Adding a contract for difference (CFD) to your portfolio could reduce your risk and increase your returns through diversification. A typical CFD trading platform lets you trade thousands of financial instruments and commodities, with no obligation to own the underlying asset.
CFDs let you speculate on a price movement of an asset, whether stocks, cryptocurrencies, commodities or forex, giving you the ability to diversify your trading over a wide range of assets. Keep in mind that trading in CFD contracts cannot be traded by U.S. residents.
In the following article, Benzinga reviews the best CFD platforms currently available for trading, taking into account key features like commissions, markets, payments and regulation.
11 Best CFD Platforms for Trading
Here are our top picks for the best CFD trading platforms.
- Best for Mobile Users: Plus500
- Best for Social Trading: eToro
- Best for Long Term Traders: Vantage Markets
- Best Overall: Interactive Brokers
- Best for Cryptocurrency CFDs: Capital.com
- Best for Canadian CFD traders: CMC Markets
- Best for Non-US Clients: SmartFX
- Best for Ease-of-Use: FOREX.com
- Best for MetaTrader Users: HYCM
- Best for Advanced Traders: MultiBank Group
- Best for Easy-to-Use Forex Platform: Trade Nation
1. Best for Mobile Users: Plus500
When you work with Plus500, you gain access to a European derivatives broker that focuses primarily on CFDs (contracts for difference). Because CFDs are similar to binary options, you need bit of organization that Plus500 offers.
CFDs are not offered in the U.S., they are popular around the world, and that’s where Plus500 steps in. There are no commissions on Plus500, and the platform only profits from the spreads that you pay.
Remember, however, that Plus500 is not necessarily for beginners. If you know what you’re doing, you can easily jump into the fray with Plus500, but there isn’t a lot of extra information for novice investors.
If you’re looking for a powerful mobile app, an unlimited demo account and the potential to diversify your portfolio massively, Plus500 is the place to be.
- No commissions
- Perfect for advanced traders
- Powerful mobile app
- Not suitable for beginners
- Not available in the U.S.
2. Best for Social Trading: eToro
- securely through eToro Forex's websiteBest For:Demo Accounts
CFD trading is not available to U.S. users. 74% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
In addition to CFDs, you can also trade a wide range of financial instruments via this multi-regulated broker’s excellent trading platform. eToro also provides excellent educational resources for novices.
eToro has a relatively low minimum deposit to begin trading for clients residing in the U.K., the EU and most other countries, although certain countries have higher requirements. Additional deposits need to be at least $50, and the minimum amount for a wire transfer deposit is $500.
Experienced traders or investors based in the EU or U.K. might qualify for an eToro Professional account if they execute more than 10 significant transactions per quarter and have an investment portfolio in excess of €500,000.
eToro helped pioneer the social trading phenomenon by providing an intuitive and easy-to-navigate copy trading platform to access its impressive social trading community, so it gets Benzinga’s top spot for social trading.
- Forex: Trade 49 forex pair CFDs with a leverage ratio of up to 30:1 on major currency pairs such as EUR/USD and 20:1 leverage for non-major currency pairs. Dealing spreads are typically quite narrow, although they differ depending on liquidity.
- Stock Indices: Trade CFDs in 15 major indices with a leverage ratio of up to 10:1.
- Stock CFDs: Trade up to 44 different major stock CFDs using a leverage ratio of up to 5:1.
- Commodities: Trade 32 different commodity CFDs with a leverage ratio of 10:1 through eToro. Gold has a maximum leverage ratio of 20:1.
- Crypto CFDs: Trade CFDs on 12 cryptocurrencies with a maximum leverage ratio of 2:1.
- Excellent educational resources
- Wide range of tradable assets in addition to CFDs
- Hosts the world’s largest social trading community
- Negative balance protection
- Inactivity fee after 12 months of no login activity
- $5 fee for withdrawals
3. Best for Long Term Traders: Vantage Markets
Vantage Markets is an online broker that specializes in forex and CFD trading. They offer 3 account types and the ability to trade on 9 different markets. To register, you must qualify first.
Once on the platform, you gain access to various features such as spreads starting at 0 pips, free educational tools, multiple assets for portfolio building, Islamic accounts, and functionality for different types of traders.
The platform also offers low fees, leverage up to 1:500, and 24/7 customer support. Although more trading instruments could be added, non-US users can buy into CFDs for further diversification. Islamic investors can open accounts that align with their principles.
