Stock trading has always been a lucrative endeavour. While some investors prefer to keep their money invested in bonds, others prefer the heat of active stock trading.
Whether you’re an active trader or a beginner who wants to grow in the ranks, there’s a stock trading app suited for your needs.
For Brits looking to get into the game, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best stock trading apps that combines low fees and useful features.
In this guide, you’ll find the following:
- What are Stock Trading Apps?
- Hargreaves Lansdown
- Interactive Brokers
- IG Markets
- Factors to consider when choosing stock trading apps
- Stock Trading Tips for Beginners
- Desktop vs. Mobile Experiences
- Is It Safe to Buy and Trade Stocks Using Trading Apps?
- The Best Stock Trading Apps for UK Beginners
- The Best Free Stock Trading App
- Best Trading App in the UK for Android Users
- Best Trading App in the UK for iOS Users
What Are Stock Trading Apps?
Their name pretty much says it all. Stock trading apps provide traders with the global stock market at their fingertips. Trading apps usually come from financial service companies – banking institutions, the best UK brokers and brokerage firms, etc.
A lot of these firms have come to adopt the “mobile-first” mantra over the years. As more investors have made the switch to tablets and phones as their primary tools, these companies have targeted them with stock trading apps that help them work on the go.
The Best Stock Trading Apps in the UK:
eToro is an Israeli financial services company that has been around since 2006. The firm is very active in the UK It’s accredited by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
You can access a wide array of assets on the eToro platform, including traditional UK stocks, currencies, cryptocurrencies, contracts for difference (CFDs), and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The apps are available on the Android platform (v2.3 and above) and iOS (v6.0 and above).
The process of opening an account usually takes 24 hours. Verified accounts can be funded using PayPal, Credit/Debit Card and Bank transfers.
There’s a minimum deposit of £161 ($200) and a £4.07 ($5) fee for withdrawals from your account.
- Stock trading is free
- You pay low fees for CFD trading
- Wide range of tradable assets
- High forex trading fees
- Withdrawals are not free
2. Hargreaves Lansdown
We can’t talk about stock trading apps without mentioning Hargreaves Lansdown. Founded in 1981, this trading app is suitable for beginners and those who like to buy to hold. With a long track record for usability and security, this top app is easy to use with great customer service. In terms of account opening, Hargreaves Lansdown’s process is quick and easy for UK residents. It’s fully digital but takes longer for non-UK clients. The only drawback of this trading app is the high stock and ETF fees. But, on the plus side, there’s no inactivity fee and the fees for funds and bonds are cheap.
- No withdrawal fee
- Suitable for beginners
- Cheaper fees for volume traders
- High ETF fees
- Slow account opening process for non-UK residents
- Currency conversion fees
3. Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers is a U.S based broker regulated in the U.S by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. This trading app has a wide selection of tradable securities with research tools for newbies. Interactive Brokers is mainly targeted at active investors who trade daily. This is not the trading app for those who want to buy and hold. There’s a high inactivity fee on the app. Another drawback to using this trading app is that there’s still no option for credit/debit cards deposits. You can only make deposits using bank transfers.
- Wide investment offerings
- Quick deposits
- No minimum deposits
- Credit/Debit card payment not available
- Tedious online registration
Plus500 is a British financial services company that is listed on the London Stock Exchange. It’s renowned as the first broker to introduce Bitcoin CFD. It offers an extensive product line that includes equities, cryptocurrencies, options and stock indexes.
Plus500 is available on iOS and Android, although there’s also a version available for desktop users. As a trader based in the UK, you can use this app to trade in stocks and contracts for difference (CFD), all with relatively low spreads and no commissions.
This service doesn’t charge a fee for its services. It uses spreads and commissions and they are quite minimal. Deposit is quick and withdrawals are free. The minimum balance here is £81 ($100).
However, the company does seem to be more focused on the Forex market, as most of its learning materials are focused on the foreign exchange market. The platform expects investors to be knowledgeable about their asset class before trading in them.
- Free withdrawals
- Low minimum account balance
- Quick account-opening process
- A limited number of tradable assets
- Sparse learning materials
AvaTrade was founded in 2006 by AvaFX, an Irish trading and financial services firm. The service offers average-to-competitive spreads, and a wide array of assets to trade with on its platform.
