Compare 5 best trading platforms in the United Kingdom for 2024

Our trading professionals have reviewed and rated 50+ online brokers and trading platforms in the United Kingdom. Read on to learn which platforms top our list and find the best online brokers in the UK.
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Updated: Feb 16, 2024
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Investing online is a rapidly growing industry in the United Kingdom, with just over 1 in 3 UK residents (36%) already investing in stocks. With such a wide choice of trading platforms available in the UK, picking the right one can be a challenge. 

We’ve done the hard work for you and in this guide, our expert traders have reviewed and ranked the best online brokers and trading platforms in the United Kingdom. If you’re a UK investor, read on to compare the best trading platforms in the UK and find the stock trading app most suitable for you. 

Best trading platform UK 2024

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Our rankings reveal that the best online broker in the United Kingdom is eToro .

After analysing over 50+ UK online brokers, our experts ranked the platforms. The list below represents the top three best trading platforms in the United Kingdom. 

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1
$ 10
Best offer
10
Invest/buy real stocks and ETFs with 0% commission fees
Over 11 payment methods, including PayPal
Invest for dividends and get payout on stocks on Ex-Dividend day
:
Bank Transfer, Debit Card, Ideal, Klarna, POLi, Przelewy24, Rapid Transfer, Trustly, eToro Trading Platform, neteller, skrill
:
ASIC, CySEC, FCA

eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% 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.

2
$ 100
Best offer
9.9
UK No. 1 CFD Platform/Provider/Broker*, Biggest CFD Broker in UK
Trade +2000 CFDs on Shares, Options, Commodities & more
0 commissions & attractive spreads with up to 1:5 leverage
:
American Express, Apple Pay, Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card, Discover, Google Pay, Mastercard, PayPal, SEPA, Trustly, Visa, , skrill
:
ASIC, FCA, FSA, MAS, cysec-250-14-regulator, isa-regulator

Buy or sell stock CFDs with Plus500. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

3
$ 100
Best offer
9.8
Choose over 100 popular stock CFDs
Buy and Sell Stock CFDs with as little as £100
Zero Commissions - no hidden fees
:
American Express, Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card, Discover, Mastercard, MoneyBookers, PayPal, Rapid Transfer, SEPA, Visa, WebMoney, Wire Transfer, neteller, , skrill
:
ASIC, FSA, FSCA, MiFID
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% 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.

Top 5 online brokerages in the UK, reviewed

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1. eToro. Best for beginners, copy-trading & demo-account

0% commission

Fees

$50

Minimum deposit

4,000

No. assets

Yes

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Great for beginners, simple to set up and get started Competitive, industry-leading commissions Popular ‘Copy Portfolios’ function lets you follow top traders Excellent customer service, with live chat support provided Over 2,000 CFDs available to trade for UK & EU users (not US, real assets only)
Comparatively high fees for withdrawals and account inactivity Does not integrate with the MetaTrader platform High spreads on some assets

Overview

We love eToro because you can trade more than 3,000 stocks, commission free. When you buy stocks on eToro, you’re buying the underlying asset, which means you can earn dividends. Or you can trade fractional shares, which means you can invest in even the most expensive stock from just $10.

As well as being a broker that offers lots of investor protection, eToro offers a very social trading experience. You can easily see what’s trending on the stock market every day, browse the latest analyst opinion about every one of those stocks, and copy other people’s trade suggestions from your desktop or the eToro app.

The fees: Stock and ETF trades are commission free. Stock CFDs are charged a 0.15% spread and overnight fees can apply. You can deposit money for free but you have to pay $5 per withdrawal, and there’s a minimum withdrawal of $30. A $10 per month activity fee is charged if you don’t log in for a year.

Highlights

Visit eToro eToro Review

eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% 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.

2. Plus500. Best for international CFD trading*

From 0.08%

Fees

$100

Minimum deposit

3,000

No. assets

Yes

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Can get a free demo account A great mobile platform Well regulated in multiple jurisdictions Wide variety of CFDs to trade Several good risk management tools
No support on trading information and education Website isn’t brilliantly designed to help users find answers to their questions No MetaTrader trading platform compatibility

Overview

We love Plus500 because it is one of the industry’s most transparent and reliable brokers. Its fees are clear and you’ll know exactly what you will be paying before you make a trade. Its technology driven platform gives access to CFDs on over 2000 stocks.

