Spread betting brokers let traders speculate on financial markets by placing bets instead of buying or selling shares, commodities, indices, and forex pairs. As trades are structured as bets spread betting profits are free from UK capital gains tax. We have ranked, compared and reviewed some of the best spread betting brokers in the UK to help you choose the most appropriate account for your trading strategy.
Best Spread Betting Brokers
Our picks for the best spread betting brokers are based on over 7,000 votes in our annual awards, our own experiences testing the accounts as well as an in-depth comparison of the features that make them stand out compared to alternatives.
Spread Betting Broker Reviews
Our methodology for reviewing spread betting trading platforms: When we review spread betting brokers we always open live account, deposit funds and trade in a live environment. We only include brokers that are regulated by the FCA and interview the CEOs so we can find out what makes them tick and what their ethos is. In our spread betting broker reviews, we highlight the pros and cons of each account, what markets you can trade in, how much it costs, and how they compare to the competition. We also explain what makes them different and tell you who they are most appropriate for so you can choose the best account for your trading.
City Index Spread Betting
✔️ Trading signals
✔️ Post-trade analysis
✔️ Wide range of markets
✔️ UK based
❌ No DMA
❌ No investment options
❌ No futures & options
City Index Spread Betting Account Review
City Index is one of the best spread betting brokers and suited to all types of traders looking for a tax-efficient way to speculate on the financial markets.
Spread bets at City Index are available on 12,000 markets including, 23 equity indices, thousands of UK and international stocks and ETFs, 19 commodities, bonds, and interest rates, and an industry-leading 182 FX pars. City Index also has an options desk for spread betting on index and populare stock options.
When I tested City Index’s spread betting account there were two things that made it stand out, SMART Signals and Performance Analytics.
SMART Signals, is one of the best trading signal services out there and is developed in-house by City Index. The idea is that the algorithm scans the market for price patterns and highlights upcoming trading opportunities. It differs from the standard offerings from Autochartist and Trading Central, by being fully integrated giving you the ability to trade via a single click, as well as being fully transparent by displaying the previous P&L per asset.
The other spread betting tool, that is unique to City Index is Performance Analytics. Whilst other brokers provide post-trade analysis, When StoneX (City Index’s parent company) acquired Chasing Returns, they were able to exclusively provide a huge amount of data to help their customers stick to a trading plan and provide insights into what can make them a better spread bettor.
As with most spread betting brokers, City Index clients trade via two-way bid-offer prices the difference between the bid and offer representing the spread. These vary by product and contract but in the FTSE 100 index City charges a minimum spread of 1 index point and on the Germany 30 or Dax it charges 1.20 points. You can trade Spread Bets on leading equity indices up to 24 hours per day. For stock trading, spreads of 0.8% for UK and 1.8 cents per share are built into the price.
Overall City Index’s spread betting platform is one of the best around with competitive pricing, a wide range of markets to trade, and some very good added value tools to help traders seek out opportunities and improve their trading strategy.
74% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider
IG Spread Betting
✔️ Biggest market range
✔️ High levels of liquidity
✔️ DMA accounts
✔️ Investment accounts
❌ Customer service can be slow
❌ No futures and options
❌ Almost too big
IG Spread Betting Account Review
IG won “best spread betting broker” in our 2022 awards as it continues to be the best spread betting platform. As well as inventing the concept of financial spread betting in 1974, IG also offers access to the most markets, with the most liquidity and are, (by market cap as of April ’22) the biggest spread betting broker valued at over £3.5bn
With IG you can spread bet on over 17,000 markets (an industry-leading amount) including 51 forex pairs, 38 commodities, 34 indices and over 10,000 UK and international stocks.
A few key features that make IG’s spread betting platform stand out are the ability to bet on smaller-cap shares, trade IPOs pre-market via their “grey market” and their liquidity. IG’s liquidity can actually be better than the underlying exchange, so you can place and get filled in large orders using IG’s internal liquidity when there might not be the volume on the exchange order book.
Even though IG internalises order flow they do not profit from client losses instead hedging or matching order flow and operating symmetrical tolerance levels. This means that you also benefit from positive slippage, so if you place a spread bet limit order and the market moves in your favour before it is executed you get a better fill.
When I compared pricing against other spread betting brokers IG spreads are always competitive and often market-leading, especially in the major instruments, but where IG wins business is its ability to continually innovate and add value to its spread betting platform. There are trading signals from Autochartist and PIAfirst, but IG takes it a step further by making executing these signals easier and integrating dealing tickets. IG has a good post-trade analytics feature that can show you where you are profitable or not and they create a huge amount of analysis and research around what their clients are trading based on platform analytics.
Overall, IG is the best spread betting broker is suitable for beginners through to professional high volume and high-frequency traders.
