If you’re based in the UK and looking to trade in a tax-efficient way, it might be worth considering a spread betting platform.
In doing so – you’ll still be able to trade assets like stocks, forex, gold, and oil – but you won’t pay any tax on your profits. This is because spread betting falls under the umbrella of gambling in the UK – which since 2010, has been tax-free.
In this guide, we review UK spread betting platforms for 2023. We also explain how spread betting works and how you can get started with an account today through a simple step-by-step walkthrough.
Spread Betting Platform UK List
Here’s a rundown of the spread betting platforms currently available to UK traders. You can read our review of each provider by scrolling down.
€ 1,000 (0.01 lots)
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What you can trade
76.57% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider
FCA, CYSEC, ASIC,
Trading CFDs involves substantial risk of loss and may not be suitable for all investors.
0.5% to 1.5% pips
0.5% to 1.5% pips
68% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
In This Guide
While all UK spread betting platforms allow you to trade in a tax-free environment – there are many other metrics that you need to consider in choosing a provider.
For example, you need to explore what assets the UK trading platform supports, minimum trade size, commissions, payments, and customer support.
To help you make an informed choice, below we discuss the spread betting brokers UK investors are accepted at right now.
If you’re looking for a spread betting platform UK for advanced traders, look no further than Pepperstone. This UK provider is active in the CFD, forex, and spread betting sectors.
However, what sets the two platforms apart is that Pepperstone is much more suited for seasoned traders. For example, the spread betting platform is compatible with MT4, MT5, and cTrader. These are third-party platforms that you connect to your Pepperstone trading accounts.
They all come packed with advanced trading tools, indicators, customized charts, and technical indicators. In terms of what you can trade, Pepperstone supports thousands of financial instruments. This includes everything from shares, indices, and forex, to hard metals, US Treasuries, and energies.
When it comes to spread betting fees at Pepperstone, this will depend on which account type you choose. If opting for the ‘Standard’ account, you will not pay any commissions when you spread bet. Instead, everything is built into the spread. If opting for the ‘Raw’ account, then you will benefit from 0 spreads on many markets.
You will, however, pay a commission of £2.29 per slide. If you like the sound of Pepperstone for your spread betting needs, the platform allows you to deposit funds with a debit/credit card, bank transfer, or Paypal. The platform is authorized and licensed by the FCA and is now home to almost 90,000 clients globally.
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IG is an established and trusted online brokerage firm that covers several divisions in the investment scene. This includes traditional shares and funds, CFDs, forex, and spread betting. In total, IG gives you access to over 17,000 spread betting markets – which is huge.
This covers a variety of asset arenas, with a strong focus on forex, indices, shares, and commodities. Each and every spread betting market offers a long and short position, as well as leverage. Once again, this is capped at 1:30 if you are a UK retail client.
But, if you open a professional trading account with IG – much higher limits are available. This stands at over 1:222 when spread betting forex, indices, and commodities. Either way, you can never lose more than your balance permits when entering a leverage position at IG – as the platform has that all-important Negative Balance Protection in place.
In terms of fees, IG allows you to use its spread betting platform in a commission-free manner. You will, however, need to keep an eye on the spread – which is largely very competitive at IG. For example, indices and shares can be traded from just 0.1 points, commodities at 0.3 points, and forex at 0.6 points.
If you think that IG meets your spread betting needs, you can trade directly through the provider’s website. The broker also offers a mobile app that is compatible with iOS and Android phones. The minimum deposit at this UK spread betting platform is £250. IG supports debit cards and UK bank transfers.
Founded way back in 1965, this London-based spread betting platform has a positive reputation. The provider offers an abundance of markets that spans over 5,000 financial instruments. This means that you can spread bet popular assets like shares, forex, indices, hard metals, and energies.
ETX Capital is a reputable spread betting platform in the UK if you want to stake small amounts. This is because major markets can be traded from just 10p per point. As such, ETX Capital is one option if you want to give spread betting a go without risking too much money.
