android version being less reliable than iOS.

In conclusion, Trading 212 is a top choice for those seeking a low-cost, versatile trading platform with a wide range of investment options, suitable for both novice and experienced investors in the UK.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£1£0
Forex, stocks, commodities, REITs,
CFDs
Yes

Read my full Trading 212 review.

Pros:

  • 0% commission on stocks across various markets
  • Allows trading with as little as £1
  • Over 12,000 shares, ETFs, and investments across multiple exchanges
  • Option to lend out shares to short-sellers

Cons:

  • Charges 0.7% for deposits over £2,000
  • Offers basic performance data but limited company analysis

11. Trade Nation – Best for fixed low-cost spreads

Trade Nation - Best for fixed low-cost spreads

Trade Nation, a notable UK stock trading app, offers an efficient platform for trading over 1,000 instruments, including more than 100 UK shares.

It stands out for its user-friendly interface, enabling quick asset purchases and access to a variety of trading tools. These tools include real-time news updates, risk management options like stop orders, and advanced technical analysis capabilities, powered by ChartIQ, featuring over 90 indicators.

The app supports a range of markets beyond stocks, such as forex pairs, commodities, and indices. It is especially appealing for its practice options in stock and CFD trading.

Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) since 2014 and covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), Trade Nation ensures a secure trading environment.

Deposits can be made through various methods, including debit/credit cards and e-wallets like Neteller and Skrill. The platform offers fixed low-cost spreads, a significant benefit for traders.

Additionally, it features no minimum deposit requirement, making it accessible to a broad range of investors.

However, the app has a limited number of trading instruments compared to some competitors.

Despite this, Trade Nation is highly regarded for its tight spreads, rapid trade execution, and range of technical tools, making it a strong choice for both beginner and experienced traders in the UK.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£0Fixed low-cost spreadsForex, stocks, commodities, indicesNo

Read my full Trading Nation review.

Pros:

  • Wide range of tools: real-time news, risk management options, and over 90 technical indicators
  • Fixed low-cost spreads
  • Supports various deposit methods, including e-wallets

Cons:

  • Offers fewer instruments compared to larger platforms.
  • Lacks comprehensive market research and educational resources.

12. XTB – Best for low-cost trading & extensive educational resources

XTB - Best for low-cost trading & extensive educational resources.

XTB is highly regarded as one of the best online stock brokers in the UK, offering a versatile and user-friendly trading platform available on desktop, iOS/Android apps, and web browsers.

It stands out for providing commission-free trading across a wide range of markets, including over 3,000 global stocks from the UK, US, and other regions, as well as 300 ETFs.

Key features of XTB include the ability to invest in traditional stocks, where users own the underlying shares, and the option to trade stock CFDs, which allow for leverage trading up to 1:5 and short-selling. This makes it an attractive platform for both straightforward stock investments and more complex trading strategies.

XTB’s app supports other asset classes like forex, indices, and commodities, appealing to traders with diverse interests. It also offers competitive fees, with no commissions charged on any markets and no minimum deposit requirements.

The platform is particularly noted for its low forex spreads, although it does not support cryptocurrency trading.

For new traders, XTB provides extensive educational resources, including guides, articles, and ebooks, and up to 4.9% interest on GBP cash balances. The platform’s usability is further enhanced by its range of technical tools, charting options, and robust customer service.

Overall, XTB is a top choice for traders seeking a comprehensive and cost-effective trading experience, with a strong emphasis on education and customer support.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£0£0Forex, stocks, commodities, indices,
ETFs
No

Pros:

  • 0% commission on over 3,000 global stocks and 300 ETFs
  • Allows leverage up to 1:5 and short-selling in stock CFDs
  • User-friendly platform with advanced tools and charting options
  • Extensive educational resources
  • Up to 4.9% interest on GBP cash balances in accounts

Cons:

  • Lacks access to MetaTrader 4 for UK users
  • Commission-free investing is capped at $100,000 per month

13. Hargreaves Lansdown – Best for in-depth market analysis

Hargreaves Lansdown - Best for in-depth market analysis.

Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) is a prominent UK-based stock trading app known for its comprehensive range of investment options and high-quality services.

Offering thousands of shares from the London Stock Exchange, AIM, and US-listed stocks like Apple and Tesla, HL caters to a diverse investor base. However, it does not support fractional investments, which might impact affordability for certain stocks.

The app stands out for its diversified investment offerings, including investment funds, ETFs, trusts, UK corporate and government bonds, alongside traditional stocks.

HL’s extensive research department is a significant asset, providing in-depth stock reports, quarterly earnings analyses, and dividend information. This feature is particularly beneficial for investors seeking informed decision-making.

HL offers tax-efficient investment vehicles such as ISAs and SIPPs, enhancing its appeal for long-term growth.

Despite these advantages, HL’s fee structure includes a flat commission of £11.95 per trade, an additional 0.45% annual charge on ISAs, and a 1% foreign exchange fee on US-listed stocks, positioning it as a pricier option in the market.

The app is user-friendly and requires a minimum deposit of just £1, making it accessible to a broad range of investors. HL’s commitment to customer service is reflected in its high customer satisfaction ratings and its wide range of accounts, including options for children’s investments.

Hargreaves Lansdown is an excellent choice for investors seeking a diverse range of assets and in-depth market insights, albeit at a higher cost.

