WHO IS THE BEST SPREAD BETTING BROKER? YOUR VOTE COUNTS
Selecting the best spread betting broker is a decision that depends on the individual. Some investors might prefer a broker offering a great selection of markets, while others would like additional trading offers like CFDs, ETFs and Forex. On this page, you will find our reader ratings, and that is why your opinion counts. If you have experience with one or more spread betting brokers, please vote and let us know who, in your opinion, is your favoured provider. This will help other users to get a realistic image of the brokers.
AskTraders.com is an independent consumer website, meaning that we are not dependent on any broker or committed to promoting or endorsing any individual provider. That is why our reviews are objective and reliable. We always test the individual providers ourselves and test them very carefully. We have many years of experience in online trading, meaning we know what to look for. As such, we have developed a checklist consisting of 10 categories. To facilitate your own rating, we would like to explain these categories in more detail and show you what we check, and which factors we include in our reviews.
Please take this as a suggestion for your own spread betting broker test. Maybe there are other aspects that matter more to you – in which case you should certainly include these points in your rating.
Categories & Criteria for your spread betting broker test
1. Trade offer
When it comes to evaluating the trade offer, we rate the range of different spread betting markets that a broker allows customers to access. Since spread betting brokers give you access not only to classic financial instruments but also to a wide range of other bets, the possibilities are vast. Therefore, a spread betting broker will usually try to cover just a specific segment of the many options available.
For this reason, we rate the trade offer only in comparison to other spread betting providers, rather than in terms of the total number of possible options. Other features we consider are the options the broker provides for traders who may wish to trade in other instruments, such as CFDs and ETFs or Forex, and how quickly a spread betting broker adds new options in its trade offer.
Our rating also takes into account factors such as costs and minimum deposits.
To summarise, we take into account:
- The core markets available compared to other brokers
- Other trading options to allow for an expansion of trading
- Minimum deposits and costs
Many spread betting brokers offer other underlying assets, such as indices, equities, commodities and currencies, because they are also operating as CFD and Forex brokers.
2. CONDITIONS, COSTS & FEES
Our spread betting broker experience shows clearly that the providers’ conditions may differ significantly. The size of the spread, which is the difference between buying and selling price, matters very much to the trader, and can vary greatly because this is where the broker makes his profit.
In our tests we pay attention to the smallest differences – as every pip matters here.
For example, if there is a spread of 0.5 percent, then an investor must first make a profit of 0.5 percent before breaking-even. The volatility, or fluctuation range, in spread betting is much higher than with conventional underlying assets. Nevertheless, the spread is an important cost factor to consider when deciding on a broker.
We also include all other fees in our test result, including possible commissions, minimum deposits, trade minimum limits and deposit margins, as well as fees for deposits, withdrawals and any account maintenance fees. The evaluation of fees takes place according to importance, since some fees have more impact on a trader‘s profits, like the spreads, while others are less significant, for example, inactivity fees.
Top 3 Spread Betting Broker Comparison
3. Account models for different requirements
As we have stated already, your choice of broker is always an individual one. Traders have varying demands and requirements, meaning some spread betting brokers will offer a variety of account models. According to our experience, this is especially important when there is an account type with fixed spreads – all the more relevant if traders wish to trade other financial instruments as well. Some providers in the spread betting arena act as market makers, providing the prices themselves, and can offer fixed spreads. But there are also ECN or STP trading offers that tend to pass the order to a virtual network or a liquidity pool. Depending on the trader‘s experience and preferences, this is an important factor.
VIP clients may receive preferential treatment and services via a special account type, but what constitutes a VIP is defined differently by each broker. VIP customers may get better conditions, special support services and other benefits that other traders don’t receive. However, in our opinion, it is not necessary to offer a VIP account to be named the best spread betting provider.
- Check for different account types with spread betting brokers
- Spread betting brokers that act as market makers may provide fixed spreads
- Other available options include ECN and STP accounts
- VIP customers may receive preferential treatment
4. TRADING PLATFORM AND MOBILE TRADING
Another category in the spread betting broker test is the rating of the trading platform. Here we tend to find a lot of variety, depending on the trade offer. Since many spread betting brokers offer other financial instruments and act as CFD and Forex brokers, they also provide a wide selection of trading platforms, as is customary in these sectors.
