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Compare the UK’s cheapest online brokers

Last updated on 28 April 2019.

Behold! An at-a-glance cost comparison of the UK’s main online brokers and investment platforms. These services enable you to buy, manage, and sell your funds, shares, investment trusts and ETFs at a cheap price. All these services are online and execution-only.

The Good for column shows what we think is the best deal by price, relative to account type and portfolio mix.1

This table is edited by fallible human beings. Do your own research. We fix mistakes as soon as possible but we cannot be held liable or accountable for any errors. Please add updates or erratas in the comments below.

Like other price comparison websites, we may be paid a bonus if you sign-up via a link. This does not affect what you pay.

Flat fee brokers / platforms

 

Company Annual platform fee Fee notes Dealing: Funds Dealing: ETFs, ITs, & shares Regular investing Entry fee Exit fee2 Good for
Halifax / Bank Of Scotland Share Dealing £12.50 £12.50 £2
Shares ISA £12.50 £25 per holding. £125 max Alternative to Lloyds, Selftrade
Trading £25 per holding. £125 max Alternative to Lloyds, Share Centre, Selftrade
SIPP £90 if SIPP worth less than £50K. £180 if SIPP more than £50K + £180 p.a. drawdown £60 per transfer. Max £300 £25 per holding (£215 max) +£90 Fund portfolios above £102K
iWeb £25 one-off account opening charge Does not apply to SIPP £5 £5 Large portfolios and infrequent traders, check vs ii, Lloyds, Share Centre, and Halifax
Shares ISA £25 per holding. £125 max The cheapest if you rarely trade
Trading £25 per holding. £125 max The cheapest if you rarely trade
SIPP £90 if SIPP worth less than £50K. £180 if SIPP more than £50K + £180 p.a. drawdown £60 per transfer. Max £300 £25 per holding (£215 max) +£90
Lloyds Bank Share Dealing £40 Only one £40 charge if you hold ISA and trading account £1.50 £11* £1.50 £25 per holding. £125 max
Shares ISA Fund portfolios over £26K3, unrestricted mixed ETF/fund portfolios4
Trading Fund portfolios over £26K5, unrestricted mixed ETF/fund portfolios6
SIPP n/a
Interactive Investor7    £119.88 Investor Plan8 New pricing from June 1. 1 free trade per month9 £7.9910 £7.9911 £0.99 £0
Shares ISA
Trading  –
SIPP + £120 + £120 p.a. drawdown
ShareDeal Active Telephone dealing only for funds £9.50 £9.50 £12 per holding + £60 account closure
Shares ISA £60 £18 cash withdrawal
Trading £18 cash withdrawal
SIPP £118.80 No fee for first year. + £180 p.a. drawdown
HSBC Invest Direct £42 Charge per account n/a £10.5012 £15 per holding
Shares ISA
Trading  –
SIPP n/a
The Share Centre 1%. £7.50 min* 1%. £7.50 min* 0.5%. Min £1 £25 per holding Large trading accounts
Shares ISA £57.60
Trading £21.60 Alternative to Lloyds, Selftrade
SIPP £172.80 + £234 p.a. drawdown  + £125

Note: Charges may actually be due per month, quarter, six monthly or annually. We’ve chosen to show annual cost of service. All prices include VAT. *A frequent trader rate or bonus is also available. Other charges may be applicable that aren’t included in the table. N.B. Accounts held with Halifax / Bank Of Scotland, Lloyds Bank, and iWeb count as one for the purposes of the FSCS compensation scheme.

