Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown – Which Is Better For Trading & Investing?

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At Generation Money our purpose is to help you make better financial decisions. All of our articles are independently written and/or edited by finance professionals and adhere to strict editorial guidelines. This post may contain links which, if clicked, could result in a payment to the site. These links never impact our editorial policy and all rankings and product recommendations remain unbiased. For more details, read how this site is financed.

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Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown

For this investment platform head-to-head, I’ll be looking at Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown.

Trading 212 is best known as a trading platform, while Hargreaves Lansdown is a broader investment platform.

I’ll be comparing Trading 212 and Hargreaves Lansdown against a number of metrics to see which comes out on top. This includes products, investment options, features and, of course, fees.

Whether you’re a trader or investing for the long term, excessive fees can eat into your returns over time. I’ve been trading and investing for over 15 years, so I know the importance of choosing the right platform for your needs.

Read on for my full Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown comparison, or use the links below to jump straight to a particular section.

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Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown: At A Glance

Here’s my overview of Hargreaves Lansdown vs Trading 212 in case you don’t want to read the whole comparison. 

The table below looks at the key features compared against each other.

Trading 212Hargreaves Lansdown
Fees / Platform ChargesNo ongoing subscription / platform / management fees, or dealing commision. Following fees apply instead:

Market spread on all trades (difference between bid and ask price), varies by asset being traded

Daily financing fees on all CFD trades kept open overnight (inc. weekends), exact fee depends on asset being traded

FX Fees:
ISA and Invest accounts: 0.15% FX conversion fee on all orders placed in a currency other than the currency of your account.
CFDs: 0.5% on the closing position of a CFD trade if the trade is in a currency other than the currency of your account

First £2,000 deposited by Card, Google Pay or Apple Pay into an ‘Invest’ or ISA account is free, then 0.70% fee thereafter. No deposit / withdrawal fees on CFD accounts, and no withdrawal fees on any accounts.

Deposits via bank transfer are free on all accounts
Holding funds:
Up to £250,000: 0.45%
£250,000 – £1m: 0.25%
£1m – £2m: 0.10%
£2m+: 0%

Holding shares:
Fund & Share Account: no charge
Stocks & Shares ISA: 0.45% (capped at £45)
SIPP & Junior SIPP: 0.45% (capped at £200)

No fees for Junior ISAs

See Fees section below for more, inc. dealing fees
Minimum Investment£1 minimum deposit and £1 minimum investment / order for ISA and Invest accounts

£10 minimum deposit for CFD accounts
£1 to open Fund & Share Account (GIA), £100 minimum investment for funds

£100 for ISA & SIPP, unless regularly depositing £25+ per month
Products / AccountsStocks & Shares ISA

Invest Account / GIA

CFD Account

Demo Account
Stocks & Shares: ISA, JISA, LISA

Fund & Share Account / GIA

SIPP (Pension), Junior SIPP

Cash ISA, Active Savings

Personal Financial Advice

Foreign Currency Exchange
Ready-Made PortfoliosPies & AutoInvest4
Ready-Made Portfolio FeesNo additional fees for Pies. Above fees apply when investing to create your Pie, e.g. FX fees0.92%-0.99% 

Platform fees above apply on top
Ethical Portfolios/FundsAccess to ESG ETFsAccess to ESG ETFs
Other Portfolios/FundsN/AHL Select
Wealth Shortlist
DIY PortfolioYesYes
Investment OptionsShares
ETFs
Commodities
FX
CFDs on all of the above
Cryptocurrencies
Shares
ETFs
Over 3,000 mutual funds and Investment Trusts
Corporate Bonds & Gilts
FSCS ProtectionYes (except funds outside the UK)Yes (except funds outside the UK)
Trustpilot reviews4.64.2

What You Need To Know

Trading 212 logo
Best For:
  • Trading 212 is geared towards trading and is the better platform if you want to trade frequently
  • It’s also better suited if you want to trade using leverage through CFDs, including short-selling, which you cannot do with HL
  • Buying shares is commission-free and there are no charges for holding shares, including in an ISA
Best For:
  • Hargreaves Lansdown is the better platform for longer term investors who do not buy and sell assets frequently 
  • It’s also the better option for tax-efficient investing as it offers a wider range of ISAs
  • If you want to invest in bonds and investment trusts, as you’re unable to do so with Trading 212

What You Need To Know

Trading 212 logo
Best For:
  • Trading 212 is geared towards trading and is the better platform if you want to trade frequently
  • It’s also better suited if you want to trade using leverage through CFDs, including short-selling, which you cannot do with HL
  • Buying shares is commission-free and there are no charges for holding shares, including in an ISA
Best For:
  • Hargreaves Lansdown is the better platform for longer term investors who do not buy and sell assets frequently 
  • It’s also the better option for tax-efficient investing as it offers a wider range of ISAs
  • If you want to invest in bonds and investment trusts, as you’re unable to do so with Trading 212

What is Trading 212?

