Thinking about buying, selling, and trading stocks online? If so, you will need to open a share dealing account with a reliable broker.
There are hundreds of such platforms to choose from in the UK, so you need to do some homework before signing up. For example, while some brokers specialize in low fees, others come with a much larger number of shares to choose from.
In this guide, we explore the best share dealing accounts of 2021. We also compare share dealing accounts in terms of fees, commissions, share markets, customer support, and regulation, to help you find the right account for you.
If you don’t have to time to read our guide in full, here’s a list of our top-rated UK share dealing accounts.
- eToro – Social and copy trading share dealing platform with 0% commission
- Plus500 – Affordable CFD trading platform known for low spreads
- Capital.com – CFD share dealing broker with more than 2,000 shares
- FXCM – Well established share CFD platform with MetaTrader 4
- Forex.com – Trade share CFDs with tight spreads
- IG – Share dealing broker with over 10,000 shares
- Hargreaves Lansdown – Renowned UK share dealing platform
Put simply, if you want to buy and sell stocks online, you will need to open a share dealing account with a broker. In doing so, you will be able to access the UK and international stock markets from the comfort of your home. In turn, your chosen broker will charge you a fee every time you place a trade.
Below we list the typical process associated with online share dealing accounts.
- First, you need to choose a stock broker that meets your needs
- You then need to open a UK share dealing account with your chosen broker
- Deposit funds with a UK payment method (debit card, bank account, etc.)
- Choose which company you wish to invest in
- Enter the number of shares that you want to purchase
As you can see from the above, the best share dealing accounts make it super-easy to buy stocks online. In fact, the process of selling your shares and withdrawing the proceeds back to your bank account is just as straight forward. With that being said, the most difficult part of the process is knowing which share dealing account to open.
After all, there are literally hundreds of providers active in the UK, so you need to spend some time thinking about what your priorities are. In our view, the best share dealing accounts are those that offer heaps of stocks, low fees and commissions, and top-notch customer support. Most importantly, you’ll need to ensure that your chosen share dealing account is regulated by the FCA.
To help you navigate your way through the Wild West of the best online share dealing accounts, we are now going to discuss our top picks of 2021. Each of the platforms listed below offer low fees, give you access to several UK and international markets, and have a strong regulatory standing.
Let’s take a look at the best and cheapest share dealing accounts in the UK.
1. eToro – Best All-Round UK Share Dealing Account
eToro is our top-rated share dealing account for several reasons. First and foremost, the online broker is one of the most user-friendly share dealing platforms in the space. You don’t need to have any prior knowledge of buying shares, as eToro makes it easy to invest. Once you have opened an account and made a deposit, you will have access to 800+ stocks.
This includes companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, as well as 16 international markets. As such, you can access stocks in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Germany, France, and more. eToro also makes our pick as the best share dealing account as it allows you to invest on a commission-free basis. Ordinarily, online brokers charge a fee every time you place a trade. But, in the case of eToro, you can invest without paying any fees at all.
Additionally, eToro allows you to invest from just $50 per trade. As the broker supports fractional ownership, there is no need to buy full shares. For example, even though Facebook might be priced at $250 per stock – you can buy just $50 worth. This means that you are buying 1/5 of a share. We should also mention the eToro Copy Trading feature that the platform offers. Put simply, this allows you to select a seasoned investor and then copy their trades. This is great for passive investing.
The Copy Trading feature is also ideal if you want to invest in the stock markets, but you don’t know which companies to choose. In terms of getting started, it takes just minutes to set up a share dealing account. You will need to meet a $200 (£160) minimum deposit, which you can do with a UK debit/credit card, bank account, or e-wallet. Finally, your funds at eToro are protected by the FSCS. The platform also holds a license with the FCA, CySEC, and ASIC.
|Inactivity fees||$10 a month after 12 months inactivity|
- Super user-friendly online stock broker
- Buy stocks without paying any commission or share dealing charges
- 800+ stocks listed on UK and international markets
- Deposit funds with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or UK bank account
- Ability to copy the trades of other users
- FCA and FSCS protections
- Not suitable for advanced traders that like to perform technical analysis
75% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site
2. Plus500 – Commission-Free Share CFD Trading Platform
Plus500 is also popular with UK traders. The online platform specializes in CFD products, meaning that you will be ‘trading’ shares as opposed to investing in them. This is highly conducive if you want to actively trade on a short-term basis. For example, Plus500 allows you to choose from buy and sell positions on each of its 2,000+ stock CFDs.