The app offers trading in forex, CFDs, crypto, and options. The service’s CFDs include a small selection such as forex CFD and stocks CFD. You can’t buy real stocks or mutual funds on this app.
The minimum account deposit on AvaTrade is £80. You can fund your account with your credit card, digital wallets, and even bank wire transfers. Withdrawals are easy, but you will need to wait up to five business days to get your withdrawals via debit cards. Digital wallets and wire transfers are effected within 24 hours and ten days, respectively.
Pros of AvaTrade
- A low minimum deposit amount
- Simple account-opening process
- Free withdrawals
- Limited securities products
- High inactivity fees
6. IG Markets
The IG Group is the world’s top CFD provider. Founded in 1974, the firm has an extensive product catalog that is combined with competitive fees. IG Markets has an expansive catalog of shares, currency pairs, indices, and commodities. There are also CFDs, futures, and options for various types of investors. Interested traders can find coverage for major and minor currency pairs too.
IG Markets doesn’t charge for deposits or withdrawals. You can deposit funds via bank transfer, e-wallets, and credit cards. Their minimum account deposit is £250, for traders using the e-wallet or credit card payment option. For wire transfers, it’s £0.
Pros of IG Markets
- No minimum deposit on bank transfers
- No withdrawal fees
- A wide array of tradable assets
Cons of IG Markets
- The account-opening process could take days.
Short for Social Finance, SoFi is a financial service provider that offers investments, banking, and loans through a seamless and easy-to-use mobile app.
The SoFi app allows you trade ETFs, stocks, and cryptocurrencies. The service also has fractional shares, which it calls “Stock Bits.” This option is for investors that want to purchase fractions of a stock. But, trading on SoFi is quite limited.
You only have the option to trade ETFs and stocks. It doesn’t require a minimum deposit, and it’s free to deposit and withdraw funds. Trading fees are also minimal on the platform.
Pros of SoFi
- Fully digital account-opening process
- No deposit or withdrawal fees
- Free trading on all assets
Cons of SoFi
- Limited portfolio of tradable asset
Factors To Consider When Choosing Stock Trading Apps
1. Tradable Assets
The best stock trading apps have a wide array of assets for you to trade on. You can find information concerning traditional stocks, as well as tools like exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual fund subscriptions, and other alternative assets like cryptocurrencies, oil, and gold.
A stock trading app with a broad asset base makes it easier for you to trade in multiple investments and watch your assets grow.
The reputation of the company behind the app is another critical factor. You need to be sure that the operator of the stock trading app has a solid reputation and is licensed by the appropriate authorities.
Before you subscribe to a trading app, check out their registration details. Most stock trading apps need to register with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the British financial regulator.
To check for a company’s registration status, you can check the FCA’s Financial Services Register. Search for the company, and check whether they’re legitimate or not.
3. Ease of Use
A stock trading app should also be easy to use. There’s hardly any point in using an app that will take you a significant amount of time to figure out.
The best trading apps have simple onboarding processes with introductory sections that teach you how to get the best out of the app. While you might need some technical knowledge to read stock charts, navigating the stock trading app of your choice should be as painless as possible.
4. Account Types
Ideally, there should be two account types available on a safe stock trading app.
There should be a Demo Account, created for those who want to test the waters and familiarize themselves with the app environment. Then, you have the Live account, where you trade real money. This is the account where you deposit and trade with your real money. Losses and gains are real here, unlike in the demo. For newbie traders, the Demo Account can be beneficial in the trading journey. This is where you take the features for a spin before depositing real money.
5. Trading Fees
You should also pay attention to the app’s trading fees. No one wants to spend a significant amount of money to make trades. Sometimes, the most suitable stock trading app might not have the cheapest charges. Compare features and trading fees, then stick to one that makes you most comfortable.
Stock Trading Tips for Beginners
1. Purpose and Objectives
If you’re considering investing in stocks, you should have an idea of how long you’re looking to keep money in. Before you invest, identify the purpose and possible time in the future when you will want to use those funds again.
As with other markets, the stock market in the UK is volatile. You can’t always expect to earn positive ROI every time If you’re cash strapped, in need of liquidity, there are no guarantees that you’ll get your funds when you need them. You should only invest funds you can tie down for a long period. Know your why and set reasonable expectations on possible earnings.
