Compare investment options

Find out how to choose what kind of investment suits you and compare investment options.

See the features and fees Compare investment services
Find out how to choose How to choose a provider

There are loads of different ways to invest, all suited to different types of people depending on how much you’ve got to invest, how much time you want to commit to investing and how much risk you fancy taking. We’ve compiled some different types of investments to help you understand what it is you’re after and help you get the most out of your money. You can also find out some key things you’ll want to consider when deciding how to invest.

The table below shows the price per trade, the frequent trader rate, which is the rate that you’ll get if you trade often, and any platform fees. You can scroll further down to understand what type of platform works for you. When you’ve chosen, hit “go to site” to get started.

Compare investment services

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Name Product Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Brand description
eToro Free Stocks
£0
N/A
£0
Capital at risk. 0% commission but other fees may apply. The minimum deposit with eToro is $50.
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
£11.95
£5.95
£0
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's number one platform for private investors, with the depth of features you'd expect from an established platform. The minimum deposit with HL is £1. Capital at risk.
Freetrade
Finder Award
Freetrade
£0
N/A
£0
Claim your free share worth between £3 and £200. Capital at risk.
Degiro Share Dealing
UK: £1.75 + 0.014% (max £5)
US: €0.50 + $0.004 per share
N/A
£0
Degiro is widely seen as one of the best low-cost share brokers, for people who are looking to trade regularly. The minimum deposit with Degiro is £0. Capital at risk.
interactive investor Trading Account
£7.99 (with one free trade per month)
£0
£9.99 per month
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. The minimum deposit with ii is £0. Capital at risk.
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All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

What is investing?

Investing is where you put your money into shares, property, government bonds, commodities and other financial instruments with the hope of making a profit. Some people like to choose individual company shares and instruments to invest in and create their own “portfolio”. Other investors aren’t interested in creating a portfolio themselves and prefer to choose a ready-made portfolio and pay an additional fee for an expert to manage it on their behalf.

INVESTING JARGON EXPLAINED

Robo-advisor. A robo-advisor is an investment platform that has ready-made portfolios – often ones that are fully managed on your behalf. These cost a little more but require very little work.
Commission. This is the cost of a trade, if you were to choose a DIY option. It’s how much the provider will charge you for buying shares, on top of the cost of the shares you’re buying.
Individual savings account (ISA). This is a wrapper for your investments that means you can invest a certain amount each year without paying tax on your profits. The allowance for the 2021/2022 tax year is £20,000. It’s typically best to opt for an ISA before a general investment account (GIA) if you haven’t used your annual allowance yet.

How to choose the right investment platform

You need to ensure that you make smart decisions about your investments so they match what you’re looking for.

  1. Figure out which investment option suits you. Do you want a hands on approach or would you prefer to sit back and let the experts manage your investments? We’ve detailed some of your choices below.
  2. Compare providers. Take a look at our comparison table below to compare investment providers.
  3. Choose between your chosen provider’s choices. Some providers have a series of different risk profiles to choose between. You may also get the choice to invest in an ethical portfolio. If you choose to create your own portfolio, check out some of their tips for choosing investments.
  4. Choose the type of account you want. Some providers let you invest in an ISA, which lets you use your ISA allowance, or a pension, which lets you save for retirement.

Image of a man looking at a sheet of paper alongside the stat: 43% of potential investors said they would consider investing because of poor savings interest rates.

What to consider before you invest

There are a couple of things you need to consider when choosing the best investments.

  • Have you got an emergency fund? If you have a bit of cash floating about and don’t have an emergency fund, it could be worth putting it aside in an easy access savings account to make sure you can get hold of it if you need it. Ideally you have a couple of months worth of living expenses set aside in case anything goes wrong, just to ensure that you’re covered.
  • Do you have any debt? If you have any expensive debt like credit cards, loans, payday loans or anything else in that category, consider paying it off first. The likelihood is that you’ll save more money in interest on these balances than you’d earn on your investments.
  • How much money do you have to invest? The amount you have available to invest makes a huge difference in what you’ll want to invest in – it’s partly due to risk, which we get onto a bit later, but also about how well you diversify your portfolio.
  • How long do you want to invest for? This is a huge consideration when investing. If you reckon you’ll need the money in the next three years, it’s probably not a good idea to invest it. You’re better off looking for a high interest savings account to put it away. If you’ll need it soon, make sure it’s easy access.

I want to build a portfolio

Share trading

Suitable for you if: You’re willing to put some time and effort into choosing companies to invest in. These platforms tend to cost less as you can bypass any experts that manage portfolios for you.

Also known as share dealing – this is where you buy shares in companies with the hope that they’ll grow over time and you can sell them for a larger amount in the future.

WHAT ARE SHARES?

Shares are little pieces of companies. Sometimes, when a company is doing really well and wants to grow even more, it floats on the stock market, also called “going public”. This means that the average day to day person (like you) can purchase little parts.
The price of stocks is part of how the company is valued and can range from pennies (penny stocks) to thousands of pounds.

If you choose to invest in shares, make sure you diversify your portfolio (read more about diverse portfolios above). You’ll need to find a trading platform that lets you buy and sell shares.

