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- 1. Compare 8 best CFD brokers & online platforms in 2023
- 2. Best CFD broker online overall for 2023
- 3. Where can I find the best platform for CFD trading?
- 4. Top 8 CFD trading platforms, reviewed
- 5. The best CFD brokers for your needs
- 6. What are CFD brokers?
- 7. What should I look for in a CFD broker?
- 8. Quick answers to key questions
- 9. What are the advantages of using a CFD broker?
- 10. And what are the drawbacks?
- 11. Should I use a CFD broker platform?
- 12. FAQs
Compare 8 best CFD brokers & online platforms in 2023
77% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
We have tested 40+ of the leading CFD brokers in order to help you get started with CFD trading. Our panel assessed each CFD platform against six criteria and used the results to create a final ranking. The six criteria are:
- Commissions and fees
- Security and regulatory status
- Range of markets
- Mobile accessibility
- Demo and social trading features
- Research tools
Every CFD broker we tested was given a score for each criteria and we added up the scores to reach a final ranking. Read on to find out the results.
Best CFD broker online overall for 2023
Where can I find the best platform for CFD trading?
These are the top CFD brokers with the highest score in our test. A low cost of trading and high security were very important to our panel and each of these services scored well on both counts.
77% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
Top 8 CFD trading platforms, reviewed
1. eToro. Best for beginners, copy-trading & demo-account
Pros & Cons
We love eToro because you can trade more than 3,000 stocks, commission free. When you buy stocks on eToro, you’re buying the underlying asset, which means you can earn dividends. Or you can trade fractional shares, which means you can invest in even the most expensive stock from just $10.
As well as being a broker that offers lots of investor protection, eToro offers a very social trading experience. You can easily see what’s trending on the stock market every day, browse the latest analyst opinion about every one of those stocks, and copy other people’s trade suggestions from your desktop or the eToro app.
The fees: Stock and ETF trades are commission free. Stock CFDs are charged a 0.15% spread and overnight fees can apply. You can deposit money for free but you have to pay $5 per withdrawal, and there’s a minimum withdrawal of $30. A $10 per month activity fee is charged if you don’t log in for a year.
77% of retail CFD accounts lose money.
2. Public. Best for sharing beginner trading ideas
Pros & Cons
We love Public because it’s a social platform where you can share trading tips and get ideas from other people. Public offers 9,000+ financial instruments, including cryptocurrencies and stocks from around the world.
Alongside a community of other investors all sharing their ideas, Public offers real time news and information so that you can see the full picture before you invest. And the assets don’t just include your run-of-the-mill assets; you can make alternative investments in things like handbags and comic books as well.
The fees: There are no fees for investing in stocks during regular trading hours in the US – 9.30am-4pm EST. There is a $2.99 fee for trades outside of regular hours.
The best CFD brokers for your needs
What is the best CFD broker for beginners?
eToro has the best service for new traders. The platform is designed for new users, with social features like CopyTrader to help you learn from other traders. Here are more beginner-friendly CFD platforms:
|CFD provider||Trading fees||Learning resources?|
|eToro||From 0% commission||Yes|
What is the cheapest CFD broker?
Pepperstone is the best low fee CFD broker. It offers the best value as calculated through a combination of trading, overnight, and inactivity fees. Here is a low fee CFD brokers list:
|CFD provider||Trading fees||Overnight fees?||Inactivity fees?|
|eToro||From 0% commission||Yes||Yes|
What is the best low spread CFD broker?
Pepperstone has the lowest spreads of any CFD trading platform. It offers extremely low average spreads on popular assets like major forex pairs. Here are more low spread CFD platforms:
|CFD provider||Ave. spread|
|City Index||1.1 pips|
What is the best CFD forex broker?
City Index has the best range of forex pairs combined with a great trading experience. You can trade the major, minor, and some exotic pairs. Here are more CFD brokers for trading forex:
|CFD provider||No. currency pairs|
What is the best CFD broker for trading with leverage?