Percentage fee brokers / platforms

 

Company Annual platform fee Fee notes Dealing:
Funds
Dealing: ETFs, ITs, & shares Regular investing Entry fee Exit fee13 Good for
Vanguard Investor 0.15% on first £250,000, 0% thereafter. Tiered charge. Max £375 Investments restricted to Vanguard funds and ETFs only £0 £0 for fixed daily times, £7.50 to trade at other times £0 £0 Beats other % fee brokers in most cases and flat-fee brokers up to £46-£56K but restricted range
Shares ISA Fund portfolios up to £43K, mixed ETF/fund up to £56K, ETF portfolios up to £47K
Trading Fund portfolios up to £43K, mixed ETF/fund up to £56K, ETF portfolios up to £47K
SIPP n/a
Cavendish Online 0.25% on all investments 0.20% on whole balance if over £200K in all accounts combined £0 £10 £1.50
(Not charged on funds)
£0 Small fund portfolios
Shares ISA Fund portfolios below £26K
Trading Fund portfolios below £26K
SIPP Fund portfolios below £102K
AJ Bell Youinvest 0.25% on first £250,000 of funds14 Tiered charge e.g. 0.25% on first £250K then 0.1% on next £750K etc £1.50 £9.95* £1.50 £25 per holding
Shares ISA + 0.25% charge (max £30) on ETFs, ITs, shares, and bonds
Trading + 0.25% charge (max £30) on ETFs, ITs, shares, and bonds
SIPP + 0.25% charge (max £100) on ETFs, ITs, shares, and bonds + £120 p.a. drawdown + £90 Unrestricted ETF and mixed ETF/fund portfolios
Fidelity 0.35% on all assets worth £7500 – £249,99915 Assets under £7500 = £45 p.a. or 0.35% with monthly savings plan16 £0 £0
Shares ISA ETF and IT fees capped at £45 £10 £1.50 (Not charged on funds)
Trading ETF and IT fees waived £10 £1.50 (Not charged on funds)
SIPP ETF and IT fees capped at £45 £0 drawdown 0.1% (ETFs / ITs) ETF portfolios – restricted range
Charles Stanley Direct 0.35% on first £250,000 of funds17 0.35% on shares, ETFs and ITs. Min £24 / Max £24018 £0 £11.50 £10 per holding
Shares ISA
Trading
SIPP + £120 No £120 charge if £30,000+ across all accounts. + £60 p.a. drawdown + £150
Selftrade 0.3% on first £50K of funds. 0.25% £50K – £250K. 0.15% over £250K. £1,000 max. Tiered + £12.50 (+ £4.99 per account) minus dealing fees/fund platform charges per quarter. Min £0 / Max £89.92 p.a. £0 buy, £10.99* sell £9.99* ETFs,£10.99* shares, ITs £1.50 ETF portfolios with unrestricted range
Shares ISA £15 per holding Unrestricted ETF portfolios19
Trading £4.99 quarterly account charge waived if you own ISA / SIPP £15 per holding Unrestricted ETF portfolios20
SIPP + £118.80 + £180 p.a. drawdown £90
HSBC Global Investment Centre 0.25% on all investments Trackers restricted to HSBC index funds only £0 £0 Small fund portfolios
Shares ISA
Trading
SIPP n/a
Close Brothers 0.25% on all investments £0 £8.95 £0 Small fund portfolios
Shares ISA
Trading
SIPP £0 drawdown
Bestinvest Platform fee applies to all investments Tiered charge e.g. 0.4% on first £250K, 0.2% on next £750K etc £0 £7.50  £150
Shares ISA 0.4% on first £250,00021 0.2% £250,001 – £1 million, 0% over £1 million
Trading 0.4% on first £250,00022 0.2% £250,001 – £1 million, 0% over £1 million
SIPP £120 p.a. + 0.3% on first £250,00023 0.2% £250,001 – £1 million, 0% over £1 million. £120 p.a. drawdown24
Barclays Smart Investor 0.2% on funds (£48 min, £1500 max) 0.1% on ETFs, ITs, shares, bonds (£48 min, £1500 max) £3 £6* £1 £0
Shares ISA
Trading
SIPP + £150 + £120 p.a. drawdown £90 per transfer capped at £450 + £90
Hargreaves Lansdown 0.45% on first £250,000 of funds25 Tiered charge. You pay 0.45% on first £250K then 0.25% on next £750K etc £0 £11.95* £1.50 (Not charged on funds) £30 account closure + £25 per holding
Shares ISA + 0.45% charge (max £45) on ETFs, ITs, shares, and bonds
Trading
SIPP + 0.45% (max £200) on ETFs, ITs, shares, and bonds £0 drawdown
Aviva 0.4% on first £50,000 of funds26 Tiered charge. You pay 0.4% on first £50K then 0.35% on next £200K etc £0 £0
Shares ISA
Trading
SIPP £0 drawdown

