Make no mistake about it – if you’re thinking about trading from the comfort of your home – you need to find a top-rated UK broker. Your chosen provider essentially forms the bridge between you and your desired financial markets.
Whether you’re looking for a trading platform that specializes in forex, stocks, cryptocurrencies, or commodities – this guide on the Best Brokers UK 2021 will help clear the mist.
Not only do we discuss the best UK brokers to consider, but we also show you the many metrics that you need to look out for when choosing a platform yourself.
Table of Content
eToro - Buy and Invest in Assets
- Buy over 2,400 stocks
- Trade thousands of CFDs
- Deposit funds with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or bank account and PayPal
- Perfect for newbie traders and heavily regulated
- Only real cryptos are available for US users
Best Brokers UK 2021 – Our Top 5 Picks
As we explain in more detail further down, there are many factors that you need to consider in your search for the best UK brokers. For example, not only do you need to make sure that the platform is regulated but that it offers your chosen financial markets at competitive fees.
Other important considerations should be made on trading tools, research and educational materials, and customer service. Taking all of the above into account, below you will find a selection of the best UK brokers of 2021.
1. eToro – Best UK Broker in 2021
After reviewing hundreds of online platforms, we found that eToro is by far the best UK broker of 2021. First and foremost, the provider is ideal if you are just starting out in the world of online investing. The platform is simple to use and ultimately - does not require any prior trading experience. Additionally, it's really fast to open an account and you can instantly deposit funds with a debit/credit card or e-wallet.
In terms of supported financial markets, eToro is suited for both trading investments and short-term trading. Regarding the former, you can buy over 2,400 stocks from 17 marketplaces. This includes exchanges in the UK, US, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Sweden, Portugal, and more. You can also invest in 16 different cryptocurrencies and 250 ETFs.
If trading is more up your street, eToro offers a huge selection of CFD instruments. This covers stocks, forex, indices, ETFs, digital currencies, hard metals, and energies. Best of all - irrespective of whether you are investing or trading CFDs, all markets at eToro are commission-free. There are no ongoing account fees and if investing in FTSE 100 shares, you won't pay the 0.5% stamp duty fee.
When it comes to core features, both the eToro Copy Trading and CopyPortfolio tools stand out for us. Both of these allow you to invest and/or trade in a 100% passive nature. This is great if you simply want to grow your money but you don't have the time or experience to do this yourself.
Finally, eToro is a safe and secure UK broker. It is regulated by the FCA and your funds are protected by the FSCS.
- Heaps of stocks, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, and more
- Zero commission trading
- Great for beginners and super easy sign-up
- 0.5% conversion fee if not depositing in USD
2. EightCap – Trade Over 200+ Assets Commission-Free
Next up in our list of the best UK brokers of 2021 is EightCap. This particular option is suited to those of you that are looking to engage in day trading or swing trading. This is because EightCap gives you access to over 200+ financial markets - all of which come in the form of CFDs.
As such, you can go long or short on your chosen asset class - meaning that you can profit irrespective of which way market sentiment is going. Additionally - all markets at EightCap can be traded with leverage. In the UK, you'll need to follow FCA regulations when it comes to limits. For example, while major forex pairs can be traded with leverage of 1:30, stocks are capped to 1:5.
Nevertheless, we really like the pricing structure that EightCap has decided to implement. This is because it gives you two options in terms of account types. If you're looking to trade small amounts, then the commission-free account will be best for you. Or, if you are looking to trade large volumes, you can pay $3.50 per slide but at a spread of 0 pips.
Opening an account at EightCap is also straightforward. You can easily deposit funds with several everyday payment methods, and the minimum is just $100. This CFD broker is regulated by ASIC of Australia, which is one of the most reputable financial bodies in the space. As such, you can trade with confidence at EightCap.
- ASIC regulated broker
- Trade over 200+ assets commission-free
- Very tight spreads
- No cryptocurrency trading
3. Capital.com – Commission-Free UK Broker (Minimum Deposit Just £20)
If you are a complete beginner in the world of trading, Capital.com might be the best option to consider. Firstly, you only need to meet a small minimum deposit of £20 to get started. You can do this with your UK debit/credit card or an e-wallet like Skrill. Additionally, the trading platform itself is really clean and free from jargon - which again makes it ideal for newbies.
In terms of supported assets, Capital.com offers thousands of markets. Much like EightCap, this comes in the form of CFD instruments. This includes everything from stocks and indices to cryptocurrencies and forex.This does, however, mean that you can engage in short-selling as well as apply leverage.
