Best stocks and shares ISA in the UK

We’ve tested stocks and shares ISA accounts from some of the best investing platforms in the UK.

Best S&S ISAs by category See the list

For UK investors, using a stocks and shares ISA is a bit of a no-brainer. It allows you to invest as you would normally, but any potential gains or dividends are shielded from the taxman.

Once you’ve learnt about all the glorious benefits of using a tax-efficient ISA account like this, you’ll want to choose the best stocks and shares ISA for you – whether that’s because you’re a beginner, or you’re someone with a particular investing strategy in mind. We’ve tested more than 15 platforms offering investment ISAs and here are our top picks.

Our top picks for stocks and shares ISA platforms

Best for ETFs
IG Share Dealing ISA logo
Capital at risk. T&Cs apply.
0% commission on US shares
13,000+ shares to invest in
No commission on US shares
Exclusive out-of-hours trading
Promoted for flexible ISAs
CMC Invest flexible stocks and shares ISA logo
Finder Award
Capital at risk. T&Cs apply.
Get your first 3 months free
0% commission on trades
Choose from 3000+ stocks
Real-time live pricing
Best for low fees
InvestEngine stocks and shares ISA logo
Capital at risk. T&Cs apply.
£25 welcome bonus
DIY and ready made portfolios
Easy to use
No extra cost for a S&S ISA

Best stocks and shares ISAs in the UK, December 2023

Our top pick for ETFs

IG logo
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Capital at risk
When it comes to exchange-traded funds (ETFs), IG is hard to beat.

ETFs let you invest in a whole basket full of stocks with one single investment. This gives you some automatic diversity and it can reduce your commissions by trading less than if you were investing in individual stocks and shares.

The IG share dealing ISA lets you choose from over 5,000 ETFs. So there’s plenty of options for you to stick your teeth into. One thing to be aware of is that with IG, more is better. The investing commissions drop drastically if you make 3 or more investments each month (and this also wipes out the quarterly custody fee of £24).

Our top pick for US shares

CMC Invest logo
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Capital at risk
CMC burst onto the UK investing scene in late 2022, and it's come a long way. We selected CMC Invest as our best stocks and shares ISA for US shares because you invest in over 3,000 US stocks commission-free.

On top of this, you can also hold a USD currency account to help lower your FX fees and deal with less currency fluctuations. The CMC Invest app also has plenty of other features for ISA investors like 2% uncapped interest on cash, ESG ratings, and analyst ratings.

When trying out the flexible CMC Invest ISA, the only major downside is that it costs £10 per month as part of the “Plus” plan. This could provide good value if you’ve built up a large ISA portfolio over the years, but it’s more expensive than some other providers for smaller portfolios.

Our top pick for low fees

InvestEngine logo
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Capital at risk
We chose InvestEngine because when it comes to low fees, it’s hard to beat free.

InvestEngine is a platform that only lets you invest in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which is limiting. But for those of you who want to build an ETF portfolio, it costs nothing to open and hold a DIY stocks and shares ISA with InvestEngine. There’s also no commission when buying or selling ETFs.

Although the DIY option is free (where you choose investments yourself), there is a 0.25% fee if you want an expertly managed portfolio. However, this fee is competitive with most other robo-advisors and platforms offering ready-made portfolios.

Our top pick for customer satisfaction

Hargreaves Lansdown logo
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Capital at risk
We surveyed customers of the major platforms in the UK and Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) was top for customer satisfaction, making it a winner in the 2023 Finder Share Dealing Customer Satisfaction Awards.

86% of respondents in our survey said they’d recommend HL to a friend. It’s known for great service and great features - none of which comes cheap. Also, it’s worth pointing out that this research was carried out based on the overall service (it wasn’t ISA specific).

Our top pick for 0% commission

Trading212 logo
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We chose Trading 212 because along with charging no commission to buy or sell over 12,000 global stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), it offers some additional noteworthy features.

It’s free to open and hold a Trading 212 stocks and shares ISA and you can invest in fractional shares with as little as £1, and the 0.15% foreign exchange (FX) fee is one of the lowest on the market.

There are also some useful social features like “Pie” (what Trading 212 calls portfolios) copying and the Social Feed, which lets you see what other investors paying no commission are up to.

Our top pick for beginners

Freetrade logo
User survey
Finder score
We chose Freetrade as our best stocks and shares ISA for beginners because it’s simple to set up an account and the app is excellent.

Another great thing about the Freetrade investment ISA is that there’s no commission for buying or selling stocks and you can invest with as little as £2.

