Founded in 1996, Halifax share dealing is a bit of an old name in the financial market, and it is based in West Yorkshire, UK. The company was originally a Halifax bank subsidiary before being redesignated as a division of the Bank of Scotland. It is mostly known not for its investment offerings but for its banking and other services. As such, while it offers quite a wide range of financial services, share dealing is how you invest on the Halifax platform. Since it operates from the UK, it is registered with, regulated, and licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Investment on the platform happens through the shares ISAs, SIPP, and share-dealing accounts, which offer access to a range of investments. You can gain a share in a range of stocks, funds, ETFs, trusts, bonds and gilts, and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) by opening one of these accounts.
The platform site is not too easy to navigate, but it’s accessible on both mobile and desktop platforms. Additionally, there is only a mobile app and no desktop option. However, this app is only for banking, so mobile trading is not on the menu. In any case, we will now proceed to a more in-depth Halifax share dealing review. We will begin by first getting to know the pros and cons of using the broker.
- Strict Regulation and Licensing.
- Wide Share-Dealing Asset Range.
- Cheap for Sizable Portfolios.
- No CFD Trading.
- Poor Customer Support.
- Cumbersome User Interface.
- No Trading App.
The broker has a very limited general scope of assets, as all it allows you is investment. It is not clear if this is to change in the future. However, it offers 8,700+ assets to choose from, including not just ETFs but up to 5,100+ shares, 2,700+ funds, and 300+ investment trusts.
We will focus mostly on the shares investment, but we will also overview all the others in this section of the review.
Halifax share dealing allows you to invest in a variety of international markets, providing you direct access to ones like the New York, Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Amsterdam, and Brussels stock exchanges. However, should the platform list specific shares on an international market that you can’t access on it, you should be able to invest by means of a depository receipt. The Tokyo Stock Exchange is an example of one of these. The depository receipts are a bit similar to CFDs in function; they represent ownership of a portion of an investment share. Overall, there are 5,100+ shares that you can invest in.
Exchange-traded funds are another way to invest on the Halifax share dealing platform. They have a pretty great collection of ETFs to choose from, although it’s not very robust. Though widely sourced (the ETFs come from multiple markets around the globe), there are only about 600+ of them available. They include packages from some of the most reputable ETF providers, including Amundi and Blackrock Asset Management.
These are collective investments in which fund managers pool and manage investor funds. Halifax allows you to invest in a range of funds like this from major markets all over the globe. There are 2,700+ of these funds you can invest in on the broker, and they encompass many sectors. For instance, you could invest in commodity, energy, equity, or convertible funds. You can also choose from a host of reputable fund providers that are listed on the platform based on merit.
If investment trusts are your thing, you will find some to engage you on the Halifax share dealing platform. There are about 300+ investment trusts to choose from, including trusts from Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the US.
Stock Trading at Halifax Share Dealing
As we’ve mentioned before now, the broker only allows you to access share-dealing and related investments. However, while there are multiple shares-related investments you can take advantage of, we will focus on the main share offering for the purposes of this Halifax share dealing review section.
The shares on the platform are available through the shares ISAs, where you can access 5,100+ shares from a range of international markets. And since these cut across a variety of economic and industrial sectors, there is almost certainly something for you, no matter the nature of the shares you have in mind. Of course, the ISA basis means that your investment and earnings are tax-free.
Available Stock Exchanges at Halifax Share Dealing
There are many international exchanges from which you can find almost any stocks of your choice. We’ve mentioned a few of these before now, and we’ve noted some exceptions, such as the Tokyo stock exchange and any others based in Japan. Here is a more exhaustive overview of the available exchanges.
Major Stock Exchanges
||London Stock Exchange
||New York Stock Exchange
||Brussels Stock Exchange
||Paris Stock Exchange
||Frankfurt Stock Exchange
||Amsterdam Stock Exchange
||Milan Stock Exchange
Stock Trading Fees & Commission at Halifax Share Dealing
To say it straight, the fees and commissions on Halifax are quite high in some areas, and shares investment is one of those. The commission for share trading is £9.50, a charge it shares with other investment types on the platform. However, this is only for UK shares, as the platform does not charge any fees or commissions for international shares. Although Halifax does allow a reduced share dealing commission of £3.50 per online trade during special offer periods.
Additionally, Halifax share dealing does charge an FX fee of about 1.25%. Furthermore, there is also a charge for dividend reinvestment, which is charged at 2% of the given dividend and maxes out at £9.50 per stock.
