How to open a share-dealing account

How to choose the best trading account for share dealing, and start investing in UK and international markets.

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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 lessthan you invest. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

Online share dealing allows you to buy and sell shares in publicly listed companies from your phone, laptop or tablet. Where previously you needed a broker in order to access markets, these days investors trade directly by opening a share-dealing account with an online share-trading platform.

This guide allows you to easily compare online share-trading accounts, and takes you through the steps involved when choosing a platform.

Compare the UK’s leading trading platforms

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Brand description
Fineco
£2.95
£2.95
Zero platform fee
Your first 50 trades are free with Fineco, until 31/12/2020. T&Cs apply.
Fineco Bank is good for share traders and investors looking for a complete platform and wide offer. Capital at risk.
IG
0% commission on US shares, and £3 on UK shares
From £5
£0 - £24 per quarter
IG is good for experienced traders, and offers learning resources for beginners, all with wide access to shares, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
eToro Free Stocks
0% commission, no markup, no ticket fee, no management fee
N/A
Withdrawal fee & GDP to USD deposit conversion
Capital at risk. 0% commission but other fees may apply.
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
£11.95
£5.95
No fees
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's number one platform for private investors, with the depth of features you'd expect from an established platform. Capital at risk.
Degiro Share Dealing
£1.75 + 0.022% (max £5.00)
£1.75 + 0.022% (max £5.00)
Portfolio transfer fees (in & out)
Degiro is widely seen as one of the best low-cost share brokers, for people who are looking to trade regularly. Capital at risk.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum deposit Maximum annual fee Price per trade Brand description
Hargreaves Lansdown stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.45%
£11.95
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got everything you'll need, from beginners to experienced investors. Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor stocks and shares ISA
Any lump sum or £25 a month
£119.88
£7.99
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. Capital at risk.
Nutmeg stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.75%
£0
Nutmeg offers three types of portfolios. Choose the one that goes with your investment style. Capital at risk.
Moneyfarm stocks and shares ISA
£1500
0.75%
£0
Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets stocks and shares ISA
No minimum deposit requirement
0.12%
£8.00
Saxo Markets offers a wide access to a range of stocks, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell stocks and shares ISA
£500
0.25%
£9.95
AJ Bell is a good all-rounder for people who to choose between shares, funds, ISAs and pensions. Capital at risk.
Fidelity stocks and shares ISA
£1000 or a regular savings plan from £50
0.35%
£10.00
Fidelity is another good all-rounder, offering a good package at a decent price. Not suited for trading shares. Capital at risk.
Legal & General stocks and shares ISA
Legal & General stocks and shares ISA
£100 or £20 a month
0.61%
N/A
Legal & General is a big financial services company which offers insurance, lifetime mortgage, pensions and stocks and shares ISAs. Capital at risk.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum investment Choose from Annual fee Brand description
Moneyfarm Pension
£1,500 (initial investment)
7 funds
0.35%-0.75%
Moneyfarm has pensions that are matched against your risk appetite, goals and planned retirement date. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell Pension
£1,000
Over 2,000 funds
0.05-0.25%
AJ Bell has two different pension options, a self managed pension and one that is managed for you. Capital at risk.
PensionBee Pension
No minimum
7 funds
0.5% - 0.95%
Pension Bee is a newbie in the pension market. It helps consolidate your pension plans into one place. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown Pension
£100 or £25 a month
2,500 funds
0-0.45%
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got three different retirement options. Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor Pension
Any lump sum or £25 a month
Over 3,000 funds
£10/month
interactive investor is a flat-fee platform, which makes it cost effective for larger portfolios. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets Pension
Saxo Markets Pension
£10
Over 11,000 funds
No annual fee
Saxo Markets gives flexibility and control over your investment strategy. Capital at risk.
Penfold
Penfold
No minimum
4 portfolios
0.75-0.88%
Moneybox Pension
£1
3 funds
0.15% - 0.45% charged monthly
Manage your money with an easy-to-use Moneybox app. Capital at risk.
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Compare up to 4 providers

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back lessthan you invest. If you’re not sure which investments are right for you, please seek out a financial adviser. Capital at risk.

Or use a stocks and shares ISA

A stocks and shares ISA can be another good option for investors. Legal & General’s award-winning stocks and shares ISA let’s you choose from three investment options. You can let them do it for you, use index-tracking funds to build your own portfolio, or pick your own funds.

Why trade shares online?

Trading shares online offers a secure and easy way to manage your investments. You can place trades at a time and place convenient to you, with the obvious benefits of dividend payments and investing for the future.

There are of course risks attached to trading shares, including the possibility of losing money you invest. It’s important to make sure you’re aware of those risks before you start trading.

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See the finder.com/uk share trading guide.

How do I choose an online share-dealing platform?

You’ll need to carefully consider what you need before deciding on the right online trading platform. Some of the issues to consider include:

  • Your trading knowledge and experience. Some online trading platforms are designed to suit casual investors. Other trading platforms have features geared towards experienced traders, such as advanced charting tools, speedy execution of trades and live market data. These features may come at a cost,
    however, and may not add much value if you are a less experienced trader.
  • The markets you can access. Some share-dealing platforms only provide access to companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, while others will also allow you to place trades on international markets. Some trading platforms will also provide access to other trading instruments, for example forex and contracts for difference (CFDs).
  • The fees involved. There are two main costs you need to consider when choosing a share trading platform: the brokerage fee and the ongoing fee. The brokerage fee applies each time you place a trade and is usually around £10-£25, but could be higher based on the size of the transaction. Ongoing subscription fees are charged monthly and vary depending on the provider and the account features you select. Before choosing a platform, make sure you understand the fees you’re likely to pay. As Boring Money CEO Holly Mackay told Finder, “transparency has improved a lot and some platforms are actually now quite good at being very clear on what investors will pay.”
  • Trading resources. From educational tutorials to research and investment advice, check what tools a platform offers to help you make informed trading decisions.
  • Customer service. If you ever have a problem or need help with a trade, check to make sure you will be able to access prompt and helpful customer support.

How to open a share-trading account

The exact process for opening a share trading account varies depending on the trading platform you select. However, you’ll generally need to complete the following steps when signing up:

  1. Choose your broker. Research a range of options to find the online stockbroking provider that offers all the features you want at an affordable price. Some providers also offer a choice of share trading platforms, for example a free web-based platform for casual investors and a more complicated software package with a monthly subscription fee for experienced traders.
  2. Choose your membership level. Some providers offer a choice of membership tiers, each with a different level of features and a different ongoing fee. For example, you may need to choose between a Bronze, Silver or Gold trading account.
  3. Provide your details. You’ll need to provide your full name and a valid form of photo ID, as well as your email address, phone number.
  4. Link your bank account. You’ll need to supply details of the bank account which will be used to finance your trades and you may be required to deposit a minimum amount. Some share dealing platforms will also require you to open a cash management account with a specific financial institution before you can start trading.
  5. Submit your application. Your application to open a share trading account will usually be processed within 1-2 business days.
  6. Start trading. Once your application has been approved you can login to your account and start trading.
It’s also worth pointing out that it can be a lot easier to open a share trading account if you’re an existing customer of the same financial institution; for example if you’re a CommBank customer opening a CommSec share trading account. In this case, you won’t have to provide your name, contact information or proof of ID.

Tips for new investors

Hargreaves Lansdown’s Sophie Lund-Yates shares her advice for new investors looking to join the stock market.

Did you have these enquiries about opening a share-dealing account?

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