· A Contract for differences (CFD) broker, Plus500 operates from Israel and is recommended for traders seeking a great user experience and an easy-to-use platform. Plus500 does not accept US traders, as is the case for many FOREX brokers.
· Plus500 offers clients in more than 50 countries access to a wide-ranging product line, which includes stock indices, FOREX, commodities, individual shares, options, Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) and cryptocurrencies. It was also the first broker, in 2013, to introduce a Bitcoin CFD.
· Plus500’s product suite numbers 2,000+ trading instruments and is offered on its proprietary WebTrader with no commissions and competitive spreads. That should entice experienced investors who prefer manual transactions and finding the lowered costs worth the lack of added functionality offered by competitors.
· Plus500 is authorized by three high-trust (tier-1) regulators and four average-trust (tier-2) regulators.
· Plus500 offers only one account type, often called a “Retail Account,” although you can apply for a “Professional Account” by meeting two of three criteria.
· Plus500’s deposit and withdrawal services are both well structured, with many options. The processes are both simple and at no charge.
· Plus500’s options for customer services are restricted to email support and online chat, and both are available 24/7. A glaring omission is the lack of a telephone number, even to be used for sales inquiries, and it no longer is available through WhatsApp.
· Plus500’s pricing, overall, is in line with the industry average, but it trails the best FOREX brokers in active trader pricing.
· WebTrader, Plus500’s trading platform, is a great choice for investors. It provides just the necessary, essential tools required for trading. Unlike many of its competitors, Plus500 does not offer the extremely popular MetaTrader4 (MT4) platform. This is an alternative that provides more customization and functionality options for clients.
· Plus500 also does not offer such basic research features as daily market commentary, FOREX news or weekly Webinars.
· Plus500 does not provide videos, courses, e-books, or quizzes to assist clients in learning about the markets in which they are investing. Plus500 offers none of these services.
· Plus500’s mobile trading offers a seamless transition from WebTrader browsing platform, a great sight. However, as with WebTrader, Plus500’s mobile trading app does not offer advanced tools and wide-ranging functionality to provide a challenge to industry leaders.
A CFD broker operating from Israel, Plus500 is recommended for traders seeking an easy-to-use platform and offering a great experience. A major accomplishment for Plus500 is that it is a FTSE 250-listed brokerage, which provides international prestige and respect not earned by smaller brokers.
Established in 2008, Plus500 operates with several subsidiaries through the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. It is registered with the relevant regulatory authorities there. As with many FOREX brokers, Plus500 does not accept US traders. As of September 2020, Plus500 has a market capitalization of £1.6 billion.
Plus500 is considered secure because it discloses its financial, is listed on a stock exchange and is regulated by several top-tier financial authorities, including regulation in the UK by the all-important Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), under registration #509909.
It offers clients in more than 50 counties access to a product line that includes stock indices, FOREX, commodities, individual shares, options, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies. Plus500 also was the first broker to offer a Bitcoin CFD, in 2013. It advertises that all trading costs are contained within each instrument’s spread. Further, Plus500 offers access to options trading on many markets. Although not standardized, these are very similar to plain “call” and “put” options traded on exchanges, meaning that the option premium is able to be customized for your strategy objectives and risk tolerance.
Plus500’s Web-based trading platform is extremely user-friendly, making it excellent for beginner traders. That aside, the Plus500 platform only offers basic features, rendering it far less attractive for active traders.
Considering pricing, Plus500 appears to offer spreads close to the industry average on most major FOREX pairs. However, discounts are not available to active traders or VIP clients. Further on the negative side, the broker does not provide research or education. It does, however, attempt to compensate by offering an extremely easy-to-use trading platform.
Who Plus500 Is Good For
Plus500 is best suited for the entity or individual that seeks access to a wide range of financial markets with low trading costs and a simple and functional platform on which to place trades. At the same time, Plus500’s product suite of more than 2,000 trading instruments, offered on its proprietary WebTrader with no commissions and with competitive spreads, should entice the experienced investor who prefers to transact manually and finds the lower cost worth the lack of additional functionality offered by some competitors. Following are some key factors to consider before engaging with the broker:
Plus500 offers clients in more than 50 countries access to a comprehensive product line, which includes stock indices, FOREX, commodities, individual shares, options, ETFs, and cryptocurrencies.
WebTrader has a simple, easy-to-use interface that allows you to create watchlists, analyze charge and place and monitor trades.
Plus500 is regulated by the FCA, which is one of the principal UK regulatory agencies and is highly regarded worldwide for its strictness in ensuring that market practices are fair for both businesses and individuals. In other words, being regulated by a reputable government-backed agency goes a long way to establish a firm’s credibility.
Plus 500 offers negative balance protection, mandated under European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) rules that have been in effect since 2018. These rules ensure that clients cannot lose more than they have put into their account.
GSLOs, which protect a trader from market gap risks, are available with some instruments and depending on market conditions, but they are subject to a wider spread.
Plus500’s customer service options are limited to email support and online chat. Lacking a telephone number – even for sales inquiries – is the most glaring omission.
Plus500 does not accept US clients because of regulatory constraints. This would have been a red flag were it not that the company is regulated by the UK’s FCA, which, along with US regulatory agencies, is widely considered as the preeminent regulatory body.
Advanced traders who rely on integrating third-party analytical and automation tools into their trading process will be disappointed. None of these tools can be incorporated directly with WebTrader. Further, back-testing functionality is not available either.
