Over the last ten years, no other online trading area has expanded as quickly as CFDs (Contracts for Difference).
It doesn’t require substantial investment to get started, and the ability to trade with high leverage brings the potential for high profit.
That said, losses can be equally substantial in this complicated sector; CFD trading can be risky, and traders should use proper risk management strategies to minimize their exposure.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to the top CFD platforms to choose from in the UK market, comparing their unique features, fees, interfaces, and overall performance.
We aim to provide you with all the information needed to make an informed decision that aligns with your trading goals and preferences.
Whether you’re a beginner dipping your toes in the waters of CFD trading for the first time, or an experienced trader looking to switch platforms or expand your trading repertoire, our in-depth analysis will offer valuable insights and expert recommendations.
Our Review Methodology
Our methodology for comparing the top CFD platforms involved a systematic approach to evaluating the features and performance of each platform.
We began by identifying important criteria for users, such as accuracy, speed, usability, and available resources. Then, we collected data on each platform using the platforms in a variety of situations. We also gathered feedback from users and experts in the field to gain insights into the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. Finally, we analyzed the data and feedback to rank the platforms based on their overall performance and suitability for different applications.
The 4 Best CFD Platforms in 2023
Our top four CFD choices focus on key aspects: beginners, spreads, app experience, and price transparency.
eToro – the Best CFD Trading Platform for Beginners
With eToro, you’ll have access to more than 2 000 CFDs, including
Forex CFDS – eToro offers access to more than 49 currency pairs, allowing you to capitalise on the price fluctuations between different currencies. Major, minor, and exotic pairs are available.
Commodities CFDs – eToro offers 27 commodity CFDs, enabling you to speculate on the prices of these essential resources.
CFD Indices – eToro offers CFDs on 20 major global indices, including the S&P 500, Nasdaq 100, and FTSE 100.
Stocks – eToro provides access to thousands of stocks from leading global exchanges, such as the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, and London Stock Exchange.
ETF CFds – eToro offers CFDs on 300 popular ETFs, allowing you to gain exposure to a diversified portfolio through a single trade.
- Copy Trading
- Fractional Shares
- Combined CFD Portfolio
- Customer Support Could be Improved
- Not the cheapest
Established in 2007, eToro is a good choice for newcomers exploring the world of CFD trading.
eToro’s platform is intuitive, easy to navigate, and designed to accommodate traders of all expertise levels.
In particular, its copy-trading functionality – allowing you to see and copy the moves of top traders in real-time makes it ideally suited to beginners.
eToro CFD Fees and Commissions
Below, we’ve put together an easy-to-digest table to help you understand the various fees eToro charges for different assets and any additional costs that might come into play.
Keep in mind that eToro functions as a market-maker broker. This means they act as the buyer and seller in their customers’ trades instead of connecting you with other buyers and sellers.
Aside from the fees mentioned in the table, your available balance might be affected by dividends. You could receive credits or be charged additional fees, depending on the dividends associated with your investments.
Lastly, remember that fees may be related to transferring cryptocurrencies and using the eToro Money wallet service.
|Commodities CFD||Starting from 2 pips||Users pay a spread (the difference between Buy and Sell prices), starting from 2 pips, plus overnight fees for positions open after trading hours. Triple fees apply to commodities positions open on Fridays.|
|Currencies CFD||Starting from 1 pip||Charges for the spread generally start from 1 pip, upwards and overnight fees for positions open after trading hours. Triple fees apply to currency positions open on Wednesdays.|
|Indices CFD||Starting from 0.75 points||Users pay spread and overnight fees for positions open after trading hours. Triple fees apply to index positions open on Fridays.|
|Stocks & ETFs CFD||0.15%||Their fee is listed as 0.15%. Users pay the spread and overnight fees for positions open after trading hours. Triple fees apply to stocks and ETF positions open on Fridays.|
|Conversion fees||Varies||These fees vary and are used for wires and other payment methods|
|Deposit fee||0.5% on non-USD deposits||A fee to cover the conversion to USD|
|Withdrawal fee||$5||A fee for cash withdrawals, the minimum withdrawal is $30|
|Inactivity fee||$10 per month||Charged after 12 months of inactivity with cash in the account|
|Overnight fees||Varies||A small fee for keeping CFD positions open overnight, 3 times more if open over the weekend. No overnight fees on crypto.|
|Leverage fee||Varies||The higher fee for using leverage (trading with more money than you have)|
76% 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
Pepperstone, the Best CFD Trading Platform for Low Spreads
Forex CFDs – As a leading Forex broker, Pepperstone offers access to over 60 currency pairs, including majors, minors, and exotics.