AvaTrade has the best combination of leverage and user experience. Leverage is capped by law at 30:1 for retail traders in the UK and Europe, so you won’t be able to access any more leverage than that unless you are a professional trader.
Here are the platforms that offer the best leveraged CFD trading experience:
|CFD provider||Max. leverage (retail)|
What is the best high leverage CFD broker?
Pepperstone offers the highest amount of leverage to professional CFD traders. You must meet various requirements to qualify as a professional, such as minimum deposits and proof of funds. Here are more options to help you find a high leverage CFD broker online:
|CFD provider||Max. leverage (professional)|
What is the best CFD broker for scalping?
Admiral Markets offers rapid trade execution with low trading fees. Speed and price are to of the most important considerations when scalping. Here are some more scalping CFD broker:
|CFD provider||Trading fees||Ave. order speed|
|City Index||0% commission (excl. shares)||0.05s|
What is the best CFD broker for free stock trading?
eToro offers 0% commission on stocks, so it’s the best option for low fee CFD trading. Opening an account is free and there are no management fees. Here are some more free CFD trading platforms:
|Best broker (CFD)||Trading fees||Total stock CFDs|
|eToro||From 0% commission||3118+|
|Plus500||From 0% commission||2800+|
What is the best CFD broker for US stocks?
Skilling is the best for trading US stock CFDs. There are more than 700 stocks available, including all the leading companies that are listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ stock exchange. Here is a list to help you find the best CFD platform for US CFDs:
|CFD provider||Stock exchanges available|
What is the best small stakes CFD broker?
Skilling. To trade with small stakes, you need a CFD broker like Skilling that has low minimum trade sizes. You can start trading with a few pence once you’ve made an initial deposit. Here are more platforms for small stakes CFD trading.
|CFD provider||Min. trade|
What is the best CFD broker for advanced order execution?
City Index has the fastest order speed of any broker we surveyed. Its top of the range order execution means that you often get a better price on limit orders and it has a near perfect execution record. Here are more ways to trade with fast execution speeds:
|CFD provider||Ave. execution speed|
What is the best CFD broker for professional traders?
Capital.com has the best combination of speed, cost, and analysis tools for the expert trader. Set the parameters of your order in advance, including entry and exit points, trade size, and limit price, and Capital will execute as soon as those triggers are set off. Here are more CFD options for the pros:
|Best broker (CFD)||Trading fees|
|City Index||0% commission (excl. shares)|
What is the best CFD broker for large traders?
FXCM is the best option for CFD traders who want to to trade big and often. It offers no limit on max trade size, fast execution speeds, and a trading platform that integrates with MT4, MT5, and Trading View.
Here is a selection of leading options to help you find the best CFD platform for large traders:
|CFD provider||Max. trade size|
|City Index||No max|
What are CFD brokers?
Platforms that allow you to trade financial assets using a contract for difference. In other words, you use a CFD broker to trade assets such as stocks and shares, indices, commodities, currencies and cryptocurrencies without the need for the physical delivery of the underlying asset.
What is CFD trading?
The online trading of financial assets in which traders aim to profit from the difference in the price of the underlying asset, without physical delivery or exchange of that asset taking place between buyer and seller.
The assets in question are regular financial instruments, such as stocks on the London Stock Exchange, or major currency pairs. The difference between actually buying those stocks or forex pairs and using a CFD is that with a CFD you never own the asset, you merely trade a contract that represents its current price.
For instance, the contracts on gold are based on the actual trading values of gold on the primary exchange where it is traded, which is the COMEX exchange in London.
If someone is trading crude oil, there is no exchange or delivery of crude oil. Rather, the platform establishes the CFD contract on crude oil based on the price of crude oil on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) or the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE).
How does a CFD broker work?
The function of a CFD broker is to provide a trader with access to the market where the assets are listed, with prices drawn from the underlying exchanges. They can then place various types of orders for the asset classes listed on their chosen platform.
The principal aspect of using CFDs is that no exchange of the underlying asset takes place. The participants in the CFD trades are only trading the difference in prices of the contracts. These contracts are based on the prices of the underlying assets themselves.