Your capital is at risk. 73% of retail CFD accounts lose money
CMC Markets Spread Betting
✔️ Excellent sentiment tools
✔️ Wide range of markets
✔️ Tights spreads and low costs
❌ No investment account
❌ Limited shares on offer
❌ No DMA equities trading
CMC Markets Spread Betting Account Review
CMC Markets pioneered electronic trading in the UK during the early 1990’s and introduce financial spread betting to complement its CFD and forex trading in 2001. Since then the Market Maker spread betting platform has evolved into the “Next Generation” platform and is one of the best proprietary trading platforms for active traders in the industry.
CMC Market’s spread betting offering has always won business by producing great technology that reduces the cost of trading. By focussing on mobile and online trading, they now see over 70% of spread bets go through on mobile versus online.
I found that CMC Market’s spread betting prices were always tight and hail from the original online platform name (Deal4Free, and slogan “compare the spread”). CMC Markets also invented the concept of the daily cash rolling spread bet so traders no longer need to trade the futures price, reducing trading costs further.
Whilst CMC Markets focus on the major markets, they do actually offer access to quite a large amount of assets, over 9,300 including an industry-leading 338 fx crosses (CMC did start as a forex platform), 124 commodities, 28 indices and hundreds of UK and international stocks.
Two of CMC Market’s very innovative spread betting features are how they break down client sentiment and their share baskets. It’s commonplace for spread betting brokers to display client sentiment, but CMC Markets let you filter that sentiment down to profitable clients so it can become more valuable. They also provide a wide range of weighted share baskets so you can spread bets on sectors like driverless cars, big tech, cyber security and China tech, where ETFs have not yet been created.
Overall, CMC Markets is an exceptional spread betting platform with innovative features suitable to frequent traders wanting to trade on tight spreads.
66% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider
Pepperstone Spread Betting
✔️ Tight spreads
✔️ Fast execution
✔️ Good MT4/MT5 trader tools
❌ Limited shares on offer
❌ No investment accounts
❌ Major markets only
Pepperstone Spread Betting Review
Pepperstone introduced spread betting in early 2021 with a focus on tight pricing for major instruments and automated trading on MT4.
Pepperstone operates a tiered approach to spread betting accounts. Newer clients typically joined Pepperstone’s standard accounts; more experienced traders can elect to join the firm’s Razor account. The latter is used mainly for scalping and algorithmic trading. As seen below, Razor accounts have lower spreads than standard accounts in the FX markets but they also incur some commissions.
Pepperstone does not charge inactivity fee, which is excellent for low latency traders. The firm has no regular maintenance fee like some investment accounts. There is no minimum deposit either.
In the UK, Pepperstone offers protection on negative balance for retail clients only. This means that, should the market swing violently against you and depletes the entire equity and more, the account will reset to zero. Professional accounts, however, will be required to post additional equity.
For funding, Pepperstone accepts Visa, MasterCard, Paypal or bank transfer.
Most withdrawals are free, although international Telegraphic Transfer (TT) may incurred fees by the banks which will be passed on to clients.
Overall, Pepperstone is a good choice for clients that want to spread bet on MT4 as it’s MT4 & MT5 package is one of the best around.
79.3% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider
Markets.com Spread Betting
✔️ Blends and sector trading
✔️ Hegde fund sentiment analysis
✔️ TipRanks Integrated
❌ No investment accounts
❌ Analysis limited to US stocks
❌ HQ not in the UK
Markets.com Spread Betting Account Review
Markets.com MarketX spread betting platform, has some great features if you dig deep enough. On the surface, Markets.com doesn’t come across as a serious contender for best spread betting as it only offers access to a limited amount of markets (8,000 in total) and if you were to browse the website, you’d be forgiven for being frustrated at the lack of pricing, platform and market access information.
However, I found that once I started spread betting with Markets.com there was a bit more than just the click and trade features that initially come across.
Markets.com have integrated TipRanks, into their spread betting platform so you get a really good insight into what the market thinks of US stocks. For example, if you want to spread bet on Apple, you can see analyst recommendations, as a percentage and rating, along with price targets and your relative upside and downside.
Blogger opinions give a good overview of whether lay financial pundits are bullish or bearish a stock, which quite nicely provides a contrarian opinion to professional analysts. You can also see which bloggers have written what so can go off-platform and do your own research.
Hedge Fund confidence is another helpful spread betting tool that shows what hedge funds are buying and selling. A very good sentiment indicator if you are a bear and are looking for shorting opportunities.
Overall, Markets.com is a good platform for newer traders who want a simple spread betting platform to trade the major instruments with some added value and guidance on what to buy and sell.
77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider
Spreadex Spread Betting
✔️ Excellent reputation and service
✔️ Sports trading also available
✔️ Smaller personal brokerage
❌ No investment accounts
❌ Some may be put off by sports
❌ Limited order types
69% of retail investors lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider
Spreadex Spread Betting Account Review
Spreadex is one of the last spread betting brokers to offer a mixture of financial and sports spread betting, for those who want to trade the FTSE during the week and the Footie on the weekend. I’ve used both services for nearly 20 years and have seen them mature along with the undustry.
Based in St Albans, just outside of London Spreadex offers a simple but innovative spread betting platform for trading a wide range of assets. Spreadex has always focussed on customer service, winning business from referrals and maintaining long-term relationships with their clients.
