Compare the best stock trading platforms in 2022

We’ve tested some of the best trading platforms available. This guide takes you through our results, and explains how to choose between them.
By:  &  James Knight
Reviewed by Richard Stutely
Updated: Sep 9, 2022

Our testing panel consisted of financial experts with decades’ of experience in the financial sector. We went through every top trading platform to perform a range of tests, like set up an account, place a trade, and to find out how many stocks it offers. 

We ranked how each platform performed on each task, which combined to give a final score. Read on to see our best stock trading platforms and how we rated them.

Best trading platforms overall for 2022

  • eToro: best trading platform overall and best for beginners
  • Capital.com: best for advanced trading tools
  • AvaTrade: best for day traders and MetaTrader4

Compare 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 trading 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
$ 10
Promotion
User Score
10
Up to $240 bonus!
Deposit with ACA, Wire, Pay with my bank
Invest for dividends and get payout on stocks on Ex-Dividend day
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Bank Transfer, Wire Transfer
Full Regulations:
CySEC, FCA
Investoo Ltd is compensated if you access certain of the products or services offered by eToro USA LLC and/or eToro USA Securities Inc., as applicable. This compensation incentivizes Investoo Ltd to describe those products and services in favorable terms. Any testimonials contained in this communication may not be representative of the experience of other eToro customers and such testimonials are not guarantees of future performance or success.
2
Min. Deposit
$ 100
Promotion
User Score
10
Trade out-of-hours on over 70+ US stocks
Get exposure to a wide range of popular UK, US and international stocks
Enjoy flexible access to more than 17,000 global markets, with reliable execution
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card, PayPal
Full Regulations:
ASIC, FCA, FINMA, is a licensed bank (IG Bank in Switzerland)
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 68% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
3
Min. Deposit
$ 0
Promotion
User Score
9.5
$0 commission and $0 Options contract fees
Upgraded research with advanced charts
Smart Menus for faster trades
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Full Regulations:

1. eToro: best overall and best for beginners

  • Minimum deposit: £10
  • Trading fees: Free
  • Best feature: CopyTrader 

eToro rates as our best trading platform overall. Our experts give it a lot of credit for offering stock trading without any commission, as well as the sheer range of options you have to learn from other traders. eToro has been a pioneer in making stock trading accessible to beginners and so it rates very highly in that field as well.

The CopyTrader feature comes out as eToro’s best and most unique offering. With CopyTrader you can follow what other people are doing and learn the reasoning behind each trade. All the information about how successful each trader has been is freely and easily accessible, so you can make sure to only follow the best.

We found eToro’s demo account to be one of the best around as well. It provided a seamless trading experience where you can switch between real and virtual accounts with ease, and get a real idea for how well you would have done had you been trading for real.

Pros

  • Low minimum deposit
  • Trade stocks without any commissions
  • Use CopyTrader to learn the ropes

Cons

2. Capital.com: best for advanced trading tools

  • Minimum deposit: £20
  • Trading fees: Free
  • Best feature: mobile app

Capital.com came out as our top-rated trading platform for its range of advanced analysis tools. It offers a lot of useful educational material to show you the ropes and offers more than 70 different technical tools that you can use to identify and place trades.

The mobile app is also a huge positive, particularly as so many traders want to be able to trade from their phone. Not only is it industry recognised as an award-winner, but the seamless and simplified experience makes it very easy even when opening complex positions.

Another feature that our experts liked was its use of AI, which provides feedback on your trading style and offers suggestions. This can be a great help as it gives you an idea of where you might be going wrong, or how you can improve.

Pros

  • Negative balance protection
  • Patented AI technology to help you trade
  • Get price alerts and access to over 70 indicators

Cons

3. AvaTrade: best for day traders

  • Minimum deposit: £100
  • Trading fees: Free
  • Best feature: 24-hour support during the week

AvaTrade ranked as the top platform for day trading. We value the way it supports the MT4 trading platform and offers its own bespoke one in the form of AvaTradeGo. Zero commission trading is another huge positive when it comes to day trading.

