What's Next, Freetrade? My Honest Feedback

Hi Freetrade team and community,

First time posting here after lurking around for a while. Anyway, let me get to the point.

Freetrade was my first investing app and I believed it was a great choice. I used it to buy my first stocks and I watched it grow. Over time, I started to become a fanboy of Freetrade as well. But as I started to learn more about investing, I feel like Freetrade doesn’t provide as much it’s competitors. To be honest, I’ve had thoughts about transferring my account and/or use a new platform when the new financial year begins (ISA related). But I want to stick with Freetrade.

Here are some of my concerns:

  • S&S ISA fee - I don’t mind the £3 fee as Freetrade does need to make money somehow. But I am jealous that some competitors provide this account for free.
  • Stock Price - Stock prices takes a long time to update. Especially in the morning when the market opens. I tried a competitors platform and theirs updated very quickly. I believe this is something you’re working on?
  • Plus - I think the introduction to Plus has not been a favourable move. I feel like there are more negative responses to it from the community. I personally won’t be buying Freetrade Plus anytime soon because I don’t think I’ll get my money’s worth.
  • Roadmap - Something I liked before was the roadmap. It was on Trello and it was updated regularly (maybe because it was used internally rather than for public only?). The new roadmap [Building Freetrade] is not the same. I feel like it’s not updated as often and the details are vague.
  • Managing Multiple stocks & FX rate - As I invest in more stocks and ETFs, I feel like it gets harder to manage, rebalance stocks, especially non-USA stocks and ETFs without fractional shares. I tried a competitor’s Pie and Auto-Invest feature and that made life so much easier. I wanted to explore different investing strategies to learn more (e.g. Dividend, Value, Growth, Core-Satellite and so on…) and that made it easier. Currently, I have built an advanced-ish spreadsheet that can calculate what I should buy and sell to keep my stocks and ETFs balanced. But on the competitor’s platform, I just had to change the percentages (if needed) and then click a button to rebalance the portfolio/pie. I’m also concerned about the 0.45% fee. I’m not sure how much damage it’s doing. Again from my understanding, some competitors have a 0% fee. When I’m trying to rebalance my portfolio, is it eating into my profits? I also wish I can sell stocks and ETFs based on value rather than amount.
  • Security - Personally I’d like to see biometric authentication added to the platform. I already know that 2FA is not on your radar at the moment. [2FA Feature Request]

There are few other points, but they’re not coming to my mind as I’m typing this. I think I’ve written enough anyway.

I’d like to remind everyone that I’m not writing this to put Freetrade down. I want to stick with Freetrade for life and even get my family members on it. These are just my concerns and I really want Freetrade to do well. But at this very moment, I believe some Freetrade competitors are ahead. I understand some changes have been made to make money and that makes sense from a business perspective. I also understand that Freetrade competitors have different business strategies and had more time to grow their platforms. I just want Freetrade to add some important features (e.g. Fractional shares for all markets, DRIP, auto-invest…) and stay competitive.

So what’s next, Freetrade?

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Good first post!

I don’t think you’ll find much disagreement here, even from FT themselves on some counts. I think its tricky as we can’t help but compare to free alternatives and their answer is to point to legacy brokers where you would pay substantially more for some of those things.

I think with the rate of growth (50 jobs advertised recently) freetrade are ramping up to do more. Sipps was the big focus recently, and EU expansion, neither of which you’ve mentioned so maybe not helpful. When they start adding other markets, pies, and other requested things I think the FT and ISA fees, and maybe even that pesky plus subscription will feel more than fair. I just don’t think they will change it now as they know chopping and changing rules and fees is what puts people off. And by then competitors might need to start charging more to stay competitive.

I like plus for my speculative miners but I wouldn’t be getting it otherwise just for limit/stops.

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Welcome to the community!

Lots of good points, my only thing to add would be please consider that Freetrade have been live for about 2 years now, and have come a very long way since.

Some of the other direct competitors we have, especially the ones that offer free ISA’s, have been around for a long time (e.g. T212 have been around for around 15 years).

There’s a lot of catching up to do, but so much progress has been made in a very short space of time - all with a relatively small team!

Just think of what Freetrade could achieve in 15 years.

