Summary

Recommended for long-term investors looking for a broker with low fees and solid background

Barclays is a UK-based financial service company with a long history, the origins date back to the 17th century. Barclays is listed on multiple stock exchanges, including the LSE or NYSE.

Barclays provides a brokerage service for UK customers through its subsidiary, Barclays Smart Investor. Barclays Smart Investor was founded in 1992 and it is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Barclays Smart Investor is considered safe because it has a long track record and a good reputation, is listed on a stock exchange, has a banking background, discloses its financials, and is regulated by a top-tier financial authority.

We use Barclays Smart Investor and Barclays interchangeably, but we always refer to Barclays' brokerage service.

Overall Rating
4.3
Fees
4.4
Account opening
3.8
Deposit and withdrawal
3.8
Trading platform
2.0
Markets and products
1.4
Research
4.0
Customer service
2.5
Education
1.5

Barclays pros and cons

Barclays Smart Investor has low stock, fund, and bond fees. The non-trading fees are low as well, no inactivity or withdrawal fees are charged. Barclays has a solid background as it has a long history, listed on multiple stock exchanges, has a banking background, and regulated by top-tier regulators. Finally, the fundamental research tools, such as analysis or news, have a high quality.

On the other hand, Barclays Smart Investor is only available for UK residents and likewise offers only UK-based products. You can't manage your investments on the go as there is no mobile trading platform. The response time is slow on the phone and live chat customer support.

Pros Cons
Low fees Limited to UK products
Solid company background No mobile trading platform
Great fundamental research Slow customer support
Barclays main features and highlights
🗺️ Country of regulation UK
💰 Trading fees class Low
💰 Inactivity fee charged No
💰 Withdrawal fee amount $0
💰 Minimum deposit $0
🕖 Time to open an account >3 days
💳 Deposit with credit/debit card Available
👛 Depositing with electronic wallet Not available
💱 Number of base currencies supported 1
🎮 Demo account provided No
🛍️ Products offered Stock, ETF, Fund, Bond
Ádám Nasli

Ádám Nasli

Broker Expert

Author of this review

Ádám is a motivated finance expert with over two years of experience in banking and investment, and a professional degree in this field. He's eager to help people find the best investment provider for them, and to make the investment sector as transparent as possible.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

Barclays review
Fees

4.4
Barclays Smart Investor provides low trading fees for stocks, ETFs, bonds, and funds. It's also great that no deposit, withdrawal, or inactivity fees are charged. On the other hand, there is a volume-based monthly customer fee for holding assets.
Pros Cons
Low stock, ETF, fund, and bond fees Volume-based monthly customer fee
No withdrawal fee
No inactivity fee
Barclays fees snapshot
Assets Fee level Fee terms
US stock - Not available
EURUSD - Not available
Mutual fund Low Online transaction fee is £3, plus monthly service fee of 0.2% p.a. of assets held, with a monthly minimum of £4, and maximum of £125
Inactivity fee Low No Inactivity fee

How we ranked fees

We ranked Barclays Smart Investor's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.

First, let's go over some basic terms related to broker fees. What you need to keep an eye on are trading fees and non-trading fees.

In the sections below, you will find the most relevant fees of Barclays Smart Investor for each asset class. For example, in the case of stock investing the most important fees are commissions.

We also compared Barclay Smart Investor's fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, Hargreaves Lansdown and Interactive Investor. This selection is based on objective factors such as products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc.

To have a clear overview of Barclays Smart Investor, let's start with the trading fees.

Barclays Smart Investor trading fees

Barclays Smart Investor trading fees are low for all asset classes compared to its direct competitors.

It's also great that the fee structure is transparent and easy to understand.

Stock and ETF trading fees

Barclays Smart Investor offers generally low stock and ETF commissions compared to other brokers we tested.

Barclays Smart Investor stock and ETF commission of a $2,000 trade
  Barclays Smart Investor Hargreaves Lansdown Interactive Investor
US stock - $14.3 $9.6
UK stock $7.2 $14.3 $9.6
German stock - $14.3 $24.0

Barclays charges a £6 per trade fee for each online transaction. You can also set automated regular investments, in which case the fee is just £1 per trade. It costs £25 to initiate a representative-assisted trade by phone.

Besides, there is a so-called customer fee, which is based on the value of your assets held. The charge is 0.1% per year with a monthly minimum fee of £4 and a maximum of £125.

