What is a general
This is your account to hold stocks and shares outside of tax wrappers.
A general investment account (GIA) sometimes goes by other names. You may see it called a share dealing account, shares account, or simply an investment account. They all mean the same thing.
Your GIA is a one stop shop where you can buy, sell, and manage your portfolio of stocks and shares outside of tax-efficient wrappers like ISAs and SIPPs.
The main advantage of a GIA investment account is that there’s no limit to how much you can invest. None whatsoever.
It’s a flexible account giving you thousands of investments to choose from. That makes it ideal for trading stocks and shares outside of your ISA and SIPP.
No one likes paying more tax than they need to. The two main types of tax-efficient investment accounts available in the UK are a stocks and shares ISA and a SIPP. You can open both if you like, and each investment account comes with its own useful benefits and perks. The exciting thing is, being tax-efficient means that the accounts can let you keep more of your returns.
Stocks and shares ISA
When comparing a GIA vs ISA, the main difference is tax.
With an ISA account you can invest up to £20,000 each year without having to pay capital gains or UK dividend tax, so you can keep more of your returns.
The major difference between a SIPP and a GIA is tax relief. A SIPP is a retirement account that lets you invest up to £40,000 each year (contributions above this level attract less tax relief). Any money you put in gets topped up according to which tax band your income falls into. But, you can only access it after a certain age, 55 at the moment but likely to rise to 57 soon.
Tax treatment depends on personal circumstances and may be subject to change.
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How to open a general investment account with Freetrade
Open your general investment account with Freetrade in minutes.
Just follow the simple steps below to get started.
Download the Freetrade app and choose the plan you need. You can open a GIA
as part of all the plans.
Fund your general
Find the stocks you want and
To help you get started with your investment account check out our resources on how to choose the best app,
saving vs investing, risk management and how to open a brokerage account. When you invest your capital is at risk.
The value of your portfolio, and any income you receive, can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.
Comparisons to other providers are based on published costs on their websites as of 5 April 2022, for a portfolio size of £5,000 and trades on shares and ETFs within a general investment account.
Hargreaves Lansdown: Based on trades in the previous month, the fee per trade reduces to £8.95 per trade for 10 -19 trades, and £5.95 for 20 or more trades.
FX fee reduces to 0.75% after £5,000 value of trades, 0.5% for the next £10,000 and to 0.25% for over £20,000 value of trades.
FX fee reduces on a tiered scale. Trades between £25,000 - £49,999 are 1.25%, £50,000 - £99,999.99 are 1%, £100,000 - £599,999 are 0.5%, and £600,000 - £999,999.99 are 0.25%.
FX fee reduces on a tiered scale, based on transaction value: for the first £10,000 is 0.75%, £10,001 - £20,000 is 0.50%, and 0.25% for over £20,000.
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Transfer your investment account to Freetrade
It’s a quick step to start transferring investments or cash to your general investment account. Transferring from a different broker or share dealing platform to Freetrade means one home for your whole portfolio.
Whatever your reason for transferring, make sure it's
the right decision for you.
What can I invest in?
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Choose from a wide range of exchange-traded funds covering index funds, stock and bond ETFs from providers like Vanguard, iShares and Invesco, as well as HSBC and Xtrackers.
Diversify your investments with REITs, which allow you to add residential or commercial real estate assets to your portfolio without the hassle of buying and managing the properties yourself.
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General investment account - FAQs
How much does a general investment account cost?
Nothing. Your new GIA investment account with Freetrade is completely commission-free. Other charges might apply when trading, so see our pricing table for more details.
How much can you invest in a general investment account?
As much as you like. Although, it’s important to make sure you don’t invest more than you can afford to. And, with a GIA, you need to be aware of any taxes you might have to pay on gains above your various allowances.
What can you invest in with a GIA account?
There are thousands of investments for you to choose from via the Freetrade app. You can access over 6,000 stocks and shares from the UK, US, and Europe. Also, there are plenty of investment trusts and ETFs in the stock universe for you to pick from if that’s what you prefer.
Is investing in stocks worth the risk?
Over longer periods, investing in stocks and shares has proven to be a useful way to build wealth. But only you can make the decision that investing is right for you. It’s up to you to choose if you’re willing to accept the investment risk that you may get back less than what you put in.
Can I open more than one investment account?
Yes, you can open multiple GIA investment accounts with different brokers. There’s no limit.But, to save yourself the headache of managing investments all over the place, keeping them all in your Freetrade GIA will save you plenty of effort and hassle.
What is the difference between a GIA and ISA account?
The main difference between the GIA and ISA investment accounts is tax efficiency. Gains made in your general investment account may be subject to tax if you go over your yearly allowances. A stocks and shares ISA account protects your returns from tax, but you can only put in up to £20,000 during the current tax year.
What is the difference between a savings account and a GIA account?
The question of saving vs investing is a common one. A savings account lets you keep your money in one spot, but you’re limited with what you can do. A general investment account gives you more control and choice, allowing you to invest your money into a range of options. You have a better chance of growing your money in a GIA account. But, your capital is also at risk if your chosen investments perform poorly.
Simple pricing plans
- Commission-free trades (other charges may apply. See full pricing table.)
- Fractional US Shares
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- Automated order types
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- 1% on uninvested cash, up to a maximum of £2,000
- 3% on uninvested cash, up to a maximum of £4,000
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