- A range of bonuses is available—check out their website to see what’s available today
- Fund managers can set up multiple sub-accounts to keep funds separate and utilize specific trading strategies
- No deposit fees
- While you can educate yourself on this platform, it seems to be designed for more advanced traders and might overwhelm less-experienced users
4. Best Overall: Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers offers some of the lowest commissions and fees for retail traders, as well as some of the highest quality features, research and services available for traders. Interactive Brokers is also one of the most professional and versatile online brokers currently available to retail traders who can afford its substantial initial deposit of $10,000 or the equivalent.
Interactive Brokers operates in 150 markets in 33 countries and you can open an account in 25 different currencies. Interactive Brokers is represented on all major world markets and exchanges, plus most regional stock, options and commodities exchanges. The broker is overseen by all major regulators around the world. While the broker is U.S.-based, its CFD trading operation is based in the U.K.
Interactive Brokers placed first on Benzinga’s list for best CFD platforms for its research tools, excellent trading platform and access to a wide variety of tradable assets.
- Forex: Trade over 80 currency pair CFDs through Interactive Brokers with access to real-time data from 14 of the world’s leading forex-dealing banks. This feature along with a transparent low commission avoids conflicts of interest such as those that occur with brokers that deal for their accounts. Interactive Brokers’s order book lets you place orders away from or between the prevailing market in an electronic communications network (ECN) structure. You can also access FXTrader, an exclusive optimized interface that provides specially designed tools to trade the forex market.
- Indices: Trade all major world equity indices in lots as small as 1X the index level. CFDs on indices do not expire, unlike the underlying futures contracts, which can save you rollover and other costs.
- Metals: Trade CFDs on London gold and silver. The quoted CFD price comes from quote streams of approximately 10 major banks. The IB SmartRouting system then obtains the best price, which becomes the reference price for the CFD trade. Gold has a 0.015% per trade fee, while silver trades have a 0.03% fee, both with a minimum $2.00 charge.
- Share CFDs: Trade approximately 8,000 different share CFDs from principal markets in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Share CFDs reflect the exchange quoted price for the underlying shares with IB SmartRouting technology used to determine the CFD reference price. Retail clients are subject to an initial 20% margin requirement, although commissions start at just 0.05% with lower commissions available for active traders.
- Trade CFDs and underlying assets in the same account and screen
- Low margins and fees
- Trader Workstation desktop trading platform
- Fundamental and technical analysis resources
- Limited CFD selection
- High initial deposit amount
5. Best for Crypto CFD Traders: Capital.com
- Disclaimer: 84% of retail CFD accounts lose money.Best For:Market-Leading Spreads
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 84% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Capital.com is a global company with seven offices in the U.K. and elsewhere. The broker is overseen by the FCA, CySEC, ASIC, Seychelles’ FSA and the Belarus NBRB. The minimum deposit to open an account at Capital.com is only $20, but bank transfer deposits must be at least $250. NBRB-regulated accounts let you leverage cryptos, commodities, forex currency pairs and indices at a ratio of 100:1, while shares can be leveraged at 20:1.
Capital.com comes out on top for its large selection of cryptocurrency CFDs that do not require a key or wallet for taking possession of the cryptocurrency. You can trade CFDs on over 6,100 underlying assets through this broker.
- Indices: Trade 17 of the world’s largest stock indices. Leverage ratios are typically 20:1 for FCA and ASIC/CySEC regulated accounts.
- Shares: Trade up to 1,700 different share CFDs on the world’s major stock exchanges. You can trade major stocks from global exchanges with leverage ratios typically 5:1 for FCA and ASIC/CySEC regulated accounts.
- Commodities: Trade CFDs on energy, precious metal and agricultural commodities using typical leverage ratios of 10:1, except for gold which is 20:1 for FCA and ASIC/CySEC regulated accounts.
- Forex: Trade CFDs on 7 major, 5 minor and 6 exotic currency pairs with leverage typically 30:1 for FCA and ASIC/CySEC regulated accounts.
- Cryptocurrencies: Trade 25 cryptocurrencies and 450 crypto pair CFDs with leverage of 2:1 in an ASIC/CySEC regulated account.