It’s a testament to the business that they build their own technology in-house and are reserved with marketing campaigns.
They offer access to over 10,000 markets and recently Spreadex has reduced spreads across the major assets, and still offers access to smaller cap stocks compared to some of the nigger providers.
The spread betting platform does have some good charting options, such as adding pro trading tools like WVAP and pro trend lines, as well as the usual obligatory technical indicators like Bollinger Bands and Moving Averages. You can see what percentage of clients are long on watchlists and you can quickly go to a specific time point on a chart.
There is also a wide range of ETFs, ETCs and Trackers to spread bet on for sector speculation, and you also have the option to trade political markets.
Overall, Spreadex is an excellent spread betting broker for those that want personal service and the ability to speculate on financial as well as sports markets.
69% of retail investors lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider
Compare Spread Betting Brokers
Use our spread betting broker comparison to compare each provider by account types, what you can trade in, and fees. We only include providers that are authorised and regulated by the FCA where your funds are protected under the FSCS and where customers have voted for them in our awards survey.
|Trading Platform||Trading Platform||Active Clients||Minimum Deposit||Founded||Inactivity Fee||Public Company||Client Loss %|
|City Index||126,000||100||1983||£12 per month||✔️||70%|
|CMC Markets||308,644||0||1989||£10 per month||✔️||66%|
|Saxo Markets||525,000||0||1992||£25 per quarter||❌||70%|
|Markets.com||11,000||100||2008||£10 per month||❌||77%|
|IG||313,000||£250||1974||£12 per month||✔️||73%|
|FXTM||n/a||$50||2011||$5 per month||❌||77%|
|XTB||447,000||0||2002||€10 per month||✔️||77%|
Side-By-Side Spread Betting Broker Comparison
Use our side-by-side spread betting broker account comparison to compare the best spread betting broker by pricing, market access, account types and services.
Market Access Spread Betting Platform Comparison
Use our spread betting brokers market access comparison to see which brokers offer access to the most markets in total and broken down by indices, forex, commodities, stocks and UK & US shares.
Account Type Spread Betting Company Comparison
Use our spread betting broker account type comparison to see which brokers offer other types of account for your trading. You can see which of the best spread betting brokers offer spread betting, forex, futures, options DMA and investing.
|Trading Platform||CFDs||Spread Betting||DMA||Professional||Investments||Futures & Options|
What is a spread betting broker?
A spread betting broker providers clients with an online trading platform so they can bet on the price of financial instruments. A spread betting broker will accept bets from clients on a value per point movement basis that are structured as trades. For tax purposes these trades are structures as bets so there is no capital gains tax due on profits.
What is financial spread betting?
Spread betting allows you to bet on the financial markets and benefit from not paying capital gains tax on profits. In this interview we discuss financial spread betting, what is spread betting, who it’s for, what are the main benefits, the main risks, the best time to trade, and also, the most common mistakes traders make and how to avoid them.
How does financial spread betting work?
Spread betting is a way to bet on the rise and fall of the prices of an asset, like a stock, commodity or financial instrument. You do not own the underlying asset but make money by predicting correctly if the value of your chosen asset will rise or fall in a given timescale. You can spread bet on anything, from shares to gold and crude, FX or house prices.
For example, if you wanted to speculate on the price of Lloyds shares going up and wanted to bet the equivalent of buying 1,000 shares you would bet £10 per point (pence) that the Lloyds share price goes up.
There are a few key differences between traditional investing. Firstly, it’s a bet so there is no tax on profits. Secondly, you trade on margin as you bet on a per point basis, so you can make or lose much more than your stake – which makes spread betting a high risk or high reward product.
Many of the spread betting brokers listed in our comparison tables have very good education articles, videos and demo accounts for potential clients to practice on. Here is what is spread betting for everything you need to know about financial spread betting in more detail and for free tips and strategy to help you get started trading.
For more information on tax on spread betting read our two guides:
In this video interview we discuss, what financial spread betting is, how it works, who it is appropriate for and the major risks and rewards.
Choosing The Best Spread Betting Broker
Financial spread betting is unique to the UK and offers tax benefits to citizens of the United Kingdom. However, there are still only a handful of brokers that offer it. Fortunately, some of the most well established, most popular and best-reviewed brokers offer financial spread betting through their platforms.
Here is a rundown of what each of these spread betting brokers do, who they are most appropriate for and how to compare them so you can get the best spread betting broker for you.
Here are the things to consider to help you choose the best spread betting broker:
- Spreads & Commissions
- Market Access
- Margin & Leverage
- Account Types (Retail or Professional)
- Safety of Funds
- Research & Analysis
- Customer Service & Voice Brokerage
- Mobile Trading & Apps
Spreads & Commissions
Tight spreads are important when choosing a spread betting broker
Make sure your broker offers tight spreads. The spreads and how tight they are is an important part of trading through a spread betting broker, as spreads impact how quickly you can make money.
