Reviewed broker: Free Trade
Established in 2018
Regulation: authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and all accounts are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Freetrade is a privately owned company with almost 8,000 shareholders through crowdfunding. They were founded by CEO Adam Dodds, a former manager at KPMG and in 2019 they received a Series A investment from venture capital firm Draper Esprit.
Why invest with Freetrade?
- Commission-free instant trades
- Thousands of US and UK stocks
- Invest from only £2
- Fractional shares – own a piece of even the most expensive US shares
- Fast, friendly customer support
- ETFs spanning index funds, industries and exchanges across the world
Trading Conditions and Features Overview
Whilst Freetrade does offer commission free trading on stocks and Exchange Traded Funds in the US and UK stock markets, this is fairly limited and potentially increases risk by restricting the users ability to create a truly diversified portfolio. The lack of listed companies in Europe and emerging markets seems to really let them down as does the absence of more asset classes such as mutual funds, options, futures, buying and trading cryptocurrency or bonds.
Stocks and shares ISAs explained
A stocks and shares ISA, sometimes called an investment ISA, is a tax-efficient investment account. This means any money you earn from your investments will be free from UK taxes.
Within a stocks and shares ISA you won’t pay:
- Income tax on dividends or interest
- Capital gains tax if you sell your investments for a profit
With a stocks and shares ISA you can invest in a range of shares, exchange-traded funds, investment trusts and more.
Before diving in, it’s important to understand that any tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in future. You also need to be comfortable with the fact that the value of your investments can fall as well as rise, so you might get back less than you originally invested.
How does a stocks and shares ISA work?
Who can open a stocks and shares ISA?
To open a stocks and shares ISA you must be:
- Aged 18 or over
- A UK resident for tax purposes
- Comfortable that the value of investments can go up as well as down
- Prepared to invest for at least 5 years
2022/2023 ISA allowance
Each tax year HMRC sets an ISA allowance. It’s the total amount of money you can put into ISAs each year.
The ISA allowance for the 2022/23 tax year (which ends on 5th April 2023) is £20,000.
You can invest all £20,000 in a stocks and shares ISA or spread it across different ISA accounts.
Freetrade’s platform is extremely simple to use. It looks great and is straightforward to navigate. But, it’s still important you remember to take care and do your due diligence before deciding on any investments.
Some investment platforms can take time to figure out. With Freetrade, that’s not the case. If you’re able to use something like Netflix, you’ll be fine with their app. It feels very welcoming and reassuring to new investors. You’re unlikely to feel overwhelmed or confused when using Freetrade. Tracking your portfolio is extremely clear and you can easily set up a watchlist for any potential future investments.
Alongside the general investment account, it’s also straightforward to use a Freetrade Stocks & Shares ISA for your investments at a flat cost of £3 per month. Then there’s also the Freetrade Plus account, which includes the use of an ISA wrapper for the £9.99 fee. However you decide to invest using the platform, it’s all managed through the one tidy mobile application.
The Freetrade trading platform has proven to be very popular with investors and currently has more than 600,000 users, however, there is no web or desktop trading platform to perform trades in US and UK stocks, shares and ETFs as Freetrade have taken the decision to offer all this trading through the Freetrade app alone unlike alternative DIY investment platforms.
Freetrade have consistently received excellent reviews on the back of its innovative and well designed mobile app. When it comes to being user friendly, they really have ironed out all the kinks and designed a streamlined interface that is available on both IOS and Android. Everything about the app is designed to make investing as easy as possible, and you can be up and running in moments.
It’s worth noting that whilst Freetrade has a website, you can only trade stocks and access your SIPP via the Freetrade app and not on your desktop PC or tablet, so it might not appeal to everyone.
We found the security to be first class with both a digital password and biometric authentication (face and touchID), and once inside the app, investing is fast and slick as you would expect from such an innovative offering. However, beyond that there is not much to report as one of the most alluring features lies in its simplicity.
On the App Store, Freetrade has scored 4.7 out of 5 stars from over 5,000 reviews and they have a similar rating on Google Play, which speaks volumes about how user friendly the app is for investing. When held up against all the trading apps on the market today, the Freetrade app is certainly a good place from where to complete your trades.
Freetrade Account Review
General Investment Account
Invest commission-free in the stock market. Get started within minutes, from as little as £2.
If you’re new to investing or simply curious, Freetrade could be an excellent place to get started. The platform is extremely easy-to-use. The commission-free trading on UK shares coupled with just a £2 minimum investment makes it a great place to dip your toes.
