Good Money Guide Home > Compare UK Share Dealing Platforms

Share dealing platforms let you buy and sell stocks and shares on the markets and the best brokers will do so quickly, more cheaply than their competitors and while securely protecting your investments. Compare share dealing accounts in the UK to choose the best FCA regulated broker for investing in stocks.

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Interactive Investor

General Account: Yes
SIPP: Yes
ISA: Yes
Derivatives: No
UK Shares: Yes
US Shares: Yes
Funds: Yes
ETFs: Yes
Account Fee: £9.99
Regular: £7.99
Discount: £3.99
US Shares: £4.99
See Offer

Hargreaves Lansdown

General Account: Yes
SIPP: Yes
ISA: Yes
Derivatives: No
UK Shares: Yes
US Shares: Yes
Funds: Yes
ETFs: Yes
Account Fee: £0
Regular: £11.95
Discount: £5.95
US Shares: £11.95
See Offer

Saxo Capital Markets

General Account: Yes
SIPP: Yes
ISA: Yes
Derivatives: Yes
UK Shares: Yes
US Shares: Yes
Funds: No
ETFs: Yes
Account Fee: £0
Regular: 0.10%
Discount: 0.05%
US Shares: 2c per share
See Offer

IG

General Account: Yes
SIPP: Yes
ISA: Yes
Derivatives: Yes
UK Shares: Yes
US Shares: Yes
Funds: No
ETFs: Yes
Account Fee: £0
Regular: £8
Discount: £3
US Shares: £0
See Offer
Your capital is at risk.

DEGIRO

General AccountShares
Funds
ETFs
Bonds
International Shares
Futures
Options
Account Fee: 0
Dealing charge: From £ 1.75 + 0.014% max £5
US Shares: € 0.50 + USD 0.004 per share
Exit Fees: £0
See Offer
Investing involves risk of loss

AJ Bell Youinvest

General Account: Yes
SIPP: Yes
ISA: Yes
Derivatives: No
UK Shares: Yes
US Shares: Yes
Funds: Yes
ETFs: Yes
Account Fee: 0.25% yearly
Dealing charge: From £1.50 per online deal
Discount: £4.95 for shares, where there were 10 or more online share deals in the previous month
US Shares: £9.95 plus FX charges
See Offer

How to get the best share dealing account

In this guide we will explain how to find the best share dealing account based on different investment objectives, we also highlight some of the best online share dealing accounts in the UK.

What is share dealing?

Share dealing is the process of buying and selling of shares in the hope of generating a profit. Shares are investments that represent ownership in companies. When you buy a share, you become a part-owner of the underlying company and are entitled to a share of its profits.

Shares are traded on stock exchanges such as the London Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. A stock exchange is essentially a market where buyers of shares connect with sellers. To place a trade, you need an account with a broker or investment platform.

In the past, share dealing was quite expensive as the fees to place trades were high. However, over the last few decades, trading costs have fallen significantly due to advances in technology, and as a result, it’s now possible to buy and sell shares quite cheaply.

What is the best share dealing account in the UK?

In the UK, there are a number of investment providers that offer excellent share dealing accounts. When comparing share dealing accounts, there are several things you need to consider, including the type of shares you want to trade (i.e. UK shares vs international shares), how often you plan to trade, the size of your account, the investment tools you require, and whether you want to invest tax-free.

Three top share dealing account providers to consider include:

Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the most popular providers of share dealing accounts in the UK. It won the 2021 Good Money Guide award for Best Full-Service Stockbroker.

Some of the advantages of using Hargreaves Lansdown for share dealing are:

  • You have access to shares in over 20 markets.
  • You can buy and sell shares in several different types of accounts, including a Fund and Share Account (this is a general investment account), a Stocks & Shares ISA, and a Lifetime ISA.
  • Customer service is excellent.
  • The website and app are reliable and easy to use.
  • The platform provides access to plenty of investment tools and research.

On the downside, Hargreaves Lansdown’s fees are higher than those of some other providers.

With Hargreaves Lansdown, fees to place share trades are:

  • £11.95 per trade if you made 0 to 9 deals in the previous month
  • £8.95 per trade if you made 10 to 19 deals in the previous month
  • £5.95 per trade if you made 20+ deals in the previous month

Hargreaves Lansdown’s annual account charges for those who own shares are 0.45%. This is capped at £45 per year (£200 for SIPP accounts).

Other fees include:

  • Stamp duty on the purchase of UK shares
  • Telephone share dealing costs
  • FX fees on the purchase of international shares

Interactive Investor

Interactive Investor is a low-cost investment provider that offers investors access to over 40,000 shares. It won the 2021 Good Money Guide award for Best Investment Account.

