Investing > Best Trading Platform UK

Best Trading Platform UK

In the UK, there are numerous trading platforms to choose from. But only the best of the best made our list of the top trading platforms in the UK.

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Updated November 24, 2021

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Having trouble finding a good trading platform? You needn’t worry any longer as we got you covered. 💪

Although 2020 is an even number, it had been a very odd year, especially for the economy and those of us who need it to work properly. The global business landscape was uninspiring, especially the UK where it has seen a 20% drop February and March.

Many Britons have been at the receiving end of this economic fallout, but many have taken to trading to cope with this non-ideal economic reality. Luckily, the volatile and growing stock markets present an opportunity, which is why roughly 180,000 British investors have entered the markets in early 2020 alone, and the trend continues.

Best UK Trading Platforms in 2021 🇬🇧

If you want to invest too, this is a good time to start – but first, you need a brokerage. The online trading world has many services and platforms, some of which are specifically made for complete beginners, and others that cater to pros and serious finance people.

Time is money, and to save you some we’ve made a list with the best trading platforms in the UK today – both for Forex and stock markets. Some have super-low prices, great education, and intuitive platforms, while others give you all the newest gadgets for research and analysis.

What kind of trader you are will determine which platform suits you best – and what better way to know that than to see the best brokers and take a pick. In the article below, we review the top 5 UK trading platforms and explain how you can start trading with minimal risk.

1. IG – Best Overall 🖥️

Pros

  • Versatile, easy-to-use platform
  • Clear fee report
  • Two-step authentication
  • Customizable UI

Cons

  • High fees for stock CFDs
  • Limited phone support
Visit IG on IG’s website

Regardless of your skill level and trading niche, IG is a service you won’t regret using. This UK-based brokerage does a bit of everything – low prices, quick and user-friendly trading platform, and a large suite of tradable products. It’s also heavily regulated, in case you’re worried about security.

Beginners find IG’s platform handy because of its clean, intuitive design. You can use the search function to find all the products you find interesting, and simply clicking on them will give you information – including the price history displayed through an easy-to-read chart.

On the other hand, experienced traders are more interested in fast execution and broad functionality. If you’re a seasoned investor, IG’s web platform offers great customizability, along with 7 order types you can use to optimize the trading experience to your needs.

You can also set up alerts for price movements and most other significant events. The software will also notify you as soon as there’s an important news story in your investing field if you set up an alert.

The mobile app mirrors the web version’s functionality to the tee, so it’s viable to trade on the bus or at the office when your boss isn’t looking. All in all, as well-rounded brokers go, IG is worth checking out no matter your experience and trading preferences. 


2. eToro – Best for No-Commision Trading 📗

eToro Trading Platform

Pros

  • Large assortment of cryptocurrencies
  • Very user-friendly

Cons

  • Low customizability
  • No biometric ID on mobile

Visit eToro on eToro’s website

Disclaimer: Your capital is at risk. Other fees apply. 

*Risk Warning:  68% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

If you don’t like commissions and love fast, intuitive platforms, eToro might be your cup of tea. Stock trades are commission-free, although Forex fees are often higher than at other brokers on this list – and there are 16 cryptocurrencies too.

Needles to say, the platform is very beginner-friendly due to its logical workflow and gives you clear fee reports so you can know exactly where every penny of your deposit went. And you can see that report, as well as the rest of the platform in 21 languages, which suits eToro’s international audience just fine.

All the functions are accessed from the main screen and placing orders is as simple as putting two and two together – just click on the asset you want and put an order type. The main menu also shows trader sentiments for products – this means it will show you whether other traders are buying or selling.

The only feature this platform lacks is customizability – although most traders like the well-designed default version. The mobile app is the same as its web counterpart with the only downside being it doesn’t have a biometric ID login.

In summary, eToro is great for stock and ETF investors because of its low fees and impressive platform – but also for crypto enthusiasts who want many trading options. If these are your areas of interest, looking at eToro in detail might bring you one step closer to finding a good use for your money.

Disclaimer: eToro is a multi-asset platform which offers both investing in stocks and cryptoassets, as well as trading CFDs.

Please note that CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 68% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Past performance is not an indication of future results. Trading history presented is less than 5 complete years and may not suffice as basis for investment decision.

