Compare the best stock brokers & trading platforms

To invest in stocks, you’ll need to register with an online broker. This page takes you through the best stock trading platforms, and explains how to choose between them.
By: Max Adams
Max Adams
Max has a keen interest in the transformative power of technology and is the founder of a platform called… read more.
Updated: Jul 15, 2021
Tip: our preferred broker is, eToro: visit & create account

What are the best stock trading platforms?

You can dive straight in and get started by choosing one of the links in the list below. These are the top platforms as chosen by our team of experts, and the table makes it easy to compare their key features. Otherwise, scroll down to keep reading.

1
Min. Deposit
$50
Promotion
User Score
10
Trade/invest in stocks with just $50
Invest for dividends and get payout on stocks on Ex-Dividend day
Over 11 payment methods, including PayPal
Start Trading
Description:
eToro is a multi-asset investment platform with more than 2000 assets, including FX, stocks, ETF’s, indices and commodities. eToro users can connect with, learn from, and copy or get copied by other users. Buying stocks on eToro is free and you can invest with as little as $50.
Payment Methods
Bank Transfer, Wire Transfer
Full regulations list:
CySEC, FCA
eToro USA LLC does not offer CFDs and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, which has been prepared by our partner utilizing publicly available non-entity specific information about eToro. Your capital is at risk.
2
Min. Deposit
$1
Promotion
User Score
9.3
0 Commissions and no deposit minimums
Registered with and regulated by SEC and FINRA
Loss of cash protection
Start Trading
Description:
Financial company driven by technology and offering all-in-one self-directed investment platform that provides excellent user experience.
Payment Methods
Full regulations list:

What is a stock broker?

A service that allows you to buy stocks and shares, either to hold for long periods of time or trade in the short term as the stock market fluctuates. There are a wide variety of online brokers available nowadays, with many platforms allowing you to trade other assets in addition to stocks, such as forex, cryptocurrencies, and commodities

How do stock brokers work?

Brokers work by acting as middlemen for stock trades: matching up buyers and sellers to complete transactions. Individual traders cannot directly execute trades on the stock market, so the trading platform will connect with stock exchanges and buy and sell shares on their users’ behalf depending on the orders they place. 

What’s the difference between a stock broker and a CFD trading platform?

There is often very little difference, as many platforms offer both features. With a traditional stock broker you tend to take ownership of the shares themselves, while with a CFD platform you only speculate on price changes rather than owning anything.

Share dealing works as described in the previous section: you instruct the broker to buy or sell shares for you, and they do so and record this in your account. Generally this approach is better suited to people looking to the longer term.

CFD trading, on the other hand, is a contract between two parties – a buyer and a seller – with the buyer agreeing to pay the seller the difference between the current value of an asset (in this case shares of a stock) and its when the contract expires. CFD trades can be made quickly, and tend to be better if your time frame is shorter.

How do I use a stock broker?

All you need to do is register, fund your account, and then navigate to the platform or app’s stock trading page. The exact process will vary a bit, but usually you’ll be able to type in your desired stock’s ticker symbol, see the current market rate, enter the number of shares you want, and click confirm.

The best trading platforms for beginners, traders, and long-term investors

One of the major factors you need to consider is the strategy you wish to pursue. If you’re a beginner then your ideal platform will be different to an experienced trader using CFDs and leveraged trading. Here are the best stockbrokers in the UK, broken down into different criteria.

The top broker for beginners

If you’re just starting out, then you’ll want to prioritise somewhere that makes the process as simple as possible, and also provides a selection of useful educational materials.

1
Min. Deposit
$250
Promotion
User Score
10
Highest level of data protection
Low spreads, zero commissions, and fast withdrawals
Delve into the volatile stock market with a reputable broker
Start Trading
Description:
101investing opportunities on a global market. Explore the market back and forth as 101Investing stays by your side either way. Supporting any trading way you choose, we empower you with the 90+ tools to explore your best opportunities. User-friendly interface and customized profile are the most solid base for efficient and promising market performance on any chosen device.
Payment Methods
Bank Wire, Credit Card, neteller, skrill
Full regulations list:
CySEC
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

The top platform for day-traders

For experienced traders looking to open and close positions quickly as the market fluctuates, the perfect choice is a CFD trading platform that charges low commissions and offers access to a wide range of stocks and other markets.

