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UK Stock Brokers – Compare the Best Brokers for 2021

Looking to find the best and safest UK interactive brokers? We've picked out the best online, low fee platforms to help you decide.
Author: Kane Pepi

Last Updated: September 7, 2021
Comparing best Stock Brokers in the UK | Learnbonds
Comparing best Stock Brokers in the UK | Learnbonds

Are you looking to jump into the stock market, but aren’t sure how to find the best online UK stock broker? Then you’ve certainly come to the right place. Our guide will cover everything you need to know about choosing a broker in the UK.

In this guide, we’ll start by explaining what a stockbroker actually is and how they work. After that, we’ll list the best online UK brokers currently active in the market. We’ll also give you some handy tips on the factors you need to look out for prior to joining a new platform.

Best Online Stock Broker UK List

In case you’re in a rush and don’t have to time to read our full guide, here’s a quick look at the best online stock broker UK and the top alternatives.

  1. eToro – Best all round stockbroker with 0% trading commissions
  2. Capital.com – Great educational resources
  3. XTB – Excellent mobile stock trading app
  4. Pepperstone – Top spread betting stock broker
  5. FXCM – Reputable and trusted broker
  6. Skilling – Best online broker UK for copy trading
  7. AvaTrade – Top UK broker for mobile social trading
  8. Plus500 – CFD stockbroker UK with tight spreads
  9. IG – Over 10,000 stocks to trade
  10. Barclays – Long established UK broker
  11. DEGIRO – Low-cost European stock broker
  12. Markets.com – Ideal for advanced traders

Table of Contents

Contents [show]

    eToro: Best UK Stock Broker 2020 (0% Commission)

    Our Rating

    • 0% commission on stocks
    • Buy stocks or trade stock CFDs
    • Fractional stocks available
    • Social and copy trading tools
    • No mark up, ticketing or management fees
    75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

    Note: While we have covered the ins and outs of what you need to look out for when choosing a new stockbroker, the most important thing is that the platform is regulated. In the UK, investment platforms need to hold a license from the FCA to offer online brokerage services.

    Best UK Stock Brokers

    Who are top online brokers for 2021? We cast our eye on these 10 FCA regulated platforms.

    If you’re a newbie investor, then we would suggest using one of the following online brokers. Most of them offer investing apps to facilitate your trading experience, along with demo accounts to practice trading safely and plenty of tools for beginners.

    Let’s take a closer look at the 10 best UK stock brokers you can start using today:

    1. eToro - Best Zero Commission Trading UK

    Although eToro was only launched in 2006, it has quickly become one of the best online brokers in the UK and boasts millions of active traders.

    The platform lists thousands of stocks and shares across heaps of market centers. This includes the London Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, and the New York Stock Exchange. You can also buy and sell shares from less popular markets such as those found in Scandinavia, Spain, and Canada. Among its most coveted offerings are tech stocks such as Netflix, Amazon and Apple, and big British blue-chip stocks such as British Airways, BT and Tesco. The coronavirus pandemic has seen eToro add a host of pharmaceutical stocks to its platform as well, reinforcing its position as the best stock broker in the UK.

    eToro is also popular because of its industry-leading fee structure. Long (BUY), non-leveraged stock purchases do not incur any trading commissions or spread. This means you can buy a physical, underlying stock asset and you won’t get crippled with trading fees. While these orders do incur conversion and withdrawal fees, these fees are tiny. You can also trade stock CFDs (contracts for differences) commission-free with leverage up to 5:1. CFDs are primarily used by traders for holding short-term positions.

    What really sets this broker apart is its trading platform. eToro offers a user-friendly charting interface with more than 100 built-in technical studies and drawing tools. On top of that, the broker provides you with professional-level research into all the stocks it lists and has a news feed and economic calendar to help you stay on top of the market. eToro also supports social trading, so you can follow other traders and learn from the strategies they use.

    eToro permits deposits and withdrawals via multiple channels, including debit/credit cards, e-wallets, and a bank transfer. We also like that the broker offers 24/5 customer support, so you never have to wait around if you run into problems with your account.

    Our Rating

    • Pay zero trading commissions and stamp duty
    • FCA regulated and very respected in the UK
    • Support social trading network
    • Withdrawal and conversion fees
    • Social trading incurs higher spreads
    67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

    2. Capital.com - Best Broker in the UK for Educational Resources

    Founded in 2016, Capital.com has created a highly advanced and highly intuitive stock trading platform that’s specially designed for the confident trader. Traders have access to hundreds of stocks in the form of CFDs. Among the variety of instruments that can be traded are local and international stock and shares available with leverage up to 200:1.

    The key selling point for Capital.com is its highly advanced, feature-rich, and AI-powered trading platform. It features not just a wide range of tradable securities from multiple markets but also a wide array of technical indicators, risk warning tools, and an intuitive interface with advanced charting tools. Plus it can be fully customized to suit your trading style.

    Capital.com has one of the most advanced trading platforms in the UK, but this brokerage hasn’t left beginners behind by any means. This brokerage is rich with educational resources for new traders, including how-to guides that walk you through the basics of trading. Capital.com even has a second mobile app that’s dedicated specifically towards teaching beginners how to trade.

