Compare The Best CFD Brokers

CFD brokers let you trade CFDs (contracts for difference) on the financial markets through their online CFD trading platforms and CFD mobile apps. Our comparison table can help you choose a CFD trading platform and broker that offers the best pricing, cheapest fees, leverage, and useful educational tools to get the best CFD account for your trading.

What's in this guide to CFD brokers? show

Featured CFD Broker

City Index

✔️Spread Betting

City Index offers access to over 9,000 global markets, is fully authorised and regulated by the FCA and one of the oldest CFD brokers having been founded in 1983.

CFD Trading Platform Reviews

Our CFD trading platform reviews are a combination of expert testing, data analysis, CEO interviews, product and feature comparison as well as a survey of thousands of traders proving their opinion on what they think is the best CFD trading platform in the UK.

City Index CFD Trading

Account Types

  • CFDs
  • Spread Betting
  • Pro Account

Key Information

  • Total Markets: 9,000
  • Forex Pairs: 182
  • Commodities: 19
  • Indices: 23
  • UK Stocks: 5,000
  • US Stocks: 2,000

Trading Costs

  • EURUSD: 0.5 pips
  • UK 100: 1 point
  • Wall Street: 3.5 points
  • Gold: 0.8 points
  • UK Shares: 0.8%
  • US Shares: 1.8¢ per share

74% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

City Index CFD Trading Account Review

City Index offers CFDs over equity indices, individual equities and ETFs. Commodities such as gold, silver and oil, as well as government bonds and interest rates.

City Index CFD trading charges, these vary by instrument, equity index CFDs are traded with a bid-offer spread, so for example the FTSE 100 has a minimum spread of 1 index point whilst the Dow 30 has a minimum spread of 2 points, the Germany 30 index or DAX has spreads from 1.20 index points.

CFDs on single stocks and ETFs attract a commission charge, in Europe and the UK these start at 0.08% of the consideration of the trade with a minimum ticket charge of £10 or €10. Whilst in US equities it’s a flat fee per share of 1.80 cents with a $10.00 minimum ticket charge.

City Index is competitively priced in terms of spreads on equity index CFDs and has lower commission charges than some of its peers on signal name CFDs over stocks and ETFs.

Read our full City Index review

IG CFD Trading

Account Types

  • CFDs
  • Spread Betting
  • Direct Market Access
  • Pro Account
  • Investments

Market Access

  • Total Markets: 17,000
  • Forex Pairs: 51
  • Commodities: 38
  • Indices: 34
  • UK Stocks: 3,925
  • US Stocks: 6,352

Trading Costs

  • EURUSD: 0.6 pips
  • UK 100: 1 point
  • Wall Street: 2.4 points
  • Gold: 0.3 points
  • UK Shares: 0.10%
  • US Shares: 0.10%
Your capital is at risk. 73% of retail CFD accounts lose money

IG CFD Trading Account Review

IG index was one of the originators of retail CFD trading. IG charges a spread on CFDs over indices and commodities but charges a commission on CFDs over individual equities. So for example in UK share CFDs it charges a commission of 0.10% on UK blue chips with a £10.00 minimum ticket online, or £15.00 over the phone. Mid and small-cap shares attract higher commission charges.

For CFDs on US equities, IG charges 2.0 cents per share with minimum ticket charges of $15.00 and $25.00 respectively for online and telephone dealing.

At IG you can trade CFDs on a wide range of equity indices, commodities, stocks and ETFs.
IG has one of the most comprehensive CFD offerings around and is considered a market leader in these products.

Read our full IG review

CMC Markets CFD Trading

Account Types

  • CFDs
  • Spread Betting
  • Direct Market Access
  • Pro Account

Market Access

  • Total Markets: 9,300
  • Forex Pairs: 338
  • Commodities: 124
  • Indices: 82
  • UK Stocks: 745
  • US Stocks: 4968

Trading Costs

  • EURUSD: 0.7 pips
  • UK 100: 1 point
  • Wall Street: 2 points
  • Gold: 0.3 points
  • UK Shares: 0.10%
  • US Shares: 2¢ per share

66% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider

CMC Markets CFD Trading Account Review

CMC Markets offers more than 10,000 different markets though some of these are only available to professional customers.

CMC charges a bid-offer spread on CFDs on indices, commodities, FX and interest rates etc but charges a commission on CFDs over individual stocks and ETFs.

Commissions start at 0.10% of the notional value of the trade for UK and European stocks, and at 2 cents per share for CFDs over US equities. Spreads vary by product and contract but are competitively priced relative to peers such as IG and Saxo.

Read our full CMC Markets review

Pepperstone CFD Trading

Account Types

  • CFDs
  • Spread Betting
  • Pro Account

Market Access

  • Total Markets: 178
  • Forex Pairs: 62
  • Commodities: 32
  • Indices: 28
  • UK Stocks: 192
  • US Stocks: 880

Trading Costs

  • EURUSD: 0.09 pips
  • UK 100: 1 point
  • Wall Street: 2.4 points
  • Gold: 0.05 points
  • UK Shares: 0.10%
  • US Shares: 2¢ per share

79.3% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider

Pepperstone CFD Trading Account Review

Clients can open CFDs with Pepperstone on a variety of assets, such as FX, equity indices or shares. For equity indices, you can trade most benchmark stock indices such as Dow Industrials or FTSE100 or Nikkei. These indices are liquid and have tight spreads during market hours, although these spreads will widen out of hours.

With CFD, you will be charged/earned a rate overnight, depending on your position and size. The formula of these charges is detailed on the website. An example is provided below. But these rates are indicative only and subject to changes due to market conditions. These CFD rates are competitive in the industry.

Read our full Pepperstone review

Saxo Markets CFD Trading

Account Types

  • CFDs
  • Direct Market Access
  • Pro Account
  • Investments
  • Futures & Options

Market Access

  • Total Markets: 12,000
  • Forex Pairs: 84
  • Commodities: 25
  • Indices: 21
  • UK Stocks: 3,500
  • US Stocks: 1,000

Trading Costs

  • EURUSD: 0.6 pips
  • UK 100: 1 point
  • Wall Street: 3 points
  • Gold: 0.6 points
  • UK Shares: 0.05%
  • US Shares: 1¢ per share

70% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Saxo Markets CFD Trading Account Review

Saxo Markets offer CFDs on indices, stocks, commodities, FX, bonds and even options. Spreads are fairly competitive, although they are better for the better-funded account (see below).

