Best Online Share Dealing Platforms

In this article, we help you to find the cheapest online share dealing platforms for buying and holding shares / ETF investments in a general investment account. If you would like to invest in funds, you will need to read our separate comparison of fund platforms as fees do vary by type of investment.

Total platform fees often vary depending on how frequently you trade and the overall size of your investment portfolio. As such, we will look to provide a cost comparison across all platforms for regular investors and frequent traders, and for investments totalling £10,000, £20,000, £50,000, £75,000, £100,000, £150,000, £200,000, £0.5 million and £1.0 million.

Remember, cheapest doesn’t always mean best. Whilst all of the platforms listed are execution-only meaning they do not provide advice in terms of where you should invest your funds, the platforms do vary in terms of customer service quality, provision of useful tools and research, investment choice and ease of access. For example, platforms such as Hargreaves Lansdown and Fidelity are highly regarded in terms of customer service quality and access to tools/research (and therefore commonly recommended for new investors), but are not the cheapest in terms of fees.

Do online share dealing platform fees matter?

Yes, the level of fees charged by the online share dealing platforms definitely matters as it can have a big impact on your investment performance over time. It is particularly important to consider the type of investor you intend to be as certain investment platforms offer attractive fees to certain investor types and not others.

For example, our research shows that IG offers the best rates for frequent traders making 20 trades per month irrespective of investment holdings. However, if you only made 2 trades per month, you would pay an additional £71 per year in fees to invest with IG compared with investing via Interactive Investor. If you intend to hold your investment for a number of years, the impact of these additional annual fees has a much larger compound effect.

Cheapest online share dealing platforms – summary

Read the detailed results of our study in the next section or just scan our top picks summary below.

Best all-round platforms

These three platforms are the best (in our view) when taking into account pricing, customer service, ease of use, availability of different types of investment and access to useful tools and research.

Cheapest for infrequent traders

  1. iWeb Share Dealing (not currently accepting new investors)
  2. X-O
  3. The Share Centre
  4. Interactive Investor

Cheapest for frequent traders

  1. IG Share Dealing
  2. Interactive Investor
  3. iWeb Share Dealing (not currently accepting new investors)
  4. AJ Bell

Cheapest for regular investors

  1. The Share Centre (if regular investment value exceeds £200 per share, may slip below Hargreaves Lansdown / EQI as the cheapest option).
  2. Hargreaves Lansdown
  3. EQI
  4. AJ Bell

Cheapest online share dealing platforms – detailed results

Non-frequent traders

This analysis assumes 2 trades per month, not taking advantage of any regular investment or frequent trader discounts. Values stated are annual costs.

Platform£10,000£20,000£50,000£75,000£100,000£150,000£200,000£500,000£1,000,000
AJ Bell263.8268.8268.8268.8268.8268.8268.8268.8268.8
Best Invest22026038048058078098016802680
Cavendish Online2602803403904405406409901740
Charles Stanley Direct276276276276276276276276276
EQI263.76263.76263.76263.76263.76263.76263.76263.76263.76
Fidelity275285285285285285285285285
Halifax Share Dealing300300300300300300300300300
Hargreaves Lansdown286.8286.8286.8286.8286.8286.8286.8286.8286.8
IG Share Dealing288288288288288288288288288
Interactive Investor *215.76215.76215.76215.76215.76215.76215.76215.76215.76
iWeb Share Dealing **120120120120120120120120120
Strawberry Invest ***21024033038043053063012302230
The Share Centre ***204204204204204204204204204
Vanguard Investor ****195210255292.5330405480555555
Willis Owen22026038045553063073012051955
X-O142.8142.8142.8142.8142.8142.8142.8142.8142.8

* We have assumed that an ‘Investor’ account with II will be used by this type of investor.

** Opening an iWeb general investment account typically costs £25. However, iWeb is not currently accepting new sign-ups due to COVID-19.

*** Dealing costs for Strawberry Invest and The Share Centre have been calculated using the minimum cost of £7.50. These costs can increase if the trade is worth >£750.

