Are you interested in making money through spread betting but don’t know yet which of the many spread betting brokers you should go for?
Spread betting is a type of investment that involves betting on the rise or fall in the value of assets, while not physically owning the asset.
Spread betting platforms will grant you access to a number of global markets. Through your spread betting broker, you’ll be able to bet on ETFs, bonds, futures, commodities, forex, indices, cryptocurrencies, options and more.
Read our comprehensive guide below and discover some of the best spread betting brokers in the UK, and which providers offer the best mobile apps. As with all investments spread betting incurs risk, and aspiring traders should never risk more than 5 percent of their bankroll on a single spread bet.
Table of Contents
What is spread betting?
Spread betting is a trading strategy that allows you to speculate on the price movement of different financial instruments. By spreadbetting, a trader is taking a position (a wager/bet) on whether the price of a given financial instrument will rise or fall. It doesn’t involve buying or selling the underlying asset and spread betters will, therefore, not enjoy the rights and privileges associated with these instruments like the dividends related to shares and bonds.
A spread bet is the amount of money you wish to place on a trade, per point in movement. Your profits increase when the market moves in your favour. How much you make from the bet is calculated by multiplying the pip change (the difference between the trade opening and closing price) and the value of your spread bet. Spreadbetters have access to leverage, and the earnings from spreadbetting are not subjected to capital gains tax.
Spreadbetting Vs CFD
Spread betting is a trading strategy that allows you to bet on whether the price of a commodity will rise or fall. It doesn’t involve buying or selling the underlying asset, and the profits realized aren’t subject to tax.
CFDs, on the other hand, are financial derivatives of different financial instruments. By CFD trading, you are essentially buying and selling contracts that represent the value and price of particular financial instruments without necessarily taking ownership of the asset.
CFDs and spread betting share a wide range of similarities, including access to leverage. They are both derivatives of financial products and neither involves taking ownership of the underlying product.
However, they differ significantly in tax treatment given that earnings from spreadbetting aren’t subjected to capital gains tax.
What are the Pros and Cons of Using Spread Betting Brokers?
- Regulated by the FCA – Spread betting brokers in the UK are all regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) so you can be assured that they are following standard industry practices.
- Offer educational materials – Many broker firms offer educational materials as well as technical and fundamental analyses of assets to its traders.
- Quick access to several markets – By using a spread betting broker, you’ll gain access not only to the stock market but also to other global markets.
- Offer trader tools – Many spread betting brokers offer a free demo account to practice your trading skills. Spread betting platforms will typically also offer a variety of trader tools that you can use to minimize your risk of losing, such as stop loss and sell out limits.
- Can be expensive – Your chosen spread betting broker may charge a high amount in fees or commissions. Withdrawal fees and account maintenance fees can also be high.
- Capital at Risk – Trading contains substantial risk and is not for every investor. An investor could be at risk of losing all the initial investment.
Our Shortlist of the Top Spread Betting Brokers in the UK
1. Pepperstone - Best all-round spreadbeting platform
Launched in the U.K in 2016, Pepperstone has morphed into one of the most popular online spread betting sites in the country. Key among the factors endearing online investors and traders to Pepperstone is the ease of opening a Spread betting account with the broker and the number of spreadbetting opportunities available.
Traders registered with the broker can, for instance, take positions on such financial instruments as indices, shares and stocks, currency pairs, treasuries, cryptocurrencies, futures, and commodities like spot metals and energies. Other advantages of spreadbetting on Pepperstone include the fact that profits the generated here tax-exempt. The online broker’s platform is also highly advanced with low latency and fast order execution speeds.
The broker’s trading accounts are hosted on the highly versatile MT4 and MT5 platforms. These industry-leading platforms don’t just host some of the most advanced trading and market analysis tools but also make it possible for you to create and deploy an automated trading tool (expert advisor).
