Revealed: MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Winners - 2024

The MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards celebrate the products and services that help you make, keep and spend your money. We reveal this year's winners

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards 2024 logo
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Choosing a broker or a bank is neither fun nor easy. We can spend ages comparing fees, but that doesn’t tell us how good the service is. We can search for online reviews, but unhappy customers are more likely to leave reviews than satisfied ones, so these may be skewed. It’s no wonder that many of us stick with the same provider for years even if we’re not entirely satisfied because we can’t face the hassle of searching for a new one and then discovering that it’s no better.

That’s why we asked MoneyWeek readers to tell us their experiences of the providers they use, so that we could see which firms you rate most highly.

Here are the winners of this year's MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards.

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MoneyWeek Awards 2024 Categories

More than 2,000 of you answered our survey, giving us your views on their costs, the breadth and depth of their services, their ease of use and customer support. Based on your scores, we’ve put together the MoneyWeek Readers’ Choice Awards, highlighting the firms that you ranked especially strongly in 21 categories from individual savings accounts (ISAs) and self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs) to bank accounts and credit cards.

Best broker: AJ Bell

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards 2024 Best Broker AJ Bell

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For this award, we were looking for a very strong all-rounder: a broker that offers access to a full range of investments as well as the option to deal by telephone (some MoneyWeek readers prefer this). We asked you to assess providers based on their ISA product and gave a separate award for Sipps, since Sipps often have different fees and terms. 

AJ Bell came top, slightly ahead of rivals such as Halifax, Charles Stanley Direct and interactive investor. It scored well on all criteria (fees, services, ease of use and support), while a recent reduction in dealing charges shows that it is conscious of the need to stay competitive. “Low cost, smart staff, good service,” says a reader. 

Best low-cost broker: Trading 212

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards 2024 Best Low-Cost Broker Trading 212

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Low-cost brokers often offer a more restricted range of investments, but Trading 212 can deal in more than 13,000 global stocks and ETFs through its app or website. The main limitation is that since Trading 212 doesn’t access the market makers that provide most of the liquidity for smaller UK companies, trading in these stocks can be more difficult, note some users. There are no dealing or account fees and the currency conversion fee for international stocks is exceptionally low; instead, Trading 212 aims to make money from services such as contracts for difference (CFDs) trading and securities lending (customers can opt out of having their shares lent if they prefer). The firm offers an individual savings account (Isa) but not yet a self-invested personal pension (Sipp). “No fees. Interest on uninvested cash. Great support. Highly recommended,” says a reader.

Trading 212 uses US giant Interactive Brokers to provide execution and custody for its trades. Interactive Brokers was another popular choice for low-cost trading, offering a wider range of markets to its own customers and representing exceptionally good value for holding international shares in an Isa. However, readers noted that the platform remains less easy to use than many of its rivals, making it better suited to more experienced investors.

Best funds platform: AJ Bell

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Fund Platform AJ Bell

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Many brokers set different dealing and custody charges for open-ended funds (unit trusts and open-ended investment companies) compared to shares, investment trusts (ITs) and exchange traded funds (ETFs). What’s more, because open-ended funds trade and settle in a different way to shares, ITs and ETFs, the range of funds available can vary much more between providers. AJ Bell beat the competition here by a solid margin, scoring well across all criteria. “Full range of investments and services. Costs are reasonable.” 

Best trading service: IG

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Trading Service IG

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Trading in leveraged instruments such as CFDs, spread bets and forex has very different requirements to investing. IG has long been a popular choice among trading-focused MoneyWeek readers and it topped our poll by a considerable margin, with praise both for its range of markets and for its ease of use. Unlike several other trading services, IG also offers a share-dealing service and Isa that is competitively priced for active users and some readers noted the convenience of being able to keep both their trading accounts and longer-term investments with the same provider.

Best robo-advisor: InvestEngine

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Robo-Advisor InvestEngine

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InvestEngine is built entirely around low-cost ETF investing. It topped the poll for best robo-advisor – services that allocate you to a managed portfolio based on your goals and appetite for risk – but it also lets you build your own portfolio from hundreds of ETFs on its platform. The Isa has no dealing or account fees and the Sipp is very competitively priced. Fractional investing – the ability to buy fractions of an ETF share – can be a real advantage for building well-diversified smaller portfolios. “Simple, straightforward and easy to use. Helpful customer support.”     

Best simple pension: Vanguard

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Simple Pension Vanguard

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We divided pensions into two awards: one for investors who wanted a simple, low-cost pension and were satisfied with a more restricted choice of investments and the other for investors who expected at least a full range of UK-listed securities and some international stocks. Vanguard’s pension allows you to invest in around 70 of the firm’s own ETFs and open-end funds, with no dealing fees and a low account fee.  The firm’s LifeStrategy funds (which allocate a fixed percentage to stocks and bonds) and Target Retirement strategies (where the balance of stocks and bonds shifts according to your age) are likely to appeal to savers who want to set up a simple core retirement portfolio with minimal choices.

Best full pension: interactive investor

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Full Pension Interactive Investor

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The top two firms in this category were interactive investor and AJ Bell, with Interactive Investor scoring just marginally higher. Some readers praised its flat-fee Pension Essentials and Pension Builder plans, which can be good value for larger fund-based portfolios. 

From our perspective, one notable strength of interactive investor’s SIPP is that it allows you to hold foreign currency, while many peers automatically convert back to sterling. With more and more investors holding foreign shares – especially US ones – this is a feature that other brokers should be introducing. 

