Broker Comparison Ltd does not provide investment advice. The information provided is of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. You should always check up-to-date fee and charges information with any broker prior to making any trade. You alone assume the sole responsibility of evaluating the merits and risks associated with the use of any information that has been provided. If you are unsure of anything, you should seek financial advice from an authorized advisor.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. Losses may exceed the value of your position. You should consider whether you understand how derivatives work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Capital at risk.
Please check the fee structure on your broker’s website before taking any investment decision.
What is an Online Trading Broker?
When it comes to buying and selling securities or other tradable assets, an online broker is an intermediary that facilitates these transactions. In most cases, clients trade via brokers’ customized trading platforms.
In contrast to the typical way of placing orders over the phone, initiating positions online is something new. In the mid-to-late 1990s, the advent of supercomputers and robust internet connections allowed the rise of online trading brokers.
With online trading, you can do anything from anywhere, such as placing orders, checking price quotations, and making modifications. Traders also stay abreast of the market using various services offered by online brokerage firms, such as news feeds, economic calendars, etc. Online trading is less expensive than dealing with a traditional broker in almost every way.
How Do UK Online Trading Brokers Work?
After receiving a client’s order, an online trading broker starts scanning through various markets, such as NASDAQ, NYSE, ECNs, etc., to match buyers’ and sellers’ requests. Both parties’ brokers receive a confirmation when a match is made between buyers and sellers through a particular marketplace. In addition to market players, regulators have access to the order and the execution price. If an order is completed, both the seller’s and the buyer’s brokers get a contract from the exchange.
For a T+3 settlement, online trading brokers have three days to swap the money and stock. Money automatically gets credited to the seller’s trading account after that.
What Assets Can You Trade with Online Trading Brokers in the UK?
The term “assets” encompasses both tangible & intangible financial instruments that people buy and sell to make money from investing.
Historically, equity (stocks), bonds, and money market instruments have been the three primary asset types. Currently, most online trading brokers in the UK incorporate Forex (currencies), commodities, futures, and indices in their asset class mix. Let’s quickly go through each asset class to help you understand why people trade them.
Forex trading has a wide range of motivations, and investing in speculative transactions (hedge funds and banks) is the most prevalent. On the other hand, monetary policy, exchange regime modification, and currency intervention are all methods used by central banks to affect the foreign exchange market drastically. Similarly, institutions swap currencies for international commerce and risk management.
As far as trading currencies in the UK is concerned, the Great Britain Pound (GBP) is the third-largest reserve currency globally. Traders use GBP pairings to speculate on the strength and weaknesses of the currency in real-time. Despite the abundance of related crosses available through most UK brokers, many traders stick to the four most popular pairs, including GBP/USD, GBP/JPY, GBP/CHF, and EUR/GBP.
Stocks & Shares
Shares in a firm can be bought and sold through stock trading; if you hold stock, you have a stake in the company. Investors expect to generate returns from their investment in stocks and shares in the form of dividends and/or in the event of a price appreciation of their holdings in the company.
Usually, traders prefer putting together a diverse portfolio of equities instead of staking their entire investment in a single stock. Doing so helps them diversify their risk of loss.
Metals (Gold – Silver)
Investors view metals trading as an essential aspect of their investment strategy because of gold’s reputation as a “safe haven” asset against currency devaluation and rising inflation. Traders primarily use gold as a hedge against the volatility of the US Dollar. Almost all good online trading brokers are likely to have them in their list of offerings.
While commodities like Natural Gas, Coffee, Soy Beans, and Copper are all viable investment options, traders prefer crude oil – listed by most of UK brokers. Besides being a source of energy, it serves other purposes such as producing textile and fertilizers, petrochemicals, lubrication, etc.
Crude oil prices are determined mainly by supply and demand, with geopolitical and economic variables having the most significant impact. The need for crude oil will likely remain for the foreseeable future, despite the increasing popularity of alternative energy resources.
In addition to other classes of tradable assets offered by online trading brokers in the UK, indices like FTSE, DAX, ASX, and Dow Jones have always been a favourite choice for most investors. Founder of Dow Jones & Company Charles Dow invented the first stock index in 1885. Historically, the index price was calculated by averaging the prices of its member companies and then dividing that amount by how many there were. That sounds overly simplistic in our age, but it served its function of providing a dependable number to gauge the level of US economic activity.