CFD Indices – Broaden your trading horizons with access to 14 major global stock indices. Pepperstone allows you to trade CFDs on indices like the US30, DE30, and FTSE100, helping you take advantage of global market movements.
Commodities CFDs – With Pepperstone, you can access 32 commodities, such as gold, silver, crude oil, and agricultural products like cotton and sugar.
Stocks CFDs – Interested in trading shares? Pepperstone provides over 60 US share CFDs, including big names like Apple, Amazon, and Tesla. Additionally, you can trade Australian and European share CFDs, giving you diverse opportunities to capitalise on.
Currency Index CFDs – Pepperstone introduces a unique way to trade currencies with their currency index CFDs. These instruments allow you to trade an entire currency basket, such as the US Dollar Index or the Euro Index, providing a broader perspective on the market.
- Competitive Spreads
- Free Deposit and Withdrawals
- Quick and Easy Account Opening
- Limited Options Outside CFDs
- Limited Educational Resources Compared to the Competition
Pepperstone is a highly regarded broker known worldwide, offering you a professional quality trading experience via CFDs or Spread Betting.
With various trading platforms at your disposal, such as MetaTrader 4 and 5, cTrader, and their very own Pepperstone MT4, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
Pepperstone is committed to keeping fees low, providing tight spreads, and not charging commissions on standard account trades.
Plus, they cater to traders of all skill levels by offering various account types, including a demo account for beginners to hone their trading skills.
Pepperstone CFD Fees and Commissions Examples
It is important to note that Pepperstone’s fees depend on your account type and the specific instrument you trade. The Razor account will offer tighter spreads and lower fees.
|Commodities CFD (Gold)||0.14 pips||Spreads vary depending on the commodity you’re trading and market conditions. For example, the spread for gold goes from 0.05 to 0.14 pips on average.|
|Currencies CFD(GBPUSD)||1.19 pips||Charges for the GBPUSD spread generally start from 1.19 pips with a standard account to 0.69 pips if you have a Razor Account.|
|Indices CFD(US500)||0.4 pips||Users pay spread and overnight fees for positions open after trading hours.|
|Stocks & ETFs CFD||0.8 + Market Spread||Their fee is 0.8. Users pay the spread and overnight fees for positions open after trading hours.|
|Cryptoassets CFD||Starting at 0.01 pips||Users pay the same fees as non-CFD crypto fees, plus any additional CFD-related charges.|
|Conversion fees||Varies||This fee depends on the currencies being converted.|
|Deposit fee||£0||These fees vary and are used for wires and other payment methods|
|Withdrawal fee||£0||A fee for cash withdrawals. There is no minimum withdrawal.|
|Inactivity fee||£0||Some brokers charge fees after 12 months of inactivity with cash in the account. This is not the case with Pepperstone.|
|Overnight fees||Vary||A small fee for keeping CFD positions open overnight, 3 times more if open over the weekend. No overnight fees on crypto.|
|Leverage fee||Varies||The higher fee for using leverage (trading with more money than you have)|
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 80.9% 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.
XTB, the Best CFD Platform for Mobile
|📈Share CFD||🗂️Index CFD||💱Currencies Pairs||🪙Crypto CFD||🛢️Commodity CFD||↩️ETF CFD||🔖Bond CFD|
Forex CFDs – XTB offers over 55 currency pairs, including major, minor, and exotic pairs.
CFD Indices – XTB provides access to over 20 global indices, including the S&P 500, FTSE 100, and DAX 30.
Commodity CFDs – With XTB, you can trade various CFDs such as precious metals, energies, and agricultural products.
Stock CFDs – XTB offers CFD trading on thousands of stocks from major stock exchanges worldwide. You can access well-known companies such as Apple, Amazon, Tesla, and many more.
Cryptocurrency CFDs – If you want to venture into digital currencies, XTB offers cryptocurrency CFDs, including popular options like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin.
- User-Frendly Platform
- Easy Account Opening
- Outstanding Customer Support
- Inactivity Fee
- No Two-Factor Authentication
Boasting over two decades of industry experience, XTB has earned a stellar reputation for delivering exceptional trading services, cutting-edge technology, and outstanding customer support.
Catering to traders of all skill levels and risk preferences, XTB provides an extensive array of trading options designed to meet diverse requirements. Whether a novice or a seasoned trader, the XTB platform has the perfect trading solution to fit your unique needs.