Experienced investors might find the Freetrade ISA to be too simplistic, but we think that for beginners, it will hit the mark. There’s over 6,000 stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to choose from and the flat fee structure means you pay the same amount no matter how big your portfolio grows.

Our top pick for investment choice

interactive investor logo
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Capital at risk
Whether you’re looking for a wide range of assets, thousands of stocks to choose from, ready-made portfolios, or access to loads of ethical options - interactive investor (ii) has you covered.

We picked this as our best stocks and shares ISA for investment choice because it has an unparalleled selection of assets (over 40,000). Also, instead of leaving you to flounder within its supersize investment pool, ii does an excellent job providing insights and research to help you find the right assets for your goals.

The only drawback with ii is that the share dealing commissions are higher than some other options and the flat monthly fee for the plans will be best value if you’ve a large portfolio.

Our top pick for ready-made portfolios

Nutmeg logo
User survey
Finder score
If you don’t want to pick your own ISA investments, robo-advisors like Nutmeg will build and manage a portfolio for you.

Nutmeg was one of the original robo-advisors to hit the UK, and it has the widest choice of ready-made investment options we’ve seen.

In total, there are 30 portfolios to choose from across a range of risk levels and investing styles (fixed allocation, socially responsible, fully managed, smart alpha). The major drawback with Nutmeg is that the fees are slightly higher than some other robo-advisor ISAs.

Our top pick for index funds

Vanguard logo
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Read Vanguard's review
Capital at risk
We picked Vanguard as our best stocks and shares ISA for index funds because not only did Vanguard invent the whole concept of index funds, its ISA also has a low annual percentage cost of 0.15%.

There are around 75 fund options, ranging from broad index-tracking funds, to newer additions like target date retirement funds, LifeStrategy funds (a fund made up of multiple funds), and ESG index funds - covering both equities and bonds.

You can pick your own funds with the Vanguard ISA, or if you prefer, you can opt for the Vanguard Managed ISA. With this, the expert team will pick and manage a portfolio for an added fee of 0.3%, which is cheaper than many robo-advisors.

Whether you go for the Managed ISA or not, the key downside with Vanguard ISAs is that you’re limited to Vanguard funds only, and you can’t buy individual stocks or other investments.

How are US investments taxed in an ISA?

George Sweeney

Finder expert George Sweeney answers

Using a stocks and shares ISA usually means that you can invest tax-free – but there is an exception.

When you buy US stocks using your investment ISA, you won’t have to pay any capital gains or dividend tax in the UK. However, if your US stock pays dividends, a withholding tax (WHT) of 15% will automatically apply.

There’s nothing you need to do about this and your provider will take care of it for you but it’s worth being aware of this when people say that you pay absolutely zero tax on investments held in stocks and shares ISAs. This is true for UK investments, but you may still have to pay a little to Uncle Sam in the US.

Best stocks and shares ISAs for customer satisfaction

We asked people who’d used a share dealing platform within the previous 12 months to rate their satisfaction with the service they received and whether they’d recommend the provider to a friend. Our independent survey of 805 investors was carried out in December 2022 and the top provider won our 2023 Finder Share Dealing Customer Satisfaction Award. Where there was a draw on the satisfaction star rating, we used the “would recommend” percentage as a tie-breaker.

We’ve shown survey results for the brands listed in the table below. Keep in mind, we didn’t separate ISAs from the rest of the accounts, so this gives you more of an overall picture.

RankingProviderOverall satisfactionCustomers who’d recommend
1Hargreaves Lansdown★★★★★86%
13Invest engine★★★★★76%
14interactive investor★★★★★73%

DIY stocks and shares ISAs vs robo-advisors: What’s the difference?

“Robo-advisors” is a strange term, but it’s pretty accurate. A robo-advisor is a platform that collects basic information about you and your investment goals, then uses computer-generated decisions to put your money to work – hence “robo”.

You start by choosing a portfolio, based on your goals and attitude towards risk. The next step is to deposit funds (as a lump sum or regular investment), and the provider does the work for you. It creates and manages a portfolio that’s either completely automated or uses a combination of professional management and automation.

DIY (do it yourself) investing is hands-on. You can pick all your own individual stocks and shares if you like. Or if you want to go for a more diversified approach, you can invest in funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which contain a whole basket of investments. This is the type of account you’re looking for if you’ve got specific strategy or assets in mind for your investment ISA.

Frequently asked questions

The value of investments can fall as well as rise, and you may get back less than you invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. A stocks and shares ISA may not be right for everyone and tax rules may change in the future. If you are unsure if an ISA is the right choice for you, please seek independent financial advice.

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