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. Compare UK brokers that offer spread betting accounts and choose the one which offers the best features and tools, cheapest prices and deposit protection for your spread betting.

Featured Spread Betting BrokerSpread Betting InformationSpread Betting MarketsSpread Betting CostsMore Info

IG

Minimum Stake: 50p
Minimum Deposit £250
Index Margin: 5%
Forex Margin: 3.33%
Pro Index Margin: 0.45%
Pro Forex Margin: 0.45%
Total Markets: 17,000
Forex Pairs: 51
Commodities: 38
Indices: 34
UK Stocks: 3,925
US Stocks: 6,352
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%
See OfferYour capital is at risk. 73% of retail CFD accounts lose money

CMC Markets

Minimum Stake: 50p
Minimum Deposit £100
Index Margin: 5%
Forex Margin: 3.33%
Pro Index Margin: na
Pro Forex Margin: na
Total Markets: 9,300
Forex Pairs: 71
Commodities: 33
Indices: 22
UK Stocks: 629
US Stocks: 3,441
EURUSD: 0.7 pips
UK 100: 1 point
Wall Street: 2.4 points
Gold: 0.3 points
UK Shares: 0.10%
US Shares: 2¢ per share
See Offer66% of retail investor accounts lose money when spread betting and/or trading CFDs with this provider

Pepperstone

Minimum Stake: 50p
Minimum Deposit £100
Index Margin: 5%
Forex Margin: 3.33%
Pro Index Margin: 0.2%
Pro Forex Margin: 0.5%
Total Markets: 178
Forex Pairs: 36
Commodities: 16
Indices: 14
UK Stocks: 0
US Stocks: 64
EURUSD: 0.07 pips
UK 100: 1 point
Wall Street: 2.4 points
Gold: 0.05 points
UK Shares: na
US Shares: na
See Offer79.3% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider

City Index

Minimum Stake: £0.5
Minimum Deposit £100
Index Margin: 5%
Forex Margin: 3.33%
Pro Index Margin: 0.25%
Pro Forex Margin: 0.25%
Total Markets: 12,000
Forex Pairs: 84
Commodities: 25
Indices: 21
UK Stocks: Yes
US Stocks: Yes
EURUSD: 0.5 pips
UK 100: 1 point1
Wall Street: 2 points
Gold: 0.3 points
UK Shares: 0.1%
US Shares: 1.8¢ per share
See Offer70% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Markets.com

Minimum Stake: 10p
Minimum Deposit £0
Index Margin: 5%
Forex Margin: 3.33%
Pro Index Margin: 0.5%
Pro Forex Margin: 0.34%
Total Markets: 8,000
Forex Pairs: 20+
Commodities: 10+ Indices: 10+
UK Stocks: Yes
US Stocks: Yes
EURUSD: 0.6 pips
UK 100: 2 points
Wall Street: 2 point
Gold: 0.4 points
UK Shares: 0.1%
US Shares: 0.1%
See Offer77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

Spreadex FinancialsSpreadex

Minimum Stake: 1p
Minimum Deposit £100
Index Margin: 5%
Forex Margin: 3.33%
Pro Index Margin: 0.5%
Pro Forex Margin: 0.5%
Total Markets: 10,000
Forex Pairs: 53
Commodities: 21
Indices: 37
UK Stocks: 2,000
US Stocks: 500
EURUSD: 0.6 pips
UK 100: 1 point
Wall Street: 2.4 points
Gold: 0.4 points
UK Shares: 0.1%
US Shares: 0.15%
Open Account69% of retail investors lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider


Capital.com

Minimum Trade: £1
Minimum Deposit £20
Index Margin: 5%
Forex Margin: 3.33%
Pro Index Margin: na
Pro Forex Margin: na
Total Markets: 3,700
Forex Pairs: 138
Commodities: 28
Indices: 23
UK Stocks: 450
US Stocks: 1575
EURUSD: 0.8 pips
UK 100: 2 point
Wall Street: 5 points
Gold: 0.28 points
UK Shares: 0.3%
US Shares: 0.5%
See Offer
76.72% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider

FXCM

Minimum Trade: £1
Minimum Deposit $50
Index Margin: 5%
Forex Margin: 3.33%
Pro Index Margin: na
Pro Forex Margin: na
Total Markets: 300+
Forex Pairs: 39
Commodities: 11
Indices: 15
UK Stocks: 23
US Stocks: 85
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%
See Offer
67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider
Table last updated: 25th November 2021 2:53 pm

Compare Spread Betting Brokers Side-By-Side

Use our side-by-side Spread Betting Broker trading platform account comparison to compare the best Spread Betting Brokers by pricing, market access, account types and services.

