Best Trading Platform For Buying UK Shares

Written by Editorial Team
Last updated: 19th November 2023

If you are looking to buy UK shares… then a trading platform is a great way to do this.

What the right platform is for you will depend on your requirements.

How do you buy UK shares using a trading platform

Our view:  The next generation of online trading platform means you can get setup & buy UK shares in as little as 5 minutes!

  1. Select a share platform – See below our 3 top platform picks
  2. Open your share account – To do this you will need your bank details and national insurance number
  3. Fund your account – You will need to fund your a/c with a debit or credit card or bank transfer
  4. Search for the share using the UK stock code – Type in the stock code into the search box
  5. Check out the latest info and price for the selected share – Some platforms offer free research and analysis
  6. Buy the share – Nice and easy!

See our top picks for buying UK shares below:

Join today & get £50 FREE trading credit (T&Cs apply).
More than 40,000 UK & international investment options

Invest from £1

Features:
Flat fee plan starts from £4.99 pm
No trading fees when you top up monthly with the ii regular investing service.
Go to website »
Trusted by over 400,000 people. Fully FSCS protected. ADVFN Winner 2022 "Best Low Cost Stockbroker". Capital at risk.
Invest in over 6,100+ US, UK & EU stocks & ETFs commission-free




Features:
Start with £2 investment. Superb app design and transparent account charges. Great for beginners and experienced investors alike
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Trusted by over 1.5 million people. FSCS protected. Capital at risk. Other charges may apply. No subscription required
Choose from over 2,000 funds
From £25 per month

Features:
Low cost ISA. Multi-award winning ISA provider. Trade from:
£1.50 Funds
£5.00 Shares, ETFs, investment trusts and gilts and bonds
£3.50 Frequent shares dealing charge
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Mobile app - manage your portfolio on the move. FSCS protected. Capital at risk.
Trade UK & International shares for £6. No charge for fund trades

Features:

One simple customer fee of 0.25% p.a.
8,000+ investments to choose from.
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Barclays gives you the investment choice and research tools you need to grow your money. Over 300,000 people have used our award winning service, expert insights and resources to help work towards their financial goals. Voted Best Stockbroker at the Online Money Awards 2023. Capital at risk.
Access over 3,000 funds. UK & Overseas shares.
Invest from £100 or £25 pm

Features:
Live share prices.
Award winning services.
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Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's No 1 platform for private investors trusted by over 1.6 million customers. Capital at risk.
Access to 70,000+ instruments, smart trading tools & market insights

Investment platform for different needs and experience levels

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Saxo serve clients in 170 countries, hold 70+ bn GBP in assets under management & process 1m transactions daily. FCA regulated. Capital at risk.
Buy & trade over 3500+ UK, EU and US stocks with low 0.35% currency conversion.


Features:
Say goodbye to high minimums and barriers to entry. Capital at Risk
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Multi-currency investing, your money goes even further without the constant foreign exchange fees. Deposit, hold and invest in international stock markets in EUR, GBP and USD — all under one roof. Shares have a low, transparent execution cost. Investing in your local ETFs is completely free of Lightyear fee (other fees may apply). Earn interest on uninvested cash. Access live news feeds about the stocks you own, as well as professional analyst ratings & price targets. Lightyear is now live on web and has launched earnings calls audios. Capital at Risk. We, Fair Investment Company, will be paid a referral fee if you open an account and deposit funds through some of the links on this page. This includes financial promotion.
Invest in real stocks with 0% commission*. Over 5300 instruments


Features:
XTB is one of the largest stock exchange-listed FX brokers in the world with 720,000+ customers and over 20 years of activity in the financial markets. Capital at Risk

Earn 5.2% interest rate per annum on uninvested GBP


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World class trading platform: Easy to use, fully customisable, superior execution speeds, performance statistics. Applying for an account is quick and easy with a secure online form, and you could be trading within minutes. Wide range of instruments -forex, indices, commodities, shares and ETF’s. Multilingual customer support team is ready to help you - 24h hours a day from Monday to Friday. *For monthly turnover up to 100,000 EUR (then comm. 0.2%, min. 10 EUR). Capital at risk
Buy & trade over 17,000+ shares online. FX conversion fee of just 0.5%.
Invest from £1

