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Best CFD Trading Platforms UK

After countless hours of meticulous research, I am able to bring you my top picks for the best CFD trading platforms in the UK, which offer the widest range of markets, at the best possible prices, with the highest standards of security and protection.

UK CFD trading has increased sharply in popularity over the last decade especially among advanced traders who have the experience to trade strategically and avoid some of the pitfalls of trading CFDs.

AvaTrade

FEATURED SITE

AvaTrade

5 different trading options including MetaTrader 4 and AvaTradeGO
Minimum deposit $100
0% commission fees

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

eToro

eToro CFD Trading

Best for social trading

Extensive social trading network
Free demo account

67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Your capital is at risk. Other fees apply. For more information, visit etoro.com/trading/fees

Admiral Markets

Admiral Markets: Admirals

Get up to 50% cash back on your spreads
Hundreds of stocks & stock CFDs
Trade and invest in 8,000+ markets

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

IG Investments

IG Investments

Best overall CFD trading platform

Free withdrawals and deposits
Trade with 3 platforms

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 66% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Fineco Bank

Fineco Bank

Best for tight spreads and zero commissions

Zero inactivity fees
Good range of portfolio management tools

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 65.11% of retail investor accounts lose money due to CFD trading with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Saxo Markets

Saxo Markets

Best for range of financial instruments

Award-winning SaxoGo Platform
Extensive product portfolio

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 61% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs, FX or any of our other products work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Losses can exceed deposits on some products.

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers

Best for day trading CFDs

Extensive selection of CFDs
Very low trading fees

Capital at risk.

IG Investments

IG: Best overall online CFD trading platform

IG is a highly trusted investment platform that is both regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and listed on the London Stock Exchange. IG is one of the largest Forex and CFD brokers in the world, with an excellent range of education materials and free CFD trading courses on the IG Academy to help you develop your understanding of the financial markets.

IG provide CFD traders with negative balance protection as well as the ability to open a position for a fraction of the cost with their competitive margin rates. Custom price alerts allow traders to react immediately to changes on either the web-based platform or from the mobile trading app.

With IG, traders can choose to trade on over 17,000 financial markets with IG’s own platform, or alternatively MetaTrader 4 or ProRealTime, making this platform the best overall CFD stock broker in the UK.

IG were the 2020 winner for Best CFD Provider at the Online Personal Wealth Awards.

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 66% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Plus500

Plus500: Best CFD trading platform for beginners

Plus500 cater to new CFD traders in a number of effective ways. Firstly, the trading platform is well laid out and easy to navigate even on the app. They also offer a free demo account with access to over 2000 CFD contracts so newbies can test out their trading strategies without any risk to their personal funds.

In addition to this, Plus500 supply traders with a plethora of educational materials to help hone their skills including webinars, a Forex trading guide, and the Plus500 Traders Guide.

Plus500 are also one of the few CFD brokers to offer their traders customer support 24/7 which, coupled with the decent leverage and low trading costs, continues to make this a popular CFD and Forex broker.

Fineco

Fineco: Best CFD broker for tight spreads and zero commissions

As an international FinTech bank, Fineco is a trusted and reliable CFD broker that has zero commission and tight spreads to help cut your costs. They are authorised and regulated by the Bank of Italy as well as the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.

At Fineco, you can access a wide range of global financial markets from all three CFD platforms including desktop, and mobile app. There are overnight charges to be aware of which are based on the value and duration of your position.

Risk management tools include stop loss, take profit and trailing stop orders to help limit your losses and Fineco also provide their users with advanced training tools to help develop their CFD trading skills.

66.01% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.

Saxo Markets

Saxo Markets: Best CFD trading platform for range of financial instruments

With access to over 40,000 instruments, tight spreads and low commissions, it’s little wonder that Saxo have won awards for their platform. Their pricing structure for CFD trading comes in slightly lower than competitor CFD brokers such as IG and there is the opportunity for frequent traders to lower these prices still further with their Platinum and VIP account tiers.

Access to the platform can be conducted from PC, Mac, tablet or smartphone with power trading tools including charting with over 50 technical indicators, integrated Trade Signals, and innovative risk management tools. Saxo Markets also provides scope for trading Forex in addition to their market CFD trading.

61% of retail CFD accounts lose money when trading with this provider.

Capital

Capital.com: Best CFD trading platform for education

Capital.com offer brilliant resources for new traders in ‘Learning Mode’. In this mode, traders can take part in free webinars, enrol in a variety of educational courses, access comprehensive guides, get trading ideas, watch detailed tutorials, and download an investor education app called InvestMate to assist. There is also a free demo account from which to practice your trading without risking any of your own funds.

To complement all these educational resources, Capital.com have a CFD platform that is well laid out and easy to use in its simplicity making CFD trading accessible and streamlined. With no minimum deposit, real-time data and fast execution speeds, this UK CFD broker is a popular choice for traders looking to make the most of commission-free stock trading on over 3,700 financial markets.

