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Best Online Trading Platforms UK 2020

Finding the best trading platform is important for any UK based trader. Our analysis of the best share dealing accounts is based on a variety of factors. These include: fees, platform, regulation, safety, customer support to name a few. We analyzed different variables by importance to find the best online broker. We spent hours researching different share dealing platforms in the UK to help you focus on making the best trading decisions.

Best online brokers UK

The best online brokers in the UK for 2020 are:

  1. Avatrade – Best Trading Platform Overall – Visit Avatrade
  2. eToro – Best Social Trading Platform – Visit eToro
  3. Plus500 – Best For Experienced Traders – Visit Plus500
  4. Interactive Brokers – Best for Advanced Traders – Visit Interactive Brokers
  5. XTB – Well Rounded Offering – Visit XTB
  6. Swissquote – Best Specialized Services – Visit Swissquote
  7. Pepperstone – Low Trading and Non-Trading Fees – Visit Pepperstone
  8. IG – Easy to Use Trading Platform – Visit IG

Why should you read this guide?

Picking the right stockbroker is an important step for any UK trader. All your trades will be conducted using their platform and services provided by this firm. If this will be your first time trading stocks you should understand what kind of services your broker will be providing and what you should expect after you sign up and deposit your money. Considering the large number of brokers available in the UK, the task of picking online share trading platforms may seem overwhelming. This is why you should consider reading this entire guide. At the end, you will have a broader perspective of what each of these brokers has to offer. You will be able to choose the best suited for your needs.

Best Trading Platform Overall

AvaTrade is a CFD and forex broker with more than 10 years in business offering its trading platform and services to more than 200,000 active customers around the world and in the UK. It is authorised and regulated by various tier-1 jurisdictions including the Central Bank of Ireland (NO.C53877), the ASIC (Australia), and the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA). The company is based in the British Virgin Islands.

Best For Copy Trading

eToro is a world leading copy trading platform. For UK clients they offer zero-commission trading for stocks and ETfs. This makes it a great option for share traders in the UK, looking to invest in stocks of companies around the world. eToro is a good choice for beginners looking for share dealing accounts.

Plus500 Logo Blue
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76.4% 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

Best for Experienced Traders

Plus500 Ltd is listed on the LSE (London Stock Exchange). The company is regulated and authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The Plus500 trading platform is considered safe and reliable. You can buy and sell shares via CFDs, which means you don’t hold the underlying asset.

Best For Advanced Traders

Interactive Brokers is among the best share dealing accounts for advanced day traders. It is among the biggest discount trading platform in the industry. The company was founded more than 20 years ago and has gained a solid reputation in the investment community. Interactive Brokers provides a range of financial instruments for UK traders along with competitive fees.

Well Rounded Offering

XTB is one of the best UK CFD online brokers and it is a company listed in the Warsaw Stock Exchange. XTB is regulated by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF). This trading platform is best known for charging low share dealing fees for stock index CFDs and for requiring a low initial deposit of $250 for trading accounts.

Best Specialized Services

Swissquote is backed by Swissquote Bank and headquartered in Switzerland. It is best suited for asset managers and high-net worth individuals in the UK. Their VIP service is best for those who are willing to pay higher commissions.

Low Trading Fees

Pepperstone offers investors the possibility of trading CFDs with a limited selection of forex pairs, stocks, and cryptocurrencies at a lower cost compared to its peers.

Easy to Use Platform

IG is one of the biggest CFD brokers in the world and it is considered safe, due to a 50-year long history in the financial industry. IG is regulated by financial conduct authority – FCA (UK) along with other various top-tier regulators . IG is a company listed in the LSE as IGG.

Best Trading Apps UK

Most online brokers offer trading apps, enabling UK traders to trade on the go. This is a list of the best trading apps in the UK:

  1. AvatradeGO – Best trading app UK
  2. eToro – Best trading app for beginners in the UK and copy traders
  3. Plus500 – Best CFD trading app UK for 2020
  4. Interactive Brokers App (IBKR Mobile)
  5. XTB xStation trading app

1 – AvaTrade – Best Trading Platform Overall

AvaTrade Logo

AVA Trade EU Ltd was founded in 2006 and provides CFD and forex trading services. The firm is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and their holding company is registered at the British Virgin Islands. AvaTrade is serving more than 200,000 active investors and executing over 2 million trade orders per month.

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AvaTrade offers the following financial markets:

  • Stocks
  • Commodities
  • Forex
  • Bonds
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Stock Indexes

AvaTrade features a straightforward account opening process and the possibility to use third-party stock trading platforms such as Metatrader 4. There are no deposit or withdrawal fees. Bank account transfers and credit card deposits are available. It is possible to open a demo account and test the platform.