Whenever an order is placed, the order is matched by the CFD broker using a dealing desk to ensure speedy execution, using a counter-order in the same quantity as the trader’s request.
So if a trader places an order for an asset, it is transmitted through the front-end of the engine (such as the MT4 desktop or mobile client). It gets transmitted to the back-end of the software at the dealer’s dealing desk, where it is matched with a SELL order of the same quantity. Once executed, the execution order is transmitted back to the front-end, where it shows the trader that the order has been executed. The whole process lasts just milliseconds.
What should I look for in a CFD broker?
There are many things to look out for, we recommend these as your core focus when picking the best CFD provider:
- Use a regulated platform. Make sure to pick a CFD trading platform that is regulated by the financial authority where you live. For instance, activity in the United Kingdom is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
- Payment method variety. There are lots of different ways to fund a CFD forex broker. You typically get convenient deposit methods such as credit/debit cards and e-wallets such as Skrill, Neteller, and PayPal. Make sure your preferred payment method is available.
- Large asset selection. The best CFD trading platform will have a large number of assets, providing you with flexibility in terms of what you can trade. Is the currency market in a slow march? You can switch over to stocks or indices. Choose brokers with a large asset selection such as stocks, bonds and more and you won’t get stuck in non-performing markets.
- Good reputation – Certain online CFD trading platforms may have a good offering, but if their user experience leaves something to be desired, they’re probably best avoided. Always check for online reviews provided by real, verified users. This step can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
- Ease of use – The best CFD brokers are well-designed and pleasing to the eye. Badly designed ones can be counterintuitive to use and induce visual fatigue over long periods of use. Speed and ease of use are vital factors when you’re trading.
- Demo account – Many top CFD brokers offer demo accounts to test your skills in a ‘false’ market environment. It mimics the real world, but your balance is essentially fake. Start with £100 or £100,000 and get started!
Quick answers to key questions
Do I own the assets I’m trading on a CFD trading platform?
No. When you trade CFDs you don’t own any underlying assets, it’s purely a means of speculating on price.
The advantage is that you don’t have to bother with the logistics of transporting your assets from an online CFD broker to a point of exchange or worry about the safety and security of the assets.
You only trade on the underlying price changes of each asset so you can perform CFD trades faster and take advantage of price fluctuations much quicker.
Trades on CFD platforms are also leveraged, so you don’t need a large capital outlay to get involved with CFDs. This makes CFD trading ideal for professional traders and offers enough flexibility for most retail CFD traders as well.
What options do I have when CFD trading?
You can either take a long position with the expectation that the price will rise, or – crucially – a short position if you expect the prices to fall. The ability to go short is one of the biggest differences between trading a CFD and trading the underlying asset.
So if you purchase an asset for, say, £1.50 per unit and you purchase 100 units of the asset, the entry price would cost you £150. If the price rises to £2.10 per unit, the position would be worth £210. Therefore, your profit (the difference between the entry and exit price) would be 210 – 150 = £60.
Similarly, if you sell an asset for £400 and the price falls to £230, your profit would be the difference between 400 and 230, which is £170.
Will I have to verify my account with a CFD broker?
Yes. International financial regulations require that all services must verify the identity and residence of all clients on their platforms. Some may go a step further to ask you for statements of accounts from where your funds will come from.
CFD brokers must be regulated, and providing your identity with and residence with a government-issued ID such as an international passport/drivers’ license or a utility bill/bank statement will suffice to verify your account.
Is online CFD trading secure?
It is very secure. Many CFD brokers have implemented a segregated accounting system for their clients where the primary capital is lodged in the members’ area and only deployed on the trader’s express requests.
Some of these processes are now protected using 2-factor authentication (via SMS or email). Furthermore, many platforms use very high-grade encryption protocols to protect all CFD trader information entered on their websites.
Can I trade multiple assets on a CFD trading platform?
Yes, it’s possible to trade CFDs on virtually any financial asset. It’s most commonly used to trade forex pairs, but many of the best CFD trading platforms offer commodity CFDs and stock CFDs, as well as exchange-traded funds.