Plus500 has something for all types of stock trader, no matter what level of experience. Its zero commission and tight spreads make it a top choice for day traders and its trading academy is packed with educational content, perfect for beginners just starting.

For accurate instrument availability, visit plus500.com.

The fees: There are no commission fees on any trades with Plus500 and it makes it money through the Bid/Ask spread. Spread starts from 0.01% and varies depending on the instrument. Additional fees include overnight funding depending on trade size and guaranteed stop orders, which add a minimum of 10% to the spread. There is an inactivity charge of £10 per month for accounts not logged in for three months. 

*Based on a comparison of 60+ leading brokers and trading platforms.

Highlights

Visit Plus500 Plus500 Review

Buy or sell stock CFDs with Plus500. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

3. AvaTrade. Best regulated broker for secure trading

From 0.13%

Fees

$100

Minimum deposit

1,000

No. assets

Yes

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Trade 1000+ CFDs with competitive spreads Regulated by Tier 1 financial bodies across the world Consistently highly rated trading platform on web and mobile Offers social trading through its proprietary AvaSocial platform
Spreads are competitive without being industry-leading Some assets are only available to trade through the MetaTrader software

Overview

We love AvaTrade because it offers powerful trading software to anyone who wants to trade professionally. AvaTrade is a CFD broker where you can trade more than 600 stocks from major global exchanges and all stock trades are commission free. 

AvaTrade integrates with trading software like MetaTrader 4 and 5 and boasts its own bespoke and award-winning mobile app software, AvaTradeGo. AvaTrade has been around since 2006 and is extensively regulated in Europe, Australia, Japan, British Virgin Islands, UAE, and South Africa.

The fees: There are no fees on any stock trading. AvaTrade makes money from the Bid/Ask spread instead. Stock spreads start from 0.13%. An inactivity fee of £50 per month is applicable if you don’t log in to your account for three consecutive months.

Highlights

Visit AvaTrade AvaTrade Review
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% 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.

4. Interactive Brokers. Best online broker for range of markets

Commission-free for US exchange-listed stocks

Fees

...

Minimum deposit

10,000

No. assets

Yes

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Regulated by several financial authorities Free stock and ETF trading for US traders Earn interest on cash balance Free demo trading account available
The desktop trading platform is complex to navigate Customer service not available 24/7 Credit/debit card payment not available

Overview

We love Interactive Brokers because it has one of the widest selections of tradable assets we’ve ever seen. IBKR is one of the best-known and longest-running brokers in the world and when you create an account you’ll have access to tens of thousands of stocks, ETFs, funds, indices, currencies, bonds, and cryptocurrencies. 

Besides lots of markets, Interactive Brokers also offers a good range of additional tools and features including risk management tools, cutting-edge portfolio management services, and the ability to automate your trading system through ready-made or custom-built algorithms. 

The fees: Charges vary depending on the asset you’re trading. Stocks and ETFs are commission-free, as are most funds. Options fees range from $0.15 to $0.65 per option contract. Cryptocurrency fees range between 0.12% to 0.18% of the trade value. Forex trades have commissions which can be as low as a fraction of a pip. 

Highlights

Visit Interactive Brokers Interactive Brokers Review
Interactive Brokers (U.K.) Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FCA Register Entry Number 208159. Products are only covered by the UK FSCS in limited circumstances.

5. Admirals. Best for real time news and price data

Admirals_logo

From 0.15%

Fees

$100,000

Minimum deposit

8,000

No. assets

Yes

Demo/virtual account

Pros & Cons

Multi-asset and globally regulated broker Access a 30 day risk-free demo account Advanced trading and charting tools World class trading software, with MT4, MT5 & MetaTrader Supreme Edition available Lots of educational resources, including webinars and seminars Access real-time market data and news Competitive, low spreads
Not available to US traders No fixed spreads

Overview

We love Admirals because you can invest in more than 8,000 assets with as little as €1. Thousands of stocks and hundreds of ETFs are available from around the world, which means Admirals is a great investment platform where you can create a diversified portfolio.

There’s a demo account available so you can try out the Admirals platform and a vast amount of information can be accessed for free. That includes a host of real time news and research, as well as the latest price charts.

