If you’re based in the UK and looking for a low-cost broker to buy shares and other assets – you might be considering Freetrade and Trading 212. But, you only need one brokerage account – so which platform is best?
That’s exactly what we aim to find out in this Freetrade vs Trading 212 comparison. We cover all important metrics that should be considered – such as tradable markets, fees, payments, regulation, customer support, and more.
- 1 What are Freetrade & Trading 212?
- 2 Freetrade vs Trading 212 Tradable Assets
- 3 Freetrade vs Trading 212 Account Types
- 4 Freetrade vs Trading 212 Fees & Commissions
- 5 Freetrade vs Trading 212 User Experience
- 6 Freetrade vs Trading 212 Mobile App
- 7 Freetrade vs Trading 212 Trading Tools, Education, Research & Analysis
- 8 Freetrade vs Trading 212 Demo Account
- 9 Freetrade vs Trading 212 Payments
- 10 Freetrade vs Trading 212 Customer Service
- 11 Freetrade vs Trading 212 Safety & Regulation
- 12 Freetrade vs Trading 212 vs eToro
- 13 Freetrade vs Trading 212 – The Verdict
- 14 eToro – Best UK Stock Broker 2021
- 15 FAQs
What are Freetrade & Trading 212?
Both Freetrade and Trading 212 are mobile trading apps that allow you to invest in stocks and other popular financial instruments. The two stock brokers carry a lot of similarities – especially when it comes to user-friendliness and fees.
That is to say, our Freetrade vs Trading 212 comparison found that both mobile apps are really simple to use – making them ideal for those of you with little to no experience of investing. Plus, both apps offer a commission-free service, so you’ll be able to invest in a super low-cost manner.
The process at both Freetrade and Trading 212 is fairly straightforward. Once you download the app and open an account – you’ll need to take a picture of your passport or driver’s license for verification purposes.
Then, it’s just a case of making a deposit and choosing which shares you wish to buy. Our Freetrade vs Trading 212 comparison also found that both apps allow you to buy fractional shares. This means that you can buy shares in your chosen company from just a few pounds.
Freetrade vs Trading 212 Tradable Assets
In this section of our Freetrade vs Trading 212 comparison, we are going to look at what assets you can invest in at the two trading platforms.
Starting with Freetrade, you can invest in a huge selection of UK stocks – found on both the London Stock Exchange and the AIM. Freetrade also supports US-listed stocks on the NASDAQ and NYSE. You can also invest in ETFs and investment trusts – which is great for diversifying in a passive nature.
Over at Trading 212, the app also allows you to invest in UK and US stocks, as well as access companies listed in Germany. Trading 212 does go one step further by offering a fully-fledged CFD trading facility. This allows you to go long and short on heaps of assets without taking ownership. Support CFD markets include forex, commodities, and stocks.
Freetrade vs Trading 212 Account Types
Our Freetrade vs Trading 212 comparison found that both investment platforms offer several account types to choose from.
Let’s start with Freetrade.
Freetrade offers the following accounts:
- General Investment Account: This is a standard account that allows you to invest in stocks, ETFs, and investment trusts.
- Freetrade Plus Account: This is the so-called ‘premium’ account at Freetrade. For £9.99 per month, you’ll get 3% interest on cash holdings, access to additional stocks, and the ability to place limit orders.
- Stocks and Shares ISA: This is a conventional Stocks and Shares ISA that allows you to invest in a tax-efficient manner.
- SIPP Account: This is a tax-efficient investment account that allows you to save for your retirement years.
Trading 212 Accounts
Trading 212 offers the following accounts:
- InvestAccount: This is a standard account that functions the same way as the General Investment Account at Freetrade.
- CFD Account: If you want to trade CFDs on the Trading 212 app, you’ll need to open this account in addition to the InvestAccount.
- Stocks and Shares ISA: Much like Freetrade, Trading 212 also offers a Stocks and Shares ISA.
Freetrade vs Trading 212 Fees & Commissions
Both Freetrade and Trading 212 claim to offer industry-leading fees, so we sought to explore which platform offers the better deal.
Neither Freetrade nor Trading 212 charge any dealing fees. This means that you can buy and sell shares, funds, and trusts without paying any commission.
If you want to buy international stocks on Trading 212, there is no additional charge for this. As such, the commission-free offering remains in place. However, Freetrade adds an FX mark-up of 0.45% when you buy international stocks.
