What is a general
investment account?

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.

General investment account tax


With your GIA trading account, you only pay capital gains (CGT) and dividend tax on profits above your allowances. The amount you’ll be taxed depends on the size of your gains, and
your current income tax band.

In the 2022/23 tax year, you have a CGT allowance of £12,300, and a dividend allowance of £2,000.

You’ll need to pay tax on shares if you go over these thresholds.

Tax-efficient investment accounts


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.


SIPP account

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.

Why invest with Freetrade?

Simple investing for everyone

Superb app design and transparent account charges. See full pricing.

Fractional shares

Own a piece of even the most expensive US shares. Invest
from only £2.

Award-winning investment app

Great for beginners and experienced investors alike.

ETFs & investment trusts

Choose from a wide range,
covering different sectors and
markets worldwide.

US, UK & European stocks

Choose from thousands of stocks listed on the London Stock Exchange, NYSE, NASDAQ
and beyond.

Fast, friendly support

Our customer service team are here to answer your questions. We’re here if you need extra support.

See our most traded stocks.

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.

Step 1

Download the Freetrade app and choose the plan you need. You can open a GIA
as part of all the plans.

Step 2

Fund your general
investment account

Open an ISA

Step 3

Find the stocks you want and
start investing

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.

How do our fees compare
to other brokers?

See how investing with Freetrade measures up against other providers.

Hargreaves
Interactive Investor
AJ Bell

Trades

?

Free

i

£11.95

£7.99

£9.95

Share dealing account fee

?

Free

i

Free

£9.99/mo

0.25%

Fractional Shares

Yes

No

No

No

FX Rate

Spot rate + 0.45%

Spot rate + 1%

Spot rate + 1.5%

Spot rate + 1%



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.
Interactive Investor: One free trade per month, then £7.99 per trade.
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%.
AJ Bell: When investing in shares the 0.25% account charge is capped at £3.50 per month. Each trade in shares and ETFs is £9.95. Fee per trade reduces to £4.95 when there were 10 or more share deals in the previous month.
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.
Updated 5th July 2022

How to buy shares

Build and track the portfolio that suits you.

Explore thousands of US and UK stocks and exchange-traded funds.

Buy and sell commission-free in just a few taps.

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.

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?

See which are the most traded shares by the total value of buy orders over the past week on the Freetrade app.

US, UK and European stocks

Invest in thousands of companies listed on the LSE, NYSE, NASDAQ and across Europe.

ETFs

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.

REITs

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.

Investment trusts

Choose from over 150 investment trusts to diversify your portfolio across a wide range of sectors, geographical areas and markets worldwide.

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.

Become a better investor

Learn and grow as an investor with our helpful guides and articles on a range of topics.

Hargreaves
Interactive Investor
AJ Bell

Trades

?

Free

i

£11.95

£7.99

£9.95

Share dealing account fee

?

Free

i

Free

£9.99/mo

0.25%

Fractional Shares

Yes

No

No

No

FX Rate

Spot rate + 0.45%

Spot rate + 1%

Spot rate + 1.5%

Spot rate + 1%

What our customers think

Simple pricing plans

£0.00/mo

Accounts

GIA pink
General investment account

Benefits

  • Commission-free trades (other charges may apply. See full pricing table.)
  • Fractional US Shares
  • Access to more than 1,500 stocks, including the most popular shares and ETFs
£4.99/mo

Accounts

GIA white
General investment account
ISA
Stocks and shares ISA

Benefits
Everything in Basic, plus:

  • Full range of over 6,000 US, UK and EU stocks and ETFs
  • Automated order types
  • Advanced stock fundamentals
  • 1% on uninvested cash, up to a maximum of £2,000
NEW
£9.99/mo

Accounts

GIA white
General investment account
ISA
Stocks and shares ISA
SIPP white
Self-invested personal pension (SIPP)

Benefits
Everything in Standard, plus:

  • 3% on uninvested cash, up to a maximum of £4,000
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When you invest your capital is at risk.