Trading 212 review | Invest and ISA review - Finder UK

Trading 212 review

Find out what we thought of fee-free trading platform Trading 212 and what features it offers

Updated . What changed?

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CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
We say
★★★★★
Finder expert rating
You say
★★★★★
Customer satisfaction
Practice mode allows gaining experience in a risk-free way
Tutorial isn't very clear, especially for beginners
Trading 212 is a really popular trading app in the UK, offering an ISA and letting you trade in a huge range of different types of assets, from standard stocks and shares to the riskier types such as contracts for difference (CFDs). We’ve highlighted the key features, including its demo platform, what Trading 212 customers in our satisfaction survey said, and the pros and cons of Trading 212.

What is Trading 212?

Trading 212 is an app-based trading platform that lets you to trade stocks, ETFs, CFDs, forex, commodities, and more, without any commission.

Alongside Freetrade in the UK and Robinhood in the US, Trading 212 is one of the UK’s most popular trading platforms for new investors. For new investors, the main draw of Trading 212 is the fee-free ISA – which we’ll go into more detail on further down.

Trading 212 is considered a safe platform and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

What different products does Trading 212 have?

Data updated regularly
Name Product Product description Link
Trading212 Invest
Free investing in stocks, ETFs, and more.
76% of retail CFD accounts lose money
More Info
Trading212 ISA
Same as the Invest account, but within the tax-free stocks and shares ISA wrapper.
76% of retail CFD accounts lose money
More Info
Trading212 CFD
This is a riskier game. Actively trade stocks, forex and indices with leverage and zero commission.
76% of retail CFD accounts lose money
More Info
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
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Trading 212 has three different products available:

  • Trading 212 Invest. A general investment account with zero fees and zero commission. This might be what you’d use if you’d used up your ISA allowance of £20,000 (read our full stocks and shares ISA guide if you need to get clued up on ISAs).
  • Trading 212 ISA (individual savings account). This is the same as the invest account, but within your tax-free ISA wrapper.
  • Trading 212 CFD (contract for difference). This is a riskier game, CFDs allow you to trade contracts based on the movements of the stocks. The key thing is that your money is leveraged so you could gain or lose much more than you’re putting in.

Let’s go into a bit more detail about what each of these different account types are about.

Trading 212 Invest

Trading 212’s Invest product allows you to invest in stocks and shares without any commission. Here are the key takeaways:

  • You can start with as little as £1
  • There’s no commission
  • There are foreign exchange fees
  • You get unlimited instant trades
  • You can buy fractional shares (which are exactly what they say on the tin, if a stock is priced at £1,000, you can buy a fraction of that – making it more affordable.)

Trading 212 ISA (individual savings account)

Trading 212’s stocks and shares ISA allows you to do everything its Invest product does, but with the added benefit of it being tax-free.

Investments made within a stocks and shares ISA are not subject to tax. You can read our full stocks and shares ISA guide if you need to find out more.

So, with the Trading 212 ISA these are the main things to know:

  • Like any ISA, you can invest up to £20,000 in the 2020/21 tax year tax-free
  • You’ll pay no administration charges
  • You’ll pay zero commission for trades
  • There are no charges for dividend reinvestment

Is the Trading 212 ISA any good?

Given the total lack of fees, Trading 212’s ISA seems to be a pretty good option for investors.

It’s pretty hands-on though if you’re a beginner, so if you don’t fancy the faff of creating your own portfolio and doing your own research into investments, you should look into either a “set and forget” style robo-advisor, or an actively managed fund from the likes of Hargreaves Lansdown or IG.

Trading 212 CFD (contract for difference)

Instead of trading shares, you can trade a CFD. This is kind of like betting on the direction that the stocks will move.

What can I trade with Trading 212’s CFD product?:

  • Stocks. Trade on the movements in the value of stocks, like Apple, Tesla and Lloyds.
  • Forex. Trade on 150 major foreign exchange pairs with tight spreads.
  • Indices Trade on indices, such as NASDAQ, S&P500 and UK 100.
  • Commodities. Trade on commodities such as cocoa, cotton, coffee, gas, oil and sugar, amongst others.

Features of the Trading 212 CFD account include:

  • Zero commission
  • Tight spreads
  • Stop Loss and Take Profit
  • Negative balance protection
  • Instant execution

CFDs are complex and risky. If you’re new to CFD trading then we have a guide that could help.