Copy trading is a portfolio management service, provided by eToro (Europe) Ltd., which is authorised and regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cryptoasset investing is unregulated in some EU countries and the UK. No consumer protection. Your capital is at risk.

eToro USA LLC does not offer CFDs and makes no representation and assumes no liability as to the accuracy or completeness of the content of this publication, which has been prepared by our partner utilizing publicly available non-entity specific information about eToro.


3. Pepperstone – Best for Beginners 📕

Pepperstone Trading Platform

Pros

  • Effortless user experience
  • 3 platforms to choose from
  • Very customizable
  • Clear fee report

Cons

  • Only Forex and CFDs are available
  • Price alerts only on desktop and mobile apps
  • No two-step authentication
  • Lacks advanced research options
Visit Pepperstone on Pepperstone’s website

If you’re looking for a truly effortless Forex and CFD trading experience, you need not look any further than the opposite side of the planet to find it. Pepperstone, Australia’s most popular broker, offers what is often considered the most easy-to-use trading platform in the UK.

Pepperstone’s main platform is MetaTrader 4 – the primogenitor of all modern trading software. Navigating and using MT4 is effortless, as the design is very simple and intuitive, leaving no room for confusion.

You can set up 3 order types and several alerts, and the platform is highly customizable. Since MT4 is so widely-spread, it has the most downloadable addons and mods out of any other platform on the market – this is great if you want to modify your trading things like AI software.

The downsides to using MetaTrader 4 are that the vanilla version lacks advanced functionality and the platform is a bit sluggish compared to newer software. If you fancy something faster and smarter-looking, Pepperstone offers two alternatives – MetaTrader 5 and cTrader.

MT5 is simply a faster and more feature-rich version of MT4 and cTrader is a more modern easy-to-use platform with advanced functionality that seasoned traders love. If you’re new to trading and unfamiliar with the technology, checking out Pepperstone and its beginner-friendly offer to educate yourself would be a sensible choice.

Investor Warning: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 78.6% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Further, Trading derivatives is risky. Trading with Pepperstone isn’t suitable for everyone and you could lose substantially more than your initial investment. You don’t own or have rights in the underlying assets. Past performance is no indication of future performance and tax laws are subject to change.


4. Plus500 – Best for CFD trading 📙

Pros

  • Low trading fees
  • Listed on the UK stock market
  • Two-factor authentication

Cons

  • Mostly limited to Forex and CFDs
  • Limited research tools
Visit Plus500 on Plus500’s website

Investor Warning: 72% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

If you like the volatile and fast-paced nature of CFD trading, Plus500 probably has the perfect platform for you. The fees are low all-around and the broker is listed on the UK stock exchange which sends a clear message that it stands behind what it does.

What Plus500 does is provide Forex, cryptocurrency, and CFD traders with a very fast and easy-to-use platform designed to eliminate all extra mental effort on the user’s part. Every feature can be accessed from the main screen – all the products you’re interested in are right there and you can buy/sell directly from the dashboard.

Clicking on the product will show you its price history so you can do basic analysis without ever switching screens. At the end of the trading day, you can view a transparent fee report and see exactly how many expenses your trades incurred.

You can use 4 order types and set up alerts – this includes the “trading sentiment” notification. This will tell you if other traders suddenly start buying or selling a certain product so you can get in/out in time.

If you’re wondering how the mobile app is, it fully mirrors the web platform’s functionality and is very popular among day traders. All things considered, Plus500’s full offer won’t leave you wanting if your main interests are Forex, CFDs, and seamless trading experience.

5. AvaTrade – Best for Education and Research 📒

AvaTrade Trading Platform

Pros

  • Excellent lessons and trading courses
  • Top-notch research tools
  • Clear fee report

Cons

  • No price alerts
  • Low customizability
  • No two-factor authentication
Visit AvaTrade on AvaTrade’s website

AvaTrade is a warm recommendation to all new forex traders who want to learn and hone their skills to perfection. This broker offers an intuitive platform, but also an endless list of video tutorials and courses that cover everything about trading.

There are 4 apps to choose from here: MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, Webtrader, and AvaOptions. The MetaTraders are the industry standard you cannot go wrong with and the aptly named AvaOptions is made especially for forex options.

Webtrader, AvaTrade’s proprietary platform, has an easy-to-navigate, elegant design that allows you to fully control all your trades from the main screen. Charting is simple as the ABC and you have 90 indicators at your disposal, so you can really nitpick when it comes to data analysis.

After going through AvaTrade’s research features, you will probably be thrilled by the fact that the platform offers a customizable news feed, as well as trading opinions you can use. Unfortunately, The only thing that’s missing is fundamental data so you need to use another source for that.

