The Two Minute Review
- 💰 Zero commission and a very low 0.15% currency conversion charge.
- 🧩 Fractional shares.
- 📱 Well designed and intuitive app and desktop experience.
- 💲 Invest as little as one dollar/pound.
- 🔒 Regulated by the FCA.
- ✅ Always testing new features like share lending.
- 🥧 Can copy “Trading Pies” from other users.
- 📈 Huge selection of stocks and funds.
- 🧑 Digital customer service is great.
- 🐢 In the past users have complained about the platform being slow – but these complaints seem to have died down dramatically over the past year and in our tests it was lightening fast.
- ☎️ Can’t speak to anyone on the phone.
- 👵🏼 No option for pensions (SIPPs) nor lifetime ISAs.
What The Experts Say
What Users Say
When you exclude reviews the company itself invited and look only at organic reviews the average score is 4.24.
Some Interesting User Comments
We spend hours reading user comments to see what feedback people are giving. Here are some positive and critical comments that stood out to us:
Love the interface/layout, also informative in terms of news/community.
It has been a learning curve, and I’m still learning, but then again, aren’t we all? The platform is great – easy to use, and the fact that it ties in with TradingView is awesome. While you can’t outright link accounts, it’s still useful. It’s a bit disappointing that you can’t trade crypto, but there are plenty of other options available. This platform has been and will continue to be my choice for the foreseeable future.
Customer service is also responsive and polite and the app is easy to use if you’re a beginner. Changes I would like to see include buying, holding, and withdrawing BTC, and more advanced charts for CFD trading. This is IMO definitely an area that could do with an overhaul! They’re quite limited and very basic.
Good community forum too. The only issue I have now is the performance of the app: it’s just mediocre. It used to be very good, but then between a year and a few months ago, an update came that completely messed up with the performance of the app on Android (even on top-range devices), which makes using the app very frustrating. Fix the performances, and you’ll deserve 5 stars 🙂
But there are times when I faced issues due to server load. The app has got better over time.
The Deep Dive
Trading 212 is an incredibly popular trading platform that now has over 2 billion funded accounts and $3.5 billion under investment globally. It has exploded in popularity for one simple reason – its fees, or, more accurately, its lack of fees. It’s now the first name most people think of when the topic of commission-free trading comes up.
Its history traces back to 2004 when Ivan Ashminov and Boris Nedialkov founded Avus Capital, primarily focusing on forex trading. As the platform evolved, it expanded its offerings and rebranded as Trading 212 in 2016 to reflect its broader scope.
Trading 212’s platform now offers stocks, ETFS, Forex and CFDs. It also provides real-time market data, charts, and analytical tools, catering to traders of all experience levels. Additionally, it offers demo accounts so you can get up to speed and operates under regulatory oversight to ensure you have a secure trading environment.
Account Options (Trading 212 Invest vs ISA vs CFD)
✅ Trading 212 offers investing, ISA and CFD accounts, but not LISAs or SIPPs.
Trading 212 offers a few account types for new customers. It’s quite important that you pick the correct one to start with. Here are the differences:
Trading 212 Invest: This is a standard account for buying and holding various financial assets, such as stocks, ETFs, and fractional shares. It is suitable for long-term investors looking to build a diversified portfolio.
Trading 212 ISA: This is a stocks and shares ISA or “Individual Savings Account”. You can open one of these each year and add in up to £20,000 which can be used to trade stocks and shares (just like the standard investing account). Any profit you make is then tax-free.
Be careful though as you can only open one of these a year with any provider – so if you’re just testing out the platform use the normal investing account.
Trading 212 CFD: This account lets you trade CFDs (Contract For Differences). We’ll go into more detail below on what these are, but you should know right away that this is the riskiest account you can set up with Trading 212 and we would only advise the most seasoned traders pick this account.
Unfortunately, Trading 212 doesn’t offer a self-invested pension plan (often referred to as a SIPP) nor Lifetime ISAs and it doesn’t look like these will be added anytime soon. According to an employee on their community forum – “SIPP and LISAs are not at the top of our priority list, so it’s hard to project an ETA.”
Range of Investments
✅ Trading 212 has a very large range of investments.
Trading 212 has a combined total of 12,000+ stocks and funds. This is how that compares to some of the competitors on the market:
There are some providers who have a vastly wider selection – Interactive Brokers, for example, has over 50,000 stocks and funds that you can buy. However, these brokers are catering for the most advanced traders who are looking to go into niche foreign markets or to trade penny stocks. Most retail investors will find Trading 212’s selection more than comprehensive enough.
Apart from stocks and funds, you can also trade commodities and currencies. Here’s a breakdown of the different assets you can trade on Trading 212.
Stocks and Shares
The most theoretically simple way of investing. You buy a part (a “share”) of the company and the price of this can up or down. You also get a share of any dividends paid by the company and some shares come with voting rights.
Trading 212 has over 10,000 stocks and shares available including shares from most of the European and Australian stock exchanges (often commission-free brokers just stick to the US and UK). We recommend checking to see if any stocks you want to invest in are listed on the platform – a full up-to-date and searchable list is here.
