Share dealing platforms

Compare the best dealing platforms for buying shares in the UK.

By   |   Updated 6th May 2022

Comparing share dealing platforms

eToro

On eToro's website

68% of retail CFD accounts lose money

Featured

eToro

Brokerage Fee

N/A

Tradable Assets

Commodities, Crypto, ETFs, Forex, Indices, Shares

Tradable Indices

LSE, NASDAQ, NYSE and more

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • Trade and invest in top financial instruments, including a wide selection of stocks.
  • eToro is regulated by CySec, FCA and ASIC
  • Your funds are protected by industry-leading security protocols.
Freetrade

On Freetrade's website

Freetrade

Brokerage Fee

£0.00

Tradable Assets

ETFs, Stocks

Tradable Indices

LSE, NASDAQ, NYSE

Signup Bonus

Free share worth up to £200

Highlights

  • With fractional shares, you can start investing from only £2.
  • Choose from thousands of stocks from the London Stock Exchange, NYSE and NASDAQ.
  • Access to a wide range of ETFs and Investment trusts.
Stake

On Stake's website

Stake

Brokerage Fee

£0.00

Tradable Assets

ETFs, Shares

Tradable Indices

NASDAQ, NYSE

Signup Bonus

Join to get a free stock in Nike, Dropbox, GoPro or a mystery stock when you sign up and fund your account within 24 hours.

Highlights

  • Join to get a free stock in Nike, Dropbox, GoPro or a mystery stock when you sign up and fund your account within 24 hours.
  • Make trades in seconds on over 6,000 US Stocks and ETFs.
  • Clear, simple and better pricing with no hidden fees.
Hargreaves Lansdown

On Hargreaves Lansdown's website

Hargreaves Lansdown

Brokerage Fee

£16.00

Tradable Assets

Bonds, ETFs, Investment Trusts, Shares

Tradable Indices

European markets, LSE, NASDAQ, NYSE and TSE

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • Offers easy-to-use trading platforms.
  • Invest across 20 international exchanges in shares, funds, bonds and investment trusts.
  • Dealing charges depend on how many trades you make each month.
Fineco

On Fineco's website

Fineco

Brokerage Fee

£4.00

Tradable Assets

Bonds, CFDs, ETFs, Forex, Funds, Futures, Options, Stocks

Tradable Indices

NASDAQ, SP500, FTSE100, DAX, CAC40, EUROSTOXX50 and more

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • Access 26 global markets and trade 20,000+ financial instruments worldwide.
  • Low fees and spreads, 0 commission and no markup on FTSE100, US and EU Shares CFDs, and no additional charges on stock prices, market spread only.
  • Trade anywhere and hold GBP, EUR, USD and 20+ currencies in a single account.
interactive investor

interactive investor

Brokerage Fee

£7.99

Tradable Assets

Bonds, ETFs, Funds, Stocks

Tradable Indices

Asian markets, ASX, European markets, LSE, NASDAQ, NYSE

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • A flat fee of £9.99 saves you money and helps you achieve your goals sooner.
  • Access 40,000+ UK and global stocks, plus the tools and analysis to help – if you need it.
  • Open a SIPP and pay no SIPP fee for six months - then only £10 a month extra.
IG

IG

Brokerage Fee

£0.00

Tradable Assets

Bonds, Commodities, Crypto, ETFs, Forex, Shares, Share CFDs

Tradable Indices

ASX, DAX, LSE, ISEQ, NASDAQ, NYSE and more

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • Over 17,000 markets to trade and thousands of shares to invest in.
  • Pay zero commission on US share trades and just £3 on UK share trades when you trade three or more times a month.
  • Get expert support 24 hours a day, from 8 am Saturday to 10 pm Friday.
Saxo Markets

Saxo Markets

Brokerage Fee

£10.00

Tradable Assets

Bonds, CFDs, Commodities, Crypto, ETFs, FOREX, Futures, Mutual funds, Options, Stocks

Tradable Indices

EU, HK, JP, SG, US markets and more

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • It only takes five minutes to open your account online.
  • Get ultra-competitive spreads and commissions across all asset classes.
  • Get news, commentary and actionable trade ideas from their team of expert analysts.
AJ Bell

AJ Bell

Brokerage Fee

£13.50

Tradable Assets

Bonds, ETFs, Funds, Stocks

Tradable Indices

EU, HK, JP, SG, US markets and more

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • Fast and easy account opening.
  • Offers three investments ideas - AJ Bell funds, AJ Bell Ready-made portfolios and AJ Bell favourite funds.
  • Choose from a list of AJ Bell's award-winning investment services depending on your investment goal.
Degiro