The fees: All trades are commission free but you pay through the spreads instead. Spreads start from 0 pips on the most popular stocks but may be significantly higher for volatile instruments. Stock investing includes a 0.1% volume fee.

Highlights

Visit Admirals Admirals Review

Investments involve risks and are not suitable for all investors. CFDs are complex instruments and come  with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 73% 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. 

More about trading platforms in the United Kingdom

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What is a trading platform in the UK?

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It’s a software tool that UK investors use to buy, sell, and manage investments online. The best UK trading platforms are offered by online brokers and provide a fast and convenient way to trade assets like stocks, bonds, ETFs, forex, CFDs, and more. 

A UK online brokerage offers an intuitive desktop web, and mobile app offering real-time quotes, charting tools, research capabilities, and more. The best UK trading platforms cater to all levels of investors, from active traders, to casual investors, and everyone in between. 

Using a trading platform in the UK is generally less expensive than traditional broker services, thanks to low fees and commissions. The best online trading platforms are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and must comply with strict standards. 

How does a United Kingdom online stock trading platform work?

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A UK trading platform gives investors in the United Kingdom a fast and efficient way to buy and sell assets from a computer or mobile device. 

Traditional UK stock brokers would operate using a telephone; an investor would call his broker to buy or sell a stock. The broker would then check the market and current price of the stock, before relaying the information back to the investor. The investor would then give the go-ahead and the broker would execute the trade. 

Through technological advances, online trading platforms in the UK have streamlined this process and have given retail investors in the United Kingdom direct access to the latest prices. A trading platform connects the investor directly to the market or exchange, allowing them to execute trades instantly from their trading account. 

What assets can I trade with a UK stock broker?

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Most brokerage firms in the UK are multi-asset brokers, which means accessing a range of markets from a single trading platform is possible. You can invest in the world’s biggest companies, trade currencies, and more. Here’s a look at what you can trade with the best online brokers in the United Kingdom. 

Stocks

Stocks, also referred to as equities, are the most common type of asset available with UK brokers. Stocks are simply a small ownership stake in a company. Stocks in the UK are traded on the Financial Times Stock Exchange, commonly known as the FTSE. Here’s a brief look at the various types of stocks available on the best UK platforms. 

  • UK stocks. One option is to simply buy and sell stocks that are listed in the United Kingdom. This is normally the most straightforward option for UK residents, as you can buy shares in any company that’s listed on a UK stock exchange. The best UK stocks give access to some of the country’s biggest companies. UK penny stocks are also another option.
  • US stocks. Some of the best known companies in the world are listed on US stock markets. The best online broker in the United Kingdom will also let you invest in stocks that are listed on the NYSE or the NASDAQ exchange in the US, but it depends on the legal restrictions in the United Kingdom.
  • International stocks. You may also be able to buy shares in companies that are based in the rest of the world. The best international brokers in United Kingdom offer global stocks, but it may be a limited selection. If you want to buy equities from outside the United Kingdom or the US, be sure to check if those stocks are available through your trading platform before you sign up.
  • Fractional shares. Fractional shares are a relatively new concept and are available through many of the UK’s leading discount brokers. Fractional shares allow you to buy a fraction of a full share. Some companies have a share price that runs into four figures and fractional shares offer a way for investors with smaller funds to participate. 
  • Initial public offering (IPO). An initial public offering (IPO) is when a company goes public by listing on a stock exchange. This means that retail investors can buy shares in the newly listed company. IPOs are very popular depending on the company. 
  • Special purpose acquisition companies (SPAC). These types of stocks belong to newly formed companies that have the sole purpose of buying another company. They are often referred to as ‘blank check’ companies and are a variation on IPOs. 

Bonds

Bonds are typically known as low risk investments compared to stocks, shares, and other asset types. A bond is simply a loan to a government or large corporation. In return for loaning money, investors are rewarded with interest payments. 

ETFs

ETFs (exchange traded funds) are investment funds that pool money together from lots of different investors and use it to track a particular index, like the S&P 500. Even if you can’t invest in every stock from every country, you can usually find an alternative in an ETF that tracks the performance of the United Kingdom’s top stock exchanges and indexes. 

UK investors wanting exposure to the UK market may want to invest in FTSE 100 Index Funds or invest in the FTSE All Share Index.