What's in this guide to spread betting brokers? show

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?

Financial spread betting works by placing bets on financial markets rather than buying or selling shares or other financial instruments. 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.

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.

How to choose a 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 ten things to consider to help you choose the best spread betting broker:

  • Understand what financial spread betting is
  • Compare the best spread betting brokers
  • Are you a retail or professional trader?
  • Read spread betting broker reviews
  • Find the cheapest spread betting broker
  • Compare the range of markets on offer
  • Security of funds when spread betting
  • Proprietary platform or MT4?
  • The main difference between spread betting brokers
  • The regulation of spread betting brokers in the UK 

1. 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. 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:

2. 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 is a list of the most established spread betting brokers in the UK ranked based on how old they are:

  1. IG (1974)
  2. City Index (1983)
  3. CMC Markets (1989)
  4. Spreadex (1999)
  5. Markets.com (2008)
  6. Pepperstone (2010)
  7. Capital.com (2016)

 

3. 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.

4. Where to read reliable spread betting company reviews

If you are looking for a review on the top spread betting firms in the UK, you have come to the right place. We only list regulated brokers that offer secure platforms, tight spreads and quick execution on FX, Equities, Commodities, Indices and Fixed Income.

You can read reviews of UK spread betting brokers here:

You can also post your ratings and account reviews to let other traders know what you think.

We review the best spread betting brokers and look at the top accounts. Our expert reviews are a detailed assessment based on first-hand experiences with each of the major spread betting companies.

We also consolidate user reviews so you can read real-life trader experiences and get an idea of the best features that each broker offers. You can also share your opinion on the best brokers by voting in our broker awards.

5. 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.

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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Spread betting brokers that offer MT4

MT4 is one of the best ways to trade FX online, 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.

9. Understanding the main differences between spread betting brokers

Today, due to regulation and competition, most brokers’ spreads and prices will be fairly similar, but on occasion, there may be an opportunity to arbitrage between brokers. But to be honest, the way information is distributed and based on how competitive the industry legitimate, arbitrage opportunities will be rare.

It is worth researching the spreads that brokers offer on markets you are interested in trading before you commit to choosing a broker. You want to know that you’re able to trade with tight spreads on markets relevant to you before you add funds and use your budget.

10. 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.

Our rankings of the best spread betting brokers by category:

You will need to choose a broker that offers the service, markets and account support and educational material that complement your trading strategy. Your personal preference can make a big difference in how you interact with the trading platform, the brokers and ultimately, how you pick the right spread betting broker can affect your win/loss ratio of trades.

Our rankings are based on extensive product testing and our industry survey, which measures customer satisfaction on 10 key spread betting account features.

Best overall spread betting broker:

  1. IG – 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.
  2. CMC Markets – Is the second largest spread betting broker in the world founded in 1989 offering over 9,300 markets to spread bet on.
  3. Spreadex – is a small more personal spread betting broker based in St Albans, just outside of London

Here are the spread betting brokers that have won best spread betting platform in our awards over the last four years:

Best spread betting broker for tight spreads:

  1. PepperstonePepperstone are a relatively new broker that focuses on a simple trading platform with tight pricing. 
  2. CMC Markets 
  3. IG

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

  1. City Index – 84
  2. CMC Markets 71
  3. Pepperstone – 62
  4. Spreadex – 60
  5. IG – 51
  6. 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 brokers for added value, research and tools

  1. CMC Markets
  2. IG
  3. Spreadex

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 this customer what they want.

Due to regulation, spread betting brokers can be quite similar these days, especially in terms of their pricing and the ultimate service they offer.

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 account package. Some spread betting accounts provide access to third-party research and analysis services.

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.

Best financial spread betting mobile apps

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:

  1. IG – 4.5
  2. Pepperstone – 4.45
  3. Spreadex – 4.35
  4. CMC Markets -3.6
  5. City Index – 3.5
  6. Markets.com – 3.45

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.

The best spread betting brokers for beginners

Spread betting is a highly-regulated and high-risk financial product it is not suitable for novice investors. and profits are free of capital gains tax. However, if you’re new to spread betting, but completely understand the risks involved, here are the brokers with the best educational resources and tools to help you get started.