Stock Trading Leverage at Halifax Share Dealing
When you trade with leverage, it’s usually a CFD or a similar asset type. However, no such assets are on Halifax’s share-dealing platform; what it offers are real shares, which are not traded with leverage.
As we know from before now, the Halifax investment platform is based in the UK, where it is licensed and regulated. But it does not have any regional offices in other parts of the world, unlike most other brokers. It is entirely a UK company and only offers its services to UK traders. This didn’t used to be the case, however, as the platform used to be licensed in Australia, New Zealand, and the US. But these have since been revoked, and the company now only has licensing from the UK. This section of the review will overview the UK entity of the broker.
Halifax Share Dealing (UK) Limited: This is the company’s head office, and it’s located at Trinity Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX1 2RG. The relevant licenser and regulator is the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
- Registration Number: 183332
Fees and Commissions
Halifax share dealing fees are a very mixed bag. They seem to be mostly high, though some are reasonably low. There are also quite a number of them, as we will soon see. We will consider them under the two broad categories of fees: trading and non-trading fees.
Every trade usually carries a set of charges that are charged for it, and these are known as the trading fees. They are usually quite small, and they include such spreads, leverages, and commissions. Now, let’s look at the trading fees on Halifax.
There is a difference between the ask and bid prices of a given asset, and this difference is usually expressed in decimal numbers and measured in pips, although it may sometimes be expressed as a figure in currency or as a percent. This difference is known as the spread, and most brokers charge one for every trade. However, Halifax charges essentially none.
When you enter a trade on Halifax share dealing, you will be charged a commission. This commission applies to all share-dealing investment assets on the platform, and it’s quite high at £9.50 per trade. This charge is also similar to the dividend reinvestment commission, which costs 2% of the dividend in question but can be as high as £9.50. Additionally, the broker offers TradePlans that allow you to take advantage of limited stop loss or take profit functions. And if you use one of these plans, you will generally have your commissions for trades slashed by £2.
The platform allows you to trade via phone order, but if you do that, you must be ready to part with a whopping £25 for each order you place.
Anytime you perform an international trade or a trade designated in some other currency, you will be charged an FX rate of 1.25%.
Every other kind of fee you find on this platform is a non-trading fee – more precisely, any that does not directly have to do with trading and is not charged per trade. These usually include charges related to the running and maintenance of the account. Halifax does not appear to charge many other non-trading fees aside from its admin fees and interest rates. There aren’t any fees for inactivity, for instance. Let’s now review the applicable non-trading fees.
The admin fee for the tax-advantaged Stocks/Shares ISA account and the standard Share Dealing account types is a whopping £36. Although, you can hold both account types and still only have to pay this fee once. Additionally, Halifax’s tax-advantaged SIPP account has quarterly administrative fees.
Any cash balance you have in the account of £1 or more will be charged interest from the Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). Daily interest accumulates, and it has to be paid in full each March. Additionally, the platform’s Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) has a variable interest rate of 2.65%.
Halifax share dealing also charges for account transfers, though not for all. Transferring your Share-dealing investment account to Halifax will cost no charges. However, transferring in another pension will cost you £60 for each transferring plan, and the max fee is £300.
Income Drawdown Charges
The platform also charges a number of income drawdown fees, although there are exceptions to that. There are no such charges for closing SIPPs through drawdown or lump sums where the balance goes below £1,000, nor for payments upon death or the splitting of pensions between divorced partners. However, every other drawdown scenario carries its own fee. Taking uncrystallized pension lump sums, designating additional funds to drawdown, and converting from capped to flexi-access drawdown come with a £90 charge each. Moreover, flexi-access drawdown costs £180 annually; so also does capped drawdown, but only as long as you are under 75 years old. From that age onwards, the fee rises to £300 annually.
While mostly a banking platform, there are multiple types of Halifax share dealing accounts that you can choose from, each one suited to slightly adjusted trading needs. There are four of them, though there is no demo account, so practicing your investment strategies without risk is not something you can do on the broker. The major feature of all these accounts is that they offer tax-free benefits. In this section of our review, we will examine each account type.
Stocks and Shares ISA
This account type is designed to enable trade in shares and stocks tax-free, and you can also access funds and more. The account does not charge any dealing commission for international online trades, although foreign exchange charges do apply. There are also other charges like the £36 annual admin fees, £9.50 dealing commission for real-time online UK trades and funds, and £25 telephone dealing fee.
