Top 10 UK Stock Brokers in 2021 – Online Trading Platforms with 0% Fees

Based in the UK and looking to get your hands on some stocks and shares? There are hundreds of FCA-regulated brokers active in the online space that allow you to buy and sell companies at the click of a button. The process rarely takes more than a few minutes.

In this guide, we explore the best UK stock brokers to do this within 2021. We cover key factors like fees, dealing charges, tradable shares, customer support, user-friendliness, and regulation.

Best UK Stock Brokers & Online Trading Platforms

If you don’t have time to read our guide in full, here’s a list of our best UK stock brokers.

  1. eToro – Overall Best UK Stock Broker 2021
  2. Capital.com – Cheapest UK Stock Broker
  3. Fineco Bank – Buy and Sell Shares in the UK from £2.95 per trade
  4. XTB – Stock Broker with Advanced Research and Screener Tools
  5. Libertex – UK Stock CFD Broker with Zero Spreads
  6. Plus500 – One of the Best UK Stock Brokers for Beginners
  7. Pepperstone – Best British Stock Broker with MetaTrader 4 & 5
  8. AvaTrade – 0% Commission Stock Broker UK with Social Trading
  9. Hargreaves Lansdown – Best UK Stock Broker for Opening an ISA
  10. Trading 212 – Best Stock Broker for Automated Investing
  11. DEGIRO – Popular UK Stock Broker with International shares

Best UK Stock Brokers / Share Dealing Platforms of 2021

With hundreds of UK stock broker sites now active in the market, knowing which platform to sign up with has never been more challenging. For example, while a share dealing platform might stand out for offering super-low fees, it might not give you access to international companies.

With this in mind, below you will find our five best stock brokers of 2021. All of our picks are heavily regulated, allow you to easily fund your account with a UK payment method, and offer top-notch customer support

1. eToro – Overall Best UK Stock Broker 2021

eToro – Best All-Round UK Stock Broker

If you’re looking for the best share dealing account UK that ticks all of the right boxes – look no further than eToro. First and foremost, the stock broker allows you to invest in traditional stocks without paying any commission or share dealing charges. Instead, the only ‘fee’ that you pay is that of the spread. As long as you do not apply leverage or short-sell your chosen company, you will be entitled to company dividends as and when they are paid.

In terms of markets, eToro lists more than 800 equities. This includes major companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, as well as US firms. As such, you’ll get to buy shares in companies like Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft without the need to pay any fees. Heaps of other stock markets (17 in total) are covered at eToro – including but not limited to Australia, Canada, Sweden, and Germany. If you’re looking to dabble in other areas of the investment space, eToro also gives you access to funds and ETFs. This really gives you a great opportunity to build a diverse portfolio, other platforms only serve as CFD platforms, you can see the contrast in our eToro vs Plus500 comparison.

What we also like about eToro is that it offers a copy trading feature. For those unaware, this allows you to copy the trades of seasoned investors, subsequently allowing you to earn a passive income. There are no additional fees to engage with copy trading.  In terms of getting started, it takes just minutes to open an account at eToro, and you can deposit funds on a fee-free basis via a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or UK bank account.

The minimum deposit stands at $200 – which is about £160. As all eToro balances are displayed in US dollars, your deposit will come with a small 0.5% conversion fee. This does, however, allow you to access both UK and international stocks with ease. We should also note that you can deposit up to €2,000 (about £1,800) without needing to upload ID straight away, so you can buy your chosen shares instantly.

Finally, eToro is regulated by the FCA, meaning that your funds are safe at all times. In fact, you will benefit from the protections of the FSCS – which covers you up to the first £85,000 in the event the broker ceased to exist.

eToro fees:

Commission 0%
Deposit Fee Free
Withdrawal fee £5
Inactivity fees £10 a month after 12 months of inactivity

 

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Not suitable for advanced traders that like to perform technical analysis

67% of retail investors lose money trading CFDs at this site

2. Capital.com – Cheapest UK Stock Broker

Capital.com - Cheapest UK Stock Broker for 2021Capital.com is another UK share trading platform that’s worth looking into. This CFD broker offers trading on more than 3,000 stocks from the UK, US, and Europe. You can also trade dozens of ETFs, commodities, forex, and more.