Investment in indices allows you to simultaneously gain exposure to the entire economy or a specific industry. Moreover, clients can trade CFDs to bet on the rise or fall of index prices without owning the underlying asset.
How to Choose Your UK Online Trading Broker
Successful trading involves the selection of a brokerage firm that matches your investment objectives and learning style. While there is no assurance of investment returns, all you can do is compare online trading brokers and set yourself up with the best one matching your expectations. Here are a few things you can keep an eye on;
Checking the broker’s regulatory status should be the first step in determining whether or not you should proceed with it. Verify the broker’s registration with your country’s regulatory body, i-e, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Your funds are likely to be more secure with a regulated broker. This means that if a company goes bankrupt or becomes insolvent, your money is likely to be safe depending on your investment amount and the FSCS limit (Currently funds up to £85000). Please check the FSCS protection limit at your broker at the time of your investment before taking further action. Please be aware that the FSCS does not protect you from falls in the value of your investment.
A good brokerage firm offers a rich product portfolio across multiple asset classes, including forex, stocks, commodities, indices, and ETFs. If your potential broker does not have an extensive selection, then you should probably try locating one that does. Several online broker comparison websites can help you with that.
Leverage trading involves controlling large positions with limited funds available. In the United Kingdom, most forex and stockbrokers allow clients to use a leverage of up to 1:30, enabling them to increase their market exposure. However, leverage is often characterized as a two edged-sword that also magnifies the risk of loss and could be even more detrimental for beginners. For example, with £100 you can take out a position equivalent to £3,000 which means that if prices fall by ~3.5% all of your money will be lost. Since leverage is a mean of “borrowing”, you may be charged overnight fees for your trades depending on the traded instrument, the leverage, the trading size, and many other factors.
You may wish to investigate the broker’s fees for buying and selling stock and other financial instruments. Always check all the relevant costs you might incur with your broker. The best idea is to compare the pricing & spreads structure of different online brokers in the UK to assess if your select broker’s trading fees are in line with industry norms.
Exploring the technical aspects of your broker is also crucial. For instance, check to see if the broker you’re considering allows you to access advanced charting options, technical tools and indicators for free. You may also want to check which order kinds, such as stop-loss, limit orders, and trailing stops, are supported by your broker.
Good customer service is a priority for a reputable broker. Communicate with the broker you’re considering to find out if it can address your problems quickly. You may also want to know if customer support is available round the clock.
How to Get Started with a UK Online Trading Broker?
Step 1: Open an Account and Verify your identity
After reading carefully through the risk warnings and fee pages of your chosen broker, you need to sign up with a broker and complete the KYC (Know Your Customer) process if you want to open a live trading account. Because of the strict regulatory requirements, almost all brokers in the UK require you to submit supporting documents for identity verification, i-e: A copy of your National ID Card, Driver’s Licence or Passport. Some brokers may also ask for additional documents for address confirmation, including your bank statement or utility bill.
Step 2: Deposit Funds
Once your account is verified, you can proceed to fund it. Typically, online brokers in the UK offer flexible payment methods, including Debit Cards, Credit Cards, Skrill, Neteller, PayPal, Bank Transfers, Webmoney, etc; so you get to select the most suitable option.
Step 3: Browse Supported Trading Markets and place a trade
You can now explore the supported financial markets, such as forex, stocks, indices, commodities, shares, bonds, ETFs, etc. and open positions for your favourite tradable assets. Depending on your selected intermediary, you can place simultaneous trades with limited to no restrictions.
What are the Pros and Cons of UK Online Trading Brokers 2022?
- Flexible Hours: Unlike office-based jobs or traditional workspaces, online brokers allow you to trade anytime and anywhere using your mobile device, depending on the chosen assets’ availability and their markets’ opening hours. .
- Minimal Investment: UK online trading brokers allow you to start with as little as £1. Hence, you don’t need a large chunk of cash to start trading online.
- Quick to Start: Signing up with a UK online trading broker takes only a few minutes. As soon as you fund your account, you’re ready to start placing trades.
- Rich educational materials: UK online trading brokers offer a wide range of educational resources to help clients learn.
- Hidden Charges: In addition to brokerage fees and commissions, some brokers can have hidden charges.
- Scam threats: Since the market is full of online trading brokers, there is always a chance of being caught up by a scam intermediary. People have incurred significant losses to scammers in the UK.
- Slippage: Quality of trade execution is important. Brokers with delayed execution are likely to have a higher slippage ratio, resulting in missed trading opportunities.