For experienced investors looking for the widest range of investments and ways to invest, Freetrade may not have everything you’re looking for. That being said, there’s a wide selection of investments available on the platform and Freetrade are continuously updating and improving their offerings. There’s also the ability to use Freetrade Plus for a fee that includes even more investment options and some other useful benefits.
Take control of your pension.
Make your own investment decisions and bring old pensions under one roof, with a Freetrade self-invested personal pension (SIPP).
A simple guide to self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs). We explain how SIPPs work, why they are important and how they can help you save for retirement. Learn about how much to put in a SIPP, potential SIPP investments, SIPP rules and the tax benefits of a SIPP.
When we hear the word pension, most people think of retirement. But throw in SIPP (or even self-invested personal pension) and you’re at risk of losing people. Not to mention most of your mates.
But it’s important to know about SIPPs. They are a key product when it comes to saving for your future and being able to live how you’d like to in retirement.
In this guide, we’re here for one thing and one thing only. And that’s to simplify SIPPs.
SIPP key takeaways
If you’re short on time, here are the SIPP headlines.
- SIPPs are designed to help you build up a pension pot you can live from later in life
- The government tops the contributions you make (up to a certain amount)
- You have complete control when it comes to how your SIPP is invested.
- You can have a SIPP as well as your workplace pension and ISAs.
- You don’t need millions of pounds, start by investing small sums regularly.
- The earlier you start a SIPP and invest, the longer your investments will have to grow.
What is a SIPP?
To make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s start with a quick SIPP definition.
A self-invested personal pension or ‘SIPP’ is a type of investment account designed to help you save and build up a pension pot for retirement. And, as the self-invested label suggests, it’s a personal pension account that lets you decide how your pension pot is invested.
Most other types of personal and workplace pensions aren’t like this, they tend to have a set range of ready-made investment options for you to choose from.
With a SIPP you are free to make the investment decisions.
How does a SIPP work?
Before getting into the specifics, here’s a simple guide to how SIPPs work:
- You add money (known as a pension contribution) to your SIPP
- The government tops up your contributions via tax relief
- You choose how your SIPP is invested
- You could also transfer old pensions into a SIPP
- Access your SIPP from 55 (rising to 57 in 2028)
Get even more from your money with Freetrade Plus. 3% interest on cash up to a maximum deposit of £4000. More stocks to choose from. Limit orders and stop losses. Free stocks and shares ISA account (usually £3 per month). Commission-free investing.
All for £9.99 per month.
Earn 3% interest on cash in Freetrade Plus
Exclusive for Plus members. Make your money work harder in between investments with 3% interest on cash, up to a max deposit of £4,000, paid monthly.
Access more stocks & exclusive collections
Explore a bigger stock universe and curated collections.
Your Freetrade stocks and shares ISA is included inside Plus membership.
In terms of order types, Freetrade plus also offers users limit orders which are a handy little feature that allows the user to set stock prices to automatically buy and sell shares at a price that is predetermined by the user. Buy limits will also automatically buy stocks when the price falls below a certain limit and sell limits will automatically sell your stock when the price reaches a certain amount.
Stop losses are also available to Freetrade Plus account holders, and serve to automatically initiate a sale should your stock reach a certain price, providing a nice little safety net should the stock you hold be plummeting fast.
Perhaps one of the most enticing features of the Freetrade Plus platform is that it includes the Freetrade ISA as part of the monthly price. This can save you the £3 per month that you would otherwise spend on your Freetrade ISA.
Deposit and Withdrawal Review
The only base currency available to deposit money at Freetrade is GBP which is no issue if you’re in the United Kingdom, however, rival platforms like Degiro have nine base currencies and as Freetrade do offer their service in several European countries we felt it was a shame that they didn’t have more currencies available in order for overseas investors to avoid losing money on the exchange rate.
In terms of fees, Freetrade doesn’t charge any deposit fees or withdrawal fees unless you require your withdrawal to be rushed through the same day, in which case you can expect to pay £5 in withdrawal fees.
Whilst Freetrade doesn’t accept credit or debit cards, it does accept bank transfer from your bank accounts, and Apple Pay and Google Pay as deposit options, which given that the platform is aimed at millennials, seems quite sufficient. However, withdrawals can only be done using bank transfer from your bank account and without the express service, can take around 2 business days. This seems reasonably quick to us.