However, there are other important considerations to take into account as well. For example, a broker may try to win your business by marketing ultra-tight spreads on a couple of the main products, but then increase spreads on the more exotic asset classes.
You also need to make sure when you pick a broker that they offer consistently tight spreads, and not just during normal trading hours. Securing tight spreads when you want to trade is more important to your profits than choosing a broker that offers the cheapest spreads.
Spreads can also vary on the asset class. In some circumstances, it may be best to go with a broker that has consistently tight spreads throughout their entire asset class range rather than just on a few key products.
That being said, it ultimately depends upon what and how you trade. For example, if you only trade two or three indices and FX pairs, then a broker that will give you the lowest trading costs on these assets will likely make the most sense; then use alternative accounts for other instruments.
Best spread betting broker for tight spreads:
- City Index – some very tight spreads on major markets
- Pepperstone – Pepperstone are a relatively new broker that focuses on a simple trading platform with tight pricing – although market range is not as good as others
- CMC Markets – a well establed spread betting platform that has always competed on price through technology
- IG – always competitive on price, if not always the cheapest
Choosing a broker that works best for your strategy, your budget, your ambitions and your preferences will be much more beneficial than arbitrarily choosing the tightest spreads.
Zero spreads trading isn’t always possible, here’s why it can often be difficult to find a broker offering zero spreads trading.
Choose a spread betting broker with the best range of offered markets
Some spread betting companies focus on tight spreads on a few key markets. Others focus on providing a good overall value and service. When opening a new account, have in mind what asset classes and individual instruments you want to trade.
If you have AIM and small-cap shares, you will need a spread betting broker that specialises in them, like Spreadex, ETX capital or IG. Here is the best way to spread bet on the AIM market.
You may need to consider separate accounts if you have a favourite broker for one market but want to trade on a market that they don’t offer. However, remember that all brokers will offer the major index, commodities and FX pairs though.
Although they aren’t the only consideration to factor in when choosing a spread betting broker, tight spreads are certainly an important aspect that should not be overlooked. When comparing how tight spreads are among spread betting companies, you must also look at the overall offering, as being taken in by the initial spread may have a detrimental effect on your trading if you are trading exotic products.
Margin & Leverage
Diversify your trading and get more market exposure by trading on margin with leverage
The FCA and ESMA regulators have put caps on how much leverage spread betting companies can offer retail traders so margin rates are standardised across spread betting platforms at:
Major Forex pairs: 3.33%
UK & US shares: 20%
This means if you want to trade includes you have to put down 20% of the value of the trade as a deposit for the initial margin, the equivalent of leveraging your money 5 times. This was in part to protect spread betting clients from over-trading but also to protect the brokers for having to cover client losses. Since the CHF cap was removed and many clients went into negative equity (owing the broker money by losing more than their account balances) the regulates have forced spread betting companies to guarantee that retail client accounts will not go into negative equity. If a broker is unable to close of client positions they must cover the client losses that exceed their account balance. The margin caps were put in place to also protect the regulator as if a broker cannot cover client losses and defaults, client funds are protected by the FSCS which the regulator is responsible for. So by increasing the amount of margin required for trading, there is less likely hood of larger client losses which the broker, then ultimately the regulator would have to cover.
However, if you are an experienced trader you may be able to upgrade your account to a “professional trading account” and reduce your margin rates. To do so you will need to demonstrate that you have a large investment portfolio, have worked in relevant financial services and are a regular trader. For more information on being classified as a professional client read our guide to the best professional trading accounts.
Trading as a retail or professional spread betting client
If you are new to spread betting, you will be classified as a “retail trader”, which means you get more protection from the regulator, restricted margin rates and standard fees. However, if you are a more experienced trader and can prove it, you may be eligible to upgrade to a “professional trader”. Being a professional trader means you get lower fees and more leverage, but less protection against losses.
Margins can change, here’s why margin increases aren’t always a negative prospect for traders.
Some of the best spread betting brokers for high net worth and large accounts
- City Index is owned by StoneX, which is listed on the NASDAQ with a market cap of (as May 22) $1.4bn, which gives large traders a very transparent visual of how the companies financial health is.
- IG, being the oldest and biggest spread betting firm, IG are a clear choice for HNW (high net-worth) clients. They have a huge balance sheet and are also listed on the LSE, so it should be very clear if the firm is having difficulties. Read IG reviews.
- Spreadex is one of the most well-established spread betting brokers. They launched in 1999 and probably offer the widest range of markets, phone trading and excellent personal service. You can read our interview with Spreadex CEO Jonathan Hufford here.
- CMC Markets , like IG, CMC Markets is a publically listed company so you can see quickly how well the business is doing. CMC Markets also have an institutional offering for larger traders.
Choosing a regulated financial spread betting broker
Spread betting brokers in the UK are regulated by the FCA, and the FCA register provides a database of the company status, the management and also their regulated employment history. By searching the register, you can quite easily find out what experience and pedigree your broker has.
Never trade with a company that is not regulated by the FCA. Most brokers display their regulatory status in the footer of the website at the bottom.