What are the United Kingdom Brokers’ Commissions and Fees?
Fees have always been a crucial factor in choosing a broker in the UK. While most brokerages primarily make money through spreads, some charge commissions and other supplementary fees. You also need to consider various non-trading elements that could add to overall pricing. UK brokers typically advertise commission rates based on a single standard lot with a relative commission. Some brokers, however, charge a little higher cost for smaller volumes, encouraging investors to trade higher volumes.
A lot of brokerage firms do not charge any fees or commissions on buying or selling stocks. The average spread, eToro, for instance, charges on trading FX pairs such as EURUSD starts from 1 pip, while it starts from 3 pips on indices and other CFDs. Other brokers may have varying fee structures. Therefore, It is crucial to consult your selected broker to know the actual charges.
How Much Money Do I Need to Open an Online Brokerage Account in the UK?
Opening a brokerage account in the UK is a straightforward process and generally doesn’t require too much money to get started. However, the minimum amount may vary from one broker to the other. For instance, if you wish to sign up with eToro, the minimum deposit amount is $10 for UK clients. On the other hand, clients can sign up with Capital.com for just £20.
It is worth mentioning that the initial deposit might not be sufficient to cover all of your trading costs. You also need to be aware of extra charges, such as currency conversion costs, commissions, charges for holding positions overnight, and account inactivity fees.
Most importantly, you must pay the spread cost for trading different assets such as forex pairs, commodities, shares, indices, etc. While some brokers employ fixed spread charges, others may keep them variable.
Although most brokerage firms in the UK do not employ deposit and withdrawal charges, still exceptions are considerable. Online trading brokers in the UK offer multiple deposit and withdrawal methods like Debit cards, Credit cards, e-wallets (Skrill, Neteller), PayPal, Electronic Bank Transfers, Klarna Pay, American Express, Webmoney, etc. Clients can choose the one that best suits them.
eToro is a global Fintech founded in 2007. The platform is best known for its zero-commission stock trading. The broker also provides its clients with innovative trading and investment solutions with a variety of assets and unique products such as Smart Portfolios (formerly known as CopyPortfolios).
eToro holds multiple regulations worldwide (FCA, CySEC, and ASIC).
Signing up with eToro, from registration to account verification, takes a day or two. The company lists multiple payment solutions, including Debit Cards, Credit Cards, Bank transfers, e-wallets (Neteller, Skrill), PayPal, etc.
The minimum deposit to open an account with eToro is $10 for clients based in the UK while clients residing in the rest of the world can sign up with the company for $50. However, it shouldn’t be less than $500 when paying via bank transfers. The company keeps a deposit limit of $10,000. However, there is no limit on funds deposited through bank wire. Clients with unverified accounts, on the other hand, can deposit a maximum of $2250.
eToro offers a rich product portfolio listing 2702+ Stocks, 49+ currencies, 32+ commodities, 13+ indices, and 264+ ETFs. The company provides CFD trading for all classes of assets in addition to real stock trading. Clients can invest any amount they want without buying or selling an ounce of gold or a whole barrel of oil; all by using CFDs. The broker offers variable spreads besides employing swap charges for holding positions overnight. The table below has a deeper insight. Check it out.
|1:30||1:5||1:20 – Gold
1:10 – All other commodities
|Spreads||Starts from 1 pip||Starts from 0.09%||Starts from 2 pip||Starts from 0.75 pip||Starts from 0.09%|
|Conversion Fees||Starts from 50 pip||Starts from 50 pip||Starts from 50 pip||Starts from 50 pip||Starts from 50 pip|
|Inactivity Fees||$10 (After 12 Months)||$10 (After 12 Months)||$10 (After 12 Months)||$10 (After 12 Months)||$10 (After 12 Months)|
However, the company needs to make its customer services available to everyone since it currently facilitates eToro club members only. Should you wish to know more, please read our full review on eToro.
- Flexible payment methods for deposits and withdrawals.
- Free trading of stocks and ETFs.
- Simple account opening process
- Holds multiple regulations from top regulatory authorities (FCA, CySEC, ASIC).
- Offers one base currency, i-e, USD.
- inactivity charges on dormant accounts.
- Delayed customer support.
XTB is a Polish forex broker founded in 2002. The broker is well-known for its outstanding customer service. XTB is regulated by CySEC, ASIC, IFSC, and FCA. The broker prides itself in providing fast trade execution and tight spreads. XTB also features the xStation5 trading platform for extra convenience.
