Best Spread Betting Platforms in the UK for 2024

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Thomas Drury
Thomas Drury

Thomas Drury

Co-Founder

Seasoned finance professional with 10+ years' experience. Chartered status holder. Proficient in CFDs, ISAs, and crypto investing. Passionate about helping others achieve financial goals.

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Dom Farnell
Dom Farnell

Dom Farnell

Co-Founder

Dom is a Co-Founder and of TIC. A passionate investor and seasoned blog writer with a keen interest in financial markets and wealth management.My goal is to empower individuals to make informed investment decisions through informative and engaging content.

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Last Updated 14/03/2024
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Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 68% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Quick Answer: Who Ranks Top?

Pepperstone is the best platform for spread betting in the UK, offering robust tools and a wide market range. For newcomers, AvaTrade is ideal, with its intuitive design and extensive learning materials tailored to ease beginners into spread betting effectively.

Here are the top 10 spread betting Platforms in the UK:

  1. Pepperstone – Best overall Spread Betting Broker
  2. AvaTrade – Great Choice for Beginners
  3. Trade Nation – Easy to use Platform and simple interface
  4. IG – Offers an expansive range of markets and robust trading technology for both new and experienced traders.
  5. Spreadex – Combines financial spread betting with sports wagering on a unified platform.
  6. City Index – Provides powerful trading tools and competitive spreads with a wealth of educational resources.
  7. CMC Markets – Features an award-winning platform with advanced charting and high-quality research materials.
  8. Capital.com – Known for its AI-powered trading insights and transparent pricing model.
  9. Admirals – Offers a diverse array of trading instruments with an emphasis on customer support and education.
  10. FXCM – Specializes in offering comprehensive trading solutions with strong emphasis on currency and CFD trading

Spread Betting Broker Comparison

5/5
74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money
4.5/5
71% of retail CFD accounts lose money
4/5
81% of retail CFD accounts lose money
4/5
69% of retail CFD accounts lose money
4/5
82% of retail CFD accounts lose money
3.5/5
69% of retail CFD accounts lose money
CMC markets logo
4/5
67% of retail CFD accounts lose money
3.5/5
82% of retail CFD accounts lose money
4/5
77% of retail CFD accounts lose money
3.5/5
76% of retail CFD accounts lose money
Regulatory Authority
ASIC, FCA
ASIC, CBI, FSCA, FSA
CySEC
FCA, ASIC, others
FCA
FCA
FCA, ASIC
FCA, CySEC
FCA, ASIC
FCA, ASIC
Minimum Deposit
$200
$100
$250
$250
£50
£100
£0
$20 (CFD)
$20
$50
Spread Betting Markets Offered
Forex, Indices, Commodities, Shares
Forex, Crypto, Options, Indices, Bonds
Forex, Indices, Commodities
Forex, Indices, Commodities, Shares, Options
Forex, Indices, Spread Betting
Forex, Indices, Spread Betting
Forex, Shares, Indices, Commodities
CFDs on Stocks, Indices, Forex, Crypto
Forex, Indices, Shares, Commodities
Forex, Indices, Commodities
Platform Usability
4.5
4.6
4.5
4.2
4
4.1
3.9
3.8
4.2
3.8
Demo Account Availability
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Account Types
Standard, Razor, Institutional
Standard, Spread Betting, Islamic
Standard
Standard, Spread Betting
Standard, Premium
Standard
Standard, Premium, Corporate
Standard, Invest
Standard, Zero.MT5, Pro
Standard, Active Trader
Spread Costs (EUR/USD)
From 0.0 pips
From 0.9 pips
From 1.0 pip
From 0.6 pips
Varies
From 1 pip
From 0.7 pips
From 0.6 pips
From 0.0 pips
From 1.2 pips

10 Best Spread Betting Platforms

Pepperstone Logo Blue and White linking to Pepperstone homepage
4.5/5

TIC Score 4.5/5

Pepperstone - Best overall Spread Betting Broker

Pepperstone homepage showcasing spread betting options with emphasis on tax-free profits and various trading platforms like MT4, MT5, cTrader, and TradingView.

