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13 Best CFD Brokers in the UK [2021 Review]

13 Best CFD Brokers in the UK [2021 Review]

Updated 23 July 2021

Written by Hayley Ashworth
Hayley Ashworth

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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.

What Is a CFD Broker?

A CFD, or contract for difference, differs from stocks as you do not own any physical securities or goods.

They are cash-settled, which means the broker will pay out the difference between the opening and closing prices of an underlying stock (or other instrument) rather than delivering any physical goods.

They're designed to replicate the benefits of owning the underlying instrument, without having to actually own it.

CFDs only require a small deposit when opening a position (to cover potential losses), as opposed to having to pay in full for a share.

This means that CFDs can offer tremendous leverage, which can magnify gains (and losses).

It also gives the investor the ability to speculate the price of movement over a short-term, for stocks, commodities and forex.

CFD trading is an advanced trading strategy that is not allowed in the US.

The advantages of using a CFD broker are that:

  • As you are not classed as a full-time trader, any money you make from a CFD trade is tax-exempt
  • The short-term financial rewards allow you to make bigger long-term investments
  • You have the potential to take a position in a market and gain profit regardless of fall or rise

As trading involves your money, you need to make sure that you find a reputable broker that suits all your needs.

Key Points to Consider When Choosing a CFD Broker

So, what should you look for when choosing a CFD broker?

Is the Broker Regulated?

This is the most fundamental piece of information you need. As a UK trader, you want your broker to be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Other EU based authorities will also be governed by similar organizations, but as Brexit's full effect is still to take place, it is advisable to find one that is FCA regulated.

Being listed on the stock exchange is also desirable. It suggests that the broker is fully transparent with their financial records. These financials should also be made available for public viewing.

What Are the Trading Fees?

This is the commission charged by the broker when opening your position in the market. However, with many brokers to choose from, services are competitive and financial incentives, such as no minimum deposit or no transfer fees, are common.

While researching, calculate the fees involved in relation to the amount of money you will realistically be trading with. Demo accounts which allow you to trade without using real money should help you with this.

Tradeable Assets

How many and what assets does the broker hold? Are they strictly forex and CFD, or does its portfolio extend beyond that? Do you want a broker that excels in that area as well as providing you with long-term investment options?

The Trading Platform

A good trading platform can make a huge difference.

It should have educational material, research tools, be easy to use and to look at – especially if you are trading on your mobile phone.

How Good Is the Customer Service?

This is especially important while you familiarise yourself with the platform.

Some brokers offer 24/7 help, while some are closed on weekends. Are there certain days when you are more likely to need to support? Do you prefer a call centre or live chat?

The Top 13 CFD Brokers in the UK

When it comes to your money, you want it to be in reliable hands. Having introduced important aspects for you to consider, here is a summary guide to the top CFD brokers in the UK:

1. eToro

Best for: Zero commission and all-round broker

eToro features include:

  • Access to over 800 stocks
  • No commission to pay (0% commission applies to stock and ETFs investment, spreads will be applied to CFD products)
  • $200 minimum deposit (eToro operates in USD only)
  • Regulated by the FCA, CySEC and ASIC

The trading platform is native to eToro and has been designed with new traders in mind.

Visit eToro

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.

2. Pepperstone

Best for: Tight spreads and low fees

Pepperstone requires no minimum deposit and offers low trading fees.

It offers fantastic market analysis and trading ideas.

While the educational tools are adequate, the news flow is basic.

Customer service is available via phone, email and live chat, and all queries are answered promptly.

It is regulated by the FCA and ASIC.

Pepperstone uses MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and cTrader platforms. MetaTrader is considered one of the best CFD platforms.

It provides access to 14 major stock indices, more than 60 shared CFDs, five cryptocurrencies and 15 top commodities.

Visit Pepperstone

3. Plus500

Best for: Experienced traiders

With over 2,000 stocks, Plus500 is an easy-to-use platform with lots of educational material, a demo account and customer service 24/7.

There is a £100 minimum deposit but no fees for:

  • Deposits
  • Real-time quotes
  • Dynamic charts and graphs
  • Live share CFD prices
  • Opening and closing of trades
  • Rolling position

Plus500 uses its own platform that comes with a desktop download and an app.

Though Plus500 is very user-friendly, CFDs are 'complex financial products', thus the platform is not suitable for beginners/inexperienced traders.

