Skip to main content

Compare the best stocks and shares ISAs

Find out how a stock and shares ISA could help to grow your savings
Stocks and shares ISA image version 2
Investment ISAs put your capital at risk so this means you could get back less than you originally invested.
Last updated
January 31, 2023

What is a stocks and shares ISA?

A stocks and shares ISA - which is also known as an investment ISA and equity ISA - is a tax-efficient way to invest. They let you put your money into different investments with the bonus of tax-free returns. Therefore, it acts like a ‘wrapper’ as it’s the vehicle that helps you to invest. 

However, there are risks involved and it’s important not to get this confused with a cash ISA, as that’s a tax free savings account. 

The main difference between a stocks and shares ISA and a cash ISA is that instead of putting your money into a savings account you use your money to buy and sell shares in companies. You won't pay tax on the profits you earn and the investments held in a stocks and shares ISA. 

There is a limit to how much money you can invest in a stocks and shares ISA - for this tax year it's £20,000."

Who should invest in stocks and shares ISAs?

A stocks and shares ISA works well if you have long-term savings goals, like a retirement fund, as you might get better returns than a cash ISA.

However, remember your capital is at risk as with any investment, the value could easily fall as it can rise so the profit is never guaranteed.

The best stocks and shares ISAs deals

We’ve compiled the best stocks and shares ISAs deals currently on the market so you can see which provider might best suit your needs.

Editor’s pick
One of the best with a low initial and monthly investment requirement and a wide choice of funds.
Card
Interactive Investor Stocks & Shares ISA
Best Buy Low Cost ISA over £50k – Boring Money Best Buy 2022
Invest From
Any lump sum or monthly amount
Invest in
Over 3,000 funds
Transfers in
Accepted

Capital at risk.

Show Details
Eligibility
Permanent UK Resident
YES
Protection scheme
FSCS
Editor’s pick
One of the best with a low initial and monthly investment requirement and a wide choice of funds.
Card
Barclays Smart Investor Investment ISA
Invest From
Any lump sum or monthly amount
Invest in
Over 2,000 funds
Transfers in
Accepted

The value of investments can fall and you may get back less than you invest. Tax rules can change, and individual effects vary.

Show Details
Eligibility
Permanent UK Resident
YES
Protection scheme
FSCS
Editor’s pick
One of the best with a low initial and monthly investment requirement and a wide choice of funds.
Card
Freetrade Stocks and Shares ISA
Invest From
£2 lump sum or any monthly amount
Invest in
Over 3,000 funds
Transfers in
Accepted

Free share worth up to £200 when you fund your account. T&Cs apply. Capital at risk.

Show Details
Eligibility
Minimum Initial Deposit
£2
Minimum Lump Sum Stocks & Shares ISA Investment
£2
Permanent UK Resident
YES
Protection scheme
FSCS
The editorial team regularly checks and evaluates the top picks on this page, updating them at least fortnightly.

Alternatives to stocks and shares ISAs

If you are saving for the short term then a normal savings account or a cash ISA would be more suitable than a stocks and shares ISA. 

However, if you do have long-term saving plans, then a stocks and shares ISA would work well compared to other types of investing. As well as the tax-free element you also get some extra protection from the fact it’s an ISA, which could be helpful. 

That being said, if you would like a tax-free alternative take a look at a lifetime ISA as this is also tax free and has good interest rates and a 25% bonus from the government. Take note that this ISA does come with restrictions and you only get the bonus if you use the money to buy your first house or after you turn 60.

If you aren't sure which ISA to choose, a chat with a financial adviser should help."

The pros and cons of a stocks and shares ISA

Pros
A stocks and shares ISA has the potential to give you high returns
Returns are free from capital gains, dividend and income tax
There are a lot of investments to choose from
Cons
You capital is at risk is investments fall in value
There are usually fees and charges to invest, including exit, management and platform fees
You are capped at £20,000 to invest each tax year
Investing vs a normal savings account
How would £1,000 have grown in 10 years with investing v a savings account?

Source: Defaqto. Updated: December 9, 2022

Past performance is not indicative of future results

Investment ISAs put your capital at risk so this means you could get back less than you originally invested.

The different types of stocks and shares ISA

Managed stocks and shares ISAs
Managed stocks and shares ISAs

This type of stocks and shares ISA means that an ISA provider will manage your investment and at a risk that you choose. It normally costs a bit more for these services but you’ll have advisers on hand to help.

Self-selected stocks and shares ISAs
Self-selected stocks and shares ISAs

If you are feeling confident about investing, then this is a good option to take control. A self-selected stocks and shares ISA means that you pick the investments yourself.

The different types of stocks and shares ISA
Managed stocks and shares ISAs
Managed stocks and shares ISAs

This type of stocks and shares ISA means that an ISA provider will manage your investment and at a risk that you choose. It normally costs a bit more for these services but you’ll have advisers on hand to help.

Self-selected stocks and shares ISAs
Self-selected stocks and shares ISAs

If you are feeling confident about investing, then this is a good option to take control. A self-selected stocks and shares ISA means that you pick the investments yourself.

The investments held in stocks and shares ISAs

Stocks and shares ISAs offer some choice if you are keen to invest. For example, you can invest in the following assets: 

  • Government or corporate bonds

  • Investment trusts

  • Unit trusts

  • Individual stocks and shares

  • Open Ended Investment Companies (OEICs)

  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) 

The amount of adult ISAs that are stocks and shares ISAs in 2020[1]
25%

Stocks and shares ISA FAQs

How does Uswitch choose its editor’s picks?

We know that the best deals are always changing, so the editorial team at Uswitch regularly checks the rates on this page and updates them at least fortnightly. To find the best deals we compare products by taking various factors into consideration, like the interest rate (AER), the balance needed to get the highest interest rate, minimum initial deposit, withdrawal conditions and the term of the account as applicable. These factors change subject to the category.

We use this system for the whole of the market covering nearly all, so you can get an overview of what the banks and credit unions are typically offering in the UK. All the banks featured are FSCS protected, so you can be reassured that your money is safe, provided it’s within the defined limits and regulations. To find out more about how FSCS looks after your money, visit fscs.org.uk.

Is my money safe in a stocks and shares ISA?

Most ISAs are covered by the FSCS so that means up to £85,000 per person, per institution is covered if your provider goes bust. It’s important to note that this doesn’t cover you if the investments lose value in the stock market. 


Can I have more than one ISA?

Yes, you can have a stocks and shares ISA and a cash ISA if you wish. You just need to split the £20,000 between the ISAs.

Can I transfer my cash ISA into an investment ISA?

Yes, if your ISA allows transfers then it would be fine, but there might be charges to do this. 


How many years is best for investing?

If you are considering a stocks and shares ISA then it’s important to think long-term. This means at least five years, as the market can go up and down and you are more likely to lose money if you invest for a shorter period of time. 


Our latest guides

Browse our guides on savings accounts and find out how you can achieve your savings goals
A guide to top savings accounts and ISAs
Retirement planning
Best cash ISA transfer
Best cash ISA transfer
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS)

About the author

Lucinda O'Brien
Lucinda O'Brien has spent the past 10 years writing and editing content for regional and national titles. She applies her industry knowledge to ensure readers can make confident financial decisions.
Didn't find what you were looking for?

Customer Reviews

Rated 4.7 out of 5
by 21,842 people
References
1. Gov.uk annual savings statistics: 25 % of adult ISAs are stocks and shares ISAs (2020)