Note: Charges may actually be due per month, quarter, six monthly or annually. We’ve chosen to show annual cost of service. All prices include VAT. *A frequent trader rate or bonus is also available. Other charges may be applicable that aren’t included in the table.

Share dealing brokers

 

Company Annual platform fee Fee notes Dealing:
Funds
Dealing: ETFs, ITs, & shares Regular investing Entry fee Exit fee27 Good for
Degiro  – Degiro may lend out your shares. A custody account avoids this but charges €1 + 3% (max 10%) for dividend payouts28 n/a Commission free ETF selection. €2 + 0.038% for other ETFs. £1.75 + 0.022% for shares29 €10 per holding €10 per holding No trading costs on select ETF range,30 frequent traders
Shares ISA n/a
Trading
SIPP n/a
Freetrade Smartphone app only.
Restricted list of ETFs
n/a £0 for fixed daily time, £1 to trade at other times £0 The cheapest for ETF-only portfolios if you don’t mind restricted range or smartphone-only operation, and stick to £0 fixed time trades
Shares ISA £36
Trading
SIPP n/a
X-O.co.uk No funds n/a £5.95 £18 per holding
Shares ISA + £60 account closure
Trading
SIPP £118.80 No fee for first year. + £180 p.a. in drawdown + £60
IG Funds in SIPP only £0 £8*
Shares ISA £96 £24 waived quarterly by 3+ trades a quarter in shared dealing account31
Trading £96 Only 1 fee if you have ISA and trading account
SIPP £200 + 0.18% on first £500,000 of funds Tiered charge. 0.15% £500,001 – £1 million, 0.05% over £1 million. + £150 p.a. in drawdown + £150
Interactive Brokers $10 inactivity fee per month. Reduced by value of trades32 $20 inactivity fee if equity balance below $2,00033 n/a £634 International shares / ETFs
Shares ISA
Trading
SIPP Fees vary

Note: Charges may actually be due per month, quarter, six monthly or annually. We’ve chosen to show annual cost of service. All prices include VAT. Other charges may be applicable that aren’t included in the table.

Who is this online broker comparison table aimed at?

We have focussed on low cost platforms that suit DIY investors who want to build a diversified portfolio through index funds and ETFs. The Good for column is therefore aimed at passive investors.

Percentage fee brokers are much better for small investors whose assets are likely to remain below £25,000 (in an ISA) or £100,000 (in a SIPP and depending on the mix of assets) for some time to come. If you can only invest small amounts at a time then choose a broker who charges £0 for fund dealing. (Aim to pay no more than 0.5% of your contribution in dealing costs, at the very most).

Fixed fees take a disproportionate chunk out of the assets of small investors. This is why Vanguard Investor or Cavendish Online are generally the best for small investors using ISAs and Cavendish Online is best for small investors using SIPPs.

Flat fee brokers are better for most investors who’ve accumulated over £25,000 (in an ISA) or £100,000 (in a SIPP and depending on the mix of assets) – percentage fees can siphon off eye-watering amounts if your broker doesn’t apply a cap. Sadly, the table is complicated because every broker is trying to carve out a niche for itself by offering something slightly different to its competitors.

That means there is no one size fits all solution. The Good for column in the table gives you an idea of each broker’s strengths.

Our calculations assume one purchase per month and four sales per year, and that you take advantage of lower priced regular investment schemes when available. Portfolios consist of funds or ETFs or a 50:50 mix.

