We spend a lot of time talking about how to trade successfully on the stock market.
But while basic trading is great for short-term profits and even for its own sake, sometimes you need to know what platforms to use for long-term investment strategies.
In fact, most people use the stock market for retirement and nothing else, leaving day trading and other short-term strategies to economic gurus like us.
In truth, however, there are a number of advantages that can come from day trading - this is the practice of rapidly buying and selling a particular asset within a 24-hour period, or making multiple trades within the same day.
It's a popular way to invest in the markets because you can buy and sell quickly, which allows you to take advantage of elevated prices while they’re available.
If you’re interested in those kinds of gains, you’ll need an investment platform: a tool to help you make smart, successful long-term trades.
We've researched the best investment platforms in the UK so you can compare features, fees and more with the help of our tried and tested platforms.
Table of Contents:
11 Best Investment Platforms UK
Whether you’re new to investing and want to take charge of your retirement funds or if you already have some investing experience, we’ve compiled the following guide to help you choose a great investment platform.
Check out our quick investment platform comparison tool to see a bird’s eye view of our favourite platforms.
|Service Provider||Commissions per trade||Rating||Sign up|
|*1. eToro||£0||★★★★★||OPEN ACCOUNT|
|**2. Plus500||£0||★★★★★||OPEN ACCOUNT|
|3. XTB Online Trading||Variable||★★★★★||OPEN ACCOUNT|
|4. Interactive Investors||£5.99||★★★★★||OPEN ACCOUNT|
|5. Hargreaves Lansdown||£0-19.99||★★★★★||OPEN ACCOUNT|
|6. IG||0-0.45%||★★★★★||OPEN ACCOUNT|
|7. Nutmeg||£0||★★★★★||OPEN ACCOUNT|
|8. Fidelity||£0||★★★★★||OPEN ACCOUNT|
|9. Vanguard||£0||★★★★★||OPEN ACCOUNT|
|10. Wealthify||£0||★★★★★||OPEN ACCOUNT|
|11. AJ Bell||£0||★★★★★||OPEN ACCOUNT|
* eToro disclaimer: eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk. 77% of retail CFD accounts lose money. Crypto assets are highly volatile and unregulated. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.
** Plus500 disclaimer: 81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
Note: Some of the platforms on our list, Plus500 for example, are CFD-only.
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. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
We focused on platforms that were user-friendly, intuitive, and that had the research tools and controls necessary to give you ultimate freedom.
1. eToro: Best UK Investment Platform (2023)
Great for Beginners 🆕
- No hidden fees, ensuring that you know exactly how much money you have available.
- Special “CopyTrading” system - allows you to copy moves of more experienced traders, making this a great option for beginners.
- Lots of stock investment options to build a diverse portfolio.
- Fractional shares available - allows you to access pricier shares at a more affordable cost.
eToro is a multi-asset investment platform. The value of your investments may go up or down. Your capital is at risk. 77% of retail CFD accounts lose money. Crypto assets are highly volatile and unregulated. No consumer protection. Tax on profits may apply.
CopyTrading and CopyPortfolios
This is easily the most interesting feature that eToro brings to the table, and can be used to copy the individual trades of investors who seem to be doing a great job maximizing their investments.
Users can also benefit from the CopyPortfolios feature, an extension of CopyTrading that allows you to copy entire investment portfolios. There are two main ways to leverage this feature: Market Portfolios and Top Trader Portfolios.
These let you copy the exact trades of some of the best performers on the market, making it a great choice for beginners who may not know how to invest wisely.
Plus, you can tweak this feature and have it invest as much of your available funds as you like with a single command. Talk about ease-of-use!
eToro does charge withdrawal fees and you have to have a minimum amount in your account to make a withdrawal in the first place.
Lots of Trading Options
eToro is among the best when it comes to trading variety. You’ll be able to access tons of trading markets and make long-term investments using stocks, indices, currencies and ETFs.
Excellent User Interface
Lastly, eToro benefits heavily from its intuitive and user-friendly interface. Not only can you access all of your information via the Android-mobile app (and therefore keep an eye on your investments day-to-day), but you can also benefit from the community streams feature.
It’s a great place to ask experts investment questions directly or to share your information with newbies who are trying to get a leg up with their long-term investments.
