Best trading apps for beginners in the UK

6 min Read Published: 04 Jun 2024

Best trading apps for beginners UKIn this article, we analyse the best trading apps for beginners comparing the pros and cons of each. We reveal the features and costs of the best apps for share dealing including Freetrade*, eToro and Trading 212. Find out which trading app is best for you and how it compares to its competitors.

How to pick the best trading app

There are a number of considerations when choosing the best trading app for you. We highlight these questions in our review of the best trading apps for beginners below. However, they're worth thinking about if you're considering an alternative as well.

  • How user-friendly is the app?
  • Is there a minimum investment amount?
  • Does it charge a commission on trades?
  • Does it charge currency conversion fees?
  • Does it charge withdrawal fees?
  • Can you invest tax-efficiently through an Individual Savings Account (ISA)
  • Is your money protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)?
  • Are there any other benefits such as a welcome bonus?

Not every trading app will have all of these features and you might decide that not all are as important to you. It's a good idea to think about what's important to you based on your personal and financial goals and then select a trading app that is most suited to your needs.

You may also want to think about the variety of trades you'd be able to make with your trading app, and in particular, whether it covers FOREX and CFDs. We cover these in a little more detail below.

Can you trade FOREX and CFD's?

FOREX and CFDs might not be assets you're interested in when you first start investing, but it's always worth having the option down the line if this is of interest as you gain more knowledge.

FOREX stands for "the foreign exchange market" and FOREX trading is a way to trade fiat currencies against each other. You convert one currency for another and the idea is that you make a profit from the changes in exchange rates.

CFD stands for "contract for difference" and it allows investors to make speculative trades based on the price movement of various assets. CFDs can yield high returns but they can be volatile and riskier than other types of investments. They're also a more complex way of investing and may not be suited to complete beginners. Not every trading platform offers CFDs, so if this is of interest, you'll need to find one that does.

Trading apps for beginners - Features and fees comparison table

Below, we provide a table of the best trading apps for beginners, explaining the fees as well as the pros and cons of each.


eToro Freetrade* Plus500 Trading 212 IG 
FCA Regulated tick tick tick tick tick
FSCS Protected tick tick tick tick tick
Minimum Deposit $100 initial deposit, $10 thereafter £0 $100 £1 £500 to start investing (£50 by bank transfer)
Currency Conversion fees 0.50% 0.39% to 0.99% Up to 0.70% 0.15% Best available rate + 0.50%
Withdrawal fees $5 £0 £0 £0 £0
Inactivity fees $10 per month (after 1 year of inactivity) £0 $10 per month (after 3 months of inactivity) £0 £0
Welcome bonus N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Stocks and Shares ISA? tick(via Moneyfarm) tick cross tick tick
Mobile App tick tick tick tick tick
CFD trading tick cross tick tick tick
FOREX trading tick cross tick tick tick
Trustpilot score 4.2 4.0 4.1 4.6 4.1
Visit Site Website Website Website Website Website
Read review Review Review Review Review Review


Compare the best trading apps for beginners

If you like the sound of the trading apps in the table but want to find out a little more about their key features and pros and cons, check out the individual reviews below to help you make a decision.

eToro - Good for social trading

eToro was founded in Israel in 2007 and has over 30 million users worldwide. Its 'social trading' feature allows investors to copy the trades of other successful traders in real time. While it is this feature that makes it particularly attractive to beginner investors, potential investors should keep in mind eToro's high inactivity and withdrawal fees.

eToro fees

  • 0% commission on share trading
  • 1.5% to 3% depending on the currency and payment method
  • $5 withdrawal fee
  • $10 per month inactivity fee after 12 months of inactivity
  • Overnight funding fees apply and vary depending on your holding.

eToro pros

  • Excellent social trading feature
  • Easy sign-up process
  • Advanced research tools

eToro cons

  • High minimum deposit for bank transfer ($500)
  • $5 withdrawal fee charged on every withdrawal
  • $10 inactivity fee charged on inactive months after 1 year

Freetrade - Good for commission-free trading

Freetrade was founded in the UK in 2018 and provides commission-free trading on thousands of US and UK stocks. Investors can choose to invest via a General Investment Account (GIA), Individual Savings Account (ISA) or Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). Freetrade offers a 'Freetrade Plus' account that provides access to additional stocks, priority customer service and 3% interest on cash holdings (up to £4,000). Freetrade does not offer CFD or FOREX trading as it doesn't believe in the model of encouraging investors to make the switch to high-risk, speculative products.