ETFs vs fund portfolios – Below around £25,000 you’re probably better off with funds. There’s very little to separate Interactive Investor, Halifax, Lloyds, iWeb, YouInvest, Selftrade and Share Centre above that level if you’re a moderate trader using either product type. Ultimately, product OCFs, your trading frequency and picking the right tracker for the job will be more important.

Beginners starting in funds should look at Vanguard Investor or Cavendish Online. 
Low traders – check iWeb and Halifax for ISAs.
Whichever broker you plump for, do check it carries the funds you require. There is considerable variation in range between platforms.

Where is my missing broker?

We haven’t included every last option in this version of our table but we have included the most competitive players in the market. Do let us know if you think we’ve missed anyone important.

More on costs and fees

The ‘Platform charge’ category is intended to capture the various types of service fee typically levied by platforms i.e. custody fee, platform charge, administration fee, inactivity fee and so on until the end of time / your tether.

Assume platform charges are levied per account unless otherwise indicated in the notes column or the footnotes.

Platforms levy various additional costs for extras such as telephone trading. Check a platform’s rates and charges schedule before committing.

These costs are on top of the suite of fees you will pay for investment products such as the Ongoing Charge Figure (OCF).

Take some time to calculate the likely cost of your portfolio when choosing the right broker.

SIPP charges on the table don’t include all the various additional fees levied for services once you’re in drawdown. The drawdown figure we do include is the annual ongoing charge you’ll pay for being in flexi-access drawdown.

Platforms run temporary offers and discounts from time-to-time. These are ignored as investing is for the long-term.

Understanding account names

Accounts names vary across the online broker universe. However they typically conform to the following types:

  • Trading = a taxable account i.e. it’s not not an ISA or a SIPP and will incur dividend income tax and capital gains tax if it grows large enough. Suitable investments typically include funds, shares, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Investment Trusts (ITs), bonds and more.
  • Shares ISA = Stocks and Shares ISA. Tax sheltered. Suitable investments as above.
    • SIPP = Self-Invested Personal Pension. Tax sheltered. Suitable investments as above.

Why are there only links to some brokers?

Links to brokers are affiliate links, where we may be paid a fee if you go on to open an account with them. We do not choose to include brokers in our table based on whether such affiliate fees are on offer, nor does the existence of such an arrangement change the fees you pay – it is a marketing payment made by them as an incentive for websites to drive traffic to their site. We’d like more brokers to pay us when we introduce new customers – it helps us pay our way on Monevator! Including all brokers but only linking where an affiliate agreement is in place was the best compromise we could come up with.

What this table won’t tell you

Some of these brokers may not be regulated by the UK authorities. Please check directly with each broker, and read our guide to investor compensation schemes to understand why this matters. Some broker brands are owned by the same financial group. You do not diversify your risk by splitting assets across brands owned by the same group. Our investor compensation scheme guide (linked to above) explains how you can identify these brands.

We’ve not considered customer service and fringe benefits such as website user experience and research tools, which may be meaningful. Ask away here or at Money Saving Expert’s Savings & Investments board, the ex-Motley Foolers on the Lemon Fool board, or reddit for a broader opinion.

We haven’t accounted for exclusive, discounted funds. Most platforms stock much the same range but the bigger players in the market can negotiate slight fee discounts on certain funds. If you’re tempted by those ‘bargain’ offers then make very sure that your overall cost of investment isn’t more expensive once you load the platforms fees on top.

Please tell us about additions or corrections using the comment form below. Please supply a Web link to your data if possible in your comment to help us verify what should go into the table.

We’ll keep this table as up-to-date as possible, and conduct a sweeping review every three months.