2. Plus500: One of the Market Leaders
"Fastest-growing trading platform in the UK"
- £100 account minimum deposit required to trade.
- FCA regulation for added peace of mind and security.
- Stop-Loss controls to limit losses on potential trades.
- 2,800+ CFDs to pick from, enabling diversification.
- Mobile-friendly platform, making it easier to trade.
81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Diverse Investment Options
Plus500 offers a diverse array of different CFD investment options, including stocks, commodities, options, and ETFs.
Plus500’s WebTrader is among the easiest platforms to understand. You’ll be able to quickly create watch lists (to monitor certain stocks or other instruments), analyze different charts, and place and monitor your trades all via a few interlinked screens, and on a range of devices.
Guaranteed Stop-Loss Orders
A stop-loss order is a special command you can execute for a particular stock or trade once it dips in value to a certain point to prevent yourself from losing too much money. Plus500 guarantees any stop-loss orders that you place, which protects you from any market risk.
Disclaimer: Illustrative prices
Also of interest is the negative balance protection. This effectively prevents you from losing more money than you put into your account through automatic blockers in its software. It’s a small feature, but useful for those whose reach may accidentally exceed their grasp.
Plus500 takes security seriously, and is registered by most regulatory authorities in the Asia-Pacific and European trading regions.
Plus500 also acts as a principal for its clients and always hedges any financial exposure within its parent company to prevent any market risk, with up to £85,000 per person, per firm available in compensation should anything go wrong.
All in all, Plus500 is secure (in terms of SSL & cybercrime) but somewhat lacking investment platform. Since it doesn’t have very many research or educational tools, it may be a suitable choice if you have plenty of investment experience to fall back on already.
Plus500UK Ltd authorised & regulated by the FCA (#509909)
3. XTB Online Trading
Tons of Analysis and Tools Available 🛠️
- No minimum deposit required to trade - this makes it accessible for beginners.
- More than 2100 investment instruments available for plenty of choice and flexibility.
- Loaded with education - ideal for those new to day trading.
Taking the Investing World By Storm
XTB is an online trading platform long known for things like forex and CFDs, but they also offer a range of other benefits; with more than 2100 investment instruments, and an innovative platform, you have the investment world at your fingertips.
Next Level Customer Support
XTB thrives on building trust with its clients, and that includes support available 24/7.
Research, Education, & Analysis
In addition to quality support and an innovative platform, XTB offers quality education and resources for its investors. The only downside to the education factor is that many things are only available in English, yet they are a global provider so that can be inconvenient.
You can access all of this from their mobile app, or you can do it from your desktop.
4. Interactive Investor: For Hardcore Professionals
Excellent Charts and Research Information ℹ️
- Fund segregation for easier management.
- Easy One-Click Trading to allow you to make the most of deals.
- Stop-Loss order function minimises losses.
- Live chat feature is useful if you need advice.
Fees and Pricing 💵️
Trading Account costs £9.99 a month. Your first trade each month is free. The charge for UK and US trades on the standard Investor plan and Pension Builder (SIPP) plan is £5.99.
Charts From Morningstar
In order to make successful long-term trades, you’ll need to have excellent charts and research information.
Fortunately, Interactive Investor’s charts come from the stock research analysis firm Morningstar (the information from which usually costs a pretty penny).
This provides you with tons of starter research to help as you decide on investments for your portfolio and build it for future success.
Interactive Investor also includes automatic technical analysis through Trading Central. This provides you with all the detailed information you need to make educated buying and selling decisions over many months or years.
Great Mobile App
While Interactive Investor technically suffers since it doesn’t have a desktop platform at all, you’ll likely appreciate the phenomenal mobile app, which is streamlined, straightforward and easy to use.
You’ll be able to place trades, view the various aforementioned charts with a single tap on your screen, and even access various stock watch lists without lag or stuttering.
However, the website has a little more data on the screen and is a little more detailed in terms of its analysis tools, so you may still need to go to the actual website from time to time to get all the information you need before making a decision to invest or not.
This feature is admittedly better for short-term traders, but it’s still a good feature that makes Interactive Investor stand out from the other competitors. By making placing a trade quick and easy, you’ll be able to execute your long-term investment plans without any hiccups or delay.
