Online brokers have been a game-changer for investors, placing the same markets and tools at the fingertips of casual and professional traders alike. Millions of people are downloading apps and trading from their mobile devices or taking advantage of web-based platforms to trade forex and other markets.
In this article, we will compare two of them: IG vs Trading 212. These two brokers are kind of like the story of David and Goliath, so keep reading to see how the fare against one another.
IG is a behemoth among online brokers, having been founded in the 1970s as the world’s maiden spread-betting firm. It supports a wide-range of markets, including forex, CFDs, shares, indices, commodities and more. IG is publicly traded in London and is listed as a FTSE 250 member.
Trading 212 has been around for nearly two decades and has stuck to its knitting over the years. This broker supports forex trading and provides access to partial shares of stocks. Trading 212 boasts 2 million clients across GBP 3 billion in assets.
Both firms are active in contracts for difference (CFDs). Let’s take a deeper dive into the similarities and differences between IG and Trading 212.
Overview of IG Broker & Trading 212 Broker
|💰 Account Minimum||£250.00||No minimum deposit|
|💸 Commission Fees||Commission-free share dealing, £3 per trade for US stocks, forex, and other CFDs||Commission-free share dealing, no fees for forex and CFDs|
|💼 Investment Options||Stocks, ETFs, funds, options, futures, CFDs, forex||Stocks, ETFs, funds, options, forex, CFDs|
|🤖 Robo-Advisor||IG Smart Portfolios, a robo-advisor service, with fees ranging from 0.65% to 0.95%||None|
|📊 Research and Analysis||Daily market analysis, news, and insights, IG Academy educational resources, Autochartist trading signals, Reuters news, and Morningstar quantitative equity research||Financial news, analysis, and insights, Trading 212 Academy educational resources|
|📱 Mobile App||iOS and Android mobile app with advanced charting, alerts, and access to all markets||iOS and Android mobile app with a user-friendly interface, custom alerts, and real-time news|
|🏦 Retirement Accounts||Stocks and ETFs available in a self-invested personal pension (SIPP)||None|
|🎓 IRA Accounts||None||None|
|📈 Trading Platform||IG Web Platform, L2 Dealer advanced trading platform, ProRealTime advanced charting software||Trading 212 Web Platform, Trading 212 Invest desktop platform, MetaTrader 4 trading platform|
|📞 Customer Service||24/5 customer support via phone, email, and live chat, dedicated account manager for VIP clients||24/7 customer support via live chat, email, and phone|
|📚 Educational Resources||IG Academy educational resources, trading webinars and seminars, trading strategy articles||Trading 212 Academy educational resources, video tutorials, and trading blog|
|🌕 Fractional Shares||Fractional shares available for US and UK stocks||Fractional shares available for US and UK stocks|
|🌱 Socially Responsible||ESG investments available, including thematic ETFs and funds||None|
|🌎 International Investing||Access to over 17,000 international markets, including shares, forex, commodities, and indices||Access to a range of international stocks, ETFs, and forex|
|💳 Cash Management||IG Smart Portfolio cash management service, debit card, and international payments||None|
|🔍 Margin Trading||Margin trading available with leverage up to 1:20 for retail clients and up to 1:200 for professional clients||Margin trading available with leverage up to 1:30 for retail clients and up to 1:500 for professional clients|
|⚙️ Options Trading||Options trading available for stocks, forex, and indices||Options trading available for stocks, forex, and indices|
|₿ Cryptocurrency Trading||Cryptocurrency trading available for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, and Litecoin||Cryptocurrency trading available for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and others|
|🛡️ Account Security||Two-factor authentication, segregated client accounts, FCA and ASIC regulated||Two-factor authentication, FSCS protection, FCA regulated|
|💹 Leverage||Leverage available for stocks, forex, and indices||Leverage available for stocks, forex, and indices|
|⚖ Regulation||Regulated by the FCA and ASIC in the UK and ASIC in Australia||Regulated by the FCA in the UK|
IG vs. Trading 212
In this article, we will be comparing two popular online brokers: IG and Trading 212. Each of these brokers offers a variety of features and benefits that cater to different types of investors. We will discuss the pros and cons of each broker and provide a conclusion to help you decide which one might be the best fit for you.
