Compare share dealing accounts

Compare share dealing accounts, including those with 0% commission, and find out how to buy shares.

Table: investing accounts then ISAs, ordered by Finder score with promoted deals first
Name Product Finder Score Min. initial deposit Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Offer Link
Finder Award
FREE TRADES
eToro Free Stocks
4.3
★★★★★
$100
£0 on stocks
N/A
£0
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Capital at risk. Other fees apply.

Platform details
Finder Award
OFFER
CMC Invest share dealing account
4.4
★★★★★
£0
£0
N/A
£0
Earn up to £1,000 when you transfer a minimum of £25,000 into your CMC account, plus get your first 3 months free when you upgrade to Plus plan. T&Cs apply. Capital at risk.
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Capital at risk

Platform details
XTB
4.4
★★★★★
£0
£0
£0
£0
Earn up to 5.2% interest on uninvested cash.
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Capital at risk

Platform details
InvestEngine
4.4
★★★★★
£100
£0
N/A
0% - 0.25%
Get a Welcome Bonus of up to £50 when you invest at least £100 with InvestEngine. T&Cs apply.
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Capital at risk

Platform details
Saxo Share Dealing Account
4.3
★★★★★
£0
£3
N/A
0.12% per year
Go to site

Capital at risk

Platform details
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
4.2
★★★★★
£1
£11.95
£5.95
£0
Get back up to £100 of online trading fees until 21 June. Capital at risk. T&Cs apply.
Go to site

Capital at risk

Platform details
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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.

Whether you’re an experienced trader or a beginner, you’ll want a share dealing account that lets you access the markets you want and offers the best value for money. We’ll explain what you get, and the costs of each one.

What’s a share dealing account?

This is a platform that lets you buy and sell investments like stocks and shares, for example. Sometimes you can also trade other assets, it depends on the platform you pick.

A share dealing account is also known as a “brokerage account”, “share dealing platform” or a “share trading account”. It all refers to the same thing – a place where you can buy, sell, or hold investments.

It’s worth considering opening a stocks and shares ISA with your chosen share dealing account provider to “hold” your investments because you can invest up to £20,000 a year in ISAs and you won’t have to pay tax on most profits. But you might have to pay a fee for the ISA, depending on the share dealing platform you use.

Share trading jargon explained

Commission. The fee you pay to make a trade. In our table above, this is the “price per trade”.
Regular investing. Some share dealing accounts offer lower fees if you invest or trade regularly. The number and rate differs between platforms, but it’s worth checking if you’re likely to make multiple trades each month.
Platform fees. Some share dealing accounts charge percentage fees based on how much money you’re investing, others charge a flat fee no matter the size of your portfolio.
Robo-advisor. A robo-advisor is a type of investment platform that invests for you in ready-made portfolios (containing multiple investments) – this isn’t strictly a share dealing account, as you can’t buy individual shares, but it’s closely related.
“Stop loss” and “Take profit”. These are trading order types and act as tools to help manage your trades.
Charting tools. Tools that create charts giving insight into the movements of the stocks. Generally for more advanced investors.

What are the different types of share dealing account?

There are several types of share dealing platforms – each with pros and cons.

  • Established brokers. The big, established players tend to offer a comprehensive service but with higher fees; examples are Hargreaves Lansdown, Saxo, IG, and interactive investor.
  • Low-commission platforms. Then, there’s a breed of zero (or low-commission) share dealing accounts, which tend to be from challenger brands, and you access them via an app or online. These include eToro, Trading 212, Freetrade, CMC Invest and XTB.
  • Robo-advisors. Lastly, there are robo-advisors. These platforms and apps invest for you in ready-made portfolios. They’re aimed at helping you diversify your investments at a low cost. Typically, you can’t choose specific investments to make up a portfolio. They’re popular with beginners. Examples are Wealthify, Moneyfarm, Moneybox and Nutmeg.

Finder investment stat

How do I choose a share dealing account?

