Barclays share dealing review
- Price per trade
- UK & US: £6, Other international: £9, Funds: £3
- Min. initial deposit
Barclays is a good choice for share dealing, especially if you already have a current account with it, in the interests of keeping everything in one place. Overall, it’s a robust place to put your money to work with a decent range of options to suit various investing styles.
The fact that it’s with an well-established and respected bank can give extra peace of mind. However, that doesn’t mean your investments will perform any better. Barclays’ fees and commissions are in line with other banks and top-tier providers, but it’s not the cheapest.
We like that there’s a decent range of assets and market available, and the automated regular investment service means commissions drop to just £1. That being said, the fee structure is quite confusing and Barclays does a poor job of explaining things in simple terms for beginners (on the website and app).
Low commission for regular investing
Large choice of assets and stock exchanges
No extra fees to hold an investment ISA
Ready-made investments for beginners
Confusing fee structure
Limited learning resources and trading tools
User interface is dated and clunky
High maximum monthly fee of £125 a month
Must hold a current account
How we rated Barclays's investment features
|Barclays can be cheap depending on your investments but it’s best if you automate.|
|It offers a decent range of assets with access to major markets.|
|Safety and security|
|Barclays offers a secure and safe place for people to invest.|
|Account types and products|
|You can invest using all the major tax-efficient accounts.|
|Ease of use|
|Barclays offers a solid investing experience that most customers seem happy with.|
|Tools, resources and features|
|Barclays offers plenty of tools and resources apart from social features.|
Barclays “Smart Investor” is an investing service that lets Barclays current account holders invest in a range of different ways. It has 3 choices for investors, based on how much you know about investing and how much help you want. Find out how Barclays investing works, what products it offers, and the drawbacks of its share dealing service.
How does Barclays investing work?
With Barclays, you can choose between 3 investment approaches depending on how much help you want with your investments.
You have three different strategies to choose from. This is based on your experience with investing and how much help you think you need. Barclays helpfully sorts out the three options based on how much experience you have with investing and how much help you want.
Here’s a brief explanation of what each choice involves. We explain them in more detail further down.
- I want some help. This is for you if you don’t have much investing experience. Your investments are chosen for you and managed for you.
- I need some inspiration. This option gives you a little more control, but not much. You can choose between 5 ready-made portfolios.
- I’m confident choosing investments. With this option, you’re on your own. You can create a portfolio yourself which includes whatever you want.
|Platform fee||0.2% of funds or 0.1% of other investments|
(£4/month minimum, £125/month maximum).
|Foreign exchange (FX) fee||1% first £5,000|
0.75% £5,000 – £10,000
0.5% £10,000 – £25,000
0.25% £25,000 – £250,000
0.1% over £250,000
|Regular investing||Yes (commission drops to £1)|
Barclays isn’t particularly expensive in any single area. It’s not very cheap across the board either.
The commission costs and platform fees can work out lower than some of the legacy brokerages but they’re not cheap enough to compete with the new challenger brokers.
Barclays uses a percentage fee system for the platform charges, which will suit smaller portfolios. Although, there’s a £4 monthly minimum, so really this will suit mid-sized portfolios as you’re going to see the most benefit when you breach around £25,000.
For example, you’d pay £48 a year whether your portfolio is worth £500 or £25,000. And then for £50,000, you’d pay a minimum of £50 a year. So you can see it’s better value as your portfolio grows, but the £125 a month cap is very high. You’d need a portfolio worth at least £1.5 million to hit this monthly fee cap.
If you can, it’s worth taking a look at the fund selection or making the most of Barclays’ regular investing service because this will reduce your trading commission down to £1.
Barclays investment choice and stocks
|Investment choice score|
|Number of investments||2,500+|
|Number of ETFs/funds||230+|
|Minimum investment||£0 (at least one share)|
Barclays has a decent selection of investments, assets and markets available to you. There’s no chance you’ll run out of investing ideas.
