Whether you’re an experienced trader or a complete beginner, a share dealing account could help you to add value to your portfolio. If you want to learn more about buying, holding and selling shares, and how to choose the best share dealing account, you’ve come to the right place.
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. Capital is at risk.
How do I choose the best share-trading platform?
When deciding on a share-dealing platform or broker, you should first establish the following:
How regularly you plan on buying and selling shares
How much you want to spend on shares
Different share-trading platforms have different fee structures, trading options and stock availability, and many are geared towards certain types of investors. Understanding your overall investment goals is the key to choosing the share-dealing platform that will best suit your investing style.
Many share dealing platforms let users trade using more than one of the above methods, whereas some may be only available as an app or desktop program. As a general rule, trading apps are likely to be the most straightforward and beginner-friendly, whereas desktop programs may be aimed at more serious investors.
What costs should I look out for?
After you’ve set up an account you’ll be able to browse for shares to buy. You can select to purchase shares based on quantity, or based on value. Once you’ve purchased your shares, they will appear in your portfolio.
It goes without saying that online share dealing platforms need to make money. The main way they do this is through various fees and charges.
Here’s a list of some of the ones to look for:
Account fee. This charge might be monthly or annually.
Inactivity fee. Some platforms will charge you if you stop trading, but this is a decreasing trend as more providers compete for customers.
Price per trade. This is what it sounds like. The more often you trade, the more likely you’ll get a discount on this.
Depending on which share trading platform you use, you may pay a fee on every trade you make, fees only on certain types of trades, or pay no trading fees at all. Below is a general summary of the trading fees charged by popular brokers and share dealing platforms:
Whilst trading fees may seem small in isolation, they can quickly add up over time, and can have a big impact on how much you end up making on your investments. It’s important that you understand the types of fees you’re likely to pay on each platform so that you can help maximise your returns.
As Vanguard founder Jack Bogle spent his career reminding investors, you can’t predict market returns but you can control the fees you pay.”
Other things to consider
While cost is an important factor in determining the best share dealing platform for your investing needs, there are other things to keep in mind when comparing share-trading platforms and online brokers.
If you’re a beginner investor, you may want a platform that’s intuitive and easy-to-use, and that isn’t going to punish your lack of experience.
If you’re an advanced investor, you may want a share trading platform that offers additional features such as real-time market data, detailed stock charts and advanced order types. Day-traders or professional investors may want to find a share dealing platform that offers commission-free trades, or offers discounted trading fees based on the number of trades you make.
What is a share?
Let’s start with the basics. A share is basically a portion of a company. When you buy a share you’re buying a small portion of the company. The value of shares can go up and down based on the company’s performance in the stock market.
What is share dealing?
Share dealing, or share-trading, is a popular form of investing. It means you buy company shares, and hopefully make a profit by selling the shares on for a higher price later down the line. There’s always risk involved though, and shares can also lose value. Anyone who invests in the stock market or uses a share trading account is technically share dealing.
How do I buy shares?
The simplest option available is to buy shares online through a “share-dealing platform” (or broker). Most platforms let you purchase shares from any company listed on the stock exchange, but other share-trading platforms may only let you buy a limited range of stocks.
Where can I buy shares?
There’s the London Stock Exchange, which includes the big names like Barclays, Vodafone, easyJet and Sainsbury’s. The FTSE 100 Index shows the top 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Then you’ve got the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) which is a subsidiary of the London Stock Exchange. The AIM lists new, growing companies that are less well known.
Only companies which have ‘floated’ on the stock exchange can sell shares publicly. If you see it listed, you can buy shares in it! It’s that simple.
Once you’ve identified the shares you want to buy, you’ll have to set up a share dealing account, and link it up to your bank account or deposit money in it to buy the share.
We’ve got a full start-to-finish guide on how to buy shares which you might find helpful.
Did you know?
Companies usually get listed on the stock exchange when they’ve done an Initial Public Offering (IPO). This can also be known as floating, flotation, or just ‘going public’. There are other ways a company can become listed, for example by being taken over by an already listed company.
How to hold shares
Most online share dealing platforms hold your shares on your behalf. This means you’re still the legal shareholder, but your name won’t appear on any company’s share register.
In your early days of investing, it’s tempting to check your shares all the time. But as time goes and your portfolio grows you’re likely to forget – so keep a track of everything!
If you’re building your own portfolio it’s important to check things regularly and make adjustments to respond to real-world events.
How do I sell shares?
Selling shares is simple too. Most share trading accounts let you sell shares in two ways:
Sell a certain number of shares.
Sell a certain value of shares
Once you decide to sell and place your deal, you’ll be quoted a price. This price isn’t usually locked in, just an indication of the price at that time. The money you get may not be the exact same amount.
Yes. You could have to pay capital gains tax and 0.5% stamp duty. More on this from the government site.
The best way is to be a frequent trader. Specific frequent trader accounts often come with reduced costs per trade.
Yes, but you’ll be charged to this.
No. Only in those companies you find listed on stock exchanges.
Yes, providing the platform you use offers a mobile app. You will still need to set up an account and provide payment before using the app.
Charlie Barton is a publisher at Finder. He specialises in banking and investments products, including banking apps, current accounts, share-dealing platforms and stocks and shares ISAs. Charlie has a first-class degree from the London School of Economics, and in his spare time enjoys long walks on the beach.
Read more on this topic
How to buy N/A sharesEver wondered how to buy shares in Kodak? We explain how and compare a range of providers that can give you access to many brands, including Kodak.
How to buy N/A sharesEver wondered how to buy shares in Amino Technologies? We explain how and compare a range of providers that can give you access to many brands, including Amino Technologies.
How to buy N/A sharesEver wondered how to buy shares in Symphony Environmental Technologies? We explain how and compare a range of providers that can give you access to many brands, including Symphony Environmental Technologies.
How to buy N/A sharesEver wondered how to buy shares in Physiomics? We explain how and compare a range of providers that can give you access to many brands, including Physiomics.
How to buy N/A sharesEver wondered how to buy shares in Nichols? We explain how and compare a range of providers that can give you access to many brands, including Nichols.
How to buy N/A sharesEver wondered how to buy shares in dotDigital? We explain how and compare the best share dealing platforms that can give you access to many brands, including dotDigital.
Open Money reviewMoney management app Open Money is free to use, and makes personal recommendations to you based on your individual circumstances and how much investment risk you are willing to take.
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.