1
Min. Deposit
$100
Promotion
User Score
10
Trade +2000 CFDs on Shares, Options, Commodities & more
Unlimited risk-free Demo Account
0 commissions & attractive spreads with up to 1:5 leverage
Start Trading
Description:
Plus500 is a leading provider of Contracts for Difference (CFDs), delivering Leveraged trading on +2,000 financial instruments, including Forex, Commodities, Indices, Shares and Options.
Payment Methods
Bank Transfer, Credit Card, PayPal, skrill
Full regulations list:
ASIC, FCA, FSA, ISA, MAS, cysec-250-14-regulator
72% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Plus500 is a CFD service and does not offer cryptocurrency purchases but only allows CFD trading.

The top app for long-term buyers

Traders looking to the long term will benefit from an established platform they can trust with their shares over time. If you’re building a portfolio to save for retirement or a large purchase, you want the foundations to be built with one of the most reliable names in the business.

1
Min. Deposit
$50
Promotion
User Score
10
Trade/invest in stocks with just $50
Invest for dividends and get payout on stocks on Ex-Dividend day
Over 11 payment methods, including PayPal
Start Trading
Description:
eToro is a multi-asset investment platform with more than 2000 assets, including FX, stocks, ETF’s, indices and commodities. eToro users can connect with, learn from, and copy or get copied by other users. Buying stocks on eToro is free and you can invest with as little as $50.
Payment Methods
Bank Transfer, Wire Transfer
Full regulations list:
CySEC, FCA
eToro USA LLC does not offer CFDs and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, which has been prepared by our partner utilizing publicly available non-entity specific information about eToro. Your capital is at risk.

What should I look for in an online trading platform?

Here’s a quick run through of the most important areas to consider.

Design and ease of use

Stock investing requires extensive research, patience, and skill. Given all of those challenges, the last thing you want is to waste time trying to figure out how the website functions. Choose somewhere with a well-designed website and/or mobile app that’s easy to use so you can spend more time focussing on your trades.

Demo account

Especially if you’re a beginner when it comes to stock investing, look for features like a free demo account. These accounts allow you to trade in real time, but with fake money – allowing you to learn the ropes without risking any of your capital.

Low fees 

Making a profit when trading stocks is far from a given. You certainly don’t want to have to pay significant fees or commissions to make the task even more difficult. Look for reasonablylow fees and commissions for processing your trades. 

Small spreads

If you’re making frequent trades, then it’s important to pay attention to the spreads. The spread is the difference between the bid (buy) and the ask (sell) price. Many online trading platforms hide their true cost by charging small fees but applying large spreads.

Payment charges

You might have a preference for a specific payment method – for instance funding your stock trading account with PayPal. If this is the case, then be sure to check that there are no fees for deposits or withdrawals using PayPal.

Reputation and regulation

Make sure you’re using a reliable broker before funding your account and starting to trade stocks. You can get a feel for the platform’s reputation by looking at various online reviews, and also check which financial bodies regulate the trading app’s services. Trading with an unregulated broker is risky as you have no protection from fraud.

Shares available to trade

It seems obvious, but one of the most important things to check before signing up is that it allows you to buy and sell the stocks you’re looking to trade. Not all platforms offer shares in all companies – so if you’ve got your heart set on Tesla, Amazon, or Apple shares, check they’re available first.

Trading options

In addition to looking for a variety of asset choices, many investors seek numerous different trading options for their asset of choice. 

  • Some investors may want to go short (betting that the price of an asset will go down), in addition to going long (betting that the price of an asset will go up). 
  • Other investors may favour hedging, which is when you make an investment designed to limit the potential downside of another investment you’ve already made. 
  • Another trading option popular with certain investors is scalping. This is a method of arbitrage in which you attempt to make money by taking advantage of small price gaps between the bid price and the ask price of a specific asset on different platforms. 

Quick answers to key questions

Do brokers charge commissions?

Yes, even the best brokers in the UK charge fees for their services. Typical fees for executing a trade range anywhere from £1 to £15 depending on the size of the trade, and the exact nature of the fees charged will vary. Our comparisons will help you find out the best fee structure for the trades you want to make.

