WHO’S THE BEST CFD BROKER? YOUR VOTE COUNTS
What is required from a personal CFD Broker will be completely dependent on the individual – different criteria are important to different traders. The ratings you find on this page are not our own, but those of our readers. That's why your opinion matters. If you have experience with a provider, please cast your vote and rate the broker. This will help other readers to get an authentic picture of all the providers.
At AskTraders.com, we have many years of relevant experience in CFD trading, we are completely independent and not obliged to promote any provider.
To compare brokers, we’ve developed a 10 point checklist to aid us in providing a thorough evaluation. In order to make your personal rating a little easier, we’d love to share our criteria in greater detail. We’ll show you what we look for in our broker test reports and which features we focus on. You might want to include these aspects in your assessment. But please remember, this just a guideline.
Our opinion of who is the best CFD provider is not relevant here – the result for the CFD test winner is based exclusively on our readers’ votes.
Criteria for your CFD Broker Test
1. Trade offer
Here we take a close look at the trade offer, in particular the number of underlying assets. As a rule, CFD brokers offer a large number of underlying assets including indices, equities, commodities and interest rates. Also, most CFD brokers cover currency pairs, or Forex. As a general rule, it can be said that the larger the trade offer, the better the provider, but we certainly don’t restrict ourselves to just looking at the number of underlying assets.
The quality of the trade offer is also important to us in the test, and we attach great importance to diversity. The broker should offer CFDs on underlying assets from different industries and countries. Our experience shows that in addition to a large number of indices, interest rates and commodities, there should be a range of stock CFDs available, and occasionally also CFDs on ETFs – especially from Germany and the USA. Equity CFDs from other European countries, Canada and some Asian and Latin American countries may also be included in the offer.
Since most CFD brokers also offer Forex trading, this is certainly important to consider, too. For a while now, a few brokers have been offering CFDs in various cryptocurrencies, so we check to see if that option is available as well. But there may be other aspects you would like to consider. What exactly do you value in the trade offer?
Top 3 CFD Broker Comparison
2. Conditions, Costs & Fees
In our CFD broker assessments, we consider the broker’s conditions. The fees charged are an integral part of our test results. If a broker offers good deals and a range of assets, but does not convince us of their value in terms of fees, we adjust our rating accordingly.
We always consider the fact that there are spreads on each trade. The more active a trader is, the more they will incur costs in the form of spreads. Over time, this can really add up, and the higher the spreads, the worse the trader’s overall performance. Since online trading is ultimately about making money, we look very closely at this area, and assess costs for both very active traders and occasional hobby traders.
Therefore, in our evaluations, we do not weigh the fees equally – our evaluations are based on importance. Spreads and commissions come first – the lower these are, the better. Above all, we pay attention to the fees on the most popular underlying assets, such as the DAX, Dow Jones, S&P 500 and popular currency pairs, as well as gold and oil. Of course, we understand that the spread is very much higher for extremely exotic underlying assets than for liquid assets.
These fees might be included in your rating:
- Deposit or account maintenance fees
- Spreads & commissions
- Fees for deposits and withdrawals
- Other costs, such as inactivity fees or currency conversions
- Discounts & bonuses for frequent traders
3. ACCOUNT MODELS FOR DIFFERENT INVESTOR GROUPS
The majority of brokers have several account models available to meet the different needs of investors. It is a good sign if the provider is suitable for both beginners and experienced traders, but in the end, you decide who is the best CFD broker for you, given your level of experience.
As a rule, the account models are suitable for beginners, advanced and professional traders. In some cases, there is also a classification according to trading volume or account size. For beginners, an account type known as a market maker model is often offered, where the broker provides the prices. Beginners find that this often has the advantage of fixed spreads and liquid underlying assets.
Experienced traders, or traders with higher trading volumes, use STP and ECN accounts in Forex trading, with direct access to a pool of several banks and institutional traders where spreads are usually best. In return, there is a commission per trade, so this model is not suitable for beginners. VIP customers, who are usually traders with very high trading volume, can often open an individual customised account.
What we also examine in our CFD broker tests is the possibility to integrate various software and trading programs, such as MetaTrader 4. You may also want to consider this point in your evaluation.