In terms of trading costs, ETX Capital is another spread betting platform that operates a commission-free policy. Once again, this means that you need to focus on the spread. This is largely competitive at ETX Capital, as you can trade EUR/USD and AUD/USD from just 0.6 points and 0.8 points, respectively. If you’re planning to spread bet shares or indices, this is also competitive.
For example, UK, US, and European shares carry a spread of just 0.1%. If you’re interested in FTSE 100 spread betting – this is even more competitive at 0.05%. If you like the sound of ETX Capital, you can open an account and deposit funds with a debit card or e-wallet. The minimum deposit is just £100 at this UK FCA broker.
Markets.com is an online trading platform that is geared towards newbies. The provider offers a simple way to trade online via a jargon-free platform, that can be accessed via your web browser.
On top of conventional CFDs, Markets.com offers a comprehensive spread betting facility. At the time of writing, this covers 67 currency pairs, 28 commodities, 40 indices, 60 ETFs, and over 2,000 shares. All of these markets can be traded with leverage – as per UK limits.
As a beginner spread betting platform, Markets.com allows you to start off with a free demo account facility. This means that you can practice your spread betting endeavors without risking any money. There is also an ‘Introduction to Trade’ department on the platform, which offers a range of guides and explainers.
When it comes to fees, this will depend on which spread betting market you wish to access. For example, the likes of forex, commodities, and indices can be traded commission-free, so it’s just the spread that you pay. To give you an idea of what spreads are on offer, Markets.com offers 0.90 pips on EUR/USD, $0.50 ON gold, and just $0.05 on spot crude oil.
If you’re interested in stocks, you also need to factor in a commission. This stands at a rather hefty $10 per slide. This means that irrespective of how much you are staking, you will pay $10 to enter the stock trade and $10 to close it – plus the spread. Finally, Markets.com allows you to open an account in minutes, accepts Visa and MasterCard deposits, and is fully regulated by the FCA.
We have reviewed five reliable spread betting brokers UK sign ups can join, currently active in the online marketplace. There are, however, many others that offer spread betting facilities to UK traders.
As you might have noticed from our reviews, no-two providers are the same in the spread betting space. For example, while some are known for low fees, commissions, and spreads – others stand out because they give you access to thousands of markets. It’s worth noting – the options on this page are for financial spread betting, if you’re interested in sports spread betting then check out UK betting sites over at Sportslens.
To ensure you choose the right spread betting platform UK for your needs, below we discuss some important considerations to make before signing up.
In the UK, spread betting platforms are heavily regulated. This is why all of the spread betting platforms UK discussed on this page are authorized and licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This ensures that you are able to trade in a fair and transparent manner.
It also ensures that your capital is protected from a potential brokerage collapse. For example, FCA-regulated spread betting platforms must keep client funds in segregated, tier-one bank accounts. Platforms will also need to collect two forms of ID from you – including a passport and proof of address.
Take note, although spread betting is classified as ‘gambling’ in the eyes of HMRC, the Gambling Commission has no remit in this industry.
In finding a spread betting platform UK for your needs, you need to explore what markets the broker offers. Many of the providers discussed on this page offer the following markets:
You can check what markets the platform offers by visiting its website.
When it comes to fees, the spread betting platforms in the UK allow you to trade in a cost-effective manner. However, spread betting fees can be a little complex to understand at first glance – so we elaborate on this in more detail below.
One spread betting platform UK that we came across – eToro, allows you to trade in a commission-free manner across all supported markets. This is also the case with Pepperstone, ETX Capital, and City Index. However, certain platforms in this space will charge a commission when you enter and exit a trade.
For example, Markets.com charges a commission of $10 per slide on all stock trading markets. This can work out very costly if you are only planning to trade small amounts. Other spread betting platforms will charge a variable commission. For example, you might pay 0.1% per slide – so a £1,000 stake would cost amount to a commission of £1.
Unless you are opening a specialist ‘Raw’ account with the likes of Pepperstone, you will always need to consider the spread. In fact, this is how commission-free brokers like Pepperstone make money.
In a nutshell, the spread is the difference between the buy and sell price on your chosen market. Unless forex – which is assessed in ‘pips’, spread betting platforms operate in ‘points’. The larger the gap between the buy and sell price, the more you are paying to trade.