If you go ‘long’, you are betting prices will appreciate. For ‘short, it means you bet prices will go down. To open a CFD position, you will need to have adequate capital in the account called the initial margin. Once opened, a suitable level of maintenance margin is needed to hold the position.

Markets don’t move in a straight line. So when betting on a price direction, you will encounter adverse movements – sometimes below your opening prices. Stop losses are a must for all trades.

Saxo Markets categorise most instruments according to risk level and set the margin according to the risk level. For example, some instruments with Rating 6 require more capital because they are deemed to be more ‘risky’.

Read our full Saxo Markets review CFD Trading

Account Types

  • CFDs
  • Spread Betting
  • Pro Account

Market Access

  • Total Markets: 8,000
  • Forex Pairs: 20+
  • Commodities: 10+
  • Indices: 10+
  • UK Stocks: Yes
  • US Stocks: Yes

Trading Costs

  • EURUSD: 0.6 pips
  • UK 100: 2 points
  • Wall Street: 2 point
  • Gold: 0.5 points
  • UK Shares: 0.1%
  • US Shares: 0.1%

77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider CFD Trading Account Review offer their customers the opportunity to either bet or trade on financial markets if they choose to trade then they will be using CFDs or Contracts for Differences to do so. charges bid-offer spreads and flat-fee trading commissions on CFDs over individual stocks, but only charges a spread on CFDs over ETFs.

In terms of coverage covers leading equity indices, commodities, and blue-chip equities, however, if you are looking for coverage of small and midcap stocks then you will need to look elsewhere.

Read our full review

Spreadex CFD Trading

Account Types

  • CFDs
  • Spread Betting
  • Pro Account

Market Access

  • Total Markets: 10,000
  • Forex Pairs: 54
  • Commodities: 20
  • Indices: 17
  • UK Stocks: 1,575
  • US Stocks: 2,110

Trading Costs

  • EURUSD: 0.6 pips
  • UK 100: 1 point
  • Wall Street: 4 points
  • Gold: 0.4 points
  • UK Shares: 0.2%
  • US Shares: 0.3%

69% of retail investors lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider

Spreadex CFD Trading Account Review

Spreadex offers CFDs on stocks and ETFs, equity indices, commodities, bonds and interest rates. They charge spreads on indices, commodities and bonds and commission on CFDs over single stocks and ETFs.

Spreadex has a good offering in CFDs particularly around UK equities and small caps stocks where it has wider coverage than many of its competitors.

Read our full Spreadex review CFD Trading

Account Types

  • CFDs
  • Spread Betting
  • Pro Account

Market Access

  • Total Markets: 3,900
  • Forex Pairs: 138
  • Commodities: 31
  • Indices: 22
  • UK Stocks: 450
  • US Stocks: 1575

Trading Costs

  • EURUSD: 0.8 pips
  • UK 100: 2 point
  • Wall Street: 5 points
  • Gold: 0.28 points
  • UK Shares: 0.3%
  • US Shares: 0.5%

76.72% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

FXCM CFD Trading

Account Types

  • CFDs
  • Spread Betting
  • Pro Account

Key Information

  • Total Markets: 300+
  • Forex Pairs: 39
  • Commodities: 11
  • Indices: 15
  • UK Stocks: 23
  • US Stocks: 85

Trading Costs

  • EURUSD: 1.3 pips
  • UK 100: 1.63 points
  • Wall Street: 2.94 points
  • Gold: 0.42 points
  • UK Shares: 0.2%
  • US Shares: 0.5%

67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

FXTM CFD Trading

Account Types

  • CFDs
  • Spread Betting
  • Pro Account

Market Access

  • Total Markets: 200+
  • Forex Pairs: 61
  • Commodities: 3
  • Indices: 11
  • UK Stocks: 0
  • US Stocks: 119

Trading Costs

  • EURUSD: 1.5 pips
  • UK 100: 4.5 points
  • Wall Street: 2.4 points
  • Gold: 2 points
  • UK Shares: na
  • US Shares: na

77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Interactive Brokers CFD Trading Account Review

Interactive Brokers reviewInteractive Brokers offers CFDs on shares, stock indices, commodities (metals) and FX. Spreads, again, are fairly competitive. IBKR offers CFDs on about 7,100 shares worldwide and in the UK, you can trade shares CFDs on FTSE 350 and some liquid small caps. Starting commission rate is 0.05%. For some stock indices, the commission rate is higher (see below).

Note CFDs are highly leveraged products. If prices go against your position, you might be asked to post further equity to sustain the position. If not, liquidation of the position will occur.

Read our full Interactive Brokers review

Compare CFD Brokers Side-By-Side

Use our side-by-side CFD broker account comparison to compare the best CFD broker by pricing, market access, account types and services.

What is a CFD broker?

A CFD broker is a financial services firm that offers contract-for-difference (CFDs) an over-the-counter (OTC) type of trading that enables traders to speculate on the price of underlying financial markets without actually owning the asset by either taking a long (buy) or short (sell) position directly with the broker.

What is a CFD broker’s trading platform?

A CFD trading platform enables traders to buy, sell or short shares, forex pairs, indices, commodities as a CFD (contract for difference) rather than investing in them directly. CFD trading platforms are provided by CFD as a way for their clients to speculate on financial markets.

How does a CFD broker’s trading platform work?

In this interview, we discuss what a CFD (Contract for Difference) broker is, what CFDs are, who CFD brokers are for, what you can trade, what are the main risks, the main benefits, and also, some top trading mistakes and how to avoid them.

How to choose a CFD broker

When choosing a CFD broker, you need to compare more than just costs. Here is an expert ten-step guide to the major points you should consider to help you find the most appropriate CFD broker for your CFD trading.

In this guide to choosing a CFD broker here are the ten things you need to consider:

  • Understand what CFD trading is
  • Comparing CFD trading platform features
  • Trading CFDs with the cheapest provider
  • Do you need DMA (direct market access)
  • What margin and leverage do you need
  • Market access on different CFD trading platforms
  • The regulation of CFD trading platforms
  • How CFD trading platforms charge their clients
  • The advantages of CFD trading
  • The disadvantages of CFD trading
  • Opening a new CFD trading account

1. Make sure you understand what CFD brokers offer

CFD trading is speculating on financial markets with derivatives. Traditional investing involves paying outright for shares in companies, whereas with a CFD, you are entering into a “contract for difference” between the opening and closing prices of a position.