Other features that appealed to us included the way it integrates with third-party social trading platforms like ZuluTrade. Ultimately, it gives each trader a huge amount of freedom to create their own unique platform and trade in a way that suits them.

We should note that AvaTrade ranked highly as a platform for the pros, or for very active traders, there are some features that would put us off recommending to casual users. There’s an inactivity charge that kicks in after three months, and another after a year. If you sign up, make sure to stick with it.

Pros

  • Highly flexible trading platform that integrates with MetaTrader4
  • Lots of access to technical analysis tools
  • Fixed and competitive spreads

Cons

The top stock brokers for your needs

There are lots of different types of stock broker and trading platform. What’s best for you depends on your level of experience, what you want to trade, and how often you want to do so. Here’s a run down of the best brokers for every type of trader.

What are the top 10 stock trading platforms?

After a few rounds of research and testing, our expert panel put together a list of their top 10 best online trading platforms. Here is the list in full:

Which stock broker is best for beginners?

eToro. A beginner-friendly platform should be easy to use, with an intuitive interface that guides you through the most important information. It should offer lots of guides and tutorials to run you through how to trade. eToro offers that in spades, and it has been a global leader in making it easy for beginners to trade through its CopyTrader and social trading features.

Read more: the best stock trading platforms for beginners

Which stock trading platform has the best demo-account?

Capital.com has the best demo account. Good demo or virtual accounts offer a realistic trading experience. With Capital, you can switch between real money and demo accounts at the touch of a button and use the same features on each one.

Read more: the best demo trading accounts

Which stock trading platform has the best app?

Capital.com, thanks to its award-winning mobile app. The best apps let you trade with the same functionality as the desktop or browser version of the website. The Capital app is simple and intuitive, and offers feedback on your trading behaviour.

Read more: the best stock trading apps

What is the best penny stock trading platform?

Degiro lets you buy stocks from a huge range of different international markets. You can trade stocks from 30 markets across the UK, US, and Europe, which means you can buy shares in any company listed in those countries. Low fee trading in European markets and free trading on US stocks is another added bonus.

Read more: the best penny stock trading apps

What is the top social trading platform?

eToro offers a huge range of social trading features, where you can share your trading tips and see what other people are thinking. Look for an interface that mixes social media with a trading platform and where you can follow your favourite traders.

Read more: the best social trading platforms

Who offers the best copy-trading platform?

eToro is by far the best copy-trading service out there. CopyTrader is a central part of the eToro platform, where you can follow other people’s trades, and easily assess their win rate so that you only copy the most successful traders. 

Read more: the best copy trading platforms

Which stock broker is best for day-trading?

AvaTrade offers the top day-trading platform. With competitive spreads, over 1000 assets available, and the opportunity to place trades through MetaTrader4, it’s the top option for any fast-paced trading strategy.

Read more: the best day trading platforms

Which stock brokers comply with sharia law?

AvaTrade offers a dedicated Islamic account, while the likes of Degiro and eToro can comply with Islamic law, as long as you don’t trade CFDs, use leverage, or allow your shares to be loaned for shorting. ‘Traditional’ stock brokers like Hargreaves Lansdown or Interactive Investor also comply, although it’s worth checking with a religious leader if you aren’t sure.

Read more: the best Islamic trading platforms

Which stock broker has robo-advisor services?

Nutmeg is the best robo-advisor. With any automated trading platform you want the freedom to closely manage the type of investments it chooses, or set loose guidelines and leave it to work. Nutmeg offers a huge range of options to manage risk tolerance, set goals, and adjust settings on the go.

Read more: the best robo-advisors

Which trading platform is the safest?

eToro and AvaTrade rate as the safest platforms. They are regulated by financial authorities across the world, have been around for many years, and are transparent about the risks of trading. They also offer SSL encryption and secure storage for your money, which makes us confident they can be relied upon.

Which stock broker charges the lowest fees?

eToro offers stock trading with zero commission. Many platforms now offer free, or very low fee, trading, but often have higher spreads or other hidden fees. eToro offers the best balance between low fees and low spreads.