All trading on Capital.com is 100% commission-free, which makes this broker very attractive for all types of stock traders. The broker does charge spreads on its share CFDs, but they’re among the lowest in the UK. All shares can be traded with leverage up to 5:1 and there’s no inactivity fee if you ever take a short break from trading.

Capital.com has its own, custom-built trading platform for the web and mobile devices. It’s very easy to use and includes dozens of technical studies to help you identify trading opportunities. Even better, the platform integrates with TradingView, so you can easily create your own studies and switch between several advanced chart types.

Another thing we like about Capital.com is that it actively helps you trade better by offering share tips. The brokerage platform uses AI to find patterns in your trading and identify what factors are contributing to your wins and losses. You can easily review the suggestions and make small changes to your trading strategy or timing to improve your profitability.

Capital.com is regulated by the UK FCA. The broker offers 24/7 customer support, which is very nice if you ever need help with your account. In addition, it takes just £20 to open a new account with Capital.com.

Capital.com fees:

Commission 0%
Deposit Fee None
Withdrawal Fee None
Inactivity fees None

 

Pros:

  • 100% commission-free stock CFD trading
  • Trade over 3,000 stocks from the UK, US, and Europe
  • Integrates with TradingView for advanced charting
  • AI software helps you improve your win rate
  • Regulated by the UK FCA

Cons:

  • No price alerts in web trading platform

71.2% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider.

 

3. Fineco Bank – Buy UK Stocks From Just £2.95 

Fineco Bank – Buy UK Stocks From Just £2.95 

Italian financial institution Fineco Bank recently entered the UK stock broker scene. It allows you to buy and sell shares in a super-competitive manner at just £2.95 per trade. This is also the case for ETFs. If you’re looking to add some international shares to your portfolio, Fineco Bank gives you access to heaps of foreign markets.

If you’re keen to invest in the financial markets but don’t know how to pick stocks, Fineco Bank offers automated portfolios.

All you need to do is select your preferred risk rating, and Fineco Bank will add assets to your portfolio based on your financial goals. Fineco Bank is also popular with UK investors as it allows you to get started with a small investment of £100. If you do feel comfortable investing on a DIY basis, Fineco Bank offers excellent research tools and ongoing market commentary.

In terms of user-friendliness, the platform is looking to target the UK retail client scene. As such, the process of opening an account, depositing funds, and buying stocks is super easy. When it comes to safety, Fineco Bank is heavily regulated. Your funds are protected by the FSCS and the broker holds that all-important FCA license

Fineco Bank fees:

Commission £2.95 per UK stock trade (first 100 are free)
Deposit Fee Free
Withdrawal fee Free
Inactivity fees Free

Pros:

  • No commissions or inactivity fees
  • Includes portfolio management tools
  • Excellent fundamental analysis and commentary
  • Simple system for tracking investment performance

Cons:

  • Doesn’t accept PayPal

Your capital is at risk

4. XTB – Stock Broker with Advanced Research and Screener Tools

XTB LogoXTB is a top UK stock broker that offers trading on more than 2,100 shares and ETFs – all 100% commission-free. Even better, spreads at this broker start at just 0.015% for US-listed stocks, making it one of the cheapest options available for UK traders. XTB doesn’t require a minimum deposit to get started and the broker doesn’t charge deposit or withdrawal fees.

We’re big fans of XTB’s custom-built stock trading platform, xStation 5. It’s available for the web and mobile devices and it comes packed with research tools. You’ll find technical charts and dozens of studies to start, plus a market news feed that includes actionable trade ideas with annotated price charts. The platform also has a market sentiment gauge so you can easily see what other traders think about where a stock’s price is headed.

XTB’s platform also includes a stock and ETF screener, which can be really useful for traders. With this tool, you can easily scan the market for stocks that are taking off or that seem poised for a fall. Using the screener, it’s possible to create watchlists and narrow down your search to find better trading opportunities.

XTB is regulated by the UK FCA and CySEC and offers negative balance protection for all traders. In addition, the broker offers excellent customer support by phone, email, and live chat, available 24/5.