  1. Our calculations assume one purchase per month and four sales per year, and that you take advantage of lower priced regular investment schemes when available. Portfolios consist of funds or ETFs or a 50:50 mix. []
  2. Out to another broker []
  3. £43K vs Vanguard []
  4. £56K vs Vanguard []
  5. £43K vs Vanguard []
  6. £56K vs Vanguard []
  7. Also known as ii []
  8. £167.88 Funds Fan plan; £239.88 Super Investor plan []
  9. 2 free fund trades per month Funds Fan plan; 2 free UK trades per month Super Investor plan []
  10. £3.99 on Fund Fans or Super Investor plan []
  11. £3.99 on Super Investors plan []
  12. £39.95 for gilts []
  13. Out to another broker []
  14. 0.1% £250,001 – £1 million, 0.05% £1 million – £2 million, 0% over £2 million []
  15. 0.2% £250,000 – £1 million. Charges not tiered below £1 million. No fee for assets over £1 million. ETF and IT fees capped at £45 []
  16. ETF and IT fees capped at £45 []
  17. 0.2% £250,001 – £500,000, 0.15% £500,001 – £1 million, 0.05%£1 million – £2 million, 0% over £2 million. Tiered charge []
  18. Charge waived by 1 trade per month []
  19. £46K vs Vanguard []
  20. £46K vs Vanguard []
  21. Charge applies to each account separately []
  22. Charge applies to each account separately []
  23. Charge applies to each account separately []
  24. £0 if SIPP worth £100K after tax free cash. []
  25. 0.25% £250,001 – £1 million, 0.1% £1 million – £2 million, 0% over £2 million. Charge applies to each account separately []
  26. 0.35% £50,001 – £250,000, 0.25% £250,001 – £500,000, 0% over £500,000 []
  27. Out to another broker []
  28. No funds. []
  29. £5 max []
  30. Note, these are ETFs traded on European exchanges not LSE. []
  31. or by £15,000+ assets in Smart Portfolio accounts []
  32. e.g. $10 fee – $6 trade = $4 actual fee that month. Waived on $100,000+ accounts []
  33. Inactivity fee is $3 for under 25s. []
  34. up to £50,000 value. £6 + 0.05% of incremental trade value over £50,000. Max £29 []
{ 2361 comments… add one }
  • 2351 Jeff Beranek May 2, 2019, 8:49 am

    @Sparschwein. iWeb is certainly not alone in having a high currency exchange fee. I wasn’t aware that you could buy US domiciled funds through Vanguard UK. https://www.vanguardinvestor.co.uk/need-help/answer/why-cant-i-invest-in-vanguards-us-domiciled-funds. Watch out for “non-reporting” international funds.

  • 2352 Sparschwein May 2, 2019, 11:05 am

    @Jeff – you’re right and I realise my post was unclear. Vanguard UK only have a limited selection of index funds and ETFs. Most domiciled in Ireland, a few in the UK, none in the US (as far as I’ve seen). US-based investors get much more choice. For those who are happy with Vanguard’s range of funds available in their ISA, I’d absolutely recommend it. I’m looking for more options to diversify, hence checking other ISA platforms.

    And thanks for pointing out the reporting status which could be a headache. I assumed (and may very well be wrong) that it’s a tax matter that wouldn’t apply for funds held in an ISA?

    I’m interested if others also have experience of currency exchange fees in their ISA (either overt charges or hidden ones through shoddy exchange rates). If iWeb siphon off 1.5% on each transaction, then that’s more than the dealing charge above a few hundred pounds investment.

  • 2353 Jeff Beranek May 2, 2019, 11:25 am

    The ISA wrapper should hopefully restrict you to reporting funds anyway, but worth checking if you are looking at obscure overseas funds. AJ Bell have recently lowered currency charges to 1.00% (!), same as Hargreaves, lower fees for (very) large orders. With HSBC InvestDirect Plus you can have a US Dollar cash account. I’m not sure what rate you get for moving cash in and out of it though. Also, I’m not sure what ETFs are open to you (no funds). Even Interactive Brokers I think costs 1% to deposit cash ($50 minimum). Personally I’ve still got issues within an ISA because I’m a dual US/UK citizen, but that’s a whole other story!