Freetrade fees

  • 0% commission on share trading
  • 0.39% to 0.99% FX fee depending on subscription plan
  • ISA only available via a paid plan (from £5.99)
  • No withdrawal fee
  • No inactivity fee

Freetrade pros

Freetrade cons

  • Limited research tools & tutorials
  • No CFDs
  • No desktop version

Plus500 - Good for trading forex and CFDs

Plus500 was founded in Israel in 2008 and is used by approximately 280,000 users worldwide. It specialises in Contracts for Difference (CFD), a type of investment that is considered high-risk and isn't suited to all investors, especially beginners. New users can take advantage of Plus500's demo account where users are given a virtual balance where they can place dummy trades. This can provide a valuable way of understanding how share trading works without having to take any risk.

Plus500 fees

  • 0% commission on share trading
  • Up to 0.70% currency conversion fee
  • No withdrawal fee
  • $10 per month inactivity fee after 3 months of inactivity
  • Overnight funding fees apply and vary depending on your holding. These can get expensive

Plus500 pros

  • Useful demo account
  • Plus500 Trading Academy with tutorials and an e-book
  • Good for CFDs and FOREX
  • Can trade on mobile and desktop

Plus500 cons

  • Overnight funding fees can be expensive
  • Inactivity fees of $10 per month apply after 3 months of inactivity
  • Limited customer support

Trading 212 - Good for video guides and tutorials

Trading 212 was launched in the UK in 2016 and was among the first of a new wave of share trading apps to offer zero-commission trading. The app provides several video guides and tutorials helping beginner investors to understand the process of buying and selling shares, as well as the riskier types of investments such as CFD and Forex trading. The app also has a demo trading account that allows investors to make dummy trades.

Trading 212 fees

  • 0% commission on share trading
  • 0.15% currency conversion fee
  • 0.70% deposit fee once you deposit more than £2,000 (Does not apply to bank transfers)
  • No withdrawal fees
  • No inactivity fees

Trading 212 pros

  • Useful video guides
  • User-friendly app
  • Commission-free trades

Trading 212 cons

  • No phone support
  • Charges currency conversion fees


IG is an online investment platform which has been around since 1974. It has a range of features that will appeal to novice investors and advanced traders alike. With IG, customers have access to more than 17,000 markets and can trade complex instruments like CFDs. That being said, it's also a good option for beginner investors with free online courses and webinars, as well as a demo account to help you learn the basics of CFD trading.

IG fees

  • £8 per trade for UK shares (0-2) shares, or £3 per trade for UK shares (3+ trades in the previous month)
  • Commission-free trading on US shares if you make more than three trades per month (otherwise £10 per trade)
  • 0.5% FX fee on top of best available rate
  • £24 custody fee for those who don't make at least three trades per quarter (or have £15,000 invested in IG Smart Portfolio)
  • No withdrawal fees
  • No inactivity fees

IG pros

  • Access to a free demo account with $10,000 in virtual funds to help practice CFD trading
  • IG Smart Portfolios (ready-made portfolios) for those new to investing

IG cons

  • No interest paid on uninvested cash
  • Lower fees are only available to those who make several trades


Some of the best trading apps for beginners include eToro, Freetrade, Plus500, Trading 212 and IG. These apps come with a range of learning resources and demo accounts to help beginner traders get to grips with trading complex instruments and other assets. In addition, they offer low or no commission fees which can be attractive to beginners. They all have excellent review scores on Trustpilot indicating customer satisfaction.

It is worth remembering that the value of shares can go down as well as up so it is wise to do your research. Comparing the best trading apps is a sensible first step but make sure that you do some further research into the process of buying and selling shares as markets can be volatile. Around 70% of people who trade complex instruments such as CFDs lose money, a fact that is made clear on the website of every leading platform. Always act with caution and consider the alternatives.

Further reading

We have provided some further reading below:

A beginners guide to investing

How to buy shares for beginners

Best and cheapest investment ISAs for beginners

CFD trading explained

The dangers of day trading


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