When it comes to fees, Capital.com is a 100% commission-free UK broker. You will also find some of the tightest spreads on offer at this platform, subsequently allowing you to trade in a low-cost environment. If you're thinking about trading on your mobile phone, Capital.com offers a native app.
Available on both iOS and Android devices, this allows you to buy and sell financial instruments on the move. In terms of safety, Capital.com is heavily regulated - including a fully-fledged license with the FCA. Finally, Capital.com is great if you are looking for educational materials - with a full host of articles and guides offered on the site.
- Trade thousands of assets commission-free
- Very competitive spreads
- FCA and CySEC regulated
4. AVATrade – Best UK Broker for MT4/5
AVATrade is a major player in the online trading scene - especially with those based in the UK. The platform is authorized and regulated in heaps of countries, so you can trade safely from the comfort of your home. AVATrade covers most asset classes - including but not limited to forex, commodities, cryptocurrencies, stocks, and even options.
These can all be traded via CFDs and in a 100% commission-free nature. On major asset classes - such as forex and blue-chip stock CFDs, spreads are especially tight. What we really like about AVATrade is that it offers a collection of different trading platforms. At the forefront of this are MT4 and MT5.
These two leading third-party platforms give you access to an abundance of technical indicators, chart drawing tools, order types, and even the ability to install forex robots. Alternatively, you can trade via the main AVATrade website for simplicity/ In terms of getting started, AVATrade requires a minimum deposit of $100. It supports debit/credit cards, so you can fund your trading account instantly.
- Reasonable min deposit of $100
- Regulated in multiple countries
- Huge range of assets to trade
- Inactivity fees considered pretty high
5. EuropeFX – Great Educational Material
If you consider yourself a 'Pro Trader', then you might be suited for EuropeFX. This particular trading platform offers leverage on all of its financial markets. You can also choose from a long and short position on any supported asset class, which is great for short-term traders.
As an STP broker, this means that your positions won't need to go through a third-party dealing desk. As a seasoned trader, you'll know how crucial this is in terms of price-point accuracy. EuropeFX allows you to trade a wide variety of instruments - covering share CFDs, forex, commodities, indices, and cryptocurrencies.
You can trade online via the EuropeFX web platform or through MT4. Both platforms offer an abundance of research and analysis tools, which again, is great for seasoned traders. There is also a EuropeFX trading app on both iOS and Android.
This is ideal for placing a last-minute buy or sell orders when you are away from your desktop device. To ensure that you are able to trade in a safe and secure environment, EuropeFX is fully regulated by CySEC.
- Great for Pro Traders
- Competitive spreads
- Regulated by CySEC
- Premium account considered expensive
Best Brokers UK – Types of Platforms
So now that we have discussed the best UK brokers active in the space right now, we need to explain the different types of platforms that you will have access to. This largely centers on the type of financial instrument that you wish to gain exposure to and whether you plan to invest or trade.
Below you will find a list of the most common UK broker types in the online arena.
Best Brokers UK for Stocks
If you’re looking for the best UK broker for stocks, you’ll have heaps of options to choose from. These are usually traditional brokerage firms that allow you to invest in shares from several marketplaces. In the UK, for example, this might include shares listed on the London Stock Exchange and the AIM (Alternative Investment Market).
Once you make an investment, you will retain full ownership of your chosen shares. In turn, this means that you will be entitled to dividend payments – should the stock in question have a distribution policy in place. When it comes to making money, this will be dependent on your chosen stocks going up in value.
If using eToro, you can buy shares in over 2,400 stocks from 17 different exchanges. Best of all, you won’t pay any share dealing commission and you can invest from just $50 per order.
Best Brokers UK for Forex
The forex trading scene is the largest financial marketplace globally. In most cases, more than $5 trillion will change hands every day. For those unaware, forex trading refers to the process of speculating on the future value of an exchange rate.
For example, if you wanted to speculate on the British pound increasing in value against the US dollar, the pair you would be trading is GBP/USD. To do this, you would simply need to place a ‘buy order’. However, if you thought that the British pound is likely to go down in value against the US dollar, you would need to place a ‘sell order’.
In the UK, you can trade major forex pairs like GBP/USD, EUR/USD, and AUD/USD with leverage of up to 1:30. This means that an account balance of just £100 would allow you to trade with £3,000. In most cases, your chosen UK forex broker will offer dozens of different currency pairs.
Best Brokers UK for Commodities
If you’re based in the UK and you are wanting to trade commodities, you have plenty of options at your disposal. In most cases, you will need to trade commodities via CFDs. This means that you won’t own the asset, but you can still profit from its respective price. In other words, you don’t need to physically buy and store gold to trade it!
