|Plus500 Pros||Plus500 Cons|
|24/7 access to responsive and high-quality help desk||Certain types of trading are not supported|
|Over 2,000 markets, including some ‘exotic’ assets||No telephone customer support|
|Great trading interface and top-grade regulatory protection|
Plus500 have a strong fintech pedigree. The firm’s six founders set the firm up with a relatively small initial capital investment ($400,000) but achieved success by designing their product to provide clients with a platform based on top-grade technology. The platform provides markets in Contracts for Difference (CFDs), delivering trading facilities on shares, forex, commodities, cryptocurrencies, ETFs, options and indices.
Founded in 2008, the firm has enjoyed continued success which ultimately led to it listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2018.
The Plus500 trading platform is offered by Plus500UK Ltd, a UK based company (Company No 07024970) with its offices located in the City of London at Plus500UK Ltd, 78 Cornhill | London EC3V 3QQ . The company is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) FRN 509909, to offer Contracts For Difference (CFD). Plus500UK Limited is a company registered in England and Wales specialising in Contracts for Difference (CFDs) in commodities, shares, currencies and indices.
Plus500UK Ltd is a subsidiary of Plus500 Ltd; a company listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Main Market for Listed Companies, and headquartered in the tech hub of Haifa.
Plus500CY Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (Licence No. 250/14).Plus500AU Pty Ltd holds AFSL #417727 issued by ASIC, FSP No. 486026 issued by the FMA in New Zealand and Authorised Financial Services Provider #47546 issued by the FSCA in South Africa.
Plus500SG Pte Ltd (UEN 201422211Z) holds a capital markets services license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore for dealing in capital markets products (License No. CMS100648-1).
The Plus500 is trading platform is truly global in nature. Its trading apps are supported in 32 languages, including English, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish, French, Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Estonian, Russian, Romanian, Hebrew, Arabic, and Traditional and Simplified Chinese.
Who does Plus500 appeal to?
Plus 500 is different – in a good way. The platform is packed with nice to have features which support the brokers claim to have based its offering on the latest tech.
The firm’s own site states their fresh approach to be a fundamental part of their business DNA. “Plus500’s strategic priorities have to date differentiated, and will continue to differentiate, Plus500 from its competitors and be fundamental to Plus500’s future success”
The strong technical ‘edge’ and application of IT to ensure the firm meets client needs, means the firm is very popular among those traders who give high priority to the mobile trading experience and customer satisfaction.
Unusually, customer support is available on a 24/7, rather than a 24/5 basis which will appeal to those traders who want to develop their ideas and strategies over the weekend.
The Retail Account is Plus 500’s standard ‘off the shelf account’ and will suit most needs. Those looking for something extra might want to consider the Professional Account which has T&Cs based on supporting a different kind of trading.
There is no additional cost associated with the Professional Account. but leverage terms are much more aggressive.
Islamic accounts are offered in some, but not all domiciles. UK based clients cannot currently access one though it is possible to go on a ‘watchlist’ and be updated when/if the situation changes.
Markets and territories
Plus500 is a global broker. The 2,000 markets on offer provide exposure to all areas of global trading. The platform hosts traders from over 50 countries and the service supports more than 30 languages. Not only are there a lot of markets to trade but there is a wide range of types of markets. Plus500 offer CFD markets in asset classes which include: stocks, forex, indices, ETFs, options, commodities and cryptocurrencies.
Some trading platforms are yet fully establish their operations in the North American markets. The good news for U.S. citizens, is that they are able to open Plus500 accounts. Clients from other domiciles (e.g. the UK) can also log in to their accounts if/when visiting the U.S.
Instruments and spreads
Some smaller brokers offer close to one hundred markets so Plus500’s decision to offer their clients more than 2,000 markets is to be congratulated. What is also impressive is that the extra instruments cover a range of categories rather than just offer more of the same. For example, there are an impressive number of Options markets on offer.
The range of bespoke indices deserve a mention. Clients are able to take exposure in certain assets without having to establish which of the individual firms are the best pick. The China Internet Giants index, for example, which is provided by BITA follows China’s top 30 internet companies including Alibaba, Baidu, JD.com and Weibo. Other indices include Cannabis Stocks, UK Brexit High 50, Lithium & Battery and Real Estate Giants.
During testing, the Options markets were seeing good flow. The success of the platform and number of clients it now hosts becoming something of a virtuous-circle for those using it.
The company is proud of its position as a rapidly growing CFD provider and currently offers its portfolio of over 2,000 instruments. It does well to make sure that those 2,000 are popular and associated with good amounts of trade flow.
Fees and commissions
The pricing at Plus500 is refreshingly transparent. Spreads are tight and there are no commissions.
The Live Prices section of the site allows traders to familiarise themselves with spreads in all markets. A sure sign that the broker is confident that its numbers stack up compared to the peer group.
Reassuringly – the Plus500 site is also transparent about the financing costs associated with trading. The information provided on how margin is calculated is in refreshingly plain language but covers all the pertinent points.
The administrative part of the Plus500 site (https://www.plus500.co.uk/) has a minimalist feel and can be easily navigated. All the sections of the trading dashboard can be easily accessed or minimised, meaning the functionality there supports traders who want to get down to business.