Is Plus 500 Safe?
Plus500 is considered to be low-risk. Although publicly traded, it does not operate a bank. That aside, Plus500 is authorized by three high-trust (tier 1) regulators and four average-trust (tier-2) regulators.
Tier-1 regulators are the FCA in the UK, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Plus500 also is regulated by the Israel Securities Authority (ISA) and others.
Plus500 acts as principal and hedges its exposure with its parent company to eliminate market risk and ensure it is not exposed to material loss. While Plus500 does not provide additional deposit insurance, it is registered with relevant regulatory authorities throughout the Asia-Pacific region and Europe. In accordance with the UK FCA’s client money rules, Plus500 must take steps to ensure client funds are not co-mingled with corporate funds, which safeguards client money and assets should the company become insolvent by maintaining those funds in segregated accounts are regulated banks. If Plus500 defaults, any funds’ shortfall may be compensated under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Plus500 also offers negative-balance protection, which is mandated under ESMA rules in effect from 2018. These ensure that clients cannot lose more than they have put into their accounts. GLSOs orders can be used on some instruments, depending on market conditions. They are, however, subject to a wider spread.
Plus500 offers important security measures, such as biometric authentication for its mobile app, and a time that will log the user out of either the Web-based or mobile app if they are not being used.
Offering of Investments
Plus500 provides access to 2,000+ financial instruments, across a wide range of asset classes:
· Indices: Country and Sector.
· Individual shares.
The no-frills “call” and “put” options offered by Plus500 work like the exchange-traded versions, except they are non-standardized. Thus, these options may be customized and adjusted to the client’s own risk tolerance and strategy goals.
Different from other brokers that offer FOREX pairs, all FOREX trading at Plus500 is with CFD products. Note that cryptocurrency trading also is available through CFDs, but not available through trading the underlying asset (e.g., buying Bitcoin). Also note that crypto CFDs are not available from any broker’s UK entity, and are not available to UK residents.
Plus500 offers only one account type, often referred to as a Retail Account, but you may apply for a Professional Account if you meet two of the following three criteria:
- Financial instrument portfolio over £500,000.
- Sufficient trading activity in the past 12 months.
- Relevant experience in the financial services sector.
A Professional Account allows you to trade with a higher leverage, compared to a Retail Account. With the latter, leverage has been reduced to the range of 1:2 to 1:30 as of August 2018. In contrast, the maximum leverage for Professional Accounts ranges from 1:5 for options to 1:300 for FOREX for various instruments, with options at the bottom and FOREX products and indices at the top of the range.
The Australian entity, which is regulated by ASIC, grants leverage of 1:300 for Standard Accounts and therefore presents the best choice for relevant traders. Qualified traders may request an upgrade to a Professional Account.
Opening a Plus500 account is seamless, fully digital, and fast. You can open your trading account within a day.
Plus500 accepts customers from many countries around the world. There are, however, some notable exceptions. For example, residents of Canada and the US cannot open an account. Other excluded countries include Iran, Syria, and Cuba.
Trading Account Information
Deposits and Withdrawals
Both Plus500’s deposit and withdrawal services are very good. There are many options and the process is simple and free of charge.
At Plus500, there are several currencies available, including some considered minor, but the broker is not transparent about how many and which ones. Currently available for certain are the following account currencies: USD, GBP, EUR, CHF, AUD, JPY, PLN, HUF, CZK, CAD, TRY, SEK, NOK and the SGD. The default account currency is established based on your country of residence. Contact support if you wish to change your base currency.
Deposit Fees and Options
Plus500 charges no deposit fees. As with other CFD brokers, many depositing options offered, including:
- Credit and Debit card.
- Bank transfer.
E-wallet option availability is based on your region, e.g., at the time of this review, Skrill was not available for us as a depositing option, only PayPal.
Bank transfers may take several business days, while payment with a debit/credit card and electronic wallets is instant. Of course, you only can deposit money from accounts that are in your name.
Withdrawal of funds from Plus500 is free of charge. There is a minimum withdrawal amount: $50 for PayPal and $100 for bank transfers as well as credit and debit cards. For withdrawals, use the same methods as for deposits. We tested the debit card transfer withdrawal and more than three business days were required. Again, you also only are able to withdraw money to accounts in your name.
It is noteworthy that Plus500 has average non-trading fees. It charges no withdrawal, account or deposit fees; but there is an inactivity fee of $10 per quarter after 3 months of inactivity. You are able to save having to pay the inactivity fee if you simply log into the platform. Some other brokers require you to “trade” in order not to be charged an inactivity fee; logging in is not enough.
Plus500’s customer service options are limited to email support and online chat, which are available 24/7. Lack of a telephone number, even for sales inquiries, is the most glaring omission. Plus500 no longer is available through WhatsApp; instead, there is an integrated “Contact Us” page for inquiries.
Current and prospective clients, therefore, must submit inquiries through an email ticketing system or live chat, both of which are available 24/7. Although the customer service options are limited, Arincen received responses to each of the chats and emails submitted within a few minutes. This is a comparatively prompt response time. Nevertheless, no in-person support is available.
The online chat is easy to use, although initial responses to our requests felt like a chat-bot was being used. This is not necessarily a problem because the software is good at detecting commonly asked questions and then providing short, informed answers. When needed, getting through to a human agent is relatively quick. Even with the noted limitations, customer-service responses to our requests were prompt, courteous and knowledgeable.
A FAQs section comprises the most basic questions. The