When you navigate to the app’s broad research tab, you’ll find heat maps, rise and fall maps, and even market news concerning the status of your investments at large. You’ll never feel as though you don’t have an appropriate understanding of your investments thanks to this feature, and you will be able to anticipate market shifts in time to salvage your portfolio or to make big gains.
All in all, Interactive Investor’s long-term investment features are well-suited to investors looking to build a nest egg for their golden years.
5. Hargreaves Lansdown
Awesome Pre-Built Portfolios 👤
- Works with both iOS and Android platforms for added convenience.
- Has headquarters in the UK, making traders here feel more secure.
- Special funds shortlist to allow you to access the best deal.
Real-Time Streaming Data
One of the big benefits of Hargreaves Lansdown is the market data you get for London Stock exchange assets. All you have to do is activate this feature in your account and you’ll automatically receive slightly delayed data that can help you make educated decisions about which stocks you want to invest in.
This is notable since most other UK investment platforms or brokers will charge monthly fees for the same information.
Robust Mobile App
The mobile app is one of the best in the industry, providing you with most of the fundamental research you can find in the desktop version of the app.
For example, all recent in-house research is available for every stock you can find on the app’s screen. Again, this helps you to check on the status of your portfolio on the go. You can even view mobile charts in a special “full-screen” mode for deeper analysis and easier reading.
Fantastic Research Area
Many long-term traders will claim that research makes or breaks an investment platform. In that case, you’ll be pleased to know that Hargreaves Lansdown includes a veritable treasure trove of fundamental company data.
Among its quote pages, you’ll find information on each potential company or stock regarding:
- Overall performance
- Recent company news
- Stockbroker forecasts
- Recent director deals
- Company info
- Financials and dividends
All of this can help you determine whether a given stock is a good investment decision in the short and long-term. Plus, you’ll find plenty of analyst commentary for all the funds and shares on the Wealth Shortlist (more on that below).
This notable feature is basically a special Hargreaves Lansdown listed that highlights the best funds across certain investment sectors.
It’s a fantastic inclusion for newcomers who don’t know where to put their money for long-term success and who may want to focus on funds, specifically, for their investment strategy rather than stocks or other instruments - but you will need to be comfortable with funds investment in order to make the most of this shortlist. All in all, Hargreaves Lansdown is a great choice for investment if you have a mind for research and appreciate well-made mobile apps.
No-Commission Trades With US Shares 🇺🇸
- Also has its headquarters in the UK for peace of mind and easy trading.
- Has a relatively low minimum deposit of £200, making it accessible for newcomers.
- Has a live chat feature for ongoing support.
- Easy fund segregation to manage your money.
Access to US Shares
IG makes a mark in the industry by offering its users access to no-commission trades with US shares. This is notable since regular trades do charge commission fees. You get the discount so long as you make three trades per month (which counts as “active” to IG).
Whether will be beneficial for long-term investing strategies is up for debate. Some folks’ strategies require them to purchase new stocks regularly as they grow their portfolios, while others may not really make use of this benefit.
IG is also a great choice as an investment platform since it works well with most major trading apps, including MetaTraders 4 and 5 and cTrader. All of these options work on both Mac and Android computers or devices.
Good Investment Diversity
Long-term investors looking to diversify their portfolios will benefit from the fact that IG allows you to trade over 12,000 different shares, as well as across 19 different international exchanges, funds, investment trusts, and more, allowing you to create a diverse portfolio.
Plus, IG also lets you trade with ISA or SIPP accounts: these accounts allow you to trade with more freedom and flexibility compared to basic share-dealing accounts you can find with other investment platforms.
Excellent Research Tools
We can’t review IG without mentioning its extensive research tools.
All of its learning resources are totally free to access and you'll be able to find research information on individual stocks or other financial assets using its main platform, which comes complete with technical indicators and several stock picking tools.
Despite all of this research complexity, it's an intuitive platform overall and even beginners should get the hang of things after a few hours of navigating through its tabs and controls.
7. Nutmeg: Well-Reputed Investment Platform
UK Robo-Advisor with a Variety of Low-Cost Portfolios 🥜
- Free Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) for safe saving.
