Online stock trading is the buying and selling of company shares over the internet. It is commonly known as share dealing, where a share is a unit of ownership in a particular company.

How to start stock trading?

You need to open a stock trading or share dealing account online, then you can add money to it and start buying and selling shares.

How to choose the best online trading platform

When looking for the best trading platform here are some of the things you need to think about:

  • Fees: Every online trading platform will charge you a brokerage fee for every buy or sell transaction. However, fees may be calculated as a percentage of the transaction amount for larger trades. Some providers will also charge an ongoing annual or monthly fee on top of this, especially with the more feature-dense platforms.

  • Ease of use: Share trading can be complicated and often requires you to respond quickly to market changes. With this in mind, look for an online platform that allows you to make fast and precise trades without hassle.

  • Access to data and research: Does the platform offer dynamic, real-time or delayed market updates? Some platforms offer research and broker analysis on individual stocks that can be useful for picking stocks or shares to buy.

  • Trade options: Consider the options available when you are buying or selling shares. Can you place limit orders i.e buying or selling a share at a set price? Are stop loss orders an option so you can reduce your risk.

  • Margin loans: If you're looking to borrow money to build your investment portfolio, check to see whether the platform or online broker offers margin loans.

  • Security: How secure is the platform and what measures are in place to ensure the safety of your funds?

Choosing the best stock trading app

There are a number of stock trading apps offering varying features and user interfaces. While there's no best trading app, some of the things to consider when choosing the best app are:

  • Share selection: Any online trading app must offer a wide variety of stocks that you can trade. A limited share selection may mean losing out on a potentially profitable opportunity only because the app you use doesn't offer the shares you wanted to buy.

  • Design: Any stock trading app should be designed such that it's easy to use, and where you can find all the features and tools you need without the need to search around.

  • Additional features: Many trading apps now offer a host of additional features such as demo accounts and stop loss functions.

What are the best trading platforms?

The best platform for you is one that suits your financial needs and your investing strategy. Some of the well-known and reputed platforms are:

  • Degiro

  • Hargreaves Lansdown

  • IG

  • Interactive Investor

  • Saxo Markets

What to consider before you invest

Here are three things to consider before you start share dealing:

  1. Only invest what you can afford to lose, as there is no guarantee you will get your money back.

  2. 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 trading.

  3. 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

Q

Can I buy shares in any company?

A

No, only companies that are listed on stock exchanges, like the London Stock Exchange (LSE) or the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

Q

How can I cut the cost of share dealing?

A

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.

Q

Do I pay tax on share dealing?

A

Yes, any profits are subject to Capital Gains Tax and you also must pay 0.5% Stamp Duty. Here is more on investment tax.

Q

Can I deal in shares through a mobile app?

A

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.

About our online stock trading comparison

Q

Who do we include in this comparison?

A

We include share dealing accounts from our panel that offer online stock trading. They are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Here is more information about how our website works.

Q

How do we make money from our comparison?

A

We have commercial agreements with some of the companies in this comparison and get paid commission if we help you take out one of their products or services. Find out more here.

You do not pay any extra and the deal you get is not affected.