78.77% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

eToro CFD Trading

eToro: Best CFD trading platform for social trading

Where eToro stand out from the competition is with their extensive social trading for CFDs. Their innovative CopyTrader allows less confident traders to follow and copy experienced traders automatically in real-time. eToro also provide traders with a demo account where they can experience trading free from any risk with $100,000 before opening a live trading account. eToro provides access to over 800 stocks with a minimum deposit of $200.

Trading CFDs on eToro also comes with a number of features and risk management tools such as real-time alerts and customisable stop loss. The trading platform can be accessed on both desktop and mobile phone and is easy to use and well designed showing detailed information on your trades including exact profit and loss amounts.

eToro has strict levels of regulation, including the Financial Conduct Authority here in the UK as well as other tier-one licences across the globe making them a safe option for trading CFDs.

67% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Your capital is at risk. Other fees apply. For more information, visit etoro.com/trading/fees

Interactive Brokers

Interactive Brokers: Best CFD trading platform for day trading

As one of the largest online trading platforms in the US, Interactive Brokers (IBKR) provide CFD trading to both retail investors and professional traders on over 135 market destinations globally.

Interactive Brokers provides day traders access to an extensive selection of asset classes on either the desktop, web-based trading platform or mobile app. From the intuitive platform IB Trader Workstation, traders can take advantage of comprehensive trading, charting and watchlist tools, order management, 100 order types and algos and other advanced trading tools.

For a more pared-back experience, aimed at traders with less experience, there is the Client Portal, IB’s simple platform with access to price quotes, advanced charting tools, and live news streams.

For regular traders, IB also offer volume-tiered trading costs whereby commissions are decreased based on the trading volume. Alternatively, they also have a fixed pricing model whereby the price is fixed to a certain percentage of the trade value.

57% of retail investors lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider

What are Contracts for Difference?

Essentially a Contract for Difference or CFD is a contract between a buyer and a seller whereby the buyer must pay the seller the difference in price between the current value of an asset and its value at the time of the contract. This provides a means for a trader to make money on the price movements of an asset, without ever owning any part of the underlying asset.

When you trade CFDs you are undertaking a contract between yourself, and the CFD broker.

Who are CFDs good for?

There is a large potential to lose money when trading CFDs as they require an advanced trading strategy that is usually utilised by experienced traders only.

When trading CFDs you are speculating on whether the price of an asset will go up, or down. As a trader, you can bet on the upward or downward movement in price. Therefore, should a trader purchase a CFD that increases in price following that purchase, the trader will offer their holding for sale. The net difference between the price the asset was purchased at, and the price it was sold at, are netted together. This gain will then be settled through the trader’s brokerage account.

However, should the trader predict that the price of the asset will fall in value, an opening sell position can be established. The purchase of an offsetting trade is then used to close the position with the net difference of the loss settling via the CFD brokerage account.

Where can I trade CFDs?

CFDs are illegal to trade in the U.S. however they are legal in:

  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Switzerland
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • France
  • South Africa
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Hong Kong
  • Sweden
  • Norway
  • Italy
  • Thailand
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • Netherlands

What are the advantages of trading CFDs?

One of the main advantages of trading CFDs is that they allow you to make money, even when the market is on a downward spiral. This was the main factor contributing to the rise in CFD popularity in 2020 when the market was in turmoil following the pandemic. In addition to this, CFD traders can take advantage of the following:

Higher leverage than traditional trading. The standard leverage in the CFD market is subject to strict regulation and now lies in the range of 3% (30:1 leverage) possibly rising to 50% (2:1 leverage). Greater potential returns are a direct result of lower margin requirements which mean less capital outlay for the trader. However, it’s important to point out that whilst this can be advantageous when trading CFDs, it can also lead to greater losses.

Access to the global market. Certainly, the list of best CFD brokers UK contained within this article all provide access to most of the worlds most significant markets, with 24/7 access for investors to trade CFDs.

Shorting at any time. With CFD instruments, traders are at liberty to go short at any time and do not need to concern themselves with the shorting rules that govern certain markets and require the trader to borrow the instrument before selling short. This in turn can avoid borrowing costs.

Hedging. CFD trades are particularly useful to hedge risk. Traders can use CFDs to lock in the value of a share portfolio at a specific point, meaning that should the value of the stock portfolio fall, the losses experienced will be offset by the profit generated by the CFD position.

Margin trading is another advantage of CFDs. Put simply, margin trading means that the trader is only putting a percentage of the total notional value of a trade.

Despite all these advantages, traders considering CFDs should remain aware that spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.

How to identify the best CFD brokers in the UK

Thankfully for CFD traders, there is plenty of competition in the UK market between the best CFD brokers. The result of this competition is more favourable terms for the trader including better pricing structures and enhanced features. Below I have detailed what to look out for when choosing the best CFD trading platform UK.

Regulation

All the best CFD brokers I have listed in this article are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority or a suitable alternative. Tight regulation will protect you and your money when CFD trading.