There is the downside of how limited your investments have to be, as you can only invest up to £20,000 a year. Should you reach that limit before the year runs out, you will have to upgrade to a more flexible account. But on the momentary bright side, there are occasional bonuses and offers for all account openings. For instance, there is an offer to get up to £1000 cashback on your first five transfers of up to or more than £5000, and it ends on the 31st of January 2024. SIPPS are excluded from this offer.
Share Dealing Account
This is the account you upgrade to when your investment limit for the ISA becomes too confining for you and you want broader access to the range of stocks, funds, ETFs, etc. This account type is more flexible with its investments, and it allows you to set up regular, monthly investments, commission-free, by using the scheduled investment service to invest in international shares (1.25% FX charges apply). Otherwise, there is a £9.50 per online trade dealing commission and also a £25 dealing commission for each telephone order.
Self-invested Personal Pension Account
This is another option that you will have for investing on Halifax share dealing. Money protection is one of the main features of this account type, in addition to no Capital Gains or UK Income Tax and up to 45% tax relief on your contributions. The logic of this account type is that, until you retire and begin to get a retirement income, your chosen investments are held in a pension account with these tax benefits. How much of your funds will be invested and how much will be saved is up to you, as the idea is greater control over investment and saving. The admin costs for this account type are low, at a quarterly account fee of £22.50 for SIPP values £50,000 or less and £45 for SIPP values above £50,000).
The Investment accounts are ready-made accounts that allow you to invest from £50 per month or a lump sum of £500 on a range of assets selected for you. These accounts are simple and flexible to operate, and you can choose between three investment funds and leave the rest to the broker. Trading on an Investment account, you will be charged a flat account fee of £3 monthly, in addition to an Ongoing Charge that caps at 0.23%. You will also be charged transaction costs of 0.14% maximum, though the exact cost varies between funds. Moreover, Investment accounts come in two flavors: Investment ISAs and Investment Accounts proper. Both offer Balanced, Progressive, and Cautious fund options. However, the latter is best if you have exhausted your current Tax Year’s ISA allowance.
The situation with the Halifax share dealing platforms is not good, and in this respect, it gives off an outmoded vibe. For starters, the broker has almost no trading platforms of its own, and the absence of a third-party platform doesn’t help this. For another, what it does have does not appear to work too well on mobile devices. Let’s review these platforms in more detail.
Desktop Trading Platform
Having neither a proprietary trading app nor a third-party offering, the broker relies entirely on its Web trader. And to make matters worse, even this one is not very good, as it lacks most of the advanced trading features in itself. It relies on the main website for a lot of these, including the limited stop loss and take profit features you can use. You will also have to go to the site for much of the information you need while trading, as you won’t get it on the web trader. Additionally, the customizability is very low, and the charting options are not very great.
Here are some of the few notable features you can access on this web trader platform.
Using the platform’s search function, you can find any asset you want by searching either its name or designated symbol/ticker.
There are several order types you can place on the platform, including the generic buy and sell orders. There are also the stop loss, take profit, target setting, and range functions.
From the Share Dealing Portal’s ‘Valuation & Statements’ section, you can access Halifax’s transparent portfolio and fee reports. Dealing history, TradePlan history, dividend history, cash history, income history, admin charges, and tax certificates are some of the relevant information you will find in these reports.
How to Open an Account and Trade on the Halifax Web Trader
The procedure for opening an account is pretty simple and straightforward – once you’re able to find the right place to open it anyway.
- Open the platform’s share-dealing account page and scroll down to find and click on ‘Open a share-dealing account.’
- Read the terms and conditions and tick the box at the bottom of the page to show that you agree.
- Provide your personal details on the next page, including your name, nationality, and country of tax residency. At the bottom of the page, you can find dropdown fields to input your home address and other details like your email and phone number.
- For the next registration stage, you must provide your National Insurance number. Then, you will provide some details about how you intend to invest as well as how you want your dividends to be handled.
- After these, you can proceed to verify your account by clicking the button to complete your registration and redirect to the relevant page. You will be required to provide screenshots of ID and proof of address documents.
- After verification is complete, you can access your account and open the funding section, where you can choose a payment method and fund your account. You can now start trading on your new Halifax share dealing account.
On our review of the platform, we found that there is no mobile app you can use for trading on Halifax share dealing. The only mobile app it has is exclusively a banking app.
Funding methods are an important aspect of a trading platform as they allow you to fund your accounts before you can invest. So how well does the broker perform in this regard?
Well, that depends on what you’re looking at. If you consider a variety of options, there isn’t much. Everything from crypto and online banking methods to e-wallets is disallowed for payments and withdrawals. Instead, deposits and withdrawals at Halifax share dealing can only be made through debit cards and direct bank wire transfers. However, if you look at the reliability and trustworthiness of the methods available, you will find that they are among the most trusted and secure. In any case, let’s look at the payment situation in more detail.
