interactive-brokers-review

Freetrade Review 2022 – Pros and Cons Uncovered

Freetrade review summary

Freetrade is a UK-based fintech startup providing commission-free stock trading, regulated by the UK’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.

Recommended for traders looking for broad market access and a professional trading environment

We selected Freetrade as Best broker for beginners and Best ISA broker for 2022, based on an in-depth analysis of 100+ online brokers that included testing their live accounts. Check out the complete list of winners.

You can't open an account at Freetrade if you live in Pakistan. See the best alternative available in your country.

Freetrade pros and cons

Freetrade provides free stock and ETF trading. 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 stocks and ETFs, and its products are limited to the US and UK markets. Research options cover only basic charting tools. Debit cards are available only for deposits, otherwise no credit/debit card withdrawal is available.

ProsCons
Free stock and ETF trading Basic product portfolio
•Easy and fast account opening Limited research tools
Great mobile trading platform Debit card only for deposits
Freetrade main features and highlights
🗺️ Country of regulationUSA, Ireland, UK, Hungary, India, Australia, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore
💰 Trading fees classLow
💰 Inactivity fee chargedNo
💰 Withdrawal fee amount$0
💰 Minimum deposit$0
🕖 Time to open an account1-3 days
💳 Deposit with bank cardNot available
👛 Depositing with electronic walletNot available
💱 Number of base currencies supported23
🎮 Demo account providedYes
🛍️ Products offeredStock, ETF, Forex, Fund, Bond, Options, Futures, CFD, Crypto, Warrants, Structured Products
 
🗺️ Country of regulationUSA, Ireland, UK, Hungary, India, Australia, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore
💰 Trading fees classLow
💰 Inactivity fee chargedNo
💰 Withdrawal fee amount$0
💰 Minimum deposit$0
🕖 Time to open an account1-3 days
💳 Deposit with bank cardNot available
👛 Depositing with electronic walletNot available
💱 Number of base currencies supported23
🎮 Demo account providedYes
🛍️ Products offeredStock, ETF, Forex, Fund, Bond, Options, Futures, CFD, Crypto, Warrants, Structured Products
Our overall Interactive Brokers rating
Freetrade review

Fees

At Freetrade, you can trade stocks and ETFs free of charge. Also, there are no account, inactivity or withdrawal fees. However, there is a high, 0.45% fee for converting your funds to USD.

ProsCons
 Free stock and ETF trading  High currency conversion fee
•No inactivity fee 
 No withdrawal fee 
Freetrade fees snapshot
 Saxo BankFusion MarketsCMC MarketsInteractive BrokersCapital.com
EURUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
GBPUSD spread1.30.20.90.31.3
AUDUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
EURCHF spread1.40.62.50.42.2
EURGBP spread1.40.31.10.21.5

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.

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.

  • 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.

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

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 trading fees

 

At Freetrade, you can trade stocks and ETFs for free. Initially only basic orders were free, but in February 2020, Freetrade cut commissions to zero on instant order execution as well. While a basic order is executed at the 3 p.m. GMT price and is available only when the market is closed, an instant (market) order is executed at the time when you place it, when the market is open. 

Stock and ETF commission of a $2,000 trade
 Saxo BankFusion MarketsCMC MarketsInteractive BrokersCapital.com
EURUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
GBPUSD spread1.30.20.90.31.3
AUDUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
EURCHF spread1.40.62.50.42.2
EURGBP spread1.40.31.10.21.5

Freetrade has the lowest fees for trading both US and UK stocks and ETFs.

Non-trading fees

Freetrade has low non-trading fees. It doesn’t charge an inactivity fee.

At the time of the review, there was no account fee if you choose the basic account, but if you choose Freetrade Plus, which provides more stocks, limit options and priority customer service, there is a £9.99 monthly fee.

ISA services within Freetrade Basic still have a £3 monthly fee.

A withdrawal fee is charged only if you choose same-day withdrawal. In this case, there is a £5 fee.

Freetrade non-trading fees
 Saxo BankFusion MarketsCMC MarketsInteractive BrokersCapital.com
EURUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
GBPUSD spread1.30.20.90.31.3
AUDUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
EURCHF spread1.40.62.50.42.2
EURGBP spread1.40.31.10.21.5

Freetrade offers only GBP as a base currency, so a currency conversion fee is charged when you trade USD-denominated stocks or ETFs. The currency conversion fee is the FX spot rate +/- 0.45%.