It’s also worth checking out our guide to CFD trading risks.

Trading 212 Invest vs CFDs: What’s the difference?

CFD trading is a lot more complex compared with investing in stocks. When you trade CFDs, you speculate on the movements in value rather than purchase the underlying asset or share. This means that you’re not entitled to receive dividends, as you never own the shares.

There’s more complexity to this than just the contract, as CFDs allow for leverage.

If you’re not sure which one to go with, Trading 212 has a demo account that allows you to try it out without real money.

Trading 212 Invest vs ISA: What’s the difference and which should I go for?

These two accounts are virtually identical.

If you don’t have a stocks and shares ISA already, you should open up the Trading 212 ISA and take advantage of the tax benefits that come with it.

If you do have a stocks and shares ISA, you’ll need to open up the Trading 212 Invest account, because you’re not allowed to pay into more than one ISA per year.

Remember that on top of your ISA allowance, every UK adult is also allowed £12,300 (at the time of writing) in capital gains tax (CGT) allowance. This means your first £12,300 of capital gains (i.e. growth of your investments) won’t be subject to tax. Once you exceed £12,300, you’ll start paying tax.

Also, keep in mind that not many people will exceed both their ISA allowance and CGT allowance, so this consideration doesn’t really matter for most people. If you do exceed both allowances, then lucky you!

What can I invest in with Trading 212?

There are more than 6,500 stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) that you can invest in on a number of different markets. There’s a full list with detailed information on the quantity that you can invest and the market hours on the Trading 212 website. You can also buy fractional shares with Trading 212, which is a small portion of a share. If you get dividend payments on these shares then the amount you’ll receive will be proportionate to the amount you own.

Is Trading 212 safe?

Trading 212 is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). All client funds are kept in a segregated account.
Trading 212 is also protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to £85,000 which protects you if it were to go bust. This doesn’t cover your investments if they don’t work in your favour.

Trading 212 customer reviews

On consumer review platform Trustpilot, Trading 212 has 4.3 out of 5 stars and a rating of Excellent, based on more than 8,500 reviews.

The love continues in the App Store, where the Trading 212 app has 4.7 out of 5 stars based on more than 1,500 reviews. On Google Play, the app has 4.5 out of 5 stars based on more than 49K reviews.

Customers loved how easy the app was to use, especially for beginners. Those who were less impressed cited technical glitches and pricing issues as the reasons (updated 23 April 2020).

We carried out a customer satisfaction survey in July 2020.

Trading 212’s customers find the platform easy to use and think that it is very professional. Customers raved about its practice mode and interface. They especially liked the free share incentive and refer a friend promotion.

Some of its customers felt that the platform lacked direction and that it could do with some instructions to guide you.

Trading 212 fees, charges and limits

There are no fees for using Trading 212, including the ISA, though there are several limits when it comes to deposits and withdrawals.
Minimum deposits and withdrawals

ProductMinimum depositMinimum withdrawal
Invest€1, £1, $1€1, £1, $1
CFD€10, £10, $10€10, £10, $10
ISA£1£1

Does Trading 212 have an inactivity fee?

Nope, which is great! A lot of trading platforms have a fee that you have to pay if you are inactive with money still held in the account.

How does Trading 212 make money?

Trading 212 makes money through the “spreads” between the buy and sell price for the CFD accounts on the platform. There is also a 0.5% currency conversion charge for these accounts too.

What is Trading 212 practice mode?

Practice mode

Trading 212 has a demo feature on the site and app that allows you to test out the platform with £50,000 of fake money. It’s fun to play around with to get a feel of the site and how it works before committing actual money to your investments. You can “buy” anything that you’d be able to in the “Real Money” feature, such as shares in Netflix, Amazon and Apple, among thousands of others. This lets you see how the investments fluctuate over time. This is quite a useful learning platform to get a feel for investing as a whole.

Trading 212 has a good focus on teaching people about the basics of investing and how to use the platform. It has a YouTube channel with hundreds of videos to teach you about share dealing and some handy guides on the basics and terminology.

It also has the demo feature for CFD trading, but if you don’t have much exposure to CFDs then this can be overwhelming and may put you off ever looking at a graph again.

