Best Trading Platforms in the UK (2022 Update)
UK traders have access to hundreds of online trading platforms, and choosing the best one is not always easy. After extensive research, there is no doubt in our mind that the best platform for newbies and experienced investors is Saxo Markets.
This guide gathers the best UK trading platforms and reviews them to pinpoint advantages and drawbacks. You'll also learn more about investing on these platforms and discover the best options for each trading type. Here is what UK traders should know before entering the markets.
Best Trading Platforms at a Glance
Overall best platform for trading – Saxo Markets
Best platform for stocks and shares trading - eToro
Best platform for CFDs and other derivatives - XTB
Best platform for crypto trading – Capital.com
Best platform for auto trading - Libertex
Best platform for commodities trading - Plus500
Best platform for forex trading - Avatrade
Best platform for mutual funds - Degiro
Best platform for penny stock trading – CMC Markets
Best platform for day trading – Fidelity
Top 10 Trading Platforms Reviewed
You only need a stable internet connection to use online trading platforms. Here are the top options to try for UK residents.
Saxo Markets – Best Trading Platform Overall
Saxo Markets offers over 60,000 instruments for trading, giving you true global market access. You can also count on professional customer support.
The platform is great for advanced investors since they can expect personal relationship managers and other VIP services. The loyalty program includes reward points and a bonus for referring a friend.
eToro – Best for Trading Stocks
eToro has over 25 million users worldwide and licenses from the FCA and other reputable bodies. The platform has a strong selection of stocks ranging from popular to penny stocks.
CopyTrader is a unique feature that allows you to duplicate the strategies of other successful investors. eToro has a strong social component since you can read news and reports posted by other users.
XTB – Best for CFD Trading
XTB includes over 2,100 trading instruments with a maximum leverage of 1:500. The platform offers automated trading if you want to participate in markets 24/7. Experienced investors will appreciate the generous information that XTB provides. It's easy to register, and after signing up, your funds will always be safe in segregated accounts.
CMC Markets – Best for Newbies
CMC Markets comes with a detailed guide on how to day trade stocks and indices, and you get this content for free. You also have the learning hub with webinars, news, analysis, etc.
Experienced traders will appreciate the huge instrument selection, which only increased during the platform’s 30+ years of existence.
Fidelity – Best for All-Around Wealth Management
Fidelity is a comprehensive service with loads of products, ranging from retirement planning to active trading. Traders will appreciate the range of available instruments, expert insights, and straightforward pricing. The platform offers three-layer identity protection for maximum safety of all your information.
Plus500– Best for Commodities Trading
Plus500 offers access to 2,800 trading instruments. The platform executes orders quickly and without commission. Plus500 offers leverage up to 1:30. It also keeps client funds in a segregated bank account away from business operations.
Newbies will appreciate detailed learning materials. Advanced investors can benefit from real-time quotes and fast withdrawals. Although you can choose from multiple account types, the one for trading futures isn’t available in the UK.
Degiro – Best for US Stocks
Degiro has over two million users throughout Europe. Its platform won over 80 awards in different categories. It's easy and free to register, and you can pick between different account types.
The platform secures access to over 50 global exchanges. It uses a segregated account to hold your assets, which ensures they remain safe at all times.
Capital.com – Best for Educational Content
Capital.com has a useful learning section perfect for beginners, and it also has tools for advanced investors with dozens of charts and technical analysis tools.
The platform developed an AI trading bot that helps identify opportunities among over 6,000 instruments. You can adjust take-profit and stop-loss orders to ensure your investments never cross the desired threshold.
Libertex – Best for Using a Forex Bot
Libertex has an advanced Forex Robot, which aims to identify top trading opportunities when you aren’t around. Aside from the proprietary trading platform, you can use MetaTrader4 and MT5.
The platform offers over 250 CFDs, ensuring there’s an impressive selection for pro investors. Libertex also has bonuses for new and loyal customers.
Freetrade – Best for a Free Share
Freetrade gives a friend referral bonus where you can both get a stock of random value between GBP 3 and GBP 200. Premium accounts unlock access to over 6,000 stocks and benefits like interest on cash deposits, automated order types, etc. Your money remains safe with Freetrade's FSC Scheme, which is in line with the latest industry standards and regulations.