CFDs are a form of leveraged trading that enables traders to essentially buy more than they can afford by trading on margin. This means that instead of paying full price for £1,000 worth of shares, by using a 10% margin, traders can speculate on £1,000 worth of shares with £100 on the account. You do not own the underlying shares with CFDs but are buying or selling 1,000 CFDs instead of 1,000 shares. Your profit and loss on 1,000 shares will be equivalent to investing, but unlike buying physical shares, the amount you need to deposit with your broker will be less.

For example, if you buy 1,000 CFDs in a share worth £1, that position is worth £1,000. To do this, you will need to deposit an initial margin of 10% (£100).

If the share goes up by 10%, you make £100 profit, which is the equivalent of a 100% profit on your deposit. However, if the share goes down by 10%, you will have lost 100% of your deposit.

CFD trading is available to almost anyone who can access a broker online, including professional and retail traders. However, before opening a CFD account, you will have to demonstrate that you understand the risks involved.

Here’s more about ECN brokers and STP brokers which may be of interest to more experienced traders

2. Compare the key features of what CFD brokers offer

When comparing CFD trading platforms, here are the main things you need to look at:

  • A CFD broker’s trading costs (commission/spreads)
  • The margin available (leverage)
  • What CFD markets you can trade (indices, forex, stocks, commodities & treasuries)
  • The regulatory status of a CFD broker
  • The cost of overnight financing rates
  • Retail versus professional account options

3. How to choose the cheapest CFD broker

The main things to consider when looking for the cheapest CFD broker are:

  • Cost per trade: When comparing CFD trading brokers, the cost of executing a trade is one of the most important factors. CFD brokers either charge commission for DMA trading, but more frequently for retail traders (private clients), CFD brokers charge by widening the spread. As a trader, you should consider how often you intend to trade, because if you are a frequent trader who is attempting to make lots of profitable trades, a CFD broker that is 10% more expensive will have a significant impact on your overall profit and loss.
  • Inactivity Fees: If you do not intend to be a regular trader then you need to consider if your CFD broker will charge you an inactivity fee. An inactivity fee is simply a fee that brokers will deduct from your account if you do not use it. There are compliance and regulator costs for CFD brokers to keep accounts open, so CFD platforms charge this fee to cover the cost of dormant accounts. Inactivity fees usually start at around £10 per month. Inactivity fees will stop when your account balance reaches zero, at which point, a CFD broker may automatically close your account if it has not been used in a while.
  • Overnight CFD Financing Charges: Overnight financing fees are charged in CFD trading when you hold a position overnight. Because essentially, a CFD broker is lending you money to trade. If you are trading on a 20% margin and want to trade £10,000 worth of shares, you will need to put down a £2,000 deposit as the initial margin. Then the broker will charge interest on the remaining £8,000. Some say these are hidden CFD charges as most traders don’t notice them or even have any idea what they are being charged for. Here’s an explanation of overnight trading fees and charges for CFDs & Spread betting.
  • Frequent CFD trader discounts: CFD traders who execute more frequently can sometimes expect a reduction in commission or spread prices. However, you will need to be doing significant volumes. Commission and spread discounts normally take the form of rebates. A frequent CFD trader rebate is when a CFD broker will refund some of the commission or spread you have paid over a month. CFD brokers tend to pay these in arrears as they are based on the previous month’s trading.

4. Choosing a CFD broker that offers DMA CFDs

The main advantage of DMA (direct market access) CFD trading is that you get better prices.

For normal investing, a stock broker will charge a commission after you buy shares, but for CFD trading, the commission is included in the spread. Unless you are trading DMA. DMA means direct market access, and your orders sit directly on the exchange. You get a clean price and your commission is added afterwards.

Being able to buy at the bid rather than the offer and sell at the bid rather than the offer can make a big difference to when you enter and exit positions.

5. Choosing a CFD broker based on margin and leverage

CFD trading margin is the deposit you have to have in your account to put on a trade.

It varies from broker to broker and the lower the margin requirements, the more exposure you can have with the least funds on the account. You can compare the CFD trading margin in our comparison table, but beware, the lower the margin, the riskier a trade, as you are leveraging your money sometimes up to 500 times.

So, if you have £1,000 on account, you could have £500,000 of exposure. If a price moves 10%, you have lost £50k, meaning that you owe the broker £49k. Many brokers now are introducing no negative equity protection, which means that you can never lose more than your account balance. Of course, this means that the leverage on offer will be reduced.

6. Choosing a CFD broker based on what markets can you trade

This means how much access your broker provides. The more the better, as you want flexibility when trading to give you as many opportunities as possible.

The major markets for CFD trading are:

  • Forex
  • Indices
  • Shares
  • Commodities
  • Treasuries

7. Choose an FCA-regulated CFD broker for CFD Trading

Never go with a broker that is not fully authorised and regulated by the FCA or some of your funds are not covered by the FSCS scheme. Most client funds are segregated now, but if your broker goes bust, provided FCA regulation and FSCS contributions are up to date, the Government will cover your deposit losses up to a certain point. You can view more information on the FSCS website here.

Here’s where to find a CFD stockbroker and how to spot brokers to avoid.

8. Understand how CFD brokers make money

When you open a CFD position, your CFD broker takes the opposite or opposing side of the trade. So, for example, if you choose to open a long (buy) position on 5,000 shares of ABC Inc. at $10.00 per share, your broker will incur a short position in 5,000 shares of ABC Inc. at $10.00 per share.

You and your broker are the counterparties to the CFD trade. The profit and loss, or exchange of cash flows in the trade, will be between those two counterparties and no one else.

The CFD provider has three potential sources of income.