- Customer service in 24 languages
- Easy account opening process
- Over 450 crypto CFDs available for trading
- Negative balance and client fund protection
- Low minimum deposit
- U.K. clients can place spread bets
- Only CFDs and real stock are available for trading
- Doesn't offer PAMM or copy trading accounts
6. Best for Canadian CFD traders: CMC Markets
CMC Markets has won numerous awards, and its competitive pricing and easy-to-navigate mobile and desktop platform make it an excellent choice for Canadians and U.K. residents. CMC Markets is regulated in the U.K. by the FCA and its stock is listed on the London Stock Exchange. Accounts held by CMC Markets Germany GmbH are regulated by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin).
CMC Markets provides access to trade over 11,500 global instruments with competitive spreads and rates. Trading leverage varies from 30:1 for forex pairs to 2:1 for cryptocurrencies.
- Forex: Trade over 330 different currency pairs with dealing spreads starting at 0.07 pips. Margin rates for forex are the lowest at 3.3%. CMC combines eight feeds from tier-one banks to obtain the best exchange rates for your trading. You can get fully automated executions in as little as 0.0045 seconds on most forex trades with minimal slippage.
- Indices: Trade over 80 indices can be traded with a minimum spread of 0.3 points with 6.667:1 leverage. No dealer intervention regardless of your trading size means no partial fills, and you can trade 24 hours a day 5 days a week.
- Cryptocurrencies: Trade up to 14 crypto CFDs with a minimum spread of 3.8 points and leverage of 2:1. CMC guarantees a 99.9% fill rate with fully automated lightning-fast executions. Also, if you’re in Canada or the U.K., you pay no capital gains tax on profits from cryptocurrency spread bets.
- Commodities: Trade over 100 cash and forward commodities with spreads as low as 0.3 points with 20:1 leverage. Some commodities trade up to 23 hours a day, and you trade “cash” markets with tighter spreads and no rollovers.
- Shares: Over 9,000 U.S. and Canadian listed shares CFDs are available to trade with a minimum spread of just 0.10% or 0.02 per share on many U.S. and Canadian shares with 5:1 leverage.
- Treasuries: Trade CFDs on more than 50 global interest rate and government debt instruments with 5:1 leverage. You get fully automated, fast executions with no dealer intervention and no partial fills.
- Most currency pairs of any forex brokers
- Fully automated trading
- U.K.-based 24/5 customer support
- Proprietary commodity and cryptocurrency indices
- High stock CFD fees
- Only allows for CFD trading
7. Best for Non-US Clients: SmartFX
Founded in 2018 and owned and operated by Smart Securities and Commodities Limited. SmartFX offers offshore forex and contracts for CFD brokers based in the South Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu. This CFD trading platform offers access to 24/7 forex trading and CFD markets utilizing the MetaTrader 5 (MT5) trading platform.
SmartFX is a great trading option for non-us clients, forex traders, CFD traders, and high leverage position traders. Their MT5 trading platform offers a mobile version free of charge that closely resembles the desktop trading platform.
SmartFX also offers 24/5 support, over 80 built-in technical indicators, two position accounting systems for hedging and netting, a built-in virtual private server (VPS), and fundamental analysis features based on current news and the economic calendar.
You'll have the ability to trade forex currency pairs, futures, and CFDs on stock indices, commodities and equities. All in all, SmartFX gives you access to over 2,000 tradable assets. Here's a deeper look into SmartFX:
- Forex: SmartFX lets you trade in 41 major, minor and exotic currency pairs, as well as spot gold and silver.
- Indices: CFDs on 12 world stock indices are available to trade through SmartFX, including the US30 and US500 Indices, the Japan 225, the UK 100 Cash Index, the Australian 200 Index, the Germany 30, the France 40, the Hong Kong 50 Index, and the EU 50.
- Equities: SmartFX supports CFD trading on around 1,600 of the biggest U.S. and European stocks. SmartFX offers direct liquidity pricing with real-time quotes straight from the world’s leading stock exchanges.
- Futures: You can trade several futures contracts via SmartFX on certain metals (gold, silver and copper), energy products (crude oil, brent oil and natural gas), German stock indices and the U.S. Dollar Index.
- Up to 400:1 leverage
- Over 2,000 trading tools
- ECN model
- MT5 trading platform
- High minimum deposit for new traders
- No referral program for retail traders
8. Best for Ease-of-Use: FOREX.com
- securely through Forex.com NON US's websiteBest For:MetaTrader 4 Users
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 72% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
FOREX.com, a regulated firm, provides 220 CFDs in major asset classes under its FOREX.com brand. By testing FOREX.com's platforms and reviewing the provided information, one can confirm their reliability. FOREX.com provides CFD trading on stocks, commodities, and indexes, with exceptional platform speed and performance.