Signing up with the broker is a breeze since you can complete the account registration process within minutes. XTB lists multiple payment methods, such as Debit cards, Credit cards, e-Wallets (Skrill & Neteller), Bank transfers, and other local payment methods. Clients can trade various financial instruments and select the account type that best meets their needs. For instance, XTB allows clients to trade over 2100 CFDs and 57 FX pairs. Additionally, there are 35 indices, 1846 stock CFDs, and 22 commodities to trade.
While the broker doesn’t specify a minimum deposit, it suggests that clients’ funds should be equal to a minimum margin level. XTB’s spreads start at 0.35 pips. On major currency pairs like EUR/USD, the average spread varies between 0.8-0.9 pips.
The broker offers maximum leverage of up to 1:30 and charges a 0.08% commission per lot on Stock and ETF CFDs. A cash rebate programme is also available to entice traders. XTB demo accounts have no expiry, allowing traders to practice trading without risking their hard-earned money. If you wish to read more, we have a detailed review of XTB here.
|Popular Instruments||GBP/USD, EUR/USD, EUR/GBP, AUD/USD||Apple, Tesla, META, BP, Lloyds, Twitter||Crude Oil, Gold, Silver, Natural Gas
- User-friendly proprietary trading platform.
- Various regulations worldwide.
- Efficient customer service round the clock.
- Rich educational and research resources.
- Lac of offering enough fundamental data
- Account inactivity fees.
- Higher CFD fees.
Skilling is a Scandinavian-owned fintech intermediary based in Cyprus. Founded in 2016, the broker is regulated by the CySEC and FSA in Cyprus and Seychelles, respectively.
The broker makes money via swaps and commissions. Skilling allows clients to trade multiple financial instruments across various asset classes, including currencies, stocks, indices, and commodities using leverage. For instance, clients can trade FX pairs with a maximum leverage of 1:30, whereas leverage of up to 1:20, 1:10, and 1:5 leverage is available for trading indices, commodities, and shares respectively. Skilling spreads typically start from around 0.7 pips. There is a $40 commission per million dollars transacted for GBP/USD, $50 for the rest of the currencies, $60 for gold, and $120 for silver, for the holder of the XTB Premium Account which has lower spread rates.
Clients can sign up with Skilling within minutes. The brokers stipulate a minimum deposit amount of £100, while clients signing up for a premium account may need to fund their account with at least £5000. Supported payment methods for Skilling include credit cards, debit cards, Neteller, Skrill, Transactworld, Klarna, Bank transfers, Trustly, FastPay, and more.
|Popular Instruments||GBP/USD, EUR/USD, EUR/GBP, AUD/USD||Apple, Tesla, META, BP, Lloyds, Twitter||Gold, OIL WTI Silver, Natural Gas, Platinum
- Multiple financial instruments to trade.
- No trading restrictions when you use the mobile app.
- Multi-currency accounts. Hence, clients are likely to incur conversion charges for deposits other than the account’s base currency.
- No FCA regulation, only authorized to operate in the UK.
- Average customer support.
Plus500 is a forex broker that offers a seamless trading experience across multiple asset classes. Plus500 provides real-time quotations allowing clients to explore trading opportunities across more than 2000 CFD financial products.
With the Plus500 demo account, new traders can test out various trading techniques without risking their real funds. Traders that take advantage of real-time price quotes and near-instant transaction execution speeds. Plus500 can be the ideal trading platform for those seeking a wide selection of tradable assets, including forex, stocks, indices, commodities, etc., at a moderate cost.
Plus500 offers competitive pricing models compared to other brokers in the industry. Real-time price quotes, dynamic charts, and position rollovers are all included in the company’s services without any additional fees. Notably, the company employs a variable spread charging policy. While most of its services are free, the company remains transparent about the few expenses they do have. Plus500 generates its earnings from the Bid/Ask spreads. The broker doesn’t charge any fees on deposits and withdrawals. However, clients may need to pay currency conversion charges, and inactivity fees.
Plus500 allows clients to trade on margin. Maximum leverage of up to 1:30 is available for retail clients. Opening a new account requires $100, while payment methods include debit cards, credit cards, PayPal, Skrill, and bank transfers. Please read the full review of Plus500 here.