- Easy and straightforward account opening with minimum a minimum initial deposit of £200
- The account is available via a highly versatile trading platform (WebTrader, desktop, and mobile)
- Broker has consistently maintained low trading minimums (0.1 lots) and highly competitive spreads
- Pepperstone is a highly regulated broker with operating licenses in the U.K (FCA) and Australia (ASIC)
- Pepperstone clients also get access to attractive leverages of up to 1:500 (1:30 for U.K clients)
- One may consider the number of financial products offered by Pepperstone limited
- Mobile trading is only available via the MT4 trading platform
- The educational, training, and research resources provided Pepperstone are limited
eToro is one of the most popular and versatile trading platforms in the UK market, allowing you to trade and invest in a wide range of securities. The minimum deposit is just £100 and you can deposit up to £2,000 before submitting any documents to satisfy KYC (Know Your Client).
The platform caters for those looking to invest in an asset that you own outright for which eToro lists thousands of stocks and shares, as well as a number of cryptocurrencies.
If you are instead looking to trade CFDs (contract for differences), the platform hosts commodities, bonds, energies, indices, and more. eToro also offers a fully-fledged forex department. The reason that eToro makes our list is that it is suited to newbie traders.
It takes just minutes to set-up an account, and you can deposit funds with a debit/credit card, bank transfer, and even an e-wallet like PayPal. eToro does not charge any trading fees, so the only costs you'll need to be aware of is the spread.
One of the more interesting features of eToro is the ability to copy the trades of successful traders, which is perfect if you have limited experience in the investment arena.
- No Fees other than through the spread
- Allows Copy Trading
- Support Multiple Trading Methods Including E-Wallets
- Withdrawal Process Is Slower than other Providers
- Supports Only One Base Currency
FXCM has been actively involved in the online spread betting niche for close to two decades. Over the years, the brokerage has gained a lot of popularity with the UK and Ireland spread betters because of their commission-free and competitively small bet sizes – starting from 0.7 pips per point. Other factors endearing spread betting professionals to the platform include the brokers impressive list of supported spread betting options.
Unlike most other trading instruments supported on the platform like CFDs, Indices, and commodities, earnings from spread bets are income tax and stamp duty-free. Importantly, FXCM members are also exposed to margin trades with leverages of between 1:2 and 1:30.
Registering a spread betting account at FXCM is straightforward. And if you are an inexperienced spread better, the broker gives you access to a free practice account and up to £50,000 in virtual funds. You are also exposed to numerous training and educational resources as well as a readily available customer support team.
- The broker maintains a highly transparent spread betting fee structure and guidelines of qualifying for leverage
- FXCM’s ease of use and responsive customer support makes the platform beginner-friendly
- You will not always qualify for the maximum 1:30 leverage
- One may consider their product portfolio limited
Established in 2016, Capital.com is a relatively new entrant into the Spread betting niche. Yet a few of its features have helped endear it to the spread betting community in the U.K. Key among them is its highly advanced and feature-rich trading platform that hosts a wide range of advanced trading, analysis, and risk management tools. Additionally, it is AI-powered and hosts an expansive range of research and news resources plus real-time access to market data.
The CFD trader is also home to some of the highest leverages of up to 1:200. Plus traders can operate via web trader, mobile app or desktop trading platforms, and get access to commission-free spread bets. Deposits and withdrawals with Capital.com are not subjected to additional fees.
Registering a spread betting account with the broker is easy and straightforward, and so is opening and closing a trade position. Not to mention that you have easy access to the spread betting broker’s customer support team via email, social media platforms, and even telephone.
- Get to trade using the broker’s highly advanced proprietary trading platforms
- The broker maintains highly competitive trading fees while making leverages easily accessible
- The broker maintains a wide range of deposit and withdrawal options
- The broker accounts aren't accessible via MT4/MT5 trading platforms
- The broker is only suited for professional traders as it doesn’t maintain a practice account
5. IG Spreadbetting
IG live towards the top of the list as one of the best spread betting brokers in the UK. IG has proven to be an all-rounder in terms of its range of trading options, in addition to being one of the oldest and by far the biggest players in the spread betting market.