XTB fees:

Commission 0.015% for stocks
Deposit Fee Free
Withdrawal fee None for withdrawals over £100
Inactivity fees £10 per month after 12 months


Pros:

  • 100% commission-free stock trading
  • Ultra-low spreads from 0.015%
  • Custom trading platform with stock screener
  • Negative balance protection

Cons:

  • Very few fundamental analysis tools

Your capital is at risk.

5. Libertex – Best Online Trading Platform in the UK for CFDs with Zero Spreads

Libertex - Best Online Trading Platform UK for CFDs with Zero SpreadsLibertex is a CFD broker with a difference – it charges commissions instead of spreads. The commission varies depending on the asset class you’re trading. For stocks, the commission ranges from 0% up to 0.5%, so, depending on the asset class and instrument you’re trading, Libertex can be a much cheaper option than other CFD brokers.

In addition to stocks, Libertex offers CFDs for ETFs, commodities, forex, and indices. The maximum leverage for stocks is 1:5, although this is higher if you have a professional account. If your interest is investing in cryptocurrencies then Libertex offers a wide range as the best bitcoin trading platform.

Libertex offers some useful educational tools, including a beginner’s course, a blog, and webinars. There’s also a demo account you can use to try out the platform. This broker is compatible with MT4 and is also our most recommended best MT4 broker UK.

Founded in 1997, Libertex is a licensed and trusted broker with a great reputation. It’s won a host of awards, so you know you’re in good hands with this trading platform.

Libertex fees:

Commission 0%-0.5% for stocks
Deposit Fee Free
Withdrawal fee £1 for credit/debit card, 1% for Neteller, free for Skrill
Inactivity fees £10 per month after 6 months


Pros:

  • Zero spread CFD trading
  • Good educational resources
  • Long established broker
  • Compatible with MT4
  • Competive spreads

Cons:

  • Only offers CFDs

Your capital is at risk.

6. Plus500 – One of The Best UK Stock Brokers for Beginners

Plus500 - Best UK Stock Broker for BeginnersPlus500 is another UK CFD broker with a huge selection of stocks. The broker carries over 1,500 shares from around the globe, all of which trade with zero commissions. You can trade with 5:1 leverage on all shares.

Plus500 stands out for its extremely easy-to-use trading platform. This proprietary software comes loaded with watchlists, a market news feed, and a very intuitive charting interface. You can also place advanced order types like stop losses to help control your risk when stock trading.

We also love Plus500’s alerts feature. You can set basic price alerts on the web or on mobile devices, plus create more nuanced alerts that trigger when a stock gains a certain percentage in a day or surpasses a specific trading volume threshold. You can even set multiple alerts for the same stock, making it easy to keep an eye on the most active stocks on your watchlist.

The only downside to Plus500 is that the trading platform doesn’t have a ton of technical firepower for most advanced stock trading. The software cannot integrate with other tools like TradingView or MetaTrader, so you’re limited to the tools that Plus500 provides. This won’t be an issue for most traders, but it’s something that more experienced investors will want to be aware of.

Plus500 is regulated by the UK FCA. The platform offers 24/7 customer support by phone and email. You can register a new account with a £100 minimum deposit.

Plus500 fees:

Commission 0%
Deposit Fee None
Withdrawal Fee None
Inactivity fees £10 per month after 3 months

Pros:

  • Trade over 1,500 global stock CFDs
  • 100% commission-free trading with low spreads
  • Very user-friendly trading platform for web and mobile
  • Highly customizable trading alerts
  • 24/7 customer support available

Cons:

  • Limited technical analysis tools beyond included studies

76.4% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

7. Pepperstone – Best Stock Broker UK with MetaTrader 4 & 5

Pepperstone - Best British Stock Broker with MetaTrader 4 & 5Pepperstone is one of the best UK stock brokers for traders who want to use MetaTrader 4 or 5. These popular trading platforms offer unparalleled tools for technical analysis, including the ability to create custom technical studies. You can also backtest trading strategies against historical price data to see how they are likely to perform.

This broker also offers a few extra tools that are built specifically for MetaTrader. For example, there’s a correlation heatmap so you can see whether the stocks you’re invested in typically move at the same time. There’s also an alarm management tool that lets you create custom alerts based on price changes, trading volume, and more.

