Top UK Stock Brokers for 2020

Discover the top UK stockbrokers ranked by fees, platform, regulation and usability.
Kane Pepi
Author: Kane Pepi
Last Updated: 28 July 2020

If you’re based in the UK and wish to buy shares and sell them, you’ll need to use an online stock broker. To process is simple – and merely requires you to open an account, deposit funds, and choose which companies you want to invest in.

With that said, there are hundreds of stock trading platforms now serving UK investors, so knowing which broker to sign up with can be difficult.

In this guide, we review the best 5 UK stock brokers of 2020. We also give you some handy tips on how to choose a platform that best meets your investment needs.

Our Recommended UK Stock Broker

If you’re keen to start buying and selling shares right now, below you will find our top-rated UK stock broker of 2020. This FCA-regulated platform allows you to get started in minutes by opening an account and depositing funds with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or bank account. Once you do, you’ll have access to hundreds of UK and international stocks.

eToro: Best UK Stock Broker for 2020

Our rating

  • Choose from over 800 stocks, 0% commission
  • Buy stocks outright or trade stock CFDs
  • FCA, CySEC and ASIC regulated
75% of retail investors lose capital when trading CFDs with this provider.

Best UK Stock Broker Accounts of 2020

With hundreds of UK-based stock brokers operating in the online market, we managed to get our list of recommended platforms down to just five. This required countless hours of independent research to ensure you are accustomed to the very best. As such, all of the UK stock brokers listed below are regulated, offer heaps of everyday payment methods and crucially – give you access to a wide range of publicly-listed companies.

Note: Don’t have any experience of choosing companies to invest in? If this is the case, you might be better suited for a stock market index. This allows you to invest in hundreds of companies through a single trade, meaning you can easily create a diversified portfolio of stocks.

1. eToro - Best overall UK stock broker

Our rating

  • Social trading leader
  • Best mobile trading site
  • Paypal accepted
  • Limited technical analysis tools
  • Not well-suited for the more advanced investor
75% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

2. Plus500 - Trade 2,000+ stocks commission-free

Plus500 is a UK broker with an excellent reputation in the online trading arena. Firstly, the broker is regulated in a number of countries - including Australia, Singapore, Cyprus and of course - the UK. Its parent company is listed on the London Stock Exchange, so this in itself presents an additional safety-net on your funds. Moving on, Plus500 is actually a CFD trading site, as opposed to a traditional stock broker.

In Layman's terms, this means that you will not own the underlying asset and thus - you won't be entitled to dividends. With that said, it is important to note that trading stock CFDs comes with a range of benefits. For example, Plus500 gives you access to more than 2,000 companies across dozens of stock exchanges. Moreover, you can short-sell a company if you think that its share price is due to go down.

Leverage is also available at Plus500, albeit, you'll be capped to 5:1 when trading stocks. Crucially, as the costs of facilitating CFD stock trading is super-low, Plus500 allows you to invest in shares on a commission-free basis. This allows you to diversify with ease, as you can add hundreds of companies to your portfolio without getting nailed on fees. When it comes to deposits, Plus500 supports debit/credit cards, Paypal, and bank transfer.

All deposits and withdrawals are free, too. You can get started with an account in minutes, and the platform's minimum deposit comes out at $100 (£80). What we also like about Plus500 is that you will have access to a fully-fledged mobile trading app. This allows you to buy and sell stocks at the click of a button - regardless of where you are located.

Assets: CFDs

Demo Account: Yes

Educational Material: No

Fees: £10 Inactivity Fee, 0 withdrawal fees

Minimum deposit: £100

MT4/MT5: No

Special Features: 2,000 trading instruments

Regulation: CySEC, FCA, ASIC, MAS

Payment methods: Credit/debit card, Paypal, Bank transfer

our rating

  • Minimum deposit of $100
  • Over 2,000 trading instruments
  • Mobile app available
  • No education material
  • Not suitable for beginners
75% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

3. IG - Excellent pricing and research tools

IG is an excllent choice if you are looking for a UK stock broker that offers super-low fees. Firstly - the platform has taken the rather unusual move to offer stock CFDs on a spread-free basis. This means that you will always get the real market price - regardless of whether you are buying or selling. Instead, IG makes its money by charging a rock-bottom commission of 0.10% on UK shares. For example, if you bought £1,000 worth of Barclays stocks, you would pay a fee of just £1.