In Layman’s terms, this means that you can profit from both the rise and fall of your chosen instrument. Plus500 is also suitable for short-term trading because it allows you to apply leverage. When trading stock CFDs, this stands at 1:5 for UK retail clients. As such, by holding a balance of £100, you would be able to trade with £500. Higher leverage limits are offered on other asset classes – such as indices, commodities, and forex.
Irrespective of what stock CFDs you wish to trade at Plus500, the platform does not charge any commissions. Much like eToro, it’s only the spread that you need to pay. You will, however, need to pay overnight financing fees if you plan to keep your leveraged position open past market hours. This is why Plus500 is best suited for short-term trading. In terms of its trading platform, you can access Plus500 via its desktop website. You can also trade on your phone via the Plus500 mobile app.
If you do like the sound of Plus500, opening an account takes minutes. You will need to provide some personal information and then meet a minimum deposit of £100. The platform allows you to do this with a debit/credit card, bank transfer, and e-wallet. There are no fees to deposit or withdraw funds, which is great. Plus500UK Ltd is authorized & regulated by the FCA (#509909), so you should have no concerns with safety. Its parent company is publicly-listed on the London Stock Exchange, too.
|Inactivity fees||$10 per quarter after 3 months inactivity|
- Commission-free CFD platform – only pay the spread
- Thousands of financial instruments across heaps of markets
- Retail clients can trade stock CFDs with leverage of up to 1:5
- You can short-sell a stock CFD if you think its value will go down
- Takes just minutes to open an account and deposit funds
- CFDs only
- More suitable for experienced traders
80.5% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site
3. Capital.com – Trade Over 2,000 Shares with Tight Spreads
Capital.com shares a lot of similarities with Plus500, not least because the platform also specializes in CFD products. In the equities department, this covers over 2,000+ stock CFDs. Not only does this include heaps of UK-based shares, but firms in the US, too. This means that you can easily trade share CFDs like Amazon, Apple, and Disney.
On top of stocks, you can also trade CFDs in the form of commodities, cryptocurrencies, forex, and indices. Much like in the case of the Plus500, Capital.com allows you to trade on a commission-free basis. This is the case with all of the asset classes supported by the platform. We should also note that Capital.com offers some of the best spreads in the online trading scene. This is especially the case with major stocks and currencies, as well as commodities like gold and oil.
In terms of its target market, Capital.com is arguably suited for traders of all skill-sets. For example, seasoned traders are looked after as Capital.com offers heaps of technical indicators and chart reading tools. At the other end of the spectrum, newbies will have access to a fully-fledged educational department. In fact, the platform even offers a dedicated mobile app that teaches you everything you need to know about online trading.
On top of top-notch research and educational tools, Capital.com is also rated in the analysis department. This is because the platform offers everything from fundamental news, market insights, webinars, and even its own Capital.com TV. This ensures that you are kept up to date with key market developments. In terms of getting started, Capital.com allows you to open an account with a minimum deposit of just £20. You can do this with a debit/credit card, bank transfer, or e-wallet.
|Commission||0% (spreads on CFDs)|
|Inactivity fees||$10 a month after 12 months inactivity|
- Trading on hundreds of US and UK shares
- Educational app for new traders
- Minimum deposit of just £20
- AI assistant identifies your weak points
- Trade ideas generated daily
- Excellent charting and analysis interface
- 100% commission free trading
- Cannot build custom trading strategies
4. FXCM – Reputable UK Broker with MetaTrader 4
Next up is commission-free CFD trading platform FXCM. The platform first opened its doors back in 1999, so it’s one of the first online trading sites to enter the UK space. Naturally, FXCM is highly regarded with experienced traders, which is further amplified by its strong regulatory standing.
This includes a fully-fledged license with the FCA, meaning that you will be protected by capital adequacy requirements. In terms of what you can trade, you will have access to CFDs in the form of stocks, indices, commodities, and forex. In fact, the platform recently entered the cryptocurrency arena, so you can also trade popular tokens like Bitcoin.
What sets FXCM apart from the likes of Plus500 and Capital.com is that you can trade via MetaTrader 4. This is one of the most popular third-party trading platforms available. It gives you access to dozens of technical indicators and chart reading tools, and you can even set up automated robots to trade on your behalf. MetaTrader 4 also allows you to copy other traders from within the platform.
