Freetrade vs. Trading 212: A Comprehensive Comparison for UK Investors

Freetrade and Trading 212 are major players in the UK’s brokerage industry, known for their low-cost investment schemes. They offer investors commission-free investment, user-friendly apps, investment guides, tools, and necessary tools to aid investment yield.

Freetrade Vs Trading 212
Freetrade vs. Trading 212 Review

But how do they differ? Which is better and, more importantly, which one should you choose?

If you’re looking for these answers, this Freetrade vs. Trading 212 comparison review is for you. Here, we will compare the two brokers’ differences, similarities, pros, and cons.

Proceed!

Freetrade vs Trading 212: What Are They and How Do They Work?

How Does Freetrade Work?

Freetrade is an award-winning, London-based financial platform that provides access to over 6,000 US and UK stocks and ETFs. Established in 2016, it follows a freemium business model, offering commission-free trades while other fees may apply.

Freetrade operates with three investment services distributed across three pricing plans: the General Investment Account (GIA), the Stocks and Shares ISA, and the Self-invested Personal Pension (SIPP). These services are accessible on the basic zero-cost plan, as well as the flat-fee Standard and Plus plans.

A notable feature of Freetrade is its ability to buy fractional shares, which enables more flexible trading of US shares.

Currently available only to UK residents, Freetrade plans to expand into other European markets.

Overall, Freetrade is an excellent online platform with a user-friendly mobile app that makes navigation easy. Its freemium model positions it as one of the most competitive financial platforms in the country.

How Does Trading 212 Work?

Trading 212 Limited is a leading fintech company in the UK, recognized for its commission-free trading in currency pairs, stocks, and shares.

Founded in 2004 in Bulgaria, Trading 212 is regulated in Bulgaria, the UK, and Cyprus, operating across the European Union, the UK, and Australia. It offers a free, innovative, and user-friendly app that allows investors to trade Stocks, ETFs, Forex, Commodities.

TRADING 212

8.75/ 10

Markets

Europe, USA

No commissions (variable spreads)

ISA account available

Real stocks and funds, interest for the uninvested cash, fractional shares

* "Interest applies on cash in an investment account. Terms apply. When investing, your capital is at risk."

Over time, the company has grown to manage 2 million funded accounts with over £3.5 billion in client assets and cash.

Trading 212 provides various account types, offering investors commission-free stock and share investment, tax-free investment options, and interest on uninvested cash. Although it promotes zero commission on transactions and no account fees, it isn’t entirely free. For instance, Trading 212 charges 0.7% on deposits via cards, Google Pay, and Apple Pay after a cumulative deposit of £2,000/$2,000.

The fintech also offers Pies and Auto Invest programs to help build diversified portfolios. With these features, users can select thousands of stocks and ETFs to create slices of their pie.

Overall, Trading 212 is an innovative, commission-free investment platform that stands out. Its user-friendly mobile app and web platform have carved out a distinct niche in the financial industry.

Freetrade vs. Trading 212: Main Characteristics

CharacteristicsFreetradeTrading 212
RegulationsFreetrade is regulated by the Financial Conduct Academy (FCA) in the UK (FRN: 738189)Trading 212 is authorized and regulated by UK’s FCA, Cyprus’ (CYSEC), Bulgaria’s FSC
Market and AssetsStocks, Fractional shares, ETFs, investment trusts, OTC stocks, SPACs, REITs, IPOsStocks, Fractional shares, ETFs, Indexes, Commodities, Forex
Protection SchemeUp to £85,000Up to £85,000 for UK’s FSCS and up to 90% (but limited to 20,000 Euros) for ICF Cyprus and Bulgaria regulatory bodies
Account typesGIA, ISA, and SIPPStandard Investment Account, ISA, and demo
Pricing PlanBasic plan (free), Standard Plan (£5.99 monthly or £59.88 annually), and Plus Plan (11.99 monthly or £119.88 annually)No pricing plan. All accounts are free*.
Minimum deposit£0/$0£0/$0
Deposit methodBank transfer, debit card, Apple Pay, and Google PayBank transfer, debit and credit card, Apple/Google Pay, Instant Bank transfers, OnlineBankingPL, Giropay, Carte Bleue, Blik, Direct eBanking, and iDEAL
Deposit and Withdrawal FeeZero-feeDeposit is free until you have deposited 2,000 GBP/EUR. After this limit, there is a 0.7% fee. Zero withdrawal fee
Trading PlatformProprietary in-app trading platform on mobile devices and web serviceProprietary in-app and web trading platform on mobile and desktop
Currency Exchange Fee0.99% fx fee for Basic plan 0.59% fx fee for Standard Plan 0.39% fx fee for Plus plan0.15% FX fee
Demi AccountNoYes
Supported CurrencyGBPGBP, USD, CHF, DKK, NOK, PLN, SEK, CZK, RON, BGN, and HUF
*Spread of some transactions might apply

Freetrade vs. Trading 212: Regulation and Trustworthiness

A crucial factor in selecting the right broker involves the security regulations and reliability of the financial institution. Let’s examine both fintech companies regarding investment security and platform reliability.