This is also the case for European-based stocks. If you're looking to invest in US companies like Facebook, Ford Motors, IBM, and Amazon - you'll pay a commission of just $0.02 per share, which is also very competitive. It is important to note that much like Plus500 - IG is a specialist CFD stock broker. This means that you won't own the asset.

You will, however, have the option of applying leverage and/or going short on your chosen stocks. In terms of the markets that IG supports, this covers more than 12,000 individual stocks. Whether you're looking to trade companies on the LSE, NYSE, or NASDAQ - you're all-but-certain to find a market on IG. We should also note that IG also offers a spread betting facility.

Much like CFDs, this allows you to speculate on the future value of UK and international stocks . However, the key difference is that spread betting profits are not liable for tax in the UK, as HMRC views the proceeds as gambling winnings. When it comes to the safety of your money, not only has IG been operational since 1974, but the company is regulated in several jurisdictions - including the UK.

Assets: CFDs

Demo Account: Yes

Educational Material: First-grade research department, fundamental news, technical analysis brokerage analysis

Fees: 0.6 pips on EUR/USD and AUD/USD, no commissions on FX trading, deposit fee of 1% (Visa) and 0.5% (MasterCard)

Minimum deposit: $300 (£250)

MT4/MT5: MT4

Special Features: Minute-by-minute analysis, technical research, spread betting

Regulation: MAS, FCA, BaFin, ASIC

Payment methods: Credit/debit card, Bank wire

Our rating

  • Spreads from just 0.6 pips
  • Overseen by top-tier regulators
  • Instant account activation for Singapore citizens
  • 1% deposit fee on Visa cards
  • MT5 not supported
  • MT5 not supported

4. Libertex - Best account for beginners

If you're just starting out in the world of online trading, we would suggest opting for a user-friendly broker like Libertex. Not only is the platform super-easy to use, but you can quickly deposit funds with a debit or credit card. Once your account is set up, you'll then have the ability to buy and sell more than 65+ blue-chip stocks.

On the one hand, this is much lower than the other stock brokers that we have discussed thus far. However, if you're looking to learn the ins and outs of how stock trading works with small stakes, Libertex is the platform to do it with. Crucially, the broker allows you to deposit just $10, which is around £8. Then, you can invest micro-stakes to assess how the stock trading industry generally moves.

As a specialist CFD broker, you will have the option of applying leverage to your trades. This allows you to trade with more money than you have in your account. For example - and as per ESMA limits, a £100 balance would allow you to trade £500 worth of UK stocks. Furthermore, you can also short-sell companies, meaning you will profit if the price of the stock goes down.

We also like Libertex for its commitment to educational material. This includes everything from step-by-step guides for newbie traders to handy blogs. When it comes to regulation, Libertex is licensed by CySEC of Cyprus. As an EU member state, this means that CySEC-regulated brokers are required to ringfence your funds from its own, so you should have no concerns with safety.

Assets: CFDs

Demo Account: Yes

Educational Material: Lots of blogs and handy step-by-step guides for newbie traders

Fees: Tight spreads, commissions based on the asset you are buying/selling, overnight financing fees

Minimum Deposit: £8

MT4/MT5: Both

Regulation: CySEC

Payment methods: Credit/debit card, Bank wire

Our Rating

  • Great educational blogs
  • Multiple payment methods supported
  • Low fees
  • Less than 70 shares listed
  • Not suited for advanced traders

5. City Index - Best stock broker app

If you're the type of trader that likes to have the option of buying and selling shares no matter where you are, we would suggest exploring the merits of City Index. On top of its main desktop trading platform, the UK-based broker offers a native mobile application. You can download the app for free, albeit, it's only compatible with Android and iOS devices.

Not only has the mobile app been customized to permit trading on a smaller screen, but you get access to all the same markets, features, and tools as hosted on the main desktop platform. As such, you'll be able to trade more than 4,500 companies via your City Index app. This covers dozens of major stock exchanges - as well as heaps of indexes. For example, you can invest in the FTSE 100, S&P 500 or Dow Jones at the click of a button.