Some of the advantages of using Interactive Investor for share dealing are:

  • You have access to shares in over 20 markets.
  • You can buy and sell shares in several different types of accounts, including a Trading Account and a Stocks & Shares ISA.
  • It offers an excellent app that allows you to trade shares and monitor your account on the go.
  • There’s a flat-fee structure. So, it can be cost-effective for those with larger balances.

On the downside, Interactive Investor doesn’t offer the same amount of tools and research as Hargreaves Lansdown does.

In terms of fees and charges, Interactive Investor offers three different service plans. These are:

  • Investor: The monthly fee for this plan is £9.99
  • Funds Fan: The monthly fee for this plan is £13.99
  • Super Investor: The monthly fee for this plan is £19.99

Share dealing fees depend on which service plan you choose. For the Investor plan, trading costs are £7.99 for UK shares, ETFs, funds, investment trusts, and US shares, and £19.99 for other international shares.

For the Funds Fan plan, fees are similar to the Investor plan but lower for fund and investment trust trades (£3.99).

For the Super Investor plan, trading costs are £3.99 for UK shares, ETFs, funds, and investment trusts, £4.99 for US shares, and £9.99 for other international shares.

Other fees include:

  • Stamp duty on the purchase of UK shares
  • Telephone share dealing costs
  • FX fees on the purchase of international shares

Freetrade

Freetrade is a relatively new company that offers a ‘freemium’ share dealing service. This means that basic share dealing services are free but you can pay for extra features. Currently, Freetrade has over 700,000 customers. Freetrade won the 2021 Good Money Guide award for Best Commission-Free Stockbroker.

Some of the advantages of trading shares with Freetrade are:

  • You can trade UK and international shares commission-free (there are FX fees on international shares).
  • You have the option of trading shares within a General Investment Account or a Stocks & Shares ISA.
  • The platform is easy to use.
  • You can buy ‘fractional shares’. A fractional share is a fraction of one share.
  • You can earn interest on your cash with a Freetrade Plus account.
  • It offers a sleek app that allows you trade shares and monitor your portfolio on the go.

On the downside, Freetrade doesn’t offer access to as many shares as other platforms such as Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor do. It also offers far less research and investment tools than other providers do.

With Freetrade, it’s free to trade shares. However, you do need to pay FX fees (spot rate + 0.45%) if you want to trade international shares.

There are no annual account fees for Freetrade General Investment Accounts. The annual account fees for Freetrade Plus accounts and Stocks & Shares ISA accounts are £9.99 per month and £3 per month respectively.

What is the cheapest share dealing account?

The cheapest share dealing account for you will depend on a few factors, including the kind of shares you wish to trade (i.e. UK shares vs international shares), how often you plan to trade, and the size of your account.

Once you have considered these factors, you can compare different brokers’ fees and charges and find the broker that offers the lowest overall costs. You can find fees and charges listed on brokers’ websites or in our broker reviews. You will need to consider trading commissions, FX fees, annual custody charges, entry fees, and exit fees. Some brokers offer fee calculators that can be helpful in determining the costs you’re likely to face over time.

If you’re looking for a cheap UK share dealing account, you may wish to consider Freetrade. It offers a ‘freemium’ share dealing service, meaning that basic services are free while extra services cost a small fee.

With Freetrade, there are no commissions to buy and sell shares (there are FX fees for international shares). There are also no custody fees for General Investment Accounts.

One downside to Freetrade, however, is that its offering is quite limited compared to other investment providers. Compared to brokers such as Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell Youinvest, it offers significantly less investment options.

Those looking for a more comprehensive platform and/or those with large account balances may want to consider Interactive Investor. It offers a flat-fee structure, which can help those with larger investment portfolios save on fees.

Interactive Investor offers three different service plans. These are:

  • Investor: The monthly fee for this plan is £9.99
  • Funds Fan: The monthly fee for this plan is £13.99
  • Super Investor: The monthly fee for this plan is £19.99

Share dealing fees depend on which service plan you choose. For the Investor plan, trading costs are £7.99 for UK shares, ETFs, funds, investment trusts, and US shares, and £19.99 for other international shares.

For the Funds Fan plan, fees are similar to the Investor plan but lower for fund and investment trust trades (£3.99).

For the Super Investor plan, trading costs are £3.99 for UK shares, ETFs, funds, and investment trusts, £4.99 for US shares, and £9.99 for other international shares.

Other fees include:

  • Stamp duty on the purchase of UK shares
  • Telephone share dealing costs
  • FX fees on the purchase of international shares

It’s important to stress that the cheapest share dealing account isn’t always the best account to go for. Generally speaking, you tend to get what you pay for with investment platforms. Those that have higher fees tend to be more reliable and usually offer more investment options, as well as helpful extras such as investment research and tools.

What is the best online share dealing platform?