The actual trading platform is Web Trader based so offers a mix of user-friendliness and powerful software.
The trading dashboard includes a section which filters the market movers and allows clients to quickly head to the more volatile markets – and the trading opportunities they provide.
The different markets can be set up to have the same graphics apply to them. The Options markets still have enough flow in them to ensure that candles have bodies rather than dashes, reflecting an absence of market flow.
The execution interface has an uncluttered feel. The platform offers simple and advanced stop losses and take profits, but these don’t get in the way of the trading process. Nice to have features include the margin associated with each trade being displayed. The “Traders sentiment” feature is also useful. Four-eye checks like these can help avoid fat-finger errors and help traders achieve their aim of being profitable.
For those looking for granular detail that is always close to hand. The info tab provides traders with the core details of each market, including opening hours, minimum trading size and margin and leverage terms.
The Plus500 mobile trading experience does more than just allow its clients to keep in touch with the markets when on the move. It’s a real selling point for the firm. The interfaces available are Plus500 mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows phones. It’s also possible to access the platform through an internet browser.
Plus500’s willingness to embrace cutting edge technology is possibly most visible through its mobile trading platform. The range of clever features includes the ability to move to full-screen mode on charts and effortlessly switch from landscape to portrait layout. All of the technical indicators found on the desktop version are available on the smaller screen format of the service. The graphics also hold up well and allow users to analyse and trade using charting tools as varied as Anchored VWAP and Vortex Indicator. To give an idea of the scale of the mobile charting tools on offer – the tools which are listed alphabetically have 13 indicators starting with the letter ‘A’. It’s no surprise that estimates suggest that 40% of Plus 500 transactions were made by either Smartphones or tablets.
Plus500 introduced its Android-based trading platform for Android smartphones and tablets in 2012. They were early adopters of the technology and clients will benefit from their appetite for keeping that advantage over their peers. One of the nice to have features of the Plus500 apps is the auto-logout function which offers an additional layer of security and was introduced in 2019. The actual trading interface comes packed with all the risk management tools which one would normally find on a desktop dashboard.
Social trading and copy trading
Plus500 do not support Copy or Social Trading. Their emphasis is on supporting stand-alone trading. As their help desk point out: “Hello, no we don’t offer this feature. As a trader, you should do your own research and develop your own trading strategies. We cannot get involved in your trading activity or the trends of the instruments.”
Plus500 offer trading in a wide number of crypto markets. The instruments used are CFDs which means traders can short as well as go long and don’t require any special ‘wallets’ to access the market.
Clients can trade the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies with leverage and on a 24/7 basis. The markets on offer include: Bitcoin, Ethereum / Bitcoin, Ethereum, Crypto 10 Index, Litecoin, NEO, Ripple XRP, IOTA, Stellar, EOS, Bitcoin Cash ABC, Cardano, Tron, Monero.
Those looking to get exposure to the general sector and mimimise their Single Stock Risk can take advantage of the Bita Index based ‘Crypto 10’ index.
Charting and tools
The charting package in the Web Trader platform is very user friendly. The intuitive layout and colourful aesthetic are supported by a host of charting graphics and trading indicators. It does require users to invest a bit of time getting to grips with some of the more obscure features but it’s good to have them on offer.
Users shouldn’t be fooled by the basic layout of the charts. The very long list of indicators which are available to clients allow for in-depth analysis of the markets.
Special mention should be given for the dedication Plus500 give to ensuring the charting functionality carries over to the mobile format.
Plus500 offer a lot of support for new and novice traders. It’s possible to familiarise yourself with the trading platform, by watching the “Traders Guide” available on the Plus500 website at www.plus500.com under the “Tools” tab.
The training videos cover a range of topics. Some such as the explanation of slippage are particularly useful if not glamourous but touch on the details of trading in a way that helps traders be best prepared to enter the markets.
Offering an Economic Calendar is a market standard service and there isn’t much in the way of proprietary research. Plus500 appear to accept that traders can find a lot of free research elsewhere and instead the broker concentrates on keeping spreads tight and investing in IT upgrades to keep the trading experience cutting edge.
Trader protections by territory
Plus500 demonstrate that client protection and security are clearly of high importance. The regulatory bodies which they have licenses from and operate under are top-tier. The exact regulatory protection will be dependent on the domicile of the account holder. Those who hold accounts with Plus500UK Ltd are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 509909). Clients of Plus500CY Ltd fall under the umbrella of the firm which is authorised and regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (Licence No. 250/14).
Traders in other domiciles operated under regulators including: Plus500AU Pty Ltd holds AFSL #417727 issued by ASIC, FSP No. 486026 issued by the FMA in New Zealand and Authorised Financial Services Provider #47546 issued by the FSCA in South Africa. Plus500SG Pte Ltd (UEN 201422211Z) holds a capital markets services license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore for dealing in capital markets products (License No. CMS100648-1).
The protection offered includes segregation of client funds. When you open an account, Plus500UK Ltd will hold your funds on a segregated basis, in accordance with the Financial Conduct Authority’s client money rules.