On top of desktop software and a web-trader, FXCM also allows you to trade via its mobile app. This means that you will be able to place orders no matter where you are. FXCM offers a range of market insights and educational guides/explainers, so the platform is suitable for traders of all sizes. You can open an account by depositing £300, which admittedly, is more than the other platforms on our list. Supported payment methods include debit/credit cards, Skrill, Neteller, and a bank wire.
|Inactivity fees||$50 a year after 12 months inactivity|
- Supports MetaTrader 4
- A long-established and reputable broker
- FCA Licensed
- Great market insights
- Mobile trading app
- No commission and tight spreads
- CFDs only
- Less shares than other brokers
73.05% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs at this site
5. Forex.com – Multi-Asset Trading Site With Low Spreads
Although Forex.com initially focused exclusively on currency trading, the popular online platform has since expanded into other asset classes. At the forefront of this is its stock CFD offering. You will have the ability to trade over 220 shares – with Forex.com covering both the UK and US markets.
On top of share CFDs and currencies, you can trade commodities like gold and silver, indices, and cryptocurrencies. In terms of commissions, stock CFDs come with a variable fee of just 0.08%. Although you won’t benefit from the same commission-free offering available at Plus500 and Capital.com, you will benefit from super-tight spreads.
In the case of UK share CFDs, this starts at just 1 pip. When it comes to the trading arena, you can choose from the Forex.com web-trader or MT4. If opting for the former, you will have access to over 70+ technical indicators and 50+ drawing tools. The web-trader also gives you seamless access to market commentary and analysis. Of course, if you prefer MT4, you can access your account by entering your Forex.com login credentials.
Mobile trading is also supported, with the Forex.com app available on iOS and Android. Leverage facilities are also offered by Forex.com, which is ideal if you want to trade with more than you have in your account. Minimum deposits at the platform start at £100, and you can choose from a debit/credit card or wire transfer. Finally, Forex.com is licensed by heaps of regulators – including the FCA, ASIC, IIROC, and FSA.
|Inactivity fees||$15 per month after 12 months inactivity|
- Great reputation
- Heavily regulated
- Very competitive spreads
- Leverage facilities
- Minimum deposit just £300
- Heaps of asset classes
- Not commission-free
- More extensive stock department available elsewhere
73% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs at this site
6. IG – Trusted UK Share Dealing Platform With Competitive-Fees
IG covers multiple bases in the online trading space. Not only can you open a traditional share dealing account, but you can also trade CFDs. The platform also offers spread betting services – meaning that your profits will not be liable for UK capital gains tax. In the case of its share dealing services, you will have the ability to buy and sell over 10,000 equities.
This makes IG one of the most comprehensive in the space. Crucially, you will have access to thousands of UK companies across both the London Stock Exchange and the AIM. You can also trade international shares from several markets. This includes the US, Australia, South Africa, and more. When it comes to fees, this depends on the underlying instrument. For example, buying shares at IG costs £8 per trade.
But, if you managed to place 3 or more orders in the prior month, then this is reduced to £3. If you want to trade share CFDs, then you will pay a variable fee. This will vary depending on the market. For example, UK stock CFDs come with a commission of 0.10% (£10 minimum). US share CFDs cost $0.02 per stock, at a minimum of $15. Both the CFD and spread betting departments offer leverage facilities, as well as the option of ‘going short’.
This is ideal if you think that a stock is overpriced. It is also important to make reference to the platform’s long-standing reputation in the brokerage scene. Not only was IG launched back in 1974, but its parent company is listed on the London Stock Exchange. The platform has since attracted over 239,000 clients worldwide, and it is in possession of multiple regulatory licenses. This includes the FCA – so your money is safe at all times.
|Commission||£8 per trade. Reduced to £3 when you place 3 or more trades in the previous month.|
|Inactivity fees||£12 a month after 2 years inactivity|
- Trusted UK broker with a long-standing reputation
- Good value share dealing services
- Leverage and short-selling also available
- Spread betting and CFD products
- Access to UK and international markets
- Great research department
- Minimum deposit of £250
- US stocks have a $15 minimum commission
7. Hargreaves Lansdown – Best Share Dealing Account for Reputation
Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the most recognized share dealing account providers in the UK arena. This is because the platform has amassed a loyal following over the past few decades – especially those that wish to enter the stocks and shares space for the first time.
For example, it takes just minutes to set up an account at Hargreaves Lansdown, and you can deposit funds instantly with a UK debit card. Then, you will have access to thousands of financial instruments across several markets. On top of UK and international shares, you can also invest in UK Gilts and corporate bonds. Investment trusts, ETFs, and mutual funds are also available.