- Rich product portfolio
- User-friendly trading platform
- Regulated by the FCA
- The broker offers guaranteed stop-loss (GSLs), protecting clients from market gap risks.
- No telephone support
- Lack of research resources & educational offerings
Is Online Trading Legal in the UK?
Yes, online trading is legal in the United Kingdom (UK). The UK is amongst the few countries having the least trading restrictions. However, all brokers and financial intermediaries need the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) approval to operate in the UK. The FCA is an independent regulatory organization in the UK that oversees the work scope of all the concerned entities entrusted with public money. Its responsibilities include but are not limited to protecting investors’ interests and maintaining healthy competition amongst financial service providers.
You can look up a broker’s license on the FCA website and see who it can work with (retail or professional) and what investment types it can provide; including CFDs, securities, bonds, equities, spread betting, etc.
Why trade in the UK?
Trade and investment in the United Kingdom accompany a vibrant business climate that encourages growth and expansion. Globally-recognized talent and a supportive regulatory framework are strengths that the United Kingdom brings to the table due to its developed consumer market and open, liberal economic system. Not to mention traders can also have tax benefits on spread betting as they are tax-free. However, stock trading & another form of investments might still attract capital gain tax in the UK.
While investors have access to a market of over 60 million people, the robust regulatory framework, a wide selection of brokers and exchanges and 43.1% of the global trading volume provide enough reasons for all segments to trade and flourish in the UK.
Why do United Kingdom Brokers need to be regulated?
Regulations ensure that financial markets’ micro and macroeconomic components operate efficiently and fairly. FCA is the prime regulatory body in the UK that binds financial intermediaries to act in the best interest of investors.
Regulated brokers are bound to remain sufficiently liquid and keep clients’ investments in segregated bank accounts. Moreover, the saturation of the market with good and spam brokers and the involvement of a massive amount of public money held with them calls for the need for oversight.
Besides ensuring the safety of your funds, regulated brokers typically allow clients to seek compensation for their financial losses in particular circumstances. For instance, FCA-regulated brokers offer funds protection of up to £85000 to UK-based clients under registration with FSCS if the company goes into liquidation.
Therefore, all brokerage firms and businesses providing financial services or products in the UK must be registered and authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority and other regulatory institutions.
Trading online is now more accessible than ever before, thanks to the growing number of UK-based trading platforms. Whether you’re looking to trade forex, indices, commodities or real and CFD on stocks, online brokers in the UK may frequently provide you with access to thousands of markets. All you need to do is to understand the associated risks and then ensure that the intermediary you choose to open an account with is regulated. Also, don’t forget to check the aspects we’ve listed above when vetting UK Trading Platforms. You can also use online brokers comparison tools offered by various independent review websites to compare online trading brokers and select the one that suits your trading needs.
Q & A
All our listed brokers are amongst the most popular online brokers in the UK. The brokers have a solid reputation among new and seasoned investors for their competitive spreads, user-friendly trading platforms, rich client portfolios, and more. The brokers are authorized by top-tier regulators worldwide, such as FCA, CySEC, and ASIC.
While there could be a couple of options in the ones listed above for beginners looking for the their online trading platforms in the UK, eToro is known for its beginner-friendliness with its easy-to-use online trading platform & the online events they organize to get UK traders started and keep them well informed. However, there is no one criteria to find the best.
Open and fund an account with a UK broker. Find out more about the potential markets you’re interested in using the available tools and market research. Once done with asset selection, fill up your order details and initiate your position.
A brokerage account is an investment account used to buy and sell securities such as bonds, stocks, shares, mutual funds, and ETFs. Full-service stockbrokers and low-cost discount brokers are different options for opening a brokerage account. It is not uncommon to hear the term “taxable account” used to describe brokerage accounts since you pay capital gains tax (CGT) on investment income. Notably, retirement accounts (like IRAs) have different tax and withdrawal requirements.
UK online trading brokers offer minimal costs, a large selection of supported markets, user-friendly features, and exceptional customer service. Most importantly, your broker has to be a regulated entity by the FCA.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) views Forex and Contracts for Difference (CFDs) as high-risk products due to their complexity and the potential for significant losses. The FCA has implemented regulations to protect consumers from these risks, including rules on leverage, margin, and negative balance protection. Additionally, the FCA requires firms offering these products to provide consumers with clear and accurate information about the risks involved. Despite these regulations, investors should still be aware that Forex and CFDs carry a high level of risk and may not be suitable for everyone.