Its strong reputation, expertly curated portfolios, and comprehensive research tools make it a leading option for both beginners and experienced investors in the UK.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£1Based on the previous
month’s activity
0-9 trades: £11.95 per trade;
10-19 trades: £8.95 per trade
20+ trades: £5.95 per trade
Stocks, ETFs,
funds, trusts
Yes

Pros:

  • Extensive range of investments, including stocks, funds, and bonds
  • In-depth research and analysis tools for informed trading
  • Tax-efficient accounts like ISAs and SIPPs

Cons:

  • Higher trading fees at £11.95 per trade
  • Additional charges like a 0.45% annual ISA fee and 1% FX fee on US stocks
  • No support for fractional investments

14. Capital.com – Best for CFD trading & extensive market access

Capital.com - Best for CFD trading & extensive market access

Capital.com is a distinguished stock trading app in the UK, highly suitable for active traders, particularly those interested in leveraging CFDs.

The platform offers over 2,800 stocks, including popular UK-listed companies like Barclays and HSBC, as well as stocks from the US, Asian markets, and other regions like Switzerland, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Norway.

It allows for trading in fractional units for US stocks, starting at 0.1 shares, providing affordability and flexibility.

The app is known for its commission-free trading structure for both UK and international stocks and CFDs.

Additionally, Capital.com provides a diverse range of other asset classes, including forex, indices, commodities, and ETFs, catering to a wide array of trading preferences.

One of Capital.com’s strengths is its user-friendly interface, which simplifies stock selection with efficient search and filter tools.

It is also recognised for its robust risk management features, including stop loss orders and guaranteed stop orders, as well as FCA-approved negative balance protection. These features, along with advanced tools and educational resources, make it suitable for both new and experienced traders.

Capital.com is regulated by the FCA and offers a safe and secure trading environment. It supports easy and instant deposit options via debit/credit card or e-wallet, with a low minimum deposit requirement of £20.

Despite its many advantages, it’s important to note that Capital.com focuses solely on CFD derivatives and does not offer ‘real’ stock trading.

Capital.com is a top choice for traders seeking a versatile, commission-free trading platform with a broad range of stocks and other financial instruments, combined with user-friendly features and strong regulatory compliance.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£20£0Stocks, indices, ETFs, commodities, forexNo

Pros:

  • Extensive range of over 2,800 stocks and other assets, including forex and commodities
  • Advanced risk management tools and educational resources

Cons:

  • Focuses only on CFD derivatives, not ‘real’ stock trading
  • Higher risks associated with leverage in CFD trading

15. IG – Best for experienced traders & advanced trading tools

IG - Best for experienced traders & advanced trading tools.

IG, a well-established FCA-regulated broker, stands out as one of the top trading apps in the UK.

Founded nearly 50 years ago and a member of the FSCS, IG has built a reputation for excellent customer service.

The app, available for both iOS and Android, supports thousands of traditional investment markets, including stocks from the London Stock Exchange, AIM, and global stocks from the US, Australia, and several European exchanges.

With a minimum deposit of £250, accessible through debit/credit cards and bank transfers, IG caters to various investors, though card payments incur a fee of 1% for Visa and 0.5% for MasterCard.

A notable downside is the £24 custody fee every three months for portfolios under £15,000 or if less than three trades are made in a quarter. The trading commissions vary depending on activity, with potential reductions for frequent trading.

IG’s appeal lies in its comprehensive market offerings, allowing users to invest in a wide array of assets, including CFDs and spread betting, alongside traditional stocks and ETFs.

It’s particularly suited for experienced traders, offering advanced tools like ProRealTime charting and MetaTrader4 for trading automation. IG also provides extensive educational resources and research tools, enhancing its value for informed trading decisions.

However, IG’s platform may not be the most cost-effective for occasional or low-volume traders due to its fee structure.

Additionally, the app doesn’t support fractional shares and can be complex for beginners. Despite these drawbacks, IG’s strengths in market diversity, advanced tools, and strong regulatory compliance make it a solid choice for serious UK traders.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£250Variable spreadReal stocks & ETFs, exchange-traded securities, CFDs (currency pairs, stock indices, stocks, ETFs, commodities, crypto,
bonds, and futures)
Yes

Read my full IG review.

Pros:

  • Advanced trading tools and charting options, including ProRealTime and MetaTrader4
  • Extensive educational resources and research tools

Cons:

  • Higher trading fees for occasional traders, with commissions up to £10 for US stocks
  • Custody fee of £24 every three months for smaller portfolios or low trading frequency
  • Does not support fractional shares, potentially limiting accessibility for some investors

16. Webull – Best for commission-free US stock trading

Webull - Best for commission-free US stock trading

Webull, a recent addition to the UK market, is renowned for its commission-free trading of US stocks and is especially appealing to those looking for a low-cost option.

As a platform regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), it offers a reliable and secure trading environment.

The app is user-friendly and integrates seamlessly with learning tools, featuring a customisable dashboard, video tutorials, podcasts, and an advanced alert system. This focus on usability and education makes it particularly suitable for new traders.

Webull also stands out for its social and community features, allowing users to engage with like-minded investors, which adds a unique dimension to the trading experience.

However, Webull’s primary limitation is that it only offers US stocks, which may not be ideal for those seeking a more globally diversified portfolio. UK investors also face foreign exchange fees when trading, which adds to the cost.

While the platform does not support fractional shares, it does offer a range of other assets, including ETFs, forex, indices, and commodities.

Webull is an excellent choice for UK investors interested in US stocks, offering a blend of low costs, user-friendly features, and social trading aspects. However, its focus on US markets and the accompanying FX fees might be a drawback for those looking for broader investment opportunities.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositTrading feesTypes of investmentsISAs
£0£0Stocks, options, indices, ETFs, commodities, forexNo

Pros:

  • Commission-free trading of US stocks
  • User-friendly interface with customisable dashboards
  • Social and community features for engaging with other traders
  • Educational resources including video tutorials and podcasts

Cons:

  • Limited to trading US stocks only
  • Charges foreign exchange fees for UK investors
  • Lacks tax-efficient account options like ISAs

How to Choose the Best Trading App in the UK?