To make a deposit into your trading account, you must either have a bank account you can wire from or you must have a debit card to pay with. These are all you’re allowed to use, and there is a £100,000 limit on debit card deposits. Where fees are concerned, things are pretty great, as the platform charges no fees for deposits.
||Transaction Processing Time
||Under 2 working days
The situation with withdrawals is the same with deposits. All the same methods are relevant, and it has no withdrawal charges. There isn’t a minimum withdrawal stated directly for trading.
Account Base Currency
When you open your account, you will have to set an account base currency. This is the underlying currency in which your transactions and other financial data will be denoted, and any transactions on the platform that involve converting to a different currency will incur the FX charges we discussed earlier in this Halifax share dealing review. In any case, there is currently only one base currency you can use on Halifax: the Great British Pound (GBP).
Research and Education
Where research and education is concerned, there’s not a very wide variety of options to choose from. However, the broker still has quite a collection of resources to help you in your trading, and we will look at them in this section.
For starters, there are a lot of fundamental data and trading ideas that you can avail yourself of. All this information is in the form of articles and blog posts you can locate on the site. Additionally, there is also a news feed section where you can keep track of events in the various trading sectors and glean information that may inform your investment strategy. There is also a small collection of webinars, educational videos, and quizzes.
Where trading calculators and other significant research aid are concerned, Halifax appears to have none – at least, not many that are relevant to investing, apart from payment calculators. Another downside is how difficult the research aids are to find. Since this is mostly a banking platform, much of its content is relevant only to banking, and there isn’t much demarcation between those and the research materials for investing. This means you have to roam around a bit to find most of the information you need.
Our next aspect to review is customer service. Simply put, the customer support on Halifax share dealing is subpar. For starters, availability is limited to work hours, and you generally can’t reach anyone on weekends. Furthermore, phone support is very slow, as it may take ages to talk to someone. Then, there is the live chat feature, which, apart from being hard to find, does not always work; you may just forget about the email response since there is usually none.
The social media customer support options don’t really make up for these issues, but the platform has social media handles on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. All these channels appear to be entirely for the banking section of the platform. All in all, the broker has loads of work to do on its customer service.
In this section of our Halifax share dealing review, we will now try to gauge user sentiments and see what other users of the site have to say about it. To that end, we will take users’ opinions samples from two popular opinion-pool sites and two reputable platforms: Reddit and Quora, Trustpilot and ForexPeaceArmy (respectively).
What Reddit Users Say About Halifax Share Dealing
Reddit users are very mixed about the performance of the Halifax share dealing platform. However, most seem to agree that the platform performs quite poorly on some metrics. There are users who note the dated and unwieldy nature of the site and caution against using it for too much.
There are also others, such as this user who says he’s never had a problem using the platform and is okay with their fees. However, his review also points out that there will be a lot of disgruntled customers on the banking side.
What Quora Users Say About Halifax Share Dealing
There is only one post about Halifax share dealing on Quora, and while it’s not necessarily a glowing recommendation, it’s a confident one. According to the user, he and his wife have used the platform for years, and there do not seem to be any issues.
TrustPilot Users’ Review About Halifax Share Dealing
Users’ opinions about the platform on Trustpilot are exactly as expected, given some of what we have seen so far: horrifying. From 165 reviews on the site, the broker has a very poor score rating of 1.4 stars. Users find a lot to complain about, from customer service to fees.
Take this user, for instance, who takes umbrage with the £36 admin fee.
This other user is not happy with the terms and conditions, and he, too, seems to be pissed about the admin fee.
For this other user, trying to upgrade from his ISA to a Share dealing account proved to be a nightmare of an experience after 8 years of investing.
ForexPeaceArmy Users’ Review About Halifax Share Dealing
The broker does not have user assessments on ForexPeaceArmy.
Other Products and Services
As we have mentioned previously in this Halifax share dealing review, the platform offers other products and services aside from investment, and these are actually its main focus. In this section, we’re going to look at these major products.
Individual Client Segregation (ICS)
Halifax share dealing settles some of the trades placed on UK Shares and Bonds through Central Securities Depositories, which hold investments and offer electronic settlement services for them. If you want your investments to be separated from those of others in these depositories, you can request an ICS. The platform offers it as an alternative to its Omnibus Segregation System, which holds all client investments in one account.
