Best Spread Betting Brokers

We review popular spread betting brokers for the UK markets

Updated: May 18, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

|
Elizabeth Anderson

Edited By

Elizabeth Anderson

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Spread betting is where you speculate on the moves of stocks, currencies, indices or other financial instruments.

You bet on whether you expect the price to move up or down, and your profit or loss is determined by the accuracy of your prediction.

Any profit is free of capital gains tax. But like contracts for differences (CFDs), spread betting is a high-risk form of investment and is seen as a form of gambling. So it’s important to be aware of the risks.

In this guide I've put together the best spread betting companies operating in the UK.

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 65.3%-75.2% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with these providers. 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.

ProviderScoreDetails
1. Pepperstone★★★★★Click Here
2. IG★★★★★Click Here
3. Capital.com★★★★★Click Here
4. Markets.com★★★★Click Here
5. Think Markets★★★★Click Here
6. Fx Pro★★★★Click Here

At a Glance, Pros and Cons

The most important thing to know about spread betting is that it is very similar to gambling.

You should seek advice if needed before engaging in spread betting, and do extensive online research about how it works and the risks.

Pros

Bet on either direction. A spread bet is short-term trading of financial derivatives. This lets you make bets against or for the market (going short or long). This means you don’t have to wait for the markets to move one way. You can bet whenever.

Asymmetric returns. An asymmetry means an imbalance. In this context, it means a significant advantage or disadvantage. We are able to leverage a very small investment to potentially get much bigger returns or much bigger losses.

Simple. Your spread size is calculated as the difference between your buying and selling price. Your potential profit or loss is decided by the degree of ‘points of movement’, just as with stocks and shares.

Cons

❌️ Asymmetric losses. Your very small investment can potentially lead to much bigger losses that are even larger than what you initially invested.

❌️ Volatile. Short-term speculation on the market is always a volatile way to trade. Even professional day traders generally make money over the long term, by making small gains, rather than making any single big win.

❌️ High chance of losses. It’s estimated around 70-80% of retail investors lose money when doing spread betting.

Best Spread Betting Brokers – 2024  

Let’s review the top spread betting brokers available in the UK. Each platform is regulated by the FCA and can be used by retail (non-professional) traders.

Below is a table highlighting the features of each broker.

BrokerMin DepositInvestment Choices
1. PepperstoneNo minimumForex, Indices, Equities, Energy, Commodities, Stocks and Shares…
2. IG£0-£250Forex, Indices, Shares, Options, Stocks, Bonds, Index Funds, Commodities…
3. Capital.com£20Shares, Forex, Indices, Commodities…
4. Markets.com£10-£100Shares, Forex, Indices, Commodities…
5. Think MarketsNo minimumForex, Stock Indices, Commodities…
6. Fx ProNo minimumForex, Spot Indices, Spot Metals, Spot Energy…

Beginner Friendly Spread Betting Brokers

Here's how the six best brokers ranked when we compared them by how many features they have for novice traders.

Topping the list is IG, for its combination of trading signals, investment account options, and extensive educational resources – lots of stabilisers on offer to stop newbies falling flat on their faces.

But a word to the wise: trading with leverage is a high-stakes game that magnifies both wins and losses, so it's not something beginners should jump into without proper experience and understanding. Always trade responsibly.

FeaturePepperstoneIGCapital.comMarkets.comThink MarketsFX Pro
Trading Signals
Webinars
Leverage Control
Low Risk Products
Investment Account
Demo Accounts

Now time for an in-depth look into all of the features on offer by each of these six brokers.

1. Pepperstone – Best Spread Betting Broker Overall

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75.2% 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.

Pepperstone is a very popular online trading platform for seasoned traders who handle forex, contract for differences and spread betting markets.

Pepperstone is better suited for experienced traders who already understand how to strategise and also how to navigate interfaces.

For example, Pepperstone allows you to execute trades using cTrader or MT4/MT5 – you can integrate these third-party trading platforms into your personal or business Pepperstone trading account.

These platforms give you access to industry-grade trading technologies such as technical indicators and customisable chart features.

Regarding the actual assets you’ll be able to handle, Pepperstone works with a large range of instruments and assets. Find forex, stocks and shares, commodities such as gold and much more.

In terms of fees, Pepperstone spread betting charges depend on what account type you have. The entry-level account charges 0% commissions on executing trades for spread betting. Instead, charges are amalgamated into the actual spread.