    Capital.com is authorized and regulated by the FCA in the UK and CySEC in Cyprus. It employs high-quality security standards in keeping user accounts safe in addition to maintaining client funds in segregated bank accounts. To activate a Capital.com stock trading account, you need an account minimum deposit of £100. Trading stocks is commission-free and you get to enjoy market-leading spreads.

    Our Rating

    • Real-time market data
    • AI-powered trading platform
    • Education-focused mobile app
    • Doesn't support MetaTrader 5 platform
    • Variable spreads for every stock trade
    Your capital is at risk.

    3. XTB - Top Mobile Stock Trading App

    XTB is another top stock broker with its own custom trading platform. XTB’s xStation 5 trading software is available for web and mobile devices, and it’s incredibly powerful. The platform comes packed with technical indicators, a stock and ETF screener, a market sentiment gauge, and more. You’ll also find technical trading ideas in the news feed to help you spot opportunities in the market.

    We especially like XTB’s mobile trading app, which is seamless to use. The app gives you all the same analysis tools as the web platform, plus allows you to trade stocks with just a few taps. Notably, the xStation app supports full-screen charts, so you can easily execute complex trading strategies on the go.

    XTB offers trading on more than 2,100 stocks across 17 global markets. The platform doesn’t charge any commissions for trading and spreads are as low as 0.015% for US shares like Apple. On top of that, XTB doesn’t charge a deposit fee or conversion fee when you fund your account with GBP. There’s no minimum deposit if you want to try out this stock broker and the xStation 5 platform.

    XTB is regulated by the UK’s FCA as well as CySEC. The broker offers negative balance protection to all clients, which is a huge plus for safety. If you ever have questions about your account, you can get in touch 24/5 by phone, email, or live chat.

    Our Rating

    • Custom trading platform for web and mobile
    • Over 2,100 stocks to trade
    • No minimum deposit required
    • Only supports CFD trading
    • Limited fundamental analysis
    Your capital is at risk.

    4. Pepperstone - Best UK Broker for Spread Betting on Stocks

    Pepperstone is a highly regulated online stock brokerage account that launched its first UK branch in 2016. This broker is a CFD and spread betting specialist that has over the years morphed into one of the most versatile and highly advanced, yet easy to use trading platform. We especially liked how simple and quick it is to open an account with this broker and how affordable the £200 minimum deposit is.

    Pepperstone’s proprietary trading platform is incredibly advanced and includes numerous technical indicators, trading and market analysis tools, and educational resources. If you need more technical trading tools, you are also free to use the MT4, MT5, or the cTrader trading platforms. They are all highly advanced, featuring the most up to date trading and hosted on multiple devices and operating systems. cTrader stands out because it unlocks the possibility of algorithmic trading.

    Pepperstone gives you access to over 14 world stock markets spread all over the US, Europe and Asia. It also gives you access to hundreds of individual stock CFDs. You can trade stock CFDs with leverage up to 5:1.

    Trading with Pepperstone is commission-free, but this broker’s spreads can be hard to keep up with. They vary frequently and can often be above the industry average for trading US and UK stock CFDs. Unfortunately, Pepperstone doesn’t offer a commission-based, fixed spread account like some of its peers.

    Our Rating

    • Hghly sophisticated trading tools
    • Straightforward account registration
    • Includes MT4, MT5 and cTrader
    • Only supports CFD trading
    • Limited fundamental analysis
    Your capital is at risk.

    5. FXCM - Wide Range of Trading Platforms

    FXCM, also referred to as Forex Capital Market, launched as a forex broker in 1999. Since that time, the brokerage has undergone significant adjustments and is now one of the best online stock brokers in the UK. Keep in mind that FXCM only deals in CFDs, so it may not be suitable if you’re looking to make long-term stock investments.

    The thing that we like best about FXCM is that it doesn’t limit you to just one trading platform. With this broker, you get to choose your favourite trading platform from a selection of options. You can use Trading Station, TradingView, Capitalise AI, or ZuluTrade. The broker also supports MetaTrader 4, although this platform is solely for forex trading. If you’re interested in social trading, we recommend using the ZuluTrade platform with FXCM.

    FXCM’s selection of stock CFDs isn’t huge, but you will find a good selection from markets in the US, UK, Europe, and Asia. In addition, FXCM has pre-made stock baskets, which are ready-made portfolios that you can invest in with just a few clicks. These baskets are thematic, covering industries like biotech, e-sports, or Chinese tech companies.

    Trading with FXCM is 100% commission-free, but you will pay variable spreads with every trade. Still, FXCM’s spreads are typically below the industry average. There are no deposit or withdrawal fees to worry about, and you can get started with a minimum initial deposit of just £50.

    Our Rating

    • Supports a wide range of trading platforms
    • 4 types of share trading accounts
    • Build a portfolio instantly with stock baskets
    • Limited selection of stock CFDs
    • Only supports CFD trading
    Your capital is at risk.

    6. Skilling - Best UK Broker for Copy Trading

    Skilling is another one of the best stock brokers in the UK. This Scandinavian brokerage firm was founded in 2016 and today offers trading on more than 700 shares from the UK, US, Europe, and Asia. All shares are traded as CFDs with leverage up to 5:1. In addition, Skilling offers investment options like stock indices, forex, cryptocurrency, and more.