  1. IG – IG are the biggest spread betting and CFD broker in the world. They are listed on the London Stock Exchange and are currently valued at over £3bn. If you plan on becoming a full-time professional trader or have a very large amount of money to trade, their platform and staff can cater to your needs as your trading progresses. Read our expert and IG client reviews here.
  2. Spreadex – Spreadex are a nice old school broker. Based in St Albans, just outside of London. Helpful staff, excellent customer service and a simple to use platform. Spreadex also has one of the largest market ranges, allowing new traders to experiment with all sorts of trading, from small caps to crypto to fixed income. Plus, you can spread bet on the horses and football at the weekend with their sports spread betting offering. Read our expert and Spreadex client reviews here.
  3. CMC Markets – have an excellent client sentiment indicator so you can see what their profitable spread betting clients are long and short of.

Best spread betting brokers for high net worth and large accounts

  1. IGIG – Of course, 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.
  2. SpreadexSpreadex 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.
  3. 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.

Best spread betting broker for customer service

  1. Spreadex
  2. IG
  3. CMC Markets

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.

Best spread betting broker for trading Forex

Here are spread betting brokers ranked by the number of forex pairs you can spread bet on:

  1. City Index – 84
  2. Pepperstone – 62
  3. CMC Markets -71
  4. Spreadex – 60
  5. IG – 51
  6. Markets.com – 20

Best spread betting broker for trading commodities

Here are the best spread betting brokers ranked by the number of commodities you can trade:

  1. IG – 38
  2. CMC Markets -33
  3. City Index – 25
  4. Pepperstone – 23
  5. Spreadex – 21
  6. Markets.com – 10

Best spread betting broker for trading indices

Here are the best spread betting brokers ranked by the number of indices you can trade:

  1. Spreadex – 37
  2. IG – 34
  3. CMC Markets -22
  4. City Index – 21
  5. Pepperstone – 16
  6. Markets.com – 10

Best spread betting brokers that offer MT4

  1. IG
  2. CMC Markets
  3. Pepperstone

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.

Spread Betting Broker Reviews

IG Spread Betting Account Review

ig reviewIG invented the concept of Spread Betting and they remain the market leader in the space. Competitors such as Spread EX may offer a wider choice of UK smaller companies for you to Spread Bet on, but in terms of the overall package, it’s hard to look past IG.

Expect to pay a spread of 1.0 point on bets on the FTSE 100 index, 2.40 points of spread for bets on the Dow or Wall Street 30 and 1.20 points for those on the Germany 30 index.

Spreads on gold start from 0.30 points and for Oil at 2.80 points. You can spread bet on FX as well and the Spread in EUR USD is from 1.04 points.

Spread Bets on leading shares attract charges of 0.10% of the underlying value of the bet, for daily bets. Whilst quarterly bets have a sliding scale of costs based on the duration of the bet with the farthest dated contracts charged at between 0.60% and 1.00% depending on the market traded.

CMC Markets Spread Betting Account Review

CMC Markets has spreads that start at 1.00 on popular equity index contracts such as the UK 100 and Germany 30 whilst in Forex they charge spreads on EURUSD and AUDUSD of  0.70 for individual shares the spreads vary by instrument.

CMC offers 10,000 markets to Spread Bettors and the dealing platform uses the same technology as their FX and CFD dealing systems. That continuity means CMC compete favourably with the likes of IG, City Index and ETX in the Spread Betting broker rankings.

Spreadex Spread Betting Account Review

Spreadex TradingSpreadex has a competitive Spread Betting product and their specialism in Small-Cap UK equities is one of the key differentiators between them and their peers. Spread Bettors pay a bid-offer spread when they trade. Charges vary by contract and product, for example, spreads in the S&P 500 start at 0.40 index points, in Brent crude the minimum spread is 3.0 points and in gold 0.40 points. As with their CFD offering, 

City Index Spread Betting Account Review

Spread Bets at City Index are available on equity indices, single name stocks and ETFs, Commodities bonds and interest rates and FX. City also has an options desk that makes Spread Bet prices for various options markets.

City Index spread bets are traded 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 upto 24 hours per day.

Spread charges on individual stocks vary depending on whether you use monthly and quarterly contracts or daily funded bets, the market you are trading in, and even the price of the stock itself.

City Index competes favourably with its main peers as far as Spread Betting on indices are concerned, However, the pricing around Spread Bets on shares and ETFs are somewhat more opaque for the reasons mentioned above.