Beginners usually take their first steps in trading on a web-based trading platform. Such a platform can be easily loaded in a browser without the need for downloading and installing specific software. The trader simply logs in and has access to their broker account wherever and whenever they wish. Many spread betting brokers provide separate software for download, such as MetaTrader 4 – a feature you should consider when it comes to choosing your spread betting broker nominee. Personally, we do not think it is necessary to develop a proprietary trading platform, as long as the selection on offer satisfies customer requirements.
As well as the type and number of trading platforms, we also check the capacity and functionality of the trading platform, checking to see if the platform is suitable both for beginners and more advanced traders. From our point of view, additional features and functions such as chart analysis and other tools should be readily available. As for mobile trading, we look out for a broker app for Android and iOS, or other alternatives provided by the broker. A dynamic website with a mobile web view for smartphones or other mobile devices – if well designed – is perfectly satisfactory.
5. EASE OF USE OF THE WEBSITE
The user-friendly aspect of both the website and the trading platform is another factor included in our test evaluation. Ease of use does not stop at the layout and design of the website. We go one step further to see if all relevant information is easily accessible. Is the broker’s website intuitive? Is access to the registration and trading area easy and straightforward? These and other questions are on our checklist. When a broker anticipates the requirements of his clients, this is evidence that a good customer relationship matters to the company.
Our focus is also on the registration and verification processes. There may be certain legal requirements that have to be met. Therefore, opening an account can occasionally seem somewhat tedious from the customer's point of view. However, these legal issues should not be held against the broker.
Of similar importance is the accessibility of the broker’s website, especially in times of turbulent action on the stock market. A website that is always accessible is proof that the broker really cares for the success of his clients.
In terms of usability, you may wish to take these issues into account:
- Easy retrieval of information
- Uncomplicated registration and verification process
- Applications such as the search function should work well
- Clear language used on the homepage
Incidentally, if we find flaws during our tests, we usually inform the customer service team – an approach that allows us to test the support capabilities of the company at the same time.
6. Customer support
A provider that strives to become the best spread betting broker should provide outstanding support. We always state that the standard of customer service is an indicator of the quality of the spread betting broker in general. After all, the support staff are the direct link to the client. A broker who truly cares about a good customer relationship is sure to have well-trained and helpful employees. As such, we always test the customer support communication channels.
There should ideally be a free telephone hotline, e-mail and live chat functionality. Live chat has risen in importance in recent years. Another important element is a comprehensive, well-structured FAQ area that can answer the customer’s most pressing questions.
Have you already gained some experience of your broker’s customer service provisions? If so, have you been satisfied with the staff in terms of speed, friendliness and competence? Feel free to include these questions in your evaluation.
What matters to us regarding customer service:
- Courtesy and politeness
- Enquiry response rate
- Competence of employees
- Times of availability
In the case of complex issues and enquiries, it is perfectly acceptable if an employee has to check with a higher-level support team.
7. PAYMENT METHODS
This category is essential in our overall assessment, not only regarding deposits but also in terms of how the provider handles payouts. Occasionally, traders will hint at spread betting broker fraud if they feel that payouts are intentionally delayed.
Amongst the aspects we test in this category, we investigate whether the spread betting broker pays out at all, how fast, and under which conditions. We also evaluate the fees for deposits and withdrawals, and the number of payment methods available.
Most spread betting brokers allow access to a wide range of payment methods. A broker who wants to be considered amongst the best providers has to have a reasonable selection. Usually, spread betting brokers allow payments by bank transfer, which has the advantage that there is no amount limit, but payments require at least one working day until they are credited.
Good spread betting providers will offer other payment methods, whereby the capital is credited instantly to the broker. These payment methods typically include credit cards – with Visa and Mastercard widely accepted – PayPal, Skrill, Neteller and on occasion also Paysafecard, Sofortüberweisung or Giropay. However, only a few brokers offer the last three methods.