Hargreaves Lansdown is also popular with UK investors that wish to gain access to IPOs. The online broker offers some of the best market insights and analysis pieces, too. For example, it offers in-depth research on major shares – covering everything from earnings reports to dividend payments, and even market projections. This is great if you want a share dealing account that also offers top-notch research.
On the flip side, Hargreaves Lansdown can be an expensive option. For example, you will pay an entry rate of £11.95 per share investment – which you will need to pay at both ends of the order. You can get this price down, but you will need to be actively trading. Crucially, although a fee of £11.95 might not be an issue if you plan to invest large volumes, it will if you want to start off with small amounts. Finally, Hargreaves Lansdown is licensed by the FCA and your funds are protected by the FSCS.
Hargreaves Lansdown fees:
|Commission||£5.95 – £11.95 per trade|
- Thousands of UK and international shares supported
- Also offers bonds, investment trusts, ETFs, and mutual funds
- Gain access to newly launched UK IPOs
- Easily deposit and withdraw funds without being charged
- Industry-leading research and analysis department
- Telephone customer support is highly rated
- Entry-level commission of £11.95 per trade
- Doesn’t allow you to trade CFDs or apply leverage
So now that we have covered the best providers of 2021, we now need to discuss how you can compare share dealing accounts and find the best share dealing account for yourself. This will ensure that you are 100% certain the platform meets your needs prior to signing up.
Invest in Shares or Trade Stock CFDs
The first question that you need to ask of the provider is whether you will be ‘investing’ in shares or ‘trading’ stock CFDs. If it’s former, this means that you will be buying the shares in the traditional sense, meaning that you retain full ownership of the stock.
You will be entitled to dividends, and will remain a stockholder until you sell the shares. The best option in this respect is eToro, as the platform does not charge any commissions or monthly/annual fees.
If you join a platform that specializes in stock CFDs, then you will be trading the shares on a short-term basis. You can choose from a long or short position, and even apply leverage. Stock trading is focused on smaller profits, but on a much more frequent basis. CFD platforms like Plus500 even allow you to earn dividends on your long positions.
Once you have established the type of investing/trading that your share dealing account provider offers, you then need to look at regulation. Put simply, you should never join a trading platform if it is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authorty (FCA). Crucially, FCA brokers must follow a range of regulatory standards, such as:
- Keeping client funds separate from their own working capital
- Asking all clients to upload ID
- Clearly present the risks associated with investing and trading
- Ensuring that your leverage account does not go into negative territory
Ultimately, the best share dealing accounts will ensure that your funds are kept safe at all times.
You then need to explore what assets you will be able to gain exposure to. In the case of stocks, explore what markets the broker covers. For example, is it just UK shares that you can invest in, or can you also buy international stocks?
If you are interested in other asset classes – such as investment trusts, ETFs, or mutual funds – you will need to check whether this is offered before opening an account.
Potentially one of the most important metrics to consider is that of fees. In the vast majority of cases, UK share dealing account providers will charge you a commission every time you make a purchase or sale. This can vary considerably, which is why you need to do some homework.
For example, Hargreaves Lansdown charges £11.95 when you buy shares, and again when you offload them. eToro, on the other hand, charges no commissions at all. If you are trading share CFDs, you can normally do this on a commission-free basis. But, you do need to pay attention to the spread, as this is an indirect fee.
Trading Tools and Features
While some share dealing account providers offer a skin-and-bones service, others come jam-packed with features and tools. Some of the most important to look out for are:
- Trading Platform: Look to see whether you can buy and sell shares through the broker’s website, or if you need to download and install software. If you plan to actively trade, you might be best choosing a platform that supports MT4.
- Market Insights: Regardless of whether you plan to invest or trade, you should choose a platform that offers market insights. This might come in the form of fundamental news developments or in-depth research.
- Educational Tools: If you are just starting out in the world of online shares, you’ll want to choose a share dealing account provider that offers educational tools. This will help you become a better investor – and should include guides, videos, explainers, and webinars.
- Technical Indicators: Seasoned stock traders have a good understanding of the technicals – meaning that they are able to interpret chart trends. In order to do this, you will need to use an online share dealing platform that offers technical indicators. This should be complemented by chart drawing tools.