  1. Trading Revenue: it’s common for the broker to charge a commission or widen the spread around the market. If a broker offers DMA, CFD trading commission will be added post trade, otherwise, CFD commission will be built into the spread around the underlying market bid/offers.
  2. Financing Charges: if CFD positions are held open overnight then a financing charge is applied and is typically set at a percentage above and below an interest rate benchmark. For example, funding might be set at + or – 2.50% over LIBOR. The mark-up over the benchmark creates another source or venue for the CFD broker. CFD traders pay to fund long positions overnight, and when interest rates are normalised, they can receive funding on their short positions. However, with interest rates at close to or even below zero, that tends not to be the case.
  3. B-Book: if the broker opposes its client’s positions and does not hedge that exposure then the broker’s trading P&L will be the inverse of its clients, such that it will make money if they lose and lose if they profit. Whether the broker hedges its position or opposes them is a commercial decision. However, if we assume that brokers hedge, then having written a CFD to their client, the broker now has an equal and opposite position to them – shorts to their longs and longs to their shorts. In our hedged example, the broker will enter the exchange-traded market and trade against their position by selling stock against a long position (a client short position) or buying stock against a short (a client long position). If the broker purely acts as an agent however, then they will not hedge against a client’s short position in this way. Rather, they will sell stock in the market and borrow the stock from a third party, for a fee, to make delivery/settlement of the physical stock. If a stock is in demand, then additional fees may be incurred in borrowing the stock, and these may be passed on to the end client.

9. Pros & cons of CFD trading platforms

There are many benefits of trading CFDs, but there are drawbacks too. Here’s a summary of the main pros and cons of CFD trading.

  • Leveraged trading
  • Trade long or short
  • No stamp duty
  • Low commissions
  • No fixed expiry dates
  • Cash settled
  • DMA/online trading
  • Daily funding
  • 24-hour markets available

Trading CFDs offer numerous benefits when compared to other products.

First of all, they are leveraged products, which means that traders can take and hold larger positions in the market than they might otherwise be able to afford. CFD trades on UK and Irish equities attract no stamp duty, creating an immediate cost advantage when compared to trading physical stocks. This can be a material difference for those trading an active strategy.

Because CFDs are cash-settled and not deliverable contacts, traders can take long or short positions with equal ease.

Being able to trade on the short side opens up many more trading opportunities and allows traders to profit from or hedge against the effects of falling markets.

Because of the leverage in CFD contracts, traders do not need as much capital to trade CFDs as they would to trade comparable positions in physical stocks and shares. CFDs have no fixed expiry dates and are priced to reflect the cost of carry. This means that they are transparently priced and ideal for trading on a short-term basis.

CFDs opened and closed within a business day attract no overnight funding charges, though CFD positions held open over prolonged periods may prove to be uneconomic because of those daily funding charges.

CFDs on leading equity indices and some shares can be traded 24 hours per day, providing a further degree of flexibility to traders. And the larger CFD providers offer a near-global coverage, with thousands of instruments available.

Here’s how to choose an equity CFD broker.

CFD trading offers low commission rates or sometimes a flat fee per deal, and active traders can receive rebates or reduced commissions, which can bring down the trader’s cost even further.

CFD trading is mostly conducted online using state of the art trading platforms that have charting, news flow, position and money management functionally built-in.

CFDs are leveraged derivatives and they are considered to be high-risk products because trading losses can, in theory, exceed initial deposits though UK retail benefit from negative balance, meaning they cannot incur losses larger than their deposits.

Before you can open a CFD trading account, you will need to demonstrate that you understand the risk involved and the way that CFDs operate. Clients need to remember that leverage can magnify trading losses just as easily as trading profits. CFDs offer no ownership of the underlying assets that the contracts are over and CFD traders take on the counterparty risk of their broker.

This means that if the broker fails, those contracts have no value. Retail CFD traders in the UK are however protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to the value of £85,000.

Whilst CFDs do not attract stamp duty, profits made through CFD trading are subject to UK capital gains tax, and traders need to allow for these liabilities and ensure they keep proper trading records.

CFDs are a highly flexible way to trade the financial markets, though they are not without their drawbacks and are not suited for use in long-term investment planning, and only risk capital should be used to trade them. That said, they can provide long-term investors with a way to hedge portfolio risk in periods of market volatility, and for traders to create market neutral pairs trading and spread strategies.

As with all geared derivatives, CFDs were designed to allow traders to diversify risk. The problems with them tend to arise when traders use them to concentrate risk instead.

The main disadvantages of trading CFDs are:

  • High-risk instruments
  • No ownership or voting rights conferred
  • May not rank equally for dividends or corporate actions
  • Not economic for long-term positions
  • Margin requirements + P&L swings can force traders out of positions prematurely
  • Profits are subject to UK Capital Gains Tax
  • Counterparty risk resides with the broker and not a clearing house or central counterparty

10. The process of opening a CFD account

If you want to be a better CFD trader, our guide, How to trade CFDs, can give you an advantage by offering free tips, trading strategies and an overall understanding of what CFD trading involves.

The process for starting to trade CFDs is:

  • Compare CFD trading accounts: When you are comparing CFD accounts, it is a good opportunity to decide if you want to trade on margin with a CFD or a financial spread bet. Whilst both CFD and spread betting offer leveraged trading, there are some differences between the two (like tax, for instance). Read up on the key differences in What’s the difference between CFDs and spread betting?
  • Choose a CFD broker: Once you have decided that CFD trading may be for you, choose a CFD broker based on what is most important to you. The key things to consider when choosing a CFD broker are available markets, costs, fees, trading platform features and customer service. You can compare CFD brokers in the main comparison table or find broker reviews, which highlight what individual CFD brokers are good at.
  • Research a CFD trading strategy: Some very basic strategies can be valuable to new CFD traders, such as portfolio diversification, maintaining adequate risk capital and understanding the markets that you trade. Be careful when looking for CFD strategy information that you avoid CFD scams and beware of CFD educational providers, as many are only there to charge you for basic information.
  • Open your account: When you have picked a CFD broker and decided to open an account, you will have to demonstrate that you understand the risks involved in CFD trading during the application process. For AML (anti-money laundering) requirements, you will also have to supply identification documents and proof of address.
  • Pick your market / CFD trade type: Once your account is open and spending on what broker you have picked; you should have access to the global markets via CFDs. Decide what you want to trade by researching the underlying markets. The more you understand what you will be speculating on, the better chance you will have of success.
  • Deposit funds: Most CFD brokers offer deposits via card or bank transfer. Some offer deposits by services like PayPal. Card and bank transfer are usually the quickest and cheapest ways to fund your account. It’s important to note that due to AML, you can only withdraw funds back to the method you deposited from.
  • Making your first CFD trade: As CFD trading is high risk, it is sensible to start small and to not put all your eggs in one basket. By not risking all your capital on one trade, you will gain a gradual understanding of how the market moves and your positions react in a live environment. Trading with real money is very different from trading on a demo account.
  • Setting up stop losses: A major element of CFD trading is “protecting your downside”, which means using a stop loss to minimise your losses. A stop loss will automatically close a position at a level you set, even if you are not there to click the buy or sell button.