Pepperstone is highly regarded for its swift execution speeds and broad range of instruments, offering a top-tier spread betting experience with a focus on technology, client support, and market access, making it the best overall choice for traders in the UK.

Pros

Cons

81.7% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

FeatureStandard AccountRazor Account
Spread CostBuilt into the quoted price (variable)Tighter spreads (potentially 0 pips)
CommissionNone$3.50 per standard lot (round turn)
Overnight FinancingYes (interest charged/credited based on position)Yes (interest charged/credited based on position)
Inactivity FeeNoNo
Deposit FeeFree for most methodsFree for most methods
Withdrawal FeeFree for most methods (AUD 20 for international bank transfers)Free for most methods (AUD 20 for international bank transfers)
AvaTrade Logo White and Blue linking to homepage
4.5/5

TIC Score 4.5/5

AvaTrade - Great Choice for Beginners

Avatrade desktop interface showcasing trading platform features

 

AvaTrade shines as an exceptional platform for beginners in spread betting, with its user-friendly interface, extensive educational resources, and dedicated support designed to guide new traders through the complexities of financial markets.

Pros

Cons

71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

FeatureAvaTrade Spread Betting
Spread CostBuilt into the quoted price (variable)
CommissionNone
Overnight FinancingYes (interest charged/credited based on position)
Inactivity FeeYes ($50 after 3 months of inactivity)
Deposit FeeNo
Withdrawal FeeNo (currency conversion fees may apply)
Trade Nation Logo
4/5

TIC Score 4/5

Trade Nation - Easy to use Platform and simple interface

Trade Nation’s educational page on spread betting, explaining the fundamentals and workings of spread betting in financial markets

Trade Nation appeals to traders seeking simplicity and ease of use, thanks to its straightforward platform interface and transparent pricing model, making it an attractive option for both new and seasoned traders.

Pros

Cons

81% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

FeatureTrade Nation Spread Betting
Spread CostFixed spreads starting from 0.4 pips
CommissionNone
Overnight FinancingYes (interest charged/credited based on position)
Inactivity FeeNo
Deposit FeeNo
Withdrawal FeeNo (currency conversion fees may apply)
IG logo red for summary table
4/5

TIC Score 4/5

IG - Offers an expansive range of markets and robust trading technology for both new and experienced traders.

IG spread betting platform with detailed market analysis, betting options, and live financial data visualization

 

IG is a leading spread betting platform known for its vast market range and advanced trading technology, catering to both novice and seasoned traders with its comprehensive tools and resources.

Pros

Cons

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

FeatureIG Spread Betting
Spread CostBuilt into the quoted price (variable)
CommissionNone
Overnight FinancingYes (interest charged/credited based on position)
Inactivity FeeNo
Deposit FeeNo
Withdrawal FeeNo (currency conversion fees may apply)
spreadex logo
4/5

TIC Score 4/5

Spreadex - Combines financial spread betting with sports wagering on a unified platform.

Spreadex trading platform page showing award-winning mobile platform availability and access to global markets.

Spreadex stands out for uniquely combining financial spread betting with sports wagering, offering a versatile platform where users can trade global markets and bet on a wide range of sports events from the same account.

Pros

Cons

82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

FeatureSpreadex Spread Betting
Spread CostBuilt into the quoted price (variable)
CommissionNone
Overnight FinancingYes (interest charged/credited based on position)
Inactivity FeeNo
Deposit FeeNo
Withdrawal FeeFree for most methods (charges may apply for international bank transfers)
city index logo
4/5

TIC Score 4/5

City Index - Provides powerful trading tools and competitive spreads with a wealth of educational resources.