Features:
Easy to use platform. Demo account. Speak to other traders. Award winning trading app.
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IG offer exclusive out of hours giving access to 70+ shares when the market is closed. 313,000+ clients worldwide. FCA Regulated. Capital at risk. Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money
Choice of 500 low cost ETF Funds
Invest from £1

Features:
No buying or selling fees. No ISA account charges. Powerful automation. Easy diversification. DIY or managed.
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The InvestEngine offers investors a low cost ETF investment platform. Build your own portfolio commission free or leave it to their experts for just 0.25%. Build your own low cost portfolio using managers such as Vanguard, iShares & Invesco. FSCS protected. Capital at risk.

Why use a trading platform to buy UK shares?

You don’t have to buy and sell UK shares using a share platform to manage your investments.

You could go down the old-school route using a stockbroker directly to buy and sell investments.

This can involve lots of paperwork and waiting for the postman to send you paper statements, which may be perfectly adequate for some people.

Your preference may be to deal with a real person to make things happen – whilst this can work it can be slow and cumbersome and potentially more expensive.

The good news is that with technological advances,  investors now have significant choices when buying UK and international shares.

Benefits of using a trading platform include:

  • Lower trading costs
  • Easy access to the UK and international stockmarkets
  • 24/7 access to your investments
  • You can hold all your tax efficient investments such as ISAs and SIPPs in one place:  including lifetime ISAs, right to buy ISAs and  junior ISAs
  • Plus any other fund holdings or shares that you’re trading outside of a tax-free environment, from a general trading account

How do you pick a trading platform?

Trading platform services offered vary widely, and so do the costs.

5 things to consider:

1. Do you just want to trade UK shares?

Not all investment platforms allow you to trade shares on all markets.

If your focus is on UK shares, there is an extensive choice of options.

If you want to invest further in a field, then you need to ensure the platform you choose is right for you.

2. Do you want to do a lot of trading?

Active investors will want to look for a platform that offers the lowest fees for volume trades.

If you are going to trade UK shares regularly most trading platforms will offer lower trading prices based on volume.

3. What types of trading account are offered?

Some trading platforms offer general trading accounts, stocks and shares ISA accounts and Self Invested Personal Pension Accounts which offer tax free trading benefits (no tax on dividends or capital gains tax on realised profit).

Trader accounts which offer ISA and SIPP accounts include IG,  Interactive Investor, AJ Bell,  and Hargreaves Lansdown

4. Trading just UK shares, or funds as well?

If you also interested in investing or trading in funds then this again may determine who you go with.

If you are interested in ETFs, Investment Trusts, Open Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) or Unit Trusts then you will need to check with the platform provider what is available. E.g. Some platforms only offer a limited number of collectives such as OEICs.

Charging structure for funds held on the platform will vary. Over time the impact of such charges can be significant. Check the platform charging structure carefully.

 5. How easy is this trading platform to use &  what kind of features does it offer?

How easy is the platform to use to buy and sell UK shares?

Platform functionality is becoming the key battleground in persuading traders which platform to select.

Mobile app features are also key in offering traders alerts and buy/sell signals whilst on the move.

These are often the criteria that count most highly with users, so do some research and read the reviews.

Many investors are prepared to pay more fees for a platform that offers really useful apps and services.

IMPORTANT: No news, feature article or comment should be seen as a personal investment recommendation. Before deciding to invest, you should ensure that you are familiar with the risks associated with a particular plan. If you are unsure of the suitability of a particular product, both in respect of its objectives and risk profile, you should seek independent financial advice. The value of shares, ETFs and ETCs, bought through a share dealing account, stocks and shares ISA, or a SIPP can fall and rise, which could mean getting back less than you originally put in. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 67%-81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work and whether you can afford to risk losing your money. Professional clients can lose more than they deposit. All trading involves risk. Tax treatment of ISAs depends on your circumstances and is based on current law, which may be subject to change in the future. ISA transfer charges may apply; please check with your provider.