- Tax-Free to £20,000/Year.
- Open to UK Residents.
- Low-Cost Portfolios allows you to maximise profit.
Range of Products
In addition to algo-trading and human financial services, Nutmeg offers portfolios for tax-free Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs). The accounts, which are free of tax up to £20,000 per year, include regular ISAs, employer-matched Personal Pensions and ISAs open to UK residents.
You must invest at least £100 (Lifetime ISA) to £500 (General Investment Account, Pension Plan, ISA) in your account.
For automated options with a fixed allocation, charges of 0.45% to 0.75% (fixed percentage) apply, plus 0.25% for automated options with a fixed allocation, plus 0.35% for human-managed options (inclusive of VAT).
Account Setup 🙌
The registration process for Nutmeg is straightforward. You fill out a short questionnaire identifying your investment objectives, investment horizons, and initial and recurring deposits, whether they are direct or employer contributions (for pension accounts).
After completing the questionnaire, you may choose one of three investment strategies: a fixed allocation, a fully managed account, or an account with a socially responsible investment objective, and you can then choose the level of risk and reward you are prepared to take.
The Nutmeg account setup process provides customers with a list of objectives during account creation. A range of ISA and pension account calculators can be found on the website's resource section, allowing customers to determine how much money they need to accumulate to reach their financial and retirement goals.
Plenty of Tools
The allocation breakdown for Nutmeg’s portfolio can be used to see what returns would have resulted if the investment horizon and subsequent years were to be similar to the current year.
8. Fidelity: Top Investment App
One of the Most Trusted Names in Investment 🔱
- Variety of Investment Options, Including Mutual Funds for a diverse portfolio.
- Dedicated Support Team for ongoing assistance.
- World's Pioneer in Investing, allowing peace of mind.
- Supports 3,600 Independent Investment & Tech Firms.
Fidelity is one of the most trusted names in the investment world; the company offers a variety of investment options, including mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and separate accounts.
Create and Manage Portfolios 🍕
In addition to managing nearly 23,000 businesses' employee benefit programs, Fidelity support over 3,600 independent investment and technology firms.
As a result, Fidelity has gained insight into the entire market and the stability needed to act and think for the long term, giving them the tools to do so.
Available to Individual Investors
The popular investment platform is available to individual investors and institutional clients. They provide:
- financial planning
- investment management
- brokerage services
- college savings
- and other resources to help emerging investors invest
Who They Serve
☑️ You - All in all, Fidelity as a top investment platform is a service that allows investors to create and manage their own investment portfolio.
☑️ Companies - They work with companies to develop dynamic benefit programmes for their workers, including retirement savings, healthcare, and welfare.
☑️ Institutions & advisors - They provide investment, technological and custodial services, and execution to wealth management firms and institutions, as well as investment and technology solutions, clearing and custody services, and institutional trading.
☑️ Charities and donors - Help support the causes you care about and fulfil your philanthropic goals by making charitable giving accessible, simple, and effective with Fidelity Charitable, an independent, public charity.
☑️People who create new things - Fidelity says they believe their customers' possibilities are endless. They, therefore, explore new technologies to harness innovation, encourage new ideas, and adopt agile approaches to operate faster for our customers, in addition to challenging the status quo.
How It Works
Through Fidelity’s investment platform, individuals can create and manage their own investment portfolios. The service is available in multiple languages, designed to be accessible to a wide audience. Individuals can choose between investing in a number of different types of investments. including stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, and separate accounts.
Fidelity’s investment platforms include an extensive set of features designed to help investors make informed decisions when investing:
A Free Investment Advisor - Fidelity’s investment platform includes a team of investment advisors for free. Investors can select the advisor best suited to their financial goals and level of experience.
A Wide Variety of Investment Options - Fidelity Investment Platform offers a wide variety of investment options to suit various financial goals and risk tolerances.
Variety of Investment Locations - By offering a selection of investment options that span a large number of investment locations, Fidelity Investment Platform provides comprehensive portfolio management.
Many Investment Products - Fidelity Investment Platform offers many different investment products. By giving investors the option to combine multiple investment products into a single portfolio, Fidelity’s investment platforms can help reduce the overall cost of investment.
