Well renown for its CFD trading, Plus500 is a well-regarded platform widely used worldwide, and we are bringing you all the details in our Plus500 review. Founded at the height of the 2008 financial crash, it quickly gained a reputation as an effective, though no-frills CFD platform and was one of the first to offer Bitcoin trades as a leveraged CFD in 2013.
It widely advertises itself as a “no trading cost” platform, and while there are some costs, such as overnight margin fees, I found this to largely be the case. The app is exceptionally good value for what it offers, but it is a competitive market with the Robinhood app also being fairly popular across the pond.
The app is targeted at amateur to expert traders, and while a beginner could learn how to use it relatively quickly, the risky nature of CFDs and the features offered don’t make it a great place for a beginner to start.
Plus500 review – what I thought
I found the app to be very intuitive to use, and it had a wide range of investment instruments, technical tools, and safety measures that I found worked excellently. Overall, I consider it to be a highly professional brokerage app with just the right amount of tools and information to trade, if you know what you want to trade.
When you’re looking for an app to invest with, you’re looking for something that does the job professionally and allows you to trade how you want without extortionate fees. Plus500 ticks all of these boxes for me. I consider it a minor downside that I can’t buy underlying assets, and this is definitely a dealbreaker for some traders, but is generally not too much of a problem.
Unfortunately, while using this app, I had to force stop it several times, as it crashed a lot more than most brokerage apps I’ve used and became unresponsive. I can see this as a fairly large issue if you were in the middle of a trade, but it’s the only issue I’ve found with useability. I was using an android phone for this review, so your experience may vary.
- Very low trading costs
- Very sleek and professional platform
- Negative balance protection and stoploss guarantee
- High leverage available
- Over 2000 trading instruments
- Only CFDs – no real assets available
- Little to no expert research or analysis
- Poor customer support
- Questional app stability (in my experience)
Fees – as low as they say?
Plus500 is a “no commission” platform on making trades and contains all expenses within the relatively tight spreads they offer. Aside from needing a minimum of £100 to sign up, there are no maintenance or account fees for owning an account.
However, as a leveraged CFD platform, there are overnight fees on most trades. There is also a currency conversion fee when making any trades in a currency that isn’t your account’s denomination. This is rolled into the spread of the trade and is 0.7% of the trade’s net profit and loss.
If you do not log into your account for at least three months, there is a $10 monthly fee on remaining balances until you log in again. This is mostly for inactivity clearance and is fairly standard in the industry.
Overall, in my Plus500 review, I found it offers a great deal when it comes to fees, and when you do pay them for leverage, they are relatively standard. I’ve definitely seen worse.
Trading instruments available
While Plus500 offers a diverse range of investment instruments, the broker offers over 2000+ of these as leveraged CFDs and does not allow you to buy the underlying asset like some competitors. Not every investor is suited to trading CFDs as they can be pretty risky, especially when high leverage and margin is involved, though if you know what you’re doing, you will find the range appealing. You can even trade crypto as a CFD
The following can be traded as CFDs:
- Individual shares
I was extremely impressed with the charting and technical tools available to traders. I’ve used a lot of different investment apps, and this was one of the best in terms of the amount of indicators available (over 150) and the functionality of the charting tools.
You are able to plot and draw on the graphs, adding resistance, trend and average lines, in addition to directly drawing. This is very useful for technical traders, and it was very clean and responsive.
As for executing trades themselves. The menus and options were clear and informative. I knew exactly what I was trading and what it would cost me, although there was a lack of chain information available for options.
There is detailed information available on your open trades, your history and execution results. This can be seen in the screenshots below.
Research and information available
One thing that surprised me during my Plus500 review was the lack of analytical and research sources available on the app. As far as I could find, there was no way to trade based on expert recommendations or analysis.
While the broker lacks more professional research like you would see on Schwab or Trading212, there are some basic guides to trading available, and some tutorial videos on CFD trading with leverage and what different instruments are. Basic stuff, but it’s better than nothing and would be pretty useful for a beginner.
In terms of asset-based information, each instrument has a short summary page of information that talks about market momentum, price history, and some basic market data or news, though this is mostly derived from Yahoo Finance.
Exclusive professional account
The app offers a special “professional account.” Professional account holders are not subject to ESMA’s leverage restrictions, and you can get up to 1:300 leverage. This is an excellent feature if you are a highly experienced trader and want more bang for your buck.
Unfortunately I’m not a professional trader, so I can’t try this offering in my Plus500 review, so here’s a table of features instead!
You need to meet 2 of the following 3 criteria to apply for an account upgrade:
- 10 transactions per quarter of significant size, for 4 quarters
- A financial instrument portfolio over £500,000
- Experience in a relevant financial services sector
Safety features – Excellent for a CFD platform
Being covered by FCA regulation is a great start for guaranteeing up to £85,000 of safety when using the platform in case disaster strikes. This is always nice to have, and you don’t really want to use a broker that isn’t covered with this protection.
During my Plus500 review, I’ve found it very safe to use, and as long as you understand what you’re trading, it’s hard to get into trouble and extremely rare to end up with a negative balance.
The app offers a guaranteed stoploss, albeit at extra spread cost. You are effectively paying a bit more for extra certainty that a losing position won’t cost you any extra, if the market gaps down for example. This is a great feature to use in very volatile markets, and I found a lot of use for it.
Can you buy crypto on the Plus500 app?
As a CFD broker, you do not buy or sell any real crypto, but you can trade the matched price movement as CFDs. So if you want to own Bitcoin, Plus500 is not for you, but if you want to trade the volatility, then it’s definitely an excellent choice. The ability to trade some of the most popular crypto with high leverage will be very attractive to some, and if you want low fees and accurate prices without slippage, this is a great app to do it. Though personally I prefer owning the crypto I buy with the ability to move it to a wallet.
Does Plus500 have a demo account?
Yes, there is a demo account where you can practice trades at no risk, and explore all the features of the app.
For those that want to own real assets, such as crypto, stocks or commodities and invest long term, Plus500 is not the broker for you. Its exclusivity to CFD trading means you have to be mindful that you don’t own any of the instruments you buy, and you have to be wary of overnight fees and leaving positions open for more than a day, as you will be charged margin fees that add to the closing spread of your trade.
However, for an experienced trader, or people who want to exclusively day trade market movements, the app has fantastic useability and tools for your needs. It offers a large suite of technical tools, and a wide range of instruments to trade at very low cost and is especially useful for professional traders who want access to higher leverage.
Stability hiccups aside, as a result of my Plus500 review, I do recommend app for those who want to regularly trade with leverage in a professional suite.