Pepperstone also includes social trading through Myfxbook and DupliTrade. These platforms aren’t as easy to use as a solution that’s built into the trading platform, like what eToro offers. However, if you want to use MetaTrader 4 or 5 while learning from other traders, Myfxbook and DupliTrade are good options.

Pepperstone carries thousands of share CFDs from the US, UK, Europe, and Australia. The broker’s charges vary based on the market you’re trading – US shares trade commission-free, while UK shares carry a 0.10% commission. So, this broker can be slightly more expensive than some of its peers.

Pepperstone is regulated by the UK FCA and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The platform doesn’t require a minimum deposit to open an account, which is a major plus if you’re not ready to commit hundreds of pounds to trading just yet.

Pepperstone fees:

Commission 0% (US shares)
Deposit Fee None
Withdrawal Fee None
Inactivity fees None

Pros:

  • Trade with MetaTrader 4 or 5 platforms
  • Social trading with Myfxbook or DupliTrade
  • Additional tools that integrate with MetaTrader
  • Offers US and Australian share CFDs
  • No minimum deposit

Cons:

  • Commission on UK, European, and Australian shares

Your capital is at risk.

8. AvaTrade – 0% Commission Stock Broker UK with Social Trading

AvaTrade - 0% Commission Stock Broker with Social TradingAvaTrade is a UK CFD broker that offers 0% commission trading on over 600 global stocks. The platform also carries dozens of ETFs, stock indices, commodities, and forex pairs for trading. Notably, AvaTrade also offers trading on forex options – but it doesn’t offer stock options at this time.

AvaTrade has a few different trading platforms you can use to trade stocks. Like Pepperstone, this broker gives all traders access to MetaTrader 4 and 5. If you’re willing to navigate the steep learning curve that these platforms present, they’re extremely powerful.

Alternatively, the AvaTrade web trading platform and AvaTradeGO platform for iOS and Android devices are extremely easy to use. You get watchlists, a market news feed, and dozens of technical studies. On mobile devices, it’s easy to view full-screen charts and to enter orders with just a few taps.

AvaTrade also has its own social trading app for iOS and Android, called AvaSocial. Although this isn’t integrated into AvaTradeGO, it’s easy to switch back and forth between sharing ideas and setting up trades. AvaSocial also enables copy trading, so you have the ability to mimic the portfolios of more experienced stock traders in just a few taps.

AvaTrade is regulated by the UK FCA and Australia’s ASIC. The platform requires a $100 minimum deposit to open an account and you can pay by credit card, debit card, or bank transfer. AvaTrader offers 24/5 customer service.

AvaTrade fees:

Commission 0%
Deposit Fee None
Withdrawal Fee None
Inactivity fees £50 per quarter after 3 months

Pros:

  • Supports MetaTrader 4 and 5
  • Custom trading platforms for web and mobile
  • Social trading through AvaSocial mobile app
  • 100% commission-free stock CFD trading
  • Regulated in the UK and Australia

Cons:

  • Relatively high inactivity fee after 3 months without trading

Your capital is at risk.

9. Hargreaves Lansdown – Best UK Stock Broker for Opening an ISA

Hargreaves Lansdown - Best UK Stock Broker for Opening an ISAInterested in investing for retirement or trading in a tax-fee account? Hargreaves Lansdown is our top pick for opening a Stocks and Shares ISA (Individual Savings Account) in the UK. The broker also offers Junior ISAs, SIPPs (self-invested personal pensions), and traditional brokerage accounts.

One thing to note about Hargreaves Lansdown is that it’s much more focused on long-term investing than stock trading. The broker’s platform gives you some market analysis tools, including a news feed and individual stock reports. However, you won’t find many technical analysis tools and the charting interface is quite limited in scope.

Hargreaves Lansdown stands out as one of the best UK stock brokers for investors who want to buy and sell ETFs as opposed to individual stocks. The broker has a selection of over 3,000 funds to choose from, which no other British stockbroker on our list can match. You get access to a fund finder and top ETF picks from Hargreaves Lansdown’s analysts to help you navigate this huge selection.

This brokerage charges a 0.45% annual fee based on the value of stocks and ETFs you hold inside your ISA. In addition, the brokerage charges a share dealing fee that starts at £11.95 per trade. If you place 20 or more trades per month, the share dealing fee drops to £5.95 per trade.