A Free Investment Record - Fidelity’s investment platforms provide easy access to a free, comprehensive record of all investment transactions.
9. Vanguard: Highly Recommended Investment Platform
Almost a Century of Performance ⭐
- Diverse International Stocks, including Mutual funds and ETFs.
- Over 44% ROI Historically, allowing you to access higher profits.
- Minimal Risk - great for beginners and those new to investors.
- Low Manager Fees to allow you to keep more of your profit.
If you are looking for an investment option that will allow you to make a substantial impact on your monthly expenses as soon as possible, while also maintaining the highest levels of security and quality, then Vanguard is an excellent option.
With low costs, a range of options, and plenty of support, this is a great all-rounder for investors of all types and appetites.
Vanguard Mutual Funds and ETFs
Vanguard offers a number of different investment options, including both mutual funds and ETFs. While ETFs are often seen as lower-cost options than mutual funds, this is not always the case. When looking at both options, it is important to remember that mutual funds generally charge higher fees than ETFs, but also offer greater security and stability.
With mutual funds, you will have access to a variety of different fund options, including common stock funds, bond funds, international stock funds, and many more. There are thousands of fund options to choose from, so you will have a difficult time finding something that does not appeal to you.
ETFs allow you to invest in a variety of different investments, including U.K. stock funds and international stock funds, bond funds, energy and commodity funds, and many more.
There are over 300 different funds available to investors through Vanguard. This includes a variety of fund options, including common stock funds, bond funds, and even some fund options that are only available to accredited investors.
Performance is another key feature of investing with Vanguard, as they offer some of the best returns around. This is largely because they do not offer high-risk funds that may provide significant returns but are also high-risk.
Instead, they offer a variety of reliable options that will provide steady investment growth over time, which is why they are known as one of the best investment options around.
As we discussed above, cost is another important feature of investing with Vanguard. This may seem like it would be the same as other investment options, but it is actually one of the most important features - you will have a difficult time making progress in your savings if you are forced to accept high levels of risk while also paying high fees.
10. Wealthify: Top Uk Investment Platform
Popular Name in This Space
- Non-Taxed Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) allowing you to protect your money.
- Money Segregated With a Custodian for reduced risk.
- Robo-Advisor Features to give you the best deals.
- Variety of Low-Cost Portfolios - easy access to newbies.
The app works by connecting with multiple brokerage partners so you can invest in a variety of assets including stocks, bonds, ETFs, commodities, and more. The app’s focus is on personal finance and investing. While it’s free to use, there is a fee associated with each investment fund. To get started, you will need to:
- ☑️ Create a Wealthify Account -
The first thing you need to do is create a Wealthify account. If you already have a brokerage account, you can link that account to Wealthify. Once you create an account, you’ll be able to login and access your dashboard.
☑️ Open an Account - Once you’re logged in, you’ll be able to access the dashboard where you’ll be able to manage your investments and assets. You’ll also be able to add funds to your portfolio, view your portfolio’s performance, and more.
☑️ Track Investments - The Wealthify app makes it easy to track your investments by accepting investments, tracking portfolio performance, and viewing your portfolio’s performance.
- ☑️ Track Portfolio Assets - While the app does make managing your investments pretty simple, it also provides a ton of other useful features. For example, you can see the current value of your portfolio assets so you can make sure you’re receiving the correct amount. You can also keep track of your current portfolio value and track changes.
Is Wealthify Worth It?
There are a ton of digital asset management platforms on the market. And while Wealthify isn’t the worst option out there, it’s hard to justify the app’s $19 monthly subscription fee.
The app offers a ton of key features, including the ability to invest in stocks, bonds, ETFs, commodities, and more. It also lets you view performance information so you can see how your investments are performing. But while the app is secure and easy to use, it’s reportedly not free last we checked. In fact, you may have to pay monthly to unlock the following features:
- Invest in Stocks, Bonds, and Other Assets - Wealthify lets you invest in stocks, bonds, ETFs, commodities, and more.
- View Portfolio Performance - Wealthify also lets you track your portfolio’s performance so you can see how your investments are performing.
- Track Portfolio Value - Wealthify also lets you track changes to your portfolio value. This is useful if you want to know how your portfolio is doing.