Our rankings of the best CFD brokers in the UK by category

Our CFD broker comparison tables display only UK CFD trading platforms that are properly regulated by the FCA to offer CFDs to UK traders. Our rankings are based on extensive product testing and our industry survey, which measures customers’ satisfaction on 10 key CFD trading account features.

Best Overall CFD Trading Brokers

In our awards the winners of best CFD trading platform have been:

  • 2021: Saxo Markets – DMA CFD trading on the widest range of markets for experienced traders
  • 2020: Saxo Markets – provides one of the most comprehensive CFD offerings in the UK with a robust trading platform and DMA access to international markets for experienced traders.
  • 2019: Saxo Markets – continues to provide an excellent CFD offering through their proprietary trading platform with DMA, CFD options, level-2 pricing, research tools, and voice execution support.
  • 2018: Saxo Markets – an excellent trading platform with DMA, CFD options, level-2 pricing, and research tools

Saxo Markets gets the top spot as the best overall CFD brokers, four years in a row. Saxo Markets offer OTC and DMA CFD trading on a very broad range of markets. Saxo Markets, as with CFD trading, is aimed more at semi-professional traders.  Here’s our full 2020 Saxo Capital Markets review.

IG comes in a close second as it also offers DMA CFD trading, but is not quite as heavy-duty a trading platform.

CMC Markets comes third as whilst they offer a very broad and competitive CFD product, there is no DMA CFD trading for stocks.

Here are some of the biggest CFD trading platforms ranked by when they were founded:

  1. IG (1974)
  2. Interactive Brokers (1978)
  3. City Index (1983)
  4. CMC Markets (1989)
  5. Saxo Markets (1992)
  6. Spreadex (1999)
  7. (2008)
  8. Pepperstone (2010)
  9. (2016)

Best CFD broker trading platforms for beginner

  1. IG – IG have an excellent CFD trading platform and offer access to a very broad range of markets. The platform is simple to use, with a clear layout. IG also have a reputation within the industry for having their clients’ interests at heart (as you read in our interview with the CEO, June Felix) and do not B-book clients (profit from client losses). If you are looking for your first CFD account, IG is a good place to start as they cater for all types of clients, from absolute beginners to hedge funds and institutional traders.
  2. CMC Markets – CMC Markets is also good for beginners as their platform is one of the most comprehensive around without being too institutional-based. The platform gives the feel of trading like a professional, but everything is easy to configure and there are some good sentiment tools for new traders to get an idea of what other CMC Markets customers are trading.

Best CFD broker for professional traders

  1. Saxo Markets
  2. Interactive Brokers
  3. IG

All three of these brokers have something in common – they all have their own proprietary trading CFD platform in that they built it themselves for their customers.

Saxo Markets is one of the best brokers for professional CFD trading, predominantly because their client base is generally more sophisticated than other CFD brokers. As such, their trading platform has been designed with professional traders in mind with DMA access, physical trading on a robust, institutional-grade platform.

Likewise, IG and Interactive Brokers (IBKR) both offer DMA trading and physical investing.

Whilst both IG and IBKR both offer institutional trading for hedge funds and professional traders, IBKR (as with Saxo Markets) also offers on-exchange futures and options trading, so comes in second and IG, third.

For more information on professional trading accounts, see our dedicated pro trader comparison page.

Best CFD brokers for trading Forex

In our awards the best Forex trading platforms have been:

  • 2021: XTB – a wide range of currency pairs, basket trading and innovative trading tools
  • 2020: CMC Markets – CMC Markets has previously won the best forex brokers in our Good Money Guide 2020 awards on the basis that the entire brokerage was founded to trade forex and was one of the first to offer it to private clients. CMC Markets hasn’t lost focus over time and offers forex trading via CFDs on a wide range of markets with really tight spreads. If you only plan to trade outright forex CFDs then CMC Markets should give you everything you need. Get the latest from CMC Markets in our review.
  • 2019: IG – huge range of fx pairs, options, orders types, market data, research and excellent customer service
  • 2018: Saxo Markets – wide range of FX pairs, tight spreads, FX futures, FX options, and currency ETFs

Saxo Markets and IG have excellent forex trading offerings too, although whilst IG has a broad forex CFD universe, their spreads are a little wider.

These CFD trading platforms ranked by which ones offer the most currency pairs for Forex CFD trading:

  1. City Index – 84
  2. CMC Markets – 71
  3. Saxo Markets – 57
  4. IG – 51
  5. Spreadex – 53
  6. Pepperstone – 36
  7. – 20

See a detailed comparison of forex brokers in our comparison table.

Best CFD brokers for Commodities

  1. IG – IG has one of the broadest ranges of commodities trading via CFDs. If you want the simplicity and flexibility of trading commodities via CFD then IG have an excellent offering.
  2. Saxo Markets – DMA CFD trading on commodities
  3. Interactive Brokers – commission-based DMA CFD trading on on-exchange commodities markets

Most CFD trading platforms and CFD brokers offer access to gold, silver and crude oil, a good CFD trading platform for trading commodities should also include the lesser traded softs and exotic commodities.

So here are the best CFD trading platforms that offer the most commodities for trading as a CFD:

  1. IG – 38
  2. CMC Markets – 33
  3. – 28
  4. City Index – 25
  5. Pepperstone – 23
  6. Spreadex – 21
  7. Saxo Markets – 19
  8. – 10

For a full breakdown of CFD brokers that offer commodities trading, view our comparison table.

Best CFD brokers for index trading

  1. IG
  2. CMC Markets
  3. Saxo Markets

Index trading is fairly straightforward and is second only to forex trading in popularity, and IG is the original index broker; IG also offers CFD trading on over 80 global indices, as well as ETFs. Spreads are competitive and IG also offer index trading at the weekend on European, UK, Asian and US indices. IG offers CFD trading on over 80 global indices, as well as ETFs.

CMC Markets comes in a close second as their primary focus is Forex.

Saxo Markets are also a good choice for trading indices via CFD, and for more information, you can compare all brokers for trading indices here.