In terms of what commodities the best UK brokers offer, this usually covers precious metals like gold and silver, as well as energies such as oil and natural gas. When using a top-rated UK broker like eToro, you can also trade agricultural products. This includes everything from wheat and corn to sugar and cocoa.
Alternatively, you might also consider trading commodities via futures or options contracts. This is a more sophisticated way of accessing the market. If you want to invest in the long-term value of an asset like gold, then an ETF is your best option. You can do this at eToro without paying any commission.
Best Brokers UK for CFDs
When using a UK broker that offers CFDs, you will likely have access to thousands of financial instruments. After all, the CFD is merely tasked with tracking the real-time price of the asset in question. This allows the best UK brokers to offer a vastly wide CFD library to suit most taste buds.
For example, you can trade CFDs in the form of stocks, indices, ETFs, cryptocurrencies, commodities, forex, bonds, and more. Best of all, CFD brokers in the UK typically allow you to trade commission-free and with tight spreads.
It is important to note that the best UK brokers offering stock CFDs also allow you to benefit from dividend payments. This is covered by traders ‘going short’ on the respective market and the funds are usually reflected in your CFD cash account balance.
Best Brokers UK for Cryptocurrencies
Put simply, the cryptocurrency space has exploded in recent months. Not only has Bitcoin since surpassed $40,000, but the wider cryptocurrency market is getting closer and closer to that all-important 1 trillion-dollar region. As such, if you’re looking for the best UK brokers to buy or trade cryptocurrencies, there are many options on the table.
At eToro, you can buy 16 different cryptocurrencies at the click of a button – all on a commission-free basis. In fact, you only need to meet a minimum investment of $25 – meaning that you do not need to risk too much money on this speculative asset class. If you are looking to trade cryptocurrencies, you are advised to avoid unregulated exchanges.
This is something that a lot of UK investors have been looking at in recent months, as the FCA has since banned crypto-CFDs. This means that those seeking leverage or short-selling facilities are turning to unlicensed platforms. Instead, you’re best to stick with a regulated UK broker like eToro.
How to Find the Best Brokers UK of 2021?
Moving into 2021, there are now hundreds of UK brokers to choose from. As you might have guessed, this makes it extremely hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.
The good news is that there are several factors that you can focus on in your search for the best UK broker for your financial goals – which we outline below.
Regulation and Safety
The first point on your checklist of factors should be that of safety. This does make sense when you consider that you will be required to deposit pounds and pence into your chosen UK broker.
So, you should first check what (if any) regulator licenses the broker holds. It goes without saying that if the platform is unregulated, you should avoid it.
Nevertheless, we find that the best UK brokers are authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). However, there are several other reputable financial bodies that are just as competent in keeping you and your money safe.
This includes the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission. In other words, the best UK brokers will hold at least one license from either the FCA, ASIC, or CySEC. In the case of eToro, the broker is regulated by all three.
Once you have established that your chosen UK broker is regulated by at least one reputable body, it’s then time to explore what asset classes are on offer.
Depending on your financial goals, you might be looking for one or more of the following markets:
- Stock CFDs
- ETFs and Mutual Funds
- Futures and Options
At one end of the spectrum, some brokers might only specialize in a single asset – such as stocks. But, the best UK brokers of 2021 will give you access to a wide variety of markets.
Ownership or CFDs
It is also important to determine whether the UK broker in question offers traditional assets that you can buy and own, or CFDs that you will be trading.
For example, if you want to buy stocks or ETFs and retain full ownership, you’ll want a commission-free broker that doesn’t charge any ongoing fees. This means that you can keep hold of your investments for as long as you wish – without needing to have your profits eaten away at.
Alternatively, if you are looking to place more sophisticated trades – such as short-selling or applying leverage, then CFDs will be the way forward. Just remember, you won’t own the underlying asset when trading CFDs in the UK. Plus, you’ll be charged an overnight financing fee for each day that you keep the position open. This is because CFDs are leveraged financial assets.
It is important to explore what trading platform your chosen broker offers. For example, some UK brokers allow you to invest and trade via their website.
This means that you won’t be required to install or download any software. On the contrary, you simply need to log into your brokerage account through your web browser and you can start trading straight away.
However, some of you might be interested in third-party trading platforms like MT4, MT5, or cTrader. If this is the case, then you need to check whether or not the broker supports the respective platform.
