When we include a provider on the Good Money Guide you can be sure that we have full faith in their products and services.
Our methodology for reviewing investing, trading and currency accounts includes:
- Our own experiences testing the platforms with real money
- An in-depth comparison of the features that make them stand out compared to alternatives.
- Interviews with the company CEOs and senior management
Our broker reviews survey over 17,000 clients and are designed to give our readers some insight into brokers and platforms they may decide to use for trading and investing. Our expert broker reviews look at the elements of an account that are most important to investors and traders include how much it costs, what products and services are offered, and if they are any good.
When we test providers we always look at:
- Customer service
- Market access
- Online platforms
- Account types
- Corporate history
- Costs & fees
- Added value
Customer Service & Reviews
Customer reviews can be an important tool to help you understand how satisfied users are with a broker you are considering. Reviews can provide valuable insight into what fellow traders like and dislike about a trading platform you are looking at. We consider authentic, verified customer reviews left by Good Money Guide visitors, the Trustpilot rating of the broker, and reviews and ratings found for the broker’s trading apps on Apple App Store and Google Play. These often give insight into how well a company treats their customers.
The number of markets a trading platform lets you access can be important because it allows traders like you to diversify your activity and portfolio. This will help you spread risk among different asset classes and markets. Trading platforms that offer the most markets can increase the potential trading opportunities available to you and may reduce the need to choose a secondary trading platform.
Offering a variety of trading platforms is important because it can help you execute different trading strategies like trading with algorithms, automated buy and sell orders, trailing stops, copy trading or direct market access. Offering you access to trading platforms on mobile phones and tablets can help you trade on the move and mean you are always connected to the markets.
Different accounts types are important because a diverse range of account types can offer different ways for you to speculate on the markets. Certain trading types offer better tax efficiency e.g. financial spread betting vs CFD trading, more risk mitigation options through features like hedging facilities and extra leverage with professionally categorised trading accounts and short term trading. Some trading brokers also offer access to investing and various investment accounts for you to choose from including; stocks and shares ISAs and SIPPs (Self Invested Personal Pensions).
The more established a trading platform is the more visible , transparent and trusted by the financial community they become. The FCA keeps public files on what type of regulation trading brokers have and if they have ever been fined for misconduct. Established trading platforms have a long track record of financial stability through publishing their accounts to Companies House in the UK. The most established trading platforms are also public companies listed on the London Stock Exchange or other international exchange where you can buy and sell their shares giving some good insight into the financial health of a broker and an indication of how safe it is to hold your money with them. Award ceremonies are run regularly too; checking award winners from previous years can help you get an idea of which brokers are popular, why their customers like them and which trading types they are best used for.
Costs & Fees
Choosing a broker that offers the cheapest trading costs could help you make a profit on your trading faster. An expensive broker can reduce profits and increase losses. With a comparison of trading platforms you can see which broker has lower costs and therefore choose the broker that makes it possible to buy and sell at better prices. We compare trading costs of brokers by looking at the top ten traded instruments in the most popular asset classes and calculating an average score as well as look at the most popular assets within those markets giving a weighted score to compare trading costs.
You shouldn’t choose your trading broker on price alone. Sometimes the cheapest broker may not offer access to all the markets you want, they may charge hefty inactivity or overnight fees or at worst, they may not be properly regulated. To help get the best broker, you should consider everything, as well as price when making your decision.
Leverage & Margin
Trading on margin will let you speculate on more with less in funding behind you, provided you are experienced enough to trade with leverage. The FCA has capped margin levels for retail clients but trading platforms that offer professional trading accounts are able to offer increased leverage. Compare margin and leverage levels of the brokers you are considering because this is an effective way to understand which trading platform you will be able to gain more exposure to the markets with the least amount of risk capital. More leverage means you can have a more diversified trading portfolio, or speculate with greater risk.
It is important to compare trading platform’s overnight charges as this is how much you will pay to hold a position for more than one day. If you are not intra-day trading and hold positions overnight, you will be aware that trading platforms can charge fees every night to keep trades open. Overnight financing charges are often considered a hidden cost and many traders do not include them in their P&L calculations. These costs can quickly add up, especially if you hold long-term trading positions, so it is better to trade with a trading platform that offers lower overnight finance trading costs. Here’s more on overnight financing.
It is important to compare the added value that trading platforms provide as free additions to trading platforms like analysis, news, research, charting tools and personal service can help improve trading opportunities and reduce the need to pay for external third-party software. In some cases trading platforms will include paid for premium third-party services in their platform if traders execute a certain amount of trades or have a certain amount of funds on account. Trading platforms are not allowed to provide trading ideas, but can use technical analysis to highlight potential trading opportunities.