What can you trade?

There are a variety of financial assets available through CFDs.

The portfolio of CFDs available on AvaTrade include:

  • 56 Currency Pairs
  • 17 Cryptocurrencies
  • 630 individual stock CFDs.
  • 20 stock index CFDs.
  • 2 Bonds CFDs.
  • 5 ETF CFDs.
  • 17 Commodity CFDs.

Fees

Avatrade lowered their fees in November 2019, making it a competitive online trading platforms. The inactivity fee is charged if the user doesn’t log into the share trading platforms account for 3 months ($50 per quarter).

PROS
CONS
Authorised and Regulated by top-tier authorities
No 24/7 support available
Great charting and trading tools
Limited customization for the web-based platform
Great fees when considering all costs
AVA Trade EU Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland (No.C53877)
AVA Trade Ltd is regulated by the B.V.I Financial Services Commission (No. SIBA/L/13/1049)
Serving over 200,000 clients across the globe
Social trading available
Five Currencies Available
No minimum withdrawal amount
One of the Best Trading Mobile App (AvaTradeGO)

2 – eToro – Best Social Trading Platform

eToro Logo

eToro is a world leading social trading broker that offers zero-commission trades for stock and ETFs for clients in the UK, which makes it a great choice for UK residents seeking to invest in a wide range of markets.

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This online broker has a user-friendly trading platform. This makes eToro attractive for beginners who may not be used to complex trading central environments such as those featured by Metatrader or other advanced trading platforms. eToro offers a demo account or practice account. Demo accounts are a great way for any trader to try out the platform before investing.

The social-media like environment provided by eToro’s interface allows traders within the web trader platform to connect with each other to exchange ideas, experiences, and copy their portfolios by using a tool known as Copy Trader.

What can you trade?

eToro allows traders to buy shares and sell shares of thousands of companies around the world listed in 17 different exchanges including the New York Exchange, the London Exchange, and the Frankfurt Exchange.

eToro offers the following markets:

  • 173 exchange-traded funds
  • Currencies
  • Commodities
  • Indices
  • Cryptocurrencies

Fees

eToro charges no stock fees or commissions for trading shares and ETFs. Other fees may apply including inactivity fees and overnight fees. There are no management or ticketing fees. Stocks and shares can be traded direct or they can be traded via CFDs. eToro’s fees for CFDs are low compared to other share dealing accounts.

PROS
CONS
Regulated by tier-1 jurisdictions including the United Kingdom (Financial Conduct Authority) and Australia (Australian Securities and Investments Commission)
Market research tools provided by this broker are fairly limited
You can open an share dealing account with eToro in a few minutes by registering online
Educational materials provided by eToro are limited to platform tutorials and a FAQ section
No stock trading or ETF fees apply
A $5 platform fee applies to each withdrawal and there’s a minimum amount of $30 per withdrawal
The social trading feature is an asset for inexperienced traders who can copy the portfolio of other traders
13 years of positive track record
One of the most user-friendly platforms in the industry and it features more than 70 charting tools
Does not charge deposit fees
Five Currencies Available
No minimum withdrawal amount
One of the Best Trading Mobile App (AvaTradeGO)

3 – Plus500 – Best For Experienced Traders

Plus500 Logo Blue

Plus500 is a broker listed in the London Stock Exchange and regulated by the FCA, which makes it one of the best brokers if you want to start trading in the UK. Plus500 only allows traders to buy shares and sell shares via CFDs, which means you will not hold the underlying shares if you trade with this broker.

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76.4% 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

One of the advantages of trading by using CFDs is that you can leverage your positions to boost your returns, though that carries significant risk. In this regard, Plus500 allows traders in the UK to apply for a Pro Account if they want to access higher levels of leverage, which are inaccessible for retail accounts.

What can you trade?

Plus500 offers CFDs on over 2000 financial instruments including:

  • Shares
  • Forex
  • Commodities
  • Options
  • Indices
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • ETFs

Fees

Plus500 doesn’t charge commissions or fees as they benefit from the spread in the price of the underlying asset. This spread varies from one instrument to the other, which makes it difficult to calculate the actual cost of online trading with this trading platform.

The average spread for the S&P500 is 0.45 while the spread for the Europe 50 index is 1.

Overnight fees apply if the stock or ETF CFD is held for longer than a day.