  • 2354 Sparschwein May 2, 2019, 11:48 pm

    Interesting – I’ve got an account with IB through a German intermediary, and the currency charges are only 0.4 basis points.
    Recently they pulled the plug on all non-European ETFs & ETCs for retail investors with obscure references to Bafin and Eu regulations, typical IB nonsense. So I was looking for an all-dancing new ISA to fill the gap, but without the currency charges.
    I’ll check HSBC, thanks. US investors have it better don’t they…

  • 2355 Adrian May 3, 2019, 2:58 pm

    My ISA this year is with Trading 212 – free share dealing and FSCS protection. The range of shares and ETFs is limited – particularly investment trusts – but there’s enough there to make it workable.

  • 2356 londoninvestor May 4, 2019, 1:25 pm

    Re footnote 9, II’s “one free trade per month” on the basic plan is actually £7.99 of trading credits. So you could spend it one one standard trade, or alternatively on 8 regular investment trades…

  • 2357 IvanK. May 8, 2019, 8:53 am

    @londoninvestor,

    True, but each free trade expires after 90 days. Previously, ii’s £22.50 quarterly charges were valid as free commission up to a max £90, so 12 months. Under ii’s current price structure (which changes 1st June) one might have done nothing but hold for over 11 months, then still redeem all charges over subsequent weeks. Now in a protracted market downturn where investors & traders may wish to do little more than hold, it’ll cost ii’s less active clients significantly more.

    Occasionally, severe market downturns can last for well over a year. For holders only, that’ll cost almost £120 a year with ii’ new minimum charges. Just a few years like that & costs mount up. Compare that with Hargreaves Lansdown if holding a regular share account, or discount brokers like iWeb & X-O. Zero added charges.

    I see no justification for ii’s latest price hike. Their service is no better. No surprise if they see another exodus of less active clients with this ill-judged move.

  • 2358 rodcorp May 8, 2019, 9:05 am

    The fact that it’s not easy for many ii customers to work out whether they’ll be better or worse off could also be a factor. I believe clarity in pricing, low pricing, and ease of use are valued by younger retail investors. I’m waiting for Freetrade to add a Sipp wrapper, and then planning to transfer from ii.

  • 2359 IvanK. May 8, 2019, 10:39 am

    Rodcorp,

    I agree. Unless one has surplus free cash to keep trading most months, for many ii customers the new tiered pricing structure needs careful consideration. Someone like me may trade a few times some months, but then do nothing but hold for well over 6 months other times. That’s happened a few times due to unfavourable economic macro-factors.

    To get a clear benefit from these changes one needs to trade at least twice monthly. That’d cost £17.98 from 1st June instead of £20 now, as ii will drop commission from £10 to £7.99. So: we pay £9.99 monthly charge, use one commission-free trade & pay £7.99 for another = £17.98. That’s fine, but only as long as one is active most months.

    I suspect that many ii customers are investors who only occasionally add to or reduce their positions. Many have investments of well under £50K. Under ii’s new price hikes they will be net losers. Over a few years they’ll be a significant 3-figure sum poorer, with no improvement in service. IMO, these changes are another own goal by ii.

  • 2360 PeteA May 8, 2019, 3:50 pm

    II new pricing structure will suit some but not others. I doubt many platforms will reduce their pricing structures as recent changes have,in general, been upwards.
    Never had issues with II and if you are in accumulating mode then buying via the regular investment at a cost of £0.99 is pretty decent and then use the credit to sell at some future point in time.
    Comes down to personal choice.

  • 2361 IvanK. May 8, 2019, 6:26 pm

    PeteA,

    Indeed. Via ii’s site, one can change to a higher-priced plan suited to doing more trades at only £3.99 commission & then back to a lower-priced plan the next month if expecting a quieter period of much less trading. That flexibility seems very handy. So it’s by no means all bad.

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