Choosing the best stock trading app in the UK depends on several factors including your trading needs, knowledge, experience, and the amount of money you’re willing to invest.

Along with the key rating criteria I used to rank the apps, here are some aspects to consider:

  1. Ease of Use: A user-friendly interface is crucial, especially for beginners. You should choose an app that is intuitive and makes it easy to navigate, buy, and sell stocks.
  2. Educational Resources: The best trading apps provide educational resources like tutorials, webinars, articles, and guides. These are especially beneficial if you are a beginner or want to improve your trading skills.
  3. Fees and Commissions: It’s essential to understand the fees and commissions involved before selecting a trading app. Some apps offer commission-free trades, while others charge for each trade. Additionally, consider other fees like account maintenance fees or withdrawal fees.
  4. Investment Options: Check the range of investment options available on the app. Some apps only offer stocks, while others offer a variety of investment options including ETFs, bonds, forex, CFDs, and even cryptocurrencies.
  5. Security: The app should have strong security measures in place to protect your personal information and funds. Look for apps that use encryption and other security measures. Also, ensure that the app is regulated by a reputable body like the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.
  6. Customer Service: Good customer service is vital, especially when dealing with financial matters. Look for apps that provide prompt and effective customer support.
  7. Reputation and Reviews: Check online reviews and ratings to understand the experience of other users. Trustpilot and similar platforms can be good sources of unbiased reviews.
  8. Research Tools: The best share trading apps offer sophisticated tools and features to analyse stocks, including real-time quotes, charting tools, news feeds, and more.
  9. Demo Account: Some apps offer demo accounts where you can practice trading with virtual money. This is a great way to gain experience without risking real money.
  10. Regulation: The app should be regulated by a recognised authority such as the FCA. This provides an extra layer of protection for your investments.

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all trading app. What works best for you may not work best for someone else.

Therefore, it’s crucial to identify your trading needs and goals before choosing a trading app.

What Is Stock Trading?

Stock trading is an investment method that involves purchasing shares in a company and waiting for them to appreciate or rely on their income.

This offers the potential for both growth and income returns.

Companies issue stocks to raise money for planned projects or to operate the business.

Trading stocks takes place on different markets, such as the London Stock Exchange (LSE) or the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

Stocks tend to be long-term investments with higher chances of positive returns the longer they are held.

Returns can be generated through speculation or dividend payments. Dividends are regular payments made by companies to investors as a reward for investing in that company. The dividend yield depends on a company’s performance and is determined by its board of directors.

Income investors can invest in companies that pay dividends and rely on the payments over a longer period. Growth investors can purchase stocks in companies that have the potential to increase in value.

Different types of tax apply to different types of income received from investments in the UK. Investing through an ISA protects from income tax, capital gains tax, and dividend tax.

Why Invest in Stocks & Shares?

Investing in stocks and shares comes with a multitude of benefits, which explains why are a popular choice for investors in the UK.

Here are some key reasons to consider:

  • Capital Growth: One of the main reasons to invest in stocks and shares is the potential for capital growth. Over the long term, stocks have historically offered significant returns compared to other types of investments, such as bonds or savings accounts.
  • Dividend Income: Some companies distribute a part of their profits back to shareholders in the form of dividends. This can provide a steady income stream, particularly attractive to income-focused investors.
  • Diversification: Stocks and shares can provide diversification to your investment portfolio. Different stocks tend to react differently to economic events. Owning a variety of stocks can help mitigate risk and balance out your overall portfolio performance.
  • Inflation Protection: Over the long term, investments in stocks and shares have been shown to outpace inflation, helping preserve the purchasing power of your money.
  • Ownership: Buying stocks means you’re buying a piece of the company. As a shareholder, you have a stake in the company’s success and may have voting rights on key issues.
  • Liquidity: Stocks are usually highly liquid, meaning they can be quickly and easily converted to cash when needed. This gives investors flexibility and ease of access to their money.
  • Access to New Sectors: Investing in stocks and shares can give you exposure to different industries and sectors, some of which may be poised for significant growth, such as technology or renewable energy.

Different Ways to Trade Stocks in the UK

Let’s explore the different ways to trade stocks in the UK.

Direct investment is the simplest form of stock trading, where you buy and sell shares in a company.

Margin trading, on the other hand, allows you to borrow funds from a broker to buy more stocks than you can afford.

Both have their advantages and disadvantages which I’ll discuss in more detail.

1. Direct Investment

Direct investment into stocks and shares refers to the practice of purchasing individual stocks or shares of publicly traded companies directly from the stock market.

When you invest directly in stocks and shares, you become a shareholder of the company. This means you have a partial ownership interest in the company and are entitled to a share of its profits and assets.

As a shareholder, you may also have the right to vote on certain matters affecting the company, such as electing board members or approving significant corporate decisions.

Direct investment in stocks and shares offers several potential benefits.

First, it provides you with the opportunity to participate in the success of individual companies. If the company performs well, the value of your shares may increase, allowing you to earn a capital gain when you sell them.

Additionally, some companies distribute a portion of their profits as dividends to shareholders, providing a potential source of income.

Moreover, direct investment allows you to have more control over your investment decisions.

Instead of relying on a fund manager to select investments on your behalf, you can choose which stocks to buy and sell based on your research and analysis.

This level of control can be appealing to investors who prefer a hands-on approach and want to tailor their portfolios to their specific investment goals and risk tolerance.

However, direct investment in stocks and shares also comes with certain risks. Stock prices can be volatile, and individual companies can experience financial difficulties or market downturns that may negatively impact their stock value.

