Plus500, a trademark of Plus500 Ltd, is a company who's principal activity is offering online trading in contracts for difference, known as (CFDs), delivered through a proprietary trading platform via the web and other electronic channels.

Founded in 2008, the Israel-based company operates via several subsidiaries throughout Europe and the Asia-Pacific region and is registered with the relevant regulatory authorities. Like many CFD brokers, Plus500 does not accept U.S. traders. Disclaimer: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 73% 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.

Plus500 Ltd (PLUS.L) is a publicly traded company that has been listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and is a member of the FTSE 250. Plus500UK Ltd., a U.K.-based company with its offices located in the City of London, is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA #509909). Plus500 Ltd., the parent company, is headquartered in Haifa, Israel.

The broker offers clients in more than 50 countries access to a comprehensive product line of CFDs on many instruments including forex, stock indices, individual shares, commodities, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies (availability subject to regulation). Plus500 is also the first broker to introduce a Bitcoin CFD in 2013. Moreover, the broker offers access to options CFDs trading on many markets. These allow you to speculate on the future price of the underlying reference instrument and differ from regular options in that they are cash settled.

Key Takeaways

  • Plus500 is for customers that seek access to a wide range of financial markets with low trading costs and a simple, functional platform on which to place their trades.
  • Plus500 offers guaranteed stop loss orders.
  • Plus500 is regulated by the FCA in the U.K.

Who Plus500 Is For

Plus500 is for the individual that seeks access to a wide range of financial markets with low trading costs and a simple, functional platform on which to place their trades. Plus500 offers over 2,000+ CFDs on its trading platform with competitive spreads and no commissions. This should entice the experienced trader who prefers to transact manually and finds the lower cost worth the lack of added functionality that some competitors offer.

Pros
  • Access to more than 2,000 CFDs

  • Easy-to-use and functional platform

  • Regulated by FCA (U.K.)

  • Guaranteed stop loss orders

  • Negative balance protection

Cons
  • Customer support lacking

  • Does not accept U.S. clients

  • Trading platform cannot be paired with other trading tools or platforms

Pros Explained

  • Plus500 offers clients in more than 50 countries access to a comprehensive product line of CDFs, including CDFs on forex, stock indices, individual shares, commodities, ETFs, options, and cryptocurrencies (availability subject to regulation).
  • Their trading platform has a simple and easy-to-use interface that lets you create watchlists, analyze charts, as well as place and monitor trades.
  • Plus500 is regulated by the FCA which is one of the main regulatory agencies in the U.K. and is highly regarded globally for being strict in ensuring that market practices are fair for both individuals and businesses. Simply put, being regulated by a reputable government-backed agency goes a long way towards establishing the credibility of a firm.
  • Guaranteed stop loss orders, which protect the trader from market gap risk, are available on some instruments depending on market conditions but they are subject to a wider spread.
  • Plus500 offers negative balance protection, which is mandated under ESMA rules that went into effect in 2018, ensuring that clients cannot lose more than they have put into their account.

Cons Explained

  • Plus500's customer service options are limited to WhatsApp chat and email support with the lack of a telephone number, even for sales inquiries, being the most glaring omission.
  • Plus500 does not accept U.S. clients due to the fact that CFD trading is generally not legal in the United States.
  • Advanced traders who rely on incorporating third-party analytical and automation tools in their trading process will be disappointed as none of these tools can be integrated directly with WebTrader. Moreover, back-testing functionality is not available either.

Costs

2.8

As is the norm in the brokerage industry, Plus500 generates its revenues principally from customer trades that "cross" the bid/ask spread, which are competitive within the industry. The company does not charge commissions on any client transactions. The spread is stable with trade size, but obviously is paid on each unit.

Additionally, the broker also generates revenues by charging premiums, effectively a financing charge, on positions held overnight by clients, which may be subject to currency conversion charges if they trade in a currency other than the account's base currency. Furthermore, there are fees for "guaranteed stop loss orders" (GSLO), and inactivity fees kick in after an account has been idle for three months.

Traders can qualify for a "professional" account, which offers higher leverage, but the costs are the same. Investors with a professional account may increase their maximum leverage to as high as 1:300 for some instruments.