Freetrade Regulation

Freetrade Limited is authorized and regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). As an FCA-authorized financial institution, it must adhere to all applicable rules and regulations.

All client funds are maintained in a segregated bank account in line with FCA requirements. This means that Freetrade cannot mix investor funds with its own and is prohibited from using client money for business expenses or to pay creditors.

Freetrade-listed stocks are protected through a nominee account in the UK and a third-party custodian in the US. The Freetrade Nominee is a non-trading company responsible for holding all UK-listed stocks, while US-listed stocks are protected by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Is Freetrade a trustworthy broker?

Freetrade’s operations are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in case of bankruptcy. This ensures that your assets with the financial institution are protected up to £85,000 if the company becomes unable to manage them.

As being regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and backed by the FSCS, Freetrade provides a secure platform for your investments. Additionally, the mobile app includes two-factor authentication (2FA) to enhance account security.

Financial experts, investors, and regulatory bodies generally regard Freetrade as a trustworthy financial platform.

Regulation of Trading 212

Trading 212 is regulated in the UK by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), and it is obliged to follow all its rules and regulations, including segregating clients’ funds from the company’s bank account.

Also, you’re doubly covered by the company’s membership with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The membership protects your investment up to £85,000 in the UK if the company goes bankrupt.

Also, since Trading 212 is available in Cyprus and Bulgaria, its investment market is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CYSEC) and the Bulgarian Financial Supervision Commission (FSC).

For investors’ safety in these countries, Trading 212 Market Limited keeps all clients’ funds in a segregated bank account that is covered by the Cyprus and Bulgaria Investors Compensation Fund (ICF). The ICF can provide up to 90% (but limited to EUR 20,000) of the client’s funds in the unlikely event of the company’s default.

Is Trading 212 a trustworthy broker?

With a satisfactory regulatory status in the countries where Trading 212 operates, we could consider the platform as a trustworthy financial institution that protects its investors. Therefore, in the unlikely event of bankruptcy, the client’s funds will be safely returned to the customers as they are being held in a segregated bank account.

Freetrade vs. Trading 212: Investment Products available in UK

Both companies are known for their diverse array of investment products. Therefore, selecting which one is better for you also depends on the type of financial product you are interested in investing in.

Below you will find each broker’s products and we will provide you with information about them.

Products available with Freetrade UK

Freetrade available products UK
Freetrade Products
Products and Assets available with FreetradeProducts and Assets Available with Trading 212
Stocks and Shares – Freetrade provides access to over 6,000 US and UK stocks.Stocks, Shares, and ETFs, Including Fractional shares—Trading 212 provides investors with access to over 12,000 stocks, shares, and ETFs in the UK, US, and across all European exchanges.
Fractional shares – With Freetrade you can buy part of a full company’s and enjoy a fraction of your purchase as dividendsIndices (stock exchanges) – A stock exchange is a group of shares representing a stock exchange. With Trading 212, you have access to trade over 35 stock exchanges.
ETFs – Freetrade offers over 400 commission-free Exchange-traded Fund (ETF) investments.Commodities—These are real products such as oil, agricultural products, renewable energy, gold, and silver. Trading 212 allows you to invest in a wide range of commodities.
Investment trusts – Freetrade allows you to choose from over 150 investment trusts to diversify your portfolio.Forex (Currency Pairs) – Currency pair trading, mostly called Forex Exchange (Forex), simply implies you’re trading a currency for another. On Trading 212, you have access to trading over 180 currency pairs.
Bonds – On Freetrade, you have access to buy both government and Company’s bond ETF on all pricing plans
Commodities – As a Freetrade investor, you can trade US and UK commodities such as metals, oil, gas, agriculture, and renewable energy.

Freetrade vs. Trading 212 in UK: Account Types and Which Broker Offers the Better Accounts

Freetrade Account Types

1.      Stock and shares ISA

The Freetrade ISA is a tax-free and zero-commission account that allows you to invest in several stocks and shares. You can invest up to £20,000 in assets in the 2023/2024 tax year.