Freetrade review

Account opening

Account opening at Freetrade is fast, fully digital and user-friendly, and there is no minimum deposit. You can choose from 4 different account types.

What is the minimum deposit at Freetrade?

The required Freetrade minimum deposit is $0.

Account types

Freetrade has expanded its account selection and now offers four types of accounts:

  • General Investment Account – standard account for stock and ETF trading
  • Investment Savings Account – a tax-efficient savings account
  • Freetrade Plus Account (NEW) – a tax-efficient solution with an expanded product portfolio and order types
  • SIPP Account (waitlist) – flexible investments in pension savings

Freetrade account types and fees

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Alpaca Trading Alpaca Securities LLC is US-based broker providing commission-free API stock trading. The company is regulated by the top-tier SEC and FINRA: Visit broker
TradeStation Global TradeStation Global is an introducing broker of Interactive Brokers. This practically means that assets and cash are held with Interactive Brokers, but services like fees and customer support are provided by TradeStation Global. TradeStation Global is regulated by the top-tier UK FCA. Visit broker
Zacks Trade Zacks Trade is a US discount broker that also allows international clients to open an account. Zacks Trade is a division of LBMZ Securities, which is regulated by SEC and FINRA. Customers are protected by the SIPC scheme, up to $500,000 (including a $250,000 limit for cash). Visit broker
Saxo Bank Saxo Bank is a Danish investment bank. It is regulated by several financial authorities globally, including the top-tier UK FCA. Visit broker

At the time of the review, all account types were available only to UK citizens or UK residents, with plans in progress for European expansion. Potential clients from Ireland, the Netherlands, France, and Germany can request an invite to get the app first when Freetrade launches in their country. In November 2020, Freetrade secured its passporting rights from the UK regulator FCA, as well as other regulators in the EU, to offer its services across the continent. Clients from new markets were planned to be onboarded in late 2020 or in 2021 at the latest.

How to open your account

Freetrade’s account opening is user-friendly and fast. It took around 10-15 minutes until our account was set up.

The 6 steps of opening an account at Freetrade:

  1. Download the app on your mobile phone.
  2. Provide your email address, where you’ll receive a confirmation link.
  3. Give your personal details, like name, date of birth, NI (national insurance) number.
  4. Add your address and nationality.
  5. Select the account type.
  6. Let Freetrade check your identity automatically.

If your digital verification process failed, you will have to upload your documents to verify your ID and residency. Passport, driving license or national ID are all accepted as proof of identity. You can use a tax bill, utility bill, bank statement or HMRC/DWP correspondence as proof of address.

Freetrade review – Account opening

Our best alternatives to Freetrade are:

The highest ranking competitors are:

  1. Stake full review
  2. Passfolio full review
Freetrade review

Deposit and withdrawal

Deposits and withdrawals are user-friendly and free. On the negative side, no credit cards are accepted and the only available base currency is GBP.

ProsCons
• Free withdrawal Only one account base currency
•No deposit fee Debit card available only for deposits
•User-friendly 

Account base currencies

At Freetrade, only GBP is available as a base currency.

Base currencies at Freetrade vs similar brokers
 Saxo BankFusion MarketsCMC MarketsInteractive BrokersCapital.com
EURUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
GBPUSD spread1.30.20.90.31.3
AUDUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
EURCHF spread1.40.62.50.42.2
EURGBP spread1.40.31.10.21.5

If you have a personal bank account in a currency other than GBP, then you will be charged a conversion fee.

A convenient way to save on currency conversion fees is by opening a multi-currency bank account at a digital bank. These usually offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. Opening an account takes only a few minutes on your phone.

Deposit fees and options

Freetrade charges no deposit fees. You can use bank transfer, Apple Pay and Google Pay as deposit and withdrawal options. But you need a UK bank account and go through verification through a bank transfer before you initiate a withdrawal. You can fund your account using a debit card, but credit cards are not accepted. 

Freetrade deposit options
 Saxo BankFusion MarketsCMC MarketsInteractive BrokersCapital.com
EURUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
GBPUSD spread1.30.20.90.31.3
AUDUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
EURCHF spread1.40.62.50.42.2
EURGBP spread1.40.31.10.21.5

A bank transfer can take several business days. You can only deposit money from accounts that are in your name.

