In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • How we rated Lightyear's investment features
  • Lightyear fees
  • Lightyear investment choice and stocks
  • Is Lightyear safe?
  • Lightyear account types and products
  • Lightyear ease of use
  • Lightyear customer reviews
  • Lighyear tools, resources and features
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Your reviews
Lightyear
3.9
★★★★★
Finder score
Capital at risk
Price per trade
UK: £1
US: 0.1% ($1 max)
EU: €1
Min. initial deposit
£0

Our verdict

Lightyear is a relatively new, low-fee platform with plenty of features, plus an excellent mobile and desktop app - but it’s a work in progress and there are some limitations.

There's a lot of competition among investing platforms available to UK investors. So, to challenge the current crop of apps and brokerages, you need to be pretty special. It's early days for Lightyear, but the app is off to a stellar start.

Along with low trading fees and minimal account fees, the Lightyear app is a joy to use - it comes with some excellent features for both beginner and more experienced investors. The high interest paid on idle cash (up to 4.5% as of August 2023) is a nice bonus, plus a better rate than you'd get from most banks.

The Lightyear app is free to download, you can set up an account in minutes, and there are no fees for holding a multi-currency investment account. You can start investing with just £1, so it's well worth trying Lightyear. There are some areas to improve, but the company regularly adds new features.

For a relatively new share dealing platform, Lightyear is likely to tick many boxes for plenty of investors.

Pros

  • 0% commission for ETFs
  • Low commission for stocks
  • High interest paid on uninvested cash
  • Excellent app with loads of features
  • Competitive 0.35% FX fee

Cons

  • No FSCS protection
  • Limited to a GIA only
  • Stocks and ETFs only

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • How we rated Lightyear's investment features
  • Lightyear fees
  • Lightyear investment choice and stocks
  • Is Lightyear safe?
  • Lightyear account types and products
  • Lightyear ease of use
  • Lightyear customer reviews
  • Lighyear tools, resources and features
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Your reviews

How we rated Lightyear's investment features

FeatureRatingDetails
Fees

★★★★★ 4.3/5

Lightyear offers decent value and is a low-cost investing option.
Investment choice

★★★★★4.1/5

It offers a solid range of investments.
Safety and security

★★★★★ 3.6/5

Overall, Lightyear offers a secure place to invest but the only concern is lack of FSCS protection.
Account types and products

★★★★★ 3.4/5

The platform is somewhat limited when it comes to account types.
Ease of use

★★★★★ 4.3/5

Lightyear offers a solid investing experience that most customers seem happy with.
Tools, resources and features

★★★★★ 3/5

Lightyear offers some resources and tools for investing analysis.

Lightyear is a relatively new investing platform. With lots of established competition already out there, it’s tough to stand out. But in our Lightyear investing desktop and mobile app review, we found it has plenty of features to entice new customers.

Extremely low fees, a free multi-currency account and high interest (up to 4.5% as of January 2024) on idle cash will attract both beginners and more experienced investors. But like anything, Lightyear isn’t without its flaws.

Lightyear fees

Fees score

★★★★★

Platform fee£0
UK shares£1
US stocks0.1% (up to $1 maximum)
International shares€1
Funds/ETFs£0
Foreign exchange (FX) fee0.35%
Regular investingYes (Repeat Orders feature)
Withdrawal/deposit fee£0 (0.5% for fast deposit transfer with your card after your free allowance)
Inactivity fee£0

Lightyear burst onto the scene with 0% commission but has since introduced small trading commissions to make sure the business remains sustainable. Low fees are one of its main selling points and even though it’s not commission-free, the fees are still lower than most competitors. There are hardly any fees for holding an account or investing with its mobile or desktop app.

It only costs £1 to buy and sell UK shares. For international stocks, it’s 0.1% for US shares (min $0.1 to max $1) and for EU shares it’s a flat €1 fee. This also includes trading fractional shares. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) cost you nothing to buy or sell. You only need £1 to get started, so it’s incredibly affordable for anyone who wants to invest, even with a small budget.

There are no inactivity fees or withdrawal fees. It’s also free to make a deposit (unless you choose the speedy option). This means you can open an account and try out the app for yourself with nothing to lose regarding fees. The lack of cost for opening and holding an account means you’re free to explore the Lightyear investing app without fear of being stung with hidden costs or charges.

The fact that it’s so cheap to buy or sell investments is a huge selling point and makes this platform stand out from most of the competition. You only have to pay the 0.35% FX fee if you change currency to buy stocks. But, this fee is low compared to most other platforms. Also, Lightyear’s ability to let you open free multi-currency accounts (in pounds, dollars, and euros) means you can minimise the impact of currency fluctuations.

Lightyear trade fee calculator

Pick a stock, select a quantity and our calculator will give you a guide to the total cost of that trade on Lightyear. We regularly check fees, but bear in mind that stock prices, exchange rates and spreads fluctuate in real-time.

Stock

Quantity of shares

1
Platform Finder score Account fee Min. initial deposit Trade cost Link

Full comparison of share dealing platforms

Lightyear investment choice and stocks

Investment choice score

★★★★★

Asset options3+
Markets3+
Number of investments3,500+
Number of ETFs/funds100+
Fractional shares
Minimum deposit£1
Minimum investment£1

Lightyear may not be for you if you want complete access to whole international markets. But, if you wish to access the most popular and largest stocks across exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Nasdaq or London Stock Exchange (LSE) – Lightyear will likely have investments to interest you.

