Stocks and shares ISA comparison

An investment ISA can be a great way to grow your money instead of leaving it in a savings account. Compare the best stocks and shares ISAs in our table, and learn about ISA tax benefits.

Compare ISA providers Check fees and features
Learn more about investing via ISAs See the guide

Stocks and shares individual savings accounts (ISAs) let you invest your savings without paying tax on your profits (up to an annual allowance). They’re worth considering if you have money to put aside each month to invest for the long term. Some stocks and share ISAs have fully managed portfolios that you can invest into, while others let you choose individual stocks and shares to invest in. Compare stocks and shares ISAs in the table below and read our guide to what they are and how they work.

Stocks and shares ISA comparison

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Name Product Minimum deposit Maximum annual fee Price per trade Brand description
InvestEngine stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.25%
£0
Offer - £50 welcome bonus for new customers. Subject to minimum investment. T&Cs apply. Capital at risk.
Moneybox stocks and shares ISA
£1
0.45% and £1 monthly subscription fee (free for first 3 months)
£0
Moneybox offers a smart and simple way to invest. Sign up in minutes and start investing with £1 via their award-winning app. 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%
N/A
Nutmeg offers three types of portfolios. Choose the one that goes with your investment style. Capital at risk.
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.
Moneyfarm stocks and shares ISA
£1500
0.75%
£0
Moneyfarm helps you meet your investment goals with fully-managed portfolios designed around you. 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.
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.
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.
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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.

Compare in more detail

interactive investor stocks and shares ISA

Nutmeg stocks and shares ISA

Saxo Markets stocks and shares ISA

Hargreaves Lansdown stocks and shares ISA

Product Name interactive investor stocks and shares ISA Nutmeg stocks and shares ISA Saxo Markets stocks and shares ISA Hargreaves Lansdown stocks and shares ISA
Minimum deposit Any lump sum or £25 a month £100 No minimum deposit requirement £100
Maximum annual fee £119.88 0.75% 0.12% 0.45%
Type of platform Robo-advisor and share dealing platform Robo-advisor Robo-advisor and share dealing platform Robo-advisor and share dealing platform
Price per trade £7.99 N/A £8.00 £11.95
Junior ISA
Lifetime ISA
Stocks
Funds
ETFs
Bonds
Ethical portfolios

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What is an ISA?

ISA stands for “individual savings account”. The difference between putting your money into an ISA and putting it into a savings account is that any interest or profits you receive via an ISA aren’t subject to tax; whereas with savings accounts there’s a limit on the amount of interest you can earn tax-free each year.

Mostly, ISAs are just “wrappers” for savings or investment accounts, like an invisibility cloak that lets you, totally legally, hide your profits from the tax man.

Everyone has an annual limit for how much you can put into an ISA: that’s your ISA allowance, and the government can change it as part of its tax review each year. The 2020/2021 ISA allowance is £20,000. For the savers under age 18, the annual junior ISA (JISA) allowance is £9,000.

Stocks and shares ISAs jargon explained

Allowance. This refers to the amount you can contribute each year to your ISAs. The 2020/2021 ISA allowance is 20,000. You must not exceed this allowance across all of your ISAs and can’t contribute to more than one of the same type in one tax year.
Robo-advisor. This is a type of provider that invests on your behalf. They tend to cost a little more but you can put your feet up while someone else manages your investments.
Lifetime ISA (LISA). This is a type of ISA that helps you save up to buy a home or for your retirement. You can save a maximum of £4,000 per year with these and you get a 25% top up from the government.

What is a stocks and shares ISA?

A stocks and shares ISA is a type of ISA which lets you invest your savings in the stock market. As with all ISAs, you can invest up to £20,000 per year tax-free.

If you want to, you can split your allowance between different types of ISAs, such as cash ISAs or lifetime ISAs (LISAs). You need to ensure that you stay within your allowance and you can’t contribute to more than one of the same type of ISA in each tax year.

