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Best Trading Platforms in the UK 2024

Tobi Opeyemi Amure
Reviewed by:
Best trading platforms UK

In a nutshell, the best trading platforms in the UK are Plus500, renowned for its intuitive user interface and diverse trading instruments; eToro, popular for its social trading network and wide range of assets; and Spreadex, distinguished for its robust spread betting options and exceptional customer service.

Looking for your perfect trading platform?

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

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

16 Best Online Platforms for Trading Ranked

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

Your capital is at risk.

  1. Plus500 – Overall best
  2. eToro – Best for beginners
  3. Spreadex – Best for tight spreads
  4. Trade Nation – Best for low-cost fixed spreads
  5. interactive investor – Best for global trading opportunities
  6. AvaTrade – Best for forex trading
  7. AJ Bell – Best for ease of use
  8. ActivTrades – One of the cheapest platforms
  9. Pepperstone – Best MetaTrader platform in the UK
  10. HYCM – Best for low forex & CFD trading fees
  11. XTB – Best for commodities
  12. Hargreaves Lansdown – Best for access to financial advisors

Best Options Compared for UK Traders

Here I’ve compared the trading platforms based on five key factors you must consider and compare.

RankTrading platformMinimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
1Plus500£1000.70%£0Forex, commodities, indices,
options, stocks, ETFs
2eToro$100.80%£0Stocks, indices, ETFs, currencies, commodities, crypto
3Spreadex£00.60%£0Stocks, forex, ETFs, indices, commodities, futures, sporting events
4Trade Nation£00.45 points (average spread cost)0%£0Forex, stocks,
commodities, indices
5interactive investor£00.6UK shares: £5.99 per trade,
International shares: £19.99 per trade
£4.99 – £19.99/monthStocks, funds, trusts,
warrants, ETFs
6AvaTrade£1000.50%£0Forex, stocks,
commodities, indices
7AJ Bell£500n/a0.25%Max £3.50/monthStocks, funds, trusts,
bonds, ETFs
8ActivTrades£00.230.3%£0Spread betting, forex, stocks,
indices, ETFs, commodities,
bonds
9Pepperstone£00.40.10% plus spread£0Forex, commodities, indices,
currency indices, crypto,
stocks, ETFs
10HYCM£1000.50%£0Forex, stocks, indices, commodities
11XTB£00.60%£0Forex, indices, commodities, stocks, ETFs, CFDs
12Hargreaves Lansdown£1n/aBased 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
£0Stocks, ETFs,
funds, trusts

Reviews

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

Choosing the best 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 trading platforms on the market.

Using my experience in this field, I’ve compiled a list of the best trading 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 usability, trading platforms available, research tools, educational materials, and additional features were also considered.

All the trading 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. Plus500 – Overall best2

Plus500, best trading platform UK for CFDs and trading options.

I would recommend Plus500 for more experienced traders, who want to trade CFDs – a trading vehicle characterised by high-risk yet high-potential upsides.

It stands out from other trading platforms with its advanced search functions and alert features that enhance the trading experience.

I found its ‘Insights’ tool useful for analysing trades in real-time as it provides valuable insights into the market. 

What sets ‘Insights’ apart is its ability to empower users by helping them identify profitable trades and evaluate trader sentiment. This advantage gives traders a competitive edge and allows them to make informed decisions.

If you want a reliable customer support team, you won’t be disappointed by Plus500. In particular, I found its live chat feature to be especially helpful and fast. 

On the other hand, the range of educational materials offered by Plus500 is relatively restricted, and they impose a fee for inactivity if your account remains inactive.

With over 10,000 positive Trustpilot reviews and FCA regulation (#509909), I’d recommend the trading platform for both experienced and intermediate traders.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
£1000.70%£0Offers CFDs on forex, cryptocurrencies,
stocks, commodities, ETFs, options,
indices

Read my complete Plus500 review.

Pros:

  • No commission on buy/sell and low spreads
  • Leverage up to 1:30
  • Free unlimited demo account
  • Over 2,800 trading instruments
  • Real-time quotes and advanced analytics

Cons:

  • No API integrations
  • Lacks social copy trading
  • No spread betting

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 for beginners

eToro, overall best trading platform UK for beginners.

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

eToro offers commission-free trading on real stocks, making it a top choice for cost-conscious traders.

