Best Online Brokerages in the U.K.

Read our Advertiser Disclosure.
Contributor, Benzinga
November 17, 2023

The United States might steal most of the headlines because of the size and scope of markets, but it isn’t the only game in town. Across the ocean, U.K. investors also represent a sizable portion of the market. The London Stock Exchange alone makes up about 4% of the global stock market, which isn’t on the same level as the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), but is still significant. That is why the best online trading platform in the U.K. presents interesting opportunities.

If you’re a U.K. resident, investing in financial markets has never been easier. Online brokers based in the U.K. often have certain securities available that cannot be traded in the U.S., like contracts for difference (CFDs). Like many of their American counterparts, U.K. residents are beginning to take a greater interest in financial markets. Which of the best online stock brokers U.K. should you choose for your investments?

Quick Look: Best Online Brokers in the U.K.

The Best Online Brokers in the U.K.

If you're looking for online brokerages in the U.K. that trade on recognized stock exchanges, Benzinga has compiled an ideal list of brokers for U.K. investors. Not all of these brokers will fit everyone — you’ll need to do your own research and select the one that meets your goals as an investor.

1. Best International Broker: Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers (IBKR) is one of the most popular online brokerage houses in the world thanks to its array of investable securities, multi-platform functionality, fair pricing and accessible customer service. IBKR features 135 tradeable markets from 33 different countries, along with 23 different currencies. 

Supported platforms include the Trader Workstation and a variety of APIs for personalized automated systems. The education and market research are top-notch, and customer service can be reached via phone, email and chat. IBKR is one of Benzinga’s top choices for investors regardless of country, especially for U.K. investors.

Pros

  • Large selection of investments
  • Good research tools
  • Large number of no-transaction-fee mutual funds
  • Good execution quality

Cons

  • Won't earn interest on uninvested cash

2. Best for Trading CFDs: IG

  • securely through IG Markets's website
    securely through IG Markets's website
    Best For:
    Forex Execution
    Rating:
    Read Review

    Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

IG is a broker most U.S. investors won’t have heard of, but it’s a great option for U.K. investors thanks to their wealth of investable securities, including CFDs based on stocks, indices and commodities. Currency traders will appreciate the compatibility with MetaTrader 4, a heavyweight platform in the forex space, making it a top choice for online trading U.K. platforms. 

IG clients can trade in two ways: through leveraged derivatives like CFDs and spread bets or through buying and selling individual shares in a share dealing account. Share dealing accounts offer direct access to U.S. stocks for zero commission, and U.K. stock trades can be executed for as little as 3 pounds.

Pros

  • Ready-made portfolios
  • Excellent analytic tools
  • Extended hours trading and 24-hour trading on certain currency pairs and global indices

Cons

  • Higher platform fee

3. Best for No Commission Trading: eToro

  • securely through eToro Stocks's website
    securely through eToro Stocks's website
    Best For:
    Demo Accounts
    Rating:
    Read Review

    eToros securities trading offered by eToro Securities, Inc, (“the BD”), member of FINRA and SIPC. Investing involves risk.

eToro has been on a marketing rampage lately, with Alec Baldwin promoting the broker on practically every corner of the internet. eToro is a great broker for novice investors thanks to its copy trading program, accessible customer service and zero-commission stock trading.

Other fees may apply if you’re trading international shares from a U.K.-based account, but eToro has a large supply of commission-free securities available. Additionally, eToro clients get unlimited trades and can buy or sell fractional shares. Demo accounts are available for new users who wish to paper trade stocks and other securities on the platform before laying down actual pounds.

Pros

  • Good communal experience
  • You can transfer cryptocurrency off the platform
  • Good educational resources

Cons

  • Can't use it if you live in New York, Hawaii, Minnesota or Nevada
  • Not much customer service

4. Best for Mobile Users: Plus500

Plus500 is a derivatives broker based in Europe that offers contracts for difference (CFDs) for many traders, especially those looking for a way to trade on mobile and get the same experience they are getting on their desktop. You can get into stock CFDs, but you can also trade crypto, index and forex CFDs on this platform, making it one of the best U.K. online stock brokers.