Spread betting platforms are not geared towards long-term investors. Instead, they allow you to speculate on the future price of an asset in the short run. Crucially, this is because spread betting markets attract overnight financing fees.
This means that for every day you keep your spread betting position open – you will pay a small fee. This is like an interest rate charged by the platform – which is multiplied against the size of your stake.
We found that UK spread betting platforms will offer a variety of trading tools and features that might be of interest.
Unlike traditional stock trading platforms, spread betting companies allow you to trade with leverage. As we briefly covered earlier, this allows you to boost the size of your position. The limits available to you are capped by the FCA.
Make sure your chosen spread betting platform offers Negative Balance Protection. This will ensure that you never lose more than you have available in your trading account.
Spread betting is a lot riskier than conventional stock investing – so it’s crucial that you choose a platform that offers risk management tools. For example, many of the platforms that we have discussed on this page offer stop-loss orders.
As the name implies, this will automatically close your spread betting trade when it goes against you by a certain amount. For example, if you stake £5 per point and wish to limit your losses to £50 – then you can set up a stop-loss order at 10 points. This, in addition to Negative Balance Protection, will ensure that you never lose more than you can afford.
If you’re an experienced trader then you might want to choose a spread betting broker that offers support for third-party platforms. Think along the lines of MT4, MT5, and cTrader. In doing so, you will have access to an abundance of advanced trading features – such as customizable charts, drawing tools, and technical indicators.
If you really want to take your spread betting positions to the next level – these third-party platforms also support automated robots. This means that the robot will place spread betting trades on your behalf – 24/7.
From user reviews and feedback online, one spread betting platform for beginners -Pepperstone – offers a huge range of educational tools to help you become a better trader. For example, the provider offers fully-fledged spread betting guides, which cover risk management and potential spread betting strategies to consider. You can also download the ‘InvestMate’ app – which offers mini-courses on all-things trading.
If you’re looking for a spread betting platform for beginners – this is likely because you are new to this form of trading. If so, you’ll want to ensure that the user experience is suitable for your level of experience. For example, if you’re a newbie, you won’t want to choose a platform that is packed with advanced tools and trading jargon.
Instead, you’ll want to be able to place buy and sell positions in the simplest way possible. Not only should this be the case with the main online platform, but also on the mobile app. After all, there might come a time when you want to enter or exit a spread betting position while on the move.
Demo trading facilities are an invaluable way for you to get to grips with the complex instruments offered by spread betting brokers – before risking your own capital. This is because you can place spread betting positions without needing to deposit or risk any money. Instead, you will be trading with demo funds. In many cases, the demo account will mirror actual trading conditions – in terms of pricing, liquidity, and volume.
You do, however, need to check a couple of key things before getting started with a spread betting demo account. Firstly, make sure that the broker doesn’t require you to make a deposit to gain access. You also need to check how much you will receive in demo trading funds. Crucially, you also need to see if there is a time limit on how long you can use the demo account facility.
Even if you intend of starting off with a demo account, at some point, you’ll likely want to spread bet with real money. As such, it’s worth checking to see whether or not your chosen spread betting broker supports your preferred payment method.
Spread betting platforms in the UK will usually support debit cards. Many now accept e-wallets too, which is also safe and instant. If you want to deposit through a traditional bank account transfer, this might take a couple of days to process.
You should also explore what fees are applicable to your chosen payment method. Pepperstone is well-known in this respect, as it doesn’t charge anything on deposits or withdrawals. This won’t always be the case though, with the likes of ETX Capital charging £10 on withdrawals of less than £100.
Whether you are looking for an explanation of a specific spread betting market or you want an update on a withdrawal request – it’s important to stick with spread betting platforms that offer 24/7 customer support.
For example, Pepperstone offers a 24/7 live chat facility, as well as a dedicated telephone support line. In fact, this spread betting broker also offers support via WhatsApp, Facebook, Viper, and Telegram.
If this is your first time using a spread betting broker – we are going to conclude our guide by walking you through the setup process.
The guidelines below will show you how to open an account, deposit funds, and place your first position with a spread betting platform UK traders are accepted at.
