Recommended for long-term investors on the hunt for low fees and focusing on the UK and US markets
Freetrade is a UK-based fintech startup providing commission-free stock trading, regulated by the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The company was founded in 2016.
Freetrade is considered safe because it is regulated by a top-tier regulator, the FCA.
Freetrade pros and cons
Freetrade provides free for stock and ETF trading if you trade through basic orders with no inactivity and account fees. The account opening is seamless, fully digital, and really fast. The mobile trading platform is well-designed and user-friendly.
At Freetrade, you can only trade with stocks and ETFs, limited to the US and UK markets. Research and education tools only cover basic charting and educational articles. Credit/debit card deposit and withdrawal is not available.
|• Free stocks and ETF trading through basic orders||• Basic product portfolio|
|• Easy and fast account opening||• Limited research and education|
|• Great mobile trading platform||• No credit/debit card deposit and withdrawal|
|🗺️ Country of regulation||UK|
|💰 Trading fees class||Low|
|💰 Inactivity fee charged||No|
|💰 Withdrawal fee amount||$0|
|💰 Minimum deposit||$0|
|🕖 Time to open an account||1 day|
|💳 Deposit with credit card||Not available|
|👛 Depositing with electronic wallet||Available|
|💱 Number of base currencies supported||1|
|🎮 Demo account provided||No|
|🛍️ Products offered||Stock, ETF|
At Freetrade you can trade with free stocks and ETFs if you place basic orders. There are no account, inactivity, or withdrawal fees. However, they charge a small amount for instant orders.
|• Low trading fees||None|
|• Low non-trading fees|
|• Free stock and ETF trading through basic orders|
|Assets||Fee level||Fee terms|
|US stock||Low||£0 for basic orders, but £1 for instant/market orders.|
|Mutual fund||-||Not available|
|Inactivity fee||Low||No inactivity fee|
How we ranked fees
We ranked Freetrade's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.
To get things rolling, let's go over some lingo related to broker fees. What you need to keep an eye on are trading fees, and non-trading fees.
- Trading fees occur when you trade. These can be commissions, spreads, financing rates and conversion fees.
- Non-trading fees include charges not directly related to trading, like withdrawal fees or inactivity fees.
Below you will find the most relevant fees of Freetrade for each asset class. For example, in the case of stock investing commissions are the most important fees.
We also compared Freetrade's fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, DEGIRO and Revolut. This selection is based on objective factors such as products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc. See a more detailed rundown of Freetrade alternatives.
To have a clear overview of Freetrade, let's start with the trading fees.
Freetrade offers free stock and ETF trading if you place basic orders. A basic order is executed at 16:00 PM GMT and not at the time when you place it. For market (instant) orders Freetrade charges a low £1 fee per trade.
Freetrade has one of the lowest fees for both US and UK stock and ETF trading.
Freetrade has low non-trading fees. It doesn't charge an inactivity fee.
At the time of the review, there is no account fee if you choose the basic account, but the ISA services within Freetrade Basic will have a £3 monthly fee after from 2020. The withdrawal fee is charged only if you choose same-day withdrawal. In this case, a £5 fee is charged.
Freetrade offers only GBP as a base currency, therefore a currency conversion fee is charged when you trade with USD-denominated stocks or ETFs. The currency conversion fee is the FX spot rate +/- 0.45%.
Account opening at Freetrade is fast, fully digital and user-friendly and there is no minimum deposit.
|• Fully digital|
|• No minimum deposit|
Can you open an account?
What is the minimum deposit at Freetrade?
The required minimum deposit at Freetrade is $0.
Freetrade offers two account types:
- Basic account - standard account for stock and ETF trading
- Investment Savings Account - a tax-efficient savings account
At the time of the review, both account types are free and available only to UK residents.
Freetrade plans to launch its Alpha account with free instant orders and ISA. Also in this period all account types and features will be accessible from Ireland, the Netherlands, France and Germany. The rest of the European countries will join in late 2020.
How to open your account
Freetrade's account opening is user-friendly and very fast. It took ~10-15 minutes until our account was completed.
The 6 steps of opening an account at Freetrade:
- Download the App on your mobile
- Add your email address to which a confirmation link will be sent
- Give your personal details, like name, date of birth
- Add your address and nationality
- Select the account type
- Let Freetrade check your identity automatically
If you fail Freetrade's digital verification process, you have to upload your docs to verify your ID and residency. Passport, driving license, national ID are accepted for proof of ID. Tax bill, utility bill, bank statement, HMRC/DWP correspondence are accepted for proof of address.
Deposit and withdrawal
Freetrade's deposit and withdrawal processes are user-friendly and free. On the negative side, credit/debit cards are not accepted and you can only open GBP accounts.
|• Free withdrawal||• Credit/Debit card not available|
|• No deposit fee||• Only one account base currency|
At Freetrade, only GBP is available as a base currency. It lags behind DEGIRO's available base currencies but equals Revolut's, which is USD only.
|Number of base currencies||1||9||1|
Why does this matter? For two reasons. First, if you fund your account in the same currency as your bank account, you are not charged a currency conversion fee. Second, if you trade assets in the same currency as your account base currency, you don't have to pay a conversion fee.
A convenient way to save on the currency conversion fees is by opening a multi-currency bank account. Revolut or Transferwise both offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. The account opening only takes a few minutes on your phone.
Deposit fees and options
Freetrade charges no deposit fees. You can use bank transfer, and as an alternative, Apple Pay, Google Pay as deposit options. Credit and debit cards are not accepted.
A bank transfer can take several business days. You can only deposit money from accounts that are in your name.
Withdrawal fees and options
Freetrade charges no withdrawal fees if you choose 'non-same-day' withdrawal. The same-day withdrawals have a £5 fee.