Hargreaves Lansdown is a publicly traded company in the FTSE 100 and is regulated by the UK FCA. As one of the UK’s largest brokers, this company is considered highly trustworthy. You can open a new ISA with a £100 deposit or by setting up recurring contributions of £25 per month.

AvaTrade fees:

Commission £5.95 – £11.95
Deposit Fee None
Withdrawal Fee None
Inactivity fees None

Pros:

  • Open an ISA with £100 deposit
  • Over 3,000 ETFs to invest in
  • Stock reports to help you choose investments
  • Fund finder tool and fund recommendations from analysts
  • Considered highly trustworthy and regulated by the FCA

Cons:

  • Commissions for share and ETF dealing can be expensive

Your capital is at risk.

10. Trading 212 – Best Stock Broker for Automated Investing

Trading 212 - Best Stock Broker for Automated InvestingTrading 212 is another one of the best UK stock brokers for long-term investors. What makes this platform unique is it’s automated investing feature. You can set up a portfolio with however many stocks you want. Each month – or on whatever schedule you want – Trading 212 will transfer funds from your bank account and reinvest them in the stocks in your portfolio.

What’s even better is that Trading 212 allows you to have different portfolios for different goals. So, you can have a conservative portfolio for retirement investing and a more aggressive portfolio for generating income. You get to decide how much money goes into each portfolio every month and it’s easy to move money between portfolios whenever you need.

You can buy and sell stocks on Trading 212 with no commissions. The platform also doesn’t charge an account fee, so it’s essentially free to use. The only catch is that there’s a 0.7% deposit fee if you deposit more than £2,000 at once using a credit card or debit card.

Trading 212 also has a CFD trading platform, which similarly offers commission-free stock and ETF trading. You can trade with leverage up to 5:1 and all accounts come with negative balance protection so you can never lose more than you’ve deposited into your account.

Trading 212 is regulated by the UK FCA. All accounts are insured for up to £85,000 under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Trading 212 fees:

Commission None
Deposit Fee None
Withdrawal Fee None
Inactivity fees None

Pros:

  • Automated re-investing in your portfolio
  • Set up multiple portfolios for different goals
  • No commissions and no account fees
  • CFD trading platform for stock and forex trading
  • Regulated by the FCA

Cons:

  • Deposit fees on large credit/debit transfers

Your capital is at risk.

11. DEGIRO – Best UK Stock Broker for International Stocks and Shares

Degiro - Best for International Stocks and Shares

If you’re looking to diversify your portfolio by investing in companies from several countries, it might be worth exploring the merits of DEGIRO. This trading platform offers thousands of equities from heaps of stock exchanges.

On top of major markets like the UK, US, and Japan – you’ll also have access to less liquid exchanges. You will be buying the stocks in the traditional sense, meaning that you will be entitled to dividends if and when they are paid.

DEGIRO is also well-known for offering a super-low fee structure on its stocks. This works out at just £1.75 +0.014% when buying UK shares – at a maximum of £5 per trade. If its US stocks you’re after, this works out at just €0.50 + $0.004 per share.

We also like DEGIRO because the platform allows you to buy and sell a selection of 200 ETFs for free, although bear in mind that there are conditions that apply to these. After that, the standard ETF works out at €2 + 0.03% per trade – which again is competitive.

It takes 24-48 hours to get your DEGIRO account set up in the vast majority of cases. This broker is licensed by AFM in the Netherlands.

DEGIRO fees:

Commission £1.75 + 0.014% with a maximum of £5
Deposit Fee Free
Withdrawal fee Free
Inactivity fees Free


Pros:

  • Very low fees to buy and sell stocks
  • Thousands of stocks across multiple international markets
  • One free ETF trade per month
  • Also offers bonds and funds
  • Good reputation
  • A newly designed website makes it easy to invest

Cons:

  • Takes days to get your account set up
  • Does not accept debit/credit cards or e-wallets

Investing involves risk of loss.

Other UK Stock Brokers and Trading Platforms Worth Considering

As we briefly touched upon earlier, there are hundreds of UK trading platforms active in the online arena. As such, although we have already discussed some of the most popular platforms of 2021, there are many others to consider.