Our spread betting company comparison tables only include spread betting brokers that are regulated.
Safety of Funds
The importance of financial security of spread betting brokers
You need the spread betting broker you use to be financially secure and established.
Before opening an account, always do some background research into the company, as there have been a few examples of spread betting companies going bankrupt and traders having problems getting their funds back.
An easy way to keep an eye on a company’s financials is to go with brokers that have traded themselves on the London Stock Exchange. Being a public company means that you have to submit financial reports regularly. The share price and market cap are also good indicators of whether or not a company is heading for trouble.
If a broker is not listed on the Stock Exchange, you can have a look at their accounts on Companies House or websites like duedil.com. If you are trading through a spread betting white label, it’s important to check just what balance sheet you are using – the brand or the underlying provider.
Checking your spread betting broker is FCA-regulated and covered by FSCS protection is also a sensible step. All of the brokers in our comparison are fully regulated and eligible for FSCS deposit protection.
Research & Analysis
Best spread betting brokers for added value, research and tools
Spread betting companies cannot give advice, but they can provide research and analysis to help you find potential trading opportunities. However, one thing to look out for if you are after value (other than tight spreads) is what else you get as part of the spread betting trading platform. Some spread betting accounts provide access to third-party research and analysis services. City Index has some of the best trading signals to give you some indication of where potential markets may move as well as some great tools for analysing your past traders to see where yo get it right and wrong. CMC Markets is one of the most established spread betting brokers and offers a wide variety of webinars, trading tools and indicators on their online platform. IG has lots of sentiment, data and analysis tools, whilst Spreadex have a great reputation for giving customers what they want.
Others provide direct market access and some are stripped to the bone and offer nothing other than access to the platform. If you are happy to have various screens open then this may appeal, but a comparison table like ours will give you a good indication of what additional services spread betting accounts will give you.
If you are looking for a new broker that offers a little more than your current one, then you can compare online trading platform features here. Undoubtedly, an advantage for your trading strategy can come in the form of sentiment, data, news or analysis. It’s up to you as a trader to find the best edge for your trading.
Customer Service & Voice Brokerage
Choosing the best spread betting broker for customer service
Being able to get help when you need it and have the ability to trade over the phone is a vital part of spread betting. Whilst over 95% of trades go through online and trading apps ensure you are connected to the market all the time, there still may be occasions when you need the help of experienced dealers.
A few occasions when you will need customer support include corporate actions on stock positions, working large orders, fixing errors, help with margin information, getting new markets added and general questions about how the products work.
Thankfully, all spread betting brokers we feature in our comparison tables have experienced dealers you can talk to should you need it. As spread betting is unique to the UK, spread betting companies have offices in and around London and provide direct lines to dealing staff.
However, larger brokers like IG and CMC Markets only provide dedicated support if you have a large account where as smaller spread betting brokers like ETX Capital and Spreadex tend to provide dealer access to all clients. Spreadex is one of those brokers that people like doing business with. They don’t offer the tightest spreads or even the widest range of markets. But, they do offer a slightly more personal service. It’s their small brokerage attitude that makes them worth trading through.
Mobile Trading & Apps
Trading on the move with the best financial spread betting mobile apps
Having the ability to close your trades, open new positions or check market movements on the go can be very important. So choosing a broker that offers a mobile app that gives you this ability makes sense.
You can compare the best Financial Spread Betting Mobile Apps to make sure that you don’t lose touch with the market for the moment. Most brokers still offer dealing support by phone, but with high-risk bets on, you need to be connected all the time.
Here are the best spread betting brokers ranked by the average review rating of their mobile trading app from the Apple App store and the Google Play Store:
- IG – 4.5
- Pepperstone – 4.45
- Spreadex – 4.35
- CMC Markets -3.6
- City Index – 3.5
- Markets.com – 3.45
Popular Markets On Spread Betting Platforms
The most popular markets for spread betting are in order:
- Stocks & shares
Best spread betting broker for trading indices
Here are the best spread betting brokers ranked by the number of indices you can trade:
- Spreadex – 37
- IG – 34
- CMC Markets -22
- City Index – 21
- Pepperstone – 16
- Markets.com – 10
Best spread betting broker for trading UK shares
Here are spread betting brokers ranked by the number of shares you can spread bet on:
- IG – 3,925
- City Index – 3,500
- Spreadex – 1,575
- CMC Markets -745
- Pepperstone – 192
Best spread betting broker for trading US stocks
Here are spread betting brokers ranked by the number of US stocks you can spread bet on:
- IG – 6,352
- CMC Markets -4,968
- Spreadex – 2,110
- City Index – 1,000
- Pepperstone – 880
Best spread betting brokers for Forex trading
Here is a list of the best spread betting brokers for forex trading ranked by how many forex pairs they offer
- City Index – 84
- CMC Markets 71
- Pepperstone – 62
- Spreadex – 60
- IG – 51
- Markets.com – 20
- City Index currently offer the most forex pairs for spread betting on foreign exchange.