There are several ways that you can invest with a stocks and shares ISA. For example, you might do some research and open an account with a share trading provider and decide that you want to invest in companies that you know or use, like Greggs, boohoo or Barclays. You can choose the shares yourself and manage the investments yourself.

Another option is to choose a managed account, known as a robo-advisor and let the company look after the money for you. You might choose which sector you want to be invested in, or how ethical your investments are (which we cover later on), but the managers will keep track of your investments and try to ensure that they perform in the way that you want them to using some information you give them.

Some providers have both robo-advisor options (known as managed portfolios) as well as the chance to invest in specific stocks and shares.

With a stocks and shares ISA, your money is at risk – but the potential reward is growth on your investments that is typically higher than your average savings account.

Should I open a stocks and shares ISA?

Before you ask this, ask yourself what your financial goals are and what your current situation looks like.

But;

  • If you have lots of debt, you should look into ways to clear debt first.
  • If you might need quick access to the money, you should look into a current account or easy access savings account.
  • If you want to build a pot of money and still earn interest, look into simple savings accounts.
  • You should also be aware that these are riskier than a savings account or cash ISA.

Before you open a stocks and shares ISA thinking you’re the next Warren Buffet, you need to weigh up whether you’re willing to take risk that comes with investing.

In the 2008 crash for instance, many people’s stocks and shares ISAs lost a lot of value. We’ve gone into just how badly it hit people’s stocks and shares below.

A simple rule of thumb is this: if your investments would keep you up at night, don’t go ahead.

Some providers, such as IG, Moneyfarm and Fidelity have risk assessment quizzes which give you an indication of how suitable you are for investing.

Image of a laptop and phone alongside the stat: 2.2 million people in the UK have a stocks and shares ISA

How much do stocks and shares make?

There are plenty of different ways to work out how much stocks and shares return over a period of time – you can look at performance of specific providers’ funds to see how they’ve performed over several years or at specific funds. The FTSE100 is a collection of the top 100 companies on the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Since it started in 1984, the FTSE 100 has risen by 654% in price. This is an annualised return of 5.77%. At the moment, the most you can generally get in returns for a typical savings account is somewhere between 1% and 1.5%.
The returns you’ll receive could differ from these figures and remember that past performance isn’t indicative of future results. Your returns will depend on how much you invest, what you choose to invest in, and how long you invest for.

Let’s say, for example, you invested £10,000 in the FTSE 100 over a time period of 10 years (this is sometimes called an “investment horizon”).

This graph shows the rough difference between investing your money in the FTSE 100 and putting it in your average savings account. You can toggle to the table to see the numbers in a bit more detail.

Investing in FTSE 100 vs average savings over 10 years

YearFTSE 100 return rate (%)Yearly return (GBP)Average savings interest rate (%)Yearly savings return (GBP)
201012.6%£11,2602.8%£10,280
2011-2.2%£11,0122.75%£10,563
201210%£12,1142.8%£10,858
201318.7%£14,3791.77%£11,051
20140.7%£14,4791.48%£11,214
2015-1.3%£14,2911.4%£11,371
201619.1%£17,0211.23%£11,511
201711.9%£19,0461%£11,626
2018-8.7%£17,3891.18%£11,763
201917.3%£20,3981.39%£11,927

You can see the FTSE 100 had some good years and some bad years in that time.

2018 stands out as a poor year. Brexit and uncertainty around the US-China trade war put investors off, harming returns.

Then there were some good years. Yay!

The index returned 18.7%, 19.1% and 17.3% in 2013, 2016 and 2019 respectively.

Overall, for the entire 10 year period, the FTSE 100 generated a total return of 103%.

So if you’d invested £10,000 at the start of 2010, you’d have about £20,398 by the end of 2019.

If you had a stocks and shares ISA and had invested in the FTSE 100 index between 2010 and 2019, you’d have made roughly 7.4% a year. Compare that with average interest rates for savings over that time (around 1.5-2%) and you can see why lots of people turn to investing.