Lightyear is a DIY investing platform. So, it’s different to a robo-advisor that picks and manages an investment portfolio for you. With Lightyear, you get complete control over the investments held in your portfolio. This means it’s up to you to research and create your own diversified portfolio.

The stock discovery page on the app is nicely laid out. You can search ETFs by country, sector, ESG compatibility, dividend-paying, or bond-focused. For individual stocks, you can search by region, popularity, or specific niches such as “female led”, “daily movers”, “big employers” and plenty of other categories.

Currently, the platform has over 3,500 stocks, shares, ETFs and money market funds (MMF). These investments are from the UK, the US, Europe and other countries (like China). The Lightyear stock list is continuously expanding, so don’t be surprised to see more investments available as time passes.

The minimum deposit for the Lightyear app is £1, and the minimum investment you can make is £1 with fractional shares.

Is Lightyear safe?

Safety and security score

★★★★★

Biometric login/2FA
FCA regulated
FSCS protection
SSL certificate
Public company

Lightyear is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an appointed representative (AR) of RiskSave Technologies. One major downside with Lightyear is that it doesn’t come with Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection.

It does offer additional insurance in place of FSCS protection. All customers have assets of up to €20,000 protected by the Estonian Investor Protection Sectoral Fund.

And for US investments, they are held with a partner, Alpaca, who is FINRA regulated and a registered member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC). This means your US securities are protected up to the value of $500,000 should Alpaca fail.

Although as always when you invest, your capital is at risk.

Lightyear 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)
Business Account
Interest on cash balances

As it stands, Lightyear only offers a general investment account (GIA) and a business account. However, the mobile app was only fully launched in September 2021 (and the desktop app came along in 2023).

There’s no stocks and shares ISA, but this could be added in future. Similarly, there’s no self-invested personal pension (SIPP) available. And you can’t save for a child with any junior accounts.

So, if you want an investing platform with plenty of different accounts right now, you might want to go for a different option.

However, some positives in this area is that Lightyear does offer free multi-currency accounts for US dollars and Euros, it also pays competitive rates of interest on idle cash that move in line with central bank rate changes. Current rates offered by Lightyear (as of January 2024) are:

  • 4.5% GBP
  • 4.5% USD
  • 3.25% EUR

Lightyear ease of use

Ease of use score

★★★★★

Apple iOS rating4.7/5
Google Play rating4.6/5
Ways to contact customer serviceEmail
UI/UXGood
Desktop or mobile appBoth

Lightyear scored fairly well in our ease of use assessment. Most reviewers on the App Store and Google Play speak positively about the platform and you can invest using either the mobile or desktop app.

On the App Store, Lightyear scores 4.7 out of 5, and on Google Play it scores an equally impressive 4.6 out of 5 (as of January 2024).

Our only major criticism is that the only way to get hold of customer support is via email.

Lightyear customer reviews

ScoreRating
Trustpilot4.7/5
User reviewsN/A

Trustpilot reviewers gave Lightyear a high 4.7 out of 5 “excellent” rating (as of January 2024).

Lighyear tools, resources and features

Tools, resources and features

★★★★★

Analysis features
Tools for investing/trading
Social features
Learning resources
Additional Features

For such a new investing platform, Lightyear does a great job providing some decent research and trading tools while keeping everything sleek and simple for interacting. Relatively recent additions include the “insights” feature that shows you which sectors, companies and countries you’ve invested in, and a portfolio profit and loss explainer.

It’s straightforward to select a stock, and as you scroll down, you’ll see:

  • Current metrics
  • Analyst ratings and price targets
  • Company financials
  • Upcoming events (where you can also see previous dividend payments)
  • Company news and basic info
  • Similar stocks

Considering so much info is available, it’s presented in a highly digestible format that’s easy to understand.

Lightyear also introduced limit orders on the platform. But that’s the only trading order type currently available (other than market or repeat orders). This is part of the reason why it doesn’t come with advanced charting tools, it would be too much information for the actions you can take.

Although there’s no social or copy trading, there is a “popular” stock and ETF category on the discovery page to give you an idea about what other users have been buying on the platform.

How to sign up to Lightyear

It’s dead simple to sign up and open an account with Lightyear, just follow these steps:

  1. Sign up to Lightyear. You can download the mobile investing app on the App Store or Google Play Store. Or, get started with the desktop platform on the Lightyear website.
  2. Provide basic information. You’ll need to submit your mobile phone number (for a text verification) and your registered address.
  3. Answer some more questions. Lightyear will ask for your living and tax residency. You’ll need your national insurance (NI) number if you select the UK.
  4. Pass identification checks. Once you’ve provided your basic details, Lightyear will request to take a photo of a current ID (e.g driving licence or passport). The app will then prompt you to take a selfie to complete the verification process.
  5. Deposit into your account and start investing. You can kick things off by depositing just £1 into your account and then invest as you like.

In summary, you’ll likely need the following info to get set up:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • NI number
  • Citizenship declaration
  • Phone number and email
  • Current ID

Lightyear can verify and open your account almost instantly if you can provide all the required details.

Frequently asked questions

Share dealing platform scores

★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor

Finder scores, in blue, are based on our expert analysis. We also show reviews from users, where we've received more than 10, with a score in yellow. We gather more reviews from customers every year in Finder's customer satisfaction survey.

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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