    A big part of what makes Skilling one of the best stockbrokers in the UK is its selection of trading platforms. Skilling has its own custom platform, called Skilling Trader, for the web and mobile devices. It’s very user-friendly and comes packed with technical indicators and a market news feed. If you need more analysis power, Skilling also offers access to cTrader and MetaTrader 4. These advanced trading platforms let you develop custom indicators, backtest strategies, and even deploy automated trading strategies.

    Skilling also has one of the best copy trading platforms we’ve seen from any stock brokers in the UK. You can choose from thousands of trading strategies to copy and commit just a portion or all of your portfolio. It’s easy to see whether a particular strategy uses leverage, what trades it has made in the past, and how it’s performed over time.

    Trading stock CFDs with Skilling is 100% commission-free. There are also no deposit or withdrawal fees, and you can open an account with just £100.

    Our rating

    • Use Skilling Trader, cTrader, or MT4
    • Trade over 700 global shares
    • Copy trade using thousands of strategies
    • Moderate spreads for stock CFDs
    • Only supports CFD trading
    Your capital is at risk.

    7. AvaTrade - Top UK broker for mobile social trading

    AvaTrade is one of our favorite stockbrokers in the UK for social trading stocks. This broker has a mobile app for iOS and Android that’s built entirely around sharing your trading activity and seeing what others are up to. You can check the latest stock news, comment on friends’ trades, and share ideas and strategies easily.

    AvaTrade also has its own dedicated trading platform for web and mobile, which we found to be quite comprehensive. It’s loaded with technical indicators and handy features like watchlists and alerts. In addition, this broker gives all traders access to MetaTrader 5, and extremely advanced platform for stock CFD trading.

    Another thing to like about AvaTrade is its excellent customer support. You can get in touch with the broker’s service team 24/7 by phone or email, so it’s easy to address any issues with your account quickly.

    This broker has a wide selection of shares, all available as CFDs. There are no commissions for trading and spreads are typically less than 0.15% for major US stocks. Just be sure to watch out for AvaTrade’s inactivity fee, which charges £50 if you don’t place a trade for as little as 3 months. You’ll need £100 to open a new AvaTrade account.

    Our Rating

    • Leverage up to 20:1
    • Dedicated mobile app for social trading
    • Thousands of global share CFDs
    • Only stock CFDs available
    • High inactivity fee
    Your capital is at risk.

    8. Plus500 - Ultra-tight CFD Spreads

    Plus500 is a CFD brokerage established in 2008 that specialises in stocks, forex, and commodities. The broker carries hundreds of share CFDs from global markets, including the UK, US, and Europe.

    There are a few reasons we like Plus500. First, this is one of the lowest cost stock brokers available in the UK. Plus500 doesn’t charge any commissions for CFD trading. CFD spreads are variable, but are consistently among the lowest you’ll find anywhere in the UK. The only fee you have to watch out for is the inactivity fee, which kicks in if you don’t place a trade for 3 months.

    Another reason to use Plus500 is its trading platform. You get access to nearly 100 technical indicators, plus customizable charts, a market news feed, an economic calendar, and professional analysis. The platform is very comprehensive and available as a mobile app for trading on the go. The only thing missing is more educational tools, although you can practice trading with a demo account at Plus500.

    Plus500 is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. You must fund your account with a minimum of £100 if depositing via debit/credit card or £500 when making a bank transfer.

    Our Rating

    • Deposit funds with PayPal
    • 0% commissions and very small spreads
    • Trade 2,000+ global CFDs
    • Very few educational resources
    • Inactivity fee kicks in after 3 months
    CFDS are complex financial instruments and 80.5% of all retail CFD traders lose money

    9. IG - Trade Thousands of Global Shares

    IG is one of the best known brokers in the UK, having made the transition from traditional stock brokering to the world of online trading. The company has a market cap in the billions of pounds and is among the most trustworthy brokers in the world, let alone the UK.

    What sets IG apart is that it has tentacles reaching into virtually every market on the globe. The broker offers more than 10,000 shares to trade from the UK, US, Europe, and Asia. If you want to trade companies in emerging markets in, say, Southeast Asia, IG is perhaps the best broker to use. IG also offers several ways to trade, including buying shares outright, trading CFDs, spread betting, and options trading.

    The biggest downside to IG is its cost. This broker charges steep commissions for share dealing, as well as stock CFD spreads that can be as much as twice the industry average. We think this platform's offerings make the cost worthwhile, but you'll want to be able to take advantage of IG's reach and trading tools to get your money's worth.

    IG offers its own trading platform, ProRealTime, that's one of the most advanced we've seen. You can create your own custom technical indicators, set up flexible trading alerts, and enter conditional orders to manage your trades. It's not the most beginner-friendly platform, but a demo account is available to help you figure out how it works.

    • Amazing charting package
    • Trade 10,000+ global stocks
    • Share dealing, CFDs, and options available
    • Limited educational tools
    • Very expensive spreads

    10. Barclays - Best for Long-term Investment

    Barclays is best known for its banking services, but it is also a stockbroker. There are three Barclays stockbrokers accounts - the Investment Account, the Investment ISA, and the SIPP Account. The Investment Account is the standard share dealing account and provides access to a wide range of shares, in addition to funds and bonds. The ISA and SIPP accounts are tax-privileged accounts with limits on how much you can deposit each year.