IG is a well-established, UK-based broker with a global presence, offering a wide range of investment options and trading platforms. Founded in 1974, IG has grown into one of the largest and most respected online brokers in the industry.
- Diverse trading options: IG offers a wide range of products, including forex, indices, stocks, commodities, and cryptocurrencies.
- Advanced trading platforms: IG provides access to advanced trading platforms like ProRealTime, L2 Dealer, and MetaTrader 4.
- Strong regulatory framework: IG is regulated by several top-tier regulators, including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
- High minimum deposit: IG requires a relatively high minimum deposit compared to other brokers.
- Complex fee structure: IG’s fee structure can be complicated, which might be confusing for some users.
IG is an excellent choice for advanced traders who seek a wide variety of trading options and advanced trading platforms. However, the higher minimum deposit and complex fee structure may not be suitable for all investors, especially those new to trading.
Trading 212 is a London-based online broker that has gained popularity in recent years for its user-friendly interface and commission-free trading. Founded in 2006, Trading 212 has quickly become a favorite among retail investors.
- Commission-free trading: Trading 212 offers commission-free trading on stocks, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies, making it an attractive option for cost-conscious investors.
- User-friendly platform: The Trading 212 platform is designed for ease of use, making it ideal for beginners.
- Low minimum deposit: With a low minimum deposit requirement, Trading 212 is accessible to a wide range of investors.
- Limited advanced trading tools: Trading 212’s platform may not offer the same advanced tools and features as more sophisticated platforms like those available through IG.
- Smaller product range: Trading 212 has a smaller product range compared to IG, particularly in terms of forex and commodities.
Trading 212 is an excellent choice for beginners and cost-conscious investors due to its user-friendly platform and commission-free trading. However, advanced traders looking for more sophisticated tools and a broader product range may find IG more suitable for their needs.
Fees and Commissions
While it’s free to open an account on many online brokers, it will cost you to trade. Usually this price takes the form of a spread, which is how many brokers earn money. It’s the difference between the buy and sell rates on a forex instrument.
IG’s spreads fluctuate but we can look at the latest data. Trading spreads for the following markets begin accordingly: forex pairs at 0.6 points, major indices at 0.8 points and commodities at 0.1 points.
IG earns most of its income via spreads on leveraged products like CFDs but also generates revenue from some other fees, such as share CFD commissions, forex conversion fees, overnight fees and inactivity fees.
On share CFDs, IG charges a commission, not a spread. So if you plan to trade stock CFDs, this is important to know.
If you hold a position past 10 pm (UK time), you can expect to be charged an overnight fee. IG begins charging a $12 inactivity fee for accounts that have not traded for two years. There’s no charge to open an account with IG.
Trading 212 offers a trio of account options: CFDs, shares and ISA trading. Trading 212’s claim to fame is its commission-free investing model. It seems to be working, as Trading 212 has attracted 2 million clients across GBP 3 billion in assets. According to the broker, there are no hidden fees while traders also gain access to tight spreads and negative balance protection.
Trading 212 earns its money from the spread, which is charged to users for trading financial instruments. These spreads vary based on factors like market conditions, liquidity and more. You can access a list of Trading 212’s average spreads and maximum position size across markets here.
Be careful about leaving a position open overnight. Trading 212 charges an overnight holding fee on accounts for positions held past 22:00 GMT. There’s also a forex fee of 0.5% applied on results when a position is closed with a currency other than a trader’s main currency. Deposits and withdrawals are free. The minimum deposit requirement is $10 (EUR 10, etc.) and the minimum withdrawal amount is the same.
We’ll give this round to Trading 212 for the simplicity of its pricing model and its competitive rates.
Once you decide on an online broker, you’ve got more choices to make. Chief among them is which trading platform to use. These are software systems offered by a broker with all the bells and whistles to support you in the trading process. Some are fancier than others, and it all comes down to what you want or need at any experience level — beginner or expert.