You can fund your account through various means including PayPal, card, and bank transfer.

Pros

✔️ Fully regulated by the FCA

✔️ Fund your account with PayPal 

✔️ Operates globally

Cons

❌ Doesn’t offer ETFs

❌ Can be quite complex for beginners to navigate

2. IG – Popular Spread Betting Broker

Spread bets and 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 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.

IG is a reputable brokerage company that offers access to 17,000 markets worldwide.

This means IG is able to offer its users a diverse range of assets all in one hub – access to stocks and bonds, trending index funds, currency pairs and contracts for differences. Inside each market, lies great diversity. Read a full review of IG here.

IG offers the greatest amount of exposure to commodities, currencies, shares, and indexes of any similar broker. You can bet in either direction for each position. 

You can also amplify your bets using leverage (where you borrow money to fund a trade). 

As with any UK trading platform, your level of amplification is limited to 30:1 for major FX pairs, 20:1 for major stock indices and 5:1 for individual stocks.

IG nonetheless offers a safeguard to stop you from making a loss that goes over your account balance, if you activate their option which is called Negative Balance Protection. (This should be activated as a default).

Maybe you’re wondering about IG’s commissions? IG is another online trading tool that has 0% commission. All fees are amalgamated into the actual spread, so keep track of it. That said, IG’s fees are competitive compared to the industry norm. For example, stocks and indices can be handled at 0.1 points, forex begins at 0.6 and commodities start from 0.3 points.

As a last mention, IG is accessible through a no-install browser. There is also a mobile-friendly version, and it is compatible with both Android and iOS. 

There is no minimum deposit to get started, if funding your account through a bank transfer. But if paying in through PayPal or a debit card, the minimum deposit amount is £250.

Pros

✔️ Negative account balance safeguards

✔️ Excellent range of trader tools

✔️ Commission-free trades and regulated by the FCA

✔️  Wide range of instruments that includes nearly a hundred currency pairs

✔️ No minimum deposit for bank transfers

Cons

❌ Can’t find your account using E-wallets

❌ Minimum funding of £250 for debit cards or PayPal

3. Capital.com – Top Spread Betting Broker for Forex

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 75% 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.

Capital.com provides its users with direct access to all of the key forex markets, alongside other forms of CFDs or spread betting.

The advantage of Capital.com is that you get access to many markets in order to do betting across the majority of asset classes.

Capital.com gives you more than 3,000 markets to choose from. You’re not just limited to companies on the London Stock Exchange, but can also access global stock markets.

To list just a few of the global markets you can trade in, these include Europe, the US, and Australia. Suppose you want to do forex spread betting, there are an enormous number of currency pairs to choose from: majors, minors as well as exotic currency pairs. This makes Capital.com an interesting spread betting broker concerning commodities.

If you’re wondering what commodities you’ll be able to trade with, this includes commodities ranging from natural gas and oil to gold. Capital.com is also commission-free. This means that, with this broker, the only fee you pay when creating an order is the actual spread. 

Let’s go through a few more reasons why Capital.com was listed as one of the top spread betting platforms in this guide.

Chiefly, you are able to make a spread betting offer in each market – this means that you are able to potentially profit from both bullish and bearish market changes. In addition, you’re allowed to leverage your spread bet (similar to CFDs) – this means amplifying each trade with more capital than your account balance… thus the name.

But note, using leverage is high risk. Currently, the UK limits leverages to 30:1 for major forex pairs, and other assets are lower.

Pros

✔️ Sophisticated mobile app

✔️ Amplify your trades through leverage

✔️ Commission-free and regulated

✔️ In-depth learning portal and guides

Cons

❌ Indirect ownership of stocks

❌ Offers complicated and high-risk products

4. Markets.com – Popular Spread Betting Broker for Simple Trading

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 65.3% 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.

Markets.com targets traders who are new to online trading.

To make this possible, Markets.com has designed a simple interface with user-friendly features without lots of complicated finance-speak.

Markets.com also makes the platform easy to use without having to install software. Simply access the platform using your web browser. 

Of course, you will need to use the same degree of caution as you would on any trading platform. This is particularly true when trading CFDs or spread bets – both of these forms of trading are offered by Markets.com. You can also leverage or borrow money to boost your trade amounts. However, proceed with caution as this can lead to immediate wins and immediate losses that are much larger than your initial investment.

