What is Plus500?

Plus500 is a CFD trading platform, which has its roots in Israel but is listed on the London Stock Exchange it is very much an online business and one that has historically grown and built market share through the use of affiliates and digital marketing. Plus 500 was launched in 2008 and listed in London in 2013 and in that same year Plus500 launched the first CFDs on the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. However, the FCA has since banned cryptocurrency trading.

In 2018 Plus500 moved from the AIM market to the main list of the LSE and now has a market of around £1.56 billion and it is a member of the FTSE 250 index.

Plus 500 offers CFDs (not spread betting) on equity indices, commodities, single stocks, ETFs and FX markets. Plus 500 also offer options trading as CFDs over a selection of instruments from those markets. As of the end of the financial year, 2020, Plus500 had more than 430,000 active customers. Who made more than 82 million trades during that year.

Before I kick off this review, I should say that I have massive respect for Plus 500 from a marketing point of view. They obviously looked at the online trading industry and thought to themselves, “this is ripe for disruption” and to be fair they did disrupt the CFD trading industry.

Before Plus 500 came along, most CFD platforms asked you to deposit a minimum of £5,000 to open an account. You had to prove that you had the relevant experience to trade high-risk derivative products, pass credit checks and wait at least a week before compliance, accounts and sales had checked your account and allocated you an account number. An in some cases, you didn’t even get an account number until you’d BACS’d money over to fund your account.

What Plus 500 did was create a basic trading platform that offered the major instruments that people wanted to trade. After all, the majority of revenue generated for CFD trading platforms is from the top ten traded instruments like FTSE, Wall Street, EURUSD, Gold and Oil. 

Then they made the account opening process the most simple it could possibly be. Instead of having to get a notarised copy of your passport and post in bank statements, Plus 500 clients could open an account online and start trading with real money in about 5 minutes. For other brokers, it was still taking a week.  They could do it because the new clients have to provide ID when opening an account to prevent money laundering. Because the rules at the time were generally geared towards withdrawals, not deposits, you didn’t have to provide ID until you wanted to take money out. Plus 500 eventually got ticked off for it and had to start front-loading ID checks. But it completely turned the industry on its head making it very simple for anyone to open a trading account. Cough cough the mega marketing machine that is eToro.

Soon after that, all the other trading platforms tried to catch up but legacy technology still makes a lot for them slower than Plus 500 to this day.

But, whilst Plus 500 have disrupted the industry, it’s not nessecaruly for the good. Trading is a high risk, most people lose money. Just because you can do something, should you?

I know that things that are bad for you are often enjoyable, this isn’t a debate about whether or not CFDs are good or bad. I have been in the CFD industry for 20 years and I think they are good, but then I have always dealt with professional clients, hedge funds, and traders who understand the risk. CFDs can be used to hedge portfolios, increase diversification, build a stake in a company without declaring it, making money when the markets fall by shorting stocks.

The debate is more about who they are appropriate for, and CFDs are not appropriate for everyone.

Should you trade CFDs with Plus 500?

I’m afraid not, in my mind there are just so many better options out there. In my opinion Plus 500 is a basic platform for basic traders.

Plus 500 Trading Account

Plus500 have one trading account for all of the instruments they offer, however under FCA rules UK retail customers cannot trade cryptocurrency derivatives with the company, or indeed any other regulated broker, unless they qualify for professional status. Notwithstanding those restrictions, Plus500 customers can trade in more than 2500 financial instruments from 50 countries around the globe. The Plus 500 trading platform is available in 32 languages.

Plus500 tends to focus on a large number of smaller clients and as a result, it’s a brokerage where many newbie traders cut their teeth in the markets. The platform is not really sophisticated enough for larger or institutional traders.

For new traders, a Plus500s demo account can be opened within seconds., which I imagine is part of the appeal for the Netflix generation of traders.

Plus500 doesn’t charge commissions but makes money by widening the bid-offer spread on CFD positions as well as b-booking client trades.