Mutual funds

Mutual funds are professionally managed investments. You buy shares in the fund through an investment platform and the manager decides what to invest it in. 

Mutual funds and ETFs are similar, but the former are managed by a professional who tries to beat the market, while the latter buy and sell stocks automatically based on a set of fixed criteria.

The best retail investor accounts in the United Kingdom allows you to invest in stocks from the UK, ETFs, and mutual funds.

Real estate investment trusts (REITs)

As the name suggests, REITs invest in real estate, usually commercial properties and large scale development projects. Real estate investment trusts can be bought and sold in a similar way to mutual funds and ETFs. REITs usually also pay dividends and are a top way to earn income from your UK investments. 

Foreign Exchange (Forex)

Forex trading is one of the most popular ways to speculate on short term price movements. Due to its popularity, many of the best forex brokers in the UK offer currencies. Forex is essentially swapping one currency for another. As exchange rates are constantly fluctuating, changes in your direction can be very profitable. 

Futures and options

Futures and options contracts involve making an agreement to purchase a stock in the future at an agreed price. They’re favoured by stock traders and can be used as a way of speculating on how you think a company’s price might change in the future.

Cryptocurrencies

Crypto has gained tremendous popularity in recent years, although is one of the riskier ways to invest if you don’t know what you’re doing. A crypto coin is a token issued by a company that operates on the blockchain, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.

Before investing in crypto it’s important to learn how to buy Bitcoin and compare the best crypto exchanges in the UK.

Other assets

To invest in other financial assets from United Kingdom, you may be better off using a different type of trading platform. For example, the best CFD brokers in the UK offer CFDs that cover a range of financial assets, including many of the options above.

How to choose the best stock trading app UK

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With so many options available, making the right decision when choosing a trading platform in the United Kingdom is important. We asked our experts what to look for when selecting a trading account. Use the tips below to help you choose the right UK trading app. 

Range of assets offered

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When choosing a UK broker, you’ll want to look for one that provides access to a wide range of assets beyond just the stock market and funds. Ideally, your broker should offer trading in the UK, US, and global markets so you have broad exposure. 

A good selection of ETFs across various sectors and regions is also beneficial. Check if they provide access to forex trading in major, minor and exotic currency pairs for diversification. Other assets like CFDs on stocks, indexes, and commodities should also be considered. 

Cryptocurrency trading in coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum is another potential option, especially for advanced traders. If you have an interest in investing in bonds, mutual funds or options, see what the broker offers there too.

Here’s a look at the assets available with three of the UK’s leading online brokers.

Product eToro assets Plus500 assets AvaTrade assets
Stock CFDs 3117 1,800+ 612
ETF CFDs 317 100+ 61
Forex CFDs 49 50+ 108
Crypto CFDs 73 40+ 20
Index CFDs 20 20+ 31
Commodity CFDs 26 20+ 19
NFTs 100,000
View more > Visit eToro > Visit Plus500 > Visit AvaTrade >

Exact figures may vary. NFTs are accessed through Delta, an NFT explorer app which is owned and operated by eToro.

Fees and commissions

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You’ll want to clearly understand the fee structure of any UK broker you choose. Account fees may include monthly or quarterly maintenance fees, and inactivity fees if you don’t trade often. Trading fees are charged each time you make a trade. 

The trading commission charged per transaction is another major cost, so look for low commission brokers. If you plan to trade currencies internationally, the currency conversion fees are important too. 

Brokers also charge overnight or swap fees when you hold leveraged positions open beyond market close. Finally, account deposit and withdrawal fees impact your bottom line. Compare brokers’ fee schedules closely and run the numbers.

Asset eToro fees Plus500 fees AvaTrade fees
Cryptocurrencies 1% From 2%
Commodities From 2 pips From 0.04%
Currencies From 1 pip From 0.8%
Indices From 0.75 pts From 0.7%
Stocks 0% commission From 0.08%
Stock CFDs 0.15% From 0.13%
ETF CFDs 0.15% From 0.13%
View more > Visit eToro > Visit Plus500 > Visit AvaTrade >

Another way an online broker in the United Kingdom might charge you is via the spread. The spread is the difference between the buy and sell price of an asset and effectively serves as a commission the broker is charging you on top of the market price.

The smaller the spread, the better value you’re getting from your broker. Here’s a comparison of the spreads across the top UK trading platforms.