Assets

The assets provided by your chosen best CFD broker will determine the opportunities you have to make a profit when CFD trading. This can vary considerably from one CFD broker to another so it’s worth checking your CFD broker offers some or most of the following:

  • Commodities
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Forex
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • ETFs
  • Indicies

Fees

There are a number of fees to be aware of when selecting your preferred platform from which to trade CFDs. These include commission, overnight charges and the spread which is the difference between the bid price (the price you paid for the asset) and the offer price at the time of the trade.

There is usually no cost involved to trade forex pairs and commodities, however, typically CFD brokers will charge a commission for stocks, however some of the platforms listed above have waived this completely in order to remain competitive. Commissions can be charged as a percentage of the sale, or as a flat fee. If you buy a position and sell it later, this would constitute 2 separate commission payments.

Should you take a long position and hold the position overnight, there will often be an overnight charge. This will usually be charged as an interest charge for each of the days that you hold your position.

In addition to the pricing laid out above, you should also be aware of any non-trading costs including deposit or withdrawal fees and any inactivity fees.

CFD Trading Platform

The ease of use of the CFD trading platform is essential when CFD trading as this will dictate how quickly and easily you can execute your trades in response to market movement. It is also worth checking that the CFD trading platform of your choice is supported on desktop and mobile device.

The CFD trading platform of your choice should provide access to education material, research tools, and be quick and easy to navigate.

Trading tools and features

The art of CFD trading is helped greatly with innovative trading tools to assist you with your strategy. The most obvious of these is an easy to use, well laid out platform, that supports the method of use you prefer, whether it be desktop or mobile app.

A free demo account is also extremely useful so you can get to grips with the CFD broker and the tools provided before risking any of your own funds on live trading accounts.

Copy trading is also a useful function, utilised by many novice traders who prefer to mirror the trading activities of more experienced and successful traders before going it alone.

Technical indicators can help you make a success of your CFD trading, however, you will need to understand how technical indicators work. Technical indicators can help you make head or tail of pricing trends however, not all CFD brokers will offer a comprehensive suite of technical indicators so this is worth checking.

Educational resources are essential if you are new to CFD trading or are looking to advance your skills. Community forums, how-to guides, webinars and educational videos are just some of the things to be on the lookout for.

Leverage is important for UK CFD traders who have a higher tolerance for risk. The best CFD brokers will offer leverage of up to 1:30 or 1:5 should you be trading share CFDs. Due to the fact that CFD trading involves leverage, day traders can find this of significant benefit in order to trade small price fluctuations.

Negative balance protection can help protect you against severe losses and is therefore essential. This level of protection can prevent an unsuccessful trade from pushing your account into the red. This is because negative balance protection will close your position automatically the moment your CFD account hits zero.

Deposit and withdrawal options

Not all UK CFD brokers will offer every deposit and withdrawal method, and for your convenience, you should ensure that they accept a deposit method that suits you and check the withdrawal times you should expect. Most CFD brokers will accept credit/debit card and bank transfer as a minimum.

How to start trading CFDs

Trading CFDs using one of the above platforms is a relatively simple process and generally you can be trading in minutes.

Open an account

Once you have selected the CFD broker that is best suited to you, opening an account should only take a few minutes. Simply go to the website and select Open an Account. At this point you will be asked to provide some personal information which could include:

  • Full name
  • Home address
  • Date of birth
  • National insurance number
  • Email address
  • Mobile number

It is also likely that you will be asked to provide ID in the form of passport or driving licence and possibly utility bill or bank statement. This is in response to anti-money laundering laws.

Deposit funds

Most reputable CFD and Forex brokers will offer a decent range of deposit options including debit/credit card, e-wallet, or bank transfer. Check the minimum deposit amount before opening your account to ensure you are happy to meet this requirement.

Place a trade

Once your account has been verified and funded you will be ready to start trading CFDs. At this point I would recommend that you take the time to peruse the educational content provided by the CFD broker before selecting the CFD asset class and clicking on the asset you wish to trade.

CFD Trading in summary

The plethora of CFD trading platforms can be overwhelming and even with the information held within this guide you may be unsure of how to proceed. Given the importance of the decision of which CFD trading platform is best suited to you, I would recommend that you take the time to download and use the demo accounts where possible, in order to obtain a feel for the CFD trading platform you are considering.

Forex & CFDs are complex products, not suitable for everyone and come with the high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

CFD Frequently asked questions

 

Do I pay tax on CFD profits in the UK?

At the time you close a CFD trade, you are exempt from stamp duty as you do not own any underlying assets, however, at the end of the financial year you will be liable for capital gains tax on your overall profits.

What is the difference between spread betting and CFD trading?

The main difference between spread betting and CFD trading is how they are taxed. Spread bets do not attract any capital gains tax, while profits from CFDs can be offset against any losses in the same period for tax purposes.

In addition to this, there are technical differences. Spread betting will stake a sum of money for each point of price movement in the underlying asset whereas CFD trading exchanges the difference in price from the point at which the contract is opened, to when it is closed.

What are retail investor accounts?

Retail investor accounts are used by non professional investors to buy and sell securities or funds via traditional or online brokerage firms. Retail investor accounts differ from institutional investment accounts which are populated by large-scale, professional investors.

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