- IG: Despite being the largest and oldest spread betting firm (read IG review), IG can still compete with the nimble upstarts that are trying to win market share on forex spread bett pricing. They offer by far the widest range of markets, but because of their size, do widen the spreads on peripheral instruments a little more. As their spreads are variable, it also means that when the markets are volatile, they could be wider. Whilst it could be bad for traders in the short term, it is an indication that the firm is hedging correctly, which will benefit everyone in the long run.
- CMC Markets (read CMC Markets review): as well as being one of the biggest brokers out there, you can also trade a wide range of commodities on MT4 and equities through ETX Trader Pro (the better platform).
- Pepperstone (read Pepperstone review) are all about tight spreads of the major pairs.
The FX market is the most traded asset class in the world and one of the most popular asset classes with spread betting brokers.
The major pairs offer great liquidity, tight pricing and good intra-day trading ranges. Because of this, brokers can offer low margin rates, meaning high leverage. So spread betting on FX is one of the best ways to trade foreign exchange. You can compare the best Forex brokers here.
Spread betting on Forex is all about tight prices, speed and market timing. It is one of the most actively traded markets in the world. Positions are generally turned over much faster than any other asset class, and traders aim to take quick profits. Finding a spread betting broker with really tight FX spreads can make a big difference to your profit and loss at the end of the trading day.
To help you choose the best spread betting broker for forex, this review of the top 10 should be useful.
Best spread betting broker for trading commodities
Here are the best spread betting brokers ranked by the number of commodities you can trade:
- IG – 38
- CMC Markets -33
- City Index – 25
- Pepperstone – 23
- Spreadex – 21
- Markets.com – 10
Pros & Cons of Spread Betting Platforms
- Tax-free profits
- Trade on margin
- No stamp duty on stocks
- Leverage multiplies your losses
- It is a very high-risk type of investing
- Cannot offset losses against other investment profits
- Cannot vote on AGMs and corporate actions
- You do not own the underlying financial asset
Spread betting broker FAQs
Who invented financial spread betting?
Stuart Wheeler the founder of IG, is generally credited with inventing and popularising the concept of betting on financial markets.
Here is a list of the most established spread betting brokers in the UK ranked based on how old they are:
- IG (1974)
- City Index (1983)
- CMC Markets (1989)
- Spreadex (1999)
- Markets.com (2008)
- Pepperstone (2010)
- Capital.com (2016)
What is the B book run by spread betting brokers?
The B book has a pretty bad reputation, rather unjustly. It’s a little unfair as the industry wouldn’t exist without it. Some ask how can the B Book model in spread betting still exists in the current financial climate? The answer is simple; without it, all the brokers would go out of business.
Essentially, the B book means that the broker will take the other side of a trade for some time. By doing so, the broker accumulates asset value on the opposite side of your trade, meaning that when another client bets the opposite way, they only have one transaction to facilitate over two, as an A book broker might. This efficiency essentially allows brokers to pass on cheaper trading costs to their clients.
Who are the most popular spread betting brokers?
Spread betting is dominated by several firms, but as there are relatively few barriers to entering the market, new firms arrive all the time. At the moment, the two largest publicly-listed financial spread betting firms are IG and CMC Markets.
Can you spread bet on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency?
No. The FCA has banned trading on cryptocurrencies. However, you can buy and sell cryptocurrencies through crypto exchanges.
Can you spread bet in volatile markets?
Various indicators will show you how volatile the market is. In most cases, a moving market is easier to trade than a stagnant one. You can spread bet on market volatility using the VIX, a futures contract based in Chicago. It’s not the easiest indicator to follow or understand but once mastered, it can be an invaluable tool.
Where can I find spread betting tips?
Our tips and strategies explaining how to spread bet can help you effectively navigate the world of spread betting.
The financial markets are difficult to profit from, and spread betting is a high-risk, leveraged way of speculating that can result in significant wins and losses. Make sure you fully understand the risks involved by familiarising yourself with how it works.
Where can I spread bet on smaller cap stocks?
There are pros and cons to spread betting on the smaller stocks. A pro is that if they skyrocket, you don’t have to pay tax on your winnings. The cons are that they are illiquid and as such can be very volatile.
The best way to spread bet on the AIM market is through a spread betting broker you have a good relationship with, who talks to the market directly. Even if you are a big client, you may find the dealers get frustrated. But if you hold the positions long enough, you’ll also end up paying a lot in interest overnight funding.
- Guide: Where can I spread bet on small stocks?
- Guide: Where can I spread bet on NASDAQ, NYSE and small cap stock?
Is technical or fundamental analysis more effective when spread betting?
Most spread traders use technical analysis as it can provide a good visual representation of the market and is generally more relevant to short-term movements. However, it is based on historic events.
Fundamental analysis instead looks at what a company could be worth in the future.
Technical analysis vs fundamental analysis in spread betting is a debate that will probably go on forever, but for the most part, there is value in doing both, and it is largely down to personal preference as to what you rely on more.
Can you profit from company profit warnings with spread betting?
