You don’t have to be the Wolf of Wall Street or a financial wizard to earn money from investments in stocks and shares in 2020. Investment options are available for as little as $1 thanks to a new breed of investment apps that have democratised stock trading, with anyone able to buy or sell shares directly from their smartphone.

Despite a 250,000 person waiting list, the coronavirus pandemic forced the popular US-based commission-free stock trading app Robinhood to abandon is expansion across the Atlantic last month. However, for those in the UK who are looking for ways to invest there are already a number of options on the market that will let them watch the markets and buy and sell shares without charging the high fees normally associated with the practice.

Freetrade

Freetrade is probably the closest direct competitor to Robinhood in that it is app-based and offers commission-free trades and is designed to help investors build their portfolio or stocks and shares ISA.

The UK-based platform was founded in 2015, and has found popularity with its freemium business model, where GBP trades are free, but a small FX fee of 0.45% is charged on any foreign trades and users are charged £3 per month for an ISA.

Over the last two years has won British Bank Awards as the Best Online Trading Platform and Best Share Trading Platform thanks to its user-friendly apps for iOS and Android, but other apps do offer more detailed investment guides and company and financial data.

eToro

Established back in 2006, eToro is one of the longest established online stock trading platforms with registered offices in Cyprus, Israel, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia. And when LearnBonds revealed UK top investment apps earlier this month, it placed eToro at the top of the list.

eToro was one of the first platforms to create a slick app-based stock trading interface and offers free stock and ETF trading, but the company does charge relatively high FX fees and has a minimum deposit of $200 (£150)

Stake

Stake is a well-established Australian brokerage platform which has recently launched its commission-free trading platform in the UK. Stake is app-only and offers the ability to buys and sell more US stocks than much of the competition as well as more detail on those stocks, but is limited in that only US stocks are available.

Those looking to evaluate that platform can start with just £50 and a free “Start pack” trading account, with premium packs also available.

Revolut

Revolut is perhaps better known as one of the UK’s recent crop of challenger banks that, along with Monzo and Starling, are taking on the high street banks to become your current account provider. However, Revolut also offers a variety of other services including cryptocurrency, commodity, and stock trading.

The company’s stock trading platform is commission-free (depending on the account level) and offers the ability to buy fractional shares from as little as $1, but only from around 850 US companies. Revolut also charges a 0.01% annual “custody fee” on the market value of your assets charged each month, based on the assets held at the time of calculation.

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