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If most of the feedback is that Freetrade should be cheaper to meet competitors pricing then I don’t agree. Some competitors are subsidising their share trading business with other products which FT are not doing.

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Not at all. Sorry if it came across like that. I personally want Freetrade to have more features than making things cheaper. End of the day Freetrade needs to make money and I’d rather pay a small fee for a reliable, trustworthy platform. From what I’ve seen on the internet, Freetrade competitors are recommended more mainly because of their features and pricing. Of course, they don’t mention everything as you mentioned in your second sentence. I trust Freetrade and it’s why I’m still trying to hold on.

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FreeTrade is much cheaper than every competitor apart from one. Compared to HL and other popular platforms FT is much cheaper.

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Yeah, you’re right about that. I think Adam’s comment has summarised this really well.

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I agree on the FX rate. Tbh I think the fee is the same as transfer wise. I think it would be good to be able to sell a stock in dollars then hold those dollars and only exchange back when you want / choose to.

I imagine the FX currently is a healthy chunk of freetrades revenue atm so they may not be in a hurry to do anything to it until they are making up for it elsewhere

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I guess the gripe that echoes with me the most is FreetradePlus.

For me, it just goes against everything that FT stands for - the ability to buy whatever share you like without a fee. Now, there are some shares that I’m being forced to pay a monthly subscription to access through no fault of my own.

I don’t understand the criteria around why one share is ‘free’ for me and another I’m being forced to pay to access (is it just a random finger in the air job?), but it’s actually started to breed some resentment as there have been a couple of times where I’ve been potentially interested in taking a calculated risk on a particular business, only to find that it’s hidden behind a paywall.

I’d be fine with FreeTrade plus if it was focused on giving me access to better insights or in-depth anaytics of my portfolio, but to restrict access to various businesses leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

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its not random, the criteria is pretty straight forward.

Free:
FTSE 350
AIM 100
MSCI US Prime market (large + mid)
Vanguard, iShares, Invesco ETFs
IPOs & SPACs

Anything else is in plus

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Thanks for the reply - I wasn’t aware of the criteria, so good to know there is a rhyme and reason.

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You must be so bored now of posting that same message every few hours :laughing:

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I should have it permanently in my clipboard :smiley:

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Your efforts to help and inform are appreciated. You pop up a lot :grinning: Thank you.

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While the criteria for what stays in Free are clear, the rationale is not.
I think this is wrong because:

  1. FTSE350 and AIM100 is nowhere near enough for the breath and depth of the UK market. Especially when you’re targeting UK customers!
  2. Removing something that people had is always counter productive. It would have been way better not to include some of the new small cap US/ Canadian shares.
  3. There are valid reasons why people didn’t jump on the Plus account (analytics and visualisations are still poor, data is as delayed as Free etc). Bullying people into it will not change those flaws.
  4. I agree with those saying that it goes against what FT stands for. You’ll not revolutionize investing by removing local household names or emerging players not big enough to make it to FTSE 350

Personally I did not move to Plus simply because I dont need it. I’m buying near real time data and charting capabilities elsewhere because Plus doesn’t have them. I might move to Plus because I’m trading some of the removed companies, but that ankle twisting leaves a really bad taste.
I was seriously considering the SIPP option but will skip- I wouldn’t like FT to introduce a premium sipp product a few months down the line and start playing the same trick.

Apologies for the long post, I needed to let it out :slight_smile:

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Who provides it cheaper out of curiosity?

Not always - they removed the £1 instant trade fee…

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I’m buying data/analytics elsewhere not because they are cheaper, but because FT is not offering them. I have no issue with the cost of Plus, I dont like the way its imposed

I actually disagree, I think for new investors having a shorter list of companies they can choose from is beneficial as it can be overwhelming when you look at all the companies. There are still plenty to make money from.

Freetrade is a startup so they naturally will change over time. As to Bullying I hardly think they are doing that. People are free to use another platform as the wish. I do think plus is a bit expensive for me at least but I don’t get what all the stress is about.

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This is the plan. To add so many usefull features to Plus so it becomes a no brainer for everyone. The idea is for you have one subscription for all of your brokerage needs.

To do this you need to start somewhere. Unless you want to wait several years till the feature set is up to your liking.

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