In the United Kingdom, there are trading platforms for every kind of trader, from beginners who are still learning to fast-paced day traders. The best trading platforms in the U.K. are those with low trading costs, an expansive range of products, educational resources, high-quality customer service, and technologically-advanced trading tools. In this guide, we will discuss where to find the U.K.’s top platforms for share dealing accounts, automated trading, and other services.
There have been three trading platforms that have consistently proven themselves to be outstanding for traders of all experience levels. These platforms are eToro, FinecoBank, and Interactive Investor.
What Is The Best Trading Platform In The UK?
Three platforms that have regularly made the “Best Of” lists in recent years are eToro, FinecoBank, and Interactive Investor. Below, we will discuss each platform and compare what they have to offer their clients.
Top Feature: Social Trading
eToro is a global brand that has 0% commission trading on stocks, a wide range of assets to trade, and a social platform that turns trading into a community activity. eToro allows trading on cryptocurrencies, stocks, commodities, currencies, and more assets. This broker also offers educational resources like news and analysis and an “Academy. eToro’s platforms are easy to use and intuitive, and this broker stands out from the rest because it offers copy-trading support that allows you to access crowd wisdom.
Highlight: PowerDesk Trading Platform
FinecoBank is an Italian bank that, in 2017, opened its retail services to U.K. investors. Fineco offers thousands of financial instruments, including CFDs, forex, options, commodities, and futures, through its multi-currency trading platform called PowerDesk. The PowerDesk platform, with its stock screeners and other useful trading tools, won “Best Trading Platform” at the 2021 London Trader Show. FinecoBank is also a low-cost broker. It charges no account fee, and its commissions are all fixed, ranging from a few pounds to a small percentage, all at flat fees.
Highlight: Extensive Fund Options
Interactive Investor is a flat-fee platform that is known for its low-cost share dealing. Currently, this broker, which is subscription-based, is the largest flat-fee investment platform in the United Kingdom, with tens of billions of pounds of assets under its administration. Interactive Investor, which was founded in the mid-1990s and has around 400,000 customers, is especially praised for its fund options and client security. It protects its client funds with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which protects assets up to £85,000 per trader.
|Copy-trading support, social trading, eToro Academy, wide range of assets from which to choose
|0.25% of the total value of funds in your portfolio
|Longevity in the industry, flat-fee broker, award-winning platform, stock screeners and other useful trading tools
|£0 on U.S.-listed stocks
|Largest broker of its kind in the United Kingdom, flat-fee broker, great fund options, high-tier security measures
What Is The Best Trading Platform For Beginners?
If you are a new trader, you should look for a broker that offers features like:
- Educational Resources. Online seminars (or “webinars”), guides, e-books, glossaries, and trading tools are all examples of useful educational resources that a broker should provide. You want a broker that offers you the ability to learn how to trade from the ground-up. That way, you are not only engaging with the markets, you are also progressively increasing your knowledge base so that you can improve.
- Low Minimum Deposit. New traders are often reluctant to put down a large deposit immediately. If you want to be conservative with your funds, find a broker with a low minimum deposit requirement.
- Demo Account. A demo account is an excellent way to practise trading using virtual money. There is no risk when you use a demo account, and its main benefit is education, as demo-trading is an excellent way to practise trading strategies.
- High-Tech Platforms. A high-tech, glitch-free platform is important for all traders, especially those who are new to the industry. Well-constructed proprietary platforms or industry-standard platforms like MetaTrader 4 and 5 will make a new trader feel far more at ease, as technologically-advanced trading systems tend to be the most user-friendly.
- Responsive Customer Support. As a new trader, you’re likely going to need some assistance from customer support. Brokers should have responsive, knowledgeable customer assistance that can easily and efficiently help you with any questions you may have.
The three brokers listed below have all done well in these categories. Bestinvest, Fidelity, and AJ Bell have all made our list of the best trading platforms for beginners in the U.K.
Highlight: Free, One-On-One Investment Coaching
Bestinvest was named by Forbes UK as one of the top platforms for beginning traders, and it is easy to see why. With tens of thousands of clients, Bestinvest allows access to 1,100 U.K. shares and 2,200 investment trusts and funds. Clients get free, one-on-one investment coaching sessions, as well as a high volume of market research. There is no minimum deposit with Bestinvest, and customer support is available six days a week through multiple channels.
Highlight: Excellent Educational Resources
Fidelity is a U.S.-owned company that has millions of customers around the world. It offers a wealth of market research and video guides that teach you how to invest. If you are near London, you can even visit the Fidelity Investor Centre there for extra, in-person help. Traders can trade online, via mobile app, or over the phone. Traders have access to over 2,000 U.S., U.K., and European shares, as well as 5,000 funds and investment trusts, and there is no deposit requirement to open an account.
