Whether you’re looking to invest on a long-term basis or engage in day trading – you will need to find a trading platform that meets your individual needs.
There are now hundreds of trading platforms in the UK market, each of which comes with its own pros and cons.
For example, while some platforms are popular for its super-low fees, others stand out for listing thousands of financial instruments.
Either way, we would suggest reading our ultimate guide to Trading Platforms in the UK.
Within it, we list the top 3 platforms currently in the market, alongside an overview of what you need to look out for prior to joining a new broker. This includes platforms for beginners and more advanced traders.
Table of Contents
- 0.1 Table of Contents
- 0.2 Top 3 Trading Platforms Online
- 0.3 What to Consider When Choosing a Trading Platform?
- 0.4 Am I Eligible to Join a Trading Platform?
- 0.5 What Financial Instruments can you Trade?
- 0.6 Summary – Choosing a UK Trading Platform
- 0.7 FAQs
- 0.7.0.1 What trading platform is best for beginners?
- 0.7.0.2 How are trading fees calculated?
- 0.7.0.3 What does it mean when trading platforms only charge via the spread?
- 0.7.0.4 Will I need to provide ID when I join a trading platform?
- 0.7.0.5 What is the minimum deposit amount at a trading platform?
- 0.7.0.6 How do I withdraw funds from a trading platform?
- 0.7.0.7 How do I short assets at a trading platform?
- 1 UK Trading – A-Z Directory
Best UK Trading Platform 2020
- Trade Crypto, Forex, CFDs and More
- FCA Regulated
- Only £200 Minimum Deposit
- Accepts Paypal
What Criteria are Used to Rank the Best Trading Platforms?
- The number of payment methods supported
- How easy is the KYC process?
- What trading fees will you need to pay?
- How many financial instruments can you trade?
- The reputation and regulatory standing of the platform
Top 3 Trading Platforms Online
Below we have listed the best 3 trading platforms currently operating in the UK market.
This includes a platform for both trading newbies and seasoned investors. Before you read through our recommendations, be sure to check out the criteria that we look out for prior to listing a broker.
What to Consider When Choosing a Trading Platform?
As there are now hundreds of trading platforms competing for your business, knowing which broker 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/
- 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.
- 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 a broker 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.
- Payment Methods
You will first need to evaluate what payment methods the trading platform supports. Most 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 support 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.
If you are just starting out in the world of online trading, you will want to choose a platform that is suited for beginners. This should start at the very offset with the deposit and verification process. The platform should also make it easy to buy and sell assets to those without any prior experience in the space.
- Technical Indicators
If you are a seasoned online trader with lots of experience under your belt, then you should 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 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.
Scalping is the process of ‘scalping’ profits from small 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 a Trading Platform?
Most trading 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.
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 markets. This includes well-known stock exchanges 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 markets from Spain, South Africa, 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.
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 LSE, you could invest in the FTSE100. This consists of the 100 largest companies that make up the LSE. Other popular indexes include the NASDAQ 100, S&P 500, and Dow Jones.
- Futures and Options
If you’re an advanced trader that seeks sophisticated investment products, then you might want to consider futures and 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.
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.
Summary – Choosing a UK Trading Platform
In summary, there are now hundreds of trading platforms to choose from in the UK.
While some are best for super-low fees and commissions, others excel in the technical indicator department. This is why you should spend some time assessing what it is you are looking for in a platform.
By following the tips we have outlined in our guide, you should be able to locate a broker that meets your individual needs.
Just make sure that the platform has a good regulatory standing, which should include an FCA license at the absolute minimum.
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.
What does it mean when trading platforms only charge via the spread?
The spread is the difference between the buy and sell price. This means that you will be buying or selling the asset at a price slightly less favourable than the market is offering. For example, if the spread amounts to 1%, this is what you will need to make just to break even.
Will I need to provide ID when I join a trading platform?
All trading platforms are required to identify you when you first register an account. The process is simple, and merely requires you to upload a copy of your passport or driver's license, and a proof of address.
What is the minimum deposit amount at a trading platform?
Minimum deposits will vary from platform-to-platform. Some allow you to get started with just £10, while others will ask for much more.
How do I withdraw funds from a trading platform?
As per anti-money laundering laws, you will need to withdraw your funds back to the same payment method that you used to deposit.
How do I short assets at a trading platform?
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.