CFD Trading Fees
This section is only applicable to Trading 212, as Freetrade does not support CFDs. On the one hand, Trading 212 allows you to trade CFDs commission-free – but only if the asset is priced in GBP. In other words, if you were trading oil – which is priced in dollars, then you will be charged an FX fee. This stands at 0.5% of the trade size.
There are no platforms at either Freetrade or Trading 212. But, if you sign up for the Freetrade Plus Account, this will cost you £9.99 per month.
There are no fees to deposit funds at either platform.
|UK Dealing Fee||International Dealing Fee||Inactivity Fee||Platform Fee||Stamp Duty Tax|
|Freetrade||FREE||0.45% FX Mark-Up||None||None, £9.99 premium account||0.50%|
Freetrade vs Trading 212 User Experience
As we briefly covered earlier, our Freetrade vs Trading 212 found that both platforms are really easy to use. Quite clearly, the two providers are looking to target the retail investment space. That is to say, if you’re an experienced pro looking to place sophisticated market orders, you will no doubt find both Freetrade and Trading 212 somewhat basic.
If, however, you’re a complete investment newbie – you will enjoy the seamless and jargon-free user experience. For example, if you wanted to buy Royal Mail shares, both apps allow you to search for your chosen asset at the click of a button. Then, you simply need to enter your stake and place the respective order.
Freetrade vs Trading 212 Mobile App
Both Freetrade and Trading 212 offer a fully-fledged mobile app. This is available to download free of charge and is available on both iOS and Android. As we covered in the section above, both providers offer a great user-friendly experience, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding your way around the app.
We should note that while Trading 212 can be used online or via the app, Freetrade is mobile-only. Nevertheless, when we looked at user reviews of the two apps on their respective stores, we were surprised with what we saw.
This is because Trading 212 has an excellent rating of 4.5/5 on the Apple Store – which across an impressive 141k individual reviews. However, the same app on Google Play is rated at just 1.7/5. This is across a strong sample size of almost 100k reviews.
Digging a little deeper, it appears that the main concern with the Android version of the Trading 212 app, is that orders are often not executed in good time. This appears to only be an issue with the Android app, as no such concerns were identified when reviewing comments in the Apple Store.
In the case of Freetrade, there was a very similar trend to that of Trading 212. That is to say, while the app has a great rating of 4.5/5 on the Apple Store, it’s rated at just 2.2/5 on Google Play.
Freetrade vs Trading 212 Trading Tools, Education, Research & Analysis
As is the case with a lot of commission-free apps in the UK, both Freetrade and Trading 212 seem to offer a skin and bonds service. For example, neither platform offer anything notable in the way of technical research, financial news, or market insights. In fact, as per the screenshot below, Trading 212’s financial news department is currently “unavailable”.
There is also a lack of automated trading tools – which is something particularly useful for inexperienced investors or those with a busy schedule. Main competitor eToro, for example, offers a Copy Trading feature that allows you to mirror the trades of a seasoned investor.
Perhaps the stand-out feature found at both Freetrade and Trading 212 is that of its fractional share offering. This allows you to buy a fraction of one share. The minimum is £2 at Freetrade and £1 at Trading 212. Although this won’t necessarily be useful when buying UK stocks – which are priced in pennies, this is a great tool when investing in US shares.
For example, the likes of Tesla and Amazon will cost you over $800 and $3,000 per stock. But with the fractional share service, you only need to invest a couple of pounds at most.
Additionally, our Freetrade vs Trading 212 found that both providers offer a community forum. This allows you to speak with other traders of the app in a safe and secure ecosystem. This is also a good way to obtain assistance – such as help placing orders or making a withdrawal.
Freetrade vs Trading 212 Demo Account
When it comes to demo accounts, this is where Trading 212 really stands out. This is because you can start trading with ‘paper money’ without even needing to open an account.
Not only is this great for testing Trading 212 out before making a financial commitment, but you can also learn the ropes of investing in a risk-free manner.
There is no demo account offered by Freetrade whatsoever, which is disappointing.
Freetrade vs Trading 212 Payments
Trading 212 also stands out when it comes to supported payment methods. This is because the investment app supports debit/credit cards, Paypal, Skrill, and a traditional bank transfer.
Freetrade, on the other hand, does not support debit/credit cards or e-wallets. It does, however, allow you to make a deposit with Google Pay or Apple Pay.