With the Freetrade Stocks and Shares ISA account, you can access over 6,000 US and UK assets with no commission on purchase, access to fractional shares, and no income tax on dividends.

Freetrade Stocks and Shares ISA account – Fees applicable
ChargesStandard PlanPlus Plan
Monthly fee£5.99£11.99
Share dealingsFreeFree
Overseas share dealingsExchange rate +0.59%Exchange rate +0.39%
Transfer in (Deposit)FreeFree
Transfer out (Withdrawal) – UK stock or cashFreeFree
Portfolio Transfer (Out) – US stock£17 per position£17 per position

2.      Self-invested Personal Pension (SIPP)

The SIPP is a tax-free pension/retirement plan that enables you to manage your pension and grow it through investments. Contributions can be made directly or through your employer during your working years.

Access to the funds is permitted starting at age 55. At that point, you can choose to grow a portion or all of the pension pot by investing it in various assets.

With the Freetrade SIPP account, you can access a broader range of investment options and contribute up to 100% of your salary. Contributions under £40,000 annually are eligible for tax relief.

Freetrade SIPP – Applicable fees
ChargesPlus plan
Monthly fee£11.99
Share dealingFree
Overseas share dealing (Currency Exchange)Exchange rate +0.39%
Transfer in (Deposit)Free
Transfer out (Withdrawal)Free
US stock Portfolio transfer (out)£17 per holding

3.      General Investment Account (GIA)

The GIA (General Investment Account) is designed to buy, sell, and manage your investment portfolio. With this account, you will be subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on dividends received or profits made from trades. The tax amount will vary based on the size of the profits.

The Freetrade GIA account is included in all Freetrade pricing plans, enabling you to trade up to 6,000 stocks depending on your chosen plan. However, with the free GIA account, trading is limited to approximately 1,500 financial instruments.

Trading 212 Account Types

1.      Trading 212 Invest Account

Like the Freetrade General Investment Account (GIA), the Trading 212 Invest account does not offer tax-free benefits for buying stocks, shares, or funds, and you will be subject to Capital Gains Tax (CGT).

With the Trading 212 Invest account, you can invest in thousands of stocks with zero commission. However, Trading 212 charges fees for transactions conducted in currencies other than the platform’s base currency.

2.      Trading 212 ISA Account

Like all ISAs, the Trading 212 ISA Account allows you to save tax-free up to £20,000 per tax year. You can invest these funds in stocks and other financial instruments for profit, enjoying dividends and gains without paying Capital Gains Tax.

3.      Trading 212 Pro Account

The Trading 212 Pro account is available exclusively to experienced traders who meet at least two of the following requirements:

  1. Trade Volume: You must have placed an average of 10 significantly sized trades per quarter over the past year.
  2. Portfolio Size: You possess a portfolio of financial instruments (assets) exceeding £500,000.
  3. Financial Sector Experience: You have worked in the financial sector in a role that requires knowledge of leveraged trading for at least a year

4.      Trading 212 Account

This is a free training account for novice investors to learn the nature of the market and how Trading 212 works. The platform provides demo account users with £50,000 virtual money to invest and try out strategies without risk.

Freetrade vs. Trading 212: Pricing Plans and Fees

Commissions and fees are among the main factors investors consider when selecting an investment platform. Understanding each platform’s pricing plans, regulatory fees, and other associated charges is essential.

Let’s explore the financial commissions for both Freetrade and Trading 212:

Freetrade Pricing Plan and Broker Fee

The Freetrade broker has three pricing platforms: the Basic, Standard, and Plus. Below are the differences between the plans.

FeaturesBasic PlanStandard PlanPlus Plan
Plan Fee£0.00 per month£5.99 per month, £59.88 billed annually£11.99 per month, £119.88 billed annually
Number of Assets1,500 stocks, including popular shares and ETFsFull range of 6,000+ US, UK, and EU stocks and ETFsFull range of 6,000+ US, UK, and EU stocks and ETFs
Account typeGeneral Investment AccountGeneral Investment Account Stocks and Shares ISAGeneral Investment Account Stocks and Shares ISA Self-invested Personal Pension
CommissionCommission-free tradesCommission-free tradesCommission-free trades
Range of Stocks1,500+6,000+6,000+
U.S Fractional sharesYESYESYES
Automation Order TypesNOYESYES
Exchange rate feeExchange rate +0.99% FX feeExchange rate +0.59% FX feeExchange rate +0.39% FX fee
Customer ServiceBasicBasicPriority
Interest rateNo interest1% interest on uninvested cash up to £2,0003% interest on uninvested cash up to £4,000
Advanced stock fundamentalsNOYESYES
Trading appIn-appIn-appIn-app Freetrade Web beta