Freetrade review – Deposit and withdrawal – Deposit

Withdrawal fees and options

Freetrade charges no withdrawal fees if you choose ‘non-same-day’ withdrawal. Same-day withdrawals have a £5 fee.

For withdrawals, you can only use bank transfers and electronic wallets.

Freetrade withdrawal fees and options
 Saxo BankFusion MarketsCMC MarketsInteractive BrokersCapital.com
EURUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
GBPUSD spread1.30.20.90.31.3
AUDUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
EURCHF spread1.40.62.50.42.2
EURGBP spread1.40.31.10.21.5

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? Simply follow these steps:

  • Log in to the mobile trading platform.
  • Go to the ‘Account’ tab.
  • Click on ‘Withdraw’.
  • Enter the amount you wish to withdraw.
  • Initiate the withdrawal.
Freetrade review

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 the company said would be set by the end of 2020.

Freetrade platforms to choose from
 Saxo BankFusion MarketsCMC MarketsInteractive BrokersCapital.com
EURUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
GBPUSD spread1.30.20.90.31.3
AUDUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
EURCHF spread1.40.62.50.42.2
EURGBP spread1.40.31.10.21.5
Freetrade review

Mobile trading platform

Freetrade has a user-friendly and well-designed mobile trading platform, with an efficient search function. However, there are only two order types and you cannot set price alerts.

ProsCons
• User-friendly  Limited order types
• Two-step (safer) login  No price alerts
Good search function 

Freetrade offers an in-house developed mobile trading platform with a superb design.

The mobile trading platform is available in English on both iOS and Android. 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.

Freetrade review – Mobile trading platform

Login and security

You can log in to Freetrade’s platform by typing in a four-digit password or using biometric authentication, like TouchID. There is a two-step (or two-factor) authentication option.

Search functions

The search functions are good. You can search by asset name or asset class, like stock ETFs or bond ETFs. We liked the categorization as well. You can browse assets by popularity, company type, industry or country (UK, US). 

Freetrade review – Mobile trading platform – Search

Placing orders

Freetrade offers only two order types on Freetrade Basic:

  • Basic order – the orders placed at 3 p.m. GMT, no fee is charged
  • Instant order – the orders placed immediately, no fee is charged

There are more order types if you choose Freetrade Plus:

  • order types available for UK stocks:
    • Basic order
    • Instant or market order
    • Limit order 
    • Stop loss
  • order types available for US stocks:
    • Basic order
    • Instant or market order
    • Limit order
    • Triggered order
    • Triggered stop loss

You can’t use order time limits.

If you are not familiar with the order types, read this overview.

Freetrade review – Mobile trading platform – Order panel

Alerts and notifications

You can’t set alerts and notifications on Freetrade’s mobile platform, although it would be a great feature.

Freetrade review

Desktop trading platform

Freetrade does not have a desktop trading platform.

Freetrade review

Markets and products

Freetrade has a limited product portfolio that covers only stocks and ETFs. There are no other asset classes available, like mutual funds, bonds or options.

Freetrade asset classes
 Saxo BankFusion MarketsCMC MarketsInteractive BrokersCapital.com
EURUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
GBPUSD spread1.30.20.90.31.3
AUDUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
EURCHF spread1.40.62.50.42.2
EURGBP spread1.40.31.10.21.5

Freetrade is continuously expanding its selection of stocks and ETFs, but has no plans to add more asset classes to its offering.

Stock and ETF

At the time of the review, you can trade stocks and ETFs from the London Stock Exchange (LSE), the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), and the NASDAQ.

Freetrade stock and ETF selection
 Saxo BankFusion MarketsCMC MarketsInteractive BrokersCapital.com
EURUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
GBPUSD spread1.30.20.90.31.3
AUDUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
EURCHF spread1.40.62.50.42.2
EURGBP spread1.40.31.10.21.5

Freetrade is continuously adding new stocks and ETFs, often based on the preferences of its community, among other updates. At the time of the review, Freetrade had 3,536 different stocks to trade. In addition to regular trading, fractional trading is available too.