Additionally, you should also check to see what the platform’s mobile offering is like. We find that the best UK brokers offer a native mobile trading app on both iOS and Android devices. This allows you to invest and trade no matter where you are located.
UK Brokerage Fees
UK brokers give you access to financial markets at the click of a button. In turn, your chosen broker will charge you a range of fees. These fees can and will vary quite considerably – so you need to have a full understanding of what you are paying before you open an account.
This is a really important metric to explore when searching for the best UK brokers, so below we have broken down the main fees to expect.
Dealing fees are linked specifically to traditional assets like shares, ETFs, and mutual funds. In most cases, this is charged on a fixed-rate basis for each trade that you place.
- For example, let’s suppose that your chosen UK broker charges £8 per trade to invest in shares
- Irrespective of how much you invest, you will pay £8 when you open the trade
- Then, when it comes to selling your shares, you will again pay £8
We should note that the above example would cost you nothing when using eToro. This is because the platform allows you to invest in stocks without paying any share dealing fees.
If you are looking to trade assets like forex, gold, or oil – then it’s likely that a variable commission will come into play. This is expressed as a percentage and subsequently multiplied against your stake.
- For example, let’s suppose that your chosen UK broker charges a trading commission of 0.8%
- You decide to stake £500 on gold increasing in value
- This means that you pay a commission of £4
- When you get around to closing your trade, your Gold position is worth £700
- So, your 0.8% commission is multiplied by £700 – amounting to $5.60
Once again, if you were to use a low-cost UK broker like eToro, you won’t pay any trading commissions.
All UK brokers charge a spread. This is an indirect fee that few very newbies are aware of. In its most basic form, the spread is simply the difference between the bid (buy) and ask (sell) price. In most cases, this is expressed as a percentage.
With that said, short-term traders in the forex space calculate the spread in pips. Nevertheless, whatever the spread amounts to, you need your position to increase in value by the same amount just to break even.
- For example, if the spread amounts to 0.6%, you need to make gains of 0.6% to get to the break-even point
- If the spread amounts to 2 pips, you need to make gains of 2 pips to get to the break-even point
The best UK brokers will clearly display what the spread amounts to in percentage terms or pips. If they don’t, you can easily calculate it yourself by dividing the bid/buy price into the ask/sell price.
Deposits and Withdrawals
In order to invest or trade with real money at your chosen UK broker, you will need to make a deposit. Some platforms in the space make the process cumbersome, as you need to perform a manual transfer from your bank account. This means that the deposit can take several days to arrive.
On the other hand, the best UK brokers offer a full range of payment methods that allow you to fund your account instantly. For example, eToro not only supports debit/credit cards, but also e-wallets like Paypal and Skrill.
When it comes to fees, some brokers charge you to deposit and/or withdraw funds. You should also check how long it takes for the UK broker to process your withdrawal request. In an ideal world, it will process payments within 1-2 working days.
Tools for Beginners
Some UK brokers offer a skin and bones service. In other words, they allow you to invest and trade in your chosen asset – but nothing else. While this is perfectly fine if you are a seasoned pro, it won’t be if you are just starting out in the world of online brokers.
In our view, if you are a complete investing novice, it’s best to pick a UK broker that offers some, or all, of the following tools:
It goes without saying that the best UK brokers offer a full range of educational tools. This is usually in the form of how-to guides and trading explainers.
For example, there might be an article explaining how the spread works or a video discussing key stock terminology. We are also fans of UK brokers that offer regular webinars.
There are heaps of people in the UK that want to invest in the financial markets, but they choose not to because of a lack of understanding. The good news is that the best UK brokers offer automated trading services that allow you to invest passively.
A great example of this is FCA broker eToro. Firstly, through its Copy Trading feature, you can copy an experienced investor. In other words, if your chosen investor buys shares in HSBC, you’ll do the same. If the same investor then buys shares in Facebook, again, you’ll do the same.
Although the entire Copy Trading process is automated, you still maintained full control over your portfolio. That is to say, you can add or remove assets from your Copy Trading portfolio at any given time.
Secondly, eToro also offers CopyPortfolios. There are dozens of strategies to choose from – ranging from e-commerce stocks to cryptocurrencies. Either way, these portfolios are managed by eToro, so you will benefit from a 100% passive investment experience.
Tools for Experienced Traders
While the tools discussed in the section above are ideal for newbies, you’ll need to look at other trading features if you consider yourself a seasoned pro. This is especially the case if you are a day trader or swing trader that places a strong focus on technical analysis.