Which trading platforms offer the most stocks?

Degiro has the widest range of stocks. You can buy and sell shares on 50 exchanges across 30 different countries, which gives you access to thousands of companies in total. Just note that you should be more interested in which stocks it offers, rather than how many. If you’re interested in a particular country or industry, focus on that rather than the total quantity available. 

Which trading platform offers the most payment methods?

eToro lets you deposit with a bank transfer, debit/credit card payment, Apple Pay, Google Pay, or with PayPal in USD, GBP, EUR, or AUD. A range of other payment methods are available too but only for some users, including Neteller, Skrill, Klarna, and IDEAL.

Find brokers by your preferred deposit & withdrawal method: 

Brokers that didn’t make it into our recommendations

There are lots more stock brokers out there and many have plenty of great features. However, some of these platforms didn’t stand out to us as right for the normal retail trader.

  • Hargreaves Lansdown. HL is a big name broker but charges a lot in fees; up to £11.95 per trade if you don’t trade very often.
  • Interactive Brokers. Interactive Brokers is a solid option for casual investors but it falls short as a trading platform. With no real-time trading data available, it’s a no-go if you want to trade regularly.
  • Interactive Investor. ii is another platform that is relatively expensive. It charges £9.99 per month just to open a trading account, and another £7.99 per trade after the first one every month.
  • Fidelity. Fidelity one of many well-established stock brokers that works better as a long-term investment vehicle than a trading platform. It’s better for ETF or fund investing than for retail stock trading.
  • WeBull. WeBull is only available to US customers or those based in Hong Kong, so doesn’t offer a great option to a worldwide audience.
  • Freetrade. Freetrade offers a large number of stocks and relatively cheap trading fees, but to access some of its best features you have to subscribe to Freetrade plus.
  • Charles Schwab. While Charles Schwab is a solid option for US customers who only want to invest in stocks listed in America, it makes it much more difficult to trade international stocks without a premium account.
  • AJ Bell. AJ Bell Youinvest is a good option to build your own investment portfolio, but is one of the most expensive options we came across. For just a single trade every month you would pay over £150 per year.
  • TD Ameritrade. TD Ameritrade is another broker that focuses exclusively on the US and sn’t available anywhere in the EU or UK.
  • Trading212. Trading212’s range of trading options is more limited than the competition and it has previously restricted trading in popular stocks, like GameStop.

What is a stock trading platform?

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 platforms available nowadays, with many platforms allowing you to trade other assets in addition to stocks, such as forex, cryptocurrencies, and commodities. 

How do stock trading platforms work?

Stock platforms, which are usually stock 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 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. 

How should I choose the best stock trading platform for me?

There are lots of reasons that should play into your decision. Below is a list of the factors we used to rate the platforms reviewed on this page.

Range of assets available

Look for a platform where you can trade stocks from any major stock exchange. Some platforms limit the stocks to a particular country, such as the US or UK, or particular exchanges, such as the NASDAQ. To give yourself the most options, find one that lets you trade stocks from around the globe.

Demo accounts

Every reputable platform offers a demo or ‘virtual’ account. Sign up as normal and switch to the virtual account in your settings to access it. This is an excellent way for beginners to learn and should be a crucial consideration if you haven’t ever traded before.

Security

Any platform that handles your money should be secure. Stock trading platforms must be regulated with an appropriate financial authority; ideally it should be the FCA or FSA, but look for approval from certified regulatory bodies.

Trading fees

Some platforms offer zero fee trading but it isn’t universal. With some you may have to pay a flat fee per trade, which can range up to £2 – £5 per transaction. If you plan on trading often, prioritise low fees, or a subscription package where you get a certain number of free trades included.

Deposit and withdrawal fees

These can be ‘hidden’ costs that slip under the radar but add up to a significant amount of money. Look for charges on different payment methods and find out how much it costs to withdraw money. The more actively you want to be able to access your money, the more you should prioritise platforms that offer free deposits and withdrawals.