    Barclays charges £6 per stock trade and £3 per fund trade for the Investment Account, in addition to a 0.1% annual account charge. So, this broker can be relatively expensive if you're placing a lot of trades. The upside is that there are no deposit or withdrawal fees, nor an inactivity fee. That makes Barclays a good option for long-term investing.

    We also like that Barclays offers ready-made investment portfolios, which are baskets of individual stocks and funds that you can use to build a diversified portfolio in minutes. The Smart Investor tool helps you keep track of the markets and make smart investment decisions. Plus, new traders will find plenty of educational and research materials.

    Barclays has a very wide selection of stocks to choose from, with thousands of offerings in UK, US, and European markets. It doesn't reach as deeply into emerging markets as IG does, but you'll still find plenty of high growth companies to choose from.

    Our Rating

    • Ready-made investment portfolios
    • Wide range of shares and funds
    • User-friendly platform
    • Expensive trading charges
    • Limited analysis tools
    Your capital is at risk.

    11. DEGIRO - Huge Range of Assets to Trade

    DEGIRO is an excellent option if you are looking for access to a highly extensive number of asset classes. Firstly, the platform hosts tens of thousands of stocks and shares. This covers major markets in the UK and US, as well as emerging markets that are often difficult to access with other brokers.

    DEGIRO is also strong choice if you want a stock broker that also gives you access to other financial instruments. This broker offers trading on ETFs, mutual funds, bonds, futures, and indices. So, it's fairly easy to put together a comprehensive and widely diversified portfolio with DEGIRO.

    We also like the educational tools available at DEGIRO. This covers heaps of useful guides and explainers on key trading terms, which is ideal if you're still a trading newbie. The trading platform is also fairly easy to use, which is a plus, and DEGIRO has a mobile app for trading on the go.

    Unfortunately, this broker doesn't accept debit or credit cards or e-wallets for deposits. You'll need to fund your account with a UK bank transfer. This isn't a huge deal, but it makes setting up your account a bit more involved than with other brokers.

    • Access to global markets
    • Strong regulatory standing
    • Supports ETFs, bonds, and futures
    • Platform could be more user-friendly
    • Doesn't accept credit cards or e-wallets
    Your capital is at risk.

    12. Markets.com - Advanced Trading Platform

    Markets.com is a UK based trading platform that has an extensive list of assets. This includes stocks and shares, a huge forex department, commodities, energies, and futures.

    One of the things that's great about Markets.com is that it does not charge any trading fees or commissions. Instead, Markets.com makes its money from spreads on its assets. These are typically in line with the industry average, so we consider this a pretty good deal.

    The platform is best suited to those with advanced skills in trading, as you'll have access to more than 100 technical indicators through the web and mobile trading interface. In addition, the platform has a number of research tools covering both fundamental and technical analysis. For example, you get a market news feed and economic calendar to help you stay on top of the market.

    Markets.com has an excellent regulatory standing, which includes a license from the FCA.

    Our rating

    • No commission and low spreads
    • Lists thousands of assets
    • More than 100 built-in technical indicators
    • Limited professional research available
    • Not suitable for beginners
    Your capital is at risk.

    How We Compare The Top UK Stock Brokers

    With hundreds of UK-based interactive brokers now active in the market, knowing which platform to go with is not easy. As such, we have a very strict criteria in place to ensure that platforms meet our super-high standards. If they don’t, they simply don’t make our list.

    Below we have listed the main metrics that we look for when reviewing a new broker.

    • Fees and commissions
    • Number of stocks and shares to invest in
    • Broker offers and promotions
    • Research and analytics tools
    • Trading platforms
    • User-friendliness and customer service
    • Number of markets offered to the trader

    Let’s take a look at how the best online UK brokers measure up against each other in terms of the key metrics.

    UK Stock Broker  Number of stocks Investment options Account Minimum deposit Special features
    eToro 800+ Share ownership, CFDs $200 Social trading, copy trading
    Capital.com 2,000+ CFDs $20 / £20 AI trading, Capital.com TV
    XTB 2,100+ CFDs £0 Mobile trading app, Market sentiment
    Pepperstone 60+ CFDs, spread betting £0 Social trading, MT4/5
    FXCM 100+ CFDs £300 MT4, stock baskets
    Skilling 700 CFDs £100 MT4, cTrader, copy trading
    AvaTrade 625 CFDs £100 Social trading app, MT5, 24/7 support
    Plus500 1,000+ CFDs £100 Basic charting, price alerts
    IG 16,000+ Share ownership, CFDs, spread betting £250 MT4, algo trading
    Barclays 1,000+ Share ownership £0 Smart Investor, ready-made portfolios
    DEGIRO 10,000+ Share ownership £0 Investors academy, blog

    Video Tutorial To Find Out The Best UK Stock Broker

    What is a Stock Broker? Definition

    In its most basic form, a stockbroker is simply a third-party between you and a publicly listed company. In other words, online brokers allows you to buy and sell shares with ease. In a time not so long ago, you would be required to call your stockbroker up over the telephone and place a manual trade.

    The vast majority of interactive brokers would also be required to physically buy and sell shares on the trading floor. This is what may newbie investors picture when they think of the traditional stock trading arena.

    However, fast forward to 2021 and things are a lot different. The industry is now dominated by cutting-edge technologies, meaning that you can buy shares at the click of a button. Not only does this include a desktop computer, but mobile trading is also a thing.

