Investing apps have become extremely popular over the last couple of years. It feels like everyone from complete beginners to experienced investors is downloading these apps, creating accounts in minutes and buying stocks from their mobiles. If you’d like to give it a try but you’re not sure which app to start with, here’s my guide to the best investing apps in the UK.
All the apps are free to download but it’s worth comparing the individual fees before investing. Even the commission-free investing apps have to make their money somewhere.
This post includes affiliate links. This means that if you create an investment account after clicking a link in this article, I might make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Nothing in this post should be considered financial advice as I’m not a financial advisor and have no formal finance qualifications. I’m just a freelance writer who’s spent the past 7 years obsessed with money matters.
Before I continue, here’s a quick note for beginner investors on the importance of investing responsibly.
When you invest in the stock market, your money is at risk. Your money could increase in value (fingers crossed) but it could equally decrease in value. Unfortunately, many newbie investors lose money and regret picking individual stocks over more passive funds.
No matter what the millionaire traders tell you, the stock market is probably not going to make you rich overnight – and neither is crypto! You probably won’t be rich in five years or 10 years either. It can take 20, 30 or even 40 years of investing before you become wealthy!
To be safe, genuine investing experts tend to recommend that you don’t invest more than you can afford to lose. If you have £300 going spare but you’d be devastated to see it go to zero, don’t invest it. Keep it in your savings instead! It’s also a good idea to have at least 3-6 months of expenses tucked away in your savings account before you put your money at risk. Don’t be investing your financial safety net!
The best investing apps in the UK: A summary
Over the last year+ I’ve experimented with the following investing apps. These include:
- Trading 212
I’ll be talking about these apps in more detail later in the review. I’m open to exploring new ones so I’ll add more apps to the list as I create new accounts.
The best investing apps in the UK: In more detail
1. Trading 212
Trading 212 is the first investing app I ever tried and it’s still my favourite by far. The app itself is easy to use and very secure. Trading 212 also provides new investors with tons of educational material from blog posts to tutorial videos, meaning you can quickly get the hang of things even if you’ve never invested before.
Trading 212 has been downloaded more than 15 million times and it’s been rated by 180,000 customers. It helped me learn to invest in stocks, so I hope you’ll find it as useful as I did.
There are three account types to choose from: Invest, ISA and CFD. The Invest and ISA options are ideal for beginners as well as experienced investors. It’s probably best to avoid the CFD account unless you’re an experienced trader.
One of my favourite things about Trading 212 is that you aren’t charged any fees when buying or selling shares. This makes it ideal for beginners who are looking to dip their toes in the water and figure out how the stock market works. Some people argue the lack of commission encourages frequent trading rather than long term investing. I don’t disagree with this, but I think as long as you’re not panic-selling your stocks at a loss or dropping hundreds on shares you know nothing about, I don’t think changing your mind about a stock you only bought a few weeks ago is really such a bad thing.
Frustratingly, Trading 212 is currently not accepting new members due to a surge in new signups earlier in the year. However, I’ve heard that they should start the enrolment process again in the next few weeks so join the waiting list today so you can get started as soon as possible.
Check out my Trading 212 review for more information or use this link to join the Trading 212 waitlist today. By using that link, when you reach the top of the waitlist and create an account, you’ll get a free stock worth up to £100.
Although I’m a Trading 212 fangirl at heart, I can see why so many people love Freetrade. If you’re eager to get started ASAP and you’re looking for a Trading 212 alternative, this could be the next best thing.
Freetrade’s app is often praised for being easy to understand and effortless to navigate. Its Insights section allows you to learn about different stocks without overcomplicating things with unnecessary features, complex data or trading lingo.
Freetrade’s creators say it’s designed for long term investing rather than frequent trading, meaning it’s ideal for beginners or those in it for the long haul. If you’re more interested in day trading, Stake or Trading 212 may be more suitable.
Want to know more about Freetrade? Head over to my Freetrade review or use this link to create your Freetrade account today. By using this link, you and I will each earn a free stock worth up to £200.