A feature we loved in our tests is the ability to buy fractional shares. Some companies (e.g. Tesla, Walmart, Amazon) have shares that cost hundreds of dollars, so buying even one can be quite prohibitive. However, Trading 212 lets you buy a part of a share. Other providers (e.g. Interactive Investor) don’t allow you to do this and we found this to be a real plus point due to the extra flexibility it brings.
You can buy ETFs or “Exchange Traded Funds”. Essentially an ETF is a basket of stocks, bonds and commodities that a finance company has put together. You can buy them just like you would a share in a company. What’s unique is that ETFs can be themed, focusing on specific sectors (e.g. technology companies, electric car companies, AI companies), strategies (e.g. companies that pay dividends), or topics (e.g. sustainability).
This thematic approach allows investors to align their portfolios with specific trends or areas of interest while enjoying the diversification and liquidity benefits that ETFs offer without having to invest in a single company or create a portfolio for themselves.
Indices represent the combined performance of a specific group of stocks or the entire market. Examples include the FTSE 100 (the 100 most valuable companies in the UK) and the S&P 500 (the largest 500 companies in the US).
Commodities are raw materials like oil, gold, and agricultural products that can be bought and sold.
Trading one currency for another is really popular…and really risky. Trading 212 has 180 currency pairs, i.e. pairs of currencies you can trade against each other, available 24/7.
With a CFD, you don’t actually buy a company’s shares. Instead, you make a contract with a broker. If you believe the stock price will go up, you can enter a CFD “buy” contract. If the stock price rises, you make money, and if it falls, you lose money. The amount you gain or lose depends on how much the stock’s price changes from the point you entered the contract.
The key thing is that you don’t own the actual stock; you’re just betting on its price movement. You can also bet that the stock’s value will go down – this is called “shorting” a stock.
CFDs can be used for short-term trading or to hedge existing investments, but they involve risk, including the risk of losing more than your initial investment due to leverage.
Leverage in trading is borrowed capital provided by a broker to increase the size of a trader’s position beyond what would be possible with their own capital alone. For example, Trading 212 allows a 5:1 leverage on stocks in its CFD account, so a trader with $1,000 of their own could control a position worth $5,000. This is really dangerous though as while gains will be multiplied by 5, so will losses.
Unless you are really experienced, we recommend staying away from CFDs.
💵 We can’t stress this enough – Trading 212 is leading the way in reducing the cost of investing.
Trading 212’s Invest and ISA accounts are market-leading and perhaps even revolutionary. The company is a pioneer of commission-free trading with fees only really applying when you exchange currency. Here’s a breakdown of how it compares to several popular brokers.
As you can see from the table, if you’re going to trade often then the cost difference between older brokers like Hargreaves Lansdown and AJ Bell starts to really add up when compared to newer firms like Freetrade and Trading 212.
However, you will still get charged something – and that comes in the form of the currency conversion fee.
Currency Conversion Fee
When you set up your account, you can select a base currency.
If you buy shares that are traded in this currency you won’t pay any fees. So if you opt for USD and buy shares in a company listed on the NASDAQ you will not be charged any fees. Similarly, if you start off in GBP and buy shares in a company listed on the FTSE you wouldn’t pay a fee.
However, if you selected GBP and then bought shares in a company listed in dollars you would pay a 0.15% fee. For example, if you bought a share in Amazon for $130 you would pay a £1.95 fee. This is still incredibly cheap compared to the competition. For example, at Interactive Investor you would pay a 1.5% conversion fee plus a £3.99 fee plus a monthly subscription of at least £4.99. Even Freetrade, which as the name suggests is trying to make investing as cheap as possible, charges a 0.59% foreign currency fee.
In addition, you might even be able to avoid the 0.15% altogether if you’re just looking for index or tracker funds. For example, if you wanted to follow Warren Buffet advice’s to invest in the S&P 500 you could buy shares in the “Vanguard S&P 500” fund which is priced in pounds.
You might also be able to take advantage of the new multi-currency account to reduce fees.
The Multi-Currency Account
Trading 212 is currently rolling out accounts that allow you to hold and invest with 12 global currencies. You can select the currency that matches the currency of your bank account to avoid your bank charging you any FX fees when you deposit.
You’re likely to still need to convert to another currency and incur a 0.15% charge the first time you want to buy shares in a foreign currency. However, if you then sell those shares, you can hold the funds in that foreign currency. If you then want to buy another share in that currency you don’t have to incur the currency conversion fee. It may seem like a small thing, but we found it would really reduce costs when we wanted to execute a number of trades over time in the US market.
📈 A clean layout, unique features and in-depth analysis make the Tading 212 platform a winner in our eyes.
We found both the app and desktop versions of the platform super easy to use. It’s really cleanly laid out and makes it very clear how to buy and sell:
Research and Insight
You can click on any company and it will give you a plethora of information about its fundamentals, including current and historic price, revenue, market cap, and P/E ratio. You can even view company documents like past financial reports.
For more advanced and active traders, Trading 212 has integrated Trading View into its platform. This lets you do things such as see a candlestick view of an asset’s price and conduct technical analysis (e.g. add Fibonacci arcs to the charts).