Freetrade’s research and education resources
Freetrade provides all the key points and fundamentals at a glance. Experienced investors may have to look elsewhere (like The Motley Fool!) for additional information, research and news. If you’re ever unsure about the suitability of an investment for your own circumstances, please seek independent financial advice.
Stock market news
Everything you need to know about the UK, US and global business and financial news. Read on for company news, sector reviews and reports to keep you informed about the stock market.
Freetrade’s customer service and support
If you need assistance with your account, you can access a customer support chat directly through the app. There are also extensive FAQs in the help centre and additional resources on the Freetrade website. Unfortunately there’s no phone support available.
In terms of customer reviews, on Trustpilot, Freetrade scores 4.3 out of 5 stars. As we write this, 81% have rated it ‘Excellent’ or ‘Great.’
Freetrade also supports an active user community where people can share thoughts and insights. Their website is also regularly updated with news and useful information.
Be mindful that any investment information and expert opinion provided on Freetrade’s website is not personal advice and is designed for investors who are happy making their own investment decisions. If you’re unsure about the suitability of an investment for your circumstances, you’ll want to seek out your own independent financial advice.
Market news, short and sweet.
- Sign up to our free investment newsletter to keep track of what’s happening in the stock market with Honey by Freetrade.
- Join an ever-growing community of over 50,000 readers who love their stock market and personal finance news.
- Get commentary from analysts regularly featured in the financial press (BBC, Forbes, The Guardian, The Telegraph).
- Become a better investor with fun insights on interesting stocks. Oh, and it’s a free newsletter!
Customer Service Review
There have been some misgivings about Freetrade’s lack of phone or email customer support, however, they have a great live chat facility which is often preferred by millennials, and whilst conducting this Freetrade review I found response times to be good with knowledgeable, helpful answers to my questions. You can clearly see who you are talking to and I liked the personal approach to customer service. That being said, we did have to reduce the score to reflect the lack of email and phone support.
Whilst there was no 24/7 service, Freetrade plus customers can get help between 6am and Midnight, Monday to Friday which is a pretty good offering in addition to the priority customer service.
Questions Answers with Freetrade broker
How to contact Freetrade
All contact with Freetrade is done using the Live Chat function from within the Freetrade app.
Can you withdraw money from Freetrade?
Withdrawals are all done via bank transfer and can be requested through the Account tab within the mobile app. Simply select ‘Withdraw’ and insert the amount that you wish to withdraw. You will need to ensure you have linked your bank account before the withdrawal can be initiated. It is prudent to remember that any gains will be subject to UK capital gains tax and should therefore be declared by the investor.
You should take the time to sell shares and ETFs before commencing with a withdrawal.
How to close an account at Freetrade
Closing your account is quick and easy at Freetrade, however, you should ensure you sell shares and ETFs you still have, and withdraw all your money back to your bank account via bank transfer beforehand. After this simply contact customer service through the live chat within the Freetrade App and request that they close your account.
Is Freetrade Legitimate?
Freetrade is a completely legitimate trading platform, regulated by a top-tier regulator and with all the appropriate safety measures in order to protect your capital.
Is Freetrade Really Free?
Whilst there are charges for their premium product and ISA and SIPP accounts, all trading on Freetrade is commission free and their General Investment Account is also free of charges.
Is Freetrade any good?
Whilst conducting this Freetrade review, I found Freetrade to be a great investment app for a novice investor who wants to take advantage of their free investment account and commission free trading as well as low cost stocks and shares ISA and competitive non trading fees. On the flip side of the coin, they only offer US and UK stocks. As mentioned previously, their limited offering on trades may put more experienced investors off. It is also worth noting that Freetrade offer nothing in the way of investment advice and is therefore all activity is at the users own risk.
Is Freetrade safe?
It was my opinion that Freetrade had taken all the necessary steps to keep your money safe. Freetrade is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and all client money is kept in segregated bank accounts, which means they are unable to use your money in any way. As well as this they are part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in the UK which means that in the event of Freetrade becoming insolvent, as an investor with Freetrade, your money is protected up to the value of £85,000. This is part of the reason you are asked to supply your national insurance number when you open an account with Freetrade.
How was the rating of Freetrade performed compared to other brokers?
This 2023 Forex Broker Review has been conducted though thorough research and assessment of rating and ranking among almost 300 international forex brokers. The final grade is given based on Freetrade FX broker performance and features.
Overall our online Freetrade review was conducted with the details obtained from the demo trading and the forex brokers website. If you would like to add details to this online Freetrade or you find inaccurate details Freetrade broker review please get in touch with us and the changes will be applied.