City Index landing page for spread betting on indices, highlighting tight spreads, a range of markets, and trading support with London skyline background.

City Index is renowned for offering powerful trading tools, competitive spreads, and a wealth of educational resources, making it a preferred choice for traders seeking a comprehensive trading experience from beginner to advanced levels.

Pros

Cons

69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

FeatureCity Index Spread Betting
Spread CostBuilt into the quoted price (variable)
CommissionNone for spread betting (commissions apply for CFD share trading)
Overnight FinancingYes (interest charged/credited based on position)
Inactivity FeeNo
Deposit FeeNo
Withdrawal Fee0.5% currency conversion fee for withdrawals in a currency different from your account currency
CMC Markets Logo
4/5

TIC Score 4/5

CMC Markets - Features an award-winning platform with advanced charting and high-quality research materials.

CMC Markets declaring their status as UK’s No.1 spread betting account, offering a wide range of financial markets and trading tools.

CMC Markets is renowned for its award-winning platform online trading, that combines advanced charting capabilities with high-quality research materials, catering to both novice and experienced traders seeking in-depth market analysis and innovative trading tools.

Pros

Cons

67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

FeatureCMC Markets Spread Betting
Spread CostBuilt into the quoted price (variable)
CommissionNone
Overnight FinancingYes (interest charged/credited based on position)
Inactivity FeeNo
Deposit FeeNo
Withdrawal FeeNo (currency conversion fees may apply)
Capital.com logo
4/5

TIC Score 4/5

Capital.com - Known for its AI-powered trading insights and transparent pricing model.

Capital.com spread betting platform page highlighting over 2,900 markets for trading, with a user-friendly interface and comprehensive education tools.

Capital.com distinguishes itself with AI-powered trading insights that cater to both new and seasoned traders, offering a transparent pricing model that ensures clarity and fairness in trading costs.

Pros

Cons

82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

FeatureCapital.com CFD Trading
Spread CostBuilt into the quoted price (variable)
CommissionNone
Overnight FinancingYes (interest charged/credited based on position)
Inactivity FeeNo
Deposit FeeNo
Withdrawal Fee$10 for withdrawals below $250 (free above)
admirals logo
4/5

TIC Score 4/5

Admirals - Offers a diverse array of trading instruments with an emphasis on customer support and education.

Home screen of Admirals spread betting featuring their spread betting services with a man pondering over CFD charts on a digital device.

Admirals stands out for its comprehensive selection of trading instruments and a strong focus on enhancing trader experience through exceptional customer support and extensive educational offerings.

Pros

Cons

68% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

FeatureAdmirals Spread Betting
Spread CostBuilt into the quoted price (variable)
CommissionNone
Overnight FinancingYes (interest charged/credited based on position)
Inactivity FeeYes (€10 per month after 24 months of inactivity with a positive balance)
Deposit FeeNo
Withdrawal Fee1% currency conversion fee
FXCM logo
4/5

TIC Score 4/5

FXCM - Specializes in offering comprehensive trading solutions with strong emphasis on currency and CFD trading

FXCM spread betting section detailing tax-free benefits of spread betting, account opening process, and research tools for Forex/CFD trading.

FXCM is renowned for its focus on providing comprehensive trading solutions professional traders, particularly excelling in currency and CFD trading, catering to a wide spectrum of traders from beginners to seasoned professionals with its array of platforms and tools.

Pros

Cons

66% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

FeatureFXCM Spread Betting
Spread CostBuilt into the quoted price (variable)
CommissionNone
Overnight FinancingYes (interest charged/credited based on position)
Inactivity Fee$50 after one year of inactivity
Deposit FeeNo
Withdrawal FeeNo (bank transfer fees may apply)

What is Spread Betting?

Spread betting is a popular financial derivative that allows traders to speculate on the price movements of a wide range of financial markets, including indices, stocks, currencies, and commodities, without actually owning the underlying asset. This form of trading is particularly attractive due to its tax efficiency in some jurisdictions, like the UK, where profits are free from capital gains tax.