Our Freetrade vs Trading 212 comparison found that there are no deposit or withdrawal fees to take into account. With that said, if you want to benefit from a same-day withdrawal at Freetrade, you can do this by paying a fee of £5.
|Minimum Deposit||Deposit Fee||Processing Time||Withdrawal Fee|
|Freetrade||£0||FREE||Instant, apart from bank transfers||FREE, £5 for same-day transfer|
|Trading 212||£1||FREE||Instant, apart from bank transfers||FREE|
Freetrade vs Trading 212 Customer Service
Our Freetrade vs Trading 212 comparison found that customer support is offered via a Live Chat facility. This allows you to speak with a support agent in real-time directly from within the app. There is no telephone support offered by either service. You can also seek help in the Freetrade/Trading 212 community forum.
Freetrade vs Trading 212 Safety & Regulation
There is nothing to seperate Freetrade or Trading 212 when it comes to safety. This is because both providers do everything by the book and as such – are authorized and regulated by the FCA. Both trading platforms are also covered by the FSCS, so the safety of your funds should not be a concern.
Freetrade vs Trading 212 vs eToro
Our Freetrade vs Trading 212 comparison concluded that both investment apps are very similar indeed.
For example, both offer:
- Commission-free trading
- A user-friendly experience
- Free deposits and withdrawals
- Live Chat feature
- FCA regulation and FSCS protection
All in all, there is very little to separate the two providers. However, we would suggest taking a step back and instead consider a third option – eToro. Put simply, eToro – which is now home to 17 million clients, stands out in almost all departments.
For example, while our Our Freetrade vs Trading 212 comparison, found that both apps allow you to buy UK and US stocks (and German stocks on Trading 212), this is still very limited compared to eToro. This is because eToro covers 17 UK and international markets – including firms in North America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and more.
Additionally, eToro offers a number of stand-out tools that will appeal to those seeking a passive income stream. This includes CopyPortolfios, which are diversified investments professionally-managed by the team at eToro. You then have the eToro Copy Trading feature, which allows you to copy an experienced investor like-for-like.
When it comes to fees, eToro offers commission-free trades, much like Freetrade and Trading 212. However, eToro takes things to the next level by wavering the 0.5% stamp duty tax that you need to pay on London Stock Exchange-listed shares. This isn’t something offered by either Freetrade or Trading 212.
Finally, in terms of asset variety, eToro once again stands out. At the forefront of this is being able to invest in 16 cryptocurrencies – including the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and EOS. Neither Freetrade nor Trading 212 give you access to digital currency markets.
Freetrade vs Trading 212 – The Verdict
In summary, our Freetrade vs Trading 212 comparison explored all key metrics that should be considered in choosing an investment app. This includes everything from tradable markets, fees and commissions, customer support, payments, and safety.
We found that both providers offer a simple and very low-cost way of accessing the financial markets – directly from your mobile phone. We also like the fact that the fractional shares tool allows you to invest from just a couple of pounds.
However, in adding a third option to our comparison, we concluded that eToro offers the best all-round option. Not only can you invest in and trade thousands of markets commission-free, but there is no stamp duty tax charges on UK shares. Plus, eToro allows you to invest passively via the CopyPortfolio and Copy Trading tools.
If you want a further look into eToro, check out our eToro review. If you want to get started right away, simply click the link below to sign up today!
eToro – Best UK Stock Broker 2021
67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
Is Freetrade legit?
Yes, although you might be suspicious of the fact that Freetrade charges no commissions, the app is completely legit. After all, not only is it regulated by the FCA, but your funds are covered by the FSCS. .
How does Trading 212 make money?
Trading 212 makes money from the spread - which is the difference between the bid and ask price on stocks. It also charges 0.5% on non-GBP CFD instruments. .
Is Freetrade or Trading 212 better?
In reviewing the ins and outs of both platforms, we found that both Freetrade and Trading 212 are great options to consider. After all, they allow you to buy shares in a simple and burden-free manner.
What is the Freetrade Plus Account?
The Freetrade Plus Account is the provider's premium account, costing £9.99 per month. The monthly fee isn't of great value though, as it gets you very little. For example, the main perks are 3% on cash account balances and access to limit orders.
What is the Trading 212 minimum?
The minimum investment at Trading 212 is just £1. This means that you can invest in any of its supported stocks from £1 upwards - irrespective of how much the shares are worth.
Does Freetrade offer CFDs?
No, Freetrade does not offer CFDs. Instead, it allows you to buy traditional assets like shares, ETFs, and investment trusts.
Does Trading 212 offer cryptocurrencies?
No, Trading 212 no longer offers cryptocurrencies. It used to offer crypto CFDs, but since the FCA banned these products in January 2021, Trading 212 has since left the digital currency market. If it's cryptocurrencies you are interested in, eToro offers commission-free trades on 16 different coins.