It is regulated by the FCA and listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Visit Plus500

Availability subject to regulations. 76.4% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

4. XTB

Best for: International trading

XTB is a trusted all-around broker, established in 2002. It is regulated by the FCA and listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

There is no minimum deposit for opening an account.

XTB uses its xStation 5 platform, which offers good customisation, search functions and modern design.

As a platform, it has all the standard educational resources and research tools.

It has over 2,000 stocks, though all cryptocurrency trading is paused on weekends.

Overall, the only negatives of XTB are that its fundamental data is limited, and there are high fees for some CFD trades.

Visit XTB

5. Capital.com

Capital.com is another online CFD and stock broker designed specifically for experienced investors.

The site makes the most of real-time data and promises fast execution speeds. This means that you can make the most of changing stock performances.

The dashboard allows users to make the most of technical indicators as well as risk alerts. This means that you can have confidence that you are making informed decisions.

A positive of Capital.com is its fees. This is a popular choice amongst traders because there are no fees for deposits/withdrawals, quotes, opening/closing time trades or educational material. The company makes its money through the buy/sell spread.

Visit Capital.com

76.25% 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.

6. Vantage FX

Vantage FX was founded in 2008 to be a transparent forex broker and has grown to include 44 forex pairs and 290 CFDs (including cryptocurrency, shares, commodities and indices).

As a broker, Vantage FX is well-regarded and considered safe thanks to regulation by ASIC and the FCA.

Vantage FX offers access to the markets through the popular MT4 and MT5 platforms, and a feature-stuffed mobile app.

There are three account types:

  • Standard STP. Perfect for novices, this is a no-commission account that works across all trading instruments, with a minimum spread of 1.4 pips. The minimum deposit is $200.
  • Raw ECN. Designed for more experienced traders, this account charges commission at $3 per lot per side but the spreads start at 0.0 pips. The minimum deposit is $500.
  • Pro ECN. This is for professional, high volume traders, and offers commission at $2 per lot per side, with spreads from 0.0 pips. The minimum deposit is $20,000.

Vantage FX is seen as a good, reliable broker that offers social and copy trading – without being prohibitively expensive in terms of non-trading costs or commission.

The CFDs offered by Vantage FX are largely based around blue chip companies in the EU, UK and US.

There are more than 70 EU/UK company shares available as CFDs, with a minimum trade of 10 Euros (For UK/EU Shares CFD) and a minimum trade commission of 6 USD (for US shares CFD), and these can be traded on the MetaTrader 5 platform.

VantageFX offers 1:20 leverage for all shares CFDs

There are more than 50 US companies available as share CFDs, which can be traded on MetaTrader 4 and 5.

Deposits are free, and withdrawals are too (for withdrawals to electronic wallets or credit/debit cards).

Visit Vantage FX

7. SwitchMarkets.com

With Switch Markets you can trade Forex, CFDs, Crypto, Commodities and more on either a live trading account or a demo account.

This regulated broker offers ideal trading conditions no matter what your style of trading.

You have the choice of a zero commission account or a zero spreads account, and you can deposit as little as $50 to start trading.

There’s even leverage up to 1:500 available if you want it.

Unlike most brokers that offer a VPS, Switch Markets will give you a high-spec VPS completely free with your trading account – this is well worth it if you are an EA trader.

Read its reviews and you will see that its customer support is exceptional and available around the clock – something often overlooked when choosing a broker.

Withdrawals and deposits are fast too.

This is an ideal broker for those looking to improve their trading skills.

There are cashback promotions, free trader tools and EAs (such as Risk Manager) when you open a demo or live account.

It has partnered with some of the best trading education providers to give you free membership to a world-class education – fantastic for beginner traders.

A broker to check out!

Visit SwitchMarkets.com

8. CMC Markets

Best for: Research tools and advanced trading

CMC Markets has received awards for having the best trading conditions.

It has 9,400 global shares, and commissions start from 0.10% per share.

There is no minimum deposit, but the trader needs to have funds available to buy and share.

The education tools are excellent, and customer service is available at a reasonable speed through phone, email and live chat.

CMC Markets is listed on the stock exchange and has negative balance protection. While it does not hold a banking license, it is regulated by the top-tier FCA.

Unfortunately, while forex fees are low, stock CFD fees are high.