I wasn’t sure whether to include Moneybox on the list because it’s very different to the other apps.
While Trading 212, Freetrade and Stake are well suited for short term investing as well as long term investing, Moneybox is best for passive investors willing to put their money away for a number of years.
If you’re a trader or you want to build a personalised portfolio filled with your favourite companies, choose a different investing app.
Even though Moneybox is very different to the others, that doesn’t mean it’s not as good! I just love it for different reasons.
I have a Moneybox Stocks and Shares Lifetime ISA (LISA) and since I’m self-employed and don’t have access to a workplace pension, I’m using my LISA to save for retirement. Not only does my money benefit from investment gains, my contributions are boosted by 25% thanks to the government bonus.
I can withdraw my money if I want (which would require selling my shares), but I’d miss out on the 25% LISA bonus and get charged a small fee on the amount I withdraw.
This means this isn’t the best account for people who want the ability to remove money without any charges, it’s good for those who want to save for the future without the temptation to dip into it.
Orca is another option for UK investors both old and new.
Orca charges a fee of £1 per trade, meaning you’ll be charged this amount whenever you buy or sell a stock.
If you’re holding your stocks for the long term or buying certain shares in large quantities, this might not be such a bad thing. In fact, it could work out a lot cheaper than if you were to use a different platform.
If you’re buying low-cost stocks or investing for the short term, Orca’s fees could eat away at your gains. Let’s imagine you bought Boohoo stock for £4.29 and sold it a week later for the same price. Thanks to the £1 fee, you’d come out £2 worse off than if you didn’t buy it in the first place.
You can learn more about Orca by visiting my Orca app review. If your mind is already made up and you’d like to create an account, use this link to sign up. You and I will each earn a free stock worth up to £200.
Stake is designed to cater for beginners and seasoned investors alike, though in my opinion, it’s best suited to frequent traders and more experienced investors.
You won’t be charged per trade, meaning you don’t need to worry about fees eating into your profits on small transactions. So how does it make money? You’ll be charged a 0.50% FX fee when depositing and withdrawing money from the platform.
To give you an idea of how this fee compares to the charges on other trading apps, here’s a ‘one-year example’ from Stake’s website: If a customer was to transfer $4,000 into their US brokerage account and complete 4 trades per month at $700 per trade, they’d only be charged £14.40. Whereas they’d be charged £36.30 with Trading 212, £108.90 with Freetrade and a whopping £829 with Hargreaves Lansdown (a more traditional investment platform that charges £11.95 per transaction and a 1% FX fee.
You can learn more about Stake by checking out my Stake review. Want to sign up today? Use this link to create your account and you and I will each get a free stock worth up to $150.
Investing app awards
Let’s look at which investing apps are best for different types of investor.
The best investing app in the UK for beginners – Trading 212 or Freetrade
In joint first place we have both Trading 212 and Freetrade. I would’ve awarded it just to Trading 212 but since it’s been closed to new members for a few months now, I feel like Freetrade deserves to be at the top too.
The best investing app in the UK for long term investors – Moneybox
If you’d rather invest your money and forget about it, Moneybox may well be the right investing app for you. Unlike apps like Trading 212, it’s unlikely that you’ll be tempted to check your Moneybox account daily or make sporadic purchases based on a random stock’s performance. Instead, you can automate your deposits and get on with your life.
The best investing app in the UK for traders – Stake
If you have some trading experience or you’re eager to get into short-term trading, Stake may well be the best app for you. You’ll have commission-free access to more than 5,500 US stocks and ETFs and you won’t be charged for your trades. You’ll also get tons of easily accessible features to such as analyst ratings, price targets, and full company financials.
Whether you’re an experienced investor or a complete beginner, I hope you found my guide to the best investing apps for UK investors helpful.
If you’ve tried an investing app that I’ve missed off my best investing apps round up, drop me an email to email@example.com with your recommendation.