It’s also great that there’s no minimum deposit or investment amount, but because you can’t buy fractional shares, you need to buy at least one full share of any investment.
Whether you want to build your own portfolio or make use of the Barclays ready-made investment portfolios, Barclays gives you the flexibility to invest in a way that suits your style and goals.
The only downside is the fees that come with some investment types like individual stocks and shares.
If you’re in a position to set up a regular investment plan with Barclays, it immediately becomes a more attractive place to invest with just a £1 commission.
Is Barclays safe?
|Safety and security score|
Barclays is one of the largest banks in the world and is well trusted by those who use Barclays for investing. It has several procedures and protocols in place to ensure that your money is kept safe and secure at all times.
Barclays is also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is bound by its rules and regulations in the conduct of its investment business. Your investments are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) which means your deposits are covered up to £85,000 if Barclays goes bust.
Barclays account types and products
|Account types and products score|
|General investment account (GIA)|
|Stock and shares ISA|
|Self-invested personal pension (SIPP)|
|Lifetime ISA (LISA)|
|Junior ISA (JISA)/Junior SIPP (JSIPP)|
|Interest on cash balances|
What products are available with Barclays?With Barclays, you have three product options to choose from. Which one you go for depends on your investments in the current tax year and how long you plan to invest.
The products available with Barclays are:
- Stocks and shares ISA. This investment ISA lets you put your money to work without paying tax on most profits.
- Self-invested personal pension (SIPP). A type of personal pension that gives you more control over your retirement portfolio. Read self-invested personal pension (SIPP) to learn more.
- General investment account. A standard investment account with no tax benefits.
Barclays stocks and shares ISABarclays refers to this as an investment ISA and it comes with the same tax-efficient structure as other stocks and shares ISAs. It has the same characteristics as investment ISAs with other providers.
You can invest up to a certain amount each tax year without paying UK capital gains or dividend tax on your profits. The allowance for the 2023/2024 tax year is £20,000
Each year, you can open and pay into a new ISA or continue with the one you have, but you can’t pay into two of the same type of ISA in a single tax year.
Barclays SIPPThe self-invested personal pension (SIPP) lets you prepare for retirement. You make your own investment decisions and may be entitled to tax relief on the amounts that you pay in.
You can’t withdraw from your SIPP until you turn 55. This is set to rise to 57 in 2028.
You can invest in one of the ready-made portfolios or choose your own investments with the Barclays SIPP. You can also check out the Barclays funds list, which is a list of funds put together by Barclays experts.
Barclays general investment accountThe general investment account (GIA) is usually chosen by people who have already used their ISA allowance for the year, or are already paying into a stocks and shares ISA elsewhere.
There are no limits on this account, but you may have to pay capital gains tax on your profits if you make more than £6,000, or dividend tax on anything over £1,000. So it takes a bit more thought than the ISA.
Barclays ease of use
|Ease of use score|
|Apple iOS rating|
|Google Play rating|
|Ways to contact customer service||Phone, email and in-app chat|
|Desktop or mobile app||Both|
Barclays scored well in our ease of use assessment, and as you’d expect from a bank with plenty of resources, Barclays does a decent job of creating a smooth investing experience.
We think it’s great that there are multiple ways to contact the customer service team and you can invest using a desktop computer or mobile phone.
On the App Store, Barclays scores 4.8 out of 5, and on Google Play it has a slightly lower 4.4 out of 5 (as of November 2023). Keep in mind that these reviews are for the whole Barclays banking app and not just specifically related to investing.
One downside is that being such a large institution, some of the messaging and jargon used by Barclays is slightly confusing. The investing service isn’t its sole focus so the user experience doesn’t get the same kind of attention other platforms are able to provide.
Barclays customer reviews
Trustpilot reviewers gave Barclays a low 1.4 out of 5 from over 9,000 reviews, again this is for the whole service, not just the investment part (as of November 2023).