CFD trading platforms ranked by which one offers the most indices:

  1. Spreadex – 37
  2. IG – 34
  3. – 28
  4. Saxo Markets – 23
  5. CMC Markets – 22
  6. City Index – 21
  7. Pepperstone – 16
  8. – 10

Best CFD brokers for UK Stocks

  1. IG
  2. Saxo Markets
  3. Spreadex

If you are trading UK stocks via CFD then IG is your best option because they offer some unique trading features that others don’t. For instance, you can trade CFDs on the grey market price of an IPO before it lists. IG offer out of hours trading on UK stocks, as well as CFD trading on smaller cap UK stocks.

Saxo Markets has a great offering for UK CFD trading and also the option (as with IG) to trade UK stocks via DMA.

Spreadex is also worth a look as they have recently launched CFDs (in addition to spread betting). Spreadex are a much smaller broker but offer personal traders who can work CFD orders on smaller stocks on request.

Best CFD brokers for US Stocks

  1. Interactive Brokers
  2. IG
  3. Saxo Markets

If you are going to trade US stocks via CFD, you may as well do it with a US broker, and the best of the bunch is Interactive Brokers, AKA IBKR for short. IBKR was the pioneer of electronic trading (read up on them in our interview with Thomas Peterffy, the founder and CEO). While the Americans are not allowed to trade CFDs themselves, IBKR offer CFD trading through their UK office.

Saxo and IG are a close second and third as both brokers offer round the clock CFD trading on US shares. Both brokers offer DMA and out of hours trading, although IG pips Saxo to second place because of their presence in the US (albeit for forex trading only).

Best CFD brokers for MT4

  1. Pepperstone
  2. Saxo Markets
  3. IG

MT4 brokers are a dime a dozen and there are so many terrible ones, to be honest. MT4 is the most popular trading platform out there because of its plug and play nature.

Pepperstone, one of the largest brokers globally, but HQ’d in Australia, offers MT4 and is worth a look as they won “Best MT4 broker” in our 2020 awards.

While not overly promoted, IG and Saxo also offer MT4 as a trading platform option, should you find their proprietary trading platforms not sufficient for your needs.

Best CFD brokers for options

  1. Saxo Markets
  2. IG
  3. Spreadex

CFD trading on options has grown in popularity as brokers try to compete on market coverage. Most CFD brokers offer a smattering of CFD options on the most popular traded instruments, but Saxo Markets stands out, with an excellent options board on a wide range of markets. For more information on brokers offering options trading, view our options broker comparison table.

Best CFD Brokers for market coverage

  1. IG
  2. Saxo Markets
  3. Spreadex

While you can trade more things with Saxo Markets overall, IG has one of the widest choices of markets to trade CFDs on. If you want to trade something unusual, Spreadex will also look at markets on request.

CFD trading platforms ranked by how many markets they offer:

  1. Saxo Markets – 19,000
  2. IG – 17,000
  3. City Index – 12,000
  4. Spreadex – 10,000
  5. CMC Markets – 9,300
  6. – 8,000
  7. – 3,700
  8. Pepperstone – 178

Best CFD brokers for trading platforms

  1. Saxo Markets
  2. IG
  3. CMC Markets

Saxo Markets has the best platform for trading CFDs available to private clients. You can work a significant number of algo-based orders, as the CFD trading platform is designed with professional traders in mind.

IG’s CFD trading platform is a great all-rounder, and CMC Markets makes you feel a bit more like a pro with its easily configurable layout and trading tools.

Best CFD brokers for spread costs & margin rates

Margin rates are the same for every broker and spreads change every month. Many brokers run special promotions with reduced spreads. Whilst some have fixed spreads, no matter how wide the underlying markets, for example. For example, economic indicators like non-farm payrolls can make the market more volatile and widen spreads. Whereas, high market liquidity times like the open and close can mean that spreads are tightened. The general norm though is for brokers to offer spreads slightly wider than the underlying bid/offer to incorporate their commission.

Best CFD brokers for high net worth individuals and large traders

  1. IG
  2. Saxo Capital Markets
  3. CMC Markets

If you are a big CFD or spread betting trader (and by that we mean £50k upwards), you need a broker that is going to give you a bit more than just the top ten traded forex pairs and a few commodities.

IG tops this list as they are a publicly listed CFD broker and offer DMA CFD trading and a personal service for larger clients.

Saxo Capital Markets is another good CFD broker for HNWs, as you can trade DMA, buy physical shares, bonds, and trade all sorts of exotic derivative products. They also have professional brokers available over the phone for trading if you want to work VWAP or other algo orders that may otherwise move the market if you did them yourself.

Best CFD brokers for research and technical analysis

  1. IG
  2. Saxo Markets
  3. CMC Markets

Most CFD brokers provide some kind of research and analysis on the markets for their customers. But generally, the better the broker, the better the research, tools and analysis. For example, some brokers like IG will provide lots of analysis tools, economic calendars, stock screeners and technical analysis signals. Whereas, others like Plus 500 will only provide a trading platform with no added value. It costs a lot of money to hire analysts and provide data to clients, and some of it (if you know how to use it) can be exceptionally useful.

Technical analysis provides a good overview of the markets, based on charts and historical data

  • Fundamental analysis uses company financial releases to evaluate the health of a share price.
  • Economic data and calendars show when important announcements are due that could result in a price move.

Here’s where you can find out about 2020’s award-winning brokers.

CFD broker FAQs

Can you lose more than you deposit from CFD trading?

Yes. If you have a professional trading account, you can lose more than your account balance. However, for CFD traders classified as retail clients, there is negative balance protection, which means that your CFD trading account is guaranteed to not go into negative equity.

How long can you hold a CFD trade open?

In theory, you can keep a CFD trade open indefinitely. However, as overnight financing charges can add up quickly, CFD trading is more of a short-term speculation tool or hedge rather than a product for long-term investing.

Is CFD trading taxable?

Yes. You have to pay capital gains tax on CFD trading profits. You can offset CFD trading losses against other investment profits.

What are STP CFD trading brokers?

STP means Straight Through Processing, which means that when you put an order in, it goes into the market and the broker buys or sells on your behalf. The alternative is where a broker matches up with other traders or does not hedge your positions at all. In the grand scheme of trading, it does not matter whether your broker is STP or uses a B-Book. You make money if you call the market right. You can’t blame the broker if your trades are not profitable.