- Securely Access Your Account - One of the biggest issues with investing is making sure your funds are safe and secure. Wealthify has implemented multiple security features to ensure your funds are kept safe and secure.
- Create Multiple Investment Funds - The app lets you create multiple investment funds. This is useful if you want to create a family-friendly investment fund.
All-in-all, this digital asset management app lets you invest in stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments, making it a great general investment account.
11. AJ Bell: Reputable Investment Platform and Service
Stalworth Reputation ⛰️
- Registered Financial Services Provider for added security for your money.
- Top-Rated Research Team allows access to the best resources and investment opportunities.
- Wide Variety of Products to suit your investment style.
- Strong Client Support - support is on hand if something goes wrong.
Easy to Get Started
As an online investment platform, AJ Bell serves a broad range of clients.
They’re not restricted to the small investor that might be part of a retirement plan at work or have just enough savings to invest. Instead, you can open an account with AJ Bell for as little as £5 and start investing in mutual funds and other financial products.
Wide Variety of Products 🛒
One of the biggest benefits of using AJ Bell is the range of financial products they offer. This includes investment funds, exchange-traded funds, and other investment options.
Diverse, Flexible Investments
You can open an account with AJ Bell to invest in stocks, bonds, real estate, and other assets. Fund choices are also very diverse, so you can find funds that are suitable for different types of investors and financial goals.
AJ Bell also makes it easy to change your investments depending on market conditions. This is especially useful if you need to make emergency cash contributions. You can also easily transfer funds between your AJ Bell account, other financial institutions, and even your broker.
Excellent Research Team
AJ Bell is not just a provider of investment products. They also have a team of certified financial advisers that can help you make better choices when it comes to your investments.
You can invite your adviser to review any investment choices you have made, as well as your overall financial plan. Your adviser can help you select the right product mix and multi-asset, multi-portfolio portfolios. They can also help you choose the right asset allocation for your financial goals and risk tolerance level. Like most investment platforms,
Registered Financial Services Provider
AJ Bell is a registered investment platform (RIFSP) with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). RIFSPs are recognized as legitimate companies that provide financial services. This includes products like mutual funds and insurance. It also allows you to open an account and buy products like bonds and stocks.
The FCA also regulates the financial advice provided by registered providers. This includes things like charges, service delivery standards, and compliance with legal obligations including financial advice rules. They are also responsible for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme should things go wrong.
A Trusted Brand
Overall, you’re working with a registered investment platform with the Financial Conduct Authority. This means you can contact the FCA if you have any issues with your account, which is something you can’t say for some investment vehicles like contracts for differences.
This makes it a strong investment platform for both experienced and novice investors alike. Discover a wide range of investment products, access a reportedly excellent research team, and more as you look to hold the strength of your capital, or to grow your portfolio.
Best Online Investment Platform Buying Guide 🛒
Reading about top investment platforms in the UK is one thing. It’s another to understand how and why you should subscribe to one or another.
What is an Investment Platform?
Put simply, an investment platform is a kind of online market trading platform that, as opposed to a regular online trading platform, will let you purchase various investment instruments (such as funds, bonds, shares, and so on) and place them inside a tax-free Stocks and Shares ISA or individual savings account.
They may also allow you to place your trades inside an SIPP or self-invested personal pension.
Investors typically use investment platforms in order to build up enough of a financial nest egg to retire or to save up for other big expenses such as college for their children.
As such, investment platforms (or trading platforms that can double as investment platforms) will often have different features or attributes compared to short-term trading services.
With investment trading, you’ll buy and hold certain stocks for months or years, allowing your portfolio to gradually increase in value over time. Then you’ll sell the stocks or other financial instruments at a date that works for your financial savings goals.
The best investment platforms are meant for long-term financial gain and stable trading. Regular brokers or trading platforms are better suited for short-term gains and trading.
What’s a Stock? What about other Market Assets or Instruments?
A stock is just a share or unit of ownership in a company. When you buy a stock, you buy a single piece of ownership in a given company. By owning a stock, you get a very small fraction of a corporation’s assets or profits.
Stock exchanges allow you to buy and sell stocks.
In addition to regular stocks, there are other financial instruments you can invest in.
