Freetrade App Review

Back in May 2018,  I invested in Freetrade, a new stockbroker app, via CrowdCube.

It went on to become the most over-funded equity offering.

Anyway, after what felt like the longest wait ever, the app was finally available for download for Android today – here’s the Forbes’ announcement.

So, nearly a year after my crowdfunding investment, I have finally been able to download the app (after initially taking part in their beta-test). IOS users have been using the app since October so yes, I’ve been (im)patiently waiting all this time to try it out.

Search for stocks under ‘Discover’

What can I say, except that I can’t describe the feeling of being able to buy very small amounts of shares without being charged a trading fee!

The app is slick, responsive, simple yet aesthetically pleasing.

How will Freetrade make Money?

It operates a freemium business model, which anyone who plays ‘free’ games on their phones will be familiar with – you get a great basic app for free but if you want some bells and whistles, there’s a small cost.

In Freetrade’s case, basic buy/sell trades are all bunched together and executed for free at around 4pm on a working day. Great for someone like me who’s not bothered about price or timing the market.

However, if you want to buy/sell immediately, it costs a £1. For people used to paying £10-£12 per execution, this is a huge difference. Hell, I might even be tempted to part with the odd £1 occasionally for a quick sale/purchase!  Current pricing can be viewed here. At some point, Alpha accounts will be introduced, for a monthly fee, providing discount on instant trades and other services.

One of the reasons I’m more of a passive investor is because with conventional brokers, actively trading too much adds to high costs, eating into my gains.

These free trades or low fee trades are kind of dangerous.

My ‘test’ portfolio

How so?  The free/low cost trading might actually encourage some to over-trade, tempting people to buy/sell on a whim.

Or not. I guess it depends on what type of investor you are. At the end of the day, no big fees when you want to re-balance your portfolio or want to take advantage of some low prices, so definitely a win.

I think this app might well change the way I invest – previously, I waited for dividends to accumulate up to a minimum of £100 before I reinvested once a month (using my platform’s £1.50 regular investing facility).

With Freetrade, I will be able to invest when there’s just a few quid of dividend cash in the account, so my cash in the account will be invested a lot quicker.

Apologies that my cheap Android phone doesn’t do the app any justice in the screenshots as it’s only got a small screen.

You might get a better view of the screens here.

Android Compatibility

Speaking of cheap Android phone, the app is only compatible with Android version 7.0 and above. My current phone is on Android 6 so yes, I picked up a new basic handset just so that I could use the app! (thanks @Chris Perry for reminding me to add this to the post!)

What’s on Offer?

At the time of writing, ISAs were availabe for IOS users, priced at a fixed £3 per month (from July 2019 – it’s currently free).

ISAs should be available for Android users from next month and I will be setting up my 2019/20 ISA with them to see how it goes. I’m not sure if ISAs can be transferred just yet but it’s definitely in the pipeline.

Basic graph thingy…

At the moment, the choice of investments is nowhere near what you have available with say Hargreaves Lansdown, but pretty much all of the FTSE100 is available, much of the FTSE 250, many ETFs, a few investment trusts and also numerous US shares – FANG stocks anyone?

New stocks are being added all the time (albeit slowly) while the team concentrate on continuing to improve the app.

Topping Up

At the moment, the only way to top up my Freetrade account is by bank transfer (you have to link a bank account to the app).

Top up via Apple Pay is available for iPhone users and I believe other methods of topping up will be added in time.

So it’s not as handy as topping up via debit card which I’m able to do right now with my other platforms, but it’s no great inconvenience doing the bank transfer.

Google Play store is showing a load of one star reviews, received when the company made the decision a few months back to allow the app to be downloaded, only to place the people in a queue.

For people who read the blurb and were expecting this, fine; for those who didn’t and were expecting a fully working model, they one-starred it. Hopefully, there will now be better (and more accurate) reviews now that the fully-working model has been delivered. Apparently, there have been over 20k downloads already.

There is still plenty of scope for improvement and the Freetrade team continue to work on the development of the app to incorporate functionalities we’ve become used to with other brokers (eg ISA transfers, SIPPs etc) and other functions, such as being able to buy fractions of shares (US only). Here is their open product roadmap, documenting what they are working on.

I’ve not tried to do any research of stocks or other investments on the app – right now, I prefer to do my research from other websites, so improving this area isn’t a biggie for me but some users have mentioned that there wasn’t enough research/news material. All in good time, I guess.

