What is Lightyear?
Lightyear is a simple and approachable way to invest your money globally without unnecessary barriers or fees, you can start investing with just £1.
Today our customers have access to US stocks and by the first half of 2022 this will expand to UK/EU markets as well.
Who can use your service?
You have to be 18+ and a UK citizen or resident residing in the UK to use our service today. We’re working hard on increasing eligibility for EU based users in the not too distant future.
US citizens who currently reside in the UK are also eligible to use Lightyear.
What are your fees?
We believe everyone should have access to investing and that they shouldn’t have to pay for that privilege. That’s why we charge ZERO fees for trading. There’s no hidden costs, no hidden spreads, no monthly or yearly subscription, guaranteed.
Depositing and withdrawing funds
No fees are charged from our side for depositing or withdrawing funds to your Lightyear multi-currency account.
The first £3,000 (or equivalent $/€) will be converted fee free each calendar month. Any amount over this that you convert will include a small 0.35% conversion fee.
We believe in radical transparency so you won’t find any hidden spreads or fees in our exchange rate. We use the live interbank(sometimes known as the mid-market) rate which you’ll be shown before each conversion.
Do I have to download the app, or do you have a website?
What do I need to sign up?
If you’re 18 or over and a resident in the UK you can download the app and start onboarding.
You’ll need to provide basic information like your:
- relative tax identification number (National insurance number in the UK)
These details are a regulatory requirement as we need to be able to report trades with all of the above information. We may also need to verify your identity and/or address so it’s good to have relative documents handy. See more under “Which documents do you accept?” below.
Verifying your identity and address
As a regulated financial institution we have obligations to make sure we know who’s using our service. This ensures the safety and security of our platform and keeps our customers money safe. This means we may need to verify your identity or address. To do this we’ll ask for relative documents.
Photo ID documents we accept include:
- National ID cards
NB! ID documents must include a photo. When submitting them we’ll require clear, legible copies or photos as well as both sides of the card if a national ID or drivers license.
Proof of address documents we accept include: - Utility bill (e.g. gas, electric, water, internet) - Credit card or bank statement - Document issued by a UK public authority (e.g. driving license, council tax bill, residence permit)
You’re not able to use the same document to verify both your ID and your address, so for example if you submitted your drivers license as a proof of ID you will need to provide a different document to verify your address.
Note: Your document must contain the name and/or address you used to sign up with and if a bill or statement must be from the last 3 months.
Providing source of wealth / source of funds
As part of our on-going due diligence and regulatory requirements we sometimes require additional information about how you have generated your wealth (source of wealth) and where you have received the funds you have just sent us (source of funds).
What is a “Source of Wealth”?
Your source of wealth generally refers to the activities which generated or significantly contributed to your overall net worth. This could be the accumulation of your salaried income, financial and other assets such as inheritance, investments, property sales, etc.
On top of specifying your source of wealth we may also ask for supporting documentation so we can verify the information you provide us. Examples of acceptable source of wealth documents are:
- Bank statements
- Certified copies of any property sales
- Certified copies of company accounts
- Grant of probate and a copy of a Will in case of inheritance
- Signed letter from a solicitor
- Investment certificates
What is a “Source of Funds”?
Your source of funds is specific to the particular funds you are using for a particular purpose, in this case investing with Lightyear. For example, if you are using money you have received from your salary to invest with us, a payslip and/or bank statement could be used to show where these funds have come from.
I want to update my details
To change any personal information like your name, address, email or phone number you’ll need to get in touch with our support. To make changes we’ll need a relative document from you, for example if you’ve moved we’ll require a new proof of address document.
It’s also important that you get in touch from the same email address or phone number that’s associated with your Lightyear account otherwise our support team may go through some additional verification steps to ensure they’re speaking to the right person.
How can I deactive my account?
To deactivate your account please get directly in touch with support.
Just for reference, in accordance with applicable regulations we store customer account information for 7 years even after closure.
Why did Lightyear close my account?
Finding your account has been closed is a frustrating experience. We’ll never close an account without good reason.Unfortunately, due to being a regulated financial institution we are limited in what we can say about account closures.
It’s generally done to keep our platform safe for our users and to prevent bad actors committing financial crime.
Some broad reasons why we close accounts are:
- we spot suspicious activity
- we are given false or misleading information
- a user has duplicate Lightyear accounts - we only permit one per customer
- we have good reason to believe the security of an account has been compromised
As mentioned above, we can’t be specific about why we’ve closed an account. Doing so could be considered as ‘tipping off’ and land us in trouble with local authorities. There are rules that explicitly stop us from doing so to protect potentially ongoing law enforcement investigations.
On top of this, explaining the details that lead to us closing accounts could help fraudsters get around our security controls.
I want to submit a complaint
You can do so in writing directly through our support team.
Unfortunately sometimes things can go wrong, we’re sorry for this. In these instances we take all complaints seriously and do our best to come to a mutually acceptable resolution. When forwarding a complaint be sure to include as much information as possible about the issue including:
- when it occurred
- what happened
- your expectations of us to fix it
You can read more about what a complaint is and our handling process in our complaints policy.