IG’s native platform is compatible on the web, mobile app (iOS or Android) or tablet. You won’t miss out on the mobile app as it provides access to the same tools and charting capabilities as the web-based platform. The average execution time on the web-based platform is 0.014 seconds, and this platform supported 86 million trades in 2019. Here are some of the features IG’s web platform offers:
- Dealing ticket
- News and analysis
- Stops and limits
IG also supports the popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4) offering, which can be downloaded at zero cost. MT4 is popular for CFD trading and offers analysis, trading tools and other add-ons specifically from IG.
ProRealTime is a web-based charting package that IG offers, which is great for technical traders. L2 Dealer is yet another trading platform available on IG. It’s IG’s direct market access platform for share or forex CFD trading.
Trading 212 is a rare exception as it doesn’t appear to support any other platform options other than its own and TradingView. This broker’s charting capabilities are powered by TradingView, which is integrated into the platform and traders seem to like. Trading 212 does offer a mobile app for iOS and Android.
However, users on customer forums have expressed a desire to use other platforms, such as MetaTrader for the indicators it offers. Trading 212 has maintained that it doesn’t have any plans to support third-party platforms but will let traders know if that changes.
Users have complained about navigation on Trading 212’s platform. One user in particular, who described themself as an “oldie,” found it difficult to upload photos to verify one’s identification, saying you have to be an IT expert to use this site.
Other users have found the platform to be simple, intuitive and easy to understand. Happy customers like the Pies feature for portfolio diversification and the ability to purchase stock fractions.
It’s hard to beat IG’s variety of trading platform and sophisticated trading tools. This round goes to IG.
Investment options are one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an online broker. It just so happens that when comparing IG vs Trading 212, it’s clear that both brokers offer a wide range of financial instruments for users. In addition to forex, these markets include shares, indices and commodities.
IG doesn’t skip a beast on investment options, offering traders more markets to trade than most brokers, such as forex, shares, indices, commodities, options, futures, cryptocurrencies and more using CFDs.
On forex, traders gain access to over 80 trading pairs whether the price is on the rise or falling. Users can also use leverage on their forex CFD trades. Forex trading is available across platforms, including IG’s web-based platform, mobile app, MT4 or L2 Dealer.
IG supports cryptocurrency trading in CFDs, as a result of which investors don’t gain exposure to the underlying asset. This broker supports eight different cryptos including leading coins bitcoin and ether.
Traders can also access over 80 indices as CFDS, including Wall Street, the FTSE 100, Australia 200 and many others. This broker provides around the clock pricing on global indices.
On shares, IG offers extended hours trading on dozens of key U.S. stocks. Overall traders can deal on more than 13,000 shares. IG also supports hard and soft commodities including iron, copper, led and zinc as well as the energy and agriculture markets.
Trading 212 is also active in CFD trading across markets including stocks, forex, indices and commodities. You can buy assets like stocks and ETFs with zero commissions and go long or short with leverage on CFD products. One of Trading 212’s advantages is when you buy stocks, you get your shares in a matter of seconds. A “Pies and Autoinvest” feature is there to help users build a diversified portfolio.
This broker supports thousands of stocks and ETFs, including major U.S. companies like Tesla, GameStop and AMC. It also offers access to leading indices, including the S&P 500 and FTSE 100. Similar to IG, Trading 212 supports commodities trading in precious metals, oils and ag products. On forex, it offers over 180 trading pairs to investors that are accessible 24/5.
Both IG and Trading 212 offer similar markets to trade. Both rely heavily on CFD products, where users can trade long or short and use leverage. Trading 212 offers more forex trading pairs than IG. But if you’re looking to trade cryptocurrencies, your only option is really IG.
Customer service is one of those things that you don’t realize how much you value until you need it, especially when it comes to investing your money. As we continue to compare IG vs Trading 212, customer service is another area that sets them apart.
IG’s customer service is available 24/5. They can be contacted online, via email, on Twitter, by live chat or by phone. In the U.S., there’s a separate phone number for new and existing clients, which is a nice touch for incoming users who might need extra attention.
Customers have shared their experiences with IG on Trustpilot. Among the complaints is what customers say is a lack of communication and responsiveness. One user had his application to sign up for IG declined with no apparent explanation. IG responded to the complaint, saying they would try to resolve the matter in a satisfactory way.