Also, checking my portfolio on my phone is something quite new to me as I do pretty much all my investing on pc or laptop. Hopefully, this might mean that I won’t be too tempted to tinker…

One thing I’m really looking forward to doing is ultimately having my Dogs of the FTSE portfolio on here as it will be the perfect platform to run the experimental portfolio. I might even reconsider doing another Monkey Stocks portfolio – let me have a think about that!

Another thing I’m interested in, is seeing Freetrade added to Monevator’s broker comparison table – if I were a gambling woman, I’d put money on Freetrade being the cheapest!

Anyway, with Freetrade being FCA registered and investments being covered by the FSCS, I can’t wait to continue to build my portfolio using this app.

[Disclaimer – Aside from being an investor in the Freetrade company, I have no affiliation whatsoever with Freetrade (ie this is not a sponsored post) and this is not a recommendation to download the app (although, why not? 🙂 ). There are no referral links in this post]

30 thoughts on “Freetrade App Review

  1. Thanks for the review Weenie!

    I will almost certainly download this now it’s available for Android and stick a few hundred in there to have a play around. If its good then £3/month for ISA fees actually sounds pretty decent if you are getting all your trades for free on top of that as well.

    The main worry for me, as you quite rightly mention, is that it may well encourage tinkering. However I am quite far past the “excitement” part of investing and seem to have little time to look at my investments as it is, so I would hope that all it would encourage me to do is actually invest more regularly, which can only be a good thing because at the moment I do not do that AT ALL (bad TFS!!!!). I haven’t made an ISA top up at all last tax year which is a bit annoying. I can see this hopefully getting me back into the swing of doing so and maybe even setting up a monthly auto payment for the first time ever 🙂

    Cheers!

    • Hey TFS

      Yes, I was a little worried about the tinkering aspect so I think I might set aside some ‘fun’ money to tinker with (eg for US stocks) and will invest the large sensible part in tracker ETFs/investment trusts.

      Anyway, if I have persuaded you to put some money in your ISA, then my job here is done! 🙂

  2. Hi Weenie, thanks for reviewing the Freetrade app. One thing that impresses me is the simplicity of their fees (link below). Some brokers seem to deliberately make their fees complicated (in an attempt to disguise how much they are charging?). One warning: I opened an account with IG about a year ago. Their fees were fine at the time. Then a few months later they introduced quarterly charges for people who didn’t trade regularly. It’s possible that Freetrade will change their fees (= increase some of them) once they’ve become established? Regards, Chris.

    https://freetrade.io/pricing

    • Hi Chris

      Yes, I love Freetrade’s simple pricing but as you say, there’s nothing to stop them from increasing their fees.

      That said, their ethos is to provide fee free trading so I think there will always be the basic account with free trading – otherwise they would have to change their name! 🙂

  3. Really such a timely blog Weenie! Only earlier this week was I looking at other options as I’m new to all this and have gone from using a manager from the stuff I had to set up after Dad’s death for mum, to Hargreaves Lansdown for my eensy bits of money in funds and kids’ SIPPs (Woot yeah!), to thinking hell, I can do this cheaper still and start buying stocks.
    So an ISA at £3/mth would then mean free trades – that’s incredible if I read that right.
    Thanks as ever! newbie, Chantal

    • Hi Chantal

      Glad to hear you found my review useful!

      In answer to your query, yes the ISA will cost £3 a month and basic trades will be free. If you want to buy or sell immediately, it’s all of £1 per trade.

  4. Loving FreeTrade so far! Have a few hundred quid for one of my Dogs of the FTSE stocks and so far all going well!

    The depositing system needs a bit of work (bit out dated with having to pay via bank transfer and using a reference code) – But I believe they are working on improving this over the next coming months.

    • Hey Jase

      It’s brill, isn’t it? And great to hear that you’re already taking advantage with your Dogs of the FTSE stocks – I’m waiting to open my ISA before I make any changes – think I will be selling 5 of my Dogs.

      Agree that the depositing system is a little archaic, but it will be improved. I don’t know how Google Pay works but assuming it will be a lot quicker than the bank transfer!

  5. thanks for posting this – I follow finance but tend to avoid fintech but I gladbly found out about Freetrade recently and enjoyed reading your review.
    Anything which can keep costs down is good in my books – I have possibly spent hundreds of pounds a year on (now unncessary) fees and that is even with “low-cost” providers.
    My plans are for not to keep things simple – invest to minimise fees and Freetrade looks like a good platform to use.

    thanks! GFF

    • Hi GFF

      Glad you found this useful.