This includes:

  • Share Centre: The Share Dealing Centre is a UK broker that is also popular with first-timers. This is because the process of opening and funding an account and then buying shares, is super easy. Fees, however, can be on the high side if you are looking to invest small amounts. You will pay £7.50 per trade for anything under £750. Thereon, you will pay 1%.
  • Halifax: Halifax also offers share dealing services, and you don’t need to have an account with the bank to be eligible. You will have access to heaps of UK companies, and the buying process can be initiated by investors of all skill-sets. You will need to pay a flat fee of £12.50 for each trade that you place.

Here’s a comprehensive list of share dealing platforms:

What is an Online Stock Broker?

If you want to buy and sell shares, you will need to use an online stock broker. Otherwise referred to as a share dealing platform, you will have the ability to invest in hundreds of UK and international companies from the comfort of your home.

As and when you find a stock that you like the look of, you simply need to determine how many shares you wish to buy, and the funds will be taken from your share dealing balance.

Then, you will retain full ownership of the stock until you decide to sell. Best of all, any dividends that your chosen company pays will be added to your brokerage account.

This allows you to re-invest the dividends into other companies, or withdraw the money out to your bank account. Crucially, there is no longer a need to speak with a trading platform over the phone – as everything is facilitated online.

How Do Online Share Dealing Platforms Work?

The actual investment process couldn’t be easier at an online stock broker. First and foremost, you will be required to open an account with your chosen broker. This is to ensure that the platform complies with the FCA. This rarely takes more than a few minutes, and simply requires some personal information – such as your full name, home address, date of birth, and contact details.

Search for stocks to buy in the UK

67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

After that, you will then be instructed to upload a couple of verification documents. This is to ensure that you are who you say you are. Once your account has been verified, you can then deposit some funds. Most of the share dealing platforms that we recommend allow you to fund your account with a UK debit/credit card or bank account. You will also have the option of depositing funds with an e-wallet like Paypal.

As soon as your UK stock broker account has been funded, you can then proceed to invest. Unless you are using a mutual fund you will need to choose your own companies. Once you know which stocks you want to buy, you’ll need to choose how many shares you want. The good news is that you are no longer required to buy ‘whole shares’, so you can invest as little as you want as long as this meets the share dealing platform’s minimum trade size.

UK Stock Broker Fees: What you Need to Know

When it comes to fees, UK share dealing platforms are in the business of making money. As such, you will always need to pay a fee of some sort. The exact pricing model will vary from broker-to-broker, and the one you opt for should be depending on how often you plan to trade.

For example, if you’re simply looking to buy shares and hold on to them for a number of years, your best bet is eToro – as the platform does not charge any commissions. If you’re looking to trade stocks on a shorter-term basis, then Plus500 is likely to be the best option.

In other cases, Nutmeg is suitable if you are looking to invest in pre-made portfolios, as you will only need to pay an annual fee of 0.45%. Share dealing platforms like IG do things slightly differently – as you will be charged a flat fee. This means constant regardless of how large your order is, so this option is suitable if you are thinking about trading bigger volumes.

To give you an idea of what you are likely going to pay in 2021 – check out the comparison table below.

Charge Per Trade Deposit/WIthdrawal Fees Inactivity Fee
eToro Free £5 per withdrawal £10 per month after 12 months
Capital.com Free None Free
Plus500 Free None £10 per month after 3 months
XTB Free None £10 per month after 12 months
Pepperstone Free for US stocks None None
AvaTrade Free None £50 per quarter after 3 months
Hargreaves Lansdown  £5.95 – £11.95 None None
Trading 212  None None None
Libertex 0%-0.5% for stocks £1 for credit/debit card, 1% for Neteller, none for Skrill £10 per month after 6 months
Fineco Bank £2.95 per UK stock trade None None
Degiro £1.75 + 0.014%, max £5 None None

 

Currency Conversion Fee

As you will see from the above fee table, most of the best UK stock brokers will charge a ‘currency conversion’ fee. In the vast majority of cases, this is charged when you attempt to access international shares. In other words, if you’re from the UK and investing in pounds, but you want to buy shares listed in the US, the respective stocks will be priced in dollars. As such, the broker will charge you a currency conversion fee, which is multiplied against the value of your order.