FOREX.com offers access to their Advanced Trading Platform, MetaTrader 4 platform, and web-based platform as well as mobile trading options for all traders. The accessibility options guarantee no missed experiences.
To initiate your account, a minimum deposit of $50 in your chosen base currency is necessary. FOREX.com suggests a minimum deposit of $2,500 to increase flexibility and enhance risk management during account trading.
FOREX.com offers 24/5 availability during market hours. FOREX.com provides CFDs exclusively in regions regulated by FCA and Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA).
- More than 80 currencies pairs
- Excellent educational resources and research tools
- Regulated in four tier-1 jurisdictions
- MT4 trading platform available
- Stocks and bonds not available to trade
9. Best for MetaTrader Users: HYCM
HYCM, which is a division of the Henyep Group, was founded in 1977 and is authorized by two tier-1 regulators. A deposit of $100 is required to access trading in indices, commodities, cryptocurrency, and 69 currency pairs.
HYCM provides users with three account options, each with unique fee structures, allowing for customization based on trade frequency and risk profile. The trading options provided are in compliance with Islamic standards.
HYCM offers support for both MetaTrader 4 and 5 trading software. It also has its own in-house trading platform. As a trader with HYCM, you will have access to an extensive collection of educational materials and tools for technical and fundamental analysis.
- Three account levels with varying fee structures
- 60+ currency pairs
- Customer support in 12 languages and across various social media apps
- Excellent educational resources and tools
- MetaTrader 4 and 5 and the HYCM trader app
- Inactivity fees
- Only allows for forex and CFD trading
10. Best for Advanced Traders: MultiBank Group
MultiBank Group was established in California, USA in 2005 and is currently headquartered in Dubai, UAE. The company now has a capital of over US$ 322 million, making it one of the largest and most regulated financial derivatives companies in the world. MultiBank Group provides a range of online financial products, including Forex, Metals, Shares, Indices, Commodities and Crypto financial derivatives, with prime liquidity, advanced technology, and customer service.
MultiBank Group's trading volume is US$ 12.1 billion per day, and it has a clientele of over 1,000,000 in 90 countries. The company strives to provide high-quality products and services to clients, and therefore invests in the latest technology. MultiBank Group has a clean regulatory record with all its regulators, which can be attributed to its status as a highly regulated financial derivatives group. The Group includes multiple financial institutions that comply with regulations from 11 financial regulators across 5 continents, including ASIC, AUSTRAC, BaFin, CIMA, FMA, FSC, HKCE, MAS, SCA, TFG, and VFSC.
- 24/7 multilingual customer service assistance
- Access to over 20,000 trading instruments
- Negative Balance Protection
- 11+ Financial Regulators
- Swap-Free trading accounts
- Low Spreads
- Inactivity fees
- Lack of research and educational tools
Best for Easy-to-Use Forex Platform: Trade Nation
When you start using Trade Nation, you can do more than trade CFDs. You gain access to the whole forex market, allowing you to build your portfolio that much faster. You can trade in over 1000 markets, and you will see quite a lot of information for each asset in which you plan to invest. Plus, you confine this sort of trading to the Trade Nation site. If you need to trade ont he go, the mobile version is just as powerful and simple.
Yes, U.S. traders can’t use this platform, but it’s a really good place to start if you’re new or expand if you want more diversity.
- Copy trading forex pairs is one of the easiest ways to learn how to markets function
- Beginners can learn how to trade the markets for free before using their funded accounts
- The platform requires that you take quite a lot of care with risk mitigation given the assets you can trade here
Features to Look for in CFD Trading Platforms
Keep these things in mind when looking for a suitable CFD trading platform:
The less you pay out to your CFD broker in trading costs, the more money you will have in your trading account. Trading costs include trading commissions and fees, dealing spreads and account management fees.
You will want to select a CFD trading partner that offers CFDs on all the underlying assets you wish to trade.
How easily and quickly you can access your broker in case a problem arises and how well they respond to queries and resolve issues can make a substantial difference to your success as a CFD trader. Also, novice traders may require more customer support and educational materials while they learn the ropes of CFD trading.
Many CFD traders want to be able to watch asset markets, check their CFD trade executions, enter trades and perform market analysis using their smartphones or tablets while away from their desktop computers. A CFD broker having a mobile app suitable for your device can therefore become a priority feature.