What Are Trading Platforms and How Do They Work?
A trading platform is an online-based platform designed for traders and investors. It removes the need for a third-party brokerage and allows direct access to stocks, ETFs, crypto, and other markets.
Most trading platforms require having a brokerage account on their websites. Depending on the service, these are free or premium accounts. Some sites, such as Freetrade, even have a welcome bonus once you register.
Trading platforms vary in available assets, commission, other fees, etc. You should pick the one most suitable for your trading strategy and funds. While most are ideal for trading any sum, some platforms might offer more benefits for trading large amounts.
How Much Money Do You Need to Get Started?
Some trading platforms do not require a deposit to register an account. You can open a demo account to test your trading strategy before committing any real money.
Once you are ready for live trading, it’s necessary to add actual cash to your account. Depending on the platform, that could be as little as GBP 10.
The initial deposit size is up to you but it's usually better to start with at least GBP 100 to allow for market volatility and some losing trades. If you set aside a higher amount, feel free to invest GBP 10,000 or any amount you see fit. It only matters if the amount fits the designated budget.
Cheapest Trading Platforms
Online trading platforms earn money from built-in spreads on investment products and other fees. The cheapest platforms have low brokerage fees, at least on some trading instruments. Additionally, these services don't require investing a large sum at the start. Check out the list of the cheapest UK trading platforms below.
Are Trading Platforms Safe?
The safest stock platforms are those that are licensed by the FCA, which is the UK government body that regulates financial institutions. Stick to platforms with an FCA license, such as Saxo Markets, eToro, and others mentioned on this page.
Trading platforms apply security measures to keep your personal details and funds safe. However, trading also comes with risk. You can profit but also lose the invested sum. The trading platform secures safe conditions to trade, but your moves and market changes will decide whether you profit or end up losing your funds.
Can I Use Trading Platforms on All Devices?
The general rule is trading platforms are accessible on all devices via web browsers. That means you can access them from Windows, Mac, Linux, and even your mobile phones and portable devices. Here are some examples of trading platforms that work flawlessly regardless of the device used.
What Trading Software Is Used on the Best Trading Platforms?
Trading platforms often resort to using specialized trading software to ensure a better user experience. Platforms like AvaTrade or IG use MetaTrader 4, the famous forex trading platform. MT4 is available for desktop and mobile devices.
You can also try MetaTrader 5, a version that supports forex, stocks, and other assets. Detailed technical analysis and automated trading are also available.
Other trading platforms, such as Pepperstone, also offer cTrader and other software options. The actual app is free, but various trading and other fees apply when using it.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Trading Platforms
Here are some of the specifics of trading platforms that you should consider before opening one:
You only need an internet connection. Access to internet platforms is an option for desktop and mobile devices. All you need is a device with a web browser and a stable internet connection.
Platforms come with welcome offers and loyalty rewards. Depending on the platform, you could get free shares, personal brokers, cash back, and other benefits.
Useful info is only a click away. You can get access to research and real-time charting. Trading platforms always offer a suite of indicators that can help to decide if an asset is in an oversold or overbought state.
Trade 24/7 and assume better control. You can trade at any time of day or night on most platforms. You can also monitor investments in real-time giving you more control over which assets to keep or sell.
The internet connection could go down. A drop in Wifi could lead to a missed trade execution, or being trapped in a losing position.
You don’t get actual offers from a broker. Most platforms only list the available trading instruments. The decisions are up to you, and there’s no personalized advice from experienced experts.
What Can You Do with a Trading Platform?
A trading platform is an all-around investment hub designed for beginners and experienced investors. The basic features include trading assets, including buying and selling stocks, futures, bonds, crypto, etc.
The actual functions and features will depend on the platform. Some offer access to different global markets and many different investment types. You’ll often encounter useful charts and market data. You’ll find the best trading platforms for UK traders in different categories below.
Trade Stocks and Shares
Beginners often start by trading stocks, and even the majority of experienced investors prefer these markets. Most online UK trading platforms include stock markets, but the available stock number varies.