There are not nearly as many educational tools as you might like, but this can tell you whether it is the right platform for you or not. Use a demo account to get started, contact the customer support team for help and start a new branch of your portfolio today.

Pros

  • Possibility to use CFDs using this platform
  • Access several types of CFDs 
  • Save money on overhead costs and only pay spreads

Cons

  • Not all U.K. traders will benefit from holding CFDs
  • High-risk trading

5. Best for Long Term Investors: Magnifi

Magnifi is a marketplace that allows investors to use common brokerage tools as an online brokerage U.K. along with AI to make the best decisions for your portfolio. Because you can pull up all the information you need on a given asset, you can easily invest in the assets that will give you the results you deserve and better match your strategy.

Search for the investment options that meet your needs, invest in specific categories or scan for assets in an affordable price range for U.K. traders. Best for long-term investors and those who require client support, you can also learn more about investing from this platform, use the AI-powered investing assistant, enjoy commission-free investing, try the mobile app and take advantage of over 15,000 possible investment options. This makes Magnifi a good place to trade for seasoned and novice traders and one of the best online trading platforms in the U.K.

Pros

  • AI investing
  • Good information on assets
  • Scan assets by price
  • Good client support
  • Commission free investing

Cons

  • Doesn't offer the same flexibility as some of the others on this list

6. Best for Trading Ideas: Public.com

Public.com is an online stock trading platform that allows you to:

  • Invest in U.S. stocks
  • Use recurring investment plans
  • Access the community to learn more about investing, watch live shows and view community feeds

You can invest in over 5,000 U.S. stocks, take advantage of commission-free trading and enjoy low forex fees. Your funds are converted from GBP to USD when you deposit, so you don’t need to convert for every trade.

Thus, you can start investing on your own, start small, grow your portfolio and receive the customer support you deserve. Using the advanced charting, insights and metrics that are available, you can make wise decisions and enter the U.S. stock market at your own pace.

Pros

  • Advanced charting
  • Commission-free trading
  • Low forex fees
  • Invest in the US markets
  • Convert funds to USD

Cons

  • Fewer account options

7. Best for Experienced CFD and Forex Traders: Admiral Markets

  • securely through Admirals's website
    securely through Admirals's website
    Best For:
    Experienced Forex and CFD Traders
    Rating:
    Read Review

    74% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

Admiral Markets (also known as Admirals) allows investors like yourself to trade stocks and ETFs. You can take advantage of unique tools that include:

  • Demo trading
  • Copy trading
  • Fractional investing
  • Islamic accounts
  • Asset management tools and more

You can also invest in forex and CFDs based on forex, stocks, indices, commodities, ETFs, crypto and bonds. It’s easy to register, fund and trade in a few short steps, and you can use a PC or MAC,  the mobile app, the web trader and access MT4 or MT5. Leverage up to 1:500, low spreads, real-time data and nearly 9,000 assets allow you to invest wholly and diversify your portfolio today with this option consistently listed as one of the best U.K. online trading platforms.

Pros

  • Easy access to platform
  • Good for forex 
  • Low spreads 
  • Real-time data
  • 25 alternative assets

Cons

  • Not great for long-term investors
  • You can't transfer crypto to another wallet
  • No options, mutual funds, precious metals, or bonds

8. Best for Non-U.S. Traders: XTB

When you want access to 2,100 global markets and a broker with over 20 years of experience, you should try XTB Brokers. The platform is customizable, easy to use and allows you to invest in forex, indices, commodities, cryptocurrencies, stock CFDs and exchange-traded fund (ETF) CFDs. You have the option of jumping right in and trading or learning all about the investments you plan to make directly from XTB.

Plus, you can use the XTB mobile app to take your trading on the go, monitor your portfolio and ensure that you’re making the exact trades you should at the perfect time. Remember that XTB isn’t available to U.S. customers. However, there is an excellent customer service team that’s available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm. 

Fully regulated in the U.K. and protecting customers up to 85,000 GBP under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, XTB automatically offers 1 million EU, GBP or AUD of insurance through Lloyd’s of London to protect their portfolio and investments.