Trading 212 Pricing Plan and Broker Fees

The Trading 212 platform has no specific pricing plan, and all account types are free to open. However, certain services incur fees. These include:

ServicesFees applicable
Forex0.15%
Deposits via bank transfersFree
Deposit via Cards, Google/Apple Pay/OtherFree up to £2,000/$2,000 // 0.7% over
WithdrawalsFree
UK stamp duty1%
PTM levy£1
French Financial Transaction Tax0.3%
FNRA fee$0.000145 per share
SEC fee0.00229%

Freetrade vs. Trading 212: Trading Platform

Another significant aspect when comparing Freetrade and Trading 212 is the broker’s trading platform. Let’s compare their trading platforms.

Freetrade Trading Platform

Freetrade Trading Platform UK
Freetrade Trading Platform

Freetrade Limited offers a proprietary online trading application compatible with iOS and Android devices. This trading app lets you buy, sell, and manage all transactions through Freetrade.

The app is user-friendly and intuitive and has won the best online trading app in the UK for three consecutive years.

While Freetrade doesn’t have a dedicated desktop app, it provides a web platform accessible on any device. However, only Plus plan customers can trade via the web platform.

Trading 212 Trading Platform

Trading 212 Trading Platform

Trading 212 also offers a proprietary trading platform, similar to Freetrade. The platform includes a mobile app and a web interface equipped with charts and various technical indicators to assist investors in making informed decisions.

Users can trade and invest in any of Trading 212’s financial instruments through the mobile app and web platform. The platform also includes built-in tools like alerts and notifications, portfolio and commission reports, accrued interest, and other useful data.

Additionally, Trading 212 provides a Google Chrome plugin, which makes accessing the platform from the browser convenient. You can add it as a Chrome extension from the Chrome Web Store.

Over the years, the Trading 212 mobile app has accumulated over 14 million downloads across platforms, making it one of the most popular trading apps worldwide. Since 2016, it has held the UK’s number-one trading app title.

These achievements underscore the strong dominance of Trading 212’s app in the UK.

Freetrade vs. Trading 212: Deposit and Withdrawal Policy

Freetrade Trade Deposit and Withdrawal Policy

Freetrade provides straightforward deposit and withdrawal methods:

Freetrade Deposit Options and Charges

  • Bank Transfer: You can link a UK-authorized bank account to your Freetrade account for deposits.
  • Debit Card Transfer – You can deposit funds using a debit/credit card.
  • Apple and Google Pay—You can deposit funds directly using Google Pay or Apple Pay. This method allows instant deposits but has a lifetime limit of £ 250. Ensure that the default billing address in your Google or Apple Pay settings matches your Freetrade address.

Freetrade generally doesn’t charge a deposit fee; additional fees (e.g., exchange rates) might apply.

Freetrade Withdrawal Options and Fees

You can withdraw funds from Freetrade only through bank transfer. Typically, withdrawals take 2-3 business days to reach your linked bank account but can occasionally take up to 5 business days.

Trading 212 Deposit and Withdrawal Policy

Trading 212 Deposit Options and Charges

Trading 212 offers a wide range of deposit methods, including:

  • Bank Transfer
  • Instant Bank Transfer
  • Credit and Debit Card Payment
  • Paypal
  • Giropay
  • Carte Bleue
  • OnlineBankingPL
  • Blik
  • Direct Banking
  • Apple and Google Pay
  • iDEAL

Deposits via Bank transfer are free. However, other funding methods (Credit/Debit card) are free up to £2,000/$2,000. After this threshold, Trading 212 charges a 0.7% fee over the additional cummulative amount.

Trading 212 Withdraw Options and Charges

For security reasons, Trading 212 processes withdrawals via the same payment method initially used to fund the account, which should be verified when funding the account.

If you’ve deposited funds using multiple methods, you can choose from any of those available for your withdrawal.