It’s highly recommended (if you are determined to spread bet) that you begin using Markets.com by using its free demo account. This allows you to test trades and get to grips with spread betting  without putting real money on the line. 

This means you can begin to understand how the spread betting system functions but you won’t actually stake real cash. This also lets you explore a number of lessons on the “Introduction to Trade” area of the site.

A last word on that – you can expect charges to vary depending on the market you have decided to bet in. For example, there are no commissions for commodities, indices and currency pairs. But note that all forex charges are also impacted by the spread itself.

Your account can be opened very fast. There is a minimum deposit amount of £100. The minimum withdrawal amount is £100 for bank transfer, or £10 for debit card.

Pros

✔️ Targets beginners

✔️ Amplify your trades through leverage

✔️ Commission-free and regulated 

✔️ Great learning portal

Cons

❌  Offers investments that are high risk

❌ Minimum £100 deposit

5. Think Markets – Best App for Spread Betting

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 67.99% 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.

With Think Markets, you get access to more than 4,000 instruments from multiple markets.

One of the really neat things about Think Market is that it has a really awesome app for your spread betting needs. 

Think Markets is FCA-regulated and offers several different options. Think Markets uses its own software designs, but you will also find spread betting via Meta Trader 4 and Meta Trader 5 available here.

The Think Market proprietary betting app and platform is called ThinkTrader. You can use both the mobile app and desktop platform to take control of your spreads. 

On the app, you can spread bet across several different asset categories. This includes: metal, index, commodities, forex, shares, and more. The technology is easy to use and understand, and it’s advanced enough to be impressive. 

In addition, you will find convenient information, such as the intelligent market scanner tool, multi-deal closures, and innovative analysis. It’s one of the most extensive apps for research material, giving you absolutely everything you need (and more) right at your fingertips. 

There is much to be impressed with, and the app is really just the beginning.

Pros

✔️ Multiple spread betting platforms

✔️ Intuitive app

✔️ Impressive trading features

✔️ Intelligent market information and analysis

✔️ 100+ technical indicators

✔️ Fully FCA regulated

Cons

❌ Some users have issues with freezing on the terminals

❌ No trading in cents

6. FxPro – Best Spread Betting Broker for Risk Management

Trade Responsibly. CFDs and Spread Betting are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 73% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs and Spread Betting with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs and Spread Betting work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Spread betting carries risk and there is a high chance of losses.

There will always be risks involved when trading, but using a tool that helps to manage your risks can certainly be beneficial. FxPro is a great broker for managing risk, and has been named the world’s #1 online Forex broker as well.

On this spread betting broker, you have access to forex, oil, gold, currencies and more across 2,100 instruments. You also can trade with up to 70% lower spreads, which is pretty impressive as a whole. This is where that risk management comes into play.

You have access to four different funding methods, no funding fees, and a swap free account at your fingertips. The minimum deposit is £0, which is always a great perk. There are more than 69 currency pairs, plus a multitude of cryptocurrencies, indices, commodities, and more. 

Like the other brokers listed in this article, you cannot hold or trade real shares.  

FXPro’s trading platform is definitely among the top for its intuitive features and capability. It uses MetaTrader 4 and 5, as well as cTrader. FXPro offers automated trading, a proprietary platform, a demo account to play in, and standard stop loss protocols. 

This is another FCA-regulated broker, and is also covered by other regulators worldwide. The platform is designed to be purpose driven so you aren’t just randomly choosing and betting on spreads. The loaded risk management tools can be beneficial when used. The platform doesn’t currently integrate with Expert Advisors, but it has its own trading tools on board.

Pros

✔️ Easy to use and establish an account

✔️ Customize your trading platform with purpose

✔️ Multiple risk management integrations

Cons

❌ Some CFDs have high trading fees attached

❌ You get charged an inactivity fee after six months inactivity of a one-off $15 plus $5 per month

Best Spread Betting Brokers: A Buying Guide for You

Let’s take a bit of time to explore more areas of this topic.

This section is a helpful guide for beginners who are still trying to understand how spread betting works.

Spread betting explained for beginners

Spread betting is a type of derivative speculation or trading. This means it allows traders to invest without actually having to deal with the fundamental asset they are betting on. For instance, you don’t need to own the underlying stock if you are betting on company stocks.