Since 2016, Trading 212 has been the number one most downloaded trading app in the UK, and has over 14 million downloads in total. 

Trading 212 was the first investment platform to offer commission-free stock trading in the UK and Europe. It allows you to trade in stocks, ETFs, currencies and commodities, as well as trading CFDs.

What is Hargreaves Lansdown?

Established in 1981, Hargreaves Lansdown is one of the largest retail investment platforms in the UK. 

It styles itself as the UK’s No.1 investment platform for private investors, and has over 1.6 million investors managing £120bn in investments as of April-23.

Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Fees

Let’s look in more detail at the all-important costs for Hargreaves Lansdown vs Trading 212.

Trading 212 does not charge subscription or platform fees. Instead it charges a range of transaction fees. By contrast, Hargreaves Lansdown has a tiered fee structure based on how much you have invested and the type of assets you invest in:

Trading 212Hargreaves Lansdown
Platform FeesNo ongoing subscription / platform / management fees, or dealing commision. Following fees apply instead:

Market spread on all trades (difference between bid and ask price), varies by asset being traded

Daily financing fees on all CFD trades kept open overnight (inc. weekends), exact fee depends on asset being traded

FX Fees:
ISA and Invest accounts: 0.15% FX conversion fee on all orders placed in a currency other than the currency of your account.
CFDs: 0.5% on the closing position of a CFD trade if the trade is in a currency other than the currency of your account

0.70% fee on deposits made by Card, Google Pay & Apple Pay into an Invest or ISA account. No deposit / withdrawal fees on CFD accounts, and no withdrawal fees on any accounts.

Deposits via bank transfer are free on all accounts
Holding funds:
Up to £250,000: 0.45%
£250,000 – £1m: 0.25%
£1m – £2m: 0.10%
£2m+: 0%

Holding shares:
Fund & Share Account: no charge
Stocks & Shares ISA: 0.45% (capped at £45 per year)
Lifetime ISA: 0.25% (capped at £45 per year)

SIPP & Junior SIPP: 0.45% (capped at £200 per year)

No fees for Junior ISAs
Actively Managed Portfolio Management FeesNo additional charge for investing in ready-made ‘Pies’.0.92%-0.99% 

Platform fees above apply on top
Individual Stocks & Shares / Share DealingMarket spread on all CFD trades (difference between bid and ask price), varies by asset being traded

Daily financing fees on all CFD trades kept open overnight (inc. weekends), exact fee depends on asset being traded

ISA/Invest Accounts: 0.15% FX conversion fee on all orders placed in a currency other than the currency of your account.  

CFD Trading Accounts: 0.5% FX fee on the closing position of a CFD trade if the trade is in a currency other than the currency of your account
Fee based on number of deals in prior month:
0 – 9: £11.95
10 – 20: £8.95
20+: £5.95

FX charge also applies on overseas shares
Regulated Financial AdviceN/AInvestment advice: 
Up to £1m: 1%
£1m+: 0%

Financial Planning:
Up to £200k: 2%
£200k – 1m+: 1%
Over £1m; 0%

Both subject to min. charge of £495 for advice over the phone, £1,495 for in-person. VAT in addition

Hargreaves Lansdown and Trading 212 have fundamentally different pricing for the most part. 

Unlike Hargreaves Lansdown, Trading 212 does not charge a fee based on the assets you hold with them nor does it charge management fees. Instead it charges transaction fees on card deposits to fund your account, FX conversions and trading CFDs (contracts for difference). 

Trading / Dealing Fees

Trading 212 is well-known for its commission-free share trading, but this doesn’t mean it’s totally free to buy stocks and shares. To buy shares or ETFs priced in a currency other than the main currency of your account, you will pay an FX charge of 0.15% per transaction.

For example, if you have an account in GBP and want to buy US shares you will pay 0.15% in fees on each transaction for US shares.

By contrast, Hargreaves Lansdown charges dealing fees for buying and selling shares (but not mutual funds or investment trusts) of between £5.95 and £11.95 each trade. Investing in international (non-UK) shares attracts additional fees.