It requires careful research and analysis to make informed investment decisions and manage risk effectively.

Additionally, investing in individual stocks may lack diversification compared to investing in a broader portfolio of assets, which can increase the potential for losses.

It’s important to note that direct investment in stocks and shares requires a brokerage account through which you can place trades on the stock market.

Brokerage accounts allow you to buy and sell stocks, provide access to market data and research tools, and facilitate the safekeeping of your investments.

Before buying stocks, learn about investing, know the risks, and think about getting advice from a finance expert or doing deep research.

2. Margin Trading

Margin trading involves using leverage to increase profits or losses when trading in financial instruments, such as Contracts for Difference (CFDs), Foreign Exchange (Forex), Options3, Spread Bets, and Futures.

I’ll explain the advantages and disadvantages of margin trading and how to choose an app that best meets your needs.

Below are the various ways to trade on margin in the UK.

1. Contract for Difference (CFD)

You can access global markets and take advantage of leverage with CFD trading, making it an attractive option for those looking to diversify their investments.

CFDs are a type of derivative trading that allows investors to speculate on the price of stocks, commodities, indices, and currency pairs without actually owning the underlying asset.

CFDs provide traders with the opportunity to take a short-term view of the markets, with the potential for greater returns than traditional share trading. The ability to go long or short on the markets with leverage also makes CFDs more appealing to experienced traders.

CFD trading can be done through the mobile trading app of many UK stockbrokers, allowing investors to access the markets quickly and easily.

However, it’s important to remember that CFDs involve significant risk and investors should be aware of the potential for losses before trading.

For more info on CFD trading, read my comprehensive guide on ‘How to trade CFDs‘ and the ‘Best CFD trading platforms in the UK‘.

2. Foreign Exchange

FX trading, or forex trading, involves buying and selling currencies to profit from their exchange rate fluctuations.

Traders speculate on whether a currency will rise or fall in value compared to another currency. It’s the largest financial market globally, with trades occurring 24/7.

FX trading offers high liquidity and potential profit, but it carries risks due to currency volatility. Traders use platforms provided by brokers to enter positions and can leverage their trades. Success requires knowledge, analysis skills, and risk management.

For more info on FX trading, read my comprehensive guide on ‘How to trade Forex‘ and the ‘Best forex trading apps in the UK‘.

3. Options

Options trading can be a great way to diversify your portfolio and take advantage of short-term market movements. Options provide the ability to speculate or hedge in a market without owning the underlying asset.

With the potential to make a large return on a relatively small capital outlay, options trading can be an attractive option for investors in the UK. Options trading involves buying and selling options contracts, which gives the buyer the right to buy or sell a security at a specific price on or before a certain date.

The buyer of an option has the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell the underlying asset, and the seller of the option must fulfill the option contract. Options come in two types: calls and puts. A call option gives the buyer the right to buy an asset at a predetermined price, while a put option gives the buyer the right to sell an asset at a predetermined price.

Options trading has the potential to be profitable, but it can also be risky. When trading options, investors should be aware of the potential for losses as well as the potential for gains.

For more info on options trading, read my comprehensive guide on the ‘best options trading platforms UK‘.

4. Spread Bet

Spread betting allows you to speculate on the price movements of a wide range of financial instruments, such as stocks, indices, currencies, and commodities, without actually owning the underlying asset.

Unlike traditional stock trading, spread betting can be done with leverage, meaning you can control larger positions with a smaller initial outlay. However, the potential for large returns is balanced by the risk of incurring large losses. Therefore, it’s important to understand the risks before you start spread betting.

Spread betting is generally exempt from capital gains tax in the UK. It can be done online or through a mobile trading app, making it an attractive form of investing for those who want to go beyond traditional stock trading.

For more info on spread betting, read my comprehensive guide on the ‘best spread betting platforms UK‘.

5. Futures

Futures are a great way to speculate on price movements of commodities and other financial instruments, and you can leverage your capital to potentially make bigger profits – if you’re willing to take the risk.

Futures are highly leveraged investments that involve buying or selling an asset at a predetermined price in the future. Trading futures allows you to speculate on price movements without having to own the underlying asset. They also offer greater liquidity than other types of investments and allow you to hedge your portfolio against risk.

However, futures trading is complex and comes with a higher risk of loss compared to other investments. It’s important to understand the fundamentals of futures trading and have a good understanding of the market you’re trading in before making any investments.

Beginner’s Guide to Trading Stocks

As a beginner, it’s important to understand the basics of stock trading.

1. Master Trading Terminology

In the UK, successful trading necessitates specialised knowledge of market dynamics and terminology.

To excel as a trader, it is essential to grasp key concepts such as ask and bid prices, leverage ratios, price-volume patterns, fundamental and technical analysis, bear and bull markets, lot sizes, margins, spot, forward, and futures markets, as well as various trading strategies like day trading, swing trading, scalping, going short, and going long.

Familiarity with these terminologies empowers traders to navigate the complexities of the market effectively.