The trading platform offers a social trading community and an innovative CopyTrader feature.

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

Beginners will find this useful for gaining experience by interacting and learning from more experienced traders.

eToro stands out for its user-friendly trading accounts, making it easy for you to access various assets and trade in a simplified way.

Speaking of assets, eToro provides a wide range of assets including stocks, forex, CFDs, EFTs, and cryptocurrencies.

With over 40 pre-constructed Smart Portfolios available, you can access long-term investment portfolios without paying management fees.

Also, one of its greatest advantages is its demo trading account, which lets you practice trading in a safe environment.

While eToro offers an impressive array of benefits, it’s essential to consider the downsides. For instance, certain tax wrappers are not provided. However, you can now utilise a Stocks and Shares ISA powered by Moneyfarm3.

Trading forex on the platform can have high fees, and users should be mindful of conversion, inactivity, and withdrawal fees associated with eToro.

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!

Overall, I recommend eToro as a suitable 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 worldwide4.

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
  • Registered by top-tier authorities like FCA
  • User-friendly interface
  • Copy trading feature
  • Provides a demo trading account

Cons:

  • Charges on withdrawals
  • High fees for Forex trading
  • No SIPP and some ISA accounts

{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 for tight spreads

Spreadex – Best trading platform for tight spreads.

Spreadex, an award-winning UK trading platform, is highly acclaimed for its exemplary customer service and efficient mobile app, making it a standout choice in the CFD trading domain.

Established in 1999, it has earned a commendable 4.5-star rating in my review, reflecting its robust performance and user satisfaction. The platform excels in offering a diverse range of CFDs and forex pairs, supported by advanced charting tools and a user-friendly trading interface.

A major advantage of Spreadex is its transparent and competitive fee structure, which includes no non-trading fees, making it a cost-effective option for traders.

The platform’s commitment to safety is evident through its regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), ensuring a secure trading environment for its users.

Additionally, Spreadex has a strong track record of over 20 years, showcasing its financial stability and reliability in the trading sector.

However, the platform has some limitations, including a restricted range of markets mainly focused on forex and CFDs, and a lack of comprehensive educational resources and research tools. While these aspects might deter some traders, they are offset by the platform’s other strengths.

The onboarding process with Spreadex is straightforward and user-friendly, highlighted by quick verification and a range of account types to suit different trading needs. Although the platform does not offer a demo account, it compensates with an excellent customer service team, available 24/7 to assist with any inquiries.

Spreadex stands out as one of the top trading platforms in the UK, particularly for CFD traders.

Its combination of user-friendly design, transparent pricing, strong regulatory compliance, and exceptional customer service makes it a highly recommended choice for traders in the UK.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
£00.60%£0Stocks, forex, ETFs, indices, commodities, futures, sporting events

Read my complete Spreadex review.

Pros:

  • Wide range of CFDs and forex pairs
  • Transparent, competitive fee structure
  • Excellent customer service
  • User-friendly interface

Cons:

  • Limited market variety beyond forex/CFDs
  • No demo account for practice

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

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

Trade Nation

Trade Nation emerges as a commendable trading platform in the UK, recognized for its robust regulatory framework under top-tier authorities such as the FCA in the UK and ASIC in Australia.

Launched in 2014, it has swiftly gained traction among traders, drawing attention with its fully digital, zero minimum deposit account opening process and the promise of free deposit and withdrawal options.

The platform is praised for its comprehensive suite of research and educational tools, alongside exemplary customer support, making it a solid choice for CFD and forex traders.

Despite its many advantages, Trade Nation faces criticism for its limited product portfolio and the absence of live chat support, relying instead on a chatbot service.

The desktop trading platform is noted for lacking enhanced security measures such as a two-step login process. Moreover, while it offers competitive fees for stock and index CFDs, its forex fees are on the higher side compared to its competitors.

Trade Nation is particularly lauded for its mobile and web trading platforms, designed for ease of use and recognized for their user-friendly interface and innovative features like the Smart News feed and trading signals powered by Acuity.

However, seasoned traders might find the platform’s offerings somewhat lacking in advanced features.

Trade Nation positions itself as a reliable and user-friendly trading platform suitable for both novice and experienced traders in the UK. Its strengths lie in its regulatory compliance, digital account management, and supportive learning environment.