When it comes to fees, City Index is very competitive. For example, UK shares come with a commission of just 0.8%. This means that a £500 stock trade would cost you just £4 in fees. If trading international stocks, you'll pay just 1.5 cents per share - with a minimum charge of $15 per trade.

Spreads are also competitive - especially if trading large-cap companies like Apple, British American Tobacco, or Disney. In terms of getting money into your City Index account, the UK stock broker accepts a debit/credit card or bank transfer. Unfortunately, e-wallets like Paypal are not available. We also like City Index because you can get started with a deposit of just $50. This amounts to about £40 - meaning you can start off with really small amounts.

Assets: Forex, CFDs, Spread Betting

Demo Account: Yes

Research Material: Ongoing technical and fundamental news analysis throughout the day

Fees: Spreads from 0.5 pips on EUR/USD, no deposit or withdrawal fees

Minimum deposit: $50

MT4/MT5: MT4

Regulation: ASIC, FCA

Payment methods: Credit/debit card, Wire transfer

  • Excellent customer support team
  • 84 forex pairs supported
  • Spreads from 0.5 pips on majors
  • Verification process can take days
  • Trading arena is best suited for experienced investors

How to Choose a UK Stock Broker?

Let’s explore some of the metrics that you need to look out for when choosing a platform. Crucially, we always suggest performing your own research prior to opening an account, as this will ensure that the stock broker meets your personal needs. For example, while your chosen broker might offer super-low fees and commissions, it won’t be suitable if it doesn’t support your preferred payment option.

To help you along the way, you’ll find 10 factors listed below that must be considered before signing up with a new UK stock broker.

  • UK license

The most important metric that you need to look out for is whether or not the platform is regulated by the UK’s FCA. This ensures that the broker keeps your funds in segregated bank accounts, and complies with all UK laws on retail stock trading.

If it isn’t regulated by the FCA – and it claims to serve UK clients, you should simply walk away. As is the case with the five recommended UK stock brokers listed on this page, trading sites often hold additional licenses. Common examples include ASIC, CySEC, and MAS.

  • Supported Stocks and Shares

It’s best to choose a UK stock broker that lists hundreds, if not thousands of companies to invest in. Sure, the broker might host the specific stock that you are looking to buy right now, but there might come a time where you want to add additional companies to your portfolio.

As such, check to see what stock exchanges the broker has access to. This should include the UK’s London Stock Exchange at a minimum, as well as international markets like the NASDAQ and New York Stock Exchange. One of the brokers with the biggest variety of supported stocks and shares is Plus500, offering 2,000 markets to trade. Some brokers will also offer access to less liquid markets, such as those in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia.

  • Payment Methods

Be sure to explore what payment methods the broker supports to ensure your preferred option is available. We prefer UK stock brokers that offer a combination of debit/credit cards, e-wallets, and a bank transfer.

  • Trading Fees and Commissions

UK stock brokers are in the business of making money, so it’s best to choose a platform that offers competitive fees. This is typically split between trading commissions and the spread. For example, while eToro offers zero-commission trades, its spreads are slightly higher than the industry average.

At the other end of the spectrum, platforms like IG give you access to real market prices, so there are no spreads on stocks and shares. However, you will need to pay a 0.1% commission. As such, choose a fee-structure that best meets your long-term investment goals.

  • Leverage and Short-Selling

If you’re looking trade with more money than you have in your account, you will need to use a stock broker that offers leverage. While all of the platforms listed on this page allow you to trade on leverage, you will be capped by the limits imposed by ESMA. This means that you can apply leverage of up to 5:1 when trading stocks and shares, on platforms like eToro.

Similarly, if you want the option of short-selling a company because you think its price is likely to go down, you will need to use a UK stock broker that supports CFDs. Once again, this is something offered by all of the platforms that we have recommended on this page.

  • Customer Support

You should explore what the stock broker’s customer support department is like, as there might come a time where you need assistance on your account. Support is usually offered via live chat, email, or the telephone. In terms of operating hours, most brokers offer customer support on a 24/5 basis – meaning they are closed over the weekend.

