Looking to grow your money with investing in the stock market but still nailing down the best platform to use? We’ve made the task easier with our head to head; Moneybox vs Hargreaves Lansdown.
- Quick summary
- The head to head: Moneybox vs Hargreaves Lansdown
- Conclusion: Moneybox vs Hargreaves Lansdown
- Alternatives to Hargreaves Lansdown and Moneybox
Moneybox is best for personal finance beginners wanting a simple set up and curated investment portfolios
Hargreaves Lansdown* is best for people wanting simple, low fees and a wide range of investments
- Curated investment selection
- Saving and round-up features
- Low minimum investment
- Higher fees than HL
- No DIY investment choices
- Huge range of investment options
- Low fees
- Financial advice available
- High minimum investment on ready made portfolios
- High share dealing charges
The head to head: Moneybox vs Hargreaves Lansdown
Even though the information in the article is accurate at the time of publication, nothing in this article should be taken as financial advice. With all investing, your capital is at risk. Even though we regularly update our content, please do your own research before investing. If you require financial advice, you can search for a regulated and qualified financial advisor via the Personal Finance Society.
How we assess the head to head
In order to compare between investment platforms, we’ve focused on what we think are the most important features for our readers:
- Type and range of available investments
- Ethical investing availability
- Range of accounts
- Customer reviews
- Minimum deposit requirements
- Restrictions on withdrawals
- Platforms available
- FSCS protection
Round 1: Investment Options
If you’re wanting a range of investment options, you can’t do much better than Hargreaves Lansdown* (HL). Boasting over £120bn under administration and over 1.6m clients, they’re certainly the larger of the two providers. HL are in the FTSE100 and have won multiple awards in the industry such as the “Best Investment Platform 2021” at the Your Money Awards.
On the HL platform you can invest in:
- UK and international shares
- Investment trusts
Additionally, HL has a range of pre-made portfolios based on risk level called Portfolio+ or “Master Portfolio”.
Portfolio+ is HL’s similar option to Moneybox’s portfolios. This is where there are a set of ready made portfolios. You select yours depending on your risk profile. These portfolios are made up of multiple funds aiming to give you diversification built-in.
A Master Portfolio is very similar, in they are a ready made portfolio dependent on your risk appetite. However, with the Master Portfolios you can then go off and edit, update and manage your portfolio yourself. For example, if you wanted to add some individual shares into your portfolio you could do that easily (or update the asset allocation).
Both are intended to make investing much easier. As it can be quite overwhelming being faced with the range of choice HL offer.
As well as the above pre made portfolios, HL also offers:
- Financial advice: it has a team of on-hand financial advisors that can give financial advice if you need it (this costs extra, however)
- Active savings accounts: this aims to maximise your interest on your cash by essentially allowing you to deposit your savings in multiple banks and pick and choose which ones (avoiding the paperwork of opening loads of accounts each time a favourable interest rate comes on the market)
Moneybox has a set of three “starter options” which is great for beginner investors.
These three options; “Cautious”, “Balanced” and “Adventurous” differ by their asset allocation. i.e the Adventurous option has a higher equity allocation at 80%, with the Cautious option having 15% in shares. Each of these invests in underlying tracker funds such as Fidelity Index World.
As Moneybox is not authorised to give financial advice, there is no advice or questionnaire to recommend which one is best for you. However, they do have some great contextual guides around risk and investing which can help you to feel more confident in your choices.
For the more advanced investor, you’ll be able to tweak the asset allocations within your Moneybox portfolio. Additionally, you’ll be able to select from a range of index funds if you’re aiming to get exposure to more of a certain asset class or industry. Some of the index funds available are:
- Fidelity Index Emerging Markets
- Legal & General Global Technology Index
- Legal & General Global Health and Pharmaceuticals Index
More are available within the Moneybox app, which you’ll be able to find here. If you have a Stocks & Shares ISA, then a range of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are available within Moneybox, such as the Vanguard S&P 500 UCITS ETF. A full listing is available here.