Degiro

Brokerage Fee

£0.00

Tradable Assets

Bonds, ETFs, Funds, Futures, Options, Shares, Structured products

Tradable Indices

ASX, LSE, NASDAQ, NYSE, TSE, XETRA and more

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • Invest with low rates or even commission-free in US stocks and a large selection of ETFs.
  • Get access to more than 50 exchanges around the world.
  • Degiro is an SDAX listed broker.
Capital.com

Capital.com

Brokerage Fee

£0.00

Tradable Assets

CFDs (Indices, Forex, Commodities, Crypto), Stocks

Tradable Indices

FTSE100, INDIA50, NASDAQ, NYSE, VIX and more

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • Trade on Gold, Oil, Apple, Tesla and 6,000+ world-renowned markets.
  • 0% commission and tight spreads.
  • Take advantage of the advanced yet user-friendly platform to make your trading experience even better.
Barclays Smart Investor

Barclays Smart Investor

Brokerage Fee

£6.00

Tradable Assets

Bonds, ETFs, Investment Trusts, Funds, Shares

Tradable Indices

LSE

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • Gives you the best price available with Barclays Price Improve.
  • Invest in funds, shares, bonds, and ETFs.
  • No withdrawal fees and no inactivity fees.
Halifax Share Dealing

Halifax Share Dealing

Brokerage Fee

£9.50

Tradable Assets

Bonds, ETFs, Stocks,

Tradable Indices

LSE, NASDAQ, NYSE

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • Get access to 7 world markets through Halifax's share dealing service or a ready-made investment.
  • Offers flat-rate pricing.
  • No withdrawal fees and no inactivity fees.
HSBC InvestDirect

HSBC InvestDirect

Brokerage Fee

£14.95

Tradable Assets

ETFs, Funds, Shares

Tradable Indices

LSE, NASDAQ, NYSE

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • Start with as little as £50.
  • Invest across multiple markets.
  • Funds are managed by investment experts.
NatWest Invest

NatWest Invest

Brokerage Fee

0.07%

Tradable Assets

Shares

Tradable Indices

LSE

Signup Bonus

You could get £25 to £1,000 cashback. Just transfer your ISAs to NatWest Invest

Highlights

  • Choose from 5 ready made funds depending on your risk tolerance.
  • Start investing from £50.
  • Investments are managed by Coutts investment managers.
Revolut Share Dealing

Revolut Share Dealing

Brokerage Fee

£1.00

Tradable Assets

Commodities, Cryptocurrencies, ETFs, Shares

Tradable Indices

NASDAQ, NYSE

Signup Bonus

None

Highlights

  • Start investing today from just US $1.
  • Invest in 800+ global companies’ shares.
  • You may choose from 4 different plans. Standard (FREE), Plus (£2.99/month), Premium (£2.99/month), and Metal (£12.99/month).
Wombat Invest

Wombat Invest

Brokerage Fee

£0.00

Tradable Assets

ETFs, Shares

Tradable Indices

LSE, NASDAQ, NYSE

Signup Bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Simple and straightforward investing app.
  • Allows you to invest in ETFs and Fractional Shares.
  • Choose between Instant or Standard Plan.
Trading 212

Trading 212

Brokerage Fee

£0.00

Tradable Assets

CFDs, Shares

Tradable Indices

AIM, LSE, NASDAQ, NYSE, and more

Signup Bonus

N/A

Highlights

  • Commission-free trades for shares and ETFs listed on UK, US, and international markets.
  • Invest for the future with a tax-free ISA account.
  • Set up a demo account and practice trading with no risk.

Overview

Small and medium-sized companies are usually privately owned and have a limited number of shareholders or owners. But once a company grows to a certain size – in either profitability or assets – its owners may decide to list it on a stock exchange in order to access the capital they need for further growth. New shareholders buy shares in the company in an Initial Public Offering (IPO), giving the company the cash it needs to continue or expand its operations.

Shares confer ownership

Each shareholder becomes a part-owner of the company for as long as they hold at least one share, although shares are usually traded in much larger parcels than a single share. Shareholders may receive regular distributions of a company’s profit, based on the number of shares they hold, and these are called dividends.

How shares are traded

Shares can be bought and sold electronically on the stock exchange during every day that the stock exchange is open. The dealing of shares is carried out by an intermediary called a stockbroker or share broker (or simply a broker), on behalf of both buyers and sellers. Sellers can nominate a price at which they are prepared to sell a specified number of a particular company’s shares, and buyers can nominate a price at which they are prepared to buy them. When the two prices correspond, a sales transaction can be completed, and a current market price for the shares is established. A broker’s client may also agree to buy or sell at the prevailing market price rather than nominating a specific price.