This makes it the more expensive option vs Trading 212, especially if you’re a frequent trader. This is because the 0.15% FX fee charged on international shares by Trading 212 for most investors will be less than the dealing fees of Hargreaves Lansdown.

With Trading 212 you can also trade CFDs which are leveraged instruments. These offer much greater risk (and potential reward) than directly buying shares and ETFs.

If you trade CFDs, you will be charged daily financing costs (essentially interest on the leveraged financing that Trading 212 is providing to you) for each trade kept open overnight.

CFDs are highly risky instruments and the majority of traders lose money when trading CFDs with almost all CFD brokers in the UK. With Trading 212, 81% of retail investors lose money when trading CFDs with them (it’s an FCA requirement for Trading 212 to disclose this information).

There’s an additional FX fee of 0.7% on the closure of all CFD trades if the transaction is not in the currency of your account. For example, if your account’s primary currency is GBP you will be charged 0.7% when you close a CFD trade in a US share.

Hargreaves Lansdown’s platform charges depend on the type of account you open and the type of assets you hold.

Ready-Made Portfolios

Hargreaves Lansdown offers 4 ready-made portfolios based on risk appetite: Adventurous, Moderately Adventurous, Balanced and Cautious.

These have higher fund fees than you would typically get with ready-made portfolios by specialist robo-advisors such as Moneyfarm and &me, as well as InvestEngine.

By contrast, Trading 212 provides a range of what it calls Pies. These are ready-made portfolios that you’re able to copy. More on how these work below.

There are no ongoing management or fund charges for investing in Trading 212’s Pies. Instead you will pay any FX fees, if required, on the trades needed to build the portfolio you choose.

Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Products & Accounts

With Hargreaves Lansdown you’ll have access to a full set of ISA options, including a Stocks & Shares ISA, LISA and JISA as well as a Cash ISA. In addition, you can open a SIPP and a Junior SIPP. 

Aside from these, you can also open a Fund and Share Account (General Investment Account) which is outside of a tax wrapper. 

By contrast, Trading 212 only offers a Stocks and Shares ISA by way of tax-wrappers. If you’re interested in Junior ISAs, Lifetime ISAs or Self-Invested Personal Pensions then you’ll prefer Hargreaves Lansdown.

In addition, you can open an Invest account with Trading 212, which is its GIA, and a CFD Trading account. A CFD Trading account allows you to make trades through Contracts For Difference which are highly risky, leveraged instruments. Hargreaves Lansdown does not allow CFD trading.

Aside from account types, with Hargreaves Lansdown you can also purchase Personal Financial Advice if you want a professional to guide you through your investment and financial planning options.

Overall, Hargreaves Lansdown is the winner if you want ISA options beyond a Stocks & Shares ISA, or you want to open a SIPP. However, if you want to be able to trade CFDs then you will prefer Trading 212’s Trading Account.

Hargreaves Lansdown – Switch Your Money On

ISAs, Pensions, Funds and Shares.

Thousands of stocks, bonds & funds to choose from with the UK’s largest platform for private investors.

ISAs, Pensions, Funds and Shares.
Thousands of stocks, bonds & funds to choose from with the UK’s largest platform for private investors.

Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Investment Options & Services

Fundamentally, Trading 212 is geared towards traders whereas Hargreaves Lansdown is a broader investment platform.

Trading 212 allows you to trade using leverage via CFDs and gives you the ability to short, or sell, stocks without owning them. There are over 12,000 stocks and ETFs available to trade or invest in.

You can also invest using fractional shares with Trading 212. This allows you to buy increments of a share starting with a minimum of £1. This means you can get a stake in companies with high share prices, such as Tesla or Apple, without having to buy a whole share.

By contrast, Hargreaves Lansdown is a more traditional investment platform and does not allow short selling or trading with leverage. Instead, it has an extensive range of funds and bonds to invest in, alongside shares.

While Trading 212 only allows you to invest in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Hargreaves Lansdown has thousands of mutual funds and investment trusts to choose from, in addition to ETFs. 

There’s also a wide range of corporate and government bonds available to invest in with Hargreaves Lansdown. Bonds are not directly available through Trading 212.

Both Hargreaves Lansdown and Trading 212 offer ready-made portfolios. Each of Hargreaves Lansdown’s 4 portfolios are based on risk appetite: Adventurous, Moderately Adventurous, Balanced and Cautious.

These are actively managed funds which are rebalanced over time by professional fund managers.

