Nigel Frith equities trader

Nigel has been in the regulated financial services industry for nearly a decade, has previously owned a financial brokerage and has written many times for sites relating to personal finance and trading.

Best Stock Trading App for Beginners

10 mins/02 September 2020
best stock trading app for beginners

Looking for the best stock trading app for beginners? Look no further. These top-rated broker apps are some of the best around when it comes to stock trading. With their top-notch security and a clutch of advanced analysis features, these stock trading apps put the power of professional trading platforms in the palm of your hands.

#1 eToro

Trader Rating
What We Liked
  • User-friendly functionality – takes you right to the heart of the market
  • Copy Traders sharing their ideas and strategies
  • Low costs on positions held in 'buy and hold' stock strategies
  • One of the major players
  • All the functionality of a desktop is available on the app

eToro is one of the brokers leading the charge into high-quality app-based trading. The firm’s site is tailored specifically towards those who are new to trading, and it has a very user-friendly approach. It offers markets in all the major stocks and shares and provides a simple method of trading.

As soon as you log into the eToro app, you are taken into the heart of the stock markets. The ‘Watchlist’ monitor allows you to trade from popular equity names or to use the top of the screen search function to find the company in which you want to trade.

Even on a smaller screen, it’s easy to access the ‘crowd-sourced’ opinions of other traders which is a much-loved feature of the site.

eToro is one of the brokers leading the charge into high-quality app-based trading.

Trading using the eToro stock trading app is as easy as it can be. Click ‘Trade’, click ‘Buy’ or ‘Sell’, enter the amount you want to trade, consider the risk management tools and click to trade. With hand-held devices, there is a lot going for any app which justifies the adage that “less is more”.

It is also possible to use the app to access the Copy Trade feature of the site. That is a useful way to take the trading signals of third-party traders.

eToro is one of the most popular brokers in the market. It has millions of users and a reputation to protect. That fact offers some security to those looking to start trading but with understandable concerns about the risks of choosing a bad broker. More peace of mind comes from knowing eToro is regulated by Tier-1 brokers, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).

#2 Plus500

Trader Rating
What We Liked
  • Intuitive layout and functionality makes the app effortless to use
  • Thousands of stocks to choose from
  • Low pricing
  • Well-regulated and listed on the LSE
  • A focus on account safety and security

Plus 500 specialises in stock CFD trading and provides it through a particularly well-designed app. 

That has led to the firm being increasingly popular with traders looking for a good app with which to trade stocks. In fact, according to the ‘Investment Trends 2020 UK Leverage Trading Report’ Plus 500 has the largest total number of relationships with UK CFD traders. 

The firm has a stated aim of offering trading that is “reliable, simple and innovative” and the feedback from the trading community suggests it is hitting that target. Our reviewers were often told “I just really like it” or “I prefer the Plus 500 app”.

The “innovative” aspect of the firm’s ethos may not immediately jump out of the screen at you. But after just a few minutes of using the app, there is a moment of realisation that everything works well and that there is also a range of useful tools not always found on other apps.

There are more than 2,000 markets to trade, so there is an opportunity to trade some smaller and possibly more exciting stocks

The Economic Calendar, for example, is an excellent addition because it provides a clear update on upcoming news events. The charting indicators used to spot trade entry and exit points can be seamlessly brought into and out of the trading screen. There are more than 2,000 markets to trade, so there is an opportunity to trade some smaller and possibly more exciting stocks rather than just the big names. Another reason for trading on the Plus 500 app is that costs are relatively low.

Each market can be traded with the same degree of confidence that comes from having everything you need, ready to hand. The firm is also regulated by tier-1 authorities such as the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The parent company is also listed on the London Stock Exchange, which means it is required to provide a degree of financial reporting transparency, unlike privately held firms.

One more stand-out feature, and a relatively simple one, is that the app has an automatic log-out function. Security is vital with transportable devices, so having this function built into the app is a positive feature.