Alongside its investment platform, Moneybox also has a range of features to help you save money consistently. Such as the ability to divert your money on payday automatically into your savings account or investments with Moneybox. Similarly, there are automatic round-ups (if you spend £5.50, it will automatically round up and invest the £0.50). If you are just starting out or find it difficult to save money, then Moneybox could well be the answer for you.
Round 2: Ethical investing
As HL is first and foremost a broker and share dealing platform, you will be able to construct your own portfolio which aligns with your values. If you are willing to put in the time to research and construct your portfolio, then this provides the highest level of control and visibility of what is in your portfolio – ensuring you feel confident that your investments are aligned with your values.
However, as HL has such a large range of fund and investment options, there are ESG-focused and ethical investments on the platform. They offer ESG-centric funds, Exclusionary funds (ones that don’t invest in certain industries like fossil fuels) and Sustainability-focused and impact investing funds.
They have put together a list of suitable funds, but you will still have to research to find the suitable ones for you. Of course, HLs financial advice service can help you to build this too (but bear in mind this comes with additional costs).
Moneybox has some ethical investing options alongside their initial portfolios. You can opt to replace the global shares fund in your starter options (the “cautious”, “balanced” and “adventurous” funds) for a socially responsible shares fund offered by Old Mutual (Old Mutual MSCI World ESG Index).
There are a few other socially responsible options available for you to include in your portfolio via Moneybox if you wish, such as Royal London Emerging Markets ESG Leaders and 8 ETFs (with a full listing here). These aren’t included in the starting portfolios, but you can add them to your portfolio if you would like.
Round 3: Accounts available
With Hargreaves Lansdown, you can open:
- General Investment Account (GIA)
- Stocks and Shares ISA
- Lifetime ISA
- Junior ISA
- Personal Pension
- Cash ISA
- Active Savings Account
With Moneybox, you can open:
- General Investment Account
- Stocks and Shares ISA
- Junior ISA
- Lifetime ISA (LISA)
- Personal Pension
- Additionally a range of savings accounts
Round 4: Fees
The fee structure with HL is fairly convoluted.
For investing in funds; you pay an annual account fee, and also the underlying fund costs you invest in.
The annual account fee is tiered dependent on the amount you have invested. The underlying fund costs vary dependent on what you invest in, and are standard across all platforms/brokers (you’ll notice these in the Wealthify costs below too).
The annual account fee is tiered:
- 0.45% up to £250k invested
- 0.25% between £250k-£1m invested
- 0.1% between £1m-£2m invested
- No charge for +£2m invested
However, if you are looking to buy individual shares, investment trusts, ETFs, bonds or gilts, then you will incur additional share dealing charges (no trading fee or dealing charges on fund investments).
This charge depends on how many trades you are doing a month.
- 0-9 trades = £11.95 per deal
- 10-19 trades = £8.95 per deal
- 20+ = £5.95 per deal
If you use their regular investing feature (i.e set up a direct debit to invest a minimum £25 per month) then the trading charge falls to £1.50 per trade.
Regardless, these individual trading fees can eat up a lot of your returns unless you have a sizeable amount to invest, so bear in mind the impact of these fees before committing to the investment.
Moneybox’s fee is split into a few components:
- monthly subscription fee: £1
- platform fee: 0.45%
- fund provider costs: 0.12%-0.58%
The monthly subscription fee is free for the first 3 months, but £1 per month thereafter.
The platform fee is the ongoing management cost paying for their platform.
The fund provider costs are the costs charged by the underlying funds and so not controlled by Moneybox.
Focusing just on the platform and subscription fee, you would be looking at a total of £1 per month +0.45%.
As a result of the flat monthly fee with Moneybox, the effective annual fee actually works out quite expensive for lower investment amounts.
If you had invested £1,000 on each of the two platforms, you would have paid £16.50 to Moneybox (ignoring underlying fund charges and ignoring the 3 month promotion period), vs only £4.50 on Hargreaves Lansdown. This is a significant difference and can’t be ignored. So HL wins on fees hands down.
Round 5: Existing customer reviews
Hargreaves Lansdown has an average 4.2/5 on Trustpilot from 5.4k reviews at the time of writing. Positive reviews mention efficient processing, customer service being prompt and positive feedback about the level of guidance and information available on the site. The negative reviews mention the high trading charges and some bad experiences with customer service.