Most platforms let you search for shares in specific industries, or you can look at ones that have performed well recently. We’ve got guides for loads of different companies that you can invest in, as well as a guide on the current trending stocks, if you want a bit of inspiration.

What’s a diverse portfolio?

This is ultimately the entire definition of not putting all of your eggs in the same basket. It’s basically spreading your money between a bunch of different investments instead of investing all of your money in one thing.

It’s easy to think that giant established companies can’t fail, making them safe investments. But think about companies like Blockbuster. It was well ahead of its competitors but failed to adapt and, ultimately, failed as a company. Nowadays all that remains of Blockbuster is memories, and, for those who haven’t cleared their wallets out in a while, a dog-eared laminated card.

The more you spread out your investments, the less risk you are exposing yourself to. Of course, this means that your potential returns are lower.

How to compare share trading accounts.

Take a look at some of the features of share trading accounts and work out what it is you’re looking for. Some of the features you can compare include:

  • Charting tools. These let you see the performance of the stocks you’re interested in and analyse them in detail.
  • Commission per trade. Sometimes a provider has a lower commission when you trade a certain amount of times in the previous month.
  • Company financial information. Providers often provide details about company financials to help you decide if you want to invest.
  • Expert research. Trading apps often give some sort of expert research or information about trending stocks.
  • Watchlists and notifications. Sometimes a provider will let you put some stocks you’re interested in into a watchlist or let you set notifications of price movements.

Dividend investing

If you have a large sum that you want to invest, you could do some research into which investments could get you a regular income.

Some stocks and shares might pay dividends – this is where they share some of their profits with the shareholders. If you have a large sum invested in a diverse range of dividend stocks, you might be able to receive a regular income from your investments.

It’s worth noting that just because a stock paid dividends in the past, it doesn’t guarantee dividends in the future.

I want some help

Robo advisors

Suitable for you if: You don’t fancy managing your own portfolio. Maybe you’re a beginner and don’t quite know the ins and outs of the stock market just yet or you don’t have a huge amount to invest.

A robo-advisor is a type of provider that invests on your behalf. Some providers, like Nutmeg and Wealthify specifically market themselves as robo advisors, while companies that tend to be known for share dealing, like Hargreaves Lansdown
And IG have selections of ready made portfolios available to invest in.

Some providers have a quiz that helps you figure out how much risk you’re prepared to take on, while others present all of the options to you with a brief description of the risk you’re taking on to help you choose.

How to choose a robo advisor

When choosing a robo-advisor, you should consider some of the features each provider has to offer and work out what it is you want from the provider. Here are some typical features of robo advisors:

  • Round ups. This is where the provider links to your bank account with open banking and “rounds up” any purchases you make to the nearest pound. It then puts it into your investment account.
  • Portfolios. There will usually be a selection of portfolios to choose from. There will always be some indication of risk and sometimes you might be able to choose ethical choices.
  • A risk questionnaire. Platforms with a risk questionnaire might give you an indication of which portfolio you should choose based on your answers to questions about risk and investing.
  • Managed portfolios. Most robo-advisors have experts that manage portfolios on your behalf.
  • ISAs. Typically robo-advisors let you invest in an ISA.

Do I need a financial advisor?

If you’re lucky (or hard working) enough to have a large amount of money to invest (we’re thinking sums above £50,000), you might want to consider getting yourself a financial adviser. Not that you couldn’t do it yourself, of course, but with such a large chunk of money, you might find value in someone else’s expertise (and save yourself a few headaches!). A financial advisor will help you build a portfolio that suits you, your investment needs and desires and that matches your attitude to risk. They can keep track of it and make changes to it to make sure it stays on track.

Investment products

Some providers let you invest in an individual savings account (ISA), which lets you use your annual ISA allowance. You may also be able to invest in a private pension, which helps you save for your retirement. You might be able to invest in a self invested personal pension (SIPP), which is the same as a private pension but has more investment choices.

You might find that your chosen provider lets you invest in junior products, like a junior ISA (JISA) or a junior SIPP.

Pros and cons of investing

Pros

  • With savings rates only going as high as 2% at the moment, there’s the potential of much higher returns on your savings with investing. But this isn’t guaranteed.
  • With income investing or dividend stocks, you have the chance to receive a regular income when investing.
  • If you invest in an ISA, you aren’t taxed on your profits (if you invest up to £20,000 per tax year)

Cons

  • It’s risky. Investments can go down in value as well as up, so it’s important to consider the risks and only choose ones that you’re comfortable with.
  • It can be time consuming to keep track of your investments and balance your portfolio
  • For those interested in robo-advisors, it can be pricey to have an expert manage your portfolio for you.

Bottom line

Investing is a good way of earning some extra interest on your savings, and putting away money regularly can be a really healthy habit. Make sure you choose a provider that suits you, the type of investing you want to do, and the risks you want to take on board.

You can invest for the long term, with a pension, as well as the shorter term, with an ISA or general investment account. You can also invest for your children with junior products. If you do plan to invest your money, ensure you don’t need it in the next few years to allow it to grow.

Ready to compare investment options?

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

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