Founded in 1974, IG is now recognized as the number one CFD provider in the world, having nurtured its reputation over several decades. Their reputation is predicated on an impressive product catalog coupled with competitive fees.
IG provides one of the best spread betting platforms for both new and experienced traders where they can easily access essential information about a wide variety of markets. The interface is easy-to-navigate, well-organized and contains transparent fees against their trading products. When it comes to transparency with fees, we feel they are unmatched.
Traders like the fact that it is not only regulated by the FCA but also by the Australian Securities Investment Commission (ASIC) in Australia. Through IG’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme or FSCS, all of its traders have a 500,000 GBP default broker protection.
- Good withdrawal and deposit options
- Exclusive educational content and demo account
- Exceptional web trading platform
- Huge CFDs fees
- Maintains an inactivity fee
6. City Index
City Index is another of the best spread betting brokers in the UK and has been around since 1983. City Index is the trading name given by Gain Capital Group for its UK operations.
It provides a wide range of products, trading tools, webinars as well as indicators. It is one of the most flexible brokers in the UK and continues to develop as time goes by. It is considered as one of the best when it comes to research and tools that traders need for spread betting.
Like IG, it is also regulated by top financial authorities like the FCA, ASIC and even the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). It offers it customers easy access to around 12,000 markets across indices, shares, cryptocurrencies, commoditie, forex, etc.
- Relatively little forex and index CFDs fees
- Wide range of research tools
- Easy account opening process
- Limited product portfolio
- Not user-friendly website
Spreadex was named “Best for efficiency of taking trades” at the Investments Trends UK Awards. It is popular because of its non-equity CFDs and commission-free spread bet trading.
Spreadex traders get access to an advanced trading platform wherein they can see the 10-year price history of a stock. Advanced order features like the guaranteed stop feature are also being offered by Spreadex. Similar to other spread betting brokers, it is also regulated by the FCA and offers a wide array of tradeable assets.
- Low deposit and withdrawal fees
- Good customer service
- Commission-free spread bet trading
- Limited educational materials
- Does not offer a demo account for new users
8. ETX Capital
Founded in 1965, ETX Capital is a global FX and CFD broker. Monecor LTD, which is also established in London, is its parent company. ETX Capital has been growing rapidly over the past years. It provides tight spreads on FX, equities, and indices as well as AIM stocks.
It is an ideal platform for newbies because it can provide them the fundamental guidelines they need to start spread betting. New traders can open an account and start spread betting easily because it only needs a minimum $100 deposit.
- Free deposit and withdrawal options
- Simple and quick account opening process
- Amazing educational tools
- Limited to CFDs, cryptocurrencies and forex
What are the Best Spread Betting Mobile Apps?
If you want to be connected to the market on the go, spread betting mobile apps are a necessity, after all, it’s not always possible to be plugged into a laptop or desktops all the time. The best mobile trading apps will help you safeguard your trading positions anywhere you can get a signal.
IG and CMC Markets provide some of the best mobile apps. They have great features that support spread betting, MT4 and CFDs.
All our reviewed spreadbetting broker platforms offer mobile apps to help you grow your portfolio. Spreadex and ETX Capital are noted as providing some of the best mobile app services with good screen execution of commands.
Best PayPal Spread Betting Brokers
Even though the use of cards and wire transfer makes it convenient for traders to deposit and withdraw their funds, many still consider PayPal as their number one payment option.
Paypal spread betting brokers allow traders to use PayPal as their payment method. By using PayPal, they are not required to provide all their personal information and card details. The process of depositing and withdrawing funds is also quicker, more efficient and sometimes less costly when using PayPal.
eToro is the number one PayPal spread betting broker at the moment. It is a social trading and multi-asset brokerage firm with offices in the United Kingdom, Israel and Cyprus. It is regulated by CySec, FCA and ASIC so traders have high confidence that their money will always be safe on eToro. The required minimum deposit is $200 while the maximum leverage you can make is 1:400.