Plus 500 Mobile App

Plus500 offers mobile trading through dedicated Android and iOS apps, that are available via the company’s website or direct from the respective app stores.

The Android version of the trading app has been downloaded more than 10 million times and reviewed 94,000 times, with an aggregate score of 4 out of 5.

The iOS version of the app, which works on both iPads and iPhones, has been reviewed 2,500 times and is rated 3.80 out of 5 by its users. The iOs app has had six updates so far in 2021. The mobile app is easy to download and log into and has a bright , simple to read interface.

Navigation is menu and touch screen driven, and switching between features, such as quotes and charts is easy.

If you select an instrument, such as the FTSE 100 index, the app also shows you related and complementary assets as well.

Overall it’s a fairly intuitive app, and easy to trade with. 

Plus 500 Pros

  • Easy to use platforms
  • Opening a demo account takes moments
  • A UK listed company

Plus 500 Cons

  • A relatively narrow range of markets
  • No Spread Betting or physical share dealing
  • Platforms lack advanced features

Plus 500 Pricing, Charges & Fees

Plus500 has a very straightforward charging structure in that it only charges a bid-offer spread. Plus 500 also charge currency conversion fees and overnight funding on CFDs held open beyond one business day, and for the use of guaranteed stop losses.

Plus500 describe their fees as dynamic meaning that they move with market conditions, at the time of writing the Spread on the FTSE 100 index CFD is 2.00 points, on the S&P 500 it was 0.70 points and for the Dax or Germany 30 index 1.97 points. So Plus 500 is a more expensive that IG & CMC Markets which charge 1 point for FTSE trading, 0.4/0.5 points for S&P trading.

Whilst in Vodafone there was a spread of 0.64 points, in Apple 0.95 points and in Daimler, 0.84 points. In gold when we checked the spread was 0.28 points and on WTI crude oil 0.04.

Plus 500 CFD Trading

CFD are the only way to trade on Plus500. CFDs are contracts for different cash-settled OTC traded contracts that allow traders to speculate on the rise and fall of an instruments price without ever actually owning the underlying stock or commodity. It is very high risk, but efficient for short term speculation, CFDs are not a long term investment product.

You can trade in 148 UK, European, Australian, 947 American and Asian stocks. 28 leading equity indices and 22 commodities such as gold, oil and natural gas.

As with all CFD trading platforms you can use CFDs to go long or short of a market, the contracts have no fixed lot size or expiry dates and can be held open for a few minutes or weeks at a time. Though CFD positions held open for longer than one business day will attract overnight funding charges.

Plus500 makes bid-offer spreads or two-way prices on around 2500 instruments that can be traded as CFDs and this is the only trading charge that it levies.

The spreads are variable or dynamic meaning they move with market conditions we outlined a selection of spreads in the previous section.

Though at just over 2500 instruments it’s not as big a range of instruments as those offered by their peers.

Plus 500 Forex Trading

Plus500 offers CFD forex trading and makes prices in a 39 major, minor and exotic currency pairs and crosses. Crosses are those FX rates that do not contain either the Euro or US dollar. As with its other products Plus500 makes two-way bid-offer prices in FX markets but does not levy any additional trading charges.Though rollover, or funding charges, will apply to positions
held open beyond a business day.

However, at the time of writing the spread in the most active FX pair EURUSD was 0.00008, there is a similar spread in AUDUSD, whilst in GBPUSD the spread was 0.00013 and in USDJPY it was 0.010. Whilst in exotic cross such as CHFHUF the spread was 0.2012. Plus500 offers FX combinations that many of its peers don’t. For example, USDHRK the US dollar versus the Croatian kuna and USDRON the dollar versus the Romanian lev if these kinds of markets get you excited then it will be worth checking out their FX offering.