Depending on the platform, you can trade shares of over 6,000 companies from different global markets. Here are the services to try to begin trading stocks!
Derivative trading includes speculating on how much an asset would be worth in the future. Your aim is to purchase an asset and sell it at a profit at a later date.
Common derivatives include forwards, options, swaps, and futures. Here are some online trading platforms where you can trade derivatives in the UK.
Best Options and Binary Options Trading Platforms for Beginners
Purchasing an option gives you the chance to purchase an asset in the future. The contract’s terms decide how, when, and at what price you can acquire that asset.
A binary option is a 50/50 bet on where an asset will trade at a future date. If you predict correctly, you receive the reward specified in the contract. Here are the top UK trading platforms for options.
Best CFD Trading Platforms for Beginners
CFD is short for contracts for differences. This is a derivative that tracks the price of an underlying asset.
An example is a CFD for a stock such as Apple. You would buy the CFD for the same rice that Apple trades on the US stock exchange, but at a fraction of the cost. You do not own the stock but you can profit from a price move. Here are the top CFD platforms for beginners in the UK!
Best Futures Trading Platforms for Beginners
Futures are a part of derivative trading. These contracts require parties to act to the terms specified. At the agreed date, the parties must sell or buy the asset. The contract also includes a mandatory selling price range.
You can use futures to prevent losses if the price change gets unfavorable. It has high-risk levels but can generate significant profit. Here are the top platforms to try to trade futures in the UK.
Best Leverage Trading Platforms for Beginners
Leverage trading is a method of taking up a large market position with a small investment. You’ll notice the leverage ratio goes from 1:10 to 1:100 or more. So, if you invest GBP1,000 and the leverage is 1:30, you can manage a position of GBP30,000 in the market.
Leverage trading can increase your profit, but it could also lead to higher losses. Here are the platforms to try in the UK.
Best Margin Trading Platforms for Beginners
Margin trading includes borrowing funds from the platform to increase your trading balance. So, instead of trading GBP 1,000, this allows you to manage positions up to GBP2,000 or more. The actual conditions depend on the platform.
Margin trading is riskier, so it's more suitable for experienced traders. Here are the top platforms available in the United Kingdom.
Best Swing Trading Platforms for Beginners
Swing trading includes recognizing market trends and using price movements to try and profit. It includes analyzing different tools to recognize patterns. Swing trading is more suitable for experienced investors who are skilled at using technical analysis tools. Here are the top platforms to try this trading method.
Crypto tokens have become a popular payment market recognized worldwide. Depending on the platform, you can trade and speculate on the prices of thousands of crypto coins. That includes Bitcoin and Ethereum, but also new and promising crypto that has the potential for a huge rise. Here are the top platforms for crypto trading in the UK.
Best NFT Trading Platforms for Beginners
NFT is short for a non-fungible token, which is a cryptographic asset created with blockchain technology. NFTs are digital stamps that signal ownership of a physical or digital asset, such as images, art, music, etc. Unlike cryptos, you don’t swap them at equivalency since they are unique. Here are the top NFT trading platforms in the UK.
Best DeFi Trading Platforms for Beginners
DeFi is short for decentralized finance and it focuses on assets that aren't regulated by governments or any other centralized bodies and create a decentralized financial system. You can trade crypto, deposit assets for rewards in crypto or cash, and other features. These are our preferred platforms below.
Auto or automated trading is when the platform executes trades with your funds, even if you aren't online. Depending on the platform, you can adjust different parameters. It includes choosing the maximum to invest per stock, setting loss levels, etc.
Automated trading is an excellent choice for investors who don’t want to miss a second of market action. It also minimizes emotions since auto trades only analyze the parameters and act accordingly.
Best Trading Platforms for Algorithmic Trading
Algorithmic trading involves creating programs with computer code that can execute trades automatically.
The method includes complex formulas and math. It is free from human emotion and tiredness and will recognize trade patterns very quickly. Here are the top suggestions for algorithmic trading platforms in the UK.
Best Automated Trading Platforms for Beginners
Automated trading simplifies things for newbies. Your task is to set the parameters for when to enter and exit the market, and a trading bot will take over from there.