Aside from eToro, you can also check out other reputable PayPal spread betting brokers such as FxPro, Pepperstone, Plus500 and Markets.com.
Best Forex Spread Betting Brokers
Forex spread betting is a subcategory of spread betting. It involves taking a bet on the price appreciation or depreciation of currency pairs.
A forex spread betting broker will quote two prices. These are the bid price and ask price. These two prices are what spread betting traders call as the spread. Traders bet whether the currency pair price will be higher than the ask price or lower than the bid price. The transaction cost of the trade will be low if the spread is narrow.
The best spread betting brokers for Forex include FxPro, Oanda, ActivTrades, ThinkMarkets, LCG and ATFX.
What To Look For In A Spread Betting Broker Firm
Use the following criteria to examine which the best spread betting broker is for you.
- Trade offer
The ability of a broker to permit you access to different spread betting markets is one of the vital criteria to look out for.
The spread betting broker should have market specialties and can provide you with a wide array of tools that can help you in your trading endeavors.
It is also important to look out for how fast the broker updates their trade offer options. The ability to offer you other instruments like forex, EFTs and CFDs is also another important quality to look out for in a broker.
As far as the broker’s standards and costs may differ, it is important to note that the size of the spread matters a lot to the trader. This has a lot of weight since it is also the point at which the broker makes a profit.
Pips count a lot (the percentage point change of the item being traded) and if the spreads aren’t tight the small differences become significant for a trader. In case of a 0.3% spread, the trader should make a profit of that same amount before he can be at a breaking point position. This makes the spread a very vital factor for you to consider when making a decision on the choice of broker you want to work with.
Other important factors to consider include the withdrawal fees, minimum deposit, minimum limit, and account maintenance fees. You should look out for brokers with favorable fees.
- Platform Design
Look for a simple and friendly platform to use as you trade online. The account creation, verification process, deposit, trading, and withdrawal process should all happen on the spread betting broker’s website or app.
- Customer Support System
You are bound to get into problems and finding the quickest help possible is one of the factors to consider when selecting a broker.
Choose a broker that has a 24/7 customer support system and offers efficient modes of communication. The communication modes can be through the phone or email or even a live chat system.
Can You Make Money Spread Betting?
Yes, you can make money spread betting.
Spread betting is a trading mechanism that offers you a wide variety of markets to choose from. Correctly predicting the price movement of the tradeable assets and selling at the right time results in your profit margin.
Being able to bet on every price move of an asset is what makes spread betting totally different from the normal betting. For example, if you bet £1 for every point on an asset that is valued at 100 and then it drops to 0, you can lose up to £100. On the other hand, if you place the same bet and it goes up to 500 then you can win up to £400.
Finding a broker that you can use easily is a vital factor when choosing the best spread betting platform for you. You also need to look out for the liquidity, research tools, educational content and the range of markets it provides. Remember to take your time and do some due diligence before you can open an account with any broker.
How Important Are Tight Spreads When Spread Betting?
The spread is just the difference between the buying price of an asset and the selling price of that asset. For example, in case the buying price of an asset was 124.6 while the selling price was 125.4, then the 0.8 difference between the prices is the spread.
Making a profit while spread betting dictates that the underlying amount exceeds the spread amount. The asset prices have to move by at least the same spread points for you to make a profit. For instance, to make a profit using a two-point spread, the asset point needs to move by at least two points at the time you are closing your position. If this doesn’t happen, then you’ll make money.
Tight spreads are very important during these small movements in the value and prices. They aid in making quick profits from the small movements in the values and prices of the asset.
Regulation And Its Importance For Spread Betting Brokers
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a body that regulates and governs financial institutions in the UK as well as markets and trades.
This body ensures that no one manipulates the trading market to their benefit at the expense of others. It is, therefore, a legal requirement for all UK brokers to be regulated by FCA. The ones that aren’t regulated operates on illegal grounds.