What is a W-8BEN form?
A W-8BEN - sometimes referred to as a certificate of foreign status - is a requirement to buy US stocks. It’s a declaration that you are not a US tax-paying resident.
You’ll come across this during the onboarding process when we’re setting up your account.
How does your multi-currency account work?
Often all the companies we want to invest in aren’t listed on the same exchange nor are they traded in the same currency. This can be a painful and costly hurdle to jump in trying to send and convert your money to the right place. That is until Lightyear came along.
All our users have access to multi-currency accounts and can hold money in three currencies, GBP, USD and EUR. You’ll receive your own unique account details for each and be able to instantly transfer between them.
These accounts are free, there are no one-off or monthly charges for opening them or for depositing, holding and withdrawing funds. As we expand our product we’ll expand the currencies available in our multi-currency accounts as well.
We use the live interbank rate to convert your money, and you’ll get £3,000 (or equivalent $/€) free of any FX charges, every calendar month. Exceeding that, there’ll be a small 0.35% fee to convert money.
My deposit hasn't arrived
The time it takes for funds sent to your Lightyear account varies on the currency type, time/day sent and amount.
In the UK FPS(Faster payment system) payments usually arrive in a few minutes but can take up to a few hours. Local US and EU deposits vary between 0-2 business days depending on the transfer type.
If the expected timeframe has been exceeded please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our support. It’s helpful if you attach a proof of payment which has information that may help us trace the payment. A proof of payment is a receipt, screenshot, or document from your bank that shows the following information:
- Your full name
- Your bank details
- Receiving bank details
- The date and time the payment was made
- The amount sent
- The currency
If the information isn’t all in one place, you can send 2 documents. Both will need to show the same bank details — that way we know it’s the same account we’re looking at.
How is my money protected?
The TLDR version Our customers funds are stored in whats known as “safeguarded” accounts. Practically this means that in the unlikely event that Lightyear or our payment service provider becomes insolvent, creditors are not able to stake claim into any customer funds held in safeguarded accounts to cover debts.
On top of this your USD account, which can include your investments and any dollars held in cash, is protected up to the value of $500,000 under the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).
There's separate protections required based on where your funds or portfolio are, either covered by UK or US schemes.
The longer version Lightyear, as an appointed representative of RiskSave Technologies, is regulated by the FCA and so can benefit from FSCS protection. However, in practice this protection is going to be rather limited as neither Lightyear not RiskSave hold your money or your assets.
When you fund your account at Lightyear, the funds are sent to our e-money partner CurrencyCloud (operating in the UK as The Currency Cloud Ltd.) who are an authorised electronic money institution. E-money is considered a means of payment, rather than a deposit like you'd pay into a bank. We partner with CurrencyCloud as they enable us to provide unique multi-currency accounts to each of our customers with low cost conversions making trading much simpler and affordable.
That being said, even though they are fully authorised and regulated by the FCA, CurrencyCloud, like all e-money institutions, they are not covered by the FSCS guarantee. However, unlike a bank, CurrencyCloud cannot lend money out and all the funds you transfer to them are subject to what is called "safeguarding." You can read more about this process here.
When you purchase equities through Lightyear, the e-money held at CurrencyCloud, is sent to our US partner custodian, Alpaca Securities LLC, who execute your trade and hold your stocks in a segregated account in your name. Alpaca are SIPC members and so any money they hold for you, and all of your equities, benefit from SIPC protection.
Which markets do you currently offer?
Today our customers have access to over 3000 fractional and non fractional stocks from US markets.
If there’s a stock that you want to buy, but that is not in the app we’d love to hear your suggestions. We’ll be setting up a better process for this soon, but for now please email us.
What's coming soon?
How will I receive dividends?
What is a pattern day trader?
This is a person that “day trades” :
- 4 or more times within 5 business days and
- those activities are greater than 6 percent of their total trading activity for that same 5 day period
A “day trade” is defined as buying then selling or selling short, then buying the same security on the same day. Just buying a security, without selling it later that same day, would not be considered a day trade.
There are certain requirements for persons designated as pattern day trades. These persons should have a $25,000 minimum equity requirement deposited and invested in their account prior to any day-trading activities. For Lightyear users, this means that they specifically need to have $25,000 USD in active US denominated instruments to fulfil the requirement needed to be a pattern day trader.
This total portfolio amount is to be maintained at all times. If the portfolios sum of all open positions falls below the requirement, you will not be permitted to day trade until you re-open active positions, in US instruments to restore the account to the $25,000 minimum equity level. For more information about Pattern Day Trading, please visit: Day-trading margin requirements | FINRA.org.
Do you offer options, CFDs, mutual funds or futures trading?
Download the app and start investing now
European / English
Get in touch
Lightyear Europe AS is authorised and regulated as an investment firm by the Estonian Financial Supervision Authority (Finantsinspektsioon) under activity licence number 4.1-1/31.
Lightyear Europe is a company registered in Estonia with company number 16235024 and registered office at Tallinn, Niine 11, 10414, Estonia.