    When it comes to actually buying and selling a stock, all you need to do is open an account with the best online broker, deposit some funds, and choose the company that you wish to back. Once you have decided how much you want to invest, the stockbroker platform will typically execute the trade instantly. In terms of selling your UK shares, the process is exactly the same but in reverse.

    How do the best online brokers work?

    Below we have outlined a more in-depth overview of how stock broker platforms work.

    i) Once you have found the best broker platform that meets your needs, you will need to open an account. If you’re an everyday retail trader, you should be able to do this in a matter of minutes. You’ll need to provide the online broker with some information about your identity, such as your full name, home address, date of birth, national insurance number, and contact details. You will also need to answer some questions about your experience in trading

    ii) You will then need to go through a KYC (Know Your Customer) process. This is to ensure that the stockbroker complies with UK and EU laws on anti-money laundering. You simply need to upload a clear copy of your government-issued ID, which can be either a passport or driver’s license to open an account. Most investment platforms can verify the document automatically. Note: at eToro you can deposit up to £2,000 without submitting KYC.

    iii) Once you open an account and it gets verified, you will then need to make a deposit. Most online brokers allow you to deposit funds with a local bank account. The best brokers will also support debit/credit cards and e-wallets like PayPal, Neteller, and Skrill. 

    iv) Now that you’ve funded your account, you are ready to buy some stocks and shares. You will need to search for the company that you wish to back, and then decide how much you want to invest. There is no longer a need to purchase whole shares, as interactive brokers can split the difference with other new investors on the platform. The platforms on this page allow you to buy the physical underlying stock or trade them using leverage (which of course, means paying a spread).

    v) Once you have purchased your UK shares, you will then be entitled to dividends (if applicable). You can sell your shares at any given time. If you try to sell them outside of standard day trading hours, you will need to wait until the market reopens in the morning.

    How do StockBroker Fees Work?

    • Stockbrokers are in the business of making money, so you will need to pay a trading fee when you buy and sell shares. Some interactive brokers will charge you every time you trade, meaning you’ll pay a flat fee at both ends of the transaction. This is beneficial if you are planning to trade large volumes.
    • If you are trading small amounts, then you are best off choosing online brokers that charges fees on a percentage basis. For example, if the broker charges 0.5% per trade, and you purchase £300 worth of UK shares, you will pay £1.50 per trade. Once again, you’ll need to pay this when you buy and sell your shares.
    • A number of new-age platforms operating in the market now allow you to purchase UK shares on a commission-free basis. While most of these are in the form of CFDs (contract-for-difference), interactive brokers like eToro allow you to own the share outright. This means that the only fee you will end up paying is the spread.
    • You also need to make considerations regarding deposit and withdrawal fees. While most interactive brokers allow you to fund your account for free, this isn’t always the case. As such, check to see whether certain payment methods attract a fee and whether there is a account minimum withdrawal amount in place.

    What Types of UK StockBroker Accounts are There?

    If you’re just an everyday trader that is looking to buy UK shares in the traditional sense, you’ll just need to open a standard cash account. This means that you can only buy stocks to an amount equal or less to what you have in your account. This is the most sensible option if you are just starting out.

    If you have a slightly higher appetite for risk, then you might consider opening a margin account. This will allow you to trade with leverage, meaning that you can trade with more money than you actually have when you open an account. Take note, margin trading is especially risky. If your trade is liquidated because the trade went against you, you’ll lose your entire stake.

    A CFD account is ideal if you are looking to place more sophisticated trades. For example, CFDs allow you to go short on a stock, meaning that you are speculating on the asset going down in trade value. CFDs are also easier to trade, as you will never have any concerns regarding liquidity. Finally, CFD platforms are often fee-free, as the underlying asset does not actually exist.

    A Stocks and Shares ISA account allows you to invest in stocks as you normally would. The key difference is that you can protect some of your profits from tax. In fact, the 2019/20 tax year permits up to £20,000 in capital gains before capital gains tax is due, so it’s well worth opening an ISA account at your respective stock broker.

    How To Choose The Best Trading Platform UK?

    As there are now hundreds of trading platforms competing for your business, knowing which online brokers to go with is no easy feat. You will first need to assess what it is that you are looking for from a platform. For example, are you looking for a platform that offers the lowest trading fees, or are you more concerned with the broker’s reputation? To help you along the way, we have outlined some of the main factors that you need to consider prior to joining a trading platform.

    • Regulatory Considerations – Is it FCA Regulated?

    You should only join a trading platform if the broker is in receipt of a license. In the UK, trading platforms are governed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This is a minimum requirement for trading platforms that wish to offer their services to the UK market.

    You can check if a platform is FCA regulated on the register here: https://register.fca.org.uk/

    screengrab of FCA home page
    The FCA website provides a simple way to check if a firm is regulated here.
    • Platform Fees and Charges

    Fees are one of the most important factors that you need to look out for when choosing a new trading platform. Some platforms will charge you a flat fee every time you buy and sell an asset. For example, you might pay £7 per trade, regardless of how big or small the trade is. This option is best if you’re trading larger amounts. Other platforms will instead charge a variable fee. For example, you might pay 1% of the trade size, so a £100 trade would cost £1. This is the better option if you typically trade smaller amounts.

    Brokers also charge account fees, such as an inactivity fee if you don’t place a trade for several months. There can also be fees for moving money in and out of your account.