2. Decide on Your Trading Strategies

Deciding on a stock trading strategy involves considering several factors. Here are some steps to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Assess your goals: Determine your investment objectives, whether it’s long-term wealth accumulation, income generation, or short-term gains. Your goals will shape your trading strategy.
  2. Evaluate risk tolerance: Understand your comfort level with risk. Some strategies involve higher risks but may offer greater potential rewards. Consider your financial situation and the amount of risk you are willing to take.
  3. Research and education: Gain knowledge about different trading strategies. Study fundamental and technical analysis, chart patterns, indicators, and other tools used in stock analysis. Explore various strategies such as value investing, growth investing, momentum trading, or contrarian approaches.
  4. Time commitment: Consider the amount of time you can dedicate to trading. Some strategies require active monitoring and frequent trades, while others are more passive and long-term focused.
  5. Market conditions: Take into account the current market environment. Certain strategies may perform better in specific market conditions, such as trending markets, volatile markets, or range-bound markets.
  6. Practice and backtesting: Before committing to real money, test your chosen strategy using simulated trading or backtesting tools. This allows you to evaluate its performance and make adjustments as needed.
  7. Start with a small position: Begin with a small investment or allocate a portion of your portfolio to the chosen strategy. Monitor its effectiveness and make necessary modifications over time.
  8. Regular evaluation: Continuously review and assess your trading strategy’s performance. Be open to adapting and refining it based on market trends, changing goals, or new information.

Remember, no strategy guarantees success in the stock market. It’s important to stay disciplined, manage risk effectively, and remain adaptable as market conditions evolve.

3. Create a Trading Plan

Now that you’ve decided on your trading strategies, it’s time to create a plan that’ll help you reach your goals and maximise your potential profits.

A trading plan should be tailored to your goals and risk appetite, outlining the strategies and techniques you’ll use to achieve success. It should also include a list of stocks you’re interested in trading and the criteria you use to identify the best ones.

Additionally, you should consider setting specific goals that are both realistic and measurable, such as the number of stocks you want to own, the return on investment you expect, and the maximum risk you’ll take.

Once you have a plan in place, you should review it regularly and make adjustments as needed. This will help ensure you’re on track to achieving your goals and taking advantage of the best opportunities.

4. Examine Trading Fees

Carefully consider the trading fees associated with each trading app, as these costs can add up quickly and reduce your potential profits.

eToro and Freetrade offer commission-free trading, while interactive investor and AJ Bell charge fees per trade.

Others have monthly subscription fees.

5. Choose a Tax Wrapper

With a range of tax wrappers available, it’s important to select one that best suits your needs and investment goals. Tax wrappers can help you protect your investments from certain taxes, such as income tax, capital gains tax (CGT), and dividend tax.

For example, an ISA reduces your tax liability for investments made within the ISA. ISA Allowance for the 2023/24 tax year is £20,000. This allowance covers both a Cash ISA and a Stocks and Shares ISA.

Investing through a Stocks and Shares ISA can be beneficial as it protects your investments from income tax, CGT, and dividend tax. This can be a great way to save on taxes and maximise your investments.

Other tax wrappers include trusts and pensions. Each of these has different rules and regulations surrounding the amount of tax you will pay. Researching these options before investing can ensure that you choose the best tax wrapper for your needs.

6. Open a Trading Account

To start investing in stocks, you’ll need to open a trading account. Take the time to compare the features and fees of different trading apps to find the one that suits your needs.

Each trading app has its pros and cons when it comes to trading stocks, so it’s important to consider the cost, stock selection, usability, and research capabilities of each app.

Make sure to evaluate each app to determine which one will best meet your needs.

You will also need to deposit the minimum account required to open an account, this can usually be done by bank transfer, debit and credit cards, and other payment methods.

7. Choose Your Market

Now that you’ve chosen your stock trading app, it’s time to decide which markets to invest in. There are many stock exchanges around the world, each offering different stocks and opportunities.

Before investing, it’s important to understand the different markets available. This will help you make informed decisions and ensure you’re investing in the right stocks.

In the UK, the main stock exchanges are the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). The LSE is the largest stock exchange in the UK, with the most established companies listed. It offers a wide range of stocks, from tech giants to small-cap stocks.

On the other hand, AIM is a smaller exchange typically used for smaller companies or start-ups. Stock prices on AIM are usually lower than those on the LSE, making it a great opportunity for investors looking for more growth potential.

Additionally, many of the stocks listed on AIM are eligible for tax-free investments, such as ISAs.

Ultimately, the stock market you choose will depend on your goals, risk tolerance, and budget.

8. Open a Position

In stock trading, opening a position means taking a specific action based on your market expectations. If you believe a stock’s price will rise, you can open a buy position (going long) to profit from the upward movement.

Conversely, if you anticipate a price drop, you can open a sell position (going short) to potentially profit from the downward movement.

Don’t forget, that there is potential for capital losses.

9. Monitor Your Trades & Close Your Position

Once you’ve opened a position, it’s important to monitor your trades and close your position when the time is right. Many stock trading apps provide tools to help you stay on top of your trades.

You can set price alerts, which notify you when a stock reaches a certain price, or you can look at the company’s financial statements and news coverage. This will help you gauge the stock’s performance and make a decision to close your position when the time is right.

It’s also important to consider the tax implications of trading. Different types of tax apply to different types of income received from investments in the UK.

Investors should be aware of their tax liability when closing a position to ensure they’re maximising their returns.

Knowing the CGT and Dividend Tax rates and allowances can also help in this regard.

How to Pick Stocks

Picking stocks to invest in can be a complex process that requires careful thought, research, and analysis.