How Does Spread Betting Work?

Definition and Overview

At its core, spread betting involves placing a bet on whether the price of an asset will rise or fall. The trader chooses how spread bets on a stake per point movement and profits or loses based on the direction and magnitude of the price movement relative to their bet.

Key Features of Spread Betting

One of the hallmark features of a spread betting account is leverage, which allows traders to gain a large exposure to financial markets with a relatively small capital outlay. However, while leverage can amplify profits, it can also magnify losses. Spread betting also offers the flexibility to go long or short, meaning traders can profit from both rising and falling markets. Additionally, spread betting accounts are usually free from commission charges, with costs instead built into the spread—the difference between the buy and sell prices quoted by the broker.

Comparing Spread Betting to Other Forms of Investment

Spread Betting vs. Stocks

Unlike direct stock investments, where investors buy shares with the aim of selling them at a higher price, spread betting does not involve ownership of the stock. This means traders can speculate on stock price movements without needing significant capital to hold the shares outright. However, it also means traders do not receive dividends or voting rights associated with stock ownership.

Spread Betting vs. Forex Trading

While both spread betting and forex trading involve speculating on currency pair price movements, there are key differences. Forex trading involves buying one currency while selling another in a forex market, often with access to high leverage. In contrast, spread betting on forex is done through a stake per point movement, with profits calculated based on the accuracy of the bet rather than the final market price. Both offer the ability to profit from market movements, but spread betting provides a tax-free advantage in some regions, unlike forex trading which may be subject to capital gains tax.

How Does Spread Betting Compare to Regular Trading?

Spread betting is a distinctive form of financial trading that offers unique advantages and differences compared to traditional trading methods. Understanding these differences is crucial for traders to navigate the financial markets effectively.

Key Differences Between Spread Betting and Traditional Trading

Financial Outlay and Margin Requirements

One of the main differences lies in the financial outlay and margin requirements. Spread betting allows for trading on margin, meaning traders can open large positions with a relatively small initial deposit. This leverage makes it possible to maximize potential profits but also increases the very high risk of of significant losses.

Market Access and Instruments

Spread betting provides traders with wide market access from a single platform, including stocks, forex, indices, and commodities, without the need for multiple brokerage accounts. This accessibility to a broad range of financial instruments is a key advantage over traditional trading, where access might be limited based on the brokerage or the type of account.

Risk and Reward Considerations

Leverage and Its Effects

Leverage is a double-edged sword in spread betting, amplifying both gains and losses. While it enables traders to achieve substantial exposure to financial markets with a smaller capital, it can also lead to losses that exceed the initial investment, a scenario less common in traditional trading where leverage is often lower.

Risk Management in Spread Betting

Effective risk management is paramount in spread betting to mitigate the risks associated with leverage and market volatility. Utilizing stop-loss orders, limiting leverage, and employing a disciplined trading strategy are essential practices. Traders must be vigilant in monitoring their positions and market conditions to prevent significant losses.

In conclusion, while spread betting offers the allure of tax benefits, high leverage, and access to a wide range of markets, it also comes with high risks. Traders considering spread betting should understand these key differences and incorporate strict risk management techniques to navigate the complexities of the financial markets successfully.

Bull and bear pulling away from each other with green and red arrows

How to Pick the Best Spread Betting App for your needs

Choosing the right spread betting app can significantly influence your trading experience and success. With numerous options available, focusing on key aspects can help you select an app that meets your trading needs and preferences.

Important Features to Look For

User Interface and Ease of Use

A user-friendly interface is crucial for a seamless trading experience. The best spread betting apps offer intuitive navigation, clear and responsive design, and easy access to essential features such as account management, market data, and trade execution.

Range of Markets and Instruments

The variety of markets and instruments available for trading is another important consideration. Whether you’re interested in forex, stocks, commodities, or indices, the app should provide comprehensive access to a wide range of markets, enabling you to diversify your trading strategies.