    Let’s take a look at what each of the best UK stock brokers charges for trading Amazon shares:

    UK Stock Broker  Pricing Structure Cost to Buy Amazon Shares Account Fees
    eToro Spreads None Inactivity fee: £10 after 12 months

    Withdrawl fee: £5

    Capital.com Spreads 0.18% None
    XTB Spreads 0.03% Inactivity fee: £10 after 12 months
    Pepperstone Spreads 0.01% None
    FXCM Spreads 0.07% Inactivity fee: £50 after 12 months
    Skilling Spreads 0.14% Inactivity fee: £10 after 12 months
    AvaTrade Spreads 0.13% Inactivity fee: £50 after 3 months
    Plus500 Spreads 0.06% Inactivity fee: £10 after 3 months
    IG Commission £3 Inactivity fee: £10 after 24 months
    Barclays Commission  £6 Account management: 0.1% (£4 per month minimum)
    DEGIRO Commission £0.50 + $0.004 per share None
    • Financial Instruments Coverage

    There is nothing worse than joining a new broker, only to realize that the number of tradable assets is thin on the ground. Instead, you should go with online brokers that covers thousands of instruments across dozens of asset classes. Alternatively, if you’re looking to trade a specific asset like cryptocurrencies, find a platform that supports multiple coins.

    example of different tradeable securities

    • Payment Methods

    You will first need to evaluate what payment methods the trading platform supports. Most interactive brokers will allow you to deposit funds with a traditional debit or credit card, and bank transfers are usually an option too. Some platforms even allow you to deposit funds with an e-wallet like PayPal or Skrill. Just make sure that you understand what deposit and withdrawal fees you will be required to pay.

    • Customer Support

    While a trading platform might offer lots of payment methods, low fees, and thousands of financial instruments, you still need to assess what customer service is like. We prefer trading platforms that offer 24/7 support across a number of different channels. This should include live chat, phone, and email support.

    • User-Friendliness

    If you are just starting out in the world of online trading, you will want to choose an online brokers for beginners. This should start at the very offset with the deposit and verification process. The platform should also make it easy to use, buy and sell assets to those without any prior experience in the space.

    • Technical Indicators

    Experienced traders need to have a firm grasp of how technical analysis works. This is a fundamental part of trading, as you will be basing your decisions on historical pricing data. As such, you’ll want to choose a trading platform that offers a good number of technical indicators. This includes the likes of Fibonacci levels, Parabolic Stop and Reverse, Exponential Averages, and Bollinger Bands.

    Example of trading chart showing diferent indicators

    • Scalping

    Scalping is the process of ‘scalping’ profits from small share price movements. It can be utilized in virtually any asset class, as long as there are sufficient levels of liquidity. Scalping is especially useful when an asset is going through a period of consolidation.

    This is where an asset moves sideways between two key points of support and resistance. In order to be successful in scalping, you will need to install strict entry and exit points. In a similar nature to day trading, scalping requires you to be sat at your screen for the duration of your trades, as you’ll rarely hold on to an order for more than an hour.

    If you’re looking to be a scalp trader, you need to sign up with a trading platform that allows this type of trading. Many platforms prohibit scalpers because of the difficulty in liquidity and balancing quick traders in their order books.

    Am I Eligible to Join?

    Most financial services platforms will cater their services to both retail and institutional investors. You can join a trading platform as long as you are 18 years of age, a UK resident, and in possession of a UK bank account. If you are a tax resident outside of the UK, you will also need to supply your tax identification number. As per anti-money laundering laws, platforms will need to identify each and every user that joins its platform.

    sample Proof of identity requirements

    This is known as KYC (Know Your Customer). You will need to upload a copy of your government-issued ID (passport or driver’s license), as well as a proof of address. This can include a bank statement, utility bill, or tax statement. Once you have passed the KYC process you will have your trading limitations removed.

    What Financial Instruments can you Trade?

    Trading platforms typically offer thousands of financial instruments that can be traded across heaps of asset classes.

    While the extensiveness of the trading arena will vary from platform-to-platform, we have listed the most commonly supported asset types below.

    • Trading platforms for stocks

    Most trading platforms will support stocks and shares from multiple financial markets. This includes the well-known stock exchange such as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nasdaq, London Stock Exchange (LSE) and Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE). Some platforms will also host stocks from less liquid exchanges. This includes financial markets from Spain, Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong.

    Learn more about buying stocks and shares here.

    • Commodities Trading

    If you’re looking to trade commodities, most trading platforms in the UK will support precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum. You’ll also have the option of trading energies like oil and natural gas. The commodity scene is especially useful if you’re looking for a highly liquid marketplace that operates on a  24/7 basis.

    • Indexes

    A stock market index allows you to invest in the wider economy, as opposed to trading a single stock. For example, if you wanted to gain exposure to the London Stock Exchange, you could invest in the FTSE100. This consists of the 100 largest companies that make up the London Stock Exchange. Other popular indexes include the NASDAQ 100, S&P 500, and Dow Jones.

    • Futures and trading Options

    If you’re an advanced trader that seeks sophisticated investment products, then you might want to consider futures and trade options. These allow you to speculate on the future price of an asset without actually owning it. Most contracts come with a maturity of 3 months.