Nonetheless, its relatively narrow range of trading products and the need for enhancements in platform security and live support are areas where potential users may seek improvement.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
£00.45 points (average spread cost)0%£0Forex, stocks, commodities, indices

Read my complete Trade Nation review.

Pros:

  • Regulated by top-tier authorities (FCA, ASIC)
  • Fully digital account opening with no minimum deposit
  • Free deposit and withdrawal
  • Comprehensive research and educational tools
  • User-friendly mobile and web platforms

Cons:

  • Limited product portfolio
  • High forex fees

75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

5. interactive investor – Best for global trading opportunities

interactive investor - Best UK trading platform for global investment opportunities.

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

Interactive investor distinguishes itself with an unparalleled assortment of global trading opportunities.

The online trading platform provides an incredible range of shares, funds, EFTs, and investment trusts from well-established exchanges globally. 

With such an extensive range, traders are empowered to explore a multitude of options and strategies.

Interactive investor offers various trading platforms for different trading styles and has pricing that benefits those with large portfolios.

The interface of the trading platform is exceptional and carefully crafted to provide seamless access across various devices including web, mobile, and tablets. 

You can easily set up notifications and alerts across all devices. This keeps you updated on the market in real time. I also found the search feature to be simple to use which enhanced the overall experience. 

The charting tools available through this broker are relatively straightforward with some advanced features.

You should pay attention to the monthly trading account fee, which is £4.99 per month. The frequent trader fee is zero and you benefit from a single free trade every month. From then on, you must pay £5.99 per trade.

The accounts include SIPP, stocks and shares ISA, junior cash ISA, and a company account. 

The options include venture capital trusts, EFTs, bonds, stocks, share trading, commodities, forex trading, CFDs and spread betting. 

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
£00.6UK shares: £5.99 per trade,
International shares: £19.99 per trade
£4.99 – £19.99/monthStocks, funds, trusts,
warrants, ETFs

Pros:

  • Wide variety of funds
  • Multiple account options
  • Free live demo account

Cons:

  • Expensive for small investment pots
  • No price alerts feature

6. AvaTrade – Best for forex trading

AvaTrade - Best trading platform UK for forex trading.

AvaTrade is one of the best for forex and CFD trading, offering educational resources for all experience levels.

AvaTrade presents a comprehensive collection of MetaTrader platforms, alongside a forex, commodity, indices, stock, and social trading platform. 

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.

AvaTrade offers various account types, including a General Investment Account and an Islamic Account. It is worth mentioning that a quarterly inactivity fee of $50 applies, and the minimum balance required is £100.

If you value detailed market analytics and can handle a steep learning curve, you may want to give AvaTrade a try.

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:

  • Social integrations for enhanced investment tracking
  • Comprehensive research tools for informed trading
  • Social and copy trading platforms
  • Regulated by trusted bodies like the Central Bank of Ireland, CySEC, and ASIC
  • No trading commissions and low spreads

Cons:

  • Challenging for beginners
  • Conversion fees could become expensive
  • Limited selection of available trading instruments

7. AJ Bell – Best for ease of use

AJ Bell - Best online trading platform for ease of use.

AJ Bell revolutionised the trading platform landscape with its exceptional focus on user experience.

Their platform boasts an immaculate and well-organised interface, ensuring smooth and effortless navigation. 

Moreover, AJ Bell takes pride in its responsive customer service team who is always ready to help.

The company offers an impressive array of trading account types, designed to cater to the diverse needs of traders. It comes as no surprise that AJ Bell has been bestowed with numerous accolades.

AJ Bell is perfect for investors who prefer a more hands-off approach to managing their portfolios. It’s also great for those who aren’t interested in frequent trading. 

The trading platform offers excellent accessibility on both mobile and web platforms. You can effortlessly switch between the two applications, taking advantage of their user-friendly search functions and secure two-step logins.

However, it should be noted that there are no price alerts, and the available order types are a bit too simple for some.

The pricing structure offered by AJ Bell is great for individuals with modest portfolios and limited investment experience.

Whereas, if you frequently trade you may find the share dealing fee to be a discouraging factor.

The bonds, yearly custody, EFT, and platform fee are 0.25%. You’re also charged £9.95 for each trade. There’s also a phone fee of £29.95 and a frequent trader cost of £4.95. 