It is possible to profit when stocks fall in the market by betting on a company underperforming. This is known as shorting a stock. They say profit warnings come in threes, so there are many bear traders out there stalking the market for potential victims. Shorting stocks is how you use spread betting to bet on a downward market, and this can be profitable, but beware as losses are unlimited. You can only make as much as your stake goes to zero, but in theory, a stock price can go on up forever. Compare spread betting brokers for shorting stock.
What is the difference between spread betting and CFDs (Contracts for difference)?
CFDs are for professional traders who use them for direct market access and anonymity (to an extent). Outside the UK, CFDs are used by private clients as there are no tax benefits. Read what the difference is between spread betting and CFDs for more information.
Can I hedge my investment portfolio with spread betting?
There are pros and cons to hedging with spread betting. Using spread betting as a hedging tool can be an efficient way to manage a profitable position for tax purposes.
How does spread betting work?
Understanding how spread betting markets work is not likely to help you guarantee you will make money. Profitability in spread betting ultimately boils down to calling the market correctly.
However, understanding the mechanics of the markets and what makes them work may be something that helps you feel more comfortable interacting with them.
Should I choose an FCA-regulated broker?
By ensuring your spread betting broker is fully authorised and regulated by the FCA, some of your funds will be protected under the FSCS. The FCA also requires spread betting brokers to report regularly and have adequate compliance procedures in place to treat customers fairly.
The Good Money Guide only shows brokers who are authorised and registered with the FCA, and as such, offer FSCS protection for their customers’ money.
Should I choose a spread betting broker who offers credit?
Some brokers offer credit accounts. This means that if you are a good client, you can put a trade on without having any cash in your account. You will have to fund the account, but by having a bit of credit, it means you can put a trade on quickly without having to wait for funds to be added.
Be careful not to bet more than you can afford, as any losses, credit funded or not, will have to be repaid to the broker.
Social trading is big business now. It allows you to execute the same trades as the best customer of a specific broker. If a broker allows social trading, they will show the performance and trades of traders that make money. You can then allocate a certain amount of capital to follow their real live positions.
Which are the best spread betting platforms for beginners?
This is a tricky question as there is no one size fits all spread betting broker for beginners. If you want to find out which is the best spread betting platform for beginners, our guides can help explain the advantages and disadvantages of each. But beware, if you are a beginner spread better, although it has high rewards, it is very risky. So make sure you fully understand how spread betting works before you start trading.
Where can I find a list of spread betting forex brokers?
You can find a list of forex spread betting brokers in our comparison. As always, when you are looking for a spread betting forex broker, make sure they are regulated by the FCA and listed on the Good Money Guide.
Why is spread betting exclusively available in the UK?
Spread betting in the UK is only possible because there is no capital gains tax on spread betting profits. This does of course mean that you cannot offset spread betting losses, and tax laws can and always will change. Spread betting outside the UK does not exist, as UK spread betters are the only traders that benefit from the tax breaks.
Can I still get rewards and introductory offers from brokers?
Not really. Spread betting offers don’t exist anymore as the regulators thought the ones that brokers were offering were attracting the wrong sort of client to spread betting. Instead, now brokers have to provide a better service, tighter pricing, and access to more markets. So actually, the reduction of spread betting offers is a good thing for traders.
Which is the best spread betting platform?
Many financial websites give out awards to the best spread betting platforms each year. However, take them all with a pinch of salt, as many of these award ceremonies tend to give awards to all brokers in one way or another in exchange for sponsorship. However, Good Money Guide’s annual awards are different.
We run an annual, unbiased and independent awards ceremony and decide the winners based on:
- personal experiences of testing and using the brokers
- an independent panel of industry expert judges
- your customer feedback and votes
- overall reputation within the industry, their innovation and approach to customer service.
Can you spread bet on MT4?
MT4 is one of the most popular ways to trade the financial markets, and many spread betting brokers now offer MT4 as a platform. If you are interested in spread betting on MT4, you can review the best MT4 spread betting accounts here. Spread betting companies that provide MT4 give clients the ability to upload and purchase custom indicators, then run automated trading strategies based on pre-set technical perimeters. Traders can also follow “Expert Advisors” and trade based on established FX strategies without the need to manually execute trades.
You can view our MT4 brokers that offer spread betting in our MT4 broker comparison table. Most decent spread betting brokers will have their own trading platforms, but, because of the massive appeal of MT4, good spread betting brokers will also offer this as an option. Here’s where you can find out where to trade options as a spread bet and the best brokers are to do so with.
Best spread betting brokers that offer MT4
IG are one of the largest brokers in the UK. Clients mainly trade via their well-established platform. However, as MT4 is such a popular choice for FX traders, they recently launched a Metatrader 4 option. IG MT4 spread betting offers spread on EURUSD from 0.6 points, free VPS for expert advisors, free broker apps, and 18 free bespoke add-ons and indicators.
Who are the best spread betting brokers in the UK?