Best Junior ISA: interactive investor

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Junior ISA Interactive Investor

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This was another competitive award, with strong scores for interactive investor, AJ Bell and Vanguard among others. Interactive investor allows users on its Investor or Super Investor monthly plans to add Junior Isas for all your children with no extra account fees, which is clearly a strong selling point for existing customers. “Shares charges with my main investments, excellent platform,” says a reader.   

Best ETF/index product: BlackRock/iShares

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best ETF/Index Product Black Rock/iShares

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We didn’t ask you to rank the best active funds and investment trusts because that would inevitably be driven by recent past performance, which is no guide to what will work well in future. Passive ETFs and index funds are different: one can assess them on how well these funds track their benchmarks, how competitive their costs are and how wide a range of products the providers offer. 

The award ended up as a close contest between BlackRock, owner of the iShares ETF range, and Vanguard. There was very little in it on overall scores, but BlackRock offers a more extensive range of products.   

Best investment data provider: Stockopedia

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Data Provider Stockopedia

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Stockopedia beat its main rival Sharepad/Sharescope to this award, although both clearly have many enthusiastic users, including some who subscribe to both. There was plenty of praise for Stockopedia’s range of investment data, well-designed interface, tutorials and articles, and the community that has grown up around the service. “It has revolutionised how I manage my Isa and pension,” says a reader. 

Best financial app: Moneybox

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Financial App Moneybox

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In this category, we were particularly looking for services that make it simple to save and invest through an easy-to-use app. There was lots of praise for apps from platforms such as Trading 212, InvestEngine and Freetrade, another low-cost broker, but also for services such as Moneybox and Chip that provide a one-stop solution for those who are just getting started. Direct comparisons between many of these apps, but Moneybox was a worthy winner for an all-around service. “Serves its customers well… up to date, well informed and technically competent.”

Best bank for current accounts (digital): Chase

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Bank for Current Accounts (Digital) Chase

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We weren’t entirely surprised to find out that readers who use newer app-based banks like Chase, Monzo, Starling, scored their banks higher than customers of high-street banks. The fact that these new banks have been able to build their technology from scratch has given their them a huge advantage over older banks with legacy systems, while perks such as cashback and high interest rates on current accounts make them very competitive. Chase edged out its rivals to first place, with the top overall score. “Simply brilliant app-based banking,” says one reader.

Best bank for current accounts: First Direct

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Bank for Current Accounts First Direct

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Many MoneyWeek readers prefer to use traditional banks. First Direct, the telephone- and internet-based arm of HSBC, is consistently praised for customer service and it had the highest score on this criteria, beating both its high-street rivals and all the digital banks. 

Readers commented that the “App works really well. The telephone support is second to none.”

Best bank for savings accounts (digital): Monzo

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Bank for Savings Accounts (Digital) Monzo

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The same split between digital banks and high-street banks turned up in the savings category as well. Monzo beat its digital rivals and other online providers such as the Goldman Sachs-owned Marcus. Its “savings marketplace” allows customers to place deposits directly with Monzo and with a number of other banks.

Best bank for savings accounts: Coventry Building Society

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Bank for Savings Accounts Coventry Building Society

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On the high street, the major building societies frequently offer some of the most competitive savings rates, and Coventry Building Society came in slightly ahead of peers such as Yorkshire and Skipton in our poll.

Best bank for small businesses (digital): Starling

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Bank for Small Businesses (Digital) Starling

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A digital provider again led this category, with Starling scoring ahead of high-street banks. For small businesses that need straightforward current and savings account services and don’t need to handle cash, it can be an excellent option, say readers. 

Best bank for small businesses: Santander

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Bank for Small Businesses Santander

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Santander was the highest-rated high-street bank in this year's Readers' Choice Awards, for small businesses who need branch services.

Best rewards card: American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best rewards card American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

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Three products battled it out at the top of the rankings for the best rewards card award: 

  • The Chase Current Account, which pays 1% cashback (capped at £15 per month) on all debit card spending.
  • The American Express Cashback credit card, which pays up to 1.25%, and 
  • The American Express Preferred Rewards Gold credit card, which effectively pays up to 1.5 points (including spending bonuses) per pound spent. 

The Amex Gold card scored slightly higher on your rankings: it comes with a hefty annual fee (£195) and comparing cashback versus points isn’t easy (the value of points depends on what you redeem them for), but for those who can extract the maximum value (typically using points for air miles and taking full advantage of spending offers on the card), it comes out ahead. 

Best travel card: Starling

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Travel Card Starling

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 Many readers use travel-friendly credit cards such as Halifax Clarity that add no markup to the exchange rate on foreign currency transactions, but debit cards from Starling and Chase earned higher scores in the survey. These also have no currency mark-up on purchases or cash withdrawals. 

Chase’s card pays cashback on foreign currency purchases (up to the monthly limit). Starling doesn’t pay cashback but pays a higher interest rate on its current account, which may have tipped this category in its favour.    

Best for currency transfers: Wise

MoneyWeek Readers' Choice Awards Best Money Transfers Wise

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British banks have historically charged enormous mark-ups on wholesale exchange rates when converting currencies and making international transfers. Fintech firms such as Wise and Revolut offer far better rates and competition is finally forcing some banks to start experimenting with their own lower-cost options, such as HSBC’s Global Money and Zing. 

For now, the fintechs remain ahead and Wise beat Revolut to this award, although both received very strong ratings. “The major banks have themselves to blame because now people have an alternative to their rip-off currency racket,” says a reader.