On the other hand, Trading 212’s ready-made funds – called Pies – are part of its ‘social investing’ features. There are hundreds of user created Pies available to copy to your portfolio.

Some are built around specific industries or sectors, while others are put together by individual traders who share them on the Trading 212 platform.

Pies screenshot in Trading 212 app
‘Pies’ in the Trading 212 app

Pies are an innovative feature, and come with no additional fees, but you should do your own research before copying them as they are not professionally managed.

Aside from ready-made portfolios, Hargreaves Lansdown offers two more helpful options for beginner investors. There’s its Wealth Shortlist, which is a list of funds picked by Hargreaves Lansdown based on various criteria, which you can choose to invest in. 

In addition, there are HL Select portfolios which are managed by Hargreaves Lansdown fund managers. These are actively managed funds. 

Clearly, both platforms offer quite different investment options and services. Which one is right for you will depend on your investment goals and whether you want access to riskier trading options. 

Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Research, Tools and Advice

Hargreaves Lansdown offers a good range of tools, research and guides on its website. Beginner and more experienced investors alike will likely get some benefit from them.

You can download Hargreaves Lansdown’s free investing guide here:

With Hargreaves Lansdown you can also get personal financial advice from a regulated professional. 

If you have a more complex financial situation, or simply want the advice of a professional, this could be a good option for you. Trading 212 does not offer financial advice.

Trading 212 has a ‘Learn’ section on its website and in its app which provides a range of investing and trading guides, covering all of the asset classes you can trade on its platform. 

These articles provide a good understanding of the fundamentals of trading and investing. They also help to explain some of the investing features on Trading 212’s platform. However, you’re not going to go from a novice to a professional trader from these alone.

Trading 212’s platform also has more sophisticated trading tools available, as you would expect from a trading platform – more on this below.

Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Which Has The Better App?

Both Trading 212 and Hargreaves Lansdown have an app alongside their online platform. I tested both apps against each other for this comparison, although I’ve used both apps for a number of years now.

In fact, Trading 212 has been my primary CFD trading app, except for FX, for several years.

Both apps have the basics of what you’d expect for investment apps. They allow you to see your investments and portfolios, as well as fund your account. Market news and updates are also regularly provided in-app with each provider.

Here’s a snapshot of each app:

Trading 212’s browse tab
Hargreaves Lansdown vs Trading 212 app screenshot
Markets summary tab in the Hargreaves Lansdown app

The trading 212 app will look slightly different based on which type of account you have – a CFD Trading account or an ISA/Invest account. 

With an ISA or Invest account you will have a Social Feed tab. In this tab you can see the available ‘Pies’, or ready-made portfolios, that you can invest in. Alongside this, you can see commentary and posts from fellow Trading 212 users. 

On the other hand, a CFD Trading account (below) does not have the social feed.

Regardless of the type of account you have, you can easily place trades from the app, including limit orders and stop losses.

Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown app comparisons
Tesla as an example of a stock in Trading 212’s CFD Trading account

Which app you prefer will again depend on how you want to invest. For frequent traders and those who want to use leverage or short stocks, Trading 212’s app is the winner.

However, there’s a lot of competition among trading apps right now, so you may want to consider alternatives such as Plum and Lightyear which have some innovative features. Read my full Plum review for more.

For longer term investors, you may prefer Hargreaves Lansdown. It comes with market research and news, alongside the ability to invest in assets directly through the app.

Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Is My Money Safe?

Both Trading 212 and Hargreaves Lansdown are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and have Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection.

This means that if either company were to go bust, your money would be protected up to the value of £85,000 by the regulator. 

It should be noted that some of the funds offered by Hargreaves Lansdown are located outside of the UK and therefore may not be covered by FSCS protection. This information is made clear in the Key Investor Information Document available online with both platforms.

Both Hargreaves Lansdown and Trading 212 segregate client money from their own using custodian accounts held with secure 3rd parties. These also fall under FSCS protection.

Hargreaves Lansdown is a well-established investment platform and has decades of experience managing investments and client assets. 

Trading 212 is a newer platform and operates at the higher risk end of the investment market, but its FCA regulation and FSCS protection should give you some peace of mind.

However, CFDs are highly risky instruments and should not be used unless you are sure you understand the risks. With Trading 212, 81% of investors lose money trading CFDs. 

Hargreaves Lansdown – Switch Your Money On

ISAs, Pensions, Funds and Shares.

Thousands of stocks, bonds & funds to choose from with the UK’s largest platform for private investors.