Rather than directly entering these markets, spread bets let users speculate on changes in market values for your chosen asset across time. It’s very similar to betting on horses or the score of a sports game.

Trading prices and commission vary depending on the broker and the asset.

However, there are similarities with traditional stock exchanges. To begin with, you will be given two cost quotes when doing spread betting – you get a Buying price (bid price) and Selling cost (ask price). Whatever difference exists between these price points is known as the Spread, which is why we have the name “spread-betting”.

You may be wondering why there are no commissions per trade. This is because brokers who provide this service make their gains directly from the spread. This means that there is no need for commissions. This is another way spread betting differs from most traditional trading. (It might not be right to call it trading at all and just betting or gambling).

Simply put, if you think that the price of something will increase enough that you will get an off profit, then spread betting facilitates it. This is the same for if an investor thinks it will fall enough in price. And leverage is provided as a way of amplifying the returns. There are also certain tax advantages and generally deep penetration into worldwide markets. 

Overall:

🔥 Spread betting lets you make returns from trade regardless of the direction the market moves because you do not actually handle the underlying security.

🔥 As with traditional stock trading, spread betting can be made less volatile and potentially destructive through balance protections and stop losses.

Guaranteed spread betting strategy, using arbitrage 

There’s one unique situation where you can almost guarantee that your spread betting trade will make a profit for you. Let’s explain.

Spread betting arbitrage means opportunistically looking for discrepancies between pricing listed across different markets or platforms for the same asset or financial instrument. This allows you to buy an asset for cheaper and then immediately sell it at a profit – all at once. 

In simple ways, you’re looking for platforms or markets that our selling something for cheaper than in other places. As an arbitrage investor, you’re exploiting market inefficiencies, to secure instantaneous guaranteed returns. Keep in mind that discovering these opportunities for arbitrage is a challenge because data is widely shared worldwide, so inefficiency areas are small. 

How does this discrepancy happen? Spread betting arbitrage this possible when dealers take slightly different outlooks on markets when offering a spread. For successful arbitrage trades, you are looking for different spread bets between two different dealers for the same instrument. The conditions of the market affect the amount of profit you can make. 

Spread betting arbitrage example 

Suppose you take advantage of inefficiencies in various securities such as interest rates, stocks and bonds and currencies. While it may seem that arbitrage is a guaranteed profit system, there are a few risks associated with this approach. This includes timing your trade, the market liquidity and counterparty risks.

The forex is interesting because it has such immense liquidity – indeed, forex is the most liquid market on the planet.

Nonetheless, any errors in executing a trade can lead to significant losses when arbitrating. And time is probably the greatest cost that the arbitration trader faces; if you have to wait days or even weeks between finding new exploits,  this is a lot of time without earning money.  

The Verdict 

Spread betting is, in some ways, no different from traditional financial investing. However, it involves more speculation and investments are not designed to be held long-term. Speculating on the financial markets is no different from making a bet, or gambling.

So the sensibility of your spread betting strategy will boil down to your level of sophistication, knowledge and financial astuteness. Using a budgeting-ready online bank is a more sensible way to begin building savings. 

One example of sophisticated spread betting is spread betting arbitrage. This version of spread betting nearly guarantees that your trade will lead to an instantaneous profit. But there is a time cost for snooping out new opportunities. 

The second example of sophisticated spread betting is a professional financial investor hedging against a more balanced portfolio. They could use spread betting as a way of shorting in the event of a market downswing or upswing that is unfavourable to the portfolio.

Overall, understand your purpose for using spread betting. And be very aware of the addictive nature of betting in general, which usually takes more than it gives over time.

Methodology

When choosing which spread betting platforms to include in this article, we prioritised:

  • Access to UK customers
  • Full regulation by the FCA
  • Positive reviews outweighing negative reviews
  • First-hand experience
  • Mobile app

The information we provide is objective and independent. It is our own personal opinions, based on first-hand knowledge or wider customer reviews.

CompareBanks makes its money through advertising and partnerships. This means we may make money if you sign up to that product through a link on our website. You will not have to pay us anything at all, so there are no catches or hidden extras involved when using CompareBanks.

Related Guides:

FAQs

What are financial spread bets?

Can you make money from financial spread betting?

What does a +7 spread mean?

Is spread betting gambling?

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