Do I have to verify my identity?

Yes you do. This process could involve everything from verifying your bank information to more elaborate verification procedures including photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport.

The overarching term for this layer of security is “KYC”, which stands for “Know Your Customer.” Brokerages and other financial institutions use KYC guidelines to help prevent people from laundering money or conducting financial scams.

Can I buy multiple stocks?

Yes, you can get any number of different stocks at the same time. As long as you have enough money to afford multiple shares, and you don’t exceed any deposit or daily trading limits, then there is no restriction on the number of different stocks you can invest in.

Do I need any extra software?

It depends on the trading platform you use. Many require no additional software – allowing you to trade simply on the browser or through the platform’s app. However, some might require integration with popular forms of trading software such as MetaTrader 4.

Should I use a broker to buy and sell stocks?

In a word, yes. Signing up to one of the best online trading platforms allows you to trade stocks quickly and easily, with brokers typically only charging minimal fees for executing your trades.

Still undecided?

If you’re still mulling over which platform to use, here are some pros and cons to help you make an informed choice – followed by some additional things to consider.

Pros

  • You can trade a variety of stocks online 
  • Some platforms allow you to trade with CFDs and with leverage 
  • Online brokers have easy-to-use trading interfaces
  • The fees are typically quite low
  • You can often trade in other markets too, such as forex

Cons

Should I buy stocks now?

This depends on your own financial goals and how you are looking to achieve them. If you’ve done your research and believe that the value of a particular stock is going to rise over time, then it’s a good time to buy some shares now and sit on them until that rise in value hopefully materialises.

If your aim is to become a day trader, then the fundamental strength and long term performance of specific stocks aren’t as much of a concern. What you want to do is master technical analysis so you can read price charts and anticipate fluctuations – timing your trades just right to profit as stock prices move up and down.

For either strategy, it’s best to keep on top of all the latest news and analysis about the stock market. You can find our recent coverage right here to help you determine if now is the right time to invest in stocks.

Apple shares have weakened from their recent highs above $140, and the current price stands around $128. Apple reported better than expected second-quarter results last week, and the company increased the quarterly dividend by 7.3%. Fundamental analysis: Morgan Stanley raised its target on Apple from $158 to $161 Apple shares…
Under Armour (NYSE: UAA) shares have weakened from their recent highs despite better than expected first-quarter results. The U.S. stock market is losing some ground this Tuesday, which also negatively influences Under Armour shares. Fundamental analysis: Under Armour shares are not undervalued Under Armour is an American sports equipment…
McDonald’s shares advanced after the company reported better than expected first-quarter results and closed the week at $236,08. Fundamental analysis: UBS raised its price target from $240 to $255 Even with the COVID-19 pandemic, this company’s business is going well, and McDonald’s reported better than expected first-quarter results last week.

Where can I learn more about stock market trading?

Right here on Invezz. We offer a range of beginner-friendly stocks courses to help you understand how to craft a successful trading strategy. Take a few courses and then sign up to one of the best trading platforms to put your knowledge to good use. 

FAQs

What are the benefits of investing in stocks?
Can I use multiple stock brokers?
Are these platforms regulated?
Is online trading legal?
Do I have to pay tax on my trading profits?
Can I trade stocks 24/7?
Where can I learn how to trade stocks?
Can I short stocks?
Can I trade with leverage?
Can I transfer from my broker account to PayPal?
Is it easy to switch brokers?
What if I forget my broker password?
Do stock brokers have mobile trading apps?
Is online training anonymous?
Can I access my entire trading history?

Fact-checking & references

Our editors fact-check all content to ensure compliance with our strict editorial policy. The information in this article is supported by the following reliable sources.

Risk disclaimer

Invezz is a place where people can find reliable, unbiased information about finance, trading, and investing – but we do not offer financial advice and users should always carry out their own research. The assets covered on this website, including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and commodities can be highly volatile and new investors often lose money. Success in the financial markets is not guaranteed, and users should never invest more than they can afford to lose. You should consider your own personal circumstances and take the time to explore all your options before making any investment. Read our risk disclaimer >

Max Adams
Lead Content Editor
Max has a keen interest in the transformative power of technology and is the founder of a platform called Current Frequencies. When not at his desk,… read more.