The broker’s proprietary platform, xStation, is one of the most intuitive and easy to use on the market, making it the ideal choice for mobile traders.
XTB CFD Pricing
Stock CFD fees
XTB uses a volume-based pricing model for stock CFDs. The fees vary depending on the traded volume and the country of the underlying stock.
Typically, the minimum fee for trading CFDs is 0.08% of the trade value, with a minimum fee determined by the stock’s country of origin.
For example, trading a US stock CFD would incur a minimum fee of $5. Trading a European stock CFD, such as a German or French stock, would have a minimum fee of €5 while trading a UK stock CFD would have a minimum fee of £5.
ETF CFD fees
Like stock CFDs, XTB charges a volume-based fee for trading ETF CFDs.
The minimum fee is 0.08% of the trade value, with the minimum amount depending on the currency in which the ETF is denominated. In most cases, trading an ETF CFD will cost you the same minimum fee as trading stock CFDs.
XTB offers competitive spreads for forex trading, with fees incorporated into the spread.
The platform provides two account types: Standard and Pro. The Standard account has slightly wider spreads but no additional commission, while the Pro account offers tighter spreads with a commission per trade.
For example, the typical spread for the EUR/USD currency pair on the Standard account is 0.8 pips, with no additional commission. On the Pro account, the spread for the same currency pair is 0.1 pips, but with a commission of $3.5 per lot.
Index CFD fees
Fees are included in the spread when trading index CFDs with XTB, similar to forex trading. The spreads are competitive in comparison to other brokers. For instance, the S&P 500 index CFD spread is typically 0.4 points, while the spread for the NASDAQ 100 index CFD is generally around 1 point.
Commodity CFD fees
XTB also offers commodity CFDs, with fees incorporated into the spread. The spreads for commodity CFDs are reasonable, making XTB a competitive option for traders interested in these instruments. For example, the typical spread for gold CFDs is 0.3 points, while the spread for oil CFDs is typically 0.05 points.
Cryptocurrency CFD fees
When trading cryptocurrency CFDs, XTB charges a percentage fee that varies depending on the cryptocurrency. For instance, trading a Bitcoin CFD incurs a fee of 0.5% of the trade value, while Ethereum CFD trading has a fee of 0.8%.
(Capital Risk Applies)
Trade Nation, Best CFD Trading Platform for Transparency
Forex CFDs – Trade Nation offers more than 30 currency pairs, including major, minor, and exotic pairs. You can use the highly liquid forex market and benefit from the platform’s 24-hour trading.
CFD Indices – With access to 31 global indices, you can speculate on the performance of entire market sectors and gain exposure to different economies. Popular indices on Trade Nation include the S&P 500, NASDAQ, FTSE 100, DAX 30, and more.
Commodity CFDs – Trade Nation enables traders to invest in more than ten commodities, both hard and soft, such as precious metals (e.g., gold and silver), energy resources (e.g., crude oil and natural gas), and agricultural products (e.g., wheat, soybeans, and coffee).
CFD Equities – Trade Nation provides access to a vast range of global stocks and shares, allowing traders to invest in individual companies and profit from their performance. From well-established corporations to emerging startups, traders can choose from various sectors and regions to tailor their investment strategies.
- Transparent Fee Policy
- Negative Balance Protection
- Limited Educational Resources
About Trade Nation
Trade Nation presents a beautifully crafted, easy-to-navigate trading app perfect for newcomers to CFD trading.
With no minimum deposit, complimentary withdrawals, and a sensible yet diverse range of products, it’s a fantastic choice for anyone starting their trading journey.
Its commitment to ‘fair trading’ sets Trade Nation apart, ensuring complete brokerage fees transparency.
One of our favourite aspects is their innovative Smart News feature, which compiles tweets and news headlines to keep traders in the loop effortlessly.
Moreover, the platform’s charts are powered by the reputable ChartIQ, making the overall trading experience even more enjoyable and efficient. But more on that later…
Trade Nation Fees and Commissions
Trade Nation operates on a fixed spread model. This means that they do not charge a separate commission for trading CFDs. Instead, the cost of trading is incorporated into the spread, which is the difference between an asset’s buy and sell prices.
One of the key advantages of trading with Trade Nation is the predictability of their spreads, which do not change regardless of market conditions.
The fixed spreads are as follows:
- Forex – The spreads for major forex pairs like EUR/USD and GBP/USD start from 0.6 pips and 0.8 pips, respectively.
- Indices – Trade Nation offers attractive spreads for popular indices, such as the UK 100 and US 30, with spreads starting from 0.4 points and 1 point, respectively.