Why shares are traded

There are plenty of reasons why shares are bought and sold every day:

Long-term share investors

Shares are a popular form of investment, in the hope of long-term asset growth and possibly dividend income. Long-term shareholders are likely to buy or sell shares infrequently, and their activity is better classified as share investment rather than share dealing.

Gradual share price movements

As a company’s profitability and assets increase, the value of an individual share in the company will usually increase proportionately, and the market price of the shares on the stock exchange will increase as a result. The converse is also true – companies with declining profitability usually see their share price falling. Individual share prices are also affected by supply and demand, and other factors.

Sudden share price movements

External factors can affect individual, industry-wide, nationwide or even global share prices. Such factors could include the release of profit results or profit forecasts by the company, a natural disaster, a major regulatory breach resulting in a large cash penalty, a sudden shift in consumer sentiment, a change in central bank interest rates, a large-scale war affecting national economies, or a global financial crisis or pandemic.

Short-term share traders

Short-term share traders try to predict or anticipate these more abrupt changes in the price of individual shares, and aim make a profit by regularly buying fairly large parcels of shares when they think the price is lower than it should be – or will soon be – and selling them when they are satisfied with the profit they have made or when they think the price has reached a temporary peak. “Day traders” may try to realise a profit by buying and selling a particular parcel of shares within a day, or slightly longer.

Risks and rewards of share investment and dealing

Investing and dealing in shares is inherently risky. It’s not like depositing money in a bank account, where you can be reasonably confident that your investment will not grow particularly quickly (given current low interest rates) but nor will it shrink (except in the unlikely event of negative interest rates). Share prices are volatile and can be affected by many factors, just a few of which have already been mentioned. This makes it possible for both investors and traders to lose significant sums.

Spreading the risk

The risk of loss from share dealing can be mitigated to some extent by having a diversified portfolio. That’s an elaborate way of saying “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”. By spreading your investment or trades across a range of shares in different companies and market sectors (e.g.financial, industrial, technology, retail, agricultural) you become less exposed to individual share price fluctuations.

Another way to achieve this is to invest or trade in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), a type of tradable security which aggregates a range of shares and other financial investments, creating an automatic spread of risk.

You can also choose to invest in units in a managed fund, a diversified portfolio chosen and administered by an investment advisor. Some managed funds may be listed on a stock exchange, but many are not.

Other types of tradable securities

“Share dealing” may be used as an umbrella term for trading in all types or securities or financial instruments listed on a stock exchange, which, as well as individual company shares could include:

  • ETFs
  • Managed funds
  • Options, futures, warrants and other derivatives
  • Fixed income debt securities

Online share dealing platforms

You can buy and sell British shares and other securities without using a traditional broker if you use an online share dealing platform. Signing up to one of these is quick and easy, and they generally have low transaction fees, no account fees for a basic account, and low minimum dealing amounts. Some of them offer access to overseas markets, such as the NYSE and NASDAQ in the US.

Online brokers typically offer two types of accounts:

  • A free basic account with no monthly or annual fee, possibly market price trades only, limited analysis or guidance and delayed rather than real-time market information
  • A premium, subscription-fee account, with additional reporting and guidance, live market data and options for setting a share price at which you are prepared to buy or sell

Traditional full-service share brokers

A full-service stockbroker may be more suited if you feel you need expert advice about buying and selling shares and other securities. Traditional offline brokers will provide market and individual company research, make buy/sell recommendations and possibly create a tailored investment plan for you. As a result, they will usually charge higher fees for transactions and ongoing services.

Some full-service brokers also have an alternative online dealing platform.

Cost of share dealing

Over and above the purchase price of the shares you buy, there are other fees you may have to pay, including:

  • A transaction fee each time you buy or sell a parcel of shares (also called a ‘brokerage fee’ or ‘commission fee’). Transaction fee structures can vary (e.g. flat fee, or percentage of trade amount, or fees that vary according to the number of trades you make per month). Online platforms tend to be cheaper (e.g. between $5 and $30 per trade), compared with a traditional broker’s typical flat fee of $50+ or percentage fee of 2%+.
  • Monthly or annual account fee charged by some brokers or online platforms for the provision of premium services.
  • Cash withdrawal fees may be charged if you want to withdraw money from the special bank account you usually need to fund your trades.
  • Foreign exchange fees or a foreign exchange margin will be payable if you need a foreign currency account to trade in overseas shares.
  • Inactivity fee, possibly charged if you make too few trades in a given period.

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