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommssionPlatform feeTypes of assets
£500n/a0.25%Max £3.50/monthStocks, funds, trusts,
bonds, ETFs

Account Types:

  • Junior SIPP
  • Junior dealing
  • SIPP
  • Dealing

Investments:

  • EFTs
  • Stocks & shares
  • Funds

Pros:

  • Rapid account setup
  • User-friendly trading platform
  • Excellent customer support

Cons:

  • Limited range of available investments

8. ActivTrades – One of the cheapest platforms

ActivTrades - One of the cheapest trading platforms

ActivTrades is a brokerage firm renowned for its affordable trading fees and narrow spreads.

ActivTrades stands out for its strong commitment to helping new and unsure users start online trading.

They offer custom training sessions to help users understand the platform’s features and maximise their ‘Personal Area’.

These sessions go beyond just providing guidance; they offer extensive support in harnessing the power of the platform’s SmartTools and research tools.

Moreover, ActivTrades offers an extensive array of educational resources, including seminars, webinars, instructional videos, manuals, a demo account, and an extensive FAQ section. 

These resources empower users with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the trading landscape effectively.

It is worth mentioning that certain commissions may vary based on the financial contracts utilised, and the fee structure itself is subject to variability.

ActivTrades ensures accessibility to its diverse product lineup without imposing any minimum balance requirements.

The available products include options for demo accounts, institutional accounts, individual accounts, and even Islamic accounts, catering to a wide range of user preferences.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
£00.230.3%£0Spread betting, forex, stocks,
indices, ETFs, commodities,
bonds

Pros:

  • Over 1,000 available CFDs
  • Advanced trading infrastructure
  • Multilingual customer support through various channels

Cons:

  • Lack of copy trading feature
  • No bonus incentives

9. Pepperstone – Best MetaTrader platform in the UK

Pepperstone - Best MetaTrader trading platform in the UK

I recommend Pepperstone for its remarkably tight spreads and absence of inactivity and account fees.

Moreover, there are no commissions associated with the standard account, and there is no obligatory minimum deposit requirement.

The Raw account provided by Pepperstone boasts some of the most competitive spreads available, particularly for the EUR/USD currency pair. There are also 1,200+ trading instruments, as well as a range of account types and platforms. 

I like how Pepperstone has created a community for traders to interact and learn from each other. 

For enthusiasts of the MetaTrader platform, both MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 are available. They also offer a General Investment Account and a demo account. 

One inconvenience I experienced was the limited accessibility of the trial account, which lasted for only 30 days.

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
£00.40.10% plus spread£0Forex, commodities, indices,
currency indices, crypto,
stocks, ETFs

Read my complete Pepperstone review.

Pros:

  • Low fees and free withdrawals
  • Excellent customer service
  • Strong reputation
  • Segregated funds for additional security

Cons:

  • Limited to CFD trading
  • Does not accept cryptocurrency payments
  • No penny stocks

10. HYCM – Best for low forex & CFD trading fees

HYCM - Best trading platform for low forex & CFD trading fees

The biggest advantage of HYCM is that it offers custom pricing plans to suit traders of all skill levels.

These pricing options are carefully designed to accommodate individual requirements. 

HYCM offers a wide selection of educational resources. In addition to the demo account, users gain access to a wide range of videos and webinars.

Of particular value is the weekly workshop exclusively tailored to beginners, providing real-time guidance that supports you in your trading journey.

These invaluable sessions provide insights into the decision-making processes of seasoned professionals, shedding light on effective share trading strategies.

Moreover, HYCM distinguishes itself through its collection of educational materials. Users can explore a variety of resources, such as engaging videos and insightful webinars. 

HYCM’s fee structure is variable, with commissions based on the chosen account type.

The product lineup includes the Classic, Raw, and Fixed accounts, each requiring a balance of at least £100 for Fixed and Classic accounts, and £200 for the Raw account.

Key rating criteria:

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

Pros:

  • Low fees for forex and CFD trading
  • Excellent educational resources
  • User-friendly account setup process

Cons:

  • Limited to forex and CFD products
  • Trading platforms have an outdated design
  • Inactivity fees

11. XTB – Best for commodities

XTB - Best trading platform in the UK for commodities

When it comes to forex trading, XTB stands out by offering remarkably competitive spreads, tailored to different currency pairs and account types.