For example, the best UK brokers will offer the following research tools:
- Dozens of technical indicators like the RSI, MACD, and exponential moving averages
- Chart drawing tools that allow you to take your analysis efforts to the next level
- The ability to customize your trading screen – such as multiple charts and a custom watchlist
- Trading indicators such as market sentiment
- Capabilities to install automated trading robots
From our analysis, EightCap ticks all of the above boxes. After all, it is fully compatible with the hugely popular third-party trading platform MT4.
Like any online business, it’s important to go with a provider that offers top-notch customer service. We find that the best UK brokers offer support in the form of live chat. This allows you to reach an agent at the click of a button without needing to pick the telephone up.
With that said, if you prefer to speak with someone over the phone, make sure your chosen UK brokers offer this. The worst UK brokers only offer support via email. This means no assistance in real-time, so it could take several days to receive a reply.
In most cases, the best UK brokers will offer customer support on a 24/5 basis – which follows the traditional financial markets. Any questions or queries outside of this timeframe will likely need to wait until Monday morning.
How to get Started With the Best Brokers UK Today
If you have read our guide on the best UK brokers up to this point, you should now be able to find a platform that meets your financial goals. As we have discussed, we found the eToro is the best broker in the UK space in terms of regulation, fees, tradable markets, and user-friendliness.
With this in mind, we are going to conclude our guide by walking you through the setup process at our top-rated UK broker – eToro.
Step 1: Open an Account
You will first need to open an account with eToro before you can begin trading. This should take you less than a couple of minutes, as you simply need to provide the broker with some personal information and contact details.
Then, you will be asked to provide a copy of your passport or driver’s license and proof of address. This is because eToro is heavily regulated and thus – must comply with anti-money laundering laws.
Step 2: Make a Deposit
Once you have opened your eToro account, you can then proceed to make a deposit. The platform requires a minimum deposit of $200 – which is about £160.
If you want your deposit funded instantly, choose from one of the following supported payment methods:
- Debit Card
- Credit Card
You can deposit with a UK bank count if you wish. However, this might take a couple of days to process.
Step 3: Search for Asset
eToro makes the asset navigation process easy as it offers a simple search facility. As such, it’s now time to search for the asset that you want to buy or trade.
In our example, we are looking to buy BP shares, so we enter the name of the company into the search box. Then, click on the respective result that loads up.
Step 4: Place Order
Once you have clicked on the asset you want to buy or trade, it’s then just a case of setting up an order.
In our example, we are looking to purchase BP shares, so we are placing a ‘buy order’. And of course, if we felt that BP shares were due to decrease in value, we’d instead be placing a ‘sell order’.
Then, you need to enter the amount that you wish to stake. In our example, we are looking to invest $100 (about £80).
Finally, click on the ‘Open Trade’ button to complete your commission-free investment at eToro!
Best Brokers UK – The Verdict
In summary, whether you are looking to invest in stocks and ETFs or trade forex and cryptocurrencies – there is sure to be a suitable broker out there for your requirements. However, with hundreds of providers that active in the online trading space, finding the best UK brokers can be a daunting process.
Fortunately, by reading our guide in full, you should now be armed with all the required tools to find a top-rated UK broker for your needs. We concluded by finding the eToro is one of the best UK brokers to consider in 2021 – as the FCA platform offers thousand of markets on a commission-free basis.
eToro - Buy and Invest in Assets
- Buy over 2,400 stocks
- Trade thousands of CFDs
- Deposit funds with a debit/credit card, e-wallet, or bank account and PayPal
- Perfect for newbie traders and heavily regulated
- Only real cryptos are available for US users
What is the best UK broker for stocks?
If you are looking to invest in stocks online in the UK, we would suggest checking out eToro. Not only does the FCA-regulated broker offer 2,400 stocks across 17 markets, but you won't be charged any dealing fees or UK stamp duty.
Are online UK brokers safe?
In the vast majority of cases, UK brokers active in the online space are completely safe. However, this is on the proviso that they are regulated by a reputable body like the FCA, ASIC, or CySEC.
What is the minimum that you can trade with at a UK broker?
Minimum deposit policies are set by the respective platform. The best UK brokers allow you to deposit a small amount. For example, Capital.com requires just £20.
What is the best broker UK in 2021?
We reviewed hundreds of brokers offering services to the UK market. We found that eToro is by the far the best broker in the online space as it is heavily regulated, offers heaps of markets, and does not charge any commission.
While UK brokers offer crypto CFDs?
As of January 2021, Crypto CFDs are no longer legal in the UK. This was decided by the FCA to protected retail clients from large losses. All other CFD products - such as stocks, indices, and commodities - can legally be traded in the UK.