2. Risk Appetite
Investing in stocks comes with many risks. There’s the risk that share prices might go down and never come up. Interest-rate risk and inflation risks are two other risks that plague the mind of the average investor. The trick is to find a good balance between the multitudes of risks. This is where your investment goals and your personal circumstances come to play. Figure out how you view risk and how much you can afford to lose or keep on hold for a defined period. Once you identify these details, you’ll know if you want to diversify or go all-in on a stock you believe can achieve your investment goals within the stipulated time.
3. Diversify Your Investments
If you have ample money to invest, then diversification is one concept you should be familiar with. This is the smartest way to reduce the speed bumps on your investment journey. The broader the diversification, the more stable the returns would be. To do this, you can use asset allocation funds, offering a mix of stocks and bonds. If you have the wherewithal, you can also diversify your portfolio by investing in securities outside of the UK. Most importantly, ensure you rebalance your portfolio quarterly or annually.
Desktop vs. Mobile Experiences
To be fair, most traders prefer to place their trades and conduct business using day trading apps on desktop. The desktop version is more interactive and provides a broader field of view. This way, traders can seamlessly use tools like charts and get all the information they need for trading on one giant screen.
Mobile is more portable. While you can’t always carry your laptop or trading desk with you, your phone is always with you. It gets even better with the introduction of tablets, which offers you a much broader view of events.
The portability that mobile platform apps provide is still their most significant advantage. It’s one that desktop platforms can’t beat – no matter how hard they try. You can open or close a trading position from your smartphone device.
Is it Safe to Buy and Trade Stocks Using Trading Apps?
Yes, it is. A lot of brokerage and financial services firms provide stock trading apps, and even the most professional traders use these apps from time to time. Note, however, that you will have to confirm a firm’s registration status before you put money in there and begin trading.
If a firm isn’t registered with the FCA, then British stock traders might not be so comfortable with it.
The Best Stock Trading App for UK Beginners
- eToro is the best stock trading app for beginners because it provides pretty much everything they need in one app. For one, the platform has a significant amount of educational material for you to learn from. This is critical for newbies. You want to be sure that the platform you pitch your tent with has a library of educational materials. The service also has a social network where you can connect with other UK traders and get insights on how they trade.
- As a beginner, you might find it hard to navigate through a new trading app. This is why eToro’s demo account is such a lifesaver. You can get acclimatized with the platform and test your trading skills before depositing real money on the platform.
- What takes the cake for eToro, however, is the copy trading feature. With this, beginners and novices will be able to take the trading strategies of the most popular UK traders and copy them. So, as the pros make money, you do too.
The Best Free Stock Trading App
- Hargreaves Lansdown is our pick for the best stock trading app. It has great customer service, the trading app is user-friendly and there’s a good mix of high-quality educational materials for users. Opening an account is quick, trading fees are low, you can make deposits with a debit/credit card. If you want speedy deposits, there’s an option for bank transfers. What’s more? Your account base currency is the British Pound. This means every time you send money to the app, you don’t have to pay a conversion fee.
The Best Stock Trading App for Android Users
- Besides being one of the largest CFD brokers in the UK, IG Market has a robust Android app that’s suitable for both beginners and professional traders. The UK is one of the largest markets for Samsung phones, which runs on Android. If you use an Android phone, you want to settle for the best trading app for your device. The app is available for just about every mid to high-end Android device, and you get adequate support from the developers when trouble brews. They are quite responsive.
The Best Stock Trading App for iOS Users
- If you’re a British day trader and you have an iPhone, then you should get in with Plus500. The service has the full feature for iOS users, including support for iPhones, iPads, and even the Apple Watch.
- Plus500 provides the usuals – a free demo package, zero-commission trading, and tight spreads. The app’s interface is seamless, and you can check out graphs and charts conveniently.
As a trader based in the UK, you want the best day trading stock apps that are custom-made for the UK markets. This is why we created this guide, so you know what the possibilities are, their features, pros, and cons. Thankfully, you can take any of the apps in our roundup above and avail yourself of immense trading opportunities.
If you’re a beginner, it’s best if you get a demo account first, so you can test the waters and see your risk appetite, as well as other important metrics. The more you trade, the better you become.