How to find the top trading platforms in the UK?
When it comes to investing online there are huge amount of opportunities as the market is growing very fast. With opportunities tough come challenges and for a beginner, but not only, it is quite confusing to pick the top online trading platform that will increase the chances of making a profit in the long term.
Online stock trading sites have allowed everyone to start trading from the comfort of their own home. TopTradingPlatforms.co.uk have made a very granular research to find the best platforms for beginners and experts. With the information provided you will be able to make the right choice for you and also ensure that you will not venture into some ‘risky’ brokers.
What are the criteria for the best online trading platforms?
It hasn’t been an easy period for online stock brokers as the competition is really tough and there have been a lots of cuts in commissions and few majors acquisitions that have affected the market.
Having said that the opportunities for investing online are many and our mission is to help you find a trusted broker that will match perfectly your trading and investing style. Each of the online trading platforms have strengths and weaknesses and we have analysed them very carefully with our experts to spot those and present them to you in the best way.
The first thing that should be considered are costs as this will have a bottom line impact in your activity: this is the reason why we have spent lots of time to look at the price of each of the platforms and compare this with the feature that each of the online brokers are offering. Some of the most common charges of online trading platforms are:
Cost per transaction: commissions to pay are the biggest cost base of investors. The good news is that those are going down as if in 2016 a typical unassisted transaction had a cost of around £6, in 2017 we saw a clear decrease with some top brokers that decided to cut their commissions and now you can get a price of around £3.50 in most of them. If the price is something to check very carefully so it is transparency. Sometimes price structures offers can be misleading and we have to look carefully at all the caveats, which we have done.
Account minimums: this is really important as it will allow to trade without having an additional pressure on your shoulders. Surely when you start investing online you will have an idea of the size of the money that you will put in. This will be really helpful to understand which online broker is the best for you.
Additional charges for data, research and other tools: all the top online stock trading sites have very good market data like real-time quotes but some go the extra mile by offering educational resources and tools that in the long run can really help you making the right decision. Although all the top platforms we have reviewed all have pretty good standards there are some that do stand out as they do provide top-shelf resources to their customers, completely free of charge. So all those things also have to be factor in when making a decision on your online trading platform.
Additional costs: with commissions going down some brokers have taken the decision to recover some losses by charging some additional costs to customers. Be very careful as some brokers will offer you financial experts advices (24 hours a day) without making very clear that those services are at an additional fee. If you decide to close a deal on the phone for example the commission fee can go up from £3.50 to a staggering £20. Some other trading platforms do provide education on top strategies like options and futures but in order to access this they do require you to upgrade your platform and pay an annual fee. So all those things have to be considered when looking at the best online trading platform. In addition to naked costs tough a platform should also be judged by quality: how good are the educational resources for example, how useful are the tools and reports and ultimately how easy is to use the platform. We have used experts with different levels of skills (starting from a complete beginner to a super-expert) to test each and every online trading platforms that are available in the UK. On the site you will find some of the findings however if you are not tired to read, below are some top anticipations:
What is the Best Online Platform for Cheap Trading?
After carefully researching we have come up with the conclusion that is Ally Invest the best online trading platform for cheap trading. They surely have a leading position in low-cost commissions structure for all the different type of investors: from high-net-worth individuals to very beginners that are looking to experiment their strategies.
As we were mentioning before there have been a number of online brokers who have dropped their commissions in 2017 but even with that Ally Invest is still leading with around £4 flat rate. Also it keeps its edge with a zero account minimum and has very interesting discounts for active investors. Equity traders are at around £3 for all users with 30+ trades each quarter or with a balance of £80,000. Although there are other online brokers that offer cheap trades Ally Invest’s platform and resources are far more advanced and if that wasn’t enough they are also giving you access to their online trader network.
What is the trading platform that is best for Beginners?
If you are just getting into the online trading and want something to begin your learning curve than we suggest you check out E*Trade. They have focused on beginners and filled their site with lots of educational videos, articles and webinars so that you can go through all the basics of investing. You can also ensure you are up to date on investing news, reports and all the feedback from their analysts. You can also book some branch meetings for free and you will be able to access their 24-hour hotline and online chat that will be able to guide you in whatever you are attempting to do in their platform.
What is the top trading platform?
After looking at all the top trading platforms available to trade online our experts have agreed that TD Ameritrade is the best available at the moment. They offer two best-in-class trading platforms that are designed for 2 types of investors. Trade Architect is the one that is made for beginners or for any trader that prefers a more simplified and easy-to-understand interface. You can easily see how the ordering process take place and also get exposed to some potential trading strategies. Thinkorswim is their all singing all dancing trading platform which is designed for advanced investors. This platform has won a huge number of awards and regularly racks up praise and awards from top experts across the glove. When you access Thinkorswim you will get access to research reports, real-time data, charts and technical studies. You can choose whatever platform you prefer for free, all you need is a TD Ameritrade account: even if the commission is around £6 most investors believe it is worth it considering the quality of the product.
What is the top platform for Active Traders?
OptionsHouse is surely the top platform for all those investors that are looking to invest in options. It is however the absolute best for active traders. Similarly to Ally Invest has a very competitive commission (only around £4 + £0.20 per options contract) and unlike many competitors they do not have account minimums or inactivity fees. Their interface is very easy to understand and also they have very intuitive and smart tools. Currently they do not offer currency trading and also has limited commission-free and transaction-free but since they have been acquired by E*Trade in 2016 things have started to improve and expectations are that those gaps will be filled as the two brokers complete the merge.
What is the top trading platform for Best Research and Tools?
With the huge amount of tools available in all the different trading platforms, decide who is the winner of this category hasn’t been an easy task. Our experts however have finally agreed that for its quantity and quality of trading and investing research, Fidelity is leading at the moment. This top trading platform is ideal for DIY investor that are looking to get the right information to unleash their potential. They were also awarded the best overall online stock broker in 2016 (Barron’s and Kiplinger) and since than they have continued to steadily improve. In 2017 they have also lowered their commission from £6.50 to around £4: this decision was done with the clear intent of
Fidelity wins for its quantity and quality of trading and investing research — ideal for the DIY investor looking to unleash their potential. Featuring research from more than 20 providers, plus stellar execution, it’s no surprise Fidelity was awarded best overall online stock broker in 2016 by both Barron’s and Kiplinger. And Fidelity shows no signs of slowing down. In early 2017, Fidelity lowered its commissions from $7.95 to $4.95, a sign that it’s looking to become a bigger player in the discount scene, as opposed to the high net-worth individuals it historically has catered to. It still reserves some of its tools and features for high-volume, active traders, but looking forward, Fidelity is going to get harder and harder to beat.