**** You cannot purchase shares via Vanguard Investor – you can only invest in Vanguard ETFs and funds. The price to trade ETFs live is £7.50, though you can purchase using the bulk dealing service free of charge. The £7.50 charge has been included in the table to provide direct comparison with other platforms.

Frequent traders

This analysis assumes 20 trades per month, taking advantage of frequent trader discounts, where available. Values stated are annual costs.

Note that this analysis indirectly shows that when investing smaller amounts of money, fees have the potential to seriously eat into your returns if you are frequently trading. When investing in individual shares with a relatively small investment, a buy and hold strategy is likely to be more appealing. Alternatively, smaller investors should consider investing their money in passive or managed funds (read our fund platform comparison guide).

Platform£10,000£20,000£50,000£75,000£100,000£150,000£200,000£500,000£1,000,000
AJ Bell121312181218121812181218121812181218
Best Invest184018802000210022002400260033004300
Cavendish Online242024402500255026002700280031503900
Charles Stanley Direct276027602760276027602760276027602760
EQI1437.61437.61437.61437.61437.61437.61437.61437.61437.6
Fidelity243524452445244524452445244524452445
Halifax Share Dealing300030003000300030003000300030003000
Hargreaves Lansdown142814281428142814281428142814281428
IG Share Dealing816816816816816816816816816
Interactive Investor *1101.721101.721101.721101.721101.721101.721101.721101.721101.72
iWeb Share Dealing **120012001200120012001200120012001200
Strawberry Invest ***183018601950200020502150225028503850
The Share Centre ***182418241824182418241824182418241824
Vanguard Investor1815183018751912.519502025210021752175
Willis Owen184018802000207521502250235028253575
X-O142814281428142814281428142814281428

* We have assumed that a ‘Super Investor’ account with II will be used by this type of investor.

** Opening an iWeb general investment account typically costs £25. However, iWeb is not currently accepting new sign-ups due to COVID-19.

*** Dealing costs for Strawberry Invest and The Share Centre have been calculated using the minimum cost of £7.50. These costs can increase if the trade is worth >£750.

Regular investors

This analysis assumes 10 regular investments each month in the same companies shares, taking advantage of regular investment discounts where available. Values stated are annual costs.

Remember, this analysis does not take into account the fact that the special ‘regular investor’ rates will not apply when you come to sell your investment. Cross refer to the master list of fees at the top of the page to factor these costs into your decision making.

Platform£10,000£20,000£50,000£75,000£100,000£150,000£200,000£500,000£1,000,000
AJ Bell205210210210210210210210210
Best Invest9409801100120013001500170024003400
Cavendish Online2002202803303804805809301680
Charles Stanley Direct138013801380138013801380138013801380
EQI180180180180180180180180180
Fidelity215225225225225225225225225
Halifax Share Dealing240240240240240240240240240
Hargreaves Lansdown180180180180180180180180180
IG Share Dealing456456456456456456456456456
Interactive Investor *622.92622.92622.92622.92622.92622.92622.92622.92622.92
iWeb Share Dealing **600600600600600600600600600
Strawberry Invest ***9309601050110011501250135019502950
The Share Centre ****144144144144144144144144144
Vanguard Investor9159309751012.510501125120012751275
Willis Owen9409801100117512501350145019252675
X-O714714714714714714714714714

* We have assumed that a ‘Super Investor’ account with II will be used by this type of investor.

** Opening an iWeb general investment account typically costs £25. However, iWeb is not currently accepting new sign-ups due to COVID-19.

*** Dealing costs for Strawberry Invest have been calculated using the minimum cost of £7.50. These costs can increase if the trade is worth >£750.

**** Regular investment costs of £1 have been used for The Share Centre. This is the minimum charge. The value can be higher where individual regular share purchases exceed £200 (0.05% of value will be charged).

***** You cannot purchase shares via Vanguard Investor, you can only invest in Vanguard ETFs and funds. The price to trade ETFs live is £7.50, though you can purchase using the bulk dealing service free of charge. The £7.50 charge has been included in the table to provide direct comparison with other platforms.