Pros

  • Choose from diverse trading instruments, including forex, indices, stocks, and ETFs
  • Access to 2,100 global markets
  • Excellent customer service
  • Fully regulated in the UK
  • zero-dollar commissions for share CFDs

Cons

  • No daily video updates in English
  • Cash equities are only available in the EU

9. Best for Education Materials: Capital.com

  • Disclaimer: 84% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
    Disclaimer: 84% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
    Best For:
    Market-Leading Spreads
    Rating:
    Read Review

    79% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. 

Capital.com is a robust brokerage house suitable for both novice and experienced traders. You’ll find the typical asset classes like stocks, bonds, currencies and commodities but also cryptocurrencies and initial public offerings (IPOs). Popular trading platforms like MetaTrader 4 and TradingView can be used, and plenty of real-time market data is available at the touch of a button.

But the real prize for clients is the massive library of educational materials about all different asset classes and trading styles. Complete courses are available on trading strategies and techniques, plus you get know-how guides on complex securities like CFDs, options and cryptocurrencies. Capital.com has the strongest educational offerings of the brokers listed here, making it ideal for new traders.

Pros

  • Excellent educational materials library
  • Comprehensive educational courses
  • Newsroom-grade research articles
  • Competitive pricing and competitive spreads
  • Good video content for market analysis

Cons

  • Price alerts are available only within the mobile app,  not on the web platform.

10. Best Customer Service: Pepperstone

  • securely through Pepperstone FX's website
    securely through Pepperstone FX's website
    Best For:
    Trading Experience
    Rating:
    Read Review

    Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75.6% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

With a delightfully British-sounding name, Pepperstone is one of the largest forex and CFD brokers in the world with over 800 trading instruments and a presence on multiple continents. Pepperstone has CFD products based on stocks, indices, currencies, commodities and cryptocurrencies, which can be traded on three different platforms: MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and cTrader.

Pepperstone offers 24/5 customer support through phone, email and chat. The service is top-notch, and it’s got the hardware to back it up. It’s won awards for Best Client Relationship Manager Service, Best European Forex Trading Support, No. 1 Client Satisfaction and No. 1 Overall Customer Support.

Pros

  • One of the largest CFD and forex brokers in the world
  • Over 80 trading instruments
  • 24/7 customer service, with excellent reviews
  • Fast and fully digital account opening
  • Seamless, free deposit and withdrawal

Cons

  • MetaTrader platform is basic compared to other options
  • Mostly CFDs offered

11. Best Trading Platforms: TradeZero

  • securely through TradeZero's website
    securely through TradeZero's website
    Best For:
    Overall Global Broker for Short Selling
    Rating:
    Read Review

When you use TradeZero, you get 24/7 customer service and a range of assets to trade. However, the best part of this site and app is the option to trade on your desktop or mobile phone.

You can use the free version of the mobile app or web app. Plus, you can step up to ZeroPro or ZeroWeb, depending on where you prefer to trade. For just $59 per month, you get a range of discounts on trading fees with a ZeroPro account. Plus, you can trade 100,000 shares per month, options and futures and choose from many other financial instruments.

Pros

  • Commission-free trades on real stocks and ETFs
  • Simple account opening
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Lower trading fees with the monthly subscription
  • Excellent educational materials

Cons

  • High withdrawal fee
  • Poor product portfolio
  • Can't fund an account with a credit or debit card

12. Best for Advanced European Traders: Swissquote

  • securely through Swissquote's website
    securely through Swissquote's website
    Best For:
    Contract for Difference (CFD) Traders
    Rating:

Swissquote is a company that went public in 2000 and makes it easy for European traders to improve their portfolios. The platform allows you to invest in more than stocks, including ETFs and derivatives. This aspect makes it easier for you to build a whole portfolio that gives you more diversity and better options for growth.

Designed for financial professionals, active day traders, CFD traders, derivatives traders and anyone who wants powerful trading options and elaborate tools, Swissquote makes it easy to improve the quality of your portfolio by offering more options and information. You can set up private and business accounts, and you will benefit from several features like:

  • MetaTrader 4
  • MetaTrader 5
  • Autochartist
  • Plugins
  • Advanced Trader
  • FIX API

Pros

  • Access to many markets and products
  • No inactivity fee
  • Solid background, reliable company
  • 34 crypto assets available from its eTrading account.