4. TRADING PLATFORM & MOBILE TRADING
CFD brokers often offer multiple trading platforms. These may include a web-based platform, a download of proprietary software for your desktop, and a mobile trading app for Android and iOS. If you wish, you can also include this aspect in your rating.
To suit the needs of different traders, the selection of platforms should be diverse. Ideally, the broker will provide a web-based application. This means that the trader can call up the platform directly in their browser and trade there – a download is not required. On the other hand, the broker should also offer connectivity to other trading software such as MetaTrader 4. The development of proprietary software for download is, in our opinion, not absolutely necessary, since offers such as MT4 already offer very good quality.
Furthermore, the scope of functions should be diverse. By that we mean that the trading platform should be suitable not only for beginners, but also for experienced traders. Advanced traders should be satisfied with the features and analysis functionality.
These days, almost every CFD broker has a smartphone app. If you already have some experience with mobile applications, you can also incorporate the quality of the app into your test result.
5. Ease of use of the website
The user-friendly aspect of the website is also a feature we scrutinise. In our opinion it’s not much use if the website is attractive to look at, but is missing essential information, is hard to navigate, or has applications that just do not work.
We argue that it is important for a broker to pay attention to these aspects, as it proves that they are truly interested in the customer and strive to address their needs. Minor defects are sometimes acceptable, but major faults in functionality are not.
As already indicated, we check the website’s structure to ascertain if the user can easily find their way around, if all important information is available, if the registration and validation process is simple, what kind of assistance the broker offers, and so on. There may be certain legal aspects of the registration process that could be an annoyance from the user’s point of view – such as identity verification – but these are an indication of platform security, and can’t be avoided.
We also test whether the website, and particularly the trading platform, is available even during hectic stock market phases. Nothing would be more frustrating than if you could not access your brokerage account in turbulent times. If you have had negative experiences here with your CFD providers, please take this into account in your ratings.
What we value in terms of usability:
- Easy retrieval of information
- Easy registration & verification
- Clear design and information
- Good functionality
6. CUSTOMER SUPPORT
From the quality of customer service, conclusions may be drawn on the general quality of the broker. The employees are the figurehead of the broker and the direct line to the customer. If the team does a good job, it suggests that the broker is interested in the success of its clients. Customer support should be available via email, telephone and live chat. Of course, there should also be an extensive FAQ area on the website where customers can access general information and the answers to important questions.
Have you already had experiences with customer support? If so, were you satisfied with the response? It is especially important to know whether the employees are friendly and competent as well as reasonably quick in their response. In certain cases, the staff may have to check details before responding, which is perfectly fine, as long as this is done quickly and efficiently. Of course, it would be ideal if the support staff themselves have CFD experience.
In our test results we also include the availability of customer support. Depending on the size of the company, a wide range of contact options should be available around the clock. 24/5 support is important to us because CFD trading is usually possible 24/5.
7. METHODS OF PAYMENT
Most CFD brokers offer a wide range of payment methods for CFD deposits and withdrawals. We believe that a provider who wants to be established as the ‘best CFD broker’ should offer a reasonable choice of payment methods. Of course, this includes bank transfers, but other payment options must also be available – especially those that allow customers to deposit money immediately. Examples include credit cards like Visa and Mastercard, PayPal, Sofortüberweisung, Giropay, Skrill, Neteller and Paysafecard. There is no issue if the broker doesn’t offer all payment options, but there should be a selection to choose from.
We also look at the fees for broker deposits and withdrawals. We feel that deposits and withdrawals do not always have to be free, but fees should be as low as possible, and at least one free payment method should be available. After all, high fees are detrimental to your trading performance. Your actual performance is naturally not affected by the fees, but they reduce your payout. Fortunately, there are a number of brokers that allow free transactions.
You might also want to investigate these factors:
- Minimum deposit amount
- Minimum payout
- Selection and number of payment methods
- Transaction speed
- Conditions of payment options
8. ADDITIONAL OFFERS
In our broker comparisons we also make sure that the company offers comprehensive additional services. What do we mean by additional services? Bonuses and offers play a part, but we focus more on help and support for online traders. After all, this will ultimately help you to be successful in CFD trading. An outstanding provider, for example, typically offers a free CFD demo account for new and existing customers.