      I thought about moving my other investments to Freetrade in time to minimise ALL fees across my investments but I’m more of the view that I want my investments spread across different platforms, rather than all lumped in one, so balancing a bit of security with fee minimisation.

  6. For android users, the freetrade app isn’t listed in google play on my phone (running android 5.1). I think that means freetrade is not compatible with android 5.1. freetrade haven’t yet listed the android system requirements on their website. I don’t think android system updates are available for my phone (Doogee X6) so that means I can’t try out freetrade until I buy a new phone.

    • Hi Chris

      Apologies, I wrote the post last night and missed off a bit I was going to write about compatibility!

      The app is only compatible with Android version 7 and above and I actually purchased a cheap Android phone (for about £50) so that I could download it, as my existing phone is only on version 6!

      I will update my review tonight.

  7. You are really spot on with your assessment of the pros and cons of the Freetrade app. I have been using it since November’18 and it’s has been brilliant. It’s has given me an opportunity to pursue a dividend growth strategy as a satellite portfolio.
    There’s more update and improvements planned for the app to make it much better.

    • Hi Ola

      Thanks for stopping by and good to hear from someone who has been using the app for a while.

      Like you, I look forward to see more updates and improvements planned, even though the app is already very good!

  8. Great review! I think Freetrade has helped me adopt better investing habits. I used to invest lump sums in a small number of stocks which is way more risky! Now I can make lots of smaller investments and build a more diversified portfolio. So while do more trades, these are early all buys!

    • Thanks Rob!

      Glad to hear that you enjoyed the review and good to read that Freetrade has allowed you to invest in a more diversified portfolio without you having to pay the usual high fees!

      I think I will be making lots of purchases too, time will tell if I take advantage of selling for no fee!

  9. Thanks for the review weenie. It seems like an interesting application and I agree it could well feature well on the broker comparison article on monevator. I haven’t ventured outside of typical index investing up till now but will keep this in mind if that changes,

    Chris

    • Hi Chris

      Well my review appeared in Monevator’s round up this week, so at least they are aware of the app so will hopefully feature it soon.

      Freetrade does have index tracker ETFs available, including the usual, eg Vanguard All World ETF (VWRL) as well as others.

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  11. Thanks for sharing your review, Weenie. Maybe I’m reading the wrong blogs/websites, but I haven’t heard this app mentioned anywhere else other than here! It sounds very interesting, and lots of positive reviews here in your comments. I’ll probably keep an eye on it, but for now, I’ll stick to my Vanguard ISA. I’m still in the early days of accumulation for FI, and I prefer the fully passive nature of just sticking all my money in a global tracker! But, if I were to find myself tempted to try out some individual stock picking (maybe to try out your Dogs of the FTSE strategy), this looks like the app to beat

    • Hey Dr FIRE

      For some reason, mainstream press seem to have been a bit slow on the pick up of this as perhaps they see Freetrade as competing with just other Fintech apps rather than ultimately providing a viable alternative to the big boys, eg HL, AJBell, or even Vanguard.

      Mentioned in the FT today though: https://www.ft.com/content/8be69c5e-5f6b-11e9-b285-3acd5d43599e

      Global tracker ETFs are available with Freetrade (including most of Vanguard ones or similar) so this is where the bulk of my money will be going for my ISA.

      Yep, looking forward to getting my Dogs on the app!

      • Interesting article, thanks for sharing!

        I didn’t realise that global trackers were available on Freetrade… Something to consider when the value of my ISA gets big enough that Vanguard’s % fee is no longer cost effective, and I look to move to a fixed fee platform. Thanks again, Weenie!

  12. I’d be considering Freetrade for my ‘suck it and see’ fun money investments for a while, but hadn’t gotten round to it. After reading your post I have downloaded it and am really enjoying it. I’m not sure how their freemium business model will work long term so I’m cautious about putting in any serious money or transferring my main account to them, but we will see.

    Great post 🙂

    • Thanks D and good to hear that you’ve downloaded it to check it out!

      It will be interesting to see how their business model works and if successful, if it would be model other providers would consider adopting. I’m going to be putting new ISA cash in this year but won’t be transferring my existing ISAs over (when that becomes available).

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