To get the ball rolling, you’ll need to open a free account. You’ll meet a sign-up form that initially asks you for your email address and chosen password.
After that, you will need to enter a range of personal information, such as your:
A broker authorized and regulated by the FCA will need to verify your identity. All you need to do here is upload a copy of your passport or driver’s license, alongside a proof of address (bank account statement, utility bill, etc.)
Once you have uploaded your documents, you will then be asked to make a deposit.
In order to benefit from this low minimum, you need to opt for a debit/credit card or e-wallet deposit. If, however, you prefer to transfer funds from your UK bank account, the minimum shoots up to £250
Now that you have a funded trading account, it’s time to search the spread betting market that interests you. You can do this by hovering your mouse over the ‘Markets’ button at the top of the page, and then selecting your preferred asset (stocks, forex, etc.).
Or, you can simply use the search function to go straight to the respective market. As you can see from the example above, we are searching for ‘gold’. Then, to go to the respective trading page, we click on the market once its pops up.
You will now be presented with a charting area that displays two key buttons – ‘buy’ and ‘sell’.
Then, you will need to enter your stake. Be careful here, as spread betting platforms operate in ‘points’. For example, if you stake £1 per point, your profit or loss will rise and fall by £1 for each point the asset rises or falls by.
You should also consider setting up a stop-loss order, which will ensure you cap your losses to a certain amount – should the trade not go in your favor.
Finally, confirm your buy or sell order.
In summary, UK spread betting brokers offer an alternative to conventional trading platforms. In other words, by using CFD trading platforms and forex trading platforms – you will need to pay tax on your profits. But, by instead trading via a spread betting facility – you can keep 100% of your trading gains.
The important thing is that you choose the appropriate spread betting broker in the UK for your needs. To do this, focus on metrics like supported spread betting markets, commissions and spreads, minimum trade per point, and of course – FCA regulation.
Not to be confused by traditional gambling markets, spread betting platforms allow you to trade financial instruments like gold, forex, stocks, and oil. In order to make money, you need to correctly predict whether the financial instrument will rise or fall in value. What sets spread betting apart is that you will not be required to pay any capital gains tax on your profits!
No, spread betting is not taxable in the UK. On the contrary, HMRC views spread betting in the same light as gambling. As such, you won't need to pay any capital gains tax on your gains.
Yes, spread betting is legal in the UK and Ireland. However, the industry is heavily regulated - meaning that your chosen spread betting broker must be authorized and licensed by the FCA. Additionally, as of January 2021, you can no longer spread bet cryptocurrencies.
CFDs and spread betting are very similar, insofar that you can trade a financial asset without owning it. Both trading segments give you the option of going long or short, and you can apply leverage on all financial markets, within FCA limits. However, the key difference is that while CFD trading is taxable in the UK, spread betting isn't. Plus, spread betting profits and losses are calculated in points, while CFDs utilize pips and percentages.
Whether or not spread betting is gambling is somewhat subjective. After all, you are risking money to make money. Crucially, although spread betting profits are viewed as gambling winnings and thus - tax-free, the industry is regulated by the FCA and not the Gambling Commission. This will illustrate that spread betting, on a broader scale, is more aligned with trading than gambling.
After reviewing dozens of providers, we found that Pepperstone is the most popular spread betting broker UK traders can join. This is because the platform offers thousands of spread betting instruments, allows you to trade commission-free, and requires a minimum deposit of just £200.
When 'trading with margin' at a spread betting platform, this means that you are utilizing leverage. In simple terms, you are trading with more than you have in your spread betting account. In the UK, retail clients can get leverage of up to 1:30, meaning the margin requirement is just 3.33%.
Kane Pepi is a British researcher and writer that specializes in finance, financial crime, and blockchain technology. Now based in Malta, Kane writes for a number of platforms in the online domain. In particular, Kane is skilled at explaining complex financial subjects in a user-friendly manner.
Kane has also written for websites such as MoneyCheck, InsideBitcoins, Blockonomi, Learnbonds, Buysharesand the Malta Association of Compliance Officers.
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