Usability & Mobile App
It is also important to assess whether or not the share dealing account is suitable for newbies. If it isn’t, you might find it difficult to navigate yourself through the site. If a user-friendly platform is what you are after, your best bet is eToro. This is because the broker is suitable for investors of all shapes and sizes – and so prior trading experience is not required.
Similarly, you should also explore whether or not the broker allows you to trade on your mobile phone. The best share dealing platforms offer a native investment app, meaning that you can buy and sell stocks on the move. In most cases, the broker will offer support for both iOS and Android devices.
You will, of course, be required to deposit funds into your share dealing account. As such, you need to choose a broker that offers your preferred funding method. Most platforms allow you to deposit with a UK debit/credit card and bank transfer.
But, if you want to deposit with an e-wallet, fewer platforms support this. eToro, Plus500, and Capital.com each offer e-wallet facilities. You also need to check what deposit/withdrawal fees are applicable. You can normally check this out from the broker’s website before opening an account.
So now that you know how to choose a provider, we are now going to show you how to get started with a share dealing account today.
The process of signing up, depositing funds, and making an investment is fairly similar across all UK brokers. However, in order to show you the process with step-by-step instructions, the following guidelines are based on top-rated share dealing provider eToro.
Step 1: Open a Share Dealing Account
All FCA-regulated brokers require you to open an account. The process takes just minutes, and simply requires some personal information.
- Full name
- Home address
- Date of birth
- National Insurance Number
- Email address
- Mobile number
You will need to choose a username and password, as well as confirm your email address and mobile number.
Step 2: Identity Verification
eToro – and all FCA regulated brokers for that matter, need to confirm the identity of each and every account holder. As such, you will be asked to submit some documents. This includes a copy of your passport/driver’s license and a proof of address.
You don’t need to upload the requested documents straight away if you do not plan to deposit more than £1,800-ish. You will, however, need to do this before you can make a withdrawal request. As such, it’s best to quickly do this now.
Step 3: Deposit Funds
You will now be asked to deposit some funds. As we covered earlier, eToro has a minimum deposit policy of $200 – which is about £160.
You can fund your eToro account with a:
- Debit card
- Credit card
- Bank transfer
Irrespective of which payment method you use, eToro charges a currency conversion fee of 0.5%. This is because all eToro accounts are displayed in US dollars.
Step 4: Add Stocks to Your Share Dealing Account
Unless you opted for a bank account transfer, your eToro deposit will be credited instantly. This means that you can now add some stocks to your share dealing account.
If you don’t know which shares you want to buy, spend some time exploring the eToro stock library. There are more than 800+ companies to choose from across 17 markets.
Alternatively, if you know which shares you wish to purchase, enter the name of the company in the search box and click on the composing result. In our example, we are buying BT shares.
Then, you will need to click on the ‘Trade’ button.
The final stage of the share purchase process requires you to enter the size of your position. In simple terms, you need to specify how much you wish to invest in your chosen stock – in US dollars. As per the example below, we are investing $50 into BT.
To complete our share purchase, we need to click on ‘Open Trade’. In doing so, the stocks will be added to our share dealing account instantly!
In summary, buying and trading shares in the UK has never been easier. No longer do you need to call an old-school stock broker to achieve this goal. On the contrary, there are hundreds of top share dealing accounts available online. This means that you can buy shares at the click of a button.
With that said, knowing which platform is best suited for your investing goals can be challenging. This is why we have presented a selection of the best providers as of 2021. We have also shown you what you need to do to find a share dealing account yourself. If you want to get the ball rolling right now, eToro allows you to buy and trade shares without paying any commission.
Simply click the link below to get started!
75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
What is share dealing?
Share dealing refers to the process of buying and selling stocks online. All you need to do is choose a broker, open an account, and then decide which shares you wish to invest in.
What is the best share dealing account in the UK?
This depends on what your investment needs are. If you are planning to buy shares in UK or international companies, then it might be worth considering eToro. This is because the platform gives you access to 800+ shares across 17 markets - all on a commission-free basis. There are no monthly or annual fees to take into account, either.
How do you fund a share dealing account?
Once again, this depends on the broker. Most platforms support UK debit/credit cards and bank transfers. Some will also support popular e-wallets like Paypal.
What are share CFDs?
Some top share dealing accounts also come with CFD trading facilities. This means that you will be trading rhe future value of a stock without taking ownership. It also means that you can short-sell a stock and even apply leverage.
Are UK share dealing accounts safe?
Yes - as long as the share dealing account provider is regulated by the FCA, you should have no issues.