- ETFs or Exchange-Traded Funds
- Mutual Funds
- CFDs or Contract for Difference
- Options, which are specialized instruments that guarantee the right to buy or sell a stock at a particular price at a certain time.
Many of the best investment platforms will allow you to purchase multiple types of market assets and instruments. A diverse portfolio typically leads to better long-term investment gains since you’re less susceptible to market risk or declines.
How to Invest in Stocks Using an Investment Platform
Investment platforms are pretty similar to stock trading platforms in terms of their mechanics. Learn more about them in our online stock trading guide for beginners.
First, sign up for an investment platform by providing some personal information and funding the account. Because investment platforms are designed for long-term investment gains, they usually have a minimum investment amount. This is often between £100 and £1000 depending on the service.
How Do You Know Where to Invest Money?
Don’t have the experience necessary to master long-term investing? No worries.
Most great investment platforms in the UK will also come with educational resources.
These include tutorials and advice on how to analyze different stock information. These resources will help you to make better decisions as you build your investment portfolio.
Certain platforms may even let you copy the trades or investment strategies of other investors on the same platform, meaning you can tag along with experienced investors and make a consistent profit without having to do a ton of research.
But yYou might also want to do your own research using the tools available with your chosen investment platform as you become more experienced.
Research means looking at aspects of a stock like:
- How well the company is doing.
- Its current dividends (i.e. shareholder profits).
- Projections for how the company will do over the next few years.
All of this information can help you predict whether a given investment will be a good choice in the long run. It takes time to master, but it’s well worth it in the end.
How Much Do Investment Platforms Cost?
It depends. As opposed to regular trading platforms, many investment platforms come with additional fees.
Typical charges include:
- Annual ongoing charges, to pay for the platform’s upkeep.
- Buying or selling fees, incurred when you execute various transactions.
- Inactivity fees, which can kick in if you don’t use your account for a certain amount of time.
In many cases, these charges will come out of your investments’ returns. That’s why it’s important to compare the costs of different investment platforms and make sure you pick the one that works best for your budget.
How to Choose the Right Investment Platform
Speaking of picking the right investment platform, let’s take a look at how you can choose the platform that’s best for your needs.
Be sure to compare the different fees and charges that various platforms might charge. Some of these fees might be hidden.
For instance, eToro is a great choice in terms of cost overall. While it does charge withdrawal fees, it doesn’t charge any commission fees (i.e. fees on any trades you make). eToro is one of the most affordable investment and trading platforms available to UK residents.
Most investment platforms will require you to always keep a minimum amount of cash in your account. Check this factor before signing up for an investment platform.
Even with the best online trading platforms for beginners you’ll need good educational and research resources.
The best online investment platforms will have excellent research tools and tabs for you to check out: the more research tabs a platform has, the easier it'll be to make smart investment decisions. It is, however, a good idea to check where a given platform gets its research information.
Platforms with smooth, streamlined user interface designs are better than those with clunky interfaces (who likes a hard-to-use app? Not us!). The easier you find a platform, the more enjoyable your experience will be, and the faster you'll learn.
Is There a “Demo” Account?
Lastly, it's a good idea to see if a given platform has a demo account. Demo accounts allow you to set up an account and tour the platform in question without having to put down any money. You'll instead be given some fake digital currency to make trades and see how your investments pan out.
Demo accounts are great ways to try out an investment platform before you commit fully.
What’s the Best Online Investment Platform in the UK?
Ultimately, eToro is the best online investment platform for most UK residents. This is due to its overall low prices, excellent market diversity, and the CopyTrading feature.
The last tool is particularly good for new investors who want to make sure that their long-term investments are stable and solid, even if they don’t have the research experience necessary to guarantee it for themselves.
What’s the Cheapest Online Investment Platform in the UK?
eToro is also among the cheapest online investment platforms. But Interactive Investor is also relatively affordable and comes with additional excellent features such as One-Click trading and Stop-Loss protection.
Is It Safe to Make Investments Using Online Platforms?
In most cases, yes. All of the above platforms are registered by the FCA and have done business in the UK for quite some time. Registered platforms include protection for their clients (i.e. you) that ensures that you’re insured in the event of a digital hacking incident when your funds are lost.