Cons

  • High trading fees
  • Doesn't publish its average forex spreads
  • Some research tools are not free

Why Choose an Online Stock Broker U.K.?

Most securities are now traded online. You still see stock traders on the floor of exchanges like the NYSE, and you can call your broker on the phone and place a trade if you really want to. But online stock trading has opened the markets to large swaths of people who otherwise never had access. And not only are new generations of investors gaining access, but fees and commissions are on a decline toward zero.

For the average U.K. investor, a share dealing account at an online brokerage house is the best way to invest in capital markets. You can trade securities through online brokers, from simple stocks and bonds to complex derivatives like options and CFDs. Competition for your capital is fierce among these brokers, and many different platforms exist for traders of different experience levels. Choosing an online brokerage requires a little bit of research since every investor has unique goals and needs, even when you're looking for the best stock brokers in the U.K.

What Are You Looking for in an Online Brokerage?

How do you choose the best online stock broker U.K.? Create a list of crucial criteria and see which of the available options is best suited for you. 

  • Speed and efficiency: Trading becomes difficult with slow speeds, confusing platforms and awkward websites. Many brokers will offer a demo version of their platform for paper trading, which is a great way to get a test drive. If you can’t learn the basics by the end of the trial period, it’s probably not for you.  
  • Market data and education material: In 2021, a broker must provide more than trading software. The markets are more open than ever, but education and guidance are needed to steer clients toward their financial goals. Find a broker that provides plenty of educational material and real-time market data so you can make informed decisions.
  • Minimal costs: There’s no need to pay through the nose for the right to trade anymore. Compare commissions and fees among your favorite potential brokers and choose the most cost-effective. Remember, excessive fees and commissions come right out of your returns.
  • Variety of available asset classes: Diversification is one of the keys to successful investing, so you’ll want access to stocks, bonds, ETFs, mutual funds and maybe even derivatives like options, futures and CFDs.
  • Customer support: Even the most efficient brokers will have technical issues or concerns from clients from time to time. Having convenient customer service is a must, which means multiple contact methods and lengthy hours of operation. Don’t choose a broker who will leave you hanging if you have a problem.

Choosing the Best Online Stock Broker U.K.

Thinking of opening a brokerage account and investing with an online broker in the U.K.? Consider using one of these options for your trading needs. Beginners and experienced traders can find something useful from this collection of brokers, whether it’s fast execution, asset class variety or low fees and commissions. You’ll need to consider which factors mean the most to you. But no matter which you choose, plenty of opportunities await U.K. investors in markets on both sides of the ocean. You can find some of the best online stock brokers in the U.K. or the best forex brokers in the U.K.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q

What trading platform is best for beginners in the U.K.?

A

It depends on your trading style and goals. Do you want long-term investments or short-term trades? Consider what you want from investing and then sample some brokers that can help accomplish your goals. Here’s where demo accounts come in handy — prospective clients can test out nearly any available platform with paper money. Use these demo accounts and find your perfect platform.

Q

How do I buy stocks online in the U.K.?

A

You can buy stocks directly from a share dealing account or use CFD products to gain exposure to equities. To open an account with one of these brokers, you must be a U.K. resident with proper identification and banking information. Once your account is approved, you can begin buying and selling securities through desktop, web and mobile platforms, depending on your broker’s offerings.

Q

Where can I find stock brokers in the U.K.?

A

You can find a list of qualified stock brokers in the U.K. on the list above.

Q

What is the best broker for trading in the U.K.?

A

There are many excellent brokers in the U.K., including the options above. Which is the best online stock broker in the U.K. depends on your trading goals and portfolio.

Q

How safe is eToro U.K.?

A

eToro U.K. is a legitimate brokerage and offers comparable security features to other online brokerage accounts. You should still research and understand all investments and diversity across assets to reduce your investment risk profile.

Q

Which trading platform has the lowest fees in the U.K.?

A

Trading 212 offers commission-free trading, making it one of the lowest-fee options for online brokerages in the U.K.