This feature attracts experienced traders who can take advantage of the extensive range of tradable assets.

The trading platform’s educational materials and round-the-clock customer support make it a superb choice for novices. 

I like how XTB offers its xStation5 software. It provides some incredible tools that can help along your trading journey. I found that it works exceptionally well with the mobile app. 

In addition, there are 21,000+ trading instruments. These include a wide array of CFDs and currency pairs. This gives you plenty of options when it comes to exploring and learning the ropes of trading. 

As far as fees go, they vary according to the asset and type of account. As a result, you’re given flexibility.

Among the available offerings is the Dealing account, which boasts a minimum balance requirement of £0.

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
  • Simple account opening

Cons:

  • Product portfolio is primarily limited to CFDs
  • Inactivity fees

12. Hargreaves Lansdown – Best for access to financial advisors

Hargreaves Lansdown - Best UK trading platform with access to financial advisors.

If you’re looking for access to a financial advisor within your online trading platform, I suggest Hargreaves Lansdown.

Hargreaves Lansdown offers an extensive array of investment opportunities that span funds, curated portfolios, and expert recommendations.

This provides users with a seamless way to diversify their financial portfolio. 

Their trading platform stands out by providing access to dedicated human financial advisors. This distinctive feature shows how dedicated the broker is to helping its customers accomplish their financial aspirations. 

Personalised help is key for new traders, allowing them to make plans easily with great customer support.

The platform’s simple interface makes it a great choice for novice traders. I found that searching and setting alerts for the stock market was super easy. 

Having said that, this is a pricier stock trading platform. Therefore, it may not be a great option for experienced traders who are trading frequently. 

There’s no platform fee, however, the cost per trade is high at £11.95. Bonds and investment trusts cost £11.95.

Frequent traders are also charged £5.95. You’re also charged phone fees of £20-£50 and a yearly custody cost of 0.45% is applied. 

Key rating criteria:

Minimum depositS&P 500 CFD
spread (average)
CommissionPlatform feeTypes of assets
£1n/aBased 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
£0
Stocks, ETFs,
funds, trusts

Account Types:

  • SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension)
  • Junior SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension for minors)
  • Junior stocks & shares ISA (Individual Savings Account)
  • Junior investment
  • Stocks & shares ISA
  • Lifetime ISA
  • Fund and share
  • Active savings

Pros:

  • User-friendly trading platforms
  • High-quality educational resources
  • Excellent customer service

Cons:

  • High fees for stocks and ETFs
  • Account opening offline for clients outside the UK
  • Offers only GBP as the base currency

13. CMC Markets – Good for forex trading

CMC markets, good trading platform for forex trading.

CMC Markets stands out as a top choice for individuals engaged in forex trading.

It offers a wide array of assets accompanied by narrow spreads and automated features. There are also 330+ forex pairs encompassing a diverse range of markets.

CMC Markets offers groundbreaking forex indices, which allow you to utilise numerous currencies when trading.

CMC Markets also offers ‘Next Generation’. This is its trading tool that also has risk management features.

While beginners might find the broker a bit tricky, it offers experienced traders great potential.

Many traders will be pleased to find that CMC Markets is compatible with MetaTrader 4. There’s also a range of additional products available that include CFD trading, spread betting, and FX Active. 

Notably, there is no minimum balance requirement for these accounts, providing flexibility to traders of all levels. 

The average spread for EUR/USD active trading stands at an impressive 0.81, further highlighting the favourable trading conditions offered by CMC Markets.

Pros:

  • Competitive forex fees
  • Excellent web and mobile platforms
  • Advanced research and educational resources

Cons:

  • Limited to CFDs
  • Customer support is available only 24/5

14. IG – Best for seasoned traders

IG one of the best online trading platforms.
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.

In the UK spread betting and CFD scene, IG leads with access to 17,000 global markets.

What truly sets IG apart from the competition is its affordability. While primarily designed for experienced traders, IG can also be used by novice traders.

The IG Academy offers top-notch educational tools and a risk-free demo account for users to practice before trading.

Moreover, IG understands the importance of round-the-clock support, catering to individuals who prefer trading beyond regular hours.

Alongside its impressive analytics tools, the platform also fosters a vibrant IG community, creating an environment of shared insights and knowledge.