However, feedback for Barclays’ investing service tends to be quite positive with a decent amount of happy customers using the platform.
Barclays tools, resources and features
|Tools, resources and features|
|Tools for investing/trading|
Barclays has a decent amount of tools and resources on offer for investors. The only area where it’s particularly lacking is the social investing aspect with no community forum or way for investors to connect and share ideas.
With Barclays, examples of some of the resources you can access include:
- Articles and guides
- ESG screening
- Plan and invest tool
- Fund research and guidance
- Popular investment lists
- News and research
How to sign up for a Barclays investing account?It’s really easy to get started with Barclays share dealing; here’s how:
- Set up a Barclays account. You need to have an existing account with Barclays before you can start investing.
- Open an investment account. You need to choose which account you want: an ISA, a GIA, or a SIPP.
- Fund your account. Decide how much you want to deposit, Barclays’ minimum monthly investment is £50.
- Choose your investments. Barclays has loads to choose from – take a look above at what you can invest in and the strategies available.
- Invest. Once you’ve got an account and researched investing options, you’re ready to start investing.
Click on one of the buttons below to scroll down to find out about how each of these work and which would be most suited to you.
Option 1: I want some help
Barclays Plan and Invest
Barclays Plan and Invest is for you if you’re not a very experienced investor. If you choose this option then Barclays asks you a range of questions about your finances, how you feel about investment risk, how much you plan to invest and how long you want to invest for.
It asks you these questions every year to make sure that your investments consistently match up with your goals.
Barclays then sets up an investment plan for you, which shows you:
- How much you can afford to invest. This is both straight away and on a monthly basis.
- The likelihood of reaching your goal. This also shows what you can do to boost your investments.
- Your suggested strategy. Barclays tells you the strategy it believes is right for you and how it will adjust it over time.
- The combination of ISA and/or Investment Account. It will make sure it’s investing in a tax-efficient way for you.
You need to invest £5,000 in cash or as a transfer with this option.
Option 2: I’d like some inspiration
Barclays ready-made investments
This is for those who are looking for ready-made portfolios. Barclays has a selection of experts who know what they’re doing, and will attempt to balance the portfolios to make you some profit. Of course, this isn’t guaranteed.
There are 5 different portfolios available, all slightly different in terms of how they aim to return and the risks involved. It’s really easy to invest like this – you just choose the portfolio based on your risk tolerance, open an account and leave Barclays to it.
|Name||Risk||Balance||Barclays describes it as…|
|Defensive||Lowest, but not risk free||25% cash, 57% bonds and 18% shares||Like riding a bike with stabilisers on|
|Cautious||A little riskier, but still quite low risk||16% cash, 51% bonds and 33% shares||Taking the stabilisers off your bike – you might wobble slightly, but it’s not too dangerous|
|Balanced||Medium||8% cash, 39% bonds and 53% shares||Riding a bike on the road, but still in the cycle lane|
|Growth||Higher risk – for those who want to take some chances||2% cash, 24% bonds and 74% shares||Riding off-road – but making sure you’re wearing a helmet and knee pads|
|Adventurous||The highest risk fund that Barclays offers – for those willing to take a large risk of loss for the chance of getting a great reward||2% cash, 11% bonds, 87% shares||Riding down a mountain – you could suffer serious harm but the exhilaration could be worth it|
Option 3: I’m confident choosing investments
Barclays Smart Investor
It’s in the name. If you know what you’re doing (and really know, rather than have just read a few Reddit threads) then this is the choice for you.
With this option, you can choose from thousands of investments. These include funds, equities and bonds. If you want, you can use the Barclays Research Centre to get information about the market to help you make decisions.
What you can invest in with Barclays Smart Investor
Through a Barclays Investment Account or an Investment ISA you can get access to the following:
|Investment type||Available with Barclays?|
Barclays has insights and research from its team to help you make informed and confident decisions, as well as the latest developments and news in the global markets so you can keep up to date with the latest trends.