There are a number of investment providers that offer excellent online share dealing platforms. Two worth highlighting include:

Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the most popular providers of share dealing accounts in the UK and has over 1.5 million customers.

Hargreaves Lansdown’s website is both reliable and very easy to use. Through the website, you can trade shares, monitor your portfolio, and make use of investment tools and research.

Hargreaves Lansdown also offers an excellent app. This app has an App Store rating of 4.7/5. Through the app, you can trade shares and monitor your account on the go.

On the downside, Hargreaves Lansdown’s fees are higher than those of some other providers.

AJ Bell Youinvest

AJ Bell Youinvest is an award-winning, low-cost online investing platform for the UK do-it-yourself (DIY) investor. Its aim is to make the process of investing as easy as possible.

AJ Bell Youinvest’s website is clear, well laid out, and very user friendly. Through this platform, investors can gain access to shares in over 20 markets. The website also offers plenty of content for investors, including investment guides and equity research.

AJ Bell Youinvest also has an excellent app that allows you to trade shares on the go. This app has an App Store rating of 4.7/5.

On the downside, AJ Bell Youinvest doesn’t offer as many investment options as its main rival, Hargreaves Lansdown.

How to start share dealing

To start share dealing, you will need to open an account with a broker. A broker is a firm that executes buy and sell orders on behalf of its clients.

There are three main types of broker, including:

  • Execution only – these firms just provide basic share dealing services.
  • Advisory – these firms provide share dealing services along with investment advisory services.
  • Discretionary – these firms manage your money and make trades on your behalf.

The best type of broker for you will depend on a few factors, including your investment experience, your budget, and whether or not you want to manage your own portfolio.

Opening an account with a broker is usually a straightforward process that can be done online.

You will need to provide the broker with your personal details, as well as some form of identification such as a passport or driver’s licence.

You will also need to set up a password for your account.

You may wish to download the broker’s app so that you can trade shares and monitor your account on the go.

Once your account is set up and funded, you will be able to start trading shares.

How does a share dealing account work?

With a share dealing account, you can:

  • Place orders to buy and sell shares.
  • Monitor your portfolio. You’ll be able to view all your holdings and your profit and loss figures.
  • Access investment tools and research. Most platforms today offer some form of research, along with investment tools such as financial data and charts to help you make investment decisions. However, research and tools vary, depending on the provider.

How to buy and sell shares

Buying and selling shares through a share dealing account is typically quite straightforward. Every share dealing platform is slightly different, however.

To buy and sell shares, you will first need to fund your account. This can usually be done online through a card payment. Once your account is funded, you will have the ability to place trades.

Note that shares can only be bought and sold when the stock market is open. For UK shares, this is between 8:00am and 4:30pm. Overseas markets have different trading hours.

You can find more information on buying and selling shares here.

How to buy shares

Buying shares is usually quite an easy process.

With most platforms, you simply search for the company that you would like to buy shares in (e.g. Lloyds Bank, BP, Amazon, Apple, etc.) and click through to its page. Here, you’ll receive a quote for the stock.

Then, it’s a matter of entering the trade details, such as the number of shares you want to buy, and confirming the trade. Once the deal is completed, you’ll receive a contract note with all the details of the trade.

For example, let’s say you want to buy Lloyds Bank shares through Hargreaves Lansdown. The first step is to search for Lloyds Bank and then click through to its page.

Then, you hit ‘deal’ and enter the trade details.

Once you have entered the trade details, you click on ‘Place a deal’.

You can find more information on how to buy shares here.

When should I sell my shares?

There are a number of reasons people sell shares. You may want to consider selling a stock if:

  • You have made a significant gain from it and you would like to bank the profit.
  • The stock’s valuation has risen to an excessive level.
  • Your investment thesis has changed and the outlook for the stock is no longer as attractive as it was in the past.
  • You need to rebalance your portfolio.
  • You need the money from the investment or will need it in the near future.

It’s important to remember that shares are a long-term investment. Most financial experts recommend that you hold shares for at least five years. Generally speaking, the longer you hold your shares for, the better the chance of generating good returns.

What is the easiest way to sell shares?

The easiest way to sell shares is through an online broker. Through this type of broker, you can sell shares in minutes. The costs associated with selling shares through an online broker are generally very low.

What charges do I need to pay?

Share dealing accounts tend to have many different fees and charges. The main charges to look out for include:

  • Trading commissions. These are the fees that brokers charge to buy and sell shares. Typically, they range from around £7 to £12 per trade. However, some brokers offer lower trading commissions for those who trade often. Some also offer commission-free trading.
  • FX fees. These are usually due on international share deals. FX fees on platforms such as Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell Youinvest are around 1% of the trade’s value.
  • Annual custody fees. These are annual account fees and they vary significantly among brokers. Hargreaves Lansdown, for example, charges 0.45% per year, capped at £45 per year (£200 for SIPPs). By contrast, Freetrade has no fees for its basic General Investing Account.
  • Entry/exit fees. Most providers do not charge these but some providers do.