Highlight: Low 0.25% Platform Fee
AJ Bell is one of the U.K.’s largest trading platforms, as it has approximately 400,000 clients. It offers a wide range of products from which to choose, as traders have access to 8,200 shares across twenty-four markets, as well as 6,000 investment trusts and funds. AJ Bell provides its clients with comprehensive market analysis and in-house research, and new traders will find its investing webinars informative. AJ Bell has a minimum investment amount of just one pound. Additionally, this broker has a low platform fee of 0.25%, and its annual fee cap is £42 for shares.
Beginners will benefit from these three brokers, as they have new traders’ interests in mind with their educational resources and low minimum deposits.
What Is The Best Free Trading Platform?
Capital.com, Freetrade, and TradeStation are three of the best free trading platforms in the U.K. They are famous for their low costs of trading, and you can manoeuvre through the markets without incurring many discretionary fees.
Below is a comparison of these three platforms’ fees.
|£20 for credit/debit cards, £250 for bank transfers
|£4.99-£9.99 per month
|£100 per year (administration fee)
|£0 commission + £0.50-$1.50 per contract per side
|£50 per year
|£0 for cash accounts
Trading with a low-cost platform ensures that, should you make a profit, you will be able to keep as much of your money as possible. It is easy to see why free trade platforms are some of the most popular in the United Kingdom.
What Is The Best Platform For Day Trading?
Day trading is a type of speculation in securities. Day traders buy and sell financial instruments within the same day, and all positions are closed before the market shuts down for the day. Instruments are bought and sold largely through small, short-term price fluctuations.
As you can imagine, day trading has its benefits and drawbacks. Some advantages to day trading include no overnight risk, a focus on technical analysis, and an ability to weather poor market conditions. “Cons” include small, incremental profit-making, as well as the fact that day trading tends to be very time-consuming.
Fast-paced day traders need platforms that can keep up with them. Some of the best day trading platforms in the U.K. are Plus500, Libertex, and XTB.
Highlight: 0% Commissions
U.K. traders can trade commodities, shares, ETFs, options, forex, and crypto with this trading platform. Plus500 is available in fifty countries, and it is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Day traders will enjoy the 0% commissions on trading, tight spreads, and 2,000 CFD instruments. Additionally, Plus500 offers a spread of trading tools that will aid day traders in advancing their strategies and managing risk. Plus500 offers forex leverage of up to 1:30, and its platform is known for being efficient and high-speed—exactly what day traders need.
Highlights: Excellent For Commodities Trading
Libertex is an excellent day trading platform for new day traders, particularly those who want to speculate on commodities. On the Libertex platform, traders can access three commodity classes: energies, agriculture, and metals. U.K. traders can trade everything from natural gas to sugar and coffee. Leverage ranges from 1:10 to 1:20, depending on the commodity class, and commissions are competitive, with a rate 0% for many different assets. In addition to its top-tier commodities trading, Libertex also supports many other CFD markets.
Highlight: xStation 5 Platform
One of the top features of XTB is its wide range of market access. This broker offers its clients access to over 2,100 global markets, including forex, commodities, ETFs, indices, and stocks. The standard forex spread starts at 0.5 pips, while a swap-free account at XTB starts at 0.7 pips. You can trade commission-free with this broker, something that day traders will appreciate. XTB is geared towards seasoned investors, and its xStation 5 platform comes with custom charts, technical indicators, drawing tools, and high execution speeds.
What Is The Best Automated Trading Platform?
Automated trading platforms use algorithms and computer programs to buy and sell orders, automatically submitting these orders to an exchange or market centre. Automated trading requires you to set parameters for positions, including guaranteed stops, orders to open, and trailing stops. Those engaging in automated trading use a program with pre-set rules to enter and exit trades, manoeuvring through the markets in the most high-tech, efficient way possible.
Some of the best automated trading platforms in the U.K. include:
- AvaTrade. AvaTrade offers an automated trading account to its clients. Using this broker’s platform, you can copy the trades of experienced traders and even fully automate your trading. This automation means that you can trade forex, CFDs and more with ease, even if you are a total beginner. AvaTrade offers several different automated trading products to its clients, and it also supports EA (Expert Advisor) trading robots on the MetaTrader 4 platform.
- Pepperstone. Pepperstone, a U.K.-based broker, offers a Pepperstone API (Application Programming Interface), along with other automated tools like cTrader Automate, Authochartist, and Capitalise.ai. Capitalise.ai has long been an industry-standard for automated trading, as it lets traders execute trades quickly, precisely, and constantly. You get access to this powerful automation tool for free when you trade with Pepperstone.
- City Index. City Index enables automated trading through MetaTrader 4’s expert advisors and one-click trading. Algorithmic trading is one of MT4’s strongest features, and you can test, develop, and apply Expert Advisors (EAs) to help you trade using this automated strategy. There is also, with MT4, a Code Base, which is a free library of tools and indicators to automate your trading. When you trade with City Index, you have access to all the automated trading features MT4 has to offer.
Trading platforms vary in quality and design, and day traders, beginning traders, and experienced traders all need to find a platform that suits their specific needs. Hopefully, this guide has helped you determine which U.K. trading platform is best for you.