Plus500 is a leading provider of Contracts for Difference (CFDs) whose free lifelong demo account is a good starting point for novice traders to gain confidence before their first real trade. Since it was founded in 2008, Plus500 has earned a reputation as one of the most reliable and professional online CFD brokers. Traders have the peace of mind that all its subsidiaries are authorized and regulated by the top financial regulators. CFDs appeal to traders because they allow them to trade share price movements without selling or buying the underlying asset. Plus500’s innovative trading technology gives account holders access to CFD trading with more than 2,000 instruments.
Regulation & Reputation
Since its inception in 2008, Plus500 has earned a reputation among traders in the online community as being reliable and trusted. Plus500 Ltd is listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange, which also helps to bolster the broker’s reputation as being financially stable. In terms of regulatory oversight, Plus500 subsidiaries are regulated by several regulatory agencies:
- Plus500UK Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 509909).
- Plus500CY Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (Licence No. 250/14).
- Plus500AU Pty Ltd, ACN 153 301 681, AFSL # 417727, issued by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is authorised to issue these products to Australian residents.
- Derivatives issuer licence in New Zealand, FSP #. 486026 authorises them to issue these products to New Zealand residents.
- Plus500AU Pty Ltd, is also an authorised Financial Services Provider in South Africa, FSP 47546.
With subsidiaries as regulated entities under the UK’s FCA, ASIC in Australia and CySEC, Plus500 is able to work with traders from Australia, Europe and the UK. Clients can therefore take advantage of the benefits of being protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and Investors Compensation Scheme. For full details of the protection these schemes offer, visit the website.
Although Plus500 uses a proprietary trading platform, the trading platform (Webtrader) is able to cater to the different needs of the broker’s international clientele base, as it is available across several different versions. There is a desktop version of the trading platform which traders can download and install onto their computers. Retail and professional accounts operate on the same platform. This creates pros and cons but with advanced research tools next to the ability to execute trades in a user friendly way the platform performs well.
For those who wish to trade directly from the internet, there is a web-based version of the trading platform which can be accessed with any web browser. There is no integration with MT4 at present.
A mobile version of the trading platform is also available to traders who wish to trade the markets using just their smartphones or mobile devices. Provided free of charge, the mobile trading app can be downloaded directly from Google Playstore or Apple App Store.
The mobile app is fully functioning, and offers all the trading options that the web based version does. It is a single click download, and trading via the app is quick and easy. Look and feel between mobile and web based platforms is kept the same, making transition between the two very easy. Both Android and iOS versions retain all the same low trading fees, spreads and rates etc, and any trading portfolio is retained across all platforms.
Two real account types are provided. You will be prompted to choose between the Real Money mode and Demo mode on the platform.
- Standard Account
This is the basic live trading account with a minimum deposit requirement of $100 and a maximum leverage of 1:30. The spread is variable and there are no commissions.
- Professional Account
To apply for this account type, existing traders must have performed at least 10 transactions per quarter for the last one year. The trading activity can be with Plus500 or other brokers. Also, the total investment portfolio of the trader must be at up to EUR500,000. Professional account holders trade with a leverage up to 1:300 and also get the benefits offered to retail customers at no extra cost.
The demo account offered is free and unlimited. This is very necessary for new traders to familiarize themselves with the market and trading platforms offered. Registration is simple and easy. Clients are required to fill the short form or login with gmail or facebook account; in which case, no forms are required. Immediate access to the Plus500 webtrader is granted and demo trading can commence.
It is easy to upgrade from a demo account to a live account. All that is needed is to fill a more detailed form, verify the account and deposit funds. Clients from USA, Canada, Cuba, Iran, Yemen, North Korea, Belgium, Iraq, Syria and Nigeria are not permitted to register and use the services of Plus500.
Deposit & Withdrawals options
There are various deposit and withdrawal methods available. Generally, there are no deposit and withdrawal charges. Withdrawal is free for up to 5 times in a month, after which it is charged at $10 per withdrawal. Every deposit must originate from a Plus500 account holder’s personal bank/card or e-wallet account. Third-party transfers are not acceptable but transfers from joint accounts can be accepted with supporting documentation. The following payment options are available:
- Debit/Credit Cards: MasterCard and VISA debit/credit cards are accepted for deposits and withdrawals. The minimum transaction amount is $100. If a client chooses to withdraw a lesser amount, $10 will be charged. Withdrawal takes 1-3 days to complete.
- Bank Transfer: This involves transfer between banks and it takes 5-7 business days for processing. The minimum deposit is $500 and minimum withdrawal amount is $100. Withdrawals lower than $100 is charged a fee of $10.
- Paypal/Skrill: These e-wallet payments are accepted. Usually, the deposits are instantly processed. The minimum withdrawal amount is $50. If you withdraw less, $10 will be charged. It takes 3-7 business days for the withdrawal processing using either Paypal or Skrill.
Fees incurred by Plus500 as a result of currency conversion between banks are passed on to the client. So far, there have been no reports of loss of deposits with Plus500
Research and Education
Unfortunately, there is no research offered by Plus500. The company does offer a limited education section called the Trader’s Guide, which has a few videos that can help traders get started. They also have a fairly comprehensive Risk Management section which explains to traders how to best mitigate their risks while trading. Some brokers have made the case that advanced traders don’t need education, as they already know how to trade, and there is some validity to this claim. However, since Plus500’s platform is relevant to traders at all levels, it would be nice if the company would expand their educational offerings.
Clients have access to customer support 24/7 via live chat or e-mail, which is nice, as most brokers only offer support 24/5. An FAQ section covers the most basic questions. The website covers thirty-two languages, and customer support is equally multi-lingual. Broadly speaking, most traders never require assistance from a broker’s support team. In case the need arises, Plus500 provides adequate support capabilities, highly rated by over 8,100 ratings.
Commissions & Fees
Plus500 has a minimum deposit of €100 and does not give discounts to active traders or VIP clients. Plus500 appears to offer competitive spreads on most of its major forex pairs, while minor pairs are a mixed bag.
Forex pairs: In our analysis, some forex pairs had spreads that were priced competitively, while spreads on other pairs were more expensive. For example, in August 2018, the USD/CAD seemed to be priced competitively at Plus500 with an observed spread of 1.3 pips. Meanwhile, other pairs offered, such as the USD/CHF and NZD/USD, had higher spreads than some competitors, with the spread on USD/CHF at four pips, and NZD/USD at 3.6 pips.
Spreads: On the EUR/USD, the spread in the platform was listed as fixed at 0.00006, which is 0.6 pips, yet it is essential to note that while fixed spreads are not variable, they are subject to adjustments. During October 2019, the spread from Plus500 for the EUR/USD was 0.6 pips. Because Plus500 doesn’t publish “average” spreads, which can help traders get an idea of what spreads are like at a broker, it is challenging to compare Plus500’s prices to other firms at any given time.
Plus500 doesn’t offer any of the special features we typically look for from a broker. It doesn’t allow for automated trading via expert advisors or other trading algorithms, it doesn’t provide back-testing functionality, nor does it allow clients to manage third-party funds via PAMM or MAM trading platforms. The company simply provides a streamlined WebTrader platform along with similar mobile trading apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices where clients can place and monitor trades.
The platform is clearly targeted to those who just need a mechanism for executing trades without a lot of advanced functionality. Guaranteed stops are available on some markets; however, they come with an increased spread and cannot be added to previously opened trades.
What You Need to Know
Plus500 is best for the cost-conscious trader. This broker has very competitive spreads, which keeps costs low. However, extra features like auto-trading, MT4, and Expert Advisors are not available. Experienced investors who prefer to enter and exit their trades manually may find the functionality tradeoff worth the lower expenses.
Assuming you are trading with an account set up by the U.K. version of Plus500, the additional security of regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority is also a plus. Many investors are nervous about the lack of protection for accounts held with dealers in Cyprus or similar jurisdictions.
Additionally, Plus500 allows traders access to vanilla call and put options on many markets. These options work like the exchange-traded versions except that they are non-standardized. This means that the options from Plus500 can be customized and adjusted for your risk tolerance and strategy goals.