    • ETFs

    An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a financial product that seeks to track an asset, or group of assets. For example, if you wanted to invest in the global marijuana industry, but you don’t want to trade individual stocks, you could purchase an ETF that tracks the largest companies operating in the space. ETFs are available on virtually every asset class, and they even allow you to go short.

    • Trading platforms for bitcoin and cryptocurrency

    If you’ve got a slightly higher appetite for risk, you might consider trading cryptocurrencies. Trading platforms typically offer pairs against the USD, and supported coins will include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Ripple. Take caution when trading cryptocurrencies, as the market is extremely volatile.

    Learn more about cryptocurrency trading here.

    Investment Banker vs Online Stock Brokers

    If you’re new to the world of investing, it’s easy to get muddled up with the many terms, such as investment banks and online brokers. There are several key differences between the two.

    For starters, while interactive brokers assist individuals and companies in buying financial assets for a small fee, investment bankers help companies and governments raise capital through initial public offerings (IPOs) or by borrowing money.

    Investment bankers also advise companies and mergers and acquisitions, so the service they provide is totally different to interactive brokers.

    StockBrokers Near Me

    By leveraging technology, popular online stock brokerages have managed to bridge the gap between the service providers and their clientele. Over the past few years, leading brands like eToro, FXCM, and Capital.com have established a global online presence and expanded ways through which clients can get in touch with their customer service teams. Through emails, social media messaging, telephone, and live chat correspondence, anyone with a phone now has near-instant access to their favourite brokerage.

    Others, like Barclays and Saxo, have a broad online and high street presence. In addition to addressing different customer queries and offering trade assistance via email, live chats, social media, and even over-the-phone, they also have physical offices that you can walk into looking for stock trading assistance.

    The establishment of an online global presence and opening up the banking halls to offering stock trading assistance is an appreciation of the consistent rise in the number of people who are directing their investments towards stocks.

    Conclusion – The Safest UK Stock Broker

    Our best broker for buying stocks is eToro due to its favourable fee structure (0% commission and stamp duty on purchasing the underlying asset), beginner-friendly platform and FCA regulated license. It also gives traders the option to trade stocks with leverage and to copy the moves of successful stock investors. There’s a vast array of blue-chip, tech, pharmaceutical and London Stock Exchange stocks to buy.

    If you’re looking for more flexibility with order execution, then IG and DeGiro are worthy platforms. Meanwhile, Plus500 has built a strong reputation as a stock CFD website.

    Ultimately, you need to ensure that the broker is in receipt of the required regulatory licenses and that it does not have any hidden fees. Moreover, it’s also important that the broker puts the customer experience at the heart of everything, and that trades are executed in good faith. eToro does just that.

    eToro: Best UK Stock Broker 2020 (0% Commission)

    Our Rating

    • 0% commission on stocks
    • Buy stocks or trade stock CFDs
    • Fractional stocks available
    • Social and copy trading tools
    • No mark up, ticketing or management fees
    75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

    Glossary of StockBroker Terms

    Trading Platforms Glossary
    Platform Fee

    The trading platform fee refers to the amount a trader pays to use the platform and access its integrated platform features and tools. It can be a one –time fee paid for the acquisition of the trading platform, a subscription fee paid monthly or annually. Others will charge on a per-trade basis with a specific fee per trade.

    Trading Platforms Glossary
    Cost per trade

    Cost per trade is also referred to as the base trade fee and refers to the fee that a broker or trading platform charges you every time you place a trade. Some brokers offer volume discounts and charge a lower cost per trade for voluminous trades.

    Trading Platforms Glossary

    Margin is the money needed in your account to maintain a trade with leverage.

    Trading Platforms Glossary
    Social trading

    Social trading is a form of trading that allows for the interaction and exchange of trade ideas, signals and trade settings between the different classes of traders.

    Trading Platforms Glossary
    Copy Trading

    Copy trading, also known as mirror trading is a form of online trading that lets traders copy trade settings from one another. In most cases, it is the newbies and part-time traders that copy the positions of pro traders. The copiers -in most cases - are then required to surrender a share of the profits made from copied trades – averaging 20% - with the pro traders.

    Trading Platforms Glossary
    Financial instruments

    A Financial instrument ideally refers to the proof of ownership of financial commodities of monetary contracts between two parties. In the money markets, financial instruments refer to such elements as shares, stocks, bonds, Forex and crypto CFDs and other contractual obligations between different parties.

    Trading Platforms Glossary

    An index is an indicator that tracks and measures the performance of a security such as a stock or bond.

    Trading Platforms Glossary

    Commodities refer to raw materials used in the production and manufacturing of other products or agricultural products. Some of the most popular commodities traded on the exchange markets include energy and gases like oil, agricultural products like corn and coffee, and precious metals like gold and silver.

    Trading Platforms Glossary
    Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs)

    An ETF is a fund that can be traded on an exchange. The fund is a basket containing multiple securities such as stocks, bonds or even commodities. ETFs allow you to trade the basket without having to buy each security individually.

    Trading Platforms Glossary
    Contract for difference (CFD)

    CFDs are a form of contractual trading that involves speculating on the performance of a particular trade in the market. CFD’s will basically allow you to speculate on the future value of securities such as stocks, currencies and commodities without owning the underlying securities.