Moneybox has an average of 4.5/5 on Trustpilot from just over 1000 reviews at the time of writing. Lots of positive reviews discuss the ease of use of the app and their other savings tools, alongside positive reviews that they have the option of a LISA. Negative reviews discuss the automatic transfers/round ups from their app (although bear in mind you can disable this feature), as well as slow transfers on occasion.
Round 6: Minimum deposit requirements
Hargreaves Lansdown minimum requirements vary by account:
- Any ready-made portfolio (i.e Portfolio+ mentioned above) requires a minimum £1000 or more
- Stocks & Shares ISA, Lifetime ISA and Junior ISA: start from £100 or £25 per month
- Pension: start from £100 or £25 per month
- Fund & Share Dealing Account (i.e a general investment account): open an account with a minimum of £1 (or £25 per month regular investing)
Moneybox requires only £1 to get started.
Round 7: Withdrawal restrictions
There are no restrictions on the Stocks & Shares ISA and General Investment Account (the Fund & Share Dealing account) within HL. The only limitation is that if you don’t have the cash available then there may be a delay whilst your investments are sold until your money is returned to you.
With the Junior ISA, Lifetime ISA and Pension accounts the standard restrictions apply (industry wide restrictions). For example, the Junior ISA is restricted until the child’s 18th birthday, and for Pensions, this is available the date you turn 55. For a Lifetime ISA, money can be withdrawn before being used for either a house purchase or for retirement, but you will be charged a penalty of 25% as it is being withdrawn outside of one of the intended uses (house purchase or retirement). This might mean you will get back less than you put in.
There are no restrictions on withdrawing from the investing accounts (other than the standard Pension restrictions i.e you can’t withdraw before retirement age). As the underlying funds need to be sold before the money is returned, it can take up to 1-2 weeks for the money to be returned.
Round 8: Platforms available
Hargreaves Lansdown has a web app (to access your account via the browser), as well as iOS and Android apps (but note more functionality when accessing via the browser).
Moneybox can be accessed via their iOS and Android apps (no web app available).
Round 9: FSCS protection
Hargreaves Lansdown is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) up to the first £85,000 on ISA, General Investment and Pension accounts.
Moneybox is covered by the FSCS scheme. Note for their savings accounts that these are actually protected by the bank that they hold the money with (they don’t hold the money themselves). If you are looking to use one of their savings products, be sure to check this explainer from Moneybox about where the money is held.
Conclusion: Moneybox vs Hargreaves Lansdown
These are two great options. Hargreaves Lansdown* undeniably has a massive range, and is better suited to investors who want to exercise more control over their portfolio.
However, Moneybox’s more curated selection is squarely aimed at the demographic of younger investors looking for an easy and simple app-based platform to build their portfolios. As they are all globally diversified by default, you don’t need to put in much effort to achieve a diversified portfolio.
Although be aware that the flat £1 per month fee will result in £16.50 annual fees on Moneybox if you invested £1000 (ignoring the first 3 months of waived £1 charge) vs only £4.50 using Hargreaves Lansdown (both figures excluding any underlying fund charges).
This does mean that if you have more than £1,000 to invest, or are willing to find a suitable fund to invest in, you’ll be better off going with Hargreaves Lansdown* due to the significantly lower fees.
Alternatives to Hargreaves Lansdown and Moneybox
The investment platform world is a competitive one. You’ll find other similar brokers and robo advisors, which we’ve compiled a list of below:
Other brokers similar to Hargreaves Lansdown:
- Interactive Investor
- Vanguard Investor (not a broker but typically lowest fees on the market if you want to invest in Vanguard products)
Other apps and services similar(ish) to Moneybox:
Some budgeting/saving apps are also aiming to have everything finance-related under one roof. Plum* and Chip* both offer automatic saving capability and have beginner-friendly investing platforms. Plum* even has spend tracking and budgeting features which are super useful.
*Any links with an asterisk may be affiliate links. Even though we may receive a payment if you use this link to sign up for the service, it does not influence our editorial content and we remain independent. The views expressed are based on our own experience and analysis of the service.