  • Educational Material

If you’re here reading this guide as an inexperienced investor, you’ll want to choose a UK stock broker that offers heaps of educational material. This might come in the form of step-by-step guides, webinars, videos, or trading tips, and ideally one that has a stock trading apps available on iOS or Android for trading on the go.

  • Automated Trading Features

Some of you might be super-keen to invest in the stock markets, but you simply do not know where to start. By this, we mean you have no idea which companies to invest in, as you’re completely new to the investment space. If this is the case, we would suggest using a UK stock broker that offers a Copy Trading feature.

At the forefront of this is eToro. In a nutshell, this allows you to copy the trades of other eToro users like-for-like. Not only can you select the specific trader that you wish to copy, but you can also choose the size of your investment.

  • Stock Ownership or CFDs

You need to understand whether your chosen stock broker allows you to buy and own shares, or trade stock CFDs. In cases such as eToro, you have the option of doing both. Nevertheless, this is important, as it will dictate whether or not you are entitled to shareholder rights like dividends.

While buying stocks 100% outright affords you this benefit, CFDs do not. On the flip side, CFDs allow you to apply leverage and/or go short on a company, while traditional methods do not. As such, think about what your long-term trading strategy looks like, and choose a broker accordingly.

  • Withdrawal Times

You should also explore what the broker’s withdrawal policy looks like. In other words, how long does the broker take before they authorize a withdrawal request? This is important, as you don’t want to sign up with a platform that takes days-on-end to release your money.

Instead, opt for a broker that offer super-fast withdrawals. In doing so, you’ll be able to liquidate your stocks quickly in the event you experience a short-fall in cash.

Conclusion

The UK stock trading industry now consists of hundreds of platforms. While this is good news for you as a retail client, this can make it difficult to know which broker to sign up with. As such, we hope our guide has cleared the mist for you.

When choosing the best trading platforms for stocks, consider on FCA-regulation, low spreads and commissions, support for everyday payment methods – and a stock library that contains thousands of shares across dozens of markets.

Ultimately, regardless of which UK stock broker you decide to join, make sure that you understand the risks of trading. This is especially the case when buying and selling CFDs, applying leverage, or short-selling – as most newbie traders fail to understand the complexities of the underlying product.

eToro: Best UK Stock Broker for 2020

Our rating

  • Choose from over 800 stocks, 0% commission
  • Buy stocks outright or trade stock CFDs
  • FCA, CySEC and ASIC regulated
75% of retail investors lose capital when trading CFDs with this provider.

FAQs

What are UK international stock brokers?

As the name suggests, UK international stock brokers not only allow you to buy shares listed on the London Stock Exchange, but international markets, too. This is likely to include the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ - which is where you'll find companies such as Apple, Facebook, Ford Motors, and Disney.

What are the best stock brokers for beginners UK?

If you're an absolute newbie to the world of stocks and shares, you might be best to use an online platform that offers a Copy Trading feature. Through FCA-regulated broker eToro, the feature allows you to copy the trades of experienced investors - so there's no requirement to have any knowledge of how trading actually works.

Are there any penny stock brokers UK?

This depends on how you define a 'penny stock'. For example, if you're looking to access penny stocks on OTC markets like the Pink Sheets, you'll find it very difficult as a retail client. However, if you're looking to invest in small companies with a low market cap, eToro hosts multiple niche exchanges. This includes companies listed in Spain, Sweden, France, Hong Kong, and even Saudi Arabia.

Where can I find the cheapest stock brokers UK?

If fees are your main concern, it might be worth using a commission-free stock broker like eToro. In doing so, it's only the spread that you will pay when buying and selling stocks.

What are discount stock brokers UK?

Online stock brokers that market themselves as discount platforms specialize in offering industry-leading trading fees. In return, the platform will likely offer a 'skin and bones' service that lacks top-notch customer support, research tools, or educational materials.

 

Kane Pepi

Kane holds academic qualifications in the finance and financial investigation fields. With a passion for all-things finance, he currently writes for a number of publications in the online space.

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eToro: Leading Stockbroker with 0% Commission

eToro: Leading Stockbroker with 0% Commission

eToro: Leading Stockbroker with 0% Commission

Visit eToro

75% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs with eToro.

eToro: Leading Stockbroker with 0% Commission
Visit eToro

75% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs with eToro.

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