Product eToro spreads Plus500 spreads AvaTrade spreads
Stock CFDs 0.15% 0.10% From 0.13%
ETF CFDs 0.15% 0.10% From 0.13%
Forex CFDs From 1 pip 0.8 pips From 0.9 pips
Crypto CFDs 1% 2% From 0.15% over market
Index CFDs From 0.75 points 0.20% From 0.03 over market
Commodity CFDs From 2 pips 0.50% From $0.0015 over market
View all tradable assets > Visit eToro > Visit Plus500 > Visit AvaTrade >

On top of the trading fees and spreads, there may be other charges for using your online broker account.

These can include inactivity fees, where you’re charged if you don’t use your account for a period of time (usually 3-6 months), as well as overnight fees, which only apply if the broker is also a CFD platform, or even an account maintenance fee.

Here’s a look at the types of fees different brokers in the UK charge, to give you a complete picture of the cost of trading with the top brokers in UK.

Fee eToro fees Plus500 fees AvaTrade fees
Trading fees Yes, on certain assets No No
Inactivity fees Yes Yes Yes
Rollover/overnight fees Yes, on CFDs Yes Yes
Withdrawal fees Yes No No
Spreads Yes, on certain assets Yes Yes
Conversion fees Yes, for non-USD currencies Yes No
View more > Visit eToro > Visit Plus500 > Visit AvaTrade >

Platform capabilities and mobile app

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The trading platform interface and trading tools provided are critical when choosing a broker. Look for access to desktop, web, and mobile apps so you can trade conveniently from anywhere. The platform should be intuitive, have a customisable layout, and a broad range of trading tools available. 

Advanced charting capabilities, technical indicators and advanced trading tools are useful. Research reports, fundamentals data and news feeds help inform trades.

Automated trading options and order types save time and boost effectiveness. See if the broker offers a paper trading simulator to practice risk-free. 

Trading tool eToro tools Plus500 tools AvaTrade tools
Charts Yes Yes Yes
News feeds Yes Yes No
Analyst recommendations Yes Yes No
Fundamental analysis No Yes Yes
Financial calendar Yes Yes Yes
MetaTrader integration No No Yes
View more > Visit eToro > Visit Plus500 > Visit AvaTrade >

Regulation and security

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When choosing a UK broker, it must be properly regulated and keep your funds secure. Only open an account with brokers registered with the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Your broker should segregate client funds from their own and hold them at top-tier banks for extra protection. FCA regulation means you’ll also benefit from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which provides compensation up to £85,000.

Security features like two-factor authentication, data encryption and secure login prevent any unauthorised access. Do your research to ensure transparency and confirm the broker follows all regulatory standards for accounting, auditing and more. Regulation and security protect your investments.

Region eToro regulators Plus500 regulators AvaTrade regulators
Africa FSAS FSA FSCA
Asia FSA
Australasia ASIC ASIC, FMA ASIC
Europe FCA, CySEC, DNB, AMF, OAM, MFSA FCA, CySEC CBI, MiFID, CySEC
International BVIFSC, FRSA
North America FinCEN, FINRA
South America
View more > Visit eToro > Visit Plus500 > Visit AvaTrade >

Customer support

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You’ll want to be sure your UK broker provides responsive, high-quality customer support. Check that they offer phone, email and live chat communication. Local UK support numbers and actual offices are preferable to offshore support. 

Test its customer service before committing by contacting them with questions to see how quickly they respond and how knowledgeable they are. Around-the-clock support is ideal for any issues when markets are open. Efficient and effective customer service gives you peace of mind knowing your broker has your back when you need assistance.

Support type eToro customer support Plus500 customer support AvaTrade customer support
Help Centre/FAQs Yes Yes Yes
Email Yes Yes Yes
Live chat Yes Yes Yes
WhatsApp Platinum, Platinum+, and Diamond members only Yes No
Telephone Yes No 24/5
View more > Visit eToro > Visit Plus500 > Visit AvaTrade >

Ease of account opening

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A quick and straightforward process is ideal when choosing a broker. There should be an easy online application with clear instructions. Basic personal details and ID and proof of address verification will be required. 

Funding your account should be simple too – domestic bank transfers and debit card deposits are convenient options. Your ID and funding method may need to be verified before trading based on regulation, but this is generally a fast process. 