A demo account allows beginners to approach CFD trading slowly and without risk. Users can gain access to the broker’s platform and trade with virtual capital under real trading conditions. Of course, you can’t become a professional dealer with demo trading, but it makes it easier for you to get started. A demo account also provides the opportunity to get to know the broker’s platform and its various functions. Traders with some experience often like to test new strategies via a demo account.
In addition to the CFD demo account, we review the broker in terms of education and training. Here we look for quality over quantity. Basic education materials include a selection of free e-books, webinars, seminars, video tutorials, blog posts and news, as well as an up-to-date newsletter and trading tips. In addition, a broker should provide an economic calendar with all relevant data. When choosing your test winner, you could of course consider rating other aspects as well.
9. Regulation & Deposit Insurance
Regulation and deposit insurance are among the most fundamental aspects of our checklist. Again, quality is more important than quantity. A provider may be subject to regulation, possibly in several countries, but this alone says nothing about their integrity. The regulating body is relevant, in our opinion. A regulation by the German BaFin, for example, is significantly better than a registration in a Pacific nation. Of course, we would not automatically accuse a broker of CFD fraud, based on poor regulation, or regulation in certain countries. However, regulation by well-known and respected authorities is certainly desirable.
You can never tell if a CFD Broker is trustworthy, with total certainty, but we advise you to at least look at the evidence available. Regulations from the EU, Japan, USA, Canada or Australia are outstanding because we know that the authorities in question look very closely at the companies, and the brokers have to transmit data and information regularly, sometimes even daily.
Another important point in our CFD broker test is the extent of deposit insurance. This varies from country to country. In the UK, for example, the amount is £50,000 per trader. The deposit insurance offer can be an indicator of integrity, as these companies need to meet even more requirements. You can also assess security by seeing if a broker offers the following:
- Segregated accounts – clients’ capital is managed separately from corporate assets
- SSL website encryption and other IT security measures
- MiFID requirements (EU directives to financial institutions)
- Secure payment options
- Compliance with regulatory guidelines
- CFD broker without obligatory additional funding
10. OPINIONS OF THE TRADE PRESS & AWARDS
A brand new provider on the market will have a hard time becoming the best CFD broker, because we also include the opinions of the trade press and various awards in our rating, which is something that takes time to build up. With CFD trading however, the bigger and better known a company is, the greater the media interest and the more divided opinions may be. Therefore, it sometimes happens that a very large player in the market gets occasional negative publicity.
Inexperienced traders sometimes accuse the broker of CFD fraud, but this can sometimes be the result of the trader not fully understanding how risky CFD trading can be. Traders do lose money sometimes, and the reason can be their own trading strategies and not necessarily any problem with the provider. So, it may happen that even a good CFD broker gets negative publicity from time to time, but of course most of the headlines should be positive.
In order to receive awards, the CFD Broker must have been active for a while. We do not just count the number of awards a broker receives, but rate who awards them and why. There are usually awards for the conditions, customer service and commercial quality. Awards from renowned institutes are included in our test results with a significantly higher weighting than those from lesser known sources.
That is why it’s so hard for totally new providers to rate highly in our broker comparisons. We believe a company has to prove itself over a certain period of time. Often, providers have high ambitions, with the claim that they will reform the world of trading, but a broker needs to prove themselves first, in our opinion.
Vote now for your CFD test winner
We have described the rigorous criteria we always apply in our CFD comparisons. These criteria can help you with your vote. As mentioned earlier, the reviews you will find on this page are solely ratings from our readers. That is, we do not decide the CFD test winner – you do. We only provide assistance on what to look out for.
At this point, we would like to emphasise again that AskTraders.com is an independent website and we are not committed to any CFD broker. We open accounts, carry out trades, test the support and take a close look at the fine print. Our experience and test reports are therefore objective and trustworthy. We also have many years of experience in online trading, so you are welcome to consult our expertise at any time.
In the end, you have to be satisfied with the provider. Therefore, you will find only authentic reviews of real users here. If you already have some experience, then please vote, as this will help other readers to make an informed decision about which broker to choose – our rankings are constantly updated. At the end of the year we will look at which provider received the most votes, who will then receive the readers‘ award.