You may wish to check these factors:
- The minimum deposit amount
- Minimum payout amount
- The selection of payment methods
- Speed of transactions
- Possible fees for deposits and withdrawals
8. ADDITIONAL OFFERS
Our spread betting comparisons look at how brokers go beyond standard expectations. A good spread betting provider may offer a bonus or reward, such as a voucher on deposits. The crucial function of the additional offers is that they should help to make traders more successful in spread betting. To achieve this, the broker has to support the customer in a number of ways.
This includes, for example, a free spread betting demo account where users can make their first trades using virtual capital under real trading conditions – thus without the risk of losing real money. Such a demo account will not make you a professional trader, but will at least give you a feel for the high risks involved in spread betting.
As well as a demo account, extensive education and training content are welcome additions. Beginners can learn about spread betting using videos, webinars or e-books. While you will not become a professional trader instantly, these materials will help you learn the basics and make improvements when devising your trading strategies. In this regard, we pay particular attention to the quality of the content, rather than the quantity.
9. Regulation and deposit insurance
Something that matters very much in our broker comparisons is the question safety, particularly when it concerns your money. We check the regulations and deposit insurance specifics in minute detail. Of course, we can never be absolutely sure that a spread betting broker is trustworthy, but regulation and insurance are major clues.
To avoid spread betting broker fraud when trading, a reliable, trustworthy regulation is of utmost importance. The regulatory authorities of the EU, USA, Canada, Australia and Japan are known as particularly trustworthy supervisory bodies.
Spread betting brokers licensed in these countries usually offer a high standard of service. As well as regulation, we look into deposit insurance. The nature and extent of insurance is closely linked to regulation. For example, UK-registered spread betting providers have to offer deposit insurance of up to £50,000 per trader. There are some listed companies among them, and this is yet another sign of the broker‘s professional security. These companies have to meet more legal requirements, such as complying with MiFID or other guidelines.
Last but not least is the topic of security. The digital transformation of the financial services sector inevitably means for an increase in hacker attacks. More and more brokers invest considerably in their IT security to protect their clients’ money.
10. OPINIONS OF THE TRADE PRESS & AWARDS
We don’t believe that a brand new provider who has just entered the market can become the winner of one of our tests. We feel that any broker has to prove itself over time. Excellent conditions and services are all fine, but we want to make sure the provider will maintain its standards and quality of service for the long-term. Initial promises come cheap, but it is important to show you can keep those promises.
In our ratings, we also take the trade press into account. Newly established providers may not have a significant volume of objective and well-founded media coverage. We also tend to ignore press releases that come directly from the broker.
Of course, the media is not always objective. There is the chance that there may be negative headlines about brokers from time to time, but the coverage should be largely positive.
To receive trustworthy awards, a spread betting broker will have to have been on the market for a while. Usually, awards are given for outstanding support, excellent conditions or very good trading offers. We don’t just consider the number of awards, we take it one step further to see who awarded them. Renowned institutes are much more convincing than unknown ‘donors’. From our point of view, quality matters much more than the quantity of the awards.
Who is your personal spread betting broker test winner?
Now that you‘ve had an overview of the criteria that we use in our test reports, it is clear that our standards are high and are based on our own experiences. When selecting your preferred provider as your spread betting broker test winner, feel free to consider these points in your reviews.
Determining who is the best spread betting broker is based on the judgment of our readers alone – our opinion is not taken into account. We simply provide some guidelines to facilitate your decision.
With our years of experience in online trading, we know what to look for in our tests. You can be sure that our test reports and reviews are objective and authentic – AskTraders.com does not depend on any spread betting broker in any way. During our tests, we open accounts with the providers, test the broker‘s trading platform, contact the customer service team, make trades, and look at the terms & conditions. You are welcome to use our expertise.
If you already have experience with a provider, please cast your vote now. At the end of the year, we will look at who received the most votes, and this broker will receive the annual readers’ award.