In summary, AvaTrade’s platform only suffers because of its limited customizability and the lack of price alerts. However, it is otherwise a great tool for learning how to trade Forex, researching, and trading in general. Further, there are many advantages with AvaTrade, making it well suited for other kinds of forex traders too, which is why it’s one of the most popular brokers in the country.


What You Should Look for When Choosing a UK Broker? 📔

Brokers are very different from one another and all display certain advantages and downsides. To pick the best brokerage, you must know what kind of an investor you are and then choose a service that ticks all the boxes for you, so to speak. 

For instance, investors looking to secure a solid retirement for themselves need a different platform than those who want to make quick, risky cryptocurrency trades — even if they’re commission free. In the following sections, we will break down what characteristics are important for brokers and why – that way, you can identify what’s crucial for you and pick the perfect service.

What are the Best Stock Brokers for Beginners? 🎓

Most of all, beginner traders need a top platform with the following: an easy-to-use platform, exceptional educational offerings, and low risk trading. Most trading software nowadays is made to be very user-friendly but not every broker has good educational resources. 

With a learning-oriented brokerage like AvaTrade, you get access to training videos and well-organized courses for all levels of proficiency. These lessons can take a complete beginner to an expert in terms of theoretical knowledge – but to test your newly-acquired skills, you need to jump into the market.

That’s where low trade risks come into play. Obviously, no one wants their first real trading experience to be a catastrophic failure – that’s why newcomers should enter the market with a broker that has low fees all-around.

Stock Options Guide Badge
Inexperienced traders should choose a broker with great educational offerings.

This means, low commissions on trades and a small, if any, inactivity fee – that will make sure you don’t lose much if you make a bad trade. Also, it’s crucial to check if a broker has the so-called “negative balance protection”. If it doesn’t, then your trading losses can put you in a negative account balance – and you can end up owing the broker money.

Although its education isn’t the best, eToro offers zero-commission trades and you only need to worry about an inactivity fee if your account has laid dormant for over a year. It also has an accessible platform and negative balance protection, which is why it’s a good pick for beginners who want to start trading for real.

How Much Money Do You Need to Start Investing in the UK? 💷

Investing often seems like a game reserved for the bigwigs – but that’s not the case at all. To start trading, you only need to open a brokerage account and deposit the minimal amount of money required by the broker. 

In most cases, these minimum deposits range from $0 to around $500 – which is very affordable. For example, eToro requires $200 to get you started, Plus500 needs only $100, and IG’s requirement sits at a pleasant $0.

How to Start Day Trading in the UK 👨‍💻

Day traders are all about quick trades and careful risk management. For this kind of work, they need an easy-to-use platform with very fast execution, and most importantly – very, very low commissions. 

Day trading explained
Day traders need a reliable platform capable of high volume trades and fast execution.

If you’re making multiple trades every day, paying a fixed commission for each one is out of the question – unless it’s cheap. Also, day traders can predict where the prices are going by using historical trends, news, and other research tools. A good day-trading platform should provide all this.

The investing space has plenty of options suitable for the speedy brains of day traders. Notable examples of quick, cheap brokers are eToro – if you’re interested in Forex and cryptos – and Interactive Brokers if you want your money in the international stock market.

How Do You Know a Stock Broker is Safe? ⚠️

Safety is a priority, and when it comes to brokers, some are completely secure while others seem about as trustworthy as an odd-looking sheep with long, wolf-like fangs. Luckily, there are many reputable brokers that have top-notch data encryption and clean track records.

On top of that, all brokers are regulated – when it comes to the UK, the top regulator is the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The amount of money depends on the brokerage, but all investment accounts are insured in case the broker goes bankrupt, breaks its contract with you, or fails in some major way.

Start Trading in the UK: 8 Simple Steps 📈

Investing is a lot better than letting your money sit idly while inflation eats it up bit by bit – but you have to know what you’re doing first. Investing without preparation and planning is about as sensible as shooting an arrow from a bow with a blindfold on – and most of us are not Robin Hood. 

However, once you get the basics down, trading the stock and Forex markets is neither difficult nor intimidating – you can set the tempo and choose the level of risk you’re willing to tackle. Let’s go over some ground rules quickly, so you can jump into the markets ready, rather than unprepared.