Freetrade review

Research

Freetrade’s research tools are limited, with no analyst recommendations or fundamental data. Charting is also poor, showing only the most basic information.

ProsCons
• 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.

Charting

Although there are some feature updates, like a graph scrubber or a one-day graph filler, Freetrade has poor charting tools. There are no major technical or charting tools, such as a trendline editor.

Freetrade review – Research – Charting

Freetrade review

Customer service

Freetrade has an efficient live chat in its mobile app and its website. Email support is great, but we missed phone support and 24/7 availability.

ProsCons
•  Live chat  No phone support
 Fast response time•No 24/7 support
 Relevant answers 

You can contact Freetrade via live chat or email.

The live chat works great, we received fast answers within minutes. They were useful and relevant but the service isn’t available 24/7. You can also contact Freetrade via email, which they usually answer in a few minutes.

However, we missed the option to contact the broker via phone.

Freetrade review – Customer Service

Freetrade review

Education

Freetrade has useful and quality educational articles and a great community on its own blog. On the other hand, there are no educational videos or webinars.

ProsCons
•  Invest HUB blog No educational videos
Educational content in a newsletter•No webinars
  

Invest HUB, Newsletter, Blog & Community

Freetrade has an Invest HUB section on the site. When you click on the top menu bar, you can check the latest news, tips on how to get started or you can learn new expressions in the dictionary.

Beside the content on the site, you can also sign up for more educational materials, including a newsletter and weekend reads. The previous blog and the community is still active and really useful. The ‘Which crowdfunding companies have you invested in?’ chat, for instance, has some really good discussion topics. It is worth taking a look!

There is still room for improvement however, as there are no webinars or educational videos, but hopefully these will be added with time.

Freetrade review – Education

Freetrade review

Safety

Freetrade is regulated by the UK’s FCA, providing up to £85,000 of investor protection. On the negative side, it is not listed on a stock exchange and doesn’t hold a banking license.

ProsCons
•  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 UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Is Freetrade 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
  • 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.

Freetrade investor protection
 Saxo BankFusion MarketsCMC MarketsInteractive BrokersCapital.com
EURUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
GBPUSD spread1.30.20.90.31.3
AUDUSD spread0.80.00.70.10.6
EURCHF spread1.40.62.50.42.2
EURGBP spread1.40.31.10.21.5

The FSCS protects against the loss of cash and securities in case a 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.

Background

Freetrade is a relatively 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’s annual report is audited by PwC, and it is also regulated by a top-tier authority that provides a high amount of investor protection. These are all great signs for Freetrade’s safety.

Freetrade review

Bottom line

Freetrade’s fees are great. Stock and ETF trades are free and there is no inactivity fee. 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 available for trading. There aren’t many research tools and you can’t use credit/debit cards for transfers.

If you are looking for stock and ETF trading from the main UK and US exchanges for free and you prefer an easy-to-use mobile trading platform, Freetrade is a good choice.

Freetrade review

FAQ

We recommend Freetrade for long-term investors on the hunt for low fees and focusing on the uk and us markets.

Below you can find links to all aspects of Freetrade in this comprehensive collection.

Lower fees, lower costs?

We detailed this in our Freetrade fees article.

What about the minimum deposit?

Our ultimate guide to the Freetrade minimum deposit is updated regularly.

How to start your Freetrade account?

Look no further than our evaluation of the Freetrade account opening.

How’s their trading app?

Here’s our expert view after checking the Freetrade trading app.

Is the quality of customer service satisfactory?

All you need to know about the Freetrade customer service.

Legit or scam?

Is Freetrade legit features all the key aspects you need to look at to see if a broker is safe and legit.

Free or premium? Or both?

A glance at actual costs and whether Freetrade is really free.

Is this broker good for beginners?

We checked it in Is Freetrade good for beginners.

Should you buy your silver bullets on Freetrade?

Research for silver bugs in the Silver buy on Freetrade guide

I want to trade options, are they available at Freetrade?

We explored the topic in Can you trade options on Freetrade?

What is the minimum account balance at Freetrade?

Check out the current account balance requirements at Freetrade in our What is the minimum account balance at Freetrade article.

Looking for commission and fees data for Freetrade?

We collected them in Freetrade commission and fees.

How do you withdraw money from Freetrade?

We tested it and collected the options and costs in How to withdraw money on Freetrade.

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