The calendar tab displays significant upcoming financial and economic events. It includes the release dates and times for economic data, corporate earnings reports, central bank meetings and market holidays.
Watchlists and The Hot List
Another feature we found useful was “watchlists”. You can see hot stocks, the biggest winners of the day and, indeed, the biggest losers as well as stocks with soon-to-be-released earnings reports and the most owned stocks. You can also curate your own watchlist of any companies you want to keep an eye on.
Trading 212’s “Pie” feature is a tool that allows users to create and manage diversified investment portfolios within their trading accounts. A Trading 212 Pie is just a way to group together multiple stocks or Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) into a single portfolio, allowing for more structured and balanced investments.
Here’s how it works:
Customization: Users can choose from a wide range of stocks and ETFs available on the Trading 212 platform and add them to their Pie. This allows for a customized portfolio tailored to specific investment goals or themes.
Allocation: Within the Pie, users can set the allocation percentages for each asset, determining how much of their investment is allocated to each stock or ETF. This helps in creating a diversified portfolio to manage risk.
Rebalancing: Over time, as the market changes and the values of individual assets within the Pie fluctuate, users can rebalance their portfolio to maintain their desired asset allocation. This involves buying or selling assets as needed to return to the target allocation. You can do this at the click of a button.
Auto-Invest: Users have the option to set up automated investments, where a specified amount of money is regularly invested in the Pie, helping to maintain the desired asset allocation without manual intervention. We were, however, slightly disappointed this could not be done for individual stocks (to do this you would have to set up a Pie with one stock in it).
What most impressed us though was the social element of the Trading Pies. You can look through a huge library of Pies set up by other traders. You can pick portfolios based on themes like “dividend-paying companies” or “innovation”.
The usual caveats apply that you should always do your own research and not just blindly copy what some obscure user on the internet has done, but overall the Pies are a great feature.
We thought their collection of resources and training videos was high quality and covered both the basics and more advanced topics well. We particularly like their frequent tie-ups with famous YouTubers (notable shoutout to Ramin Nakisa).
Share lending is a relatively new feature from Trading 212. In basic terms, Trading 212 will lend your share to a borrower and receive interest on this. You will get a cut of 50%. Common shares will only yield about 0.3% APR, but more in-demand shares can bring in over 5% APR. You can still sell your share when you want and you still get the benefit of any change in price.
Our initial worry here was that the borrower, who is often short-selling the stock, might not be able to return it to you. However, as Trading 212 explains: “Your shares are secured by collateral in the form of US treasuries for Trading 212 UK, and cash for Trading 212 Markets, protected as any other client investment.”
The main drawback is that you will lose any voting rights from your shares during the period it is lent. If this isn’t too important to you then it’s worth looking into share lending.
Interest on Cash Balances
Trading 212 is now also offering interest on cash left in your account. To be honest, we’d recommend not holding cash in your account as you can get better interest rates with banks.
Things it doesn’t offer
You won’t find crypto on Trading 212, so if this is your bag you will have to look elsewhere.
How good is customer service?
☎️ Customer service is good via Live Chat but you can’t speak to someone on the phone.
There is no option to actually speak to a human – which we found slightly concerning for a company you might be using to trade significant sums of money. There is a “chat with us” box available but you will be initially dealing with a robot. We found this easy to bypass by simply asking “Can I speak to an advisor?”. It then took 43 seconds for us to be connected to a human who was competently able to answer our questions.
Is Trading 212 Good for Beginners?
✅ Yes, it’s awesome for beginners.
We’d give an emphatic yes to this one. The platform isn’t cluttered so doesn’t feel too overwhelming. However, there are lots of more advanced features hiding under the hood so it’s really a broker that can grow with you as your knowledge increases.
Trading 212 vs Vanguard
🤔 Trading 212 wins in most ways, but you won’t get access to the Lifestyle Strategy funds that Vanguard offers.
With Vanguard’s platform, you are solely limited to buying Vanguard investment funds. You will pay 0.15% each year (up to a max of £375). Trading 212 allows you to invest in investment funds and stocks and, of course, has its Pies feature. Trading 212 would seem like a winner then. However, if you want to invest in the popular Vanguard LifestyleStrategy funds you will have to do this with Vanguard itself as it is not available on Trading 212.
Is It Safe?
🔒 It’s highly regulated and is now turning a substantial profit as a company.
Trading 212 is fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK and is part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This means Trading 212 has to adhere to certain safeguards. If the company were to go bust you would be covered up to £85,000 for any cash balance you had in your account and your stocks would still remain in your name and could not be used to pay off the debts of the company.
Still, it wouldn’t be the most enjoyable experience and there was a lot of worry when Trading 212 submitted its account to Companies House late in 2021. They also stopped accepting new accounts after the Gamestop scandal so they could ‘update their systems” which angered a lot of users. The new management team seem to have put this period behind them though with the company now ready to accept new customers and showing strong profitability in their latest accounts (which were filed early).
So in conclusion, is it a good platform?
We think Trading 212 is fantastic. As a product, it’s a joy to use and can be as simple or complicated as you want. The fee structure is also game-changing.