Fund fees

Barclays Smart Investor fund fees are low.

Barclays Smart Investor commission for a $2,000 fund purchase
  Barclays Smart Investor Hargreaves Lansdown Interactive Investor
Mutual fund $3.6 $0.0 $9.6

Barclays charges £3 per trade for each online fund transaction. The same conditions apply to regular investments and phone trades as above.

Similarly to stock and ETF fees, Barclays charges the customer fee. The charge is 0.2% per year with a monthly minimum fee of £4 and a maximum of £125.

Bond fees

Barclays has generally low bond fees.

Barclays commission of a $10,000 government bond trade
  Barclays Hargreaves Lansdown Interactive Investor
UK government bond $7.2 $14.3 $9.6

The same fee structure applies to bonds as to stock and ETFs.

Non-trading fees

Barclays Smart Investor has low non-trading fees. You will not be charged because of inactivity, and there are also no deposit or withdrawal fees. 

For most account types, there is no administration or account fee. If you open a SIPP account, there is a separate, £125 + VAT annual pension account administration charge. This comprises the third-party administration fee charged by AJ Bell, which is collected by Barclays and paid to AJ Bell. 

Barclays Smart Investor non-trading fees
  Barclays Smart Investor Hargreaves Lansdown Interactive Investor
Account fee No No Yes
Inactivity fee No No No
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

Barclays review
Account opening

3.8
Barclays Smart Investor offers a fully digital account opening with no minimum deposit. On the negative side, the account verification took long and only UK residents can open an account with Barclays.
Pros Cons
Fully digital Slow
No minimum deposit Account opening only for UK residents

Can you open an account?

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What is the minimum deposit at Barclays?

Barclays Smart Investor has no minimum deposit. It's great if you would like to start using or testing Barclays Smart Investor service with a lower amount. 

Account types

Barclays Smart Investor provides different account types, including tax-advantaged accounts. 

Barclays Smart Investor account types
Account Type Short Description
Investment Account
  • Standard investment account
Investment ISA
  • Investment account that has an annual ISA allowance up to £20,000, providing tax-free returns
Investment Saver
  • Technical interest-bearing account where your uninvested cash is held 
SIPP Account
  • Personal Retirement account that exempts you from capital gains tax and income tax
  • You only can access your funds after you reach the retirement of 55 years
  • £125 + VAT annual pension account administration charge

In this review, we tested the Investment Account.

How to open your account  

Barclays Smart Investor has a fully digital account opening process. The online registration took ~10-15 minutes for us. However, the account verification took more than a week for us.

The steps of Barclays account opening:

  1. Add personal information, like date of birth 
  2. Add further personal information, like nationality or address
  3. Link your bank account to your account
  4. If they manage to electronically verify your details you won't even need to provide proof of ID or proof of address.
Barclays review - Account opening

Barclays review
Deposit and withdrawal

3.8
Depositing and withdrawal is free of charge with a debit card or bank transfer and is usually processed fast. On the other hand, you can't use electronic wallets and we experienced some difficulties having different bank accounts accepted.
Pros Cons
Credit/Debit card available Missing electronic wallets
Free withdrawal
No deposit fee

Deposit fees and options

Barclays Smart Investor charges no deposit fees and you can transfer money via bank transfer or debit card.

Barclays Smart Investor deposit options
  Barclays Smart Investor Hargreaves Lansdown Interactive Investor
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card Yes Yes Yes
Electronic wallets No No No

If you add funds with a debit card, the amount will be instantly visible in your account, while paying in via bank transfer can take up to two business days. No electronic wallets are available.

You can only deposit money from accounts that are in your name and you need to check which accounts Barclays Smart Investor accepts. 

Barclays Smart Investor withdrawal fees and options

Barclays Smart Investor charges no withdrawal fees. You can only withdraw funds to a nominated bank account. 

Barclays Smart Investor withdrawal fees and options
  Barclays Smart Investor Hargreaves Lansdown Interactive Investor
Bank Transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card No Yes No
Electronic wallets No No No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

How long does it take to withdraw money from Barclays Smart Investor? We tested the bank transfer withdrawal and it took 2 business days.

You can only withdraw money to accounts in your name.

How do you withdraw money from Barclays Smart Investor?