  1. DIY or robo-advisor. Think about whether you want to be in charge of picking and managing your investments, or if you’d prefer to pay a small fee to have experts handle everything.
  2. Compare fees. Fee structures differ depending on the account. For example, there may be lower costs if you buy or sell investments more often. More on this below and in our guide to investment fees.
  3. Tools and other features. Consider the features and tools available to you, such trading order types, that can help you minimise risk.
  4. Type of investments on offer. You might not need to access every stock exchange in the world, but if you want to buy international stocks, you’ll need a share dealing account that offers them.

After you’ve set up a share dealing account, you’ll be able to browse shares to buy. You can select shares based on quantity, or based on value. Once you’ve bought your shares, they’ll appear in your portfolio.

What are the costs of share dealing?

One of the most important parts of comparing share dealing accounts is the fees.

Share dealing platforms make money through various fees and charges when you buy shares. Here’s a list of typical ones:

  • Account or platform fee. This charge can be monthly or annually. With some platforms this will be a flat fee (no matter the size of your portfolio), but others will charge you a percentage amount based on the size of your holdings.
  • FX fee. If you buy international stocks, most platforms charge a foreign exchange (FX) fee.
  • Inactivity fee. Some share dealing account platforms charge you if you stop trading, but this is a decreasing trend as account providers compete for customers.
  • Price per trade (commission). The more often you trade, the more likely you’ll get a discount on this.
  • Stamp duty reserve tax (SDRT). UK shares traded electronically incur 0.5% SDRT.

Why it’s important to compare fees

Trading fees can quickly add up and eat into profits. So it’s important to know upfront what you’re likely to be charged, allowing you to maximise any returns. You may have already heard about how your gains can compound over time, well, you’re probably less likely to have heard about how your costs can also compound. Spread out over many years, small fractions can make a huge difference.

Do you have to pay tax with a share dealing account?

George Sweeney

Finder expert George Sweeney answers

In most cases, yes. Depending on the investments you hold, you may have to pay dividend or capital gains tax (CGT). However, you can legally swerve paying these UK taxes by using a stocks and shares ISA when buying, holding and selling your investments.

You can invest up to £20,000 each tax year in an ISA and you won’t have to pay tax on most profits. But you might have to pay a fee for the ISA, depending on the share dealing platform you use.

How to compare share dealing accounts

Comparing share dealing accounts as an “apple to apples” comparison is difficult — it’s really all about what you want. With trading apps, it’s more about finding the one that suits your needs and comes with the features you’re looking for.

How to compare share dealing accounts:

  1. Check out the available stocks. There’s no point looking further at a platform if you can’t trade the stocks you want. Some accounts only trade UK shares, while others have a huge range of overseas stocks.
  2. Look at the investment types. Similar to the first step, check which share dealing accounts have all the investment types or assets that you want, such as funds and commodities.
  3. Review the features. Some share dealing accounts, typically the more expensive ones, will have a huge array of features available. While this is great, it’s only worth paying for if you actually plan to use them. Figure out what you’ll use and what you won’t. You can always swap to a new share dealing account later if you need more features.
  4. Think about app-based trading. Several share dealing accounts don’t have mobile apps at all (I know!) and some are completely app-based. Decide which you’d prefer.
  5. Compare the fees. You’ll want to compare the commission and foreign exchange (FX) fees. Also check what the other platform fees involve.

Risks to consider when choosing a share dealing account

Investing comes with risk. The value of shares or investments you buy could go down for as many reasons as it could go up. You need to ensure that you’re not investing money that you can’t afford to lose, and only take risks that you’re comfortable with.

When you begin comparing share dealing account, if you’re new to investing – it might be best to avoid complex or expensive platforms. You can always upgrade to a more detailed brokerage service once you’re comfortable and learn the ropes. Keep in mind that the best trading platform for you will likely be different from someone else’s ideal platform.

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Bottom line

If you want to start investing, you’ll need a share dealing account. These days, there are plenty of options to choose from and it’s all about find the right one for your needs, which is where we want to help.

As you find your feet, just keep things simple. Don’t get bogged down in all the details about the nuts and bolts of platforms. Look for one that suits how you want to invest, and if you need some inspiration, check out our best trading apps. We’ve tested and analysed UK share dealing accounts to give you our verdict on the top options.

Frequently asked questions

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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