Which CFD brokers offer the tightest spreads?

You can see which CFD trading platforms offer the tightest CFD spreads in our comparison of CFD trading platforms. When choosing a CFD trading platform, the spreads and commissions you are likely to pay are going to be high up on your list of priorities. However, it shouldn’t be the only consideration you make. You should also consider market range, customer service and trading platforms.

Which is the cheapest CFD broker?

The cheapest CFD trading platform is the broker that has the tightest spreads and overnight financing charges. There is no single answer to which is the cheapest CFD broker as there are too many contributing factors to accurately calculate which CFD broker is the cheapest.

What does leverage mean on CFD accounts?

Leverage in CFD trading means investors can leverage their money (or capital) to increase their exposure by trading on margin. CFD trading platforms allow those trading to take larger positions than they would be able to do through traditional investing platforms. The benefit is that your profits are multiplied. However, inversely, if you lose money, your losses are equally multiplied.

Do CFD brokers charge commission?

CFD trading platforms like Saxo Markets and Interactive Brokers charge a commission. Other CFD brokers like IG, CMC Markets and City Index charge a spread.  Widening the spread is equivalent to charging a commission. It is not normal for CFD brokers to charge private clients and retail traders a commission for CFD trading.

Normally, it’s only DMA (direct market access) CFD brokers that charge commission.

One of the advantages of trading CFDs is that the commission is built into the price you buy and sell at, so there is no need for additional calculations to determine your profit and loss after the commission is charged.

The disadvantage of this is that when trading CFDs, the bid-offer spread will be wider, so the market needs to move further before a trade turns profitable.

Why is the CFD spread important?

When you are trading CFDs the tighter the spread, the better, as this reflects what your trading costs are. The CFD spread is usually a fixed amount per share and for things like Forex and Index trading and is comparable to a percentage.

For example, if on your CFD trading platform the spread on Vodafone shares could be 0.25% from the actual price, and this represents a commission of 0.25% on the value of the trade. Or if you are trading the FTSE 100 and the market price (or bid/offer) is 5801 (to sell), 5801.5 (to buy), a CFD broker may offer a spread of 5801 (to sell) and 5802 (to buy), which means they have widened the spread by 0.5.

The size of the bid-offer spread quoted by a CFD broker is important because it has a big impact on the cost of your trading. If a CFD platform quotes spreads that are 0.5 points wide and you are trading 1,000 CFDs, the cost of each trade will be £5. So, if you trade 100 times over a year, you will have paid £500 in dealing costs. But, if that spread is 1 point instead of 0.5 points, you will have paid £1,000 in spreads. The difference of £500 can have a significant impact on your profit and loss.

How important is CFD spread width when trading CFDs?

Very important. When you trade CFDs you have to sell at the lower bid price and buy at the higher offer price, the closer the two prices are, the less the market has to move in your favour before you can lock in a profit.

If you are scalping the market and trying to make lots of small, profitable trades, the tightness of a spread can make all the difference between success and failure. Essentially, narrower spreads mean quicker potential profits and wider spreads mean greater price changes needed to make a profit.

Do I need a DMA (direct market access CFD) broker?

If you’re a professional CFD trader dealing in significant sizes and frequently, you will get much better execution prices if you deal through a DMA CFD broker. As the commission is charged after a DMA CFD trade, it is easier to make small, profitable trades as the bid/offer spread is tighter.

However, you will have to calculate your commission in your P&L as it may turn a profitable trade into a loss.

DMA CFD brokers are usually only suitable for clients that qualify for institutional traders or private clients with professional account status, who have a thorough understanding of CFD trading.

How to check if a CFD broker is regulated by the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority)

All onlin CFD trading platforms and brokers listed in our comparison are regulated by the FCA. You can check whether a CFD broker is regulated by the FCA in the UK by checking the FCA register.

Only fully FCA-authorised and regulated CFD brokers offer client funds protection under the FSCS. From the 1st September 2019, this protection extends to:

  • Limiting leverage to between 30:1 and 2:1 by collecting minimum margin as a percentage of the overall exposure that the CFD provides.
  • Closeout a customer’s position when their funds fall to 50% of the margin needed to maintain their open positions on a CFD account.
  • Provide protections that guarantee that a client cannot lose more than the total funds in their CFD account.
  • Stop offering monetary and non-monetary inducements to encourage trading.
    Provide a standardised risk warning, which requires firms to tell potential customers the percentage of their retail client accounts that make losses.
    source; FCA website, 01/07/2019.

Can US residents trade CFDs?

Unfortunately, you can’t trade CFDs in the US. Derivatives trading in the US needs to be done on regulated exchanges. As CFDs are an OTC (over the counter) product, they are not allowed and are illegal to offer to US residents. Therefore, if you want to trade on margin, you must do it with either futures, options or through a broker that offers margin trading.

If you are a US citizen or resident, you can’t trade CFDs with a UK CFD broker. UK and US regulations prohibit US clients trading with overseas online trading platforms or brokers.

But if you are a UK or European trader, you can trade US stocks on CFDs with a UK CFD broker. You can however compare US CFD stock brokers where you can usually trade on margin. The US equivalent of CFD trading is margin trading. Margin trading in the US is where a broker lends you money to buy shares.

So, unlike CFDs, where you are not buying shares but taking out a “contract for difference” with US margin trading, you are paying full price for the shares you want to buy. You will need to put down some initial margin of (for example) 25%.

Then the broker will lend you the rest of the money for the purchase. For instance, if you want to buy $1,000 of Apple shares, you will need to put down $250 and the broker will lend you the other $750. You cannot withdraw money a US broker lends you and you pay daily interest on what you borrow.

What’s the difference between CFD trading and spread betting?

Spread betting and CFDs are fairly similar in some respects but very different in others.

The key similarities for both financial spread betting and CFD trading are:

  • You can go long and short
  • You can trade on margin
  • Both are OTC derivative products
  • Both are regulated by the FCA
  • Both are a high-risk investment product

The key differences between CFD trading and financial spread betting are:

  • Spread betting is free from capital gains tax, CFDs profit and losses are taxable
  • With spread betting, you bet a certain amount per point move
  • With CFDs, you buy an equivalent amount of CFD as you would shares
    CFDs are available to international clients
  • Financial spread betting is unique to the UK

Here’s a video and some more information on the difference between spread betting and CFD trading.