ISAs, Pensions, Funds and Shares.
Thousands of stocks, bonds & funds to choose from with the UK’s largest platform for private investors.

Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Pros & Cons

To summarise my comparison of Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown, I’ve outlined below the main pros and cons of each investment platform.

Trading 212 Pros & Cons

Trading 212 Pros

  • Commission-free when buying stocks and shares (market spread applies)
  • No monthly subscription costs or annual fees
  • Wide range of assets to trade, including shares, commodities, FX, ETFs and – unlike Hargreaves Lansdown – cryptocurrencies
  • Trade using leverage with CFDs, but comes with much greater risk
  • Option to short stocks (otherwise known as short-selling) using CFDs, essentially betting that a stock will go down in price without needing to own the stock. Comes with high risk and should only be considered by more experienced investors
  • Fractional shares – you can invest in high-price shares in fractions starting with just £1
  • Ready-made portfolios covering a range of themes, called Pies, to invest in with no extra charges
  • Low minimum investment, starting at just £1 in an Invest or ISA account
  • Invest through a Stocks & Shares ISA
  • User friendly app packed with features and in-app analysis
  • FCA regulated and FSCS protection

Trading 212 Cons

  • The only tax-wrapper you can open is a Stocks & Shares ISA, so no JISA or LISA
  • No pension products such as a SIPP, unlike Hargreaves Lansdown
  • Holding a CFD position can become expensive if held for a long time as daily financing charges apply
  • FX transaction fees can add up if regularly trading/investing in international shares/ETFs
  • Does not offer bonds to invest in, unlike Hargreaves Lansdown
  • For investing in funds, Trading 212 only offers ETFs so you cannot invest in other types of funds such as investment trusts like you can with Hargreaves Lansdown
  • Does not offer regulated financial advice, unlike Hargreaves Lansdown

Hargreaves Lansdown Pros & Cons

Hargreaves Lansdown Pros

  • Huge range of thousands of funds, shares and bonds to invest in
  • Caters to wide range of users with an extensive mix of ready-made, actively managed and passive portfolios
  • Extensive investment research and useful tools, good for experienced investors
  • Offers regulated personal financial advice, good for those seeking guidance with their investments
  • Low minimum investment of £1 when opening a Fund & Share account (GIA)
  • Log in to your account online and through the app
  • Offers more products than Trading 212, including a wide range of ISAs for tax-efficient investing, including JISAs, LISAs and Cash ISAs
  • Offers pension products, including a SIPP and Junior SIPP
  • Active Savings account brings a range of savings accounts providers together to earn money on your cash
  • FCA regulated and FSCS protection

Hargreaves Lansdown Cons

  • Ready-made portfolios are expensive compared to other providers
  • Does not allow trading with leverage or short-selling
  • Dealing fees of up to £11.95 per transaction make it an expensive platform for frequent traders
  • Annual platform charges for holding funds, and for holding shares in an ISA, unlike Trading 212

Trading 212 vs Hargreaves Lansdown: Final Verdict

Both Trading 212 and Hargreaves Lansdown are good choices for those who want to pick their own investments and build their own portfolios.

Fundamentally, though, they cater to different types of investors and have very different pricing structures.

Trading 212 is those who trade regularly and like to use leverage. It also allows you to trade in higher risk assets such as cryptocurrencies. Neither of these options are available with Hargreaves Lansdown. 

Furthermore, you can short-sell with Trading 212 via CFDs. Using CFDs comes with high risk, though, so you should only trade in them if you are confident that you understand the risks involved.

Aside from CFD trading, Trading 212 also allows you to open a Stocks and Shares ISA and hold shares and ETFs. There are no ongoing platform or subscription fees, or dealing fees, for building your own portfolio. 

On the other hand, Hargreaves Lansdown allows you to open a wider range of ISAs and account types, including JISAs and LISAs. 

In addition, you’re able to invest in mutual funds and corporate and government bonds through Hargreaves Lansdown, which you cannot do with Trading 212. This is in addition to thousands of shares and ETFs.

For building a long term portfolio, with less frequent dealing and a range of tax-wrappers to choose from, you may prefer Hargreaves Lansdown.

Hargreaves Lansdown – Switch Your Money On

ISAs, Pensions, Funds and Shares.

Thousands of stocks, bonds & funds to choose from with the UK’s largest platform for private investors.

ISAs, Pensions, Funds and Shares.
Thousands of stocks, bonds & funds to choose from with the UK’s largest platform for private investors.

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