Freetrade Review: Are they safe to trade stocks and is it really free?

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Freetrade has shaken up the UK retail investment market in recent years. Offering zero commissions on share trades, it has been stealing market share from legacy investment platforms such as Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell, and Interactive Investor.

In this review, we look at Freetrade’s investment offering, its account options, its fees, and more. Whether you’re a beginner investor or an expert stock picker, this guide will help you decide if Freetrade is the right investment platform for you.

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Moneyfarm General Investment Account0.75%£500Managed
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Interactive Brokers General Investing Account£0£1DIY
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IG Investing Account£24 per quarter£250DIY & Managed
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Saxo General Investing Account€10 per month
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Bestinvest General Investing Account0.2% to 0.4%£1DIY & Managed
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Expert Review

I’ve been following Freetrade since it’s inception and test out the app every time they have a big upgrade or product release. So, this review has been updated just after I interviewed Freetrade’s CEO Adam Dodds about their UK Treasury Bills offering. Over the years Freetrade has won a couple of Good Money Guide Awards, in 2019 Freetrade won “People’s Choice” and in 2012 “Best Commission Free Stockbroker”. I first interviewed Adam in 2018 and since then Freetrade has come along way. But, is Freetrade a good investing app and is trading really free?

Freetrade Review
freetrade review

Name: Freetrade

Description: Freetrade is one of the original and biggest commission free investing apps in the UK. It now offers, GIAs, ISAs and SIPPs to over 1.5million UK & European investors. It is possible can have a free account with end of day orders and limited stock data. Or you can upgrade to either a “standard” or “Plus” account for tax efficient accounts, web access, reduced FX charges and most stock data.

Is Freetrade a good investing app?

In my view, yes, Freetrade is a great investing app for those with a small amount of money who want a very low-cost way to start investing in UK and US shares and ETFs. As your portfolio grows you can upgrade for better execution and data. It’s most suited to medium and long-term investing.


  • Zero commission
  • No fees for a basic account
  • Fractional shares
  • UK Treasury Bills


  • App only on the basic plan (no desktop)
  • 0.99% FX fee for the basic account
  • Relatively early stage company
  • Pricing
  • Market Access
  • Online Platform
  • Customer Service
  • Research & Analysis

Freetrade Facts & Figures

⬜ Public Company
👉 Number Active Clients1,600,000
💰 Minimum Deposit£1
💸 Client Fundsn/a
📅 Founded2018
Account Costs
Investment Account
£11.99 per month
Stocks & Shares ISA
£5.99 per month
Junior ISA
Lifetime ISA
Dealing Costs
UK Shares
US Stocks£0 + 0.99% FX (basic)

What is Freetrade?

Freetrade is an independent, privately-owned FinTech company that offers a ‘freemium’ share dealing service. Its mission is to get everyone investing by making it simpler and more affordable.

Founded in 2016, Freetrade launched its iOS app in the UK in October 2018, and since then it has grown at an impressive pace. Today, it has over 1.5 million customers and more than £1.6 billion in assets under administration.

Freetrade’s popularity stems from two key features: commission-free trading for shares and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and the ability to buy fractional US shares. These features have made investing more accessible and cost-effective, especially for beginners.

It’s worth noting that Freetrade won the 2021 Good Money Guide award for ‘Best Commission-Free Stockbroker’. It also won the 2019 Good Money Guide ‘People’s Choice’ award.

  • Freetrade is an investment platform that offers commission-free stock trading.
  • Through Freetrade, you can buy and sell a wide range of stocks and ETFs. But you can’t invest in regular investment funds.
  • Freetrade offers three different ongoing plans. If you want access to the platform’s best features, you’ll need to pay for a premium plan.
  • With Freetrade, you still have to pay FX fees if you buy US or European stocks.

What investments does Freetrade offer?

Currently, Freetrade offers access to over 6,200 stocks, investment trusts, and ETFs. The stocks on offer include UK, US, and European equities while the ETFs include index funds, leveraged ETFs, and thematic ETFs.

You can also invest in UK Treasury bills and cash investments through its platform. So, there are options for those seeking lower-risk investments.

Note that to access the full list of stocks you need to sign up for a premium plan. Through its Basic plan, you can only access around 4,700 stocks.

What accounts does Freetrade offer?

In terms of accounts, Freetrade currently offers three options:

  • A General Investment Account
  • A Stocks and Shares ISA
  • A SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension)

To open a Stocks and Shares ISA or SIPP, you will need to sign up for a premium plan.

How does Freetrade’s offering compare to other platforms?

While Freetrade offers a wide selection of stocks, it doesn’t offer as many stocks as other more established platforms such as Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor do.

Looking at the full list of stocks, which can be found here, a lot of small-cap stocks and penny stocks are not available on the platform. So, if you like to invest in these types of stocks, Freetrade may not be the best platform for you.

It’s a similar story with account types. With Freetrade, it’s not possible to open a Lifetime ISA, Junior ISA, or Junior SIPP. If you’re looking to invest within one of these vehicles, you will need to go with another broker.

What are Freetrade’s fees?

With Freetrade you can buy stocks with zero commissions.

However, if you’re buying US or European stocks, you’ll need to pay foreign exchange (FX) fees. These fees vary depending on the ongoing plan you choose.