Freetrade vs. Trading 212: Customer Care Service

Freetrade Customer Service

Freetrade provides customer-dedicated support through its website and app’s “Help” section. Various options are available for contacting customer support:

  • Help Hub and Community –  The Help Hub contains answers to common questions, so you can often find solutions without contacting customer support. The Freetrade community also provides a space for investors to share advice and seek help.
  • Social Media – Freetrade is active on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook, where you can chat with support, share complaints, and receive updates about the broker and market news.
  • Email Support – Email Freetrade customer support at hello@freetrade.io. Expect a response within 24 working hours.
  • In-App Chat –  The live chat feature in the Freetrade app connects you to a customer service representative. It’s the quickest and most convenient way to address issues or questions.

Trading 212 Customer Service

Trading 212 offers efficient and responsive customer support through various channels:

  • Trading 212 Community – The community is a forum where investors can share ideas and get answers from Trading 212 representatives.
  • Live Chat—Click the “Chat with us” button in the menu to access Trading 212 representatives 24/7 who can directly address your inquiry topic.
  • Email – Contact customer support at info@trading212.com with your concerns, and you’ll receive a response from the team.

Freetrade vs. Trading 212: Users’ Opinions and Reviews

Customer reviews and opinions are essential when evaluating fintech platforms like Freetrade and Trading 212. How satisfied are investors with the services?

To find out, we’ll look at the Trustpilot investment community for honest ratings and comments and we will have a look the Google Play Store and Apple App Store for insights into the mobile apps.

Freetrade User Opinions and Reviews

  • Trustpilot: With over 3,000 reviews on Trustpilot, Freetrade scores 3.7 out of 5. The primary concern among users is the lack of CFD and cryptocurrency trading options.
Freetrade Opinion Rating
Screenshot of Freetrade Trustpilot Ratings
  • Mobile App: The Freetrade mobile app scores 4.4 out of 5 on the Google Play Store and 4.3 out of 5 on the Apple App Store, indicating a generally positive user experience.

Trading 212 User Opinions and Reviews

  • Trustpilot: Trading 212 has more than 27,000 reviews, 76% of which are five-star ratings scoring a 4.6 out of 5. Investors appreciate the ability to trade stocks and forex and recommend the fast and efficient customer support.
Trading 212 Opinion Rating
Screenshot of Trading 212 Trustpilot Ratings
  • Mobile App: The Trading 212 app scores 4.2 out of 5 on the Google Play Store from over 130,000 reviews and 4.6 out of 5 on the Apple App Store, demonstrating customer satisfaction.

Freetrade vs. Trading 212: Our Opinion

Freetrade and Trading 212 provide commission-free investment services, each excelling in different areas. Here’s a closer look at where they stand out:

  1. Regulation and Security: Both brokers are fully regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, ensuring high security and reliability. Trading 212’s operations in Bulgaria and Cyprus mean it’s regulated under those jurisdictions. For UK investors, FCA applies as the regulatory body
  2. Products and Instruments: Freetrade focuses on beginner investors with lower-risk investments, offering stocks, ETFs, bonds, and commodities. Investors can hand-pick their stocks, which aligns with a more conservative strategy. Trading 212, however, targets both beginner and experienced investors.
  3. Fees and Pricing Structure:
    • Freetrade: Commission model based on subscription and pricing plans.
    • Trading 212: it offers a more open structure, with pay-per-use service plans and most of the available products free of charge*.
  4. Trading Platform: Both brokers offer user-friendly and efficient proprietary platforms. While the Freetrade app is basic and only a mobile plan (unless a plan is contracted) for seasoned traders due to fewer technical indicators, it serves its intended audience well. Trading 212’s platform has more technical tools suitable for experienced traders and a desktop version.

Conclusion:
Freetrade and Trading 212 target different types of investors, with Trading 212 focusing on experienced traders ready for higher-risk strategies, and Freetrade providing a safer environment for beginners. Each broker is excellent in its niche, and your choice should align with your experience level and investment strategy.

NOTE: “Interest applies on cash in an investment account. Terms apply. When investing, your capital is at risk.”

Freetrade vs. Trading 212: FAQs About Freetrade and Trading 212

Is Freetrade a Good Broker?

Freetrade’s freemium business model provides access to fractional share trading via a user-friendly mobile app, along with high-quality educational content. However, the platform’s investment research and product range are somewhat limited, and the web trading platform is still in beta, restricting its availability to a subset of customers.

Can I Transfer Shares on Trading 212?

Yes. Since 15/02 the transfer of your portfolio is available.

Can I Transfer my portfolio to Freetrade?

The broker accepts asset and cash transfer from other brokers at no fee. Also, if you decide to leave Freetrade, you can transfer your assets to other brokers (fees may apply).

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