    Trading Platforms Glossary
    Minimum investment

    The minimum investment simply refers to the lowest amount of capital injection you can deposit into a brokerage or a trading platform. Different brokers demand varied minimum investment amounts from their clients either when registering or opening trade positions.

    Trading Platforms Glossary
    Daily trading limit

    A daily trading limit is the lowest and highest amount that a security is allowed to fluctuate, in one trading session, at the exchange where it’s traded. Once a limit is reached, trading for that particular security is suspended until the next trading session. Daily trading limits are imposed by exchanges to protect investors from extreme price volatilities.

    Trading Platforms Glossary
    Day traders

    A day trader is a term used to describe a trader who is constantly opening trades and closing them within a day. It is a common term used to refer to forex traders who open trade and only hold onto it for a few minutes or hours before disposing and having to leave no open trades at the time the trading day closes.


    What is a stockbroker platform?

    A stockbroker platform is an online trading arena that allows you to buy and sell shares at the click of a button. Everything at an online broker is automated via cutting-edge technologies, so there is no longer a requirement to speak with somebody over to the phone to trade!

    Do I need to choose my own investments?

    You will be required to choose your investments when using an online stockbroker. Platforms will not be able to give you any advice unless they are legally qualified to do so. If you do want somebody to manage investments on your behalf, you will need to go with a mutual fund.

    What is the minimum deposit required at a stockbroker?

    This will depend on the broker in question. While some interactive brokers require a minimum deposit of £100 or more, others allow you to get started with just £10.

    Are UK stockbrokers regulated?

    All stockbrokers operating in the UK must be regulated by the FCA. This ensures that the platform operates within the law and that it utilizes segregated bank account balance for client funds.

    Should I trade with leverage if I am confident about an investment strategy?

    Leverage allows you to trade with more money than you have in your stockbroker account balance. While this can amplify your profits, it can also amplify your losses. As such, you should only trade with leverage if you are an experienced investor and you know how to set up a sensible stop loss.

    What if I need to cash my stock investments out quickly?

    You can sell your investments at any given time during standard market hours. The specific hours will depend on the stock market the shares are listed on. If you try to sell the shares outside of standard trading hours, you will need to wait until the markets reopen.

    Will I receive dividends at an online stock broker?

    Stockbrokers are legally required to distribute dividend payments as soon as they receive them from the respective institution. Don't forget, if you're trading CFDs, you won't be entitled to dividends as you do not own the underlying asset.

    What trading platform is best for beginners?

    There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as there are heaps of platforms that cater to newbies. We have suggested eToro as a notable user-friendly trading platform, although many others exist.

    How are trading fees calculated?

    This depends on the trading platform in question. Some platforms charge on a fixed-fee basis, while others will charge you a percentage of the trade size. Others charge no trading fees at all, other than the spread.

    How do I short assets on a stock broker?

    If you are looking to short assets, you will need to use a platform that specialises in CFDs. The process works largely the same as longing an asset, albeit, in reverse.

    All trading carries risk. Views expressed are those of the writers only. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The opinions expressed in this Site do not constitute investment advice and independent financial advice should be sought where appropriate. This website is free for you to use but we may receive commission from the companies we feature on this site.

    Kane holds academic qualifications in the finance and financial investigation fields. With a passion for all-things finance, he currently writes for a number of online publications.


      • Hi Winnie, there are several risks one is exposed to while trading stocks. These are; market risks, liquidity risk, concentration risk, credit risk, reinvestment risk, inflation risk, horizontal risk, and longevity risk. Ideally, stocks are classified as a high-risk investment. However, with these higher risks comes bigger profits.
      • Steff, the most common types of stock brokers include; Full-Service Brokers, Discount Brokers and Online Brokers. Full-Service brokers charge a percentage of assets or higher commissions. Discount Brokers generally have smaller commissions for trades. Online brokers, as the name suggests provide platforms with direct access to the market, fully equipped with charting and routing capabilities.
    1. Involving a third party in my stock exchange process seems to be complicating the entire process, or at least to me. Why, then, would I need such a party as a stock broker?
      • Yes, you are right; a stockbroker is a third party between you as a trader, and a publicly listed company, but contrary to popular opinion, a stock broker actually allows you to buy and sell shares with ease. With stock trading now a click of a button away, a stockbroker is more necessary than ever to supply you with sound advice and create worthwhile trades.
    2. I am interested in investing in some stock, but I do not have any foundational knowledge on how to go about it. What is the process to buying or selling shares?
      • The process is actually easier than you might imagine. With buying a stock, you will need to open an account with an online stock broker, deposit funds and choose the company you wish to invest in. After deciding on the amount you wish to invest with, the stock broker platform will execute the trade instantly. The same goes for selling your stock, only that this time it will be the reverse.
    3. Being an investor that wishes to trade with small amounts, what type of stockbroker would I need, and what are the factors am I to consider in choosing that stockbroker.
      • When trading small amounts, it is advisable to go for a broker that charges fees on a percentage basis. Typically, you would be interested in knowing the minimum account deposit as required by that broker. Additionally, it would be important for you to know the fees or commission structures for any broker before signing up with them.


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    eToro: Our Recommended UK Stock Broker

    eToro: Our Recommended UK Stock Broker

    eToro: Our Recommended UK Stock Broker

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    eToro: Our Recommended UK Stock Broker
    Visit eToro

    Your capital is at risk.