IG doesn’t stop at spread betting and CFDs either; it also offers an extensive range of products including share trading, ISA, and SIPP accounts.

The fees associated with share trading accounts range from £3 to £8, and with a minimum deposit requirement of £250, it opens doors for traders of all abilities.

Read my complete IG review.

Pros:

  • Premium web trading platform
  • Excellent educational resources
  • Diverse deposit and withdrawal options

Cons:

  • High stock CFD fees
  • Limited range of products
  • Customer support can be slow

15. City Index – Market trading options

City Index, one of the best trading platforms for options trading.

City Index offers options trading in over 40 markets, making it a top choice.

City Index offers a mobile trading app, Webtrader, and MetaTrader 4, each with features to improve your trading experience.

You will get an expansive collection of chart types, technical indicators, and customisable workspaces, available across all platforms.

Additionally, City Index provides performance analytics, empowering you to make informed decisions based on comprehensive data analysis.

When it comes to fees, City Index is competitive, offering a GBP/USD spread of just 1.2 pips. This ensures that you can optimise your trading strategy without being burdened by excessive costs.

City Index understands that every trader is different, and they accommodate this by setting a minimum balance requirement of £0. 

Additionally, City Index offers a variety of account options, such as a standard account, an MT4 account, and even a corporate account.

In summary, City Index stands out as a market leader in terms of market trading variety and tailored trading experiences.

Their commitment to meeting the needs of individual traders sets them apart, making them a top choice for those seeking a unique edge in the trading world.

Pros:

  • Competitive fees for forex trading
  • Quick and seamless account opening process
  • A variety of research tools are available

Cons:

  • Only forex and CFDs are available
  • The desktop platform lacks a user-friendly interface

16. Saxo Markets – Cost-effective CFD trading

Saxo markets, award-winning trading platform.

Saxo Markets is a standout choice for CFD trading. It offers a great selection of investments, including commodities, stocks, EFTs, forex, and bonds.

Saxo Markets stands out for its clear pricing structure, tailored to enhance CFD trading for keen traders.

You can use this platform on all devices. You can also benefit from the suite of trading tools that are available on each device. 

Its greatest advantage is the advanced charting functionalities that encompass a wide range of technical indicators, seamlessly integrated Trade Signals, and groundbreaking risk management utilities.

Saxo Markets provides low CFD spreads for trading in the UK. It’s important to keep in mind that there is a modest platform fee of £25 per quarter if your account includes cash funds.

To embark on a trading journey with Saxo Markets, a minimum balance of £2,000 is required. 

The online trading platform caters to diverse needs by offering various account types, such as Saxo accounts, joint accounts, corporate accounts, professional accounts, ISA, SIPP, and trust accounts.

Read my complete Saxo Markets review.

Pros:

  • Exceptional trading platform
  • Superior research capabilities
  • Wide range of products offered

Cons:

  • Higher fees for bonds, options, and futures
  • A substantial minimum deposit is required
  • Customer support lacks live chat and isn’t available 24/7

17. Trading 212 – Social & community features

Trading 212, one of the best online trading platforms.

Trading 212, a Bulgaria-based platform regulated for operation in the UK, is swiftly climbing the ranks as a top pick amongst traders, especially those with a frequent trading agenda.

The platform attracts both new and skilled traders, offering easy use, no commission costs, and a wide range of assets like Stocks, ETFs, CFDs, and ISAs.

With Trading 212, you can start trading instantly.

The account verification process is impressively swift, often taking just one day, provided you have your tax information and personal finance details at the ready.

Furthermore, you can dive into share trading with an investment as low as £1 for Invest and ISA accounts, and £10 for the CFD account.

The platform also prides itself on its intuitive mobile app, available on iOS and Android, which makes trading as seamless and convenient as possible.

The dashboard is sleek and clean, facilitating easy searches for instruments and markets, along with entry and exit points.

The app enables automated trades and alerts you to critical movements such as stock price changes based on preset markers.

However, with the platform’s increasing popularity, there have been noted concerns over its strong focus on CFDs and mobile trading.

CFDs inherently carry significant risks, potentially amplifying both gains and losses. Moreover, using mobile trading can make it feel too much like a game5.

Furthermore, the platform falls short in terms of support and has higher forex fees compared to other trading platforms.

At the same time, Trading 212 is paving the way for fostering a sense of community amongst its users.