Here are some key steps and strategies for picking stocks:

  1. Set Clear Investment Goals: Understand what you’re hoping to achieve with your investments. Are you seeking growth, income, or a balance of the two? Your goals will influence the types of stocks you should consider.
  2. Understand Your Risk Tolerance: Different stocks come with different levels of risk. Generally, smaller companies and those in volatile sectors or regions are riskier but potentially offer higher returns. Blue-chip stocks (large, established companies) may be slower growing but provide more stability.
  3. Do Your Homework: Research is essential. Look at a company’s fundamentals, including its earnings, revenue, cash flow, and debt levels. Other important metrics include the price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio and the dividend yield.
  4. Consider the Industry: Certain sectors may perform better than others depending on the current economic cycle. For example, technology and consumer discretionary stocks may perform well during an economic upswing, while utilities and consumer staples might do better during a downturn.
  5. Evaluate Management: Good leadership can significantly impact a company’s performance. Research the company’s leadership team, their past performance, and their vision for the future.
  6. Examine the Competitive Landscape: Look at the company’s market position. Does it have a competitive advantage or unique selling proposition that sets it apart from its competitors?
  7. Diversification: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Invest in a diverse range of stocks across different sectors and regions to spread risk.
  8. Think Long-Term: Investing in stocks should typically be considered a long-term strategy. Be patient and avoid making impulsive decisions based on short-term market fluctuations.
  9. Seek Advice: Consider speaking with a financial advisor or a stock broker. They can provide personalised advice based on your financial situation and goals.

While these strategies can help, there’s no surefire way to guarantee success when picking stocks.

It’s crucial to make informed decisions and regularly review your investments.

Common Stock Trading Fees

Trading stocks can come with various fees, which differ depending on the brokerage you choose, the type of trade you make, and the services you require.

Understanding these charges can help you choose a suitable trading app and manage your investment costs effectively.

Here are some common fees associated with stock trading:

  • Commission Fees: Also known as trading fees, these are charges applied every time you place a trade, i.e., buy or sell a stock. They can be a flat rate or a percentage of the trade value. Some online brokers now offer zero-commission trading on certain products.
  • Account Maintenance Fees: Some stockbrokers charge a fee for maintaining your trading account, often referred to as an inactivity fee. These are usually charged annually or quarterly if your account falls below a certain level of trading activity.
  • Margin Interest: If you trade on margin (using borrowed money from the broker), you will be charged interest on the loaned amount. This rate depends on the loans you have and varies between brokers.
  • Deposit and Withdrawal Fees: Some brokers may charge fees when you deposit or withdraw funds from your account, especially if it involves currency conversion.
  • Market Data Fees: Some platforms may charge fees for real-time or in-depth market data and analysis tools.
  • Platform Fees: Certain brokers may charge a fee for using their trading app, especially if they offer advanced trading features.
  • Spread Costs: For brokers offering spread betting or CFD trading, the cost is often incorporated into the spread – the difference between the buy and sell price of a security. This cost is incurred whenever you place a trade.
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: If you’re buying shares listed on an overseas stock exchange, you may be charged a foreign transaction fee.
  • Dividend Handling Fees: Some brokers charge a fee to process dividend payments from the companies whose shares you own.
  • Dormant Account Fees: If your trading account is inactive for a certain period, you may be charged a dormant account fee.

Pay attention to fees as they can impact your investment returns, it’s vital to understand them before you start trading.

Different brokers have different fee structures, so compare your options carefully to ensure you choose one that aligns with your trading habits and investment goals.

Tax on Investments UK

In the UK, there are several ways in which your investments might be taxed, primarily through capital gains tax, income tax, and stamp duty.

Here’s a summary of each:

  1. Capital Gains Tax (CGT): When you sell or dispose of an asset that’s increased in value, you’re subject to capital gains tax on the profit, not the total amount you received. This includes the sale of stocks, bonds, or property. However, there is an annual tax-free allowance, known as the Annual Exempt Amount. For the tax year 2023/24, this is £6,000, which means you can realise gains up to this amount across your entire portfolio without having to pay CGT. Any gains above this threshold are taxed at 10% for basic-rate taxpayers and 20% for higher and additional-rate taxpayers, but these rates can vary depending on the type of assets.
  2. Income Tax: Any income you receive from your investments, such as dividends from shares, interest from bonds or rent from property, may be subject to income tax. There is a tax-free Dividend Allowance, which is £1,000 for the 2023/24 tax year. Any dividends received above this threshold are taxed at your respective rate: 8.75% for basic-rate taxpayers, 33.75% for higher-rate taxpayers, and 39.35% for additional rate taxpayers.
  3. Stamp Duty: When you buy shares in a UK company directly, you usually pay 0.5% Stamp Duty Reserve Tax on the transaction. There’s no charge if you buy shares in a company incorporated outside the UK or through platforms like ETFs and OEICs.

It’s also worth noting that investments held within an Individual Savings Account (ISA) or a pension are largely exempt from these taxes.

ISAs, in particular, can offer a tax-efficient way to save or invest, with an annual allowance of £20,000 for the tax year 2023/24.

If you’re confused about tax laws and the amount of tax you need to pay, my best advice is to get guidance from a tax professional or financial advisor.

Commonly Asked Questions

Here I’ve answered some popular questions people have about trading in general, trading apps, and using them in the UK.

What are the best free trading apps UK?

In the UK, several trading apps allow you to invest with no trading fees, and among the most popular are eToro, Freetrade, and InvestEngine.

Here’s an overview of each:

  1. eToro: Known for its social trading features, eToro allows you to interact with other traders, follow their strategies, or even copy their trades. It offers commission-free trading for stocks and ETFs. However, you should be aware that eToro does apply other fees such as withdrawal fees and inactivity fees, so it’s not entirely fee-free.
  2. Freetrade: Freetrade offers a user-friendly trading app ideal for beginners, with commission-free trades on UK and US stocks and ETFs. They offer a free account, but also a Freetrade Plus account for £11.99 per month that provides access to more stocks and features such as limit orders. Again, while trading is commission-free, there may be other costs such as a foreign exchange fee for US stocks.
  3. InvestEngine: This is a relatively new app that combines robo-advisory services with a DIY investing platform. They offer commission-free trades on ETFs. You can either build and manage your portfolio for free or use their managed portfolio service for a low annual fee of 0.25%.