1. Learn about the Forex and stock markets – Forex is the world’s currency exchange while the stock market is primarily used for trading shares of companies, as well as commodities and other assets. Beginners should choose one of the two markets and learn about it to find out how it works and moves.

2. Know the difference between passive and active investing – Some investors want to put their money in good dividend stocks and watch their money grow and grow over a long period. Others, however, want to make trades every day to squeeze out every ounce of the market’s potential. What type of trader you are will determine how you choose your broker.

3. Be aware of risks and fees – First, you have to know that all brokerages, even the top discount brokers, have some fees that will lose you money over time. Also, you have to know that some trades are far riskier than others. For example, buying gold and government bonds is safe compared to CFDs which lose traders’ money roughly 75% of the time.

4. Get a plan going – Find a niche of the market you’re familiar with and set your goals. Gather info about many assets you think are worth investing in – if one fails, you can take your money and put it into a better-performing asset.

5. Pick a broker and open an account – If you’ve made a plan then it’s time to choose a broker that can help you accomplish it. If you want to delve into the currency market – use one of the top Forex brokers in the UK. If the stock market is your cup of tea, looking at the leading stock brokers is a good step forward.

6. Get used to the platform – Trading software is easy to use generally speaking, but you still have to learn quite a bit before you can use the full extent of your platform’s functions. Buying and selling assets are straightforward but there are usually many charting options and order types you need to figure out before they can help you trade better.

7. Make your first trade – If all the steps above are taken care of, it’s time to trade for real. Buy an asset when it’s cheap if possible, hold it while it gains value, and sell it at a profit. This process seems simple but can be very stressful at first – it’s your money you’re risking after all. If you can make a successful trade you’re on a good path – replicate the process and see the profits roll in.

8. Diversify – Never underestimate the market’s ability to be unpredictable – there’s no way to truly predict every price movement which is why you should diversify. Splitting up your portfolio in different asset classes is a must if you want to minimize risk.

What Investing is Like in the UK During COVID-19 💉

As you probably know, the stock markets around the world have taken a historic nosedive back in late February – and the British market is no different. Stocks are steadily growing back to their former glory but some sectors of the industry are doing much better than others.

For example, medicine and drug companies are mostly unharmed whereas fossil fuel and auto industries have seen their revenue decimated – hence a drop in stock prices. In other words, volatility is very high in sectors like tourism, auto parts, fossil fuels, construction materials, and even insurance.

chart
The change in share price for the UK’s leading industries.

Seeing the opportunity in today’s volatile market, numerous out-of-work Britons have turned to trading. This trend can be seen in other countries like the US where COVID-19 has caused a huge stir in the markets. As far as the rest of Europe is concerned some countries haven’t been hit hard at all – so there’s ample opportunity to invest in the continent if you’re looking for a stable market.

Generally speaking, trading in the UK stock market right now can bring great profit but also carries a lot of risks. According to some experts, this is a good time to buy top UK companies while they’re cheap because of their predicted long-term stability.

Trading Stocks in the UK: FAQs

  • Can You Use Robinhood in the UK?

    No. Robinhood announced its expansion to the UK earlier this year but that plan has been delayed by the pandemic. According to the broker, the move to the UK is postponed â€śindefinitely”.

  • Can You Day Trade Without 25k in the UK?

    Yes. This rule only applies to the US where you need to have at least $25.000 on your brokerage account to make more than 3 daily trades. The UK, Canada, and Australia do not have such limitations for day traders.

  • Can I Use Stock Trading Apps in the UK?

    Yes. Numerous UK-based stock brokers allow you to buy shares in the British market through their apps. There are a number of popular stock trading apps in the UK. However, most UK trading software doesn’t give you access to international stock markets.

  • How to Trade Stocks in the UK?

    You can directly buy UK company shares and some international stocks through UK-based brokers. You can also bet on whether a stock will rise or fall in price through options, CFDs, and spreads. Buying non-UK stocks is trickier as you have to go through an international broker or use spreads and CFDs as substitutes for trading actual shares.

  • How Can I Invest in US Stocks from the UK?

    If you want to trade stocks from other countries, it’s usually a good idea to do it through an international broker like Interactive Brokers which can give you direct access to foreign markets. Also, to trade US stocks, you need to file the so-called W-8BEN form with the IRS – this will also give you some taxation benefits.

All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Neither our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on tokenist.com. Our company, Tokenist Media LLC, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. Click here for a full list of our partners and an in-depth explanation on how we get paid.

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