Trading from Charts
If you plan on doing technical analysis and then quickly entering a trade when you spot an opportunity, you will probably want to trade directly from price charts. Most decent CFD trading platforms will offer this important feature.
Since CFD trading opportunities are often fleeting, transactions need to be executed quickly. Make sure a broker you are considering has quick transaction times for clients based in your locale and that issues like order slippage and requotes are minimal. You can test execution speeds by making small transactions in a live account.
5 Steps for How to Trade CFDs
If you’re thinking of CFD investing or trading CFDs, remember that this activity is more like calculated gambling than investing, so only use risk capital that you can afford to lose completely as margin. Just follow the steps below to get started:
#1 - Select a CFD Trading Partner and Open an Account
Retail traders will probably need to use an online CFD broker and its supported platform to execute CFD transactions. Check out the selection of trading platforms listed above if you’d like help deciding which broker might suit you best as a trading partner. Visit your chosen broker’s website to open and fund a CFD trading account.
#2 - Develop and Test a CFD Trading Plan in a Demo Account
Trading with a plan helps avoid many pitfalls CFD trading novices can fall into. If you are new to trading, first educate yourself about what moves the markets you’ll be trading and how to analyze them. You can test trading ideas and strategies without risking real money in a practice account that most brokers let you open without obligation or funds.
#3 - Fund your Account and use Your Plan to Identify Trading Opportunities
Once you have developed and tested a winning trading plan, you can fund a live trading account with risk capital and use your plan to identify potentially profitable trades.
#4 - Use Broker’s Trading Platform to Execute Trades
When your plan identifies a good CFD trade, open up your broker’s trading platform that is connected to your live trading account and enter the trade. Once a position has been established, you can enter a stop loss and limit order to close out the position automatically.
#5 - Close a CFD Trade out
Depending on how you decide to manage your CFD position and how the underlying asset performs, you might close out your CFD trade for a net gain or loss. That amount is then either added to or deducted from your trading account balance less any transaction fees.
How You Can Improve Your Finances
Improving your finances puts you in a better position from which you can then enjoy life as well as possible given your unique financial circumstances. Here’s some tips on how you can improve your finances:
Understand your Debt-to-Income Ratio
Your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is the total of your debt payments each month divided by your total monthly income. Lenders use this metric to measure your ability to repay the money you apply to borrow from them. Each lender and loan product might have different maximum DTI criteria.
Pay off Your Interest-bearing Debts
Interest-bearing debts are those that involve you paying interest on money you were loaned. Examples might include loans from banks, mortgages, car loans, credit card balances and student loans. Paying off debts with higher interest rates can help improve your finances. Also, since some debts are secured, such as a mortgage or car loan, while others are unsecured, such as credit card debt, avoid exchanging unsecured debt for secured debt, even if you might get an interest rate advantage.
Set up Automatic Payments
To help you save money and reduce the time spent making routine payments, you can set up automatic payments from the account where your income is deposited to your savings account, to debt repayment plans and to utility companies.
Invest for the Future
Remember to set money aside for your future needs, the higher education of your children and your retirement. Investing generally involves putting money into assets that you expect will grow in value over time and that will help offset your money’s value reduction over time because of inflation. For example, you can invest in stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, real estate and collectibles, but make sure your investment horizon fits that of the asset you invest in.
Save Money for Emergencies and Major Purchases
Prudent financial planning involves saving emergency money of up to six months of necessary expenses. You can also save money for large purchases, such as a home, car or boat, but if you cannot buy such an item with cash, you can instead save money for a deposit so you can finance the purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are CFDs good for trading?
Those traders who wish to use leverage tend to find CFDs attractive, and CFDs are typically simpler to trade than the underlying asset. Still, trading CFDs involves special risks that include minimal broker regulation, possible low liquidity and the need to maintain enough margin to cover possible leveraged losses.
Is CFD trading profitable?
If you have a sound trading plan, then CFD trading might be profitable for you, and some people have reported making substantial sums of money trading CFDs. You can also profit from both upwards and downwards trending markets when trading CFDs.
Get a Forex Pro on Your Side
FOREX.com, registered with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), lets you trade a wide range of forex markets plus spot metals with low pricing and fast, quality execution on every trade.
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- EUR/USD as low as 0.2 with fixed $5 commissions per 100,000
- Powerful, purpose-built currency trading platforms
- Monthly cash rebates of up to $9 per million dollars traded with FOREX.com’s Active Trader Program
Learn more about FOREX.com’s low pricing and how you can get started trading with FOREX.com.