Security and Regulation

Licensing and Regulation Checks

Ensuring the spread betting app is licensed and regulated by reputable authorities like the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK provides a layer of security and trust. Regulation guarantees that the broker complies with strict financial standards and practices.

Data Security and Protection Measures

Data security is paramount. The app should employ advanced encryption technologies to protect your personal and financial information from unauthorized access. Look for apps that prioritize secure login processes, such as two-factor authentication (2FA).

Comparing Top Spread Betting Apps

Reviews and User Feedback

Reading reviews and feedback from existing users can offer valuable insights into the app’s reliability, functionality, and customer service. Look for consistent patterns in feedback that highlight both strengths and potential issues.

Demo Account Availability and Features

A demo account feature allows you to test the app’s functionality and your trading strategies without risking real money. The best apps offer demo accounts with realistic market conditions, comprehensive tools, and educational resources to enhance your trading skills.

In conclusion, selecting the best spread betting app requires careful consideration of its usability, market access, regulatory compliance, security features, and the availability of demo accounts. Taking the time to research and compare apps based on these criteria will help you find a reliable trading platform that aligns with your trading goals and preferences.

Pros and Cons to Spread Betting

Spread betting is a popular trading mechanism that comes with its unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these can help traders navigate the complexities of spread betting more effectively.

Advantages of Spread Betting

Tax Efficiency

One of the most appealing aspects of spread betting is its tax efficiency. In many jurisdictions, such as the UK, profits from spread betting are not subject to capital gains tax. This makes it an attractive option for traders looking to maximize their returns without worrying about tax implications on their profits.

Flexibility in Markets

Spread betting offers unparalleled flexibility, allowing traders to speculate on the price movements of a wide array of financial markets, including stocks, forex, commodities, and indices, all from a single account. This ability to spread bet on both rising and falling markets enhances trading opportunities.

Disadvantages of Spread Betting

Risks of Leverage

While leverage can significantly increase potential profits, it also amplifies potential losses. Traders can end up losing more than their initial deposit, making it crucial to use leverage cautiously and understand the risks involved thoroughly.

Potential for Rapid Losses

Spread betting is highly sensitive to market volatility, leading to rapid gains or losses within short periods. This characteristic requires traders to be constantly vigilant, manage their trades actively, and employ effective risk management strategies to mitigate potential losses.

In essence, while spread betting offers tax advantages and the flexibility to trade across various markets, it comes with high risks due to leverage and market volatility. Traders must weigh these pros and cons carefully to determine if spread betting aligns with their trading strategy and risk tolerance.

Is Spread Betting Taxed in the UK?

Spread betting holds a unique position in the UK’s financial landscape, particularly due to its taxation rules. Understanding these can offer significant benefits for traders.

Overview of Spread Betting Taxation

Tax-Free Profits Explained

In the UK, profits from spread betting are not subject to capital gains tax. This is because spread betting is considered a form of gambling under current laws. As a result, any profits you make from spread betting are exempt from tax, making it an attractive option for traders looking to maximize their after-tax returns.

Circumstances Affecting Taxation

While spread betting profits are generally tax-free, certain conditions could affect this status. For example, if the tax authorities determine that spread betting constitutes your primary source of income, you might be subject to different taxation rules. It’s crucial to consult with a tax professional to understand your specific situation fully.

Comparing Tax Implications with Other Investments

Spread Betting vs. Stock Investments

Unlike spread betting, profits from stock investments are subject to capital gains tax if they exceed your annual tax-free allowance. This fundamental difference in tax treatment can significantly affect the net return on investment, making spread betting a potentially more tax-efficient option for some traders.