All three apps let you invest with little money, making investing easier. But even if trades are free, watch out for other fees like foreign exchange or withdrawal charges.

Are trading apps worth it?

Trading apps can be worth it, particularly for those who value convenience, flexibility, and accessibility in their investment activities.

They allow investors to manage their portfolios from the palm of their hands, making it simpler to react to market trends and events swiftly.

Many trading apps also offer learning resources, analytics, and social trading features, equipping users with valuable tools to make informed decisions.

Moreover, a growing number of these apps are offering commission-free trading, which can lower the cost of investing, particularly for frequent traders.

Can I really make money from trading?

Yes, it is possible to make money from trading.

Many investors have made significant profits from well-timed trades and thoughtful investment strategies, while many have lost out.

It’s essential to understand that trading is not a guaranteed way to make money.

The financial markets can be unpredictable and influenced by numerous factors, including economic indicators, corporate earnings, and geopolitical events.

While some traders might see significant returns, others may experience losses.

Furthermore, successful trading often requires a deep understanding of the markets, patience, a well-planned strategy, and the ability to manage risk.

High-frequency trading and trading on margin can amplify gains, but they can also magnify losses.

It’s also worth noting that trading can be time-consuming, as it often requires constant market monitoring and timely decision-making.

Therefore, while it is possible to make money from trading, it’s not a guarantee and should be approached with careful consideration and preparation.

Can I teach myself trading?

Yes, you can self-learn trading through a variety of resources available online, such as courses, webinars, blogs, and trading simulators.

However, trading is complex and requires a deep understanding of financial markets, as well as discipline, patience, and risk management skills.

Although self-learning is a great starting point, it is recommended to also seek mentorship from experienced traders and participate in trading communities.

Remember, trading is not only about gaining knowledge but also about continuously applying and learning from your experiences.

How to manage risk when trading?

Managing risk in trading involves several important steps:

  1. Educate Yourself: Knowledge is the first line of defense. Understand the markets, different investment types, and how they work. Learn about fundamental and technical analysis to make informed decisions.
  2. Diversify Your Portfolio: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Spread your investments across different asset classes and sectors to mitigate risk.
  3. Set a Budget: Determine the amount of capital you are willing to risk on each trade. A common rule of thumb is not to risk more than 1-2% of your trading account on any single trade.
  4. Use Stop-Loss Orders: These can automatically close your trading position if the market moves against you to a certain extent. It’s an effective way to limit your potential losses.
  5. Regularly Review and Adjust: Markets change, and so should your trading strategy. Regularly review your investment performance and adjust your strategy based on market trends and your financial goals.
  6. Avoid Emotional Trading: Decisions based on fear or greed can lead to poor trading choices. Stay disciplined and stick to your trading plan.

What is the best trading app in the UK?

Here are the best trading apps in the UK:

  1. eToro – Commission-free stock trading, 3,479 instruments
  2. Plus500 – Award-winning, CFD trading, 5,500 instruments
  3. Freetrade – Commission-free trading, free share upon signup, 6,000+ instruments
  4. interactive investor – Large selection of investment options, 40,000+ instruments
  5. InvestEngine – Low cost, simple app, 580+ ETFs
  6. AJ Bell – Good for frequent traders, 15,000+ instruments
  7. Pepperstone – CFDs & spread betting, 2,342 instruments
  8. AvaTrade – Low spreads & fees, 1,260 instruments
  9. Interactive Brokers – Advanced trading tools, 8,500 instruments
  10. Saxo Markets – Powerful market research, SaxoTraderGO, advanced tools, 70,000 instruments
  11. IG – Comprehensive stock trading app, in-depth education, 19,537 instruments
  12. Fidelity – ISAs & SIPPs, international broker, 5,000 instruments
  13. XTB – Top-notch customer service, commission-free real stocks, 6,010 instruments
  14. Hargreaves Lansdown – Premium investment & trading platform, 15,000+ instruments
  15. Capital.com – Web trading platform, CFD broker, 3,119 instruments

Pros & Cons of Stock Trading

As an investor, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of stock trading before committing to the market.

Pros of Stock Trading:

  1. Potential High Returns: One of the major advantages of stock trading is the opportunity to earn significant returns. If you choose the right stocks and manage your investments wisely, you can see substantial growth in your portfolio.
  2. Liquidity: Stocks are highly liquid tradeable assets, meaning you can easily buy and sell shares whenever the market is open. This allows for flexibility and access to your funds when you need them.
  3. Ownership and Dividends: When you buy stocks, you essentially become a part-owner of the company, giving you a claim on part of the company’s assets and earnings. Some companies also distribute dividends to their shareholders, providing an additional income stream.
  4. Diversification: The stock market offers a wide range of sectors and companies to invest in, allowing for portfolio diversification which can help mitigate risk.

Cons of Stock Trading:

  1. Market Volatility: The stock market is subject to fluctuations4, which can cause the value of your investments to decrease. Market volatility can lead to potential losses, particularly if you need to sell your stocks during a downturn.
  2. Time and Effort: Successful stock trading requires significant time and effort to research and monitor investments, as well as an understanding of complex financial reports and market trends.
  3. Emotional Stress: The volatility of the stock market can lead to stress and emotional trading decisions. It requires discipline and emotional control to stick to a trading plan and not be swayed by market sentiments.
  4. Potential Losses: As much as there is potential for high returns, there is also a risk of significant losses in stock trading, especially if you engage in high-risk strategies like day trading or trading on margin. It’s important to only invest money that you can afford to lose.

FAQs

What is the best app to trade stocks for beginners UK?

