Lightyear Investment App: Review

Lightyear is one of several new online stock trading platforms to appear on the scene in Ireland and the UK in recent years . This is a short review of the features of Lightyear.

Lightyear first launched its trading app in the UK market in Q3 2021 and expanded into Ireland and most of Europe in the summer of 2022, using Estonia as its base.
Since May 2023 – you can also use Lightyear on the web (laptop/tablet) as well as via their mobile app..

Lightyear’s financial backers include Richard Branson (Virgin Money)

Interest Paid on Uninvested Cash

Lightyear pays interest on any uninvested cash in EUR, GBP & USD . The current interest rates are shown below.

Lightyear Interest Rates
CurrencyInterest Rate

Deposit interest is paid without deduction of tax . You will need to declare the interest to Revenue. See DIRT

The interest rates are linked to central bank rates (minus 0.75%) .
Interest is calculated daily and paid out on the first of every month.These rates are much better than those available in the main Irish banks. See Savings Rates in Ireland.Note: You don’t have to buy shares with the cash you hold with Lightyear and you can withdraw it at any time.

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What Can You Trade on Lightyear ?

As of July 2023 – these were the numbers of stocks available to trade on Lightyear:- (over 3500 in total).

330 UK stocks – priced in GBP ( Some priced in USD)

278 EU stocks priced in Euros (Some priced in USD)

2933 US stocks priced in USD – of these about 100 can be purchased fractionally.

154 ETFs all priced in Euros . These are mainly ETFs from Vanguard and Ishares but new ones appear to be added relatively often. (No fees on trading ETFs)

There isn’t as much choice as somewhere like Degiro – but there is a pretty good range of shares available. It’s also worth mentioning, new stocks and shares are added all the time to Lightyear – so those numbers will increase.

Currently, if a company with a European HQ is traded on a US stock exchange, it is listed as a “European stock” with Lightyear. However – it will be priced in USD .

Lightyear Fees and Charges.

  • For shares on the US markets, Lightyear charges a 0.1% execution fee (10c minimum, capped at max. $1)
  • For EU shares there is a €1 execution fee .
  • For UK shares there is a £1 execution fee .
  • There are no trading fees when buying or selling ETFs (All Euro-denominated so no FX fees either.)

  • On foreign exchange (FX), Lightyear charges a flat 0.35% fee.
    • For example – this would apply when you deposited Euros but wanted to buy shares priced in USD .
  • Lightyear does not charge any inactivity fees, there are no one-off or monthly charges to open an account. There are no fees to deposit, hold and withdraw funds.

You can apply to open a Lightyear account here.

Sign up with a promo code MONEYGUIDE, deposit at least €50 and get 10 trades for free.
T&Cs apply. Capital at risk

Lightyear Charging Examples:

Buying UK shares in Sterling

Buy £2000 worth of UK shares (in Sterling) 4 times a year for 5 years then sell for £50000.
Trading fees £21.
Stamp Duty 0.5% of £40000 = £200
Conversion fees 0.35% of £90000 = £315 (No fee if you deposit Sterling )
Total = £536 = approx €616

Buying Shares denominated in Euro

Buy €1000 worth of shares each quarter for 5 years then sell for €30000

Total Trading fees = €21

Buying US Shares priced in USD

Buy 30000 US shares @ $0.50 per share ($15000). Sell after 5 years for $25000.
Trading fee $2
FX Fee $140 .
Total fees $142 (about €130)

Buy 1 US-listed share every month for a year @ $400 per share. Sell after 2 years for $10000.

Trading Fees =$0.40 per month = $4.80 plus $1 for sale. Total $5.80
FX Fee $51.80
Total = $57.60 (about €53)

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Is Your Cash Protected?

The primary institutions where Lightyear holds uninvested customer funds are ABN AMRO Bank in the Netherlands, AS LHV Bank in Estonia and BlackRock money market funds rated AAA

The provider of investment services is Lightyear Europe AS. Lightyear Europe AS is authorised and regulated as an investment firm by the Estonian Financial Supervision Authority

It is important to note that the funds held in a Lightyear account are not equivalent to a bank deposit, and therefore in the unlikely event that all appropriate safeguards fail, funds are ultimately protected by the Investor Protection Sectoral Fund for amounts up to 20,000 EUR in total across all your multi-currency account balances.

You can apply to open a Lightyear account here.

How to Deposit Funds With Lightyear

Customer deposits can only be made in Euros or GBP on Lightyear .
Deposits by bank transfer are FREE for both Euro and GBP
Using a Debit card : The first €500 is free then a 0.5% fee (Euro + GBP)
You can’t deposit USD – but you can convert Euro to USD and hold USD in the Lightyear multicurrency account.

It is easy to sign up with Lightyear using their mobile app. Once you have provided contact details and PPS number, you must take a photo of your passport or driving licence and a selfie . It only takes seconds to be approved.

You can open a Lightyear account here.

When investing, please remember that your capital is at risk. Past performance is not an indicator of future success. Terms apply, seek guidance if necessary.

Sign up with a promo code MONEYGUIDE, deposit at least €50 and get 10 trades for free.
T&Cs apply. Capital at risk

There are a few other companies that have launched in recent years with the exact same name. There’s another U.K.-based fintech called Lightyear that is focused on bookkeeping, The Dutch startup called Lightyear is all about electric cars. There is also the New York-based Lightyear, a telecom service procurement service.