#3 FXCM

Trader Rating
What We Liked
  • The Trading Station platform is a big positive
  • Simple enough to get started but with more advanced features if needed
  • High-quality trade execution interface
  • An 'institutional' grade broker
  • A well-regulated firm with a global outlook

FXCM has taken an ambitious approach to app-based stock trading. The trading platform it offers is the high-quality Trading Station which is a combination of intuitive functionality, appealing aesthetics and super-powerful software tools. The result of this approach is a trading app designed to help you make the most out of any trading situation. 

The app will appeal to many beginners because it does an excellent job of ensuring trading is straightforward and secure. Many will also like some of the more advanced tools on offer. Sophisticated risk management tools such as ‘trailing stop losses’ might not be the first item on the list for you if you are just starting trading. They will, however, quickly rise up your order of priorities when you look around for resources designed to enhance your trading returns.

App-based trading is all about keeping up with the markets and FXCM’s take on that is to focus on the actual process of trade execution. There is a relatively limited number of stock markets but all can be accessed with great ease. The indicators and charting tools are of high quality, and the actual trade interface has all the tools you need to put on a trade. 

The app will appeal to many beginners because it does an excellent job of ensuring trading is straightforward and secure.

FXCM appeals to a wide range of traders. The app might be very user-friendly but it also supports the trading of more advanced and professional traders who also use FXCM to trade. As a result, there is a ‘trickle-down’ effect which involves all the extra services required by the big guys also being available to beginners. All categories of trader will, for example, want to consider the comparative tax treatment of spread betting 

In terms of regulation and security, FXCM again scores highly. The firm has a 20-year track record and has bricks and mortar offices in nine countries. Being a global operation, the companies that make up the FXCM Group are regulated in several jurisdictions but come under the umbrella of regulators. For example, Forex Capital Markets Limited (FXCM LTD) is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.

Another area where FXCM stands out from its peer group is customer service. Beginners, in particular, will be pleased to note that the support staff are known for being proficient and professional. They can be contacted via phone, email and Live Chat. Those who anticipate they’ll be doing a lot of trading via their phone will also benefit from the ability to contact FXCM customer support via SMS text message, something which not many brokers support.

#4 IG

Trader Rating
What We Liked
  • Easy to use but with a lot of the desktop functionality
  • Excellent charting, research and news features
  • Thousands of markets on offer
  • Tier-1 regulators
  • Spread betting and CFD trading both supported

One of the best features of the IG stock trading app is the additional features that are on offer. Yes, the firm offers a seamless means to trade the markets and trade execution can be as simple or sophisticated as you like. The real beauty of the IG app is that news, research and analysis tools also come as standard features.

The app has an Economic Calendar function to help busy traders plan. Those who are often on the move when they follow the markets will also like the fact that the IG app has a dedicated news function. The Reuters news agency provides the information flowing into this section, so it is reliable and finance orientated.

Using the IG app gives you access to an incredible number of equity markets which can be traded in CFD or Spread bet form. The firm is known for the thousands of stocks it covers and each one is accompanied by a ‘factsheet’ style report which outlines the basics of that market.

The app does everything that is needed and then more.

This ranges from information on a company’s financial reports to what times the market is open and can be traded. There is also a breakdown of what costs and charges might apply and transparency on this issue is always welcomed because it’s often a sign that the firm considers itself well-positioned in relation to its competitors. 

IG has been operating for almost 50 years and having fine-tuned the desktop version of its service it has demonstrated it can keep up with technological innovations. Due to the firm cleverly incorporating a lot of the desktop functionality onto the smaller screen, the app does everything that is needed and then more.

As you’d expect from a firm with IG’s pedigree, it is regulated by tier-1 regulators. IG Group’s lead regulator is the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which also regulates the UK subsidiaries (IG Markets Limited and IG Index Limited) as well as the IG Group on a consolidated basis. Australian operations are regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (“ASIC”), and it is a holder of an Australian Financial Services (“AFS”) License (No. 220440).