For withdrawal, you can only use bank transfer.
How long does it take to withdraw money from Freetrade? We tested the bank transfer withdrawal and it took 2 business days.
You can only withdraw and transfer money to accounts that are in your name.
How do you withdraw money from Freetrade? You can withdraw money from Freetrade by following these steps:
- Log into the mobile trading platform
- Go to the 'Account' tab
- Tap on 'Withdraw'
- Add the amount you wish to withdraw
- Initiate the withdrawal
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Web trading platform
At Freetrade, you can only trade through a mobile platform: web and desktop platforms are not available. We missed the web platform, which is planned to be shipped in late 2020.
|Mobile||4 / 5 stars||Yes|
Mobile trading platform
Freetrade provides a great mobile trading platform. It is user-friendly and well-designed, with an efficient search function. However, there are only two order types and the price alerts and two-step login are missing.
|• User-friendly||• No two-step (safer) login|
|• Good search function||• Limited order types|
|• Touch/Face ID login||• No price alerts|
Freetrade offers an in-house developed mobile trading platform with superb design.
The mobile trading platform is available on iOS and Android too, only in English on both platforms. We tested the platform on Android.
Look and feel
Freetrade's mobile trading platform is user-friendly and well-designed. You'll be familiar with the platform within seconds.
Login and security
You can log into Freetrade's platform by typing in a four digits password or using biometric authentication, like TouchID.
The search functions are good. You can search by typing an asset's name or ticker.
We liked the categorization as well. You can filter for UK or US assets and you can also select the asset class, like stock ETF or bond ETF.
Freetrade offers only two order types.
- Basic order - the orders placed at 16:00 PM GMT and no fee is charged
- Instant or market order - the orders placed immediately, but it has a £1 per trade fee
You can't use order time limits, like Good' till canceled.
If you are not familiar with the order types, read this overview.
Alerts and notifications
You can't set alerts and notifications on the Freetrade's mobile platform, although it would be a great feature.
Desktop trading platform
Freetrade does not have a desktop trading platform.
Markets and products
Freetrade has a limited product portfolio, you can only trade with stocks and ETFs. It lacks other asset classes, like mutual funds, bonds, and options.
Freetrade has an expanding selection of stocks and ETFs, but they do not plan to implement more asset classes to their platform.
Stock and ETF
At the time of the review, you can trade with stocks and ETFs from the London Stock Exchange (LSE), New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and NASDAQ.
|Stock markets (#)||3||30||2|
Freetrade continuously adds new stocks and ETFs, often chosen by Freetrade's community preferences among other updates. According to their Roadmap, new US and European Stocks will be available in the next 3-6 months, with fractional shares and ETFs available in the US, UK and EU.
The research tools are limited, with no analyst recommendations or fundamental data available. The charting is minimalistic, showing only basic information like the highest or the lowest price of the actual trading day.
|None||• Limited interactive charting|
|• No trading ideas|
|• No fundamental data available|
Trading ideas and fundamental data
Freetrade does not provide trading ideas or fundamental data.
Freetrade has poor charting tools. It is basic and it does not offer any technical or charting tools, like a trendline editor.
At the time of testing, graph improvements are in active development with more features for stock insights coming in the next few months.
Freetrade only has a live chat. You can't contact them via phone or email. 24/7 availability is lacking as well.
|• Live chat||• No phone support|
|• Fast response time||• No 24/7 support|
|• Relevant answers||• No email support|
You can contact Freetrade via live chat.
The live chat works great: we got fast answers within a few minutes. The answers were helpful and relevant but the service isn't available 24/7.
We also missed the option to get support through calls or emails.
Freetrade's educational tools could be improved: demo accounts, educational videos, webinars are not provided. On the other hand, you can find useful and quality educational articles and a great community on Freetrade's own blog.
|• Quality community and educational articles||• No demo account|
|• No trading platform tutorial videos|
|• No educational videos|
Freetade has a community forum for education and discussion. This blog has a great selection of quality articles about the company's product updates, team culture and general trading insights. If you click on 'Investing deep dives', you can have access to easy to understand content on various topics, like valuing startups or what ETFs are.
Freetrade is regulated by the UK's FCA, providing up to £85,000 of investor protection. On the negative side, Freetrade is not listed on any stock exchanges, neither does it disclose its financial information.
|• Majority of clients belong to a top-tier financial authority||• No negative balance protection|
|• High level of investor protection||• Does not hold a banking license|
|• Not listed on stock exchange|
Is Freetrade regulated? Yes, it is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Is Freetrade safe? To be certain, we highly advise you to check two facts: how you are protected if something goes wrong and what the background of the broker is.
How you are protected
At Freetrade, all customers are covered by the UK investor protection scheme, called FSCS.
The FSCS protects against the loss of cash and securities in case the broker goes bust. The limit of FSCS protection is £85,000. This amount is substantially higher than the amount most national investor protection schemes provide.
Freetrade is a young company established in 2016. The longer the track record of a broker, the more proof we have that it has successfully survived previous financial crises.
Freetrade is subject to an annual audit by PwC, and is also regulated by a top-tier regulator, that provides a high amount of investor protection. These are all great signs for Freetrade's safety.
Freetrade's fees are great. Stocks and ETF trades are free if executed at 16:00 PM GMT, and there is no inactivity fee. The account opening is easy, fully digital, and fast. You can use an awesome and user-friendly mobile trading platform.
Freetrade has some drawbacks though: there are only US and UK stocks and ETFs. There are only a few research and educational tools, and you can't use credit/debit cards for transfers.
If you need basic execution of stock and ETFs from the main UK and US exchanges for free and you prefer an easy-to-use mobile trading platform, Freetrade is a good choice.