The FCA acts as a referee to set the rules by which trades can take place. Its presence is very important for spread betting brokers since it sees to it that there are no fraudsters and illegal activities during trading. The ground has to be fair for all the parties so the need for a powerful independent body to regulate the activities is a necessity. Regulation of spread betting brokers also guarantees the reputation of the brokers as well. This, however, doesn’t mean that you have chosen the perfect broker just because they are regulated. Find out other qualities before you select a broker you want to trade with.
Golden Rules Of Day Trading Via Spread Betting
Every game has got its rules and this is no different for spread betting if you want to make money. The following are some of the golden rules you need to stick with in order to make profits day trading via spread betting.
i) Follow the trend
This simply requires you to go with the market trend and learn when to get out.
The key to making a profit here is to follow the flow of the market and step out at the right time. For instance, a downward chart continues to go down. You know that this will last for some time before it shifts again. At this moment, you need to sell your assets.
Irregular charts like the zig zaggy ones are quite difficult to predict so you should wait for the chart to become more regular before making a move. The trick in making money is staying closer to the most liquid assets like the FX pairs and the major indices.
ii) Use stops And limits
Spread betting requires an understanding of what are reasonable price movements in order to create realistic benchmarks for when to get in or get out. Set a standard amount that you are willing to lose on every trade. Managing your risks comes out when you stick to your set limits and using stops to cut some losing positions.
A successful trader takes time to sample and analyze a wide variety of trends and a lot of charts. This aids in knowing some of the basics and the trends that exist during trading. It also gives you some set of open diverse positions to work with. You’ll be able to have positions on indices, commodities, FX and stocks.
Once you have found some good open positions to work with, it will be easier for you to know what is happening as afar as profits and losses are concerned. In doing so, you can learn the art of closing positions since this is all that matters. You can earn a lot of profits by knowing when to close the right position at the right moment.
How to Use Spread Betting If the Market Going Down?
Being able to bet on a market that is going down is an important skill that every trader should have. In fact, even hedge funds are doing this process.
This is how the process takes place.
- Trader X anticipates a drop in the value of Amazon, prompting him to bet on the drop that will take place in a few months time.
- Trader X knows that Trader Y has long term shares in Amazon.
- Trader X asks Trader Y if he can borrow the Amazon shares and sell them to a different party.
- Trader Y accepts the offer and charges a fee of 5% on the price of the shares.
- Trader X sells the shares on the London Stock Market.
- After a short period of time, the value of the Amazon shares drops and Trader X buys them back.
- Trader X completes its deal by giving back the shares to reserve Y.
Private spread betting traders don’t need to face the hassle of requesting for stocks from anyone since they can just bet on certain values for each point that the shares will depreciate in order to make money.
Technical Analysis Versus Fundamental Analysis In Spread Betting
Both the technical analysis and fundamental analysis are very crucial when spread trading. This is because they are useful at different durations of the trade.
The fundamental analysis comes in handy to give good guidance for long-term investments while the technical analysis helps in short-term trading. So then which one is better?
There is no straight answer as to which one is better solely because they compliment each other. Another reason is that they are used for different purposes and that they are client-inclined. Some clients prefer either but they consider both before going into trade. Timing is vital and you don’t want to go into an investment without checking the technical analysis.
The technical analysis, as well as the fundamental analysis of different assets, are easily accessible via most brokerage accounts. The best spread betting broker accounts provides you with different tools that are based on fundamental and technical analyses.
How to Avoid Currency Risk When Liquidating
There should be no currency risk during the liquidation of your positions when you are spread betting with foreign currency dominated securities. This is because when the USD depreciates or goes up, the profit or loss from that spread bet needs to capture the percentage profit or loss on the basic currency pair and should be paid in that percentage in USD.