Capital Gains Tax Considerations

For investors engaging in other forms of trading, such as buying and selling shares, capital gains tax is a crucial consideration. The tax rate depends on various factors, including your total taxable income. In contrast, the tax-free nature of spread betting profits can offer a clear advantage for those looking to trade financial markets without worrying about the impact of capital gains tax on their profits.

In summary, the tax-free status of spread betting profits in the UK makes it an appealing option for many traders. However, it’s important to stay informed about the circumstances that could influence your tax obligations and compare the tax implications with other investment avenues to make the most informed trading decisions.

Is Spread Betting Legal and How is it Regulated?

Spread betting is a recognized and legal form of financial trading in the UK, subject to rigorous regulatory standards aimed at protecting traders and ensuring market integrity.

Legal Status of Spread Betting in the UK

Historical Context and Development

Spread betting originated in the UK in the 1970s, initially as a method for investors to speculate on gold prices without needing to physically own the commodity. Over time, it has evolved into a popular financial activity, encompassing a wide range of markets.

Current Legal Framework

The legal framework governing spread betting in the UK is comprehensive, designed to ensure fair practice and transparency in the industry. Spread betting firms must adhere to strict financial regulations and are overseen by regulatory bodies to operate legally.

Regulation of Spread Betting Platforms

The Role of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the primary regulatory body responsible for overseeing spread betting platforms in the UK. The FCA ensures that these platforms operate within the law, offer fair trading conditions, and provide adequate protection for their clients’ funds and personal information.

Consumer Protection Measures and Compliance

Consumer protection is a cornerstone of the regulatory framework, with measures in place to safeguard traders from unfair practices and financial harm. Spread betting companies and platforms are required to comply with a range of consumer protection standards, including transparent pricing, risk warnings, and access to dispute resolution services.

How to Verify the Legitimacy of a Spread Betting Platform

Checking for FCA Authorization

One of the first steps in verifying the legitimacy of a spread betting platform is to check for FCA authorization. This can be done by searching the FCA’s online register, which lists all financial services firms and individuals authorized by the FCA to operate in the UK.

Understanding Client Money Protection

Client money protection is a key aspect of financial regulation, ensuring that traders’ funds are held separately from the company’s own money. This provides an additional layer of security, as it means that client funds are protected in the event of the company’s insolvency.

In conclusion, the legal and regulatory landscape for spread betting in the UK is designed to create a secure and transparent environment for traders. By understanding these regulations and knowing how to verify the legitimacy of a spread betting platform, traders can navigate the market with confidence.

References

FAQs

The best spread betting brokers are those that offer a combination of competitive spreads, a wide range of markets, advanced trading tools, and robust regulatory compliance. Pepperstone and IG are highly recommended for their comprehensive services and user-friendly trading platforms.

For beginners, AvaTrade and Trade Nation are excellent spread betting platforms due to their intuitive interfaces, extensive educational resources, and dedicated customer support aimed at helping new traders navigate the complexities of spread betting.

Financial spread betting allows traders to speculate on the price movements of financial instruments without owning the underlying asset. It offers tax efficiency as profits are free from capital gains tax in the UK, unlike profits from traditional trading.

Yes, but retail traders with investor accounts face a high risk of losing money rapidly when trading spread bets and CFDs due to leverage. It’s crucial for traders to understand the risks and employ effective risk management strategies.

When starting spread betting, look for accounts that offer low minimum deposits, comprehensive educational resources, demo accounts for practice, and access to a variety of financial markets.

While both facilitate bets on market movements, spread betting brokers specialize in financial spread betting, offering access to financial markets and instruments. Betting brokers typically focus on sports and other non-financial bets.

Many leading spread and betting companies and brokers offer demo accounts that allow you to practice spread betting with virtual funds in a risk-free environment, helping you develop your strategies and understand market dynamics.

A demo account for forex spread betting allows you to familiarize yourself with the forex market’s dynamics, test trading strategies, and gain confidence without risking real capital. It’s an invaluable tool for both beginners and experienced traders looking to refine their techniques.

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