Compare our best online trading platforms

Check out stocks and shares ISAs to find the right account for your trading needs.

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Compare online stock trading accounts from leading providers

You'll only find results from genuine companies. Our data experts check each company before we add them to our comparisons.

Interactive Investor
Hargreaves Lansdown

How to start stock trading online


Open a stock trading account

A share dealing account is what allows you to buy and sell shares.


Add money to it

This is the money you want to use to invest in shares.


Buy the shares you want

Find and purchase the shares you want.


Sell shares if you chose to

When the stock price of your shares rises, you can sell them to make a profit.

Online stock trading platform deals

Your investments are not guaranteed: shares can fall in value as well as rise, and you may not get back the full amount you put in.

Compare another type of share dealing

What is online stock trading?

Sometimes called "share dealing" or "share trading", online stock trading involves buying and selling shares in PLC companies that are listed on the stock exchange.

Interest in stock trading in the UK has increased in recent years, with about 13.5% of UK shares being owned by UK residents¹.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, investment in shares soared thanks to the launch of more commission-free stock trading apps and the rise of "meme stocks", such as GameStop, which made headlines in early 2021.

What is a share?

A share or stock is a unit of ownership in a given company. Stock trading involves buying and selling shares. One simple form of trading that traders use is to purchase shares in publicly listed companies – such as Google, Tesla, or Amazon – and then sell them for a profit if the price of the stock rises.

How do stock prices change?

The price of a single share of a company is calculated by dividing the total market value of the company by the number of shares.

This price rises and falls due to various factors, such as the company's performance or the implementation of new government regulations. Global events can also play a part: the pandemic and war in Ukraine are prime examples of this. Such factors affect the popularity and availability of a company's stock. If there are more buyers than people willing to sell, the price will likely rise. If there are more sellers in the market than buyers, the stock's price tends to drop.

Finding the best online stock trading platform

You can trade stock using desktop software, web-based platforms or smartphone apps. When looking for the best trading platform, it pays to think about the following factors:


All online market trading platforms, charge a fee for each transaction. This is the case whether you want to buy or sell shares.

Ease of use

Often you need to respond quickly to market changes, so a share dealing platform that is easy to use and lets you make fast, accurate, hassle-free trades is a must.

Access to data and research

The best trading platforms offer real-time market updates along with analysis from brokers about different stocks. This intel can help inform your trading decisions.

Trade options

Look at what options are available for you to buy or sell shares. Can you automate transactions to happen when a stock reaches a set price? Do you have the option to create stop-loss orders? These types of features are worth looking for because they help manage your risk.

Margin loans

Some people borrow money to help build their investment portfolio. If you want to do this, check to see if your share-dealing platform or online broker offers margin loans.


How secure is the platform? Security is vital to make sure your funds are safe. The best trading platforms have robust security features to protect your money.

stock trading app

Which is the best stock trading app for beginners?

There is no definitive answer to this as it will depend on your needs. When weighing up the merits of stock-trading trading apps you should consider:

  • design and ease of use

  • shares that are available

  • extra features

The best stock-trading app should offer a wide selection of shares; if the stock you want to buy isn't on the app, you could miss out on an important money-making opportunity.

What is the best trading platform?

Some well-known and reputed stock trading platforms include:

Trading PlatfromPlatform FeeShare dealing chargeInvestment Options
Degiro£0£2.03Shares, ETFs, Options, Futures
IG£8£8Shares, ETFs, Funds
Interactive Investor£9.99£7.99International shares, Funds, Investment trusts, ETFs
Hargreaves Lansdown£0£11.95Shares, ETFs, Funds
Saxo Markets£0£8 Shares, ETFs, Funds
Be aware that these fees can vary depending on how frequently you trade, the amount you invest and the type of investment you choose.

What to consider before investing ...


Only invest what you can afford to lose

Stock trading is risky as the value of stocks can rise and fall because of external economic factors. This means that you might get back less money than you originally invested.


Start with small investments

This'll give you time to get used to the process of buying and selling shares on trading platform that you've chosen. This is especially important if you're new to online stock trading.


Do your research

Research each company you want to buy and sell shares from. Visit their website and search for economic news stories about them as well as look at how they're performing and have performed historically.

Salman Haqqiquotation mark
Online stock trading is about risk and reward, but there are ways to minimise your risk by doing the research, picking a platform to suits your financial circumstances and being patient if the market takes a dip.
Salman Haqqi, Personal Finance Editor

Top tips for online stock trading

Although everyone has their own particular investment needs and goals, the end goal is essentially the same - make as much of a return on your investment as you can.

Here are some tips based on conventional wisdom that investors can keep in mind:

  • Think long term. Unless you're an expert trader with knowledge of the day-to-day intricacies of the stock market, trying to make short-term gains is probably not a good idea. Instead, if you're thinking of investing in stocks, be prepared to tie your money up for at least five years. That covers any market fluctuations from affecting your eventual return on investment.

  • Diversify your portfolio. Investing in a variety of different industries, maximises returns by investing in different areas that would react differently to the same economic developments.

  • Don't panic. Many investors often panic when the market has a momentary dip and follow other people into selling. Highs and lows are part of investing in the stock market, and it can be more profitable to be patient and ride it out.

Online stock trading FAQs

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Comparing stock trading accounts could save you money. Our multiple award-winning comparison service makes sure you get the lowest fees and charges possible based on your individual circumstances. Our aim is to provide you with the most up-to-date information, as well as useful tools and calculators so to help you make life's most important decisions and take control of your money.

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¹Based on data from the 'Ownership of UK quoted shares' report by

Last updated: 24 June 2022