One of Plus500's selling points is that it does not subject client accounts to ancillary fees. There are no charges for normal withdrawals or terminating an account. The minimum amount of money need to trade varies with the underlying instrument. Funding options include Visa or MasterCard debit/credit cards, e-wallets (PayPal or Skrill), and bank funds transfers.

Trade Experience

2.2

WebTrader, Plus500's proprietary platform, offers a streamlined trading experience that is stable and easy to access from multiple devices and systems (Windows PCs, web browsers, smartphones, and tablets).

WebTrader has a simple and easy-to-use interface that lets you create watchlists, analyze charts, as well as place and monitor trades. The technical analysis charts offer many technical indicators that you can apply to many different time frames, from tick charts to weekly charts. However, unlike many of its competitors, Plus500 does not offer the immensely popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform, a platform alternative that would provide more functionality and customization options for clients.

The most appealing feature of Plus500's WebTrader and other versions of their platform is that it's easy to use with layouts that will feel familiar to experienced traders. Clients can choose from more than 2,000 instruments, analyze their selection on a customizable technical analysis chart, and place their trade in just a few clicks, all within the same window. Unfortunately, Plus500 is a closed system. Advanced traders who rely on incorporating third-party analytical and automation tools in their trading process will be disappointed as none of these tools can be integrated directly.

Plus500 WebTrader
Plus500 WebTrader.

Disclaimer: All prices revealed by the graphic above are illustrative prices.

Plus500 doesn't offer any of the special features that are typically available at other online CFD brokers. 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.

Guaranteed stops are available with some markets; however, they come with an increased spread and cannot be added to previously opened trades.

Plus500 has three basic order types with the option of attaching "take profit" and/or "stop loss" orders to them. Additionally, the trader can choose both guaranteed and/or trailing stop options when filling out the order ticket prior to execution.

  • Market - The simplest order where a trader signals that their trade request should be executed at the prevailing market rate.
  • Limit - A pending order where the entry is at a predetermined point below or above the prevailing market rate depending on whether it's a buy or sell. The trader also has the option of selecting the expiration time of this order.
  • Stop - A pending order where the entry is at a predetermined point above or below the prevailing market rate depending on whether it's a buy or sell. The trader also has the option of selecting the expiration time of this order.
Plus500 Pending Order w/GSLO
Plus500 Pending Order w/GSLO.

Disclaimer: All prices revealed by the graphic above are illustrative prices.

The Plus500 mobile applications include all of the functionality available in the desktop application. Traders can access all of Plus500's product catalog, account details, conditional orders, and charting (complete with technical indicators) from the Android, iOS, and Windows 10 apps.

The dynamic charts can be expanded to full-screen mode to provide more clarity during the analytical process. Clients can also deposit and withdraw money from within the mobile app. However, some traders will be concerned about the lack of enhanced security measures, especially since these applications provide a direct line of access to funded accounts. Clients are also unable to use the MT4 mobile application, which has greater functionality and may be a more familiar interface for experienced investors.

Range of Offerings

3.4

Plus500 provides access to 2000+ CFDs across a wide range of different asset classes, including:

  • Indices - Country and Sector
  • Forex
  • Commodities
  • Individual shares
  • ETFs
  • Options
  • Cryptocurrencies (availability subject to regulation)

The call and put options CFDs that Plus500 offers work similar to the exchange-traded standard options, but the main difference is that they are cash settled. You don't have the right to exercise the trade on the underlying asset.

Customer Service

2

Plus500's customer service options are limited to WhatsApp chat and email support which are available 24/7. The most glaring omission is the lack of a telephone number, even for sales inquiries. Prospective and current clients must submit inquiries through chat messages or an email ticketing system that is available 24/7. While the customer service options are limited, Investopedia received responses to each of the chats and emails submitted within a few minutes, which is a comparatively prompt response time. No in-person support is available.

We tested the email service. Their response to our request for average spread information on EUR/USD and USD/JPY was a bit strange in that they were not willing to disclose this. Plus500 states that its revenue is derived from the spread which would imply that this data would be collected and should be disclosed to prospective clients as other competitors do. The email response was a follows:

"Unfortunately, we are not able to provide the data you are requesting. In any case, these two FX pairs are offered with a dynamic spread, which follows the market spread and is added on top of it, as it is the main compensation for our services."