For example:

  • You want to buy £10,000 worth of Disney shares – which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange in US dollars
  • Irrespective of Disney’s share price, you will pay a 0.5% fee on the amount you invest
  • On an investment of £10,000, the fee amounts to £50

There is often an exception to the above, insofar that brokers like eToro will charge you its 0.5% currency conversion fee when you make a deposit. So, if you deposit £1,000, you will pay a conversion fee of £5. The reason for this is that eToro gives you access to over 17 stock exchanges. As such, it denominates all account balances in US dollars, which then gets you unfettered access to both UK and international markets.

Share Dealing vs Stock CFD Trading

It is important that you are able to make the distinction between a traditional ‘share dealing’ platform with that of a ‘stock trading’ site – as the two asset classes are somewhat different

Share Dealing

When we refer to share dealing platforms, these are online brokers that allow you to invest in companies in the traditional sense. For example, if you buy 10 shares in BP, you actually own the underlying stock. As and when BP distributes dividends, you as a stockholder will be entitled to your share. Owning a stock via a share dealing platform also gives you the right to annual general meetings and other important company events.

Stock CFD Trading

Stock trading in the form of CFDs (contracts-for-differences) enables you to speculate on the future value of your chosen company without taking ownership. This will suit those of you that are looking to make gains in the short term. For example, you will have the capacity to apply leverage on your trades, meaning that you can amplify your account balance by up to 5:1 on stocks.

You can also short-sell companies – meaning that you will profit if the value of the stock declines. Stock CFD trading is also conducive for profiting from ultra-small pricing movements, as fees and commissions are typically wafer-thin. On the flip side, you will not be entitled to dividends when trading stock CFDs, as you don’t own the asset.

UK Stocks and Shares ISAs

If your chosen UK share dealing platform gives you access to an ISA, this will be highly beneficial for you. This is because stocks and shares ISAs allow you to invest up to £20,000 per year – all of which will be exempt from capital gains tax.

If you don’t utilize your ISA allowance, you will need to pay tax on any gains that you make when you sell a stock. If you already have an ISA elsewhere, some UK share dealing platforms allow you to transfer your stocks over without paying a fee.

Is my Money Safe at a UK Share Dealing Platform?

The Financial Conduct Authority is the UK's regulatorIf you’re just getting started in the world of online investments, you might be wondering whether or not your money is safe. In a nutshell, all UK brokers must be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that platforms must comply with a range of regulations that have been installed to keep your money safe.

For example, UK stock brokers must keep client funds in segregated bank accounts, meaning that they can’t use the money for their working capital. As your money is ringfenced, it should be safe even if the broker collapsed. An even more stringent safeguard is that of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Most UK brokers are covered by the scheme, meaning that the first £85,000 is protected in the event the broker ceased to exist. With that being said, the FSCS protection won’t cover unsuccessful trades. Instead, it is there to protect client money from a broker collapse.

Best UK Trading Platform – Conclusion

Never before has it been so easy to buy and sell shares in the UK, with hundreds of FCA brokers that in operation. This means that you simply need to open an account, deposit funds, and then choose which companies you wish to invest in. The result of an over saturated market is that UK share dealing platforms are getting more and more competitive in the fee section. For example, one of the best UK stock brokers eToro allows you to buy and sell shares on a commission-free basis. Best of all, you can easily deposit funds with a debit/credit or e-wallet, so you could be buying your first share in a matter of minutes.

eToro – Best UK Stock Broker with 0% Commission

eToro - Overall Best UK Stock Broker

67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

 

FAQs

How do share dealing platforms work?

Share dealing platforms essentially sit between you and the shares that you wish to buy. In return for facilitating your investment, the platform will charge you a fee. You can then sell your shares at any given time directly with your chosen platform.

Are UK stock brokers safe?

As long as your chosen UK stock broker is regulated by the FCA, you should have no concerns over safety. This is because the broker is required to keep client funds in separate bank accounts from its own.

Are stock brokers covered by the FSCS?

In the vast majority of cases, stock brokers offer the same FSCS protection that you get with a high street bank. This means that was the broker to collapse, your funds should be protected up to the first £85,000. You should, however, check this with the broker prior to depositing funds.

Do UK share dealing sites give you access to international markets?

