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 the best UK spread betting platforms of 2021. We also explain how spread betting works and how you can get started with an account today through a simple step-by-step walkthrough.
Best Spread Betting Platform UK List
Here’s a rundown of the best spread betting platforms currently available to UK traders. You can read our review of each provider by scrolling down.
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 platform supports, minimum trade size, commissions, payments, and customer support.
To help clear the mist, below we discuss the best spread betting brokers UK in the market right now.
1. Capital.com – Overall Best Spread Betting Platform UK
Capital.com is a Jack of All Trades in the online brokerage space – with the user-friendly platform offering markets on CFDs, forex, and spread betting. Regarding the latter, this covers thousands of spread betting markets across most asset classes.
For example, if you’re interested in making tax-free gains via a stock trading strategy, Capital.com offers more than 2,400 share markets. Not only does this include shares listed on the London Stock Exchange and AIM, but heaps of international markets.
Among others, this includes markets in the US, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, and much of Europe. If forex is more is your thing, Capital.com covers a great selection of currency pairs across the majors, minors, and exotics. This top-rated spread betting platform is also strong when it comes to commodities.
This includes everything from gold and silver to oil and natural gas. Irrespective of which spread betting market interests you, Capital.com is a 100% commission-free broker. This means that when you place an order, the only trading fee is that of the spread. There are several other features that we like about the Capital.com spread betting facility.
For example, all markets offer a buy and sell position – meaning that you can profit from rising and falling asset prices. You can also spread bet with leverage – meaning you can trade with more than your account balance permits. As per UK regulations, this is capped at 1:30 on major forex pairs and less on other assets.
If this is your first time using an online spread betting platform, Capital.com is a great option. This is because the minimum deposit is just £20 – which you can facilitate with a UK debit/credit card or e-wallet. Finally, Capital.com is a heavily regulated spread betting platform with a license from the FCA.
71.2% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
2. Pepperstone - Best Spread Betting Platform UK for Advanced Traders
If you're looking for the best spread betting platform UK for advanced traders, look no further than Pepperstone. Much like Capital.com, this top-rated 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 most 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.
3.IG – Top Spread Betting Platform UK With 17,000 Markets
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 top-rated spread betting platform is £250. IG supports debit cards and UK bank transfers.
Buy stocks from just £3
More than 80 currency pairs offered
17,000 markets supported including a spread betting facility
Spreads start at just 0.6 pips and no commissions charged
Trade on the IG website or via the app
Regulated by the FCA and ASIC
More than four decades in the brokerage space
Easily fund your account with a debit card or bank transfer
4.ETX Capital – Best Spread Betting Broker UK for Small Stakes (10p per point)
Founded way back in 1965, this London-based spread betting platform has a great 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.
Perhaps most importantly - ETX Capital is the best spread betting platform 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 a great 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 spread betting the FTSE 100 - this is even more competitive at 0.05%. If you like the sound of ETX Capital, you can easily open an account and deposit funds with a debit card or e-wallet. The minimum deposit is just £100 at this top-rated FCA broker.
5. Markets.com – Best Spread Betting Platform UK for Beginners
Markets.com is an online trading platform that is geared towards newbies. The provider offers a simple way to trade online via a user-friendly and 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 newbie-friendly 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.
How to Choose the Best Spread Betting Platform UK for You
We have reviewed five of the best spread betting brokers UK 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 great for low fees, commissions, and spreads - others stand out because they give you access to thousands of markets.
To ensure you choose the best spread betting platform UK for your needs, below we discuss the most important considerations to make before signing up.
In the UK, spread betting platforms are heavily regulated. This is why all of the top 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 the best spread betting platform UK for your needs, you need to explore what markets the broker offers. Most of the providers discussed on this page offer the following markets:
Shares: Markets covering stocks listed in the UK and abroad
Hard Metals: Gold, silver, and platinum
Energies: Crude oil and natural gas
Forex: Variety of major, minor, and exotic currency pairs
Indices: FTSE 100, Dow Jones 30, Nasdaq 100, S&P 500, and more
You can easily check what markets the platform offers by visiting its website.
When it comes to fees, the top spread betting platforms 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.
The best spread betting platform UK that we came across - Capital.com, 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 Capital.com 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.
At the time of writing, Capital.com is offering a 'buy price' of 67.30 points on its crude oil market
The 'sell price' being offered is 67.30 points
This means that the spread amounts to 0.10 points
As per the above, you would then need to multiply the spread by the amount you stake. In doing so, you know how much the spread betting platform is charging you to enter the market.
In simpler terms, if the spread amounts to 0.10 points and you stake £100 per point - this equates to just £10. In other words, you need to make total gains of £10 on your trade to break even. Anything above this is tax-free profit.
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.
Trading Tools & Features
We found that top spread betting platforms UK 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.
The best spread betting platform UK that we came across - Capital.com, allows you to trade with leverage 1:30 on major forex markets.
If, for instance, you traded with GBP/USD with a stake of £10 per point, this would boost your position to £300 per point
As such, if you made gains of 20 points on this trade, your profit would go from £200 up to £6,000
If you are a professional trader that seeks much higher limits, Capital.com offers up to 1:500 on major pairs - which is huge. With that said, 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, most 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.
We found that the best spread betting platform for beginners - Capital.com, 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 the best 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 most 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.
Top spread betting platforms in the UK will support both debit and credit 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. Capital.com is great 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 top-notch customer support.
For example, Capital.com offers a 24/7 live chat facility, as well as a dedicated telephone support line. In fact, this top-rated spread betting broker also offers support via WhatsApp, Facebook, Viper, and Telegram.
How to Get Started with the Best Spread Betting Platform UK
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 the best spread betting platform UK - Capital.com.
Step 1: Open a Spread Betting Account
To get the ball rolling, you'll need to head over to the Capital.com website and click on the 'Trade Now' button. This will populate 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:
Date of Birth
National Insurance Number
Step 2: Upload ID Documents
Capital.com is authorized and regulated by the FCA, so it needs 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.)
Step 3: Deposit Funds
Once you have uploaded your documents, you will then be asked to make a deposit. At Capital.com, the minimum deposit is just £20 - which is why it is arguably the best spread betting broker for beginners.
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
Step 4: Find Spread Betting Market
Now that you have a funded Capital.com 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.
Step 5: Place Spread Betting Order
You will now be presented with a charting area that displays two key buttons - 'buy' and 'sell'.
If you think the asset will rise in value, click on the 'buy' button.
If you think the asset will decrease in price, click on the 'sell' button.
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 and Capital.com will execute it instantly - commission-free!
Best Spread Betting Broker UK - Conclusion
In summary, the best spread betting brokers UK 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 most important thing is that you choose the best spread betting broker 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. We found that the best spread betting broker UK available in the market is Capital.com.
Not only does the platform allow you to get started with a mere deposit of £20, but you won't pay any commissions when you trade. Plus, Capital.com offers thousands of spread betting markets - all of which can be traded with leverage.
Capital.com - Best Spread Betting Broker UK with 0% Commission
71.2% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider.
What is spread betting UK?
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!
Is Spread betting taxable in the UK?
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.
Is spread betting legal in UK and Ireland?
Yes, spread betting is perfectly 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.
What is better CFD or spread betting?
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.
Is spread betting gambling?
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.
What is the best spread betting platform UK?
After reviewing dozens of providers, we found that Capital.com is overall best spread betting broker UK. This is because the platform offers thousands of spread betting instruments, allows you to trade commission-free, and requires a minimum deposit of just £20.
What is the margin in spread betting?
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%.