Real money

Once you reckon you’ve played around with fake money enough, you select “switch to real money”. It will take you through some basic information such as your contact details and some basics on your income and savings. Choose which accounts you want and what currency you want to trade in and you’re good to go.

When buying shares you can choose how many you want and the app gives you the cost in your chosen currency, which is helpful. You have the choice to create limit orders. This allows you to enter the maximum you’re willing to go to when buying shares. If the stock prices drop below this amount before the end of the day, it will automatically place the order for you. You can also do this when selling shares by entering the minimum you’re willing to sell for.

Trading 212 pros and cons

Pros

  • Free to use – there aren’t any fees for trading with Trading 212
  • Can be used in the web browser and on a mobile app
  • Practise mode allows you to give it a go without putting down any money

Cons

  • No personal pension, lifetime ISA or junior ISA
  • Tutorial doesn’t give much detail on what’s what, you have to figure it out for yourself

Our verdict

Trading 212 has a lot of functionality considering that it has no fees. The practice mode is a great way to learn how it works, but you do need to do some external learning; don’t expect it to teach you how to invest successfully. It does offer a huge range of resources to help you learn about investing which is helpful if you’re a newbie.

If you’re new to investing and are looking for ready made portfolios, this isn’t the platform for you. It’s worth checking out some alternatives that have this feature. If it’s a free trading platform that you’re looking for, then you can check out our comparisons of Trading 212 vs Degiro and Trading 212 vs Freetrade.

Compare platforms similar to Trading 212

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Data updated regularly
Name Product Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Brand description
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
£11.95
£5.95
£0
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's number one platform for private investors, with the depth of features you'd expect from an established platform. The minimum deposit with HL is £1. Capital at risk.
IG Share Dealing
UK: £8
US: £10
EU: 0.1% (min €10)
UK: £3
US: £0
EU: 0.1% (min €10)
£0
IG is good for experienced traders, and offers learning resources for beginners, all with wide access to shares, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
eToro Free Stocks
£0
N/A
£0
Capital at risk. 0% commission but other fees may apply. The minimum deposit with eToro is $500.
interactive investor Trading Account
£7.99 (with one free trade per month)
N/A
£9.99 per month
Open an ISA, Trading Account or SIPP and get £100 of free trades to buy or sell any investment (new customers only)
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. The minimum deposit with ii is £0. Capital at risk.
Fineco
UK: £2.95
US: $3.95
EU: €3.95
N/A
£0
Your first 100 trades are free with Fineco (T&Cs apply)
Fineco Bank is good for share traders and investors looking for a complete platform and wide offer. The minimum deposit with Fineco is £0. Capital at risk.
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Data updated regularly
Name Product Minimum deposit Maximum annual fee Price per trade Brand description
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Trading212
£1
£0
£0
Capital at risk
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Data updated regularly
Name Product Minimum investment Choose from Annual fee Brand description
Interactive Investor Pension
Any lump sum or £25 a month
Over 3,000 funds
£10/month
interactive investor is a flat-fee platform, which makes it cost effective for larger portfolios. Capital at risk.
Moneyfarm Pension
£1,500 (initial investment)
7 funds
0.35%-0.75%
Moneyfarm has pensions that are matched against your risk appetite, goals and planned retirement date. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell Pension
£1,000
Over 2,000 funds
0.05-0.25%
AJ Bell has two different pension options, a self managed pension and one that is managed for you. Capital at risk.
PensionBee Pension
No minimum
7 funds
0.5% - 0.95%
Pension Bee is a newbie in the pension market. It helps consolidate your pension plans into one place. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown Pension
£100 or £25 a month
2,500 funds
0-0.45%
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got three different retirement options. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets Pension
Saxo Markets Pension
£10
Over 11,000 funds
No annual fee
Saxo Markets gives flexibility and control over your investment strategy. Capital at risk.
Penfold
Penfold
No minimum
4 portfolios
0.75-0.88%
Moneybox Pension
£1
3 funds
0.15% - 0.45% charged monthly
Manage your money with an easy-to-use Moneybox app. 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.

Frequently asked questions

Share dealing platform ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average

Our customer satisfaction scores ("Customers say") are based on a survey of 752 customers carried out in December 2020.

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