With its “Social Feed”, trader forums called “Communities”, and the ability to create and copy “Pies” (portfolios containing up to 50 stocks and ETFs) from other traders, the platform nurtures a social and community-focused trading experience.

In conclusion, Trading 212 offers an enticing package for traders, combining convenience with an array of features and a robust community atmosphere.

It’s imperative, however, to approach the stock trading platform with caution, mindful of the associated risks of CFDs and mobile trading.

Despite these caveats, Trading 212 remains a strong contender in the UK’s trading sector, backed by an abundance of positive user reviews.

Read my complete Trading 212 review.

Pros:

  • Commission-free real stocks and ETFs
  • Rapid and straightforward account setup
  • Excellent trading platforms

Cons:

  • Limited range of available products
  • High forex fees

Factors to Consider When Choosing

The best UK trading platforms will vary based on your needs and experience.

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

  • Define your trading needs & goals: Your trading style (long-term vs. short-term, day trading vs. swing trading, etc.), the types of assets you want to trade (stocks, bonds, forex, commodities, cryptocurrencies), and how often you plan on trading are key considerations.
  • Consider the Costs: Evaluate the fees and costs associated with each broker. This can include trading commissions, account fees, withdrawal fees, and any costs associated with using premium features or tools.
  • Check Regulatory Status: The platform should be regulated by an authoritative body like the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. This ensures that the platform meets specific standards and follows regulations designed to protect consumers.
  • User Experience & Interface: Consider how easy the platform is to use and whether it provides a good user experience. If possible, use a demo account to try out the platform first-hand.
  • Evaluate the Tools & Features: Some platforms come with advanced charting tools, real-time news feeds, research reports, and other features that can assist you in making trading decisions. Determine what tools and features are most important to you.
  • Education & Support: Especially for newer traders, educational resources like tutorials, articles, webinars, and demos can be incredibly valuable. Also, check the broker’s customer service options and reputation.
  • Account Types: Check whether the platform offers the right type of account for you, such as Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), Contracts for Difference (CFD), or spread betting accounts.
  • Check Reviews & Opinions: Look at reviews and opinions from other users. This can give you a good sense of the strengths and weaknesses of the platform.

Remember to pick a trading platform that fits your unique needs and situation.

How I Picked the Best Trading Platforms in the UK

I spent countless hours conducting thorough research into the wide range of trading platforms in the UK.

This process enabled me to distinguish the good from the bad, and the great from the good. 

To give you a better sense of how I came to these conclusions, here are some of the criteria that I followed. 

Fees

I paid close attention to the types of fees that UK trading platforms have.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the different costs I analysed:

  • Custody Fee: This fee involves the management of the platform to ensure that they can handle your trades with care. Be sure to assess this fee because whilst it may seem small, these small costs accumulate quickly and can impact your gains. 
  • Cost Per Trade Fee: Every time you buy and sell stocks and shares, many trading platforms charge you a fee. Some platforms offer zero trading fees. It’s wise to evaluate whether the costs of being charged per trade outweigh the zero costs of zero trading fees. For instance, the brokers that charge a fee may provide additional services that are helpful and lacking with the platforms offering zero trading fees. 
  • Frequent Trader Features: Some trading platforms in the UK provide active traders with lower fees. If you’re certain that you’ll be trading frequently, it’s a good idea to look into the platform’s frequent trader benefits. These benefits only apply if you trade above a certain monthly threshold. If you don’t trade frequently enough, you’ll be charged the platform’s per-trade cost. 

User-Friendliness 

User-friendliness isn’t just an important factor for beginners. It’s also something for experienced traders to keep a close eye on. 

Being able to navigate a trading platform quickly and easily is a must for trading online. This will help you manage your portfolio with significantly less stress so that you can make better decisions. 

Each trading platform that I’ve included in this post has been meticulously researched to ensure that the trading experiences are quick and easy, albeit some slightly better than others. 

Educational Features

Trading platforms with educational features help beginner traders learn quickly.

They can educate themselves and practice what they’ve learned within a single platform. 

Educational resources from the best trading platforms in the UK come with blogs, videos, seminars, webinars, and tracking features.

Useful tools help trading novices learn quickly and make better decisions.