The best stock trading app UK for beginners is eToro. With its user-friendly interface, educational resources, and social trading features, eToro provides an ideal platform for newcomers to dive into the world of stock trading. Its innovative CopyTrader feature allows beginners to replicate the trades of successful investors, enabling them to learn and earn simultaneously. Additionally, eToro offers a wide range of stocks to trade, making it a comprehensive and the overall best stock trading app for beginners.

What is the best free trading app UK?

When it comes to the best free trading apps in the UK, two standout options are eToro and Freetrade. Both platforms offer user-friendly interfaces, commission-free trading, and a range of investment options. eToro is known for its social trading features, allowing users to copy the trades of successful investors and engage with a community of traders. Freetrade, on the other hand, focuses on simplicity and offers a wide selection of stocks and ETFs. Whether you’re interested in social trading or a diverse range of investments, eToro and Freetrade are excellent choices for free trading apps in the UK.

How much money do you need to start trading UK?

In the UK, the minimum investment required to start trading varies greatly depending on the trading platform and the type of trading. For some online trading apps, you can start trading with as little as £1. However, it’s advisable to start with a more substantial amount, often around £500-£1,000, to help diversify your portfolio and absorb potential losses. Always remember to only invest what you can afford to lose. *Not financial advice.

What is the best trading app 0 commission UK?

For a trading app with zero commission in the UK, eToro is a top choice.

How do I start trading in the UK?

To start trading in the UK, follow these steps:
1. Choose a reliable trading app.
2. Open an account and complete the registration process.
3. Fund your account with the desired amount.
4. Conduct research and analysis on stocks or assets.
5. Execute trades.
6. Monitor your investments and make informed decisions.

Can I trade stocks on my phone?

Yes, you can trade stocks on your phone. With the advent of mobile trading apps, buying and selling stocks has never been easier. You can easily monitor your portfolio, perform research, and execute trades right from the palm of your hand, providing flexibility and convenience. However, it’s important to choose a reputable trading app that aligns with your trading needs and to remain mindful of the risks associated with trading.

Are trading apps safe?

Yes, trading apps can be safe to use, provided they are from reputable providers. It’s essential to use an app that is regulated by financial authorities like the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK. These apps employ advanced security measures, such as encryption and two-factor authentication, to protect your personal and financial data. However, remember that while the apps can be secure, investing always carries risk, and it’s important to do your due diligence when choosing investments.

Why do most traders lose money?

Most traders lose money due to a lack of preparation, insufficient knowledge about markets, and emotional decision-making. Trading requires a well-constructed strategy, rigorous risk management, and an understanding of market trends and indicators. Unfortunately, many novice traders act on impulse or follow unverified tips, which often leads to losses. Furthermore, trading involves inherent risks, and even seasoned traders can face losses due to unpredictable market fluctuations.

What is the best app to buy stocks UK?

In the UK, eToro and Freetrade are among the top apps for buying stocks. eToro offers a wide range of assets and features social trading, while Freetrade provides a user-friendly interface with commission-free trading. Both are suitable depending on your trading style and needs.

What is the best stocks and shares app for beginners UK?

In the UK, Freetrade and eToro are highly recommended for beginners interested in stocks and shares. Freetrade offers a straightforward, user-friendly interface with commission-free trading, making it ideal for newcomers. eToro provides social trading features that allow beginners to learn from more experienced traders, offering a broader range of assets.

What is the easiest trading app in the UK?

In the UK, Freetrade is often cited as one of the easiest trading apps for beginners due to its simple, user-friendly interface and commission-free trading. eToro is another option that’s beginner-friendly, offering social trading features to help newcomers learn from more experienced traders. Both apps aim to make the trading experience as straightforward as possible.

Best trading app to earn money?

The best trading app for earning money can vary depending on your trading skills, strategy, and the assets you’re interested in. Apps like eToro offer a wide range of assets and social trading features, while Freetrade provides a user-friendly, commission-free trading experience. Both have their merits, but it’s crucial to do your research and consult a financial advisor to determine which is most suitable for your financial goals.

What is the best trading app for iPhone?

Plus500 is widely regarded as one of the best trading apps for iPhone users. It offers a user-friendly interface, a wide range of products, and commission-free trading. The app is designed for both beginners and experienced traders, making it a versatile choice for iPhone users interested in trading.

What is the best trading app for Android?

For Android users, eToro and Plus500 are among the top trading apps available. eToro offers a wide range of assets and social trading features, while Plus500 is known for its user-friendly interface and CFD trading options. Both apps cater to different trading styles and are highly rated in the Android app store.

Which trading apps are legal in the UK?

The trading apps reviewed above are all legal in the UK. These include eToro, Freetrade, interactive investor, InvestEngine, AJ Bell, Pepperstone, Plus500, and AvaTrade.

Best app to buy stocks long-term in term UK?

The best apps for long-term stock investing in the UK are interactive investor and AJ Bell. Both offer robust platforms for long-term investments. Choose based on your preferences and research on fees, tools, and user reviews.

What is the best app for buying and selling shares in the UK?

In the UK, eToro is favored for its social trading features and a broad range of stocks for buying and selling. Freetrade is popular among users seeking a straightforward and fee-free trading experience on their mobile devices. Interactive investor offers a comprehensive share trading app with a wide array of investment options and research tools, suitable for both novices and experienced traders.

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Sources:

  1. https://investmenttrends.com/industry-research/award-winners/ ↩︎
  2. https://appradar.com/blog/best-investment-apps-2022 ↩︎
  3. https://mitsloan.mit.edu/ideas-made-to-matter/retail-investors-lose-big-options-markets-research-shows ↩︎
  4. https://www.chicagobooth.edu/review/why-are-financial-markets-so-volatile ↩︎

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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