First impressions of Trading 212

Here are my initial impressions of the platform. I don’t know if the developers are at all interested in this, but this is mainly for them. Please don’t flame as this is just my experience of the site. Please take note this is all about the website, and I don’t use the app and probably won’t ever as I don’t put financial stuff on my phone being a bit old-school.

ISA Loading

I manage to find the place I deposit funds into an ISA fairly easily. I liked the fact that it integrated nicely with my bank and I was able to setup a transfer painlessly. On the one hand this was a much better system than simply giving me a sort-code and account number for the transfer, on the other, some platforms would allow loading via debit card for free anyway. Still, overall no complaints here, although I found it a little odd that the first time I used the loading feature it was asking for both an ID from my banks hardware token to login and also a token generated from the payees account ID and the amount, second time I used this to add further funds there was just an ID. I don’t know if this is in any way less secure, but at least the token was involved, so some MFA involved.

ISA Spending

Here’s where I started to have issues with the site. Top-left my ISA account is pre-selected. Clicking on it gives an ‘Account status’ page with my ISA selected. Perhaps for mobile compatibility this pop-up follows the modern trend for reducing the screen real-estate of my display down to a few inches wide when I have a 34 inch monitor. I guess this is just part of the world we live in where trends like this have to be followed and so I shouldn’t lean too hard on 212, however it means I have to scroll the top of the pop-up to reach the ‘invest’ display, when there should be no need. A large amount of the pop-up area is consumed with the amount, the Portfolio and Free funds, then there is a the ‘Deposit Funds’ button, which has no function once the ISA limit is reached. It would be nice if that button was removed at that point, but clicking it gives a warning as you’d expect. No particular problem there, but now how about actually investing. Or enabling interest. There are no other exits from the pop-up from this page. What would be really nice at this stage is to see an option to enable interest from here. Instead I need to close that and find the settings to earn interest on cash. It would be nice if it prompted you after loading.

Invest/CFD/ISA areas

The site seems to be split between these different investment types. It’s slightly odd how this is done. Top-left is an icon, an amount, and a chevron. I’m expecting the chevron to offer a drop-down so I can select the overall area. In other sites the chevron would give a drop-down, the icon or the text amount would launch the pop-up. Instead the entire area just launches the pop up which (again as I said above) potentially needs an extra click to reach the desired area.

Pies

OK, so here is something that had me stumped for a while. I knew about pies because obviously I’d watched a video or two about them before joining T212, and decided I didn’t want to use them. Unfortunately, after investing in a fund, I then was at a loss to understand where the information on my fund was found. The pie symbol in the website was basically the last place I looked for my investments, because the word ‘pie’ is effectively overloaded here, and it was only by chance I clicked on the pie and realised it’s a different kind of pie. It would be nice to use a different symbol for the portfolio. I’ve obviously learnt this now!

Mouse-overs

There are almost none. In some cases it’s completely obvious what a button does, in others having some text appear on hover explaining stuff with links to further information would go a long way to making the site easier for noobs. I found myself looking for videos showing what happens when you click on something. In most cases there’s a confirmation, but it was a bit nerve-wracking worrying I’d be making a mistake.

Fees

It wasn’t very obvious how fees are managed, whether they are coming from the invested amount or not, and how you configure this. I still haven’t found the exact sequence of clicks to take me to this option. I asked the AI bot and it gave me a non-existent location. It’s unclear if this is just the bot being wrong, or the fact that I don’t have this option on my investments. I guess this is one area where the high-level site split between investment/CFD/ISA will potentially confuse. I think I can add cash to any of these areas (apart from if my ISA allowance is used), but there seems to be no cash account separate from the investment type. This makes me wonder if I do finally find an option to take fees from my cash balance, which balance will it take from for which investments?

2FA

It’s surprising this isn’t enabled by default with an opt-out instead of having an option that allows it if you want it. This isn’t generally a good security posture and many companies now just insist on 2FA, it’s great that it’s optional for people who don’t want it. But considering one authenticates for the device and not for the session, I think it wouldn’t be particularly inconvenient to force this on initially.

Personal Info

There’s a lot of personal info being asked for on the site and it’s unclear what this is going to be used for. In particular a DOB was requested. It was unclear to me whether this was for the purpose of authenticating my ID, and that’s why I supplied it. I suspect it’s not. The fact that this data is being collected doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that it’s shown on my account. I don’t need to be able to see my DOB, and since it’s often used as an authentication mechanism (by other sites that have no idea about security) it shouldn’t IMHO be displayed in plain text when perusing my account info. It should be treated like a password and blanked out, either accessible with some extra auth, or not seen at all. Possibly personal address is also in that category. A lot of sites with this kind of info obscure it in some way for the casual viewer.

Child ISAs

It isn’t clear to me how to setup a child ISA that I manage, and I think if I have to create another completely separate account it will be quite a faff. That also brings me to another thing which is allowing another user to view my account.

Linking accounts

I use the Vanguard feature that allows me to view my partner’s account so I don’t have to keep logging in as another user to view investments. This is really nice and I assume not available in T212 as I couldn’t see it in the settings. I hope this will be added at some point. It remains to be seen whether I can authenticate against two accounts on the same device simultaneously maybe it will work well enough that I don’t need this feature, but the way Vanguard lays out the info about my ISA, my kids ISAs and my partner’s ISAs is really nice. Vanguard is not perfect, and it gets worse from there as you try to dig into the actual performance but they nailed the initial display.

Hope this helps,

Cheers!

What fees are you expecting?

Yes i’ve raised this issue with the new browser app. I believe it comes from a lot of issues they are having in that it was designed for mobile touch device, so no mouse overs.

Hope it gets addressed.

Suppose I purchase VWRP. I’m paying fees of 0.22%. I’m enough of a noob that I don’t really understand if there’s a Vanguard or T212 limitation on how those fees are paid. The reason I’m interested is that paying fees in cash means a slightly higher effective ISA allowance (assuming you max it out), it also means for a child ISA you’re leaving more for your kids earlier, potentially avoiding some IHT. Small amounts, I know but every little helps.

The web app is going through a significant update so, prob best to wait for things to settle if you stick around as im sure more UI changes are in the pipeline.
Also worth trying ‘Advanced mode’ on the webapp (click house icon, select advanced), and zoom out on the browser page, makes it a better experience for myself personally.

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That fee is deducted daily from the value of the fund. You’ll never notice that being taken and you won’t ever see a transaction.

No JISA here at the moment I’m afraid.

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Thanks. That’s something I’d not have discovered without being told, you need to select the house, then select it again once the chevron appears so you can get the drop-down. Nice to see a chevron that gives a drop-down after my comments about Account Status!

That’s good to know. I guess I’ll be opening an account with HL as they seem to offer them without platform fees.

+1 for the mouse overs

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