PROS
CONS
Plus500 is a publicly-listed company regulated by various important tier-1 jurisdictions
Offers stock trading via CFDs
Offers a wide variety of stock, ETF, and stock index CFDs
CFDs are usually more expensive to trade
The minimum deposit required to open an account with Plus500 is $100
Market research tools provided by this platform are very limited
This broker charges no fees for depositing or withdrawing money
Pro account allows higher leverage ratios
Offers great customer support experience according to traders who have reviewed their service

4 – Interactive Brokers – Best for Advanced Traders

interactive brokers logo

Interactive Brokers Trading fees charged for shares and ETFs are lower than average and this company offers a neat web platform and mobile app for its users. IBKR doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open an IB account, though a minimum of $2,000 is required to trade on margin.

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Another great thing about Ineteractive Brokers, is that it is at the top, is their educational materials. They are offering investors the opportunity to learn from a wide range of tools including webinars, an in-house academy, and a series of short videos that cover various topics about online trading. No deposit fees are charged by IB and the first withdrawal of each month is free.

What can you trade?

Interactive Brokers provides investors with access to 140 exchanges around the world, making it the biggest investment options for stocks in the industry.

Interactive Brokers covers 78 stock exchanges and offers 13,000 different ETFs and allow retail investors to pour their money into the stock market through fractional shares, which entitles the investor to a portion of a stock in a business that has a high share price.

Fees

IB’s trading fees for share trading are low compared to its competitors as this brokerage firm charges $0.005 per US-listed share with a $1 minimum and a maximum platform fee of 1% of the value of the trade.

On the other hand, IB offers two types of plans for stock traders. The fixed-rate plan charges a flat fee share trades while the tiered plan adjusts the fees depending on the monthly volume of trades. A high volume entitles the trader to a lower fee.

It is important to note that the cost of trading shares in other markets around the world is lower compared to other brokerage firms, but higher than IB’s fees for US-listed stocks. In general, it ranges from 0.1% to 0.2% for trading shares in a minor stock market.

PROS
CONS
Incredible portfolio covering basically all financial instruments and a wide range of financial markets
Opening an account with IB takes longer compared to other platforms
IB is regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the FCA (UK)
Somewhat complex desktop share dealing platform
Great research tools available
Inactivity fee is quite high
$0 required to open an IBKR account.
No deposit fees are charged and the first withdrawal of the month is free.
Decent web platform and mobile app
Great educational materials available for those seeking to learn more about online trading

5- XTB – Well Rounded Offering

XTB logo

XTB is one of UK’s best CFD broker and it is a company listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and regulated by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF). This CFD online broker is best known for charging low online trading fees for stock index CFDs and for requiring a low initial deposit of $250.

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XTB allows certain European clients to trade real stocks and ETFs and UK residents are not among those permitted.

The wide selection of stock CFDs provided by XTB should make up for such a disadvantage.

What can you trade?

XTB offers 1,700 different stock CFDs that cover a wide range of international markets. XTB offers a portfolio comprised of 103 ETF CFDs and 42 stock index CFDs.

For countries that are allowed to, this brokerage firm offers access to 17 different stock markets and 170 real ETFs.

Fees

Since UK residents can trade shares via CFDs with this provider, the fees are estimated as the average spread cost associated with each CFD transaction.

In this context, XTB fees are on the low end compared to the industry average. They are charging an average spread of 0.6 for S&P500 CFDs and 2.2 for Europe 50 CFDs.

XTB offers two types of accounts – Standard and Pro – designed with different cost structures.

PROS
CONS
XTB offers a wide range of stock, stock index, and ETF CFDs
Real shares cannot be traded with this brokerage firm if you live in the UK
Only $250 are required to open an XTB account
There are two types of accounts that offer different fee structures
Opening an account is very easy and can be done online
Withdrawals are free and no deposit fees are charged
User-friendly and easy to use web-based and mobile interfaces
Research tools offered by the xStation 5 platform are decent and include a great news flow, trading ideas, and 35 technical indicators

6 – Swissquote – Best Specialized Services

SwissQuote logo

This platform provides a wide range of services aside from stock trading and it is mostly targeted to asset managers and high net-worth clients in the UK. Swissquote considers itself a “global trading platform” as it serves countries in all continents of the world and it is one of the best choices for sophisticated investors who are willing to pay above-market fees to buy shares online in order to enjoy the VIP service offered by this platform.

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What can you trade?

Swissquote offers stock trades from 60 exchanges around the world, which puts it at the top of the list in terms of portfolio variety.

Swissquote offers 1,500 different ETFs from different countries and exchanges and allows investors to trade penny stocks listed in the US stock market.

Fees

Stock trades with Swissquote are expensive compared to other platforms available in the UK. The reason for that is that this share dealing platform caters to sophisticated investors who are seeking high-quality service not trying to save a bit on transaction costs.