Halifax also has some great Cashback offers for clients who transfer to the platform. The cashback you earn depends on how much worth of investment you are transferring, but you can earn up to £1,000 on your first 5 transfers. The amounts in cashback reward range from £50 for investments between £5,000 and £9,999 to £1,000 for investments above £500,000+.
As part of its banking services, Halifax offers fixed-term savings accounts. These are easy to open, and the fixed rate means you don’t have to worry about changing rates. Moreover, operating one of these accounts can qualify you for the Halifax Savers Prize Draw.
Halifax offers personal loans that begin from £1,000, and you can generally decide how long you will require to pay it back. On loans between £7,500 and £25,000 for 1 to 5 years, Halifax’s representative APR is 5.8%.
The Halifax Bank allows you to insure your house, car, and life with its relatively attractive insurance service. As part of its pro-customer gesture, all work related to insurance claims that is carried out by a platform agent will be guaranteed for a year.
If you wish to get a mortgage, Halifax has got you covered. It offers mortgage services at rates consistent with that of the Bank of England. You can also remortgage, buy to rent, or get the mortgage later in life.
Is Halifax Share Dealing Safe?
Next, we review Halifax share dealing’s security and safety, which we find isn’t bad, especially when compared to some other metrics we have considered before now. The platform is generally reliable, though its trustworthiness may be in question for most users. But let us consider the relevant metrics and see how the broker stacks.
To begin with, because the broker only has one regulator – the FCA – it is not very diverse in terms of regulation. Of course, it used to have others, but it no longer does. But although this is a massive dent in its trustworthiness, its UK regulation is high-trust and operates well enough within its jurisdiction. Then, there is the matter of security, which is a bit nuanced for the platform. As there are no apps to speak of, biometric authentication is limited to what you can perform from the site, which is mostly voice ID.
What about the safety of your money? The platform has that covered as well. Should the platform go belly-up financially, clients are eligible for coverage by the FCA’s compensation scheme for up to £85,000 per account. This is easily more than the majority of other global investor protection programs. But even before that, there is the fact that the platform pools all client funds in segregated accounts at the Central Securities Depository.
So, is Halifax share dealing safe and trustworthy? It appears to be so from the looks of it. However, we must remember that most users who use the platform have many complaints that often concern trustworthiness. Generally, the broker might act up quite a bit, and it may affect your investments in a way you are not legally owed compensation for.
From our Halifax share dealing review thus far, we can see that the platform performs horribly in some areas but does quite well in others. Its security and safety are generally great, thanks to measures such as voice authentication, in addition to login security. Your money is also very secure, as the platform’s ‘Omnibus Client Segregation’ and FCA compensation coverage are there to protect your interests. And as far as account types are concerned, there is some small flexibility. It’s also great that the platform doesn’t charge too many high fees, and it does quite well in research and education.
However, it’s mostly downhill from here, as most other features leave much to be desired. For one, regulation is not very diverse. Additionally, customer service is frustrating, and it’s hard to find anything that’s not directly on the tabs or the homepage, especially if it has to do with investing. And, of course, it’s hard to ignore the absence of a desktop, mobile, or third-party app; it’s even harder to forget the space-race era aesthetics of the platform, given that it’s old and has hardly been given any modern touch.
Q & A
Yes, we consider the broker to be trustworthy.
Yes. You have to be a UK resident to use Halifax.
No, the broker is only regulated by the FCA.
The company is owned and run by the Lloyds Banking Group.
The company allows you to make investments through direct share dealing and investment accounts or Pension accounts.
To log into your account with the broker, you have to register or sign up, then use your login details to sign in through the web page.
The broker offers shares/stocks, bonds, etfs, and investment funds.
Most of the platform’s fees are high.
The platform charges commissions depending on what you are trading and your account type.
You can open one by clicking on the option to do so on the platform’s account page.
Most reviews about the broker are negative.
No, the broker does not offer any leverage on its stocks.
You can invest in international shares; and should the Share you want to trade not be listed on an exchange the platform directly gives access to, you can always try using a depository receipt.
The platform does not currently have a mobile trading app.
The platform has only a proprietary Webtrader.
The platform does not offer a demo account to safely practice investment. However, it does offer a selection of guides and materials you can use to learn more about share dealing.
Yes, you can place telephone trading orders on the broker.
The platform is open for beginner investors as well as experienced ones.
UK stocks on the broker come with a stamp duty charge amounting to 0.5% of the investment.
Yes, you can transfer your shares and other investments to and from Halifax.
The company allows you to use your dividend payments to invest in stocks. This is available through the Dividend Reinvestment Plans (DRIP).