  • Log in to your Account
  • Go to 'My Hub' and click on 'Portfolio' to get started 
  • Click on the Account (if you have more) from which you want to withdraw funds
  • Click on 'Withdraw' and follow the instructions
    • You need to select whether it is a one-time or regular withdrawal 
    • Set the account you want to withdraw funds from
    • Select the account where you want to transfer the funds
    • Set the GBP amount to be withdrawn and click 'Review'
  • Confirm your withdrawal request

Compare to other brokers

Barclays review
Web trading platform

3.4
Barclays Smart Investor has a user-friendly and well-designed web trading platform. It also offers good search functions and transparent order confirmation. However, the platform is not customizable and there is no two-step login option.
Pros Cons
User-friendly No two-step (safer) login
Clear fee report Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
Good search function
Barclays platforms to choose from
Trading platform Score Available
Web 3.4 stars Yes
Mobile - No
Desktop - No

Barclays Smart Investor provides its own-developed web trading platform. This platform is available in English.

Look and feel

The Barclays Smart Investor web trading platform is user-friendly and well-designed.

On the negative side, the web trading platform is not customizable at all.

Barclays review - Web trading platform

Login and security

Barclays Smart Investor does not provide secure two-factor authentication upon login. Instead, you need to give your surname, membership number, your passcode, and two random letters of your memorable word.

You need to be careful when entering these data, as too many failed logins may get you locked out of your account, resulting in a lengthy process to restore your credentials that may ultimately involve a trip in-person to a Barclays branch.

Search functions

One of the strengths of the Barclays Smart Investor web trading platform is its search capabilities. The filters are handy, allowing you to choose your asset class and define further specific search criteria. 

Barclays review - Web trading platform - Search

Placing orders

You can use the following order types:

  • Best - basically it's a market order
  • Quote and Deal - similar to the market order, but you can see the Quote your order would be executed and you can accept or reject it
  • Limit
  • Stop
  • Trailing Stop
  • Regular investment.

To get a better understanding of these terms, read this overview of order types.

You can also use a Good till' date order time limit.

Barclays review - Web trading platform - Order panel

Alerts and notifications

We couldn't set price alerts and notifications. We found an 'Investment alerts' section under the 'News and Research', however, we couldn't make the required registration.

It would be much easier if you could set the price alerts directly if you click on an asset.

Portfolio and fee reports

Barclays Smart Investor web platform offers transparent fee and portfolio reports. You can find these reports if you click on 'Manage account'.

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Barclays review
Mobile trading platform

Barclays Smart Investor does not offer a mobile trading platform. We think it's a big miss as customers can't follow their positions on the go.

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Barclays review
Desktop trading platform

Barclays Smart Investor does not offer a desktop trading platform.

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Barclays review
Markets and products

1.4
Barclays Smart Investor offers stocks, ETFs, bonds, and mutual funds. Unfortunately, the product portfolio covers only the UK market and the number of available products is far from robust.
Barclays Smart Investor asset classes
  Barclays Hargreaves Lansdown Interactive Investor
Stock Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes
Forex No No No
Fund Yes Yes Yes
Bond Yes Yes Yes
Options No No No
Futures No No No
CFD No No No
Crypto No No No

Barclays Smart Investor's product offering is quite limited compared to its competitors; in fact, it only offers UK stocks, ETFs, funds, and bonds.

Stocks and ETFs

Barclays Smart Investor gives access to the UK stock and ETF market, which, when viewed on its own, offers numerous trading/investing opportunities, but still lags behind its competitors when it comes to the overall number of stock and ETF offerings. 

Barclays Smart Investor stock and ETF selection
  Barclays Hargreaves Lansdown Interactive Investor
Stock markets (#) 1 21 17
ETFs (#) 1,000 1,400 1,500

Funds

Barclays Smart Investor offers approximately 2,500 UK mutual funds. The number of available mutual funds is well below what its competitors offer. 

Barclays Smart Investor mutual fund selection
  Barclays Hargreaves Lansdown Interactive Investor
Fund providers (#) 160 160 150

Bonds

In comparison with similar brokers, the bond selection is average. Barclays Smart Investor provides UK corporate and government bonds.

Barclays Smart Investor bond selection
  Barclays Hargreaves Lansdown Interactive Investor
Bonds (#) 140 350 50

Barclays review
Research

4.0
Barclays Smart Investor provides good quantitative data, great analysis, and high-quality news. However, charting tools have poor quality.
Pros Cons
Trading ideas Limited interactive charting
Data on asset fundamentals
Quality news flow

Trading ideas

Barclays Smart Investor provides trading ideas for users in the form of 'Investment ideas' articles that can be found in the 'Investment ideas and strategies' section. These articles are written by Barclays' own expert team and present their views on recent events and what it could mean for your investments.