Plus 500 Spread Betting

As I have highlighted many times when the national financial press get it wrong Plus500 doesn’t offer Spread Betting just CFD and FX trading

It’s not really a surprise as Plus 500 has a very fairly global client base and spread betting is unique to the UK. If you want to trade the financial markets via a spread bet look at some of our other reviews for firms such as IG Group, CMC Markets, ETX, Spreadex or City Index, and Pepperstone. All of whom do have a Spread Betting platform.

You can compare all spread betting brokers in the UK here

Plus 500 Trading Platform

It’s basic, but functional. Plus500s desktop trading platform is web or browser-based so there is now download you simply log in to the platform using your credentials. The web trader is easy to navigate and intuitive to use with a clean clear display and layout.

The platform is search and menu-driven. Searching for an item using the search tool will throw up a list of possible instruments including options, if they are available on that instrument. Simply select an item from the list and you will be taken to a page that displays the instruments quote, chart, trading sentiment data and product. information.

You can navigate to key screens such as open positions, by simply clicking on an icon, you can also access tools such as the economic calendar via the dropdown menu. There is a built-in help section containing important documents and how-to videos, with access to live chats and a WhatsApp group. There are also built-in wizards or visual guides that will
take you through the use of platform features such as multiple charts.

The trading platform is provided free of charge and users can trade in more than 2500 instruments that include FX, commodities, indices, stocks and ETFs. AQs well as options over a selection of the same.

The functionality and response times of the platform are excellent though the instrument list is smaller overall than that offered by its direct competitors. However, the platform will more than meet the needs of its target audience.

If we could request one other feature it would be a built-in news feed but overall for the new trader, it’s a good platform to gain experience on, particularly in the demo version.

Plus 500 Options Trading

Plus500 offers CFD options on stock indices, commodities, FX and individual stocks, though these are traded as CFDs over options rather than exchange-traded, traded options themselves.

This means of course that they are not exercisable or deliverable, being settled for cash instead. And, that the price that Plus500 makes are their prices and not necessarily the market price.

As with all their products, Plus500 makes a two-way bid-offer spread in the options it offers. To get a calendar view of puts and calls on offer, in a given instrument you will need to search for that instrument in the trading platform toolbar. By for example entering USA 500 for S&P 500 call and put options, you then select a strike price from the menu of options you are shown.

You can chart the price of individual options in the trading platform, which is a useful tool. However, there is no dedicated option analytics nor any information on the greeks either.

This is something of limitation for serious options trading though of course, you can find options modeling and analytics tools elsewhere online.

Plus500s have a very basic option offering if you just want to put the odd position on a major instrument to see how they work in real life. However, there is a school of thought that says you should only trade options if you know what you are doing and there will always be limitations in trading complex derivatives, with variable pricing, within a walled garden.

For more information read our guide on the best options brokers and how to trade options.

Plus 500 Demo Account

Plus500 offer a demo account and instant access to their web trading platform, setting up the demo account was as simple as registering and signing in to the platform.

You start with £40,000 worth of demo equity and able to open positions, place orders, draw charts, access the economic calendar and view the product information and trading sentiment for each of the instruments that you can trade in.

As you would expect you can monitor your open positions, their P&L and overall account balances. There is even an account snapshot feature that provides a top-down visualisation of your account and balances and this view dynamically updates as they change.

The platform is very easy to navigate around and use and you will likely get to grips with its operation within an hour of use. Any limitations are related to the trading platform, rather than the demo account itself.

Plus 500 Education & Analysis

Plus500 do offer educational tools, as well as news and market insights. Which can be found on their website or via the main menu on the trading platform, all of which is offered for free. They have a dedicated area called the trader’s guide which contains many educational videos, that cover topics such as what are CFDs, popular trading strategies, options and margin requirements. There is also a section dedicated to risk management and how to use the
platform to manage your risk and exposure.

The educational videos and written content are aimed at beginners, but then they are Plus500s core market, so that’s to be expected. That said the materials offer an easy to digest introduction to trading CFDs and some of the complexities involved therein.

What’s missing however is any further or more in-depth study of these subjects for traders who have learnt the ropes and now wish to progress and increase their knowledge.