Another trader was unable to transfer their SIPP out of IG to a new provider. Regulators said the process should take weeks, but according to this user it was taking months. IG responded, saying they would investigate the query.
There are also some glowing reviews, one of which the customer describes the customer service as amazing, saying it was a pleasure to deal with IG.
To reach Trading 212’s customer service, you can submit a request online. You can also email the customer service team at [email protected]. This broker also offers a live chat option that can be accessed via a menu. They say that the customer service team is available 24/7.
Trading 212’s user experience has been described by users as fast, nice and perfect. One trader had an especially positive experience with a chat representative, whom they said was “well informed” and helped them provide a solution to their ISA balance transfer-related dilemma.
It’s not that Trading 212 doesn’t receive any user complaints. One trader complained about not being able to close out positions on this platform. However, this broker is quick to respond (within one hour), requesting that the user provide further details in an email so they could look into it.
Another user had withdrawal issues surrounding the use of a credit card and bank account. The issue was eventually sorted but the trader remained frustrated about the withdrawal process. Trading 212 explained that they must adhere to account security procedures in order to protect customer funds.
Based on customer service alone, it’s hard to ignore Trading 212’s rave customer reviews and speedy response times. That’s why we’re giving this one to Trading 212 over IG.
Security is one of those features that you don’t want to compromise on when trading in the markets. When you are sharing so much personal data, including contact details as well as credit card or bank information, you can’t be overly cautious. Fortunately, when comparing IG vs Trading 212, both online brokers have a proven track record that has helped to create trust with their customers.
IG Group was created in 1974 (as a spread-betting business at the time) and is publicly traded in London. This broker operates in multiple jurisdictions and is overseen by major regulators, including the U.K.’s FCA and the U.S. CFTC. This IG is also regulated in Japan, Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, Dubai, Switzerland, the EU and other regions.
To ensure transparency and security, IG holds customer funds in segregated accounts at regulated financial institutions. It states that customer funds are “ring-fenced from our creditors,” adding yet another layer of security.
IG offers two-factor authentication as an optional security feature on accounts and advises customers to use it, saying it “drastically reduces the chance of unauthorized access to your account.” IG also provides advice to traders on how they can better protect their accounts through steps like strong passwords and being aware of a trick known as social engineering.
Trading 212 has its own security measures in place under its funds and data protection plan. This broker also separates customer funds in segregated bank accounts that are insured by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). If Trading 212 were to ever fail, user funds would be protected up to GBP 85,000.
Trading 212 also safeguards user information by completing penetration tests and scans of its systems on a regular basis. This broker maintains a security operations center around the clock that keeps track of traffic and any alerts on behalf of users.
Customers might also find security in Trading 212’s financial stability. This broker is a profitable company with zero debt on its balance sheet. It also has healthy cash reserves.
In 2022, some Trading 212 users were warned that their user passwords were leaked in a third-party data breach, which had traders concerned about their privacy. In response, the broker said it performed a “proactive check via a third-party service.” Many users were satisfied with this response.
Both IG and Trading 212 have proven track records when it comes to security. Both are regulated entities.
Both brokers have a solid track record of protecting customer funds. Traders are likely in good hands at either firm. However, IG has a modest edge in that it has been doing this successfully for longer than Trading 212. For this reason, we give it to IG.
In summary, IG and Trading 212 cater to different types of investors. IG is a better fit for advanced traders who require advanced trading tools, a diverse product range, and are comfortable with a more complex fee structure. On the other hand, Trading 212 is ideal for beginners and those looking for commission-free trading on a user-friendly platform. It is essential to consider your trading preferences, experience level, and investment objectives when choosing between these two online brokers.
You can transfer your ISA account balance over to Trading 212 but not your stocks directly.
Think of fractional shares as a slice of a stock. Instead of owning a full stock, you’re investing based on the monetary amount. As a result, you might wind up owning a fraction of a stock.
While changes in stock prices are measured in currency, forex prices are different. They are measured in something called pips, tiny units of measurement that generally reflect a one-digit move in the fourth decimal place.
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