This comparison shows companies that offer a platform to buy and sell stocks online.
To find the best platform you need to think about:
How often you want to buy and sell: If you plan on making several small investments, you get charged for each one.
How much you want to invest: If you plan to buy shares as a long term investment then look out for annual or monthly platform fees.
Each platform has different fees and charges, so compare as many as possible to find the cheapest option before opening an account.
What charges are there?
There are two main charges:
Charge per trade: This is the amount you pay every time you buy or sell a share
Platform fee: This is the amount you pay monthly or annually to use a share dealing company's platform
If you plan on making several trades every month then most companies offer a frequent trader rate, which offers a reduced charge per trade.
For example, a company may charge £12 per trade, but if you make over 10 deals in a month, the charge per trade could be lowered to £6 each in the following month.
Before you invest
Here are three things to consider before you start share dealing:
Only invest what you can afford to lose, as there is no guarantee you will get your money back.
Start with small investments, to get used to the process of buying and selling shares on the platform you choose, especially if you are new to online stock trading.
Research each company you want to buy and sell shares from. Do this by visiting their website and searching for economic news stories about them.
Online stock trading FAQs
Can I buy shares in any company?
No, only companies that are listed on stock exchanges, like the London Stock Exchange (LSE) or the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
How can I cut the cost of share dealing?
If you plan to make several trades each month a frequent trader account could reduce your cost per trade. Check the terms with each company.
Do I pay tax on share dealing?
Yes, any profits are subject to Capital Gains Tax and you also must pay 0.5% Stamp Duty. Here is more on investment tax.
Can I deal in shares through a mobile app?
Yes, but only if the company offers one. You still need to open an account online and add money before you can make any trades on the app.