Barclays review - Research - Recommendations

Fundamental data

Barclays review - Research - Fundamental data

Charting

Barclays Smart Investor offers very limited charting tools, allowing you to use only their pre-defined charting settings. Technical Indicators can be added to the charts, but the interface is poorly designed, with little to no editing or customization options. 

Barclays review - Research - Charting

News feed

Barclays Smart Investor Market News is one of the strong points of the research section. You will receive an update on all London Stock Exchange corporate news and have access to plenty of insightful fast facts via Sharecast News.

Compare research pros and cons

Barclays review
Customer service

2.5
Barclays Smart Investor's customer service can be reached via chat, e-mail, and phone, we received relevant answers. However, the response time of the phone and live chat was slow and there is no 24/7 support.
Pros Cons
Phone support No 24/7 support
Live chat Slow support
Relevant answers

You can contact Barclay's Smart Investor via:

  • live chat
  • phone
  • e-mail

Barclays Smart Investor has an average-speed live chat and fast e-mail service. The relevancy of the answers was satisfactory, and all of our questions were answered in an understandable way. 

At the same time, phone support takes a long time to reach but when reached, we received relevant information.

We missed 24/7 availability. You can contact the customer support between Monday and Friday, from 07:30 to 19:00 (18:00 on Friday).

Barclays review - Customer Service

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Barclays review
Education

1.5
Barclays Smart Investor has limited educational tools. You can read useful articles and watch general educational videos. However, there are no demo accounts, platform tutorial videos, or webinars.
Pros Cons
Educational videos No demo account
Quality educational articles No trading platform tutorial videos
No webinars

At Barclays Smart Investor you can learn in the following ways:

  • General how-to educational videos
  • Quality educational articles

Barclays Smart Investor's educational materials mainly focus on beginners, with categories such as 'New to investing', 'Accounts explained', or 'Investments Explained'. The articles are easy to read and understand, though sometimes they can be hard to find on the site as it is not structured well. Video tutorials cover 'How to' themes like managing your investment settings, opening an account, funding your account, or using the 'Research Center'.

Unfortunately, Smart Investor does not provide demo trading.

Barclays review - Education

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Barclays review
Safety

Barclays is regulated by the top-tier FCA and is a listed company with a banking background, providing a high level of safety for clients.
Pros Cons
High level of investor protection None
Banking background
All clients belong to a top-tier financial authority

Is Barclays Smart Investor regulated?

Yes, it is regulated by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 

Is Barclays Smart Investor safe?

To be certain if a brokerage is safe, we highly advise that you check two facts:

  • how you are protected if something goes wrong
  • the background and ownership structure of the broker 

How you are protected

As a Smart Investor client, you are covered by Barclays Investment Solutions Limited, which is regulated by the FCA. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) investor protection protects against the loss of cash and securities in case the broker goes bust. The limit of FSCS protection is £85,000.

Barclays Smart Investor investor protection
Country of clients Protection amount Regulator Legal entity
All clients £85,000 Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Barclays Investment Solutions Limited

Background

Barclays Smart Investor was established in 1992 and is the investment subsidiary of Barclays UK Bank Plc, a member of the Barclays banking group that can trace its origins back to the 17th century. The longer track record a broker has, the more proof we have that it has successfully survived previous financial crises.

The fact that the parent company has a banking license means that Barclays Smart Investor is also subject to tougher regulations than brokers. Moreover, Barclays is listed on multiple stock exchanges, which is a big plus for safety as it releases financial statements regularly and transparently.

Overall, having a parent company with a banking background, being listed on a stock exchange, and regulated by top-tier authority are all great signs for Barclays Smart Investor's safety.

Find your safe broker

Barclays review
Bottom line

All in all, Barclays Smart Investor is a transparent and secure brokerage held by a financially stable global UK bank and is regulated by the top-tier FCA

We rated Smart Investors favorably because of its low fees and the safety it provides for its account holders. 

Some of its drawbacks include a limited product offering and missing mobile trading platform, as well as slow customer support.

If you are looking for a solid, safe online broker, you can go ahead and give Barclays Smart Investor a try, as the trading and non-trading fees are generally low, the security of your funds are protected to a high level, and the account opening is fully online. 

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