Markets.com Spread Betting Account Review

Markets.com uses the same trading platform and range instruments as it does for CFD trading however CFD and Spread Betting accounts are separated for administrative purposes.

As with CFD trading, Markets.com’s Spread Betting offer is broadly competitive and has a reasonable product range, but we think that people trade and bet through Markets.com because they like their unfussy uncluttered approach to trading.

Spread betting broker FAQs

What are the golden rules to spread betting?

There are some key principles that all spread betting traders should adhere to if they want to make money.

If not, you may find that paying a bit more attention to your strategy, discipline and objectives will make a big difference.

A strategy is key to spread betting. Having a clear idea of how you want to trade will give you the best chance of maximising profits and reducing losses. If you are just getting started in spread betting and looking for a basic strategy that promotes good trading, we’ve put together a quick summary of three simple strategies that should help you find your feet.

  1. Never over trade: It’s tempting to smash straight into the market and trade as large as possible. But this is the quickest way to lose your money. When you get started, bet small amounts relative to your account size. This means that if you have £1,000 in your account, allocate no more than 10% of that to the margin of each trade and keep at least 50% free for variation margin (covering your profit and loss). The principle is the same if you are trading with £100k. You shouldn’t use more than 50% or £50k as an initial margin or have a single position that accounts for more than 10% of your account. Spread betting brokers provide access to well over 3,000 instruments to trade and having a diverse range of positions will spread your risk. If you have two large positions and one moves against you, it can quickly wipe out your account. Having lots of small positions will help you manage your profit and loss more effectively.
  2. Cut your losses, run your profits: The most important part of any spread betting strategy to remember for beginners is to always cut a losing trade and run profitable ones for longer. The best traders in the world only get it right about half the time, but what makes them good traders is that they are not in a rush to take profits, and realise when they have called the market right to let a position run and bank big wins. If you call a trend or reversal well, there is more to be gained from adding a trailing stop and profit limit than taking a quick turn and looking for another opportunity. Equally important is cutting losses. Like profitable trades left to run, possibly equating to big profits, losing trades kept open with the hope of recovery can lead to large losses. If a position or trade is not doing what you hoped, cut it out and keep your powder dry, and move on to the next trade.
  3. Choose the right spread betting broker: As spread betting is commission-free (the charges are built into the spread and overnight fee), it’s easy to become complacent about which broker you use. Tight spreads and low financing charges are the key to efficient trading. If you are jobbing in and out of positions every day, trading with a broker that offers even slightly tighter spreads can increase your profits by up to 20%.

Here are some tips and advice on creating a spread betting strategy that makes money.

What are the advantages of spread betting over other types of trading?

  • Tax-free profits
  • Trade on margin
  • No stamp duty on stocks

What are the disadvantages of spread betting over other types of trading?

  • 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

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.

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.

Read more Good Money Guide technical analysis.

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.

Should I choose a spread betting account that offers social trading features?

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.

Can you make money spread betting?

The simple answer to this is yes. Spread betting provides access to an unprecedented range of markets. The simple fact of the matter is that markets do one of two things. They either go up or go down. It is the rate at which they do so and whether you pick the right direction that determines if you make money.

Spread betting is not like placing a normal bet where your losses are capped at the initial stake. You are betting a certain amount per point move of an asset.

If the asset is priced at 100, it means that if it goes to 0 and you have bet £1 per point, you can lose £100. So for a £1 bet, your potential downside is 100x your stake.

On the plus side, if the price goes to 500, you make £400, which is a monster return for a £1 bet. You can read our article on how spread betting works here.

Making money from spread betting isn’t something that just happens, you will need to plan and to stick to a strategy to stand the best chance of making money from spread betting. Many spread betting and CFD traders lose money.

You will also need to budget carefully and do your research before you begin.

One of the most important factors in spread betting is choosing a broker you are comfortable and happy with. A good broker can offer much more than just the ability to make trades but also advice, educational tools, strategies and market insights.

There are many factors involved in choosing the right broker, including; liquidity, financial stability, range of markets, spread width, and educational and research tools. Read our guide on how to choose the right spread betting broker before you open an account.

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.

Find out more about our awards here.

Where can I find a list of MT4 spread betting brokers?

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.

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

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.

Here is more on why spread betting brokers prefer you to be profitable and making money isn’t one of the reasons that a spread betting broker would close your account, here is why.

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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