Asset Options

The range of assets that are available from a trading platform is crucial to consider. This helps you understand how much you can diversify your portfolio when using a certain broker. 

Seasoned traders tend to go for platforms that give them a wide range of options. 

This includes CFDS, forex, stocks, trusts, index funds, EFTs, and more. Whilst they may not intend to trade all of these asset types, having the options readily available can help to create a sense of ease. You know that you can make a switch to trade in a new market at a moment’s notice. 

I’ve also made sure to include trading platforms that include fewer options.

Why?

Novice traders can often feel overwhelmed with so many available options. If you’re new to trading, choose options with fewer choices to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Account Choices

Efficiency is cardinal when trading. 

Choose the right account type for your needs, considering your goals and tax situation.

The UK offers tax allowance up to a certain threshold, depending on the type of investment. You may want to consider tax wrapper options, such as ISAs to mitigate the tax costs. 

Those who are already at the ISA annual allowance would prefer a General Investment Account. 

The point is to make sure that you’re crystal clear about your current position and your future intentions. This will allow you to decide which account type is best for you. 

As a result, you’ll have an easier time narrowing down your search and finding the trading platform that has the right account for you. 

Demo Accounts

Demo accounts can be great for novice traders who want to gain experience without risking their funds. 

These accounts provide a set amount of ‘virtual money’ that you can use to familiarise yourself with every stage of the trading process. 

Besides learning the platform’s layout, you’ll also understand the range of assets you can trade.

Once you’ve spent some time trading with a demo account and gained a deeper understanding of the process, you can upgrade to one of your chosen platform’s accounts.

Security 

The safety and security of trading platforms are of utmost priority. Therefore, I implemented stringent standards to ensure that the trading platforms mentioned above meet a set of safety criteria. 

One of the main things I kept an eye on was whether the platforms were regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) or similar. This ensures that the broker is structured to comply with the regulations that are set out across the entire industry. 

User data was the next priority that I focused on. The trading platforms that I researched needed to have robust measures that protect and secure user data. 

Some of the platforms listed also deploy more advanced security features, such as biometric identification. Many of the platforms that offer these advanced security features are also working with the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme).

Your trading account is insured up to £85,000 if a provider goes bust, giving you confidence in your money’s safety.

Final Thoughts

The United Kingdom offers a variety of top-notch trading platforms catering to different trader needs.

After considering factors like fees, features, user experience, and regulatory compliance, eToro is my top pick for beginners, thanks to its user-friendly interface and social trading features.

Interactive investor suits experienced traders with their advanced tools and low fees.

Finally, IG provides a reliable and broad platform for traditional trading, while Plus500 offers a streamlined and user-friendly experience for CFD trading.

FAQs

Are trading platforms safe?

Yes, most trading platforms are safe to use, provided they are properly regulated. In the UK, trading platforms should be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This ensures that they adhere to stringent security standards, including encryption of personal data and transactions. It’s also essential that the broker offers a secure login method, such as two-factor authentication. However, while the platforms themselves may be secure, users should also exercise caution in their trading activities. Remember, trading platforms offer tools, but can’t remove market risks. Always research your trades.

Why do most traders lose money?

Most traders lose money primarily due to a lack of knowledge and discipline. Trading requires a deep understanding of markets and financial instruments, and without proper research and strategy, traders can make poor decisions. Emotions often lead to impulsive decisions, like chasing losses or getting greedy during winning streaks. Additionally, not setting a stop-loss limit can lead to significant losses. Inadequate risk management and over-leveraging are also common reasons why many traders end up losing money.

What platform do professional traders use UK?

Professional traders in the UK often use Hargreaves Lansdown due to its comprehensive range of investment options and advanced trading tools. The platform is renowned for its detailed research and analysis features. Many experts regard it as one of the UK’s leading trading platforms for seasoned investors.

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Sources:

  1. https://www.finder.com/uk/investment-statistics ↩︎
  2. https://investmenttrends.com/industry-research/award-winners/ ↩︎
  3. https://www.etoro.com/news-and-analysis/press-releases/etoro-teams-up-with-moneyfarm-to-provide-its-customers-with-isa-solution/ ↩︎
  4. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1262787/etoro-registered-users/ ↩︎
  5. https://www.fca.org.uk/publications/research-articles/gaming-trading-how-trading-apps-could-be-engaging-consumers-worse ↩︎

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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