How Much Money Do I Need to Start Trading?

If you’re new to investing, you’ll need to consider how much money you need to start online trading.

Online trading lets investors test their systems with dummy accounts for free – and many encourage investors to take part by offering low-cost investment options.

A lot depends on the type of account you have and what you’re hoping to trade since expectations vary between trading stocks and buying crypto, exchanging forex and purchasing crowdfunded shares.

For example, a crowdfunding platform will typically want investors to stake at least £10, a figure within reach of most traders.

Read on to find out how much money you need to start trading in different markets and why that value fluctuates so much between alternative trading accounts.

Minimum Cost Of A Trading Account

Traders will typically start by opening an account with a broker or online exchange.

There are many different account types, and the right option for you depends on your initial investment amount, risk strategy and the financial asset or instrument you’d like to trade.

Here are a few of the most common accounts:

  • Demo accounts – these dummy accounts allow beginners to trade for free and see how their transactions pan out. You don’t need anything to get started, in most cases, and get real-time access to market analysis.
  • Live trading accounts have varying minimum deposits, ranging from £10 to £500. It’s important to check your broker’s pricing terms, as the spread will influence your profit margins. Choose from fixed spread and variable spread accounts.
  • Mini or micro trading accounts – in forex, transactions are available in fixed-size batches, from 100 units (nano lots) and upward. Mini or micro-lot accounts restrict trades to 1,000 units (micro account) or 10,000 units (mini account).
  • Premium accounts are best suited to experienced traders, with the lot size up to 100,000 units of currency. Investment thresholds are higher, but the spreads tend to be lower than smaller accounts.
  • With a minimum £50,000 (or 50,000 unit) deposit, a VIP account is for seasoned traders looking for tighter spreads and more fine-tuned analysis.

Choosing an account is the first step to starting trading, as the account type determines your minimum deposit, available returns and trading style.

Brokerage commissions are often charged on top of any transaction fees. In addition, fees differ between accounts, so research based on overall trading costs rather than opening one based on minimum deposits.

Deposit Thresholds For Stock Trading Accounts

Stock trades involve exchanging securities, normally against a short-term strategy to maximise profit.

Whereas casual investing means you usually buy and hold securities, stock trading means that you look at short-term price fluctuations in more volatile markets, with increased potential profits, but also larger commissions and often a greater risk.

Trading and investing are interchangeable terms, but investing implies a long-term approach, whereas trading refers to short-term investments.

There are various costs involved with active trading, but you don’t typically need a minimum amount to begin.

Brokers will set thresholds and caps, but that is not dictated by the market or by a regulator, and your deposit requirements will depend mostly on the type of securities you’d like to trade.

You’ll also find that the more stake money you have, the better the margins or options available to you.

Additional Trading Expenses To Factor In

Along with the minimum deposit to open a trading account, you need to be conscious of the other costs, which will make a big difference to your gains.

Commissions are common and can wipe out a chunk of active trading profits, and these also vary depending on which broker you use and their charges.

When choosing a broker, you should look at:

  • Commission prices and calculation bases.
  • Execution speeds and support services.
  • Online dashboard functionality and usability.

Again, the minimum you need to open an account varies and relies on the account type you’re opening.

For example, a margin account used to buy and sell options or make short sale trades might have a minimum £3,000 deposit.

Choosing A Low-Threshold Trading Platform

We’ve mentioned the variances between brokers and exchanges, so let’s evaluate some of the options available to give you a better idea of the amount of capital required to open a new account.

Trading 212

Minimum deposits on Trading 212 start at £1, €1 or $1 – with a minimum of £10, €10 or $10 to make a wire transfer, supporting trades in stocks, forex, commodities and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). There are no fees until your account balance reaches £2,000, and after that, you pay a 0.7 per cent fee, plus currency conversions are charged at 0.15 per cent.


Fidelity is a platform where you can invest in ISAs, open a pension, or an investment account.

Minimum deposits start at £25, fees drop to 0.35 per cent for investments over £7,500, and you can choose between shares, investment trusts, ETFs and funds.


This forex trading platform offers free demo accounts and live accounts to trade currencies, CFDs, Bitcoin and gold.

New FXCM accounts must invest from £50, and there are several options, such as a £300 trading account.

Note that these are just a few examples, and every broker or exchange will have a different policy when it comes to minimum deposits to open a new account and caps on trades you can make.

Deposit limits are set at a specific level in the broker’s best interests to ensure you continue trading for as long as possible and continue paying commissions.

You may find that your account limits grow over time, as the broker or platform sees that you have sufficient experience to make larger trades, with less likelihood of cashing out.

How Much Money Do I Need to Start Trading? FAQ

What is the lowest stake for day trading?

If you want to day trade, the money you need depends on the securities you are interested in buying and selling. Stocks, like forex, are normally traded in lots of a specific size, starting from 100 shares or 100 units as a smaller transaction.

Therefore, if you would like to invest in shares worth £50 each, you will need a minimum of £5,000 capital in your account to be able to purchase the lowest number of units.

Brokers will fund a proportion of your transaction, so in this case, they might lend, say, £1,250, but you will need to have enough in your account to cover the balance and allow the trade to proceed.

How do I start trading options and futures?

Options and futures are traded against the contract value, usually representing units up to 100 stock shares per contract.

If you want to buy fewer units, you often can but will pay higher commissions and pick up smaller returns. Bonds are traded as individual units, with a face value of £1,000 per bond, although you can trade for lower than this depending on the interest rate vs market rate. Dealers and brokers often have a minimum order volume of ten bonds, so you need to invest £10,000 as a minimum.

How can I start trading with £100 in investment capital?

Although minimum balances vary between markets and brokers, you can start trading with £100, although you’ll need to choose your platform carefully.

Most forex traders allow you to start with £100 as a baseline, used as a margin, and you can often open a dummy account with nothing to get a feel for how it all works and how your strategies play out in a real-life scenario.

Forex and crypto tend to be the most accessible markets to enter since the requirements are much lower. However, some accounts will have a minimum requirement, which doesn’t necessarily reflect the minimum value per trade.

Crowdfunding is also an option, with most platforms accepting new investors from just a £10 deposit. Of course, this type of investment isn’t a trade, as it’s for a much longer term, but it is another opportunity to invest with a low capital stake.

Is trading better than investing?

Trading and investing are much the same, but trading is holding assets for the short term and investing is keeping them in the long term – which is three or five years or longer.

A lot depends on your acceptable risk levels. Trades are faster, higher risk, but also potentially higher profit.

Investments have less risk exposure and more reliable gains but generally are less profitable than the increases enjoyed by active, experienced traders.

What type of trading is best for beginners without much money?

Every trade is a gamble, so there isn’t an easy answer. However, most experts recommend starting with a dummy account to practice and consider options as a lower-risk starter trade.

Never risk more money than you can afford to lose, whatever the stake.

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