The news and insights section provides market updates and topical stories but once again this is all pitched at a relatively simplistic level.

What content Plus500 offers is polished and well presented but fairly limited in scope, particularly when compared to the likes of IG, CMC Markets or Saxo who have a far more comprehensive educational and research offering.

Plus 500 Professional Account

Despite largely being aimed at beginners Plus500 does offer a professional trading account qualifying traders can access higher levels of margin in their trading as they not bound by the FCA and ESMA margin restrictions as retail clients are.

Professional traders can access margins on FX trades of 300:1 and similar margin ratios apply on index CFDs. Margins run at 100:1 on CFD trades over ETFs. Leverage over options is restricted to just 5:1 but they are of course geared at an instrument level as well.

Plus500 offers professional traders negative balance protection (which many of its peers do not) as well as the potential for cash rebates based on trading activity. To qualify you will need to demonstrate 12 months of regular active trading, with a minimum of 10 transactions per quarter, have a portfolio of liquid instruments or cash that’s worth €500,000
or greater and have relevant professional experience within the financial services industry.

Plus 500 Alternatives

Plus500 competes against all of the major margin trading houses, such as IG Group, CMC Markets, Saxo and Fineco. Plus500 is a volume-based business and has historically been associated with having a large number of relatively low-value accounts, and its offering definitely  still feels as though it’s pitched at novices and those new to trading. Whereas many of its peers try to attract and support traders of all ages and experience levels.

The Plus500 strategy seems to be paying off, however, as it had more than 430,000 active accounts, as of the end of the financial year 2020 and those clients had conducted more than 80 million trades in that period.

Plus 500 Customer Reviews

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Plus 500 Trading
Average rating:  
 10 reviews
 by dean R

6 months in, and after my experience with a competitor, i can report Plus500 has been very good. I don’t understand some of the bad reviews. I find it really clear and easy to open a Buy or Sell position exactly when i want to. the live prices and required Margins are well indicated and the graphs are g8. Withdrawing profit has been fuss free and fast. The mobile app is fab and better that their website app because the latter has troublesome nasty ultra-thin scroll bars despite my feedback to their developers.

 by Jay

In my opinion all the bad reviews are correct and the good reviews are very suspicious. Go read all the Trustpilot reviews in all the threads. When people say they’ve had their close button frozen and they’ve been logged out and they’ve lost their money, it’s truth. CFD trading is where your loss is Plus500’s profit. They make huge profit. If you don’t want to be a bad reviewer then stay clear of Plus500.

 by Karl

Be carefull, to many fake reviews. They close your positions if the market is in your favor.

 by Paul M

You claim you source prices from third parties, so name them, who are these third parties? Your execution order says that Plus500 obtain there prices from Plus500 Ltd. So do you set your own prices? You do know under law you are obliged to be clear so answer this do you set your own prices.? Do you profit from client losses? Your misleading hedging policy indicates you do. You say on your user agreement you may hedge client trades with third parties yet your support staff say that you use an internal hedging system that is managed by the buy and sell spreads. You operate with a conflict and interest and with that comes the ability to manipulate but the motivation is there too as clearly you are profiting from client losses.

 by shekhan ali

classic retail broker. possible to make a profit. personally would stay away

 by Connor

Had a decent experience with Plus500, using them for a few months recently. Good mobile and web apps. Good support.

 by John Rose

The Plus500 company has an excellent reputation on the internet but the way a care agent works is very detestable. It is known as “traderprofesional” and what it does is that after making an initial deposit, it keeps half of the user’s money for no specific reason. I recommend that you be alert with this scammer.

 by Anne

Anybody considering trading with this company read real customer reviews as opposed to reviews done by marketing affiliates. When a customer makes a profit , withdrawal can become a problem. At times on there platform an instrument becomes unavailable to trade this is supposedly due to low volume. These is done to their advantage and many customers have suffered losses because of this glitch. There spreads are also manipulated and usually increase in their favor during the course of a trade. Plus500 no more than a Casino and I would advise anybody considering them to think again before opening an account.