Leveraged trading

Leverage allows you to stretch your money out by putting up a small deposit as collateral and borrowing the rest from your broker. Leverage is particularly important for high frequency traders or scalpers, who make lots of trades that only aim to make a few pence each time, as it means you can magnify the value of the trade many times over. If you plan on trading like that, look for a platform that offers high leverage.

Charting and analysis tools

Most trading strategies are based on technical analysis. This involves studying charts to identify trends, then using that information to plot future price moves and trading accordingly. The more tools a platform has to help you do this, such as alerts or indicators that you can use to notify you when a price move happens, the better.

Mobile app availability

The stock market can move quickly and you might have to make decisions at speed, wherever you are in the world. A platform that offers a quality stock trading app is worth signing up for, as we spend more and more time managing our money from our phones.

Payment methods

Every platform accepts deposits via bank transfers and card payments. If you want to use an alternative payment method, like PayPal or Stripe, then check if it’s accepted before you sign up.

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.

Additional features

Advanced trading features, like shorting, are not available on every trading platform. If you want to be able to short stocks, or trade other financial assets like commodities, forex, or crypto, then consider this when you select a platform.

Quick answers to key questions

Do stock platforms 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.

What are the fees for stock trading platforms?

It is normally free to sign up to a trading platform. Some platforms charge a monthly subscription fee, although they tend to be traditional stock brokers rather than the modern breed of online trading platforms.

The trading platforms make money by charging a fee per trade or on the spread; the difference between the buy and sell price for a stock. Trading fees range from nothing up to about £5, although it can be higher in some cases.

Can I use more than one stock trading platform?

Yes, you can register for multiple platforms at a time. In general, it’s more convenient to do all of your trades with one broker however – unless you’re trying to make money by scalping. This is when you try to profit by taking advantage of differences in the bid and ask prices of specific stocks on different brokers.

Do stock platforms have mobile trading apps?

Yes, many of them do. While this is not the case for all brokers, the popularity of mobile trading in recent years means that most top trading platforms have developed user-friendly apps.

Can I trade stocks 24/7?

Stock markets are only open for set hours on weekdays. Depending on which stock exchange a stock is listed on, it will have different times in the day when it is able to be traded. You can usually place trades at any time, but they will only be executed during the day.

Is a trading platform the same as a broker?

In theory, there are differences, although in practice they are very similar. Trading platforms generally let you use the website or software as an intermediary to place trades yourself. Brokers act for you, like an estate agent would when you buy a house. Now that everything is done online, it’s more or less the same process either way.

Are stock trading platforms regulated?

In general, yes, although not all of them are. We recommend you only use trading platforms that are regulated by a recognised financial body, like the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority).

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

There is often very little difference, as many investment 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.

Should I use a stock trading platform?

A stock trading platform is a must for anyone who wants to trade the stock market. It’s one of the most convenient ways to buy, sell, and manage stocks. Most trading platforms are equally suited to long term investors and short term traders.

The range of features on offer varies widely between investment platforms, so you have a great degree of flexibility. Many people choose to create accounts with multiple platforms to get the best prices and access the best features. Beginners, meanwhile, can normally get access to a demo account to practice before putting real money on the line.

The most important thing to consider is the cost of doing business. Many extra features, like charting, can be found on other, free, platforms. However, a huge part of trading is the volume of transactions and high fees can cut into your margins to turn a profitable endeavour into a loss. If in doubt, choose the platform with the lowest fees.

Pros and cons of trading platforms

Here is a quick summary of the pros and cons of using a trading platform. Use this handy guide to help you make a decision about whether to sign up.

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

FAQs

Is online trading legal?
Do I have to pay tax on my trading profits?
Can I use a trading platform to short stocks?
Can I use these platforms to 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?
Is online trading anonymous?
Can I access my entire trading history?
How do trading platforms make money?

Sources & references
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
Editor of Education
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.
James Knight
Editor of Education
James is a lead content editor for Invezz. He's an avid trader and golfer, who spends an inordinate amount of time watching Leicester City and the… read more.