How to buy BP shares (LSE: BP.) in the UK

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Table of Contents

BP, or British Petroleum, is one of the UK’s largest companies, so how do you buy BP shares?

In this guide we’ll take you through how to buy BP shares in the UK through a general investment account (GIA), an ISA, a SIPP and a LISA. We’ll also cover how to buy shares in BP using fractional shares.

Table of Contents

What is BP?

British Petroleum, or BP (ticker: BP.) is one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers and one of the UK’s biggest companies. 

Founded in 1909, its global headquarters are in London and its shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange. BP is also a constituent of the FTSE100 index and has a secondary listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in Germany. 

Shares in BP are also available to US-based investors via the New York Stock Exchange as American Depositary Shares.

How to buy BP shares

The process to buy shares in BP is simple:

Choose the best investment platform for you

We recommend eToro, but we also cover other great investment platforms for you below.

Open the right type of account with them based on your needs

You can invest in BP shares through a number of different account types, each with their own pros and cons. We cover these in detail below.

Search for BP (BP.) on their platform and trade or buy BP shares, selecting the amount you want to purchase

The final – and most exciting – step is to actually place a buy order so that you can own BP shares. Simply search on your chosen platform, using your chosen account type, for ‘BP.’ and then decide how many shares to buy. We show you what this step looks like below.

eToro

eToro is our top-rated investment app, it’s easy to use, has lots of innovative features and allows you to trade commission-free.

Capital at risk if you invest.

Here’s what the trading screen in eToro’s app looks like:

eToro trade screen to buy BP shares
Snapshot taken 13th Feb 2024. See the eToro app for the live share price.

Hit ‘Trade’ and you’re ready to buy BP shares with eToro.

Buy BP shares in a investment account

If you want to set up an account and buy shares in BP quickly, then a general investment account (GIA), sometimes known as a trading account or just an investment account, is the perfect way to get started.

eToro

eToro is our top-rated investment app, it’s easy to use, has lots of innovative features and allows you to trade commission-free.

Capital at risk if you invest.

You can have as many GIAs as you like, and there are no contribution or withdrawal limits or penalties.

But, you may have to pay income tax, dividend tax or capital gains tax on any gains or income received through a GIA. There are a number of allowances before you’d have to pay tax, but it will come down to your individual circumstances.

Sometimes a GIA is referred to as a dealing account, usually by the more traditional stockbrokers. 

If you’d prefer a traditional stockbroker but which comes with modern features and customer support over the phone, then we recommend Interactive Investor.

Interactive Investor

With over 400,000 customers, Interactive Investor is one of the largest investment platforms in the UK.

It has over 40,000 shares and investments to choose from, fees which get cheaper the more you invest and one free trade per month. Its customer service is top-rated, too.

Buy BP shares in an ISA

An Individual Savings Account (ISA) is a government approved way of saving and investing without paying certain taxes. 

Through a Stocks and Shares ISA, you can invest in shares, bonds and funds without paying income tax, dividend tax and capital gains tax on your investments.

Whether you’re going to buy shares in BP or not, you should consider opening a Stocks and Shares ISA as a great, tax-efficient way of building an investment portfolio. You can contribute up to £20,000 a year into a Stocks and Shares ISA. 

We recommend Interactive Investor as our number one Stocks and Shares ISA provider.

Interactive Investor

We recommend Interactive Investor as our number one Stocks and Shares ISA provider. It’s one of the largest investment platforms in the UK, has a huge range of investments and excellent customer support.

Buy BP shares in a SIPP

Whether you already have a self-invested personal pension (SIPP), or want to open one, you may be thinking about adding BP shares to your portfolio. 

A SIPP is a great, tax-efficient method of saving for your retirement, with lots of investment options and control over how you invest.

If you want to buy BP shares in a SIPP, then we recommended AJ Bell as our number one SIPP provider:

AJ Bell

For its huge range of investments and low pricing, AJ Bell is our top pick for best SIPP. 

There are thousands of shares, funds, ETFs, investments trusts and bonds to choose from. Plus, 4 ready-made portfolios if you don’t want to pick your own investments.

AJ Bell is also known for its excellent customer service and it has a Trustpilot rating of 4.8.

Capital at risk if you invest.

For a full range of SIPP providers and to see more on why we ranked AJ Bell top, read our guide to the best SIPP providers.

Buy BP shares in a Lifetime ISA

Lifetime ISAs (sometimes referred to as LISAs) are tax-free savings and investment accounts designed to be put towards your first home, or for retirement. 

You have to be an adult aged 40 or under to open a Lifetime ISA and can contribute up to £4,000 a year, which also counts towards your overall ISA annual allowance of £20,000. 

The great benefit of a LISA is that the government gives you a 25% bonus on all your contributions. 

That can really add up over time, so you should strongly consider opening a Lifetime ISA if you’re eligible. But, there are strict penalties for withdrawing money for any reason other than to buy a first home or for retirement.

Hargreaves Lansdown

Not all investment platforms offer a Lifetime ISA but Hargreaves Lansdown does and it’s one of the lowest cost out there.

There’s a huge range of investments, great customer support and no transfer or exit fees.