How to buy stocks in the United Kingdom

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Every stock trading app in the United Kingdom is designed to help you invest with the minimum of fuss. 

Follow this six step guide to learn how to buy shares online in United Kingdom for the first time.

  1. Find a UK broker. Compare the best online stock brokers in United Kingdom and choose your favourite trading platform from the list at the top of this page.
  2. Create an account. Once you’ve chosen the best broker United Kingdom, set up an account by supplying your email address and password. Fill in personal details like your name and address.
  3. Verify the account.. Before you use an online trading platform in United Kingdom you need to verify your identity. Upload a copy of your driving licence or passport to do this. The verification process can take up to 24 hours, but is often much quicker than that.
  4. Deposit money into your account. You can make your initial deposit via a card payment, bank transfer, or an alternative payment method. Many of the best trading platforms in the United Kingdom accept PayPal and similar e-wallets, but you should check this ahead of time.
  5. Search for a stock and place your trade. Find the stocks you want to trade using their ticker symbol. Enter the details of your trade, and hit ‘buy’ to execute it.
  6. Monitor your investment. Check up on your investment regularly. Use the latest news and market research to help you decide when to sell your shares, and lock in a profit or loss.

Quick answers to key questions

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Yes, stock trading is completely legal for UK residents over the age of 18 years old. You can trade stocks listed on UK stock exchanges like the London Stock Exchange (LSE), and Alternative Investment Market (AIM)

You can also purchase international stocks listed on foreign exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, Toronto Stock Exchange, Australian Securities Exchange and more. Trading other securities like ETFs, forex, CFDs, options, futures, and cryptocurrency is also allowed within FCA regulations.

How are trading platforms and brokers regulated in the UK?

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Stock trading platforms and brokers operating in the UK must register with and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The FCA enforces strict standards and rules that UK brokers must adhere to, including requirements for fair practices, maintaining adequate capital ratios, undergoing audits, segregation of client funds, transparency through reporting, and more. FCA regulation helps ensure investor protection and integrity in the UK’s capital markets. Violations can result in heavy fines.

What are the common costs and fees for stock trading in the UK?

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Common costs include trading commission fees charged per trade, ranging from £5 to £12.50 at most online platforms. Account fees for individual savings account (ISAs) or other registered accounts may apply annually or monthly. Management fees are applicable at times, especially for robo advisors.

A stamp duty of 0.5% is levied on stock purchases. There is also a Panel of Takeovers and Mergers (PTM) levy of £1 on trades over £10,000. Additional costs may include exchange fees, real-time data fees if opted in, currency conversion fees, and taxes such as having to pay capital gains tax.

What is the minimum capital needed to start trading stocks in the UK?

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While some UK brokers allow opening an account with a £100-£500 minimum, ideally, beginners should start with £2,000 or more. This capital helps build a balanced portfolio across 8-10 stocks rather than just 1 or 2. 

It also provides a cushion to absorb some losses when first starting out and ensures costs like commissions don’t take up a disproportionate amount of capital. More is better but £2,000 allows flexibility.

Product eToro minimum trade Plus500 minimum trade AvaTrade minimum trade
Stock CFDs $10 $10 No limit
ETF CFDs $10 $10 No limit
Forex CFDs $33.34* 0.01 lots No limit
Crypto CFDs $10 $0.10 No limit
Index CFDs $1,000 $10 No limit
Commodity CFDs $1,000 $10 No limit
View more > Visit eToro > Visit Plus500 > Visit AvaTrade >

*Using the maximum leverage available, 30:1, to make a trade worth $1,000.

Do I have to pay tax on investing in the UK?

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For stocks and shares held outside a tax-efficient account, capital gains tax (CGT) is applicable on profits when positions are sold for more than their purchase cost. The annual CGT allowance is around £6,000 currently

Gains up to this amount are tax-free. For higher gains, CGT is 10% for basic rate taxpayers or 20% for higher rate taxpayers. Losses can be claimed against total gains to lower tax liability.

Can I use a stocks and shares ISA with a UK trading platform?

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Yes, most UK brokerages offer stocks and shares ISAs that provide tax-efficient investing, meaning capital gains and dividends are exempt from tax. The ISA allowance is £20,000 for the 2023/24 tax year. ISAs provide solid tax savings for active traders.