Do you have to pay tax on the shares you buy?

When buying and selling shares, there are a few taxes to be aware of.

One is Capital Gains Tax (CGT). This is a tax that you can be required to pay when you sell or dispose of an asset for a profit.

Everyone in the UK has an annual Capital Gains Tax allowance. For the 2021-22 tax year, this is £12,300. This means that any gains realised under this amount incur no Capital Gains Tax. CGT is due on gains above this amount, however.

One way to minimise CGT liabilities is to buy shares within a Stocks & Shares ISA. In this kind of investment account, all capital gains are tax-free.

Another tax to be aware of is Stamp Duty. This is payable on most UK shares (no Stamp Duty is payable on AIM shares). Stamp Duty is 0.5% of the transaction value. So, for example, if you buy £2,000 worth of Lloyds Bank shares, you’re looking at a Stamp Duty of £10.

What are the best shares to buy?

The best shares to buy depend on one’s financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon.

Those who have a long-term investment horizon and are risk tolerant may wish to consider investing in growth stocks. Growth stocks are those whose underlying companies are growing faster than the market average. Examples of growth stocks include Amazon, Tesla, PayPal, and ASOS.

The advantage of investing in growth stocks is that they can generate very high returns. Tesla, for example, delivered a return of around 700% in 2020 alone. On the downside, growth stocks can be quite volatile at times. This means that there’s a higher chance of incurring losses in the short term.

Those looking for portfolio stability and/or passive income may wish to consider investing in dividend stocks. These are stocks that pay their shareholders’ regular dividends. Dividends are cash payments that are made to shareholders out of profits. Examples of dividend stocks include Unilever, Diageo, and Legal & General Group.

One advantage of investing in dividend stocks is that they offer two potential sources of return – capital gains and dividends. This means that it may still be possible to profit, even if share prices are falling. Another advantage is that they tend to be less volatile than growth stocks. The downside to investing in dividend stocks is that typically, they don’t generate high returns.

When building a share portfolio, it’s important to look outside the UK market and diversify internationally. While the UK stock market offers some excellent investment opportunities, it only represents around 4% of total global stock market investments, and many of the world’s most dominant companies such as Apple, Alphabet, and Amazon are listed overseas.

Can you make money with shares?

Yes. Historically, shares have delivered excellent returns for investors over the long term.

There are two main ways of making money from shares. The first way is through increases in stock prices. If you buy a share and its price rises, you can sell it for a profit. For example, if you buy one Amazon share for $3,000 and Amazon’s share price rises to $3,500, you can sell it for a $500 profit (less trading commissions). This is known as generating a capital gain.

The second way you can make money from shares is through dividends. Dividends are cash payments that companies pay to their shareholders out of their profits. Not all companies pay dividends to investors but many well-established companies such as Unilever, Diageo, and GlaxoSmithKline do. Dividends can be a good way to generate passive income.

How to make money share dealing

There are a number of ways to make money from shares.

One of the easiest ways, however, is to simply invest in great companies for the long term. This is the approach that many top investors such as Warren Buffett and Terry Smith take.

Great companies come in different shapes and sizes. However, they tend to have a few things in common, including:

  • An excellent product or service
  • A competitive advantage that prevents competitors from stealing market share
  • Strong long-term growth prospects
  • A high level of profitability
  • A strong balance sheet
  • Good management

Before you invest in a company, it’s always worth checking its valuation. The valuation you pay for a stock can have a big impact on your future returns. If you pay an excessive valuation for a stock, you may not see the kinds of returns you were hoping for.

Share Dealing FAQs

Which platforms offer execution-only share dealing?

There are a number of UK investment providers that offer execution-only share dealing, including:

Can you have a joint share dealing account?

Yes, it’s possible to have a joint share dealing account. However, not all providers offer this.

Some brokers that do offer joint dealing accounts include Hargreaves Lansdown, AJ Bell Youinvest, and Interactive Investor.

What is the difference between stocks and shares?

There is no difference between stocks and shares. They are the same thing.

What is the difference between CFD trading and share dealing?

Share dealing involves buying and selling shares. Shares are investments that represent ownership in a company. When you buy a share, you become a part-owner of the underlying company and are entitled to a share of its profits.

CFD trading, by contrast, involves betting on the movements of share prices via Contracts for Difference (CFDs). CFDs are financial instruments that enable traders to profit from a stock’s price movements without actually owning the underlying stock. With CFDs, you can trade in both directions and also use leverage to increase your exposure.

CFD trading is much riskier than share dealing, particularly if high levels of leverage are involved. With leveraged CFD trading, even small price movements to the downside can lead to large losses.

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