Best CFD brokers for trading in 2023

An Invezz panel of experts regularly tests the best CFD brokers. This guide picks out the top platforms for CFD trading and compares their best features.
By:  & 
Updated: Jan 23, 2023
Listen to this article

Get started in minutes with our preferred broker, eToro.

10/10

79% of retail CFD accounts lose money

Visit site

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 trading platforms overall for 2023

  1. eToro: Best for beginners, copy-trading & demo-account
  2. Public: Best for sharing beginner trading ideas

Where can I find the best CFD trading platforms?

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.

1
Min. Deposit
$ 10
Promotion
User Score
10
Up to $240 bonus!
Deposit with ACA, Wire, Pay with my bank
Invest for dividends and get payout on stocks on Ex-Dividend day
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card, PayPal, Wire Transfer
Full Regulations:
CySEC, FCA
Investoo Ltd is compensated if you access certain of the products or services offered by eToro USA LLC and/or eToro USA Securities Inc., as applicable. This compensation incentivizes Investoo Ltd to describe those products and services in favorable terms. Any testimonials contained in this communication may not be representative of the experience of other eToro customers and such testimonials are not guarantees of future performance or success.
2
Min. Deposit
$ 0
Promotion
User Score
10
Get insights from millions of investors, creators, and analysts
Build your portfolio of stocks, ETFs, and crypto–all in one place
No minimum deposit
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Bank Wire, Check, Debit Card, Wire Transfer
Full Regulations:
Cryptocurrency execution and custody services are provided by Apex Crypto LLC (NMLS ID 1828849) through a software licensing agreement between Apex Crypto LLC and Public Crypto LLC. Crypto trading on Public platforms is served by Public Crypto LLC and offered through APEX Crypto. Please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved before trading.
3
Min. Deposit
$ 100
Promotion
User Score
10
Trade out-of-hours on over 70+ US stocks
Get exposure to a wide range of popular UK, US and international stocks
Enjoy flexible access to more than 17,000 global markets, with reliable execution
Start Trading
Payment Methods:
Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Debit Card, PayPal
Full Regulations:
ASIC, FCA, FINMA, is a licensed bank (IG Bank in Switzerland)
Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 68% 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.

Top 8 CFD trading platforms, reviewed

1. eToro. Best for beginners, copy-trading & demo-account

2900

No. assets

$10

Minimum deposit

Stocks

Platform type

Pros & Cons

Overview

Visit eToro Read Review

2. Public. Best for sharing beginner trading ideas

public.com logo

...

No. assets

...

Minimum deposit

Stocks

Platform type

Pros & Cons

Overview

Visit Read Review

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 – Variation in payment methods allows the user of the CFD platform a great variety of choice in deciding how to fund or withdraw from the account. No longer are retail investors stuck with the old methods that are slow and cumbersome. When using CFDs, you typically get convenient deposit methods such as credit/debit cards and e-wallets such as Skrill, Neteller and PayPal.
  • 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 top services 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. So, you do not own gold, silver, stocks, currency pairs, or any other assets on the CFD platform.

The advantage is that you don’t have to bother with the logistics of transporting your assets 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.

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 stock 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, all trading platforms in the UK are regulated and you’ll be enrolled into the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) when you open an account.

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.

FAQs

Can I use a CFD platform on my mobile phone?
Is it possible to short with CFDs?
Are CFD brokers regulated?
Is trading CFDs the best way to buy and sell assets?
Is online CFD trading legal?
Do I have to pay tax on any profits made through CFD trading?


Sources & references
Risk disclaimer

Invezz is a place where people can find reliable, unbiased information about finance, trading, and investing – but we do not offer financial advice and users should always carry out their own research. The assets covered on this website, including stocks, cryptocurrencies, and commodities can be highly volatile and new investors often lose money. Success in the financial markets is not guaranteed, and users should never invest more than they can afford to lose. You should consider your own personal circumstances and take the time to explore all your options before making any investment. Read our risk disclaimer >

Harry Atkins
Financial Writer
Harry was a Financial Writer for Invezz, drawing on more than a decade writing, editing and managing high-profile content for blue chip companies, Harry’s considerable experience… read more.
James Knight
Editor of Education
James is a lead content editor for Invezz. He's an avid trader and golfer, who spends an inordinate amount of time watching Leicester City and the… read more.