We rank and compare the best spread betting brokers in the UK in our comparison tables, guides and reviews. There are quite a few spread betting brokers in the UK and the differences between them run deeper than just the spreads they offer.
For the most part, they offer access to similar markets, with closely competitive spreads and similar analysis and strategic tools. We covered in some depth how to choose the best spread betting broker.
The differences between spread betting brokers generally tend to be in things like customer service, supporting content and educational tools, and the prices they offer, known as the spreads.
Here are the spread betting brokers that have won best spread betting platform in our awards over the last four years:
- 2022: IG – is the largest and oldest spread betting company in the world. Founded in 1974, they are the default spread betting broker for new and experienced traders.
- 2021: CMC Markets – is the second largest spread betting broker in the world founded in 1989 offering over 9,300 markets to spread bet on.
- 2020: IG
- 2019: Spreadex – is a small more personal spread betting broker based in St Albans, just outside of London
- 2018: IG
Can you use spread betting as a tool for arbitrage between brokers?
Punters have been trying to beat the man for centuries and spread betting is no different. In the case of spread betting, brokerage arbitrage appears that the scales are against the customer. There are countless cases of punters finding loopholes in the dealing systems of various stock and spread betting brokers, and (quite innocently) trading to take advantage of them. After all, arbitrage between markets is a legitimate trading strategy.
However, the brokers will always win when it comes down to it. Don’t bother, as this sort of behaviour can be seen as market manipulation and may result in fines from the FCA. Stick to the basic principles of buying low and selling high. It’s the facts.
Can I spread bet on the property markets?
It is possible to spread bet on the UK property market but only through a small number of brokers. Spreads will be wide and the market does not move much. If you manage to track down a price, check how long it will be honoured for and what size you can bet. It may be a good hedge against a property portfolio, but check the funding rates for short positions if that is your intention.
Can you get welcome offers and trading bonuses in spread betting?
Spread betting brokers are regulated by the FCA and are not allowed to offer welcome bonuses anymore. If a broker does offer you a cash bonus for signing up, it may be a scam. You can check that a broker is regulated by the FCA on the FCA register.
If you think that an unauthorised broker is trying to scam you, you can report them to the FCA.
Can you make money as a spread bet trader?
Commonly, only around 20% of retail clients make money with spread betting. If you are a complete beginner or new to trading altogether then the sensible thing to do is to read around the subject, define a strategy and practice spread betting using a free demo account before you commit any real money.
Are white label spread betting brokers any good?
Some are good, others are just pointless. A white label gives established financial companies the opportunity to give their client base an additional service or another way of doing business with them.
Many customers in the financial industry are loyal to brands that help them make and save money or provide good advice. However, choosing a white label broker that doesn’t already provide their customers with financial services has no value. You will likely be much better off going with one of the major, established spread betting providers.
Where can I learn to spread bet?
Read our Spread Betting Guides & Tips
- The best financial spread betting mobile apps compared
- Spread betting on market volatility using the VIX
- The best way to spread bet on the AIM market
- Spread betting on the UK housing market going up or down
- Technical analysis versus fundamental analysis in spread betting
- Shorting: how to do it and why?
- What is the difference between spread betting and CFDs?
- Using spread betting as a hedging tool
- How financial spread betting markets work
- Should you enrol on a trading course to learn spread betting?
- The main reason most spread betting clients lose money…
- What is the difference between A book and B book?
- Why spread betting brokers want you to make money
- How to choose the right spread betting broker for you
Do spread betting brokers want you to lose money?
Spread betting brokers prefer you to make money. Spread betting is not an evil industry and it offers some of the best customer service and retention rates around. One of the most important aspects of business for brokers is client retention, and clients who make money with a broker are far more likely to stay loyal than those who lose. This is one of the reasons why spread betting brokers like to see clients making money and why many profitable clients might choose to stay loyal to the same broker for decades.
Why do most people lose money spread betting?
Here is the main reason why most spread betting brokers lose money. In short, the answer is a simple one, which involves spread betting brokers not having enough experience. Amateur or beginner traders are often guilty of over trading, over leveraging and not cutting their losses or running their profits. However, spread betting is not an easy way to make money, and should not be marketed or promoted as such.
It is a facility to bet on the financial markets to be used appropriately. Most brokers do a good job of ensuring that clients have some investment experience before allowing them an account.
Should I find a training course to learn spread betting?
If you’ve just asked yourself “Should I enroll on a trading course to learn spread betting?” then the answer is normally no, you shouldn’t. You should avoid spread betting altogether. It’s a high-risk product for high-risk, experienced investors. Also, most of the trading courses you will have seen advertised are run by people with little or no knowledge of the actual market, and for the most part, if they were good traders, they certainly wouldn’t be teaching.
We have put together some reliable online resources to help you learn to spread bet. We can also recommend these spread betting books as valuable resources for traders of all experience levels.
Why is financial spread betting tax free?
Financial spread betting is a tax-free type of trading in the UK because the trades are structured as bets. As there is no capital gains tax due on gambling in the UK profits can be tax-free. For more information read our guide on why financial spread betting is tax free.
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