Online share dealing platform charging structures

Whilst some platforms do feature slightly more complicated charging mechanisms, the two main charges you typically need to look out for when comparing online share dealing platforms are dealing fees and asset management fees/account fees. Some platforms have dividend reinvestment and regular savings options with lower fees, so these have also been included for reference.

PlatformDealing feesAsset management feeAutomatic reinvestment feeRegular investment fee
AJ Bell£9.95, unless 10+ trades in the prior month. If 10+, price falls to £4.95.0.25% of the value of shares in your account, up to a maximum of £7.50 per quarter (£30 per year).1% of trade value (minimum £1.50, maximum £9.95).£1.50 per trade.
Best Invest£7.50 per trade.0.4% on the first £250,000, 0.2% on the value between £250,000 and £1m, and no charge over £1m.N/a, not offered.N/a.
Cavendish Online£10 per trade.0.2% if you hold less than £200,000, reducing to 0.15% on the entire balance if you have more than £200,000.£1.50 per trade.£1.50 per trade.
Charles Stanley Direct£11.50 per trade.0.35% (min £24/max £240 p/a). No charge is a single trade is executed each month.N/a.N/a.
EQI£10.99 per trade (£9.99 for ETFs). This falls to £5.99 if you conduct 20+ trades.£17.49 per quarter (£69.96 p/a). This is offset by the cost of trades. For example, if you conducted two trades per quarter, you would pay no asset management fee.£1.50 per trade.£1.50 per trade.
Fidelity£10 per trade.0.35% (capped at £45, which effectively means no fee on funds above £12,857). If you hold less than £7,500 without a regular savings plan, a service charge of £45 will apply.£1.50 per trade.£1.50 per trade.
Halifax Share Dealing£12.50 per trade.No charge.2% of dividend (max £12.50).£2.00 per trade.
Hargreaves Lansdown£11.95 unless there were 10+ online deals in the prior month. If 10-19 / 20+ trades in the prior month, price reduces to £8.95 / £5.95.No charge.1% of trade value (minimum £1, maximum £10).£1.50 per trade.
IG£3 per trade if 3+ trades in prior month, £8 per trade if 0-2 trades in prior month.£24 per quarter custody fee (£96 p/a).N/aN/a
Interactive InvestorOne/two free trades included depending on account type. Additional trades range between £3.99 and £7.99 depending on account type.Investor (£9.99 p/m, £119.88 p/a), Funds Fan (£13.99 p/m, £167.88 p/a) or Super Investor (£19.99 p/m, £239.88 p/a).£0.99 per trade.No charge.
iWeb Share Dealing£5 per trade.No charge. £25 initial account setup fee.2% of trade value (max £5).N/a
Strawberry Invest0.04% charge, subject to a minimum £7.50 per trade.0.3% on the first £50,000, 0.2% on the value between £50,000 and £1m, and no charge on the value over £1m. Over £2m, bespoke pricing will be agreed with the investor. Minimum charge of £2 per month.N/aN/a
The Share Centre£7.50 per trade less than £750, 1% for £750 and above. If opt to pay £24 per quarter, this becomes £7.50 per trade irrespective of size.£2 p/m (£24 p/a).0.0050.5% (min £1)
Vanguard InvestorNote: Only Vanguard ETFs available via the Vanguard Investor platform. Cost is £7.50 to buy/sell based on live ETF price or nil if happy to accept the daily price using the bulk dealing service.0.15% on the first £250,000, and no charge on the value over £250,000.N/a, though accumulation ETFs can be chosen (no dividends are paid, reinvestment contributes to growth in capital).N/a.
Willis Owen£7.50 per trade.0.4% on the first £50,000, 0.3% on the value between £50,000 and £100,000, 0.2% on the value between £100,000 and £250,000, and 0.15% on the value above £250,000.N/aN/a
X-O£5.95 per trade.No charge.N/a, not offered.N/a, not offered.

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