You can check out the performance tables for ISA providers on their websites.

Stocks and shares ISA offers

The risks of stocks and shares ISAs

It’s not always plain sailing with stocks and shares, sometimes the waters can be choppy, for example, the financial crash in 2008.

The FTSE 100 had a terrible year in 2008, returning -28.3%.

If you’d invested £10,000 in 2008, it would have been worth just £7,170 by the end of the year.

If you’d started investing in 2008 and held your investment until the end of 2017, your annualised return for that 10 year period would be 5.7% – due to the heavy losses of the financial crash.

This is why investment returns become more stable and reliable over a longer time horizon. There’s more time to even out the peaks and troughs.

We’re not trying to spook you, just illustrating the impact of losses and the risks that come with investing.

Cash ISA vs stocks and shares ISA?

Cash ISAStocks and shares ISA
HorizonShorter termLonger term
RiskLower riskHigher risk
Returns potentialLower returnsHigher returns
Interest rateFixed Dependent on market returns

What can you invest in with a stocks and shares ISA?

With a stocks and shares ISA you can invest in a whole load of things. Here are a few examples:

  • Shares. Invest in individual companies. Having a share is like having one fraction of the company. If the company’s value goes up the share’s value goes up, if not it goes down.
  • Corporate bonds. Lend your money to a company in return for interest.
  • Government bonds. Same as above, but you’re lending to the government.
  • Funds. These are the most common type of investment. Funds can include shares, bonds, cash, in different combinations.
  • Exchange traded funds (ETFs) These are a type of fund that are traded on stock exchanges like regular stocks and shares.

How do I choose the best stocks and shares ISA?

There isn’t necessarily a “best” ISA to go with as it depends on what you’re looking for and how you’ll use it. Many of the trading apps that we’ve named as the 6 best trading apps have ISA options, so it’s worth checking them out.

Consider the following:

  • Are you planning on picking individual stocks and shares or do you want a ready made portfolio? If you want the latter, you’re looking for a robo-advisor.
  • How much do you want to invest? Some providers have a minimum deposit, so take that into consideration. For some, the fees will be lower for higher amounts so roughly work out your annual fees as part of your comparison.
  • Are you interested in a range of tools? If you want to use advanced charting tools or advanced company financials, check out what providers have before deciding.
  • Do you want educational tools? Some providers have tools available to help you learn how to invest – consider whether these will be useful for you.

Can I invest ethically in a stocks and shares ISA?

You can! There are a few different ways you can invest ethically.

  1. Ethical companies.The first way is to find ethical companies and buy shares in them. You can search for individual companies here at Finder to see their ESG scores.
  2. Ethical funds. The second way is to find ethical funds and invest in those. Using a fund screener on your chosen provider website you can search keywords like “ethical”, “ESG”, “sustainable” and “impact” to find some.
  3. Ready-made portfolios. The third way is to choose a robo-advisor and invest in an ethical ready-made portfolio. Lots of providers have ethical options to choose between.

What else do I need to know?

  • To open an ISA you have to be 18 or older.
  • You must be a UK tax resident.
  • You can only contribute to one stocks and shares ISA per tax year.
  • You can transfer-in to most new ISAs for free.

Pros and cons of stocks and shares ISAs

Pros

  • Potential for higher returns than savings accounts
  • No tax on interest or dividends
  • The chance to help companies you love grow

Cons

  • Investments can go up and down.
  • Fees can take a chunk of your investment.

Bottom line

A stocks and shares ISA lets you invest without paying any tax on your profits. They’re offered by most investment providers, usually at no added cost. This means that you can stop tax from eating at your profits and you don’t have to worry about declaring capital gains for tax purposes.

Frequently asked questions

Start stocks and shares ISAs comparison


Warning: the value of investments can fall as well as rise, and you may get back less than you invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. A stocks and shares ISA may not be right for everyone and tax rules may change in the future. If you are unsure if an ISA is the right choice for you, please seek independent financial advice.

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