Visit CMC Markets

67% of Retail CFD or Spread Betting Accounts Lose Money.

9. City Index

Best for: Spread betting

City Index is an award-winning broker that offers low forex and stock index CFD trading.

There is no minimum deposit for opening an account, but there are fees for non-activity on an account and as such, may not suit those looking to take long term positions.

Considered a leader in spread betting, it offers one point per share and competitive conditions for forex pairings.

It uses its own platform, as well as MetaTrader 4. There are excellent educational tools, including a demo account, and customer service is available via live chat and phone Monday to Friday.

City Index is listed on the stock exchange.

While the portfolio is limited, it is regulated by the UK's FCA and operates in over 8,000 markets.

Visit City Index

10. HYCM

HYCM was established in 1972 as a gold and silver trader in Hong Kong, and the HY Markets online trading platform was launched in 2007.

Henyep Investments (UK) is licensed by the FCA, and they provide access to trading services in 140 countries through five offices around the world.

Using HYCM, traders have access to more than 100 trading instruments including forex, CFDs, stocks, commodities and indices on the popular MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 platforms.

There are three levels of accounts available, each aimed at different types of traders. The Fixed Account offers fixed spreads form 1.8 pips and no commission, while the Classic Account offers variable spreads from 1.2 pips with no commission and offers the use of EAs. These accounts have a minimum deposit of $100.

For those that want the best price on the spread and would rather pay a set commission, the Raw Account offers raw spreads from 0.2 pips, but a $4 per round commission fee. EAs can be used on this account, and the minimum deposit is $200.

HYCM is regulated by both the FCA and CySEC and offers negative balance protection so it is considered a safe platform. Education is provided in the form of a knowledge base, webinars, workshops and seminars, and research for traders is provided with a news feed and an economic calendar.

There are 10 CFDs available to trade with HYCM on the MetaTrader 4 and 5 platforms.

The tick value depends on the CFDs, and the margins differ based on the account type held.

HYCM allows leverage of 1:10 in the UK and Europe for CFDs.

Visit HYCM

11. FXCM

Best for: Forex trading

Established in 1999 and owned by Jefferies Financial Group, FXCM is both safe and regulated.

There is a minimum deposit of $300 and it can take up to three days to open an account. Specialising in cryptocurrencies, FXCM offers low trading fees but high withdrawal fees.

To open an Active Trader account, you need a deposit of $25,000.

It has excellent education tools, good customer service, a regular news flow and useful search functions.

Compared to other brokers, such as Pepperstone, FXCM offers few stock options.

Visit FXCM

The Top 10 CFD Brokers in the UK

12. IG

Best for: Experienced traders

IG is regulated by the FCA and BaFIN in Germany. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and discloses its financials for transparency.

It began trading in 1974 and is one of the biggest CFD brokers in the world.

It boasts a world-class trading platform with exceptional educational material but does have high stock CFD fees.

Withdrawals and deposits are free.

You can choose to trade with IG's own platform or MetaTrader 4.

IG has over 10,000 stocks to trade with, and UK-based traders are not limited in what they can trade.

In terms of performance and reputation, IG is considered the best.

Visit IG

13. IC Markets

Best for: Those who value easy account opening and free deposits and withdrawals

IC Markets is an Australian-based CFD and forex broker. Its features include:

  • Low forex fees
  • £200 minimum deposit
  • No inactivity fees
  • Research and educational material
  • Regulated by top-tier authorities worldwide but not the FCA
  • Uses MetaTrader 5 for CFD stocks

The downside of IC Markets is that it has less than 1,000 stock options, the platform is poorly designed and there are high financing rates. It is not registered on the stock exchange, and its financial information is not available to the public.

This is a good broker, but better suited to forex traders.

Visit IC Markets

Final Thoughts

As an experienced trader, you will know what you want from a broker, but for someone new to the industry, the choices available to you can be overwhelming.

Before deciding on a CFD broker, take advantage of any trials or demo accounts so you can get a full feel for the platform. The key points to remember are:

  1. It is regulated
  2. It is transparent with fees and offers good value
  3. It has an excellent trading platform

If you are considering trading as a career or hobby, find a trading course that suits you in our article on the best day trading courses.

WikiJob does not provide tax, investment, or financial services and advice. The information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of principal capital.