This method is also convenient if you want to be in the market 24/7 and avoid the risk of making a profitable trade because you are sleeping or busy. The top automated trading platforms are listed below!
Best Social and Copy Trading Platforms for Beginners
Copy trading allows duplicating the moves of the most successful investors on that platform. You can see their actions and replicate them hoping to make a profit. The social factor includes reading analysis, news, and other recommendations made by other investors. Exchanging opinions will often lead to better trading decisions, so try the following social platforms.
Commodities are physical goods that are created by nature and mined or cultivated by humans. You'll find different types, ranging from agricultural to energy. Trading commodities is popular among experienced investors. Check these platforms since they offer the best conditions for this trading type!
Forex is short for foreign exchanges, and this trading type includes swapping international currencies. It's similar to exchanging money for a local currency in a foreign country, except your goal is profit. Many platforms have forex trading bots for automated trading. Here are the services offering impressive selections of international currencies to trade in the UK.
You can try trading mutual and exchange-traded funds. A mutual fund is an investment pool usually run by a company. It gathers investments to exchange large sums, and you have the option to buy shares.
As for ETFs, these typically focus on a particular commodity, sector, or asset. However, you can trade ETFs like stocks. And the top platforms to try fund trading are mentioned below.
Trade Penny Stocks
Penny stocks are most suitable for beginners and casual investors. These are low-valued stocks whose worth is less than GBP 1. The limit on some platforms for penny stocks is up to GBP 5, so you can choose the preferred option. Check out the following platforms to try penny stock and other trading forms.
Day trades are all those related to a specific asset during a single day. If you acquire stock in the morning and sell it five seconds or hours later, that's day trading. These short-term trades require a reliable platform that executes orders quickly, and these are the top choices in the UK.
Live trading is using real money to trade different assets, ranging from stocks to ETFs and crypto. The best platforms for online trading offer access to many trading instruments. They also offer detailed information, such as charts and analyses, to help you make the right call. The best live trading platforms in the UK are in the table below.
Paper trading is a common name for simulated trading. This is trading with virtual money and you will get an account of around £50,000 to test different markets and learn how trading works.
The best paper trading platforms ensure everything is identical to live trading. It ensures the transition to trading for real money will be smooth once you are ready for it. Here are the top choices in the UK.
Do All Trading Platforms Offer Multiple Assets?
Most trading platforms offer multiple assets to attract and keep investors. From the trader’s perspective, it’s better to have all assets on a single platform.
However, the actual asset selection depends on the website. Most platforms offer stocks, but we don't see futures, indices, and crypto that frequently. It's important to pick a platform that suits your trading style and preferences.
Are There Trading Platforms to Stay Up to Date with the Market?
Many trading platforms feature learning sections where you can learn trading basics and discover more about different investment types. Some websites also have demo accounts to test the platform and offer blogs with useful articles, news, and market analyses.
Here is a brief overview of platforms that help stay up to date with the market:
eToro. An entire News and Analysis section covering categories from market insights to copy trading is available to users.
Saxo Markets. There is a Trade Inspiration section with daily commentary and global market analysis, webinars, etc.
Fidelity. The classic news section is very useful, with many articles written by professional editors.
Can You Use Trading Platforms Everywhere in the World?
It depends on the local laws and regulations, but online trading platforms are available in many countries. Here are the top selections in some countries.
How Do I Choose the Best Stock Trading Platform?
For starters, you need to ensure the trading platform has the necessary licenses and certificates. If you stick to platforms mentioned on this page, you can rest assured they all have a valid license for the UK market.
Apart from that, use the following factors to choose a suitable stock trading platform:
Available trading instruments. A large number of stocks is important if you focus on these assets. And having additional instruments, such as ETFs or crypto, available is only a bonus.
Use the virtual money option first. Many platforms, such as eToro, have a demo account that allows testing the real market with actual money.
Find a platform with low minimum requirements. It always helps to start slow until you get used to how everything works. Once you are comfortable with trading, feel free to invest larger sums.
Consider desktop and mobile experience. Most trading platforms work via web browsers and allow access across all devices.
Look for beginner-friendly tools. Useful analysis, price charts, and other graphs are useful to learn more about markets and assets.