There are three options when it comes to plans. These are:

  • Basic (free)
  • Standard (£4.99 per month billed annually or £5.99 per month billed monthly)
  • Plus (£9.99 per month billed annually or £11.99 per month billed monthly)

Some key things to note about these plans are:


  • If you want access to the full list of stocks, you’ll need to go with a Standard or Plus account.
  • If you wish to invest within a Stocks and Shares ISA, you’ll need to go with a Standard or Plus account. If you wish to invest within a SIPP, you’ll need a Plus account.
  • If you’d like to access the desktop platform, you’ll need a Plus account. With the Basic and Standard plans, you only get access to the app.
  • FX fees are lower with the two premium plans.
  • With the two premium plans you can pick up more interest on your cash.

Freetrade Fees

As for how Freetrade’s fees compare to those of other platforms, they are pretty competitive. But there are lots of variables to consider here including the type of plan you have, the type of stocks you invest in (i.e. UK vs US stocks), and how many trades you make per month.

If you just wanted to buy a few blue-chip UK shares within a General Investment Account, you could potentially pay no fees at all (you would have to pay Stamp Duty on trades).

However, if you wanted to buy and hold UK shares in a Stocks and Shares ISA, you would be looking at annual charges of at least £59.88.

That’s not particularly high but it can be beaten. AJ Bell, for example, offers an annual charge of 0.25% for ISAs and this is capped at just £42 per year (this doesn’t include any trades).

How do fractional shares work on Freetrade?

With fractional shares, you can buy a fraction of one US stock. So, for example, you could buy one quarter of a share in Amazon.

This can be handy if you want to buy a stock that has a high share price. For instance, if a stock was trading at $1,000 and you only had $100 to invest, you could buy one tenth of a share with fractional shares.

Note that with Freetrade, you can only buy fractional shares within a General Investment Account or SIPP. You can’t buy them within a Stocks and Shares ISA.

How do UK Treasury bills work on Freetrade?

With Freetrade, you can invest in 28-day UK Treasury bills with as little as £50. The catch here is that you cannot sell or cash out of your Treasury bills – you will need to wait for them to mature to get your capital back.

And your money could be tied up for longer than the maturity period. For example, your money is generally tied up for about 31 days for a 28-day UK Treasury bill.

So, you need to be sure that you won’t need access to your money before the maturity date.

Is Freetrade trustworthy?

You should consider Freetrade to be trustworthy. Freetrade is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. Meanwhile, all Freetrade accounts are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

How do you open an account with Freetrade?

Opening an account with Freetrade is relatively straightforward. Here are the main steps involved:

  • Step 1: Download the app
  • Step 2: Enter your personal details (you will need your National Insurance number here)
  • Step 3: Choose the plan that is best for you
  • Step 4: Transfer funds into your account

What are the pros and cons of Freetrade?

 Pros include:

  • You can trade stocks with zero commissions
  • There are plenty of investment options including stocks, index funds, and thematic ETFs
  • You can generate interest on your cash balances
  • Ongoing charges are very reasonable
  • You may be able to receive a free share when you sign up for an account and deposit money

Cons include:

  • Not every stock is available on the Freetrade platform
  • You cannot invest in regular investment funds with Freetrade
  • Freetrade offers some guides and analysis but a lot of this content is out of date
  • You can contact Freetrade through email or in-app chat, but they don’t offer support by phone. And many users complain of poor customer service
  • Only those who pay for a Plus account can use the desktop platform

Who are Freetrade’s main competitors?

Some alternatives include:

  • Trading 212 – It also offers commission-free stock trading
  • Hargreaves Lansdown – It has more investment options than Freetrade
  • AJ Bell – It’s another platform that offers a wide range of investments
  • Interactive Investor – It offers a flat fee so can be cost-effective for those with large portfolios
  • Moneybox – It’s a good platform for beginners

Freetrade’s Flexible ISA

One of the advantages of Freetrade’s ISA is that it is a flexible one, meaning you can withdraw money from your Freetrade ISA and, provided you return it within the same tax year, you won’t lose that part of your allowance.

This means that if you are short of cash for any reason, you can access you money (once you liquidate your investments) and use it for emergencies.

Flexible ISAs are gaining in popularity with CMC Invest also offering a flexible ISA.

Freetrade FAQ

Overall, Freetrade is a good platform that offers a broad selection of investments and very competitive fees and charges. But it’s not perfect. And it’s not going to be the right platform for everybody. As always, the best platform for you will depend on factors such as the size of your portfolio, the investments you like to own, and the extra features you are looking for.

Freetrade is an independent, privately-owned company.

No. While Freetrade offers zero commissions on trades, you still need to pay Stamp Duty, FX fees, and annual charges (if you choose a premium plan).

When you buy UK stocks with Freetrade, the company deducts Stamp Duty at a rate of 0.5%. This does not apply to investment trusts or shares listed on AIM.

The minimum investment with Freetrade is currently £2.

Yes, it does. But you can only access this with a ‘Plus’ account.

There is always investment risk when you buy shares or ETFs. So, if you trade through Freetrade, it’s possible that you could lose money. However, the platform itself should be regarded as safe. It is regulated by the FCA, and accounts are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

With Freetrade, customer assets are held in ring-fenced accounts. So, if the company goes bust, your assets will be returned to you or transferred to another broker. If you hold cash with Freetrade, you will be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to £85,000.

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