How to buy shares in BP using fractional shares

You don’t have to own a whole share in a company when investing these days. You can instead buy a fractional share, which is a proportion of a single share.

Many of the best investment apps in the UK allow you to do this. It’s particularly useful for buying shares in companies with high share prices, which can put them out of reach for new investors.

For example, you can buy 10% or 50% of a share instead of one whole share. This lowers the funds required to get exposure to high-priced shares.

BP’s share price has not been particularly high, hovering between around £4.40 and £5.70 over the past year. But, if you don’t want to buy a whole share in BP you can still buy a proportion of a share instead.

Our preferred platform for buying fractional shares is eToro, and you can buy fractional BP shares on their platform. 

eToro

eToro is our top-rated investment app, it’s easy to use, has lots of innovative features and allows you to trade commission-free.

Capital at risk if you invest.

Buy BP shares in a Junior ISA

A Junior ISA is a tax-efficient savings and investment account for children, which can only be opened by a child’s parent or guardian. 

Once opened, anyone is able to contribute, such as grandparents, and there’s an annual contribution limit of £9,000. All gains and income generated within a Junior ISA is free from income tax, dividend tax and capital gains tax. 

To buy BP shares in a Junior ISA, you’ll need to first open a Junior ISA account for your child. Our top-rated Stocks and Shares Junior ISA is with Hargreaves Lansdown.

Hargreaves Lansdown

The UK’s largest retail investment platform, Hargreaves Lansdown, is our top pick for the best Junior Stocks And Shares ISA.

It charges no account or dealing fees at all – including on US shares – and has the widest range of investment options, as well as great customer service.

For more on Junior ISAs and why we rate HL as number one, read our full guide to the best Junior Stocks and Shares ISAs

How to buy shares in BP in the UK

We’ve covered all of the main ways of how to buy BP shares in the UK. 

But, what happens when you open one of the account types we ran through above? You’ll need to complete a sign up form with your basic identity information for all account types.

It’s also likely that the investment platform will perform a ‘soft’ credit search of your credit record for ID purposes. Note that this won’t be visible to lenders during a ‘hard’ credit search and will not affect your credit record.

When opening a type of ISA or a SIPP, you will be asked to give additional details compared to a simple GIA. These may include your Unique Tax Reference number, if you have one, and your National Insurance number.

General investment accounts are usually opened within minutes, or sometimes hours. For ISAs and SIPPs it may take longer – up to several days – if further checks are required. 

Overall, though, the processes for opening investment accounts will be familiar to you if you’ve opened a bank account or money transfer account in the last couple of years.

Once opened, you can fund your account and you’re all set to buy BP shares.

Should you buy BP shares?

If you’re reading about how to buy BP shares, you’re probably already thinking ‘should I buy BP shares?’.

We cannot help you with that one, as we don’t give investment advice. It’s down to you to do your own research on BP stock and make your own investment decision. 

The investment platforms we’ve covered above all have tools and resources available to help you with your research and analysis. We suggest you make use of them – especially the tons of features that eToro provides.

All of the investment platforms in this guide are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are part of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), protecting up to £85,000 of your money in the unlikely event that the platform goes out of business.

BP and Ethical Investing

As an oil producer, BP is often not considered to score highly on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria due to its environmental impact.

ESG considerations in the investment industry have received lots of attention in recent years. There’s been a general trend towards more open reporting by companies of their ESG credentials.

Alongside this, activists have been encouraging large investment firms to use their influence to encourage the management teams of large companies to improve their operations in-line with ESG values.

All of this is to say that BP is a somewhat controversial stock in light of ESG concerns. In recent years, oil companies have attempted to increase their investment in renewable and ‘green’ energy, both as future-proofing their businesses and to improve their ESG credentials. 

Some, therefore, argue that companies such as BP are important players in improving ‘green’ energy production and investing in renewables. Based on this, they would argue that investing in BP is still in-line with ESG values, as oil producers have a role to play in switching to a ‘greener’ future.

You may already have a view on ethical considerations when investing your own money, but it’s up to you to decide if buying BP shares aligns with your values. 

For more on ethical investing read our guide to the best Ethical Stocks and Shares ISAs.

Note: to buy BP stock and to buy BP shares means essentially the same thing. Buying stock, or owning stock, tends to be more widely used in the USA than in the UK. 

Start investing

That covers how to buy BP shares in the UK. Let’s summarise.

First, decide which investment platform you want to use. Then decide which type of account you’d like to invest through (or you may already have an investment account).

Then, open the account with your chosen investment platform by completing the sign up forms and any ID checks. Once opened, you can fund your account and you’re ready to invest.

Finally, search for BP (ticker: BP.) on your chosen investment platform, select how many shares you want to invest in and hit ‘buy’.

Here’s a final reminder of our top picks for each type of account:

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Disclaimer: This article should not be considered financial advice. We do not recommend that you buy BP shares, nor do we recommend that you do not buy BP shares. No view is held or given on the present or future value of any investment mentioned in this article or elsewhere on our site. You should do your own research and make your own investment decisions. Investments may rise or fall in value; your capital is at risk if you invest.

Any company information or statistics mentioned were correct at the date of publication but may have changed since then.

Disclosure: Alex, Generation Money’s founder, is a shareholder in BP.

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