Where can I find CFD Broker reviews?

Choosing a CFD broker is a matter of personal preference. It can be based on anything from the CFD trading platform’s colour scheme to how friendly or efficient you find their customer support to the background information they offer.

If you want to read reviews of the major CFD brokers in the industry, our broker reviews for top CFD brokers can help as we ask three very simple questions:

  • What do they do?
  • How much do they cost?
  • Are they any good?

Our CFD broker review includes interviews with CFD broker CEOs and the results of our customer satisfaction surveys, which rank brokers based on:

  • Pricing
  • Markets
  • Size
  • Customer service
  • Trading platform
  • Margin rates
  • Educational material
  • Trading tools
  • Reliability

Should I use an advisory CFD broker?

No, you should not. Advisory CFD brokers used to be quite common when it was harder to open a CFD account. Before CFDs became available to all private clients, investors wishing to trade CFDs would have to prove that they understood the risks involved.

As CFDs were mainly offered to sophisticated investors, the regulators were less concerned with the fact that advisory CFD brokers offered little added value to traders. However, CFDs are a very high-risk product and clients must understand the risks involved before opening an account.

Over the years, the FCA has clamped down on advisory CFD brokers providing advice and hardcore sales tactics used by CFD brokers to get clients to trade more. This website is all about execution-only CFD brokers – that means CFD brokers that do not provide advice or recommend trades. Here is how to find a CFD stock broker.

Don’t get ripped off by advisory CFD brokers

CFDs are a very high-risk product and should only be traded by individuals who have significant trading experience.

If you are new to trading and investing then they are not for you. Advisory CFD brokers are not as rampant as they used to be, but they are still around in one capacity or another. So here are our three golden rules to avoid being ripped off by advisory CFD brokers.

One of the most common ways traders get taken in by advisory CFD brokers is by greed.

They are contacted and offered trading ideas from a slick sounding city broker from an advisory CFD firm.
There are of course brokers out there that provide an excellent service and really do have their clients best interests at heart.

But the majority of advisory CFD brokers may as well be working in a call centre selling conservatories. Generally, they are commission based and their pay is related to how many trades you as their client enter into.

So, they will be on the phone to you all day suggesting buys and sells, in small amounts with high minimum charges taking small profits.  On paper, they may well have made you a profit but when you factor in commission and financing charges you’ll probably lose.

There is a great phrase that goes around the City:

“Why would anyone who drives a Rolls Royce take financial advice from someone that takes the tube to work.”

What this means is that it’s your money and you know best what to do with it.  Don’t get drawn into the promise of quick profits.

If you are going to trade CFDs you need to accept that there are risks involved and stick to a set of CFD trading strategies that mitigate risk.

If you want to see the top CFD brokers in the UK that provide an execution only service they see our CFD broker comparison tables.

One thing to bear in mind is that advisory CFD brokers also offer execution only services and will then try to upgrade you to a advisory account on higher commission rates.

They are best avoided altogether. Most advisory CFD brokers use the services of the execution-only ones then mark the commission up for their supposed added value.

Can you make money trading CFDs?

Yes, it is possible to make money with an online trading platform. However, it is also possible to lose money.

If you want to be a profitable CFD trader then you need to follow some golden rules of CFD trading. It’s not difficult to make profitable trades, but what is difficult is ensuring that you make more profits on your winning trades than you make losses on your losing trades.

It’s a well-known fact that even the best traders in the world only get it right half the time. It’s how they manage their CFD positions that sets them apart and makes them better traders.

Here’s where you can find out more about how to trade CFDs.

What are the basic rules for trading CFDs?

  • Don’t trade with more than you can afford to lose
  • Run your profitable trades
  • Cut your losing trades quickly
  • Use stop losses to minimise risk
  • Combine technical and fundamental analysis before trading
  • Don’t trade with more than you can afford to lose

You should not risk money by trading CFDs that you need for something else. CFD trading is high risk and there is a high probability that inexperienced traders will lose money quickly. CFD trading can successfully form part of your overall investment portfolio. Around 10% is a suitable percentage to assign to high-risk investments.

It’s important to budget and balance your portfolio to include a range of diversified low, medium and high-risk investments, with a larger portion being allocated to medium and low-risk, long-term investment products such as tax-efficient SIPPs and stocks and shares ISAs.

If you only have a small amount of money to invest and choose to trade it all through CFDs, there is a large chance that your entire risk capital will be eroded as you learn to trade CFDs.

Here are four key ways to improve your CFD trading

  1. Run your profitable trades: Managing a position is one of the most challenging aspects of trading CFDs. CFD traders are often too keen to take small profits, rather than keep a winning position alive. Using trailing stop losses on your online CFD trading platform can be effective in running profitable positions as the market moves in your favour. If you buy as the market is going up (or go short as the market is going down), it is more profitable to keep the position open and ride the trend as far as you can.
  2. Cut your losing trades quickly: Another key mistake that CFD traders make is to let losses increase without closing a position in the hope that the market will turn around. When trading, it is good practice to have a loss limit in place so that your profitable trades are not wiped out by a large loss. If you have a losing position, consider closing it and re-evaluating the market and trying again when the market is looking more predictable.
  3. Use stop losses to minimise risk: Using a stop loss means having a level in the market where your position is automatically closed to minimise loss. Stop losses are triggered automatically, even when you are not in front of your trading platform. The benefit of using stop losses is that you limit your downside risk (loss) on a position automatically and protect your account balance. Some CFD brokers offer guaranteed stop losses, which trigger even if the market crashes, and guarantee to give you your stop price, regardless of slippage.
  4. Combine technical and fundamental analysis before trading: The two most common forms of generating trading ideas are fundamental and technical analysis. Fundamental analysis means looking at the financial health of a business or economy. Technical analysis means looking at charting patterns of markets to see what has happened in the past and what is likely to happen in the future. The benefits of technical analysis are that it is somewhat self-fulfilling in that in the most liquid CFD markets, traders are looking for similar patterns and will trade when they occur, potentially moving the market. It is more popular in short-term trading. Fundamental analysis can be used to trade around economic indicators if you disagree with the consensus before the data is announced. Fundamental analysis is more popular for longer-term investing. For more information, read our guide on the difference between technical and fundamental analysis.
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