Can I use a SIPP with a UK trading platform?

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Yes, many trading platforms integrate with Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), which allow managing your own pension investments in stocks, funds, trusts etc. SIPP contributions receive tax relief and investment returns are tax-free. Using a self invested personal pension via an online broker provides control over retirement investments.

Can I use CFDs and spread betting with trading platforms in the UK?

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Yes, many trading platforms in the UK offer CFD (contract for difference) and spread betting alongside regular share dealing accounts. CFDs allow you to speculate on price movements without owning the underlying asset.

However, while CFD and spread bet trading is legal in the UK, it carries a high risk for retail investors. Research shows most retail investors lose money trading CFDs and spread bets in the long run. This is because trading platforms offering CFDs provide leverage, allowing you to open larger positions with less capital, but this amplifies gains and losses. Leveraged trading is risky for new retail traders.

Therefore, while other trading platforms cater specifically to CFD and spread betting, like Plus500, eToro, IG Index, CMC Markets, City Index, Spreadex, it is not recommended for beginner investors. The FCA requires brokers to disclose the percentage of retail clients who lose money trading CFDs – over 70% at most firms.

For long-term investing, a standard share dealing account that allows buying actual stocks and ETFs is lower risk than trading CFDs. CFDs and spread bets are complex instruments better suited for experienced traders with strong risk management abilities. Beginners should build expertise over years before attempting CFDs.

What documents are required to open an account with a UK trading platform?

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Online trading platforms in the UK are regulated entities which means they have to follow specific rules and regulations during the account opening process. Like with a bank or building society, you will have to prove your identity following Know Your Customer (KYC) rules

You will usually have to provide a copy of your passport or driving licence and proof of address. You may also need to prove your source of income and funds via bank statement or payslip. Some online brokers in the UK also require scans of your bank cards, although this is rarely asked for. 

Below is a checklist of the documents you usually need to provide when opening an account with the best UK trading platform. 

  • Proof of ID. Passport/driving licence/citizen card (National ID card)
  • Proof of address. Driving licence/utility bill/bank statement
  • National insurance number
  • Bank details
  • Credit or debit card details
  • Source of funds proof. Bank statement/payslip

How we chose the best online trading platform in United Kingdom

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Our reviewing panel is made up of industry experts, including our Data Analyst, Dan Ashmore, CFA, our Senior Editor of News, Jayson Derrick, and expert trader, Prash Raval. The panel also includes an independent fact checker, Richard Stutely.

Here are the key factors that played into our final ranking of the best stock brokers in the United Kingdom.

  • Fees. We prioritised UK brokers that charge low trading fees, don’t charge for deposits or withdrawals, and don’t charge any hidden fees.
  • Device availability. An online trading platform that is available across all devices as a mobile app deserves a boost. In a mobile world, you need the best stock trading app in the United Kingdom to work across mobile, tablet, and desktop. 
  • Platform security. All services and trading platform we recommend are regulated by respected financial institutions and provide investor protection in the event that anything goes wrong.
  • Free demo accounts. All the best stockbrokers in United Kingdom should offer the chance to test their service before you pay for it. We gave the brokers with the best demo accounts a boost in our rankings.
  • Access to global markets. International stock brokers in United Kingdom that allow you to invest in global markets, particularly popular ones like the United States, scored well in our reviews.
  • Trading and analysis tools. Trading platforms that offer analysis tools make it easier to do all your research and trading in one place. Any broker that offered this convenience scored well.
  • Third-party integrations. You might want to use a piece of downloadable, third-party software like MetaTrader 4, MT5, or cTrader to place your trades. The best trading software in United Kingdom should integrate with these services and those that did so received a higher ranking. 
  • Customer reviews. Finally, we looked into customer reviews, to make sure that we only recommend the best investment platforms in United Kingdom where the majority of UK customers had a positive experience.

Find out more about how we rate, rank, and review platforms.

Choose a UK broker

FAQs

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Fact-checking & references
Risk disclaimer
James Knight
Editor of Education

James is the Editor of Education for Invezz, where he covers topics from across the financial world, from the stock market, to cryptocurrency, to macroeconomic markets.... read more.

Prash Raval
Financial Writer

Prash is a financial writer for Invezz covering FX, the stock market and investing. For over a decade he has traded spot FX full time while... read more.