Plus500 is listed on the London Stock Exchange which means it is obligated to publish extensive reports about its business operations. Something a privately owned company is not required to do.
In terms of operational risk, the firm does well to offer Guaranteed Stop Losses. Although there is a charge related to taking up this added layer of security it is something that not all brokers offer so Plus500 do well to make it available. Trailing stop-losses and take profit functions are more standard in nature and there is no surprise that Plus500 offer them.
The firm states that its clients can’t lose more than the funds they have on their account. The “Margin Call” feature exists in order to prevent your account from having a negative balance.
Other areas of the site reference Negative Balance Protection but provide few details of how Plus500 provide that service to clients. Whilst “Margin Calls” and Negative Balance Protection” are technically two different things they work towards the same goal. Plus 500 gain points for limiting customer losses to the size of the initial stake.
The firm offers a range of documents which go in great detail into the risks involved.
How to open an account
Opening a Demo account takes moments to do and the ability to trade and not lose any real capital is a great asset for beginners and those trying out new strategies and ideas.
Some brokers design their site to steer clients towards the time-consuming process of fully onboarding, even if they only really want to sample the site via a Demo account. Plus500 appear confident in their platform that it will sell itself so provide a very clear choice of live and demo trading options. Unlike some other brokers they don’t put a time limit on the time that a Demo account can be held open. This allows traders to test the service thoroughly before committing funds and also offers them to switch back to Demo mode when experimenting with new trading ideas.
As Plus500 operate under license from top-grade regulators there is a standard list of KYC (Know Your Client) material which needs to be processed during the onboarding process. This is the case with all brokers but Plus500 take advantage of their high-tech approach to the situation and have included some neat touches.
The firm doesn’t operate corporate accounts and discourages its clients from operating more than one account. It also prohibits some trading strategies such as: scalping, automated data entry system and hedging, or indeed those which fall under the definition of market abuse such as insider trading.
The platform doesn’t charge fees on deposits made using, debit/credit cards, bank transfer and PayPal/Skrill. As with other brokers there is always a risk that third parties do apply charges to deposits and withdrawals.
To ensure ‘good housekeeping’ the firm reserves the right to charge if a client should exceed the maximum number of monthly withdrawals. They also reserve the right to apply a charge on inactive accounts.
The FAQ section of the site is refreshingly light touch and can be accessed via this link, https://www.plus500.com/Help/FAQ.aspx. The less is more approach taken means that the core issues are addressed in this section and further queries are best directed to the Customer Support team.
Support can be contacted in a variety of ways – our testers noted the convenience of being able to use Whatsapp but there is no phone-based support. Live Chat response times were impressive, and users are hooked up directly to a customer support representative rather than a ‘bot’. The absence of phone support still remains an issue. No-one likes to have positions in the market but to be unable to call someone in an emergency.
One major advantage of Plus500 is that their customer support is available on a 24/7 basis. This provides traders with the opportunity to develop and enhance their trading strategies when markets are closed.
One of Plus500’s greatest achievements is their trading platform. It’s a sophisticated mix of convenience, user-friendly prompts and powerful software tools. The firm has been around for long enough to have fine-tuned the trading interface and it puts traders in just the right position to access the markets. There are a few nice-to-have touches which are a nod to the firm’s willingness to invest in new technology. The execution GUI is packed with risk management filters and ‘four-eye’ checks- all designed to help protect the bottom line.
As an established operator in the sector, the firm seized the opportunity to gain regulatory licenses from a range of the highest calibre regulators.
One of the firm’s mission statements is “World’s Trading Machine “. This certainly holds and gives a nod to the impressive software available. For some it might even take things to the point where the interaction with the site can feel a little impersonal, the lack of telephone support staff being part of this.
The reference to ‘trading machine’ ironically highlights that the platform doesn’t support systematic, copy or social trading.
Plus500 is well positioned in the broker space and is set up to optimise the trading experience of its clients. It’s decision to not support certain business lines (e.g. scalpers and robo-trading) means that it is much better positioned to support the services it does provide. There are over 300,000 active users on the platform demonstrating that for some traders Plus500 ticks all the boxes.
How can I open a Demo account with Plus500?
It only takes moments to process the application which requires little more than an email address and password. There is no charge to open and use a Plus500 Demo account.
Is Plus500 a regulated broker?
Plus500 are not only regulated but they have opted to satisfy the requirements to operate under license of some of the best quality global regulators. They hold regulatory licenses with (among others) FCA, CySec and ASIC.
Can I change leverage with Plus500?
The easiest way to change leverage is to scale up from a Retail account to a Professional account. This involves submitting an application, but the leverage on the Pro account will be sufficient for most purposes.
How do I withdraw money from Plus500?
The withdrawal process is straightforward enough. The funds have to be returned to the account which made the initial deposit – this is normal procedure and relates to money laundering compliance. There is some ‘chatter’ in the trading community about withdrawals taking some time to materialise so checking the T&Cs of your preferred payment type is recommended.Please be advised that certain products and/or multiplier levels may not be available for traders from EEA countries due to legal restrictions.