Interactive Investor

How to get started with US share trading

From Amazon to Zoom... our guide to investing in US markets 

From Amazon to Zoom - international investing at ii

Despite the global pandemic and massive impact on the global economy, many stocks, especially those in the US technology sector, defied the odds in the post-crash period and made record highs.

The scale of outperformance is in stark contrast to UK stocks where growth has been much harder to come by, and dividend income has shrunk significantly.

Such disparity only serves to emphasise the importance of a diversified investment portfolio, one that is able to exploit these pockets of phenomenal growth outside their home market wherever and whenever they appear.

How to buy US shares

New to ii? Open an account

You can buy and sell US shares with any of our investment accounts. It only takes a few minutes to get started.

Stocks and Shares ISA
A tax-efficient way to invest up to £20,000 a year.

Trading Account
Our flexible account for making your money grow even further.

SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension)
Take control of your pension with our great-value, award-winning SIPP.

Set up your account for US trading

There are two things you need to do before you can add US shares to your account.

Agree to our online Exchange Agreements so you can get live US prices. To do this, log in to your account, click ‘Trading’ and select ‘Trade now’. Then click the ‘International’ tab, followed by ‘Sign the exchange agreements’.

Complete a W8-BEN form. This can reduce the amount of tax you pay on US dividends and interest payments and is valid for three years. You can do this online by logging in and visiting our Useful Forms page. You don't need to do this if you are only investing in the ii SIPP.

Do your research

You can find ideas by visiting our International investing page, or head over to our international shares news.

— Jump to: What shares can I buy?

You’re ready to go

A few useful things to remember about trading US shares:

— US markets are usually open from 2.30pm to 9pm UK time (that's 9.30am to 4pm Eastern time) - so you can trade later than UK shares.

— You will see prices in dollars and cents – not pounds and pence.

— When you trade US shares, you will not see the 15-second countdown with a fixed price as you do with UK shares. Your order will be sent directly to the US exchange, and the actual traded price will be confirmed when the trade completes.

— With our Trading Account and SIPP, you can convert pounds into dollars and hold it in your account until you’re ready to trade. This saves you having to pay currency conversion fees on every trade.

Fees and charges for US share dealing

  • We give you a free trade every month, which can be used to buy and sell US shares.
  • Additional US share trades cost £7.99.
  • You can hold US dollars in your ii SIPP and Trading Account and use them to buy US shares.
  • When you convert in and out of US dollars, there is a currency exchange fee of up to 1.5%. Find out more

If you plan on making a lot of international trades, our Super Investor service plan could save you money in the long run.

What US shares can I buy?

We offer access to all the big household names including Apple, Microsoft and Tesla

However, lesser-known names can also provide a good opportunity. See below for more ideas on building your portfolio.

Most popular US shares

See what other ii customers are investing in.

Key dates

Our US earnings calendar highlights the key dates to look out for.

News and insights

Our experts give their views on the international markets.

Why we’re the right choice for international trading

  • Choice -access to over 40,000 UK and international shares across 17 global exchanges. 
  • Value - fair, flat fees and a free trade every month.
  • Award-winning - we were named Best Stockbroker for International Share Dealing at the 2020 ADVFN Awards.

Please remember: The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The value of international investments may be affected by currency fluctuations which might reduce their value in sterling. We may receive two elements of commission in relation to international dealing - Trading Commission and our FX Charge. Please see our rates and charges for full details of the relevant costs. Foreign markets will involve different risks from the UK markets. In some cases the risks will be greater.