For instance, in case a trader from the US speculates a £1 move on a UK asset valued at £10 for each share and he places $0.05 per £1 and the stock market moves up to £15 during the closing time, then the profit should be 50% regardless of the exchange rate between dollars and pounds.
How Safe Is Your Money When Using Spread Betting Brokers?
It is very important to look out for your spread betting broker’s financial stability and capital strength. The broker firm should step up and solve issues quickly and efficiently so that you can maintain smooth trading.
The safety of your money, depends on the financial soundness of your broker firm and its capital base. Going for public companies can be a good idea since it is a legal requirement for them to make their financial accounts public on a regular basis. Firms like IG and Plus500 regularly post their financial accounts.
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Glossary of trading platform terms
The trading platform fee refers to the amount a trader pays to use the platform and access its integrated platform features and tools. It can be a one –time fee paid for the acquisition of the trading platform, a subscription fee paid monthly or annually. Others will charge on a per-trade basis with a specific fee per trade.
Cost per trade is also referred to as the base trade fee and refers to the fee that a broker or trading platform charges you every time you place a trade. Some brokers offer volume discounts and charge a lower cost per trade for voluminous trades.
Margin is the money needed in your account to maintain a trade with leverage.
Social trading is a form of trading that allows for the interaction and exchange of trade ideas, signals and trade settings between the different classes of traders.
Copy trading, also known as mirror trading is a form of online trading that lets traders copy trade settings from one another. In most cases, it is the newbies and part-time traders that copy the positions of pro traders. The copiers -in most cases - are then required to surrender a share of the profits made from copied trades – averaging 20% - with the pro traders.
A Financial instrument ideally refers to the proof of ownership of financial commodities of monetary contracts between two parties. In the money markets, financial instruments refer to such elements as shares, stocks, bonds, Forex and crypto CFDs and other contractual obligations between different parties.
An index is an indicator that tracks and measures the performance of a security such as a stock or bond.
Commodities refer to raw materials used in the production and manufacturing of other products or agricultural products. Some of the most popular commodities traded on the exchange markets include energy and gases like oil, agricultural products like corn and coffee, and precious metals like gold and silver.
An ETF is a fund that can be traded on an exchange. The fund is a basket containing multiple securities such as stocks, bonds or even commodities. ETFs allow you to trade the basket without having to buy each security individually.
CFDs are a form of contractual trading that involves speculating on the performance of a particular trade in the market. CFD’s will basically allow you to speculate on the future value of securities such as stocks, currencies and commodities without owning the underlying securities.
The minimum investment simply refers to the lowest amount of capital injection you can deposit into a brokerage or a trading platform. Different brokers demand varied minimum investment amounts from their clients either when registering or opening trade positions.
A daily trading limit is the lowest and highest amount that a security is allowed to fluctuate, in one trading session, at the exchange where it’s traded. Once a limit is reached, trading for that particular security is suspended until the next trading session. Daily trading limits are imposed by exchanges to protect investors from extreme price volatilities.
A day trader is a term used to describe a trader who is constantly opening trades and closing them within a day. It is a common term used to refer to forex traders who open trade and only hold onto it for a few minutes or hours before disposing and having to leave no open trades at the time the trading day closes.
Do spread betting brokers offer a demo account?
Yes. Most spread betting brokers in the UK offer demo accounts to new traders. You can use the demo account to practice and hone your trading skills before you use real money to spread bet.
Are all UK spread betting brokers regulated by the FCA?
All of the UK spread betting brokers mentioned above are regulated by the FCA. It’s important that you choose a spread betting broker that is regulated by the FCA so your money and trading account will always be protected.
Is spread betting for long-term traders?
Spread betting is more suitable for short-term traders.
How much can you bet?
The minimum bet size when spread betting depends on your broker. Most spread betting brokers require £1 per point.
What types of markets can I bet on when spread betting?
When you have a spread betting account, you can bet on a wide range of global markets. For example, City Index will give you access to around 12,000 markets across indices, shares, cryptocurrencies, commoditie, forex, etc.