- Commodities – For popular commodities like gold and crude oil, the spreads start from 0.3 points and 2.5 points, respectively.
- Shares – Trade Nation offers CFD trading on shares, with spreads starting from 0.1% of the share price.
Trade Nation’s non-trading fees are minimal, which is excellent news for traders. They do not charge any account, deposit, or withdrawal fees. However, there are a few charges to be aware of:
- Inactivity Fee – Trade Nation charges an inactivity fee of $12.50 (or currency equivalent) per month if there is no trading activity on the account for six months or more.
- Overnight Financing – If you hold a leveraged CFD position overnight, you may be charged an overnight financing fee. This fee varies depending on the asset and is calculated using the relevant interbank rate plus a small markup.
- Currency Conversion – If you are trading assets denominated in a currency different from your account currency, Trade Nation will convert the funds at their prevailing exchange rate.
They charge a currency conversion fee of 0.5% on the conversion amount.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 74-89% of retail CFD accounts lose money. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Comparison of top CFD Platforms in the UK in 2023
|Broker||Regulation||Minimum Deposit||Spreads||Leverage||Trading Platforms||Negative Balance Protection||Trustpilot Reviews|
|eToro||FCA, ASIC||$10||From 0.6 pips||Up to 1:30||eToro Web, Mobile||✓||4.3 stars|
|Pepperstone||FCA, ASIC||$0||From 0.0 pips||Up to 1:30||MT4, MT5, cTrader, WebTrader||✓||4.6 stars|
|XTB||FCA, KNF||$0||From 0.1 pips||Up to 1:30||xStation5, MT4, Mobile||✓||3.7stars|
|Trade Nation||FCA||$0||From 0.6 pips||Up to 1:30||Trade Nation platform, Mobile||✓||4.7 stars|
What is CFD Trading?
CFD stands for Contracts for Difference. CFD trading is a type of financial trading that allows you to speculate on the price movements of financial instruments without owning the underlying asset.
This means you can profit from both rising and falling markets.
In CFD trading, you enter into a contract with a broker to exchange the difference in the price of an underlying asset between the opening and closing of a trade.
The underlying asset can be a stock, commodity, index, currency, or another financial instrument.
You don’t own the underlying asset but trade on its price movements.
Pros and Cons of CFD Trading
- Leverage – One of the most attractive features of CFD trading is the ability to trade on margin. This means that you can control a larger position with a smaller amount of capital. This can lead to potentially higher returns, as small price movements can have a greater impact on the value of your position.
- Flexibility – CFD trading allows you to take positions on a wide range of financial markets, including stocks, indices, commodities, and currencies. You can exploit opportunities in multiple markets without opening multiple trading accounts.
- Ability to Short Sell – In traditional trading, you can only profit if the value of an asset goes up. However, CFD trading allows you to profit from falling markets by short-selling an asset.
- No Stamp Duty – In many countries, CFD trading is exempt from stamp duty, which can be a significant cost.
- High Risk – CFD trading is a high-risk investment strategy and can result in significant losses. The use of leverage can magnify both gains and losses, so you need to have a solid risk management strategy in place.
- Complexity – CFD trading can be complex and requires a solid understanding of financial markets, trading strategies, and risk management. Without a good understanding of these factors, you could easily make costly mistakes.
- Hidden Costs – CFD brokers may charge hidden fees such as overnight financing charges, spreads, and commissions. These fees can eat into profits and should be carefully considered before choosing a broker.
- Limited Regulatory Oversight – CFD trading is only regulated in some countries, which can lead to a lack of transparency and potentially unfair practices by brokers.
FAQs about CFD Trading Platforms
Do I pay tax on my CFD trading profits?
Yes, any net profits from CFD trading in the UK are subject to capital gains tax. You do not pay stamp duty on CFDs though.
Is CFD trading riskier than buying shares?
Yes, CFD trading tends to be riskier than directly buying shares due to the use of leverage which can magnify losses. Be sure you understand the risks before trading CFDs.
Can I lose more than my deposit when CFD trading?
No, UK CFD brokers offer negative balance protection so you cannot lose more than your deposit. However, you can still lose your entire deposit.
What fees will I pay CFD trading?
You’ll typically pay spreads, commissions, overnight financing fees, and currency conversion fees. Check each broker’s fee structure.
Can I trade CFDs 24/7?
Many CFD brokers offer extended or even around-the-clock trading hours. But some markets may have reduced hours. Verify asset hours before trading.