Most, but not all, UK stock brokers give you access to international companies - especially those listed in the US. This means that you can easily purchase shares in well-known firms like Twitter, Ford Motors, Nike, and Disney.

What is the minimum investment required at UK stock broker sites?

Minimum investments will vary from platform-to-platform. On average, this is typically around £100-£200.

About Kane Pepi PRO INVESTOR

Kane Pepi is a British researcher and writer that specializes in finance, financial crime, and blockchain technology. Now based in Malta, Kane writes for a number of platforms in the online domain. In particular, Kane is skilled at explaining complex financial subjects in a user-friendly manner. Academically, Kane holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, a Master’s Degree in Financial Crime, and he is currently engaged in a Doctorate Degree researching the money laundering threats of the blockchain economy. Kane is also behind peer-reviewed publications - which includes an in-depth study into the relationship between money laundering and UK bookmakers. You will also find Kane’s material at websites such as MoneyCheck, the Motley Fool, InsideBitcoins, Blockonomi, Learnbonds, and the Malta Association of Compliance Officers.

Questions & Answers (12)

Have a question? Our panel of experts willanswer your queries.Post your question
  1. Question

    What are the fees I need to consider when I choose an online stockbroker?

    Seba
    Reply
    1. Answer

      Well, Seba, online stockbrokers have different charging structures. When you are buying and selling shares via a traditional stockbroker that connects you to the exchange, you typically pay a fixed rate of around £3-$£8 per trade. Other brokers, such as eToro, do not charge a fixed commission but instead charge low trading fees and additional financing fees such as deposit and withdrawal fees, overnight fees, spreads, and monthly subscription fees.

      Alan Draper PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  2. Question

    I am kind of new to this whole trading world, so I was wondering what is the most cost-effective way to start trading shares?

    94trader
    Reply
    1. Answer

      Thanks for your question, 94trader. Firstly, it is important to understand the methods of online trading. You can buy shares from any brokerage firm that allows you to open a traditional trading account and pay relatively high fees for the exchange and for the broker itself. Alternatively, you can buy and sell shares via the secondary market in the form of Contracts for Difference (CFDs). CFDs are the most common form of derivative trading and simply eliminate trading fees. Therefore, these contracts are considered to be the most cost-effective way to buy and sell shares online.

      Alan Draper PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  3. Question

    Is it a good idea to trade ETFs instead of stocks?

    Tamara
    Reply
    1. Answer

      Hi Tamara. ETFs are certainly worth considering, particularly if you are making your first steps in the trading world. When you buy an ETF, you’re buying a whole collection of different stocks that represent a region, sector, and commodity. Unlike individual shares that let you invest in a certain company, when buying ETFs you can invest in a set of companies picked by analysts. For example, if you wish to invest in real estate you can simply buy real estate ETFs. ETFs also tend to have lower costs than other securities.

      Alan Draper PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  4. Question

    Hello, I want to start trading shares with a small investment just to learn and see how it works for me. Which broker do you think is the best for me?

    Brad
    Reply
    1. Answer

      Thanks for getting in touch, Brad. If you want to start trading shares with a low minimum initial deposit, we highly recommend eToro. They require you to deposit a minimum of $200 (around £140), which is a reasonable amount to start trading if you are a beginner. You can also invest in stocks from just $50 on eToro.

      Alan Draper PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  5. Question

    What is a spread betting account? Is it better than a CFD account?

    wondertrader
    Reply
    1. Answer

      Good question! Spread betting is another type of derivative asset in which the investors do not own the underlying asset but instead simply speculate on the price of the asset. It is very similar to CFDs with one key difference. Unlike CFDs, profits made on a spread betting are free from capital gains tax (CGT).

      Alan Draper PRO INVESTOR
      Reply
  6. Question

    Hi there, thanks for the guide. I was wondering, should I trade stock options? Are options safer than stocks?

    Dan
    Reply
    1. Answer

      Thanks for your question, Dan. Options tend to be a riskier investment than the underlying stock because of the high leverage and the expiry length of the option. If you decide to trade share options you have to be careful and get familiar with option trading strategies. It is also important to find a reliable platform that allows you to trade options, such as IG Markets or Degiro.

      Alan Draper PRO INVESTOR
      Reply

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