Response from Plus 500:Plus500 is a fully regulated worldwide trading company which reflects the situation on the market directly. You are welcome to read more about the regulating bodies we are bound to on our website: https://www.plus500.com/FAQ/Regulators.Our price is quoted with reference to the price of the relevant underlying financial instrument and its spread.This price is obtained from a range of independent third party reference sources, various nominated independent financial market data providers, who source their price feeds from relevant exchanges.Plus500 offers a fixed or dynamic spread for its instruments. The calculation of the Spread can be conducted by subtracting the sell price from the buy price of the instrumentIn addition, our customers are eligible to open a withdrawal request for their available funds at any time.Should you have any questions or require assistance, don’t hesitate to contact our Support team, via chat or email – https://www.plus500.com/Help/ContactUs

 by Khalid Niazi

Great customer service and a very honest and fair trader

Trading Platform 4/5: nice and clear
Customer Service 5/5
Mobile Apps 4/5: doesn’t give many options
Spreads & Pricing 5/5
Market Range 2/5:  limited options in available forex
Trade Execution Speed 5/5
Added Value 5/5

(Trading forex weekly with PLUS 500 for under 1 year on a weekly basis)

 by Khangwelo

Its been a great journey with this broker , they have been good to me with all their service , so i’m satisfied with their services and i learnt many thing with this broker

Trading Platform 5/5
Customer Service 5/5
Mobile Apps 4/5 – They don’t offer all indicators
Spreads & Pricing 5/5
Market Range 5/5
Trade Execution Speed 5/5
Added Value 5/5

(Trading forex and commodities with Plus 500 for between 1-2 years on a daily basis)

 

 

Plus 500 Frequently Asked Questionss:

Is Plus 500 safe?

Plus500s UK operations are regulated by the FCA client monies are held in a segregated bank account at leading clearing bank and are further protected against failure or fraud by the UK’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme, upto a value of £85,000 per client. Plus500 is a FTSE 250 company with a market cap of £1.56 billion.

How does Plus 500 make money?

The business makes money on the bid-offer spreads it makes in the instruments that it offers CFDs over. Simply put the more active the Plus500 client base are then the more spread Plus500 can expect to capture. They also earn money from rollover and funding charges on overnight positions and through hedging activities on their overall risk book.

Who owns Plus 500?

Plus500 is FTSE 250 listed company that is owned by its shareholders which include well known institutional investors such as Odey Asset Management, Schroders and Invesco.

Can you sell short stocks on Plus 500?

You trade short on stocks using CFDs through Plus500 but not through the sale of physical stocks which they don’t support.

Does Plus 500 allow scalping?

No, scalping is not allowed on the Plus500 trading platforms.

How long does it take to withdraw money on Plus 500?

Timescales for withdrawals vary by method. Plus500 aims to process withdrawal requests in between 1 and 3 business days, however, transfers using electronic wallets such as PayPal or Skrill can take up to 7 business days, as can bank transfers.

Plus 500 Facts & Figures

plus500 review
More Info
72% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider.
Plus 500 Reviews
Plus 500 Total Markets
2000
Forex Pairs71
Commodities22
Indices28
UK Stocks112
US Stocks932
ETFs95
Plus 500 Key Info
Number Active Clients430,000
Minimum Deposit£100
Inactivity Fee$10 per year
Founded2008
Public Company✔️
Plus 500 Account Types
CFD Trading✔️
Forex Trading✔️
Spread Betting
DMA (Direct Market Access)
Futures Trading
Options Trading
Investing Account
Plus 500 Average Fees
FTSE 1002
DAX 301.5
DJIA4
NASDAQ2
S&P 5001.5
EURUSD0.6
GBPUSD1.6
USDJPY1.2
Gold0.5
Crude Oil0.4
UK Stocks0.28%
US Stocks0.37%
Table last updated: 24th November 2021 2:36 pm
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