The volume of each trade affects the ultimate amount paid in fees which makes it difficult to determine a referential fee per trade. The range goes from $9 for trades valued at $500 or less to $190 for trades valued at $50,000 or less for major markets.

For minor markets or less liquid markets, Swissquote charges a commission fee per stock trades starting at 0.50%.

PROS
CONS
Incredible portfolio covering more than 60 stock exchanges around the world
High stock trades and ETF trading fees
No inactivity platform fee
Credit/debit card withdrawal is not available
This platform is backed by a bank and it is regulated by various tier-1 jurisdictions
Charges a $10 fee per withdrawal
No minimum deposit required
No deposit fees are charged
Many base currency accounts available
Decent research tools with room for improvement
Wide range of available educational videos
Great user-friendly web-based platform and mobile app

7 – Pepperstone – Fairly Low Trading and Non-Trading Fees

Pepperstone Logo Small

Pepperstone was launched in 2010 and it is overseen by both the UK and Australia’s financial regulators.

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What can you trade?

Investors can only trade shares with Pepperstone via CFDs, which is a bit inconvenient if you are looking to own the shares directly to earn a fixed income through dividend payments.

This online brokerage firm offers 60 stock CFDs and 14 stock index CFDs.

Fees

Pepperstone stock trading fees are harder to estimate as CFDs generate different types of commissions per trade such as overnight trading fees and spreads.

Fees charged by Pepperstone are on the lower end. This is useful for day trading. Compared to the industry average, the trading fee for a $2,000 long position on the S&P 500 index held by a week may generate a $2 platform fee. The same position for the Europe 50 index may generate a $1.6 fee.

This is for sure an important competitive advantage of Pepperstone. The fees may be lower for high-volume day traders who sign up for their Razor account.

PROS
CONS
Pepperstone is regulated by two tier-1 agencies – the FCA (UK) and the ASIC (Australia)
Shares can only be traded via CFDs
Low trading fees
Offers a limited number of stocks and shares to trade
No withdrawal and no deposit fees
Limited research tools
No minimum deposit is required
The web-based platform is a bit outdated and it is hard to navigate for beginners
No deposit fees are charged
Outstanding customer service
Easy account opening process
Great mobile app

8 – IG – Easy to Use Platform

IG Logo

UK residents have the possibility of trading real shares online with IG, along with many other of its products including CFDs, Forex pairs, and options. IG’s interface is easy to use for amateur traders and it features a decent amount of research tools and educational materials including platform tutorial videos, webinars, and educational videos.

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$300 are required to open an IG account if the deposit is made via credit, debit card, or PayPal, while a $0 minimum is required if the payment method is a bank account transfer.

What can you trade?

IG’s portfolio of CFDs is comprised of 68 stock indexes, 10,500 stocks, and 1,900 ETFs, while UK residents can buy or sell shares from 8 different stock markets and almost 2,000 ETFs.

Fees

Fees for stock CFDs with IG are higher than average, but stock index CFDs can be traded at a low cost.

On the other hand, the minimum fee for share trades varies depending on the volume of trades per month. They start at £8 per trade if the trader did 2 trades the previous month and £3 if more than 3 trades were made.

For U.S. shares, the cost of trading is $0.02 per share with manual currency conversion and free if the trader did more than three trades the month before with instant currency conversion.

For shares listed in other stock exchanges around the world, the cost per trade is 0.10% of the value of the trade.

For ETFs, the cost varies from 0.17% to 0.19% of the value of the trade.

PROS
CONS
No withdrawal fees and no deposit fees charged
Phone support is reportedly lacking in quality
Great web-based and mobile trading app
No fundamental data is available for individual shares
Low fees to trade real shares and ETFs
A wide selection of stock CFDs and real stocks to trade
Research tools include trading ideas and high-quality news flow
An account can be opened with $0 if the payment method is a bank transfer

Other brokers to consider

  • Hargreaves Lansdown – this Bristol based financial service company offers funds and share dealing accounts to retail investors in the UK. Hargrevaves Lansdown is listed on the LSE and is part of the FTSE 100 Index. The HL trading platform allows investors to hold multiple assets under a single account. UK investors have ISA, SIPP, fund and share dealing accounts available through one broker.
  • Saxo Markets – this Dansih investment bank offers their online trading services through Saxo Markets UK Ltd based in London. Saxo Markets was founded in 1992 and offers online brokerage services to clients in 180 countries across the globe. Saxo Markets offer their trading platform on a white-label basis to over 100 financial institutions. Saxo Markets is well-known in the industry and has received multiple awards.
  • Interactive Investor – based in the UK, part of Interactive Investor Limited, this online investment service provides financial information and is the largest flat-fee trading platform in the UK. Interactive investor serves more than one million users.

