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Freetrade vs Trading212 vs Orca: App Review

Updated: May 15

Stock chart image

Introduction

Freetrade, Trading212 and Orca are three of the most popular UK trading and investing apps currently offering referral bonuses to new users of their respective apps. This quick review of all three will lay out the pros and cons of each app, across a variety of aspects, so you can choose where to start investing your money (once you've taken advantage of all three referral bonuses, of course!) My focus is on General Investment Accounts (GIA's) but I will note the other accounts available through the apps, such as Stocks & Shares ISA's and more.


Freetrade

Freetrade company logo

Details

Launched: Late 2018

Users: Freetrade now has over 600,000 registered users

Stocks: There are over 4,000 UK and US stocks available for you to invest in.

Commision: It is completely commision free, so all your invested money goes to work earning for you!

Accounts: There are 4 account types available on Freetrade:

  • General Investment Account (Free!)

  • Stocks and Shares ISA (£3/month)

  • Self Invested Personal Pension (£9.99/month)

  • Freetrade Plus (£9.99/month)

Referral Scheme: Freetrade offers a very generous referral scheme, where you can get a Freetrade free share worth up to £200 (minimum £3) when you download the app using a Freetrade referral link and deposit £1. You will also get your own Freetrade referral link, through which you can earn more free shares for every new user you refer to the app!

Freetrade free shares are released every Wednesday, and available to cash in for profit immediately!


To date, I have received 9 Freetrade free shares for a total of £45.87 profit!


You can find out more about the Freetrade referral scheme here!


Verdict

The Freetrade app is incredibly easy to use, and you can link directly to your bank account, making depositing and withdrawing easy and efficient. One of my favourite aspects is the ability to invest in fractional shares, so you can buy into your favourite stocks regardless of their price. Of course, infinite commision free trades is another huge positive, and the referral scheme is the best of the bunch (in my opinion, even though I haven't been particularly lucky so far!)


However, there are lots of stocks which are unavailable to trade in your GIA without paying £10 a month for a Plus account, and I personally don't think the additional perks (3% cash interest, limit & stop orders) make it worth staying with Freetrade and upgrading.


BMO's Final Rating: 7/10


Trading212

Trading212 company logo

Details

Launched: 2004

Users: Trading212 is reported to have over 10 million users!

Stocks: There are over 10,000 UK and US stocks available for you to invest in.

Commision: It is completely commision free, (though you will need to pay a small FX fee for US stocks)

Accounts: There are 3 account types available on Trading212, all free:

  • General Investment Account

  • Stocks and Shares ISA

  • CFD

Referral Scheme: Trading212 offers a slightly less generous referral scheme than Freetrade, where you can get a Trading212 free share worth up to £100 (minimum £2) when you download the app using a Trading212 referral link, and deposit £1. I got very lucky with my Trading212 free share, grabbing an Uber share worth £42!


Unfortunately, there is currently a waiting list to join, so you will have to be patient.


You can find out more about the Trading212 referral scheme here!


Verdict

Much like Freetrade, the Trading212 app is simple, intuitive and easy to navigate around. Deposits are free and instant, and there are great additional features such as 'Pies, where you combine stocks you are interested in into a single pie, and invest into all of them with a single transaction. You can also see popular pies made by other users, and invest in them! Finally, unlike Freetrade, Trading212 offers users the abilities to make limit and stop orders without additional payment.


The main downside is the current waiting list for signing up, which means no immediate investing (or free share). Although fractional shares are possible, you must buy a minimum of half a share, and fractional shares are only compatible with market orders as well.


BMO's Final Rating: 8/10


Orca

Orca logo

Details

Launched: The newest of the bunch, Orca launched in 2020

Users: Orca had 6,000 users in their original waitlist, but this has likely grown considerably since launch

Stocks: Allows you to invest in 250 UK stocks, bonds and ETFs (covers US stocks as well)

Commision: £0.99 transaction charge for both buying and selling stocks

Accounts: There are 2 account types available on Orca, both completely free!:

  • General Investment Account (Free!)

  • Stocks and Shares ISA

Referral Scheme: Orca have the most complicated referral scheme of the three. Like Freetrade, you can get a free share worth up to £200 (minimum £2) as a new user when you sign up using an Orca referral link. However, to qualify, you must deposit £50 and trade 3 different stocks. This process will cost you £7 minimum, so it is not a profit guarantee, but once you've got your friends to sign up, you can start rolling in the money.


For my 3 shares to qualify for the reward, I bought a share of Marston's (£0.89), a share of Greencore Group (£1.30) and 3 shares of Tullow Oil (£0.95 total). These have now brought me a cheeky £1.12 profit!


I've been lucky enough to grab 8 free shares so far in Tesco (x3), boohoo group (x2), TUI, Glencore and easyJet, bringing in a total of £31.03. Taking past and future transaction fees into account, that is still around £20 profit so far!


You can find out more about the Orca referral scheme here!


Verdict

Although I haven't used the Orca app that much myself, I really like the range of ETF's they offer, and the UI is very easy to understand and navigate.


However, it is lacking in its cover of the global market, and in an era of low-cost/commision free apps (Freetrade, Trading212, eToro, Degiro), the referral scheme does not compensate.


BMO's Final Rating: 4/10


Conclusion


So just to summarise, although all three apps have positives and negatives, my recommendation would be to jump on Trading212 as soon as they allow new users to sign up. In the meantime, Freetrade is a suitable alternative (or just grab the free share and wait), but I personally would not recommend Orca for new investors due to the high transaction fees.


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