Education

0.8

Plus500 provides some resources to help you get started with trading CFDs on the platform. There is a video series called "Trader's Guide" as well as an ebook. They additionally offer risk management resources and market news. The broker does provide one legally-required "Key Information Document" (KID) that outlines the basics of what each available instrument is and the risks associated with trading it. The KID has summary information on commodities, cryptocurrencies (availability subject to regulation), ETFs, forex, indexes, options, and equities. Overall, Plus500 has an average offering of educational materials, but it would be wise to seek supplemental material elsewhere, especially given the risky nature of CFD trading.

Portfolio Analysis

0.9

Basic, real-time information about your account, such as balances, transaction activity, and profit/loss breakdowns are available, but there is no built-in tool for in depth analyzing of trading activity. Plus500 does not provide a trading journal or tax accounting tools on the platform.

Research Amenities

1.5

Plus500 has very little to offer when it comes to research, analysis, tools and commentary. The company provides little in-house research articles or videos. The broker does, however, provide economic and earnings calendars, which are useful. Also provided is a news and market insights section.

Plus500 also provides customizable charts where traders can conduct technical analysis on any of the instruments under trading consideration. Additionally, it provides a "Traders' Sentiment" indicator that shows traders what percentage of Plus500 clients are buying and selling an instrument, and a "Live Statistics" indicator that shows the instrument's performance for 5-minute, 60-minute, and 1-day time frames.

Security

4.5

The company acts as principal and hedges its exposure with its parent company to eliminate market risk and to ensure it is not exposed to material losses. While Plus500 does not provide additional deposit insurance, it is registered with the relevant regulatory authorities throughout Europe and the Asia-Pacific region:

  • Plus500UK Ltd is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA #509909). Office Address: Plus500UK Ltd, 8 Angel Court, Copthall Avenue, London EC2R 7HJ
  • Plus500CY Ltd is authorized and regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (License 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
  • Plus500SEY Ltd is authorized and regulated by the Seychelles Financial Services Authority (License No. SD039)
  • 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)

In accordance with the U.K. FCA's client money rules, Plus500 is required to take steps to ensure client funds are not commingled with corporate funds, thereby safeguarding client money and assets in the event that the company becomes insolvent, by holding those funds in segregated accounts at regulated banks. If Plus500 defaults, any shortfall of funds up to £85,000 may be compensated for under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Plus500 also offers negative balance protection, which is mandated under ESMA rules that went into effect in 2018, ensuring that clients cannot lose more than they have put into their accounts. Guaranteed stop loss orders can be used on some instruments depending on market conditions but they are subject to a wider spread.

There is a timer that will log the user out of both the web-based and mobile applications if they are not being used.

Verdict

Plus500 clearly targets those who are looking for an interface for executing trades without the need for advanced functionality. The broker's spreads are competitive, which keeps costs low, and the proprietary WebTrader platform is intuitively functional. Clients of Plus500 U.K. have the additional security of regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Not providing MT4 as an alternate platform, and no auto-trading make this broker unsuitable for technically oriented traders. Furthermore, Plus500 is not the most beginner friendly place to trade either due to its weak educational resources combined with the complexity and risk of CFD trading. However, experienced investors who prefer to enter and exit their trades manually may find the functionality trade-off worth the lower expenses.

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Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of online brokers. Our reviews are the result of six months of evaluating all aspects of an online broker’s platform, including the user experience, the quality of trade executions, the products available on their platforms, costs and fees, security, the mobile experience and customer service. We established a rating scale based on our criteria, collecting over 3,000 data points that we weighed into our star scoring system.

In addition, every broker we surveyed was required to fill out a 320-point survey about all aspects of their platform that we used in our testing. Many of the online brokers we evaluated provided us with in-person demonstrations of their platforms at our offices.

Our team of industry experts, led by Theresa W. Carey, conducted our reviews and developed this best-in-industry methodology for ranking online investing platforms for users at all levels. Click here to read our full methodology.