What is Share Dealing?

Share dealing allows you to invest in stocks of a company. The profit is made by selling at a higher price or via dividends.

Company shares are units of ownership in a company. In the past this was offered as a stock certificate (not common today). The price of shares rises if the company increases in value and vice-versa. Buying shares and stocks happens on the stock exchange. Regulations on which companies can list their company shares and who can buy and sell them are strict. This is why individuals buy shares via a share dealing account.

What you should look for when picking a stock broker in the UK?

Picking the right share trading account is important for trading in the UK. Depending on which broker you choose, there are many variables that come into play. Look for the following when trying to find the best trading platforms:

  • Available stocks – each company has a specific list of stocks and shares that you are allowed to trade depending on their coverage and the degree of access they provide to global exchanges. Some brokers do not offer the possibility to buy shares directly, as you can only trade them via CFDs, which are financial contracts that do not entitle the holder to any kind of ownership of the underlying shares.
  • Margin accounts and leverage – a margin account allows you to take on debt to trade UK shares online and the level of leverage may be different, so you should make sure the brokerage firm you chose offers you leverage ratios you are looking for.
  • Customer support – customer support is something you don’t think you need until you run into an issue. For that reason, best rated stock trading platforms offer top-notch customer service to address any issue investors may face during their journey.
  • Types of orders – having various types of trade orders available is a positive feature. It allows you to prevent losses and lock in profits by using certain price points at which you can exit a given position. These orders can include: stop loss order, limit order, market orders, stop-limit order, AON orders, IOC orders, take profit and others.
  • Security – your money and your personal information should be safe from unauthorized accesses. You should make sure the company has a positive track record in this particular topic.
  • Research tools – you may not have the best trading idea every single day and that’s when research tools are useful. Your broker should offer certain technical analysis tools. Best platforms offer market news, real time data and real time alerts.
  • Education & training materials – the availability of educational material from your online brokerage firm can be a great asset to help you in improving your skills and ultimately the profitability of your trades.
  • Costs – each brokerage firm has its own platform fees and commission structure and you should understand how much you will be paying every time you buy shares and stocks.
  • Interface and ease of use –traders spend a lot of time in front of the computer screen analyzing charts and looking at different kinds of information before making trades. For that reason, a user-friendly interface is an important feature your broker should be able to offer to trade stocks online. The
  • Mobile app – smartphones have revolutionized the world and the online trading industry as well. Any broker that earns a fee should be able to provide a decent mobile app for traders to be able to buy and sell shares online on the go.
  • Extra features – each online stock broker has its own way to present itself to traders as the ‘best’. They often do this by introducing some convenient features their competitors do not offer.

How do you know if a stock broker in the UK is safe?

There are various ways to evaluate the safeness of online brokers in the UK.

You should make sure the stock trading broker is regulated by a tier-1 financial jurisdiction such as the United States, Singapore, Australia, or the United Kingdom.

It would be a plus if brokerage is registered and licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is the UK’s financial regulatory body.

You can review an online broker’s credibility by checking how other traders have reviewed their services.

Certain online stock brokers in the UK are stock exchange listed companies, which adds more credibility to them as listed companies have to go through more intense regulatory scrutiny.

You should understand that by stock trading your capital is at risk as you can lose your entire balance as a result of unfavorable outcomes from your trades. Losing money by trading stocks is not something your broker can or is obligated to prevent.

Understanding the Risks of Trading with CFDs

Many of the brokers listed in the following review offer the possibility to trade shares via Contracts for Difference (CFD). This means you will not hold the actual share. You will gain or lose from the price movements of the underlying assets.

CFDs are risky financial instruments that are designed for active traders – i.e. day traders – due to the costs associated with holding them for longer than a single day.

CFDs do not entitle the holder to receive dividends from the underlying shares, which is a disadvantage of these instruments if you are expecting to buy shares to earn a fixed income from them.

Stock brokers in this list also state that a large percentage of investor accounts lose money trading CFDs and you should be aware of this before you start online trading by using these risky financial instruments.

Best Stock Broker UK 2020

This is the list of the best online brokers for stock trading in the UK for 2020:

Rank
Broker
Best For
Website
1
AvaTrade
Best Overall
2
eToro
Copy Trading
3
Plus500
Best for CFDs
4
Interactive Brokers
Best for Advanced Traders
5
XTB
Well Rounded Offering
6
Swissquote
Best Specialized Services
7
Pepperstone
Low Trading and Non-Trading Fees
8
IG
Easy to Use Platform

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