Crypto CFDs are available in some countries, like the US, but not in others.
Will I be charged a fee to trade CFDs?
You normally won’t have to pay any commission fees but a rollover fee will be applied for keeping your CFD trades open overnight or over the weekend. Sometimes flat-rate withdrawal fees are applied.
Can I use CFD trading apps?
Yes, most CFD trading platforms offer a mobile app, with virtually the same features as the desktop version. You can trade CFD instruments on the go or from the comfort of your couch.
Which broker has the most CFDs?
eToro has the largest collection of CFDs available to trade, with more than 3000 available to trade. Here are some more brokers with the most CFDs available:
|CFD trading platform||Total CFDs|
What are the advantages of using a CFD broker?
The best CFD trading platform provides exposure to almost any popular asset without having to own or physically deliver that asset. Your trades can be leveraged, allowing you to use a small amount of collateral to control large positions, while the spreads are usually low and trades are commission-free.
CFD trading is also more or less instant and is suited to a relatively active trading style. It’s best for people who are looking to speculate on price movements rather than benefit from the long term advantages of holding certain assets.
And what are the drawbacks?
The drawback of not owning underlying assets is that you don’t get any of the benefits of ownership. So you aren’t entitled to dividends if you own a stock CFD, which you would be if you owned the stock itself.
Similarly, you can’t use gold as a long-term hedge or store of value because you don’t own any gold bullion if you buy a CFD.
In addition, CFDs have recently come under leverage restrictions from the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). Therefore, services of this type in the UK and EU have started to apply restrictions, reducing leverage – which used to be as high as 1:500 – to 1:30 at most for casual CFD traders.
Crypto CFDs have been banned entirely in the UK to protect investors from using leverage to speculate on unrestricted and volatile assets.
Should I use a CFD broker platform?
A CFD broker is ideal if you want to trade multiple asset classes and want to generate short term results through an active trading strategy. Online CFD trading platforms offer a lot of flexibility: you can go short, use leverage, and buy and sell assets much faster than is possible elsewhere.
Furthermore, financial brokers in the UK are regulated, so you’ll be enrolled into the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) when you open an account with the best platform for CFD trading.
This is a form of trader insurance contributed by the broker on your behalf. The scheme provides for a maximum compensation of £50,000 to CFD traders whose monies are lost as a result of broker insolvency or liquidation.
Ultimately, it depends on what’s important to you. CFDs may not be best suited to investors with a long term view in mind. But the low cost of trading means a CFD broker is a relatively simple way for beginner traders to get started.
Yes, most CFD brokers are mobile-enabled. You can either use mobile apps which are available from the Google Play or App Stores, or you can use web-based versions that are optimised for mobile display and use.
Yes, brokers afford the trader the opportunity to short assets in addition to buying and reselling at a higher price. Shorting an asset requires you to click the SELL button on your platform to benefit from falling prices.
Yes, in the UK, for example, CFD platforms are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
In other countries, other regulators take on the role of regulation. For instance, the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) performs this function for Cypriot-based brokers.
Make sure to check for the FCA approval when picking the best CFD broker. You can do it on our company review pages.
Most retail CFD traders do not have the financial capacity to trade CFD assets in their full contract specifications in the underlying markets.
Therefore, CFDs represent the easiest way to gain exposure to the price of many of these assets in a low-cost, leverage-enabled manner. So yes, a regulated brokerage represents the best way to get involved.
Yes, in the UK it is entirely legal. The ESMA rules have confused a lot of people and many have misinterpreted the “CFD restrictions” to mean an outright ban by ESMA.
The only difference is that these services now have new guidelines relating to how their products should be marketed and offered to their clients.
In the UK, if you earn above a certain threshold from your activities as a profit, you will be liable to pay capital gains tax. CFDs are classified as “chargeable assets”.
If you make above £11,700 in the course of a year as profit, you will pay a staggered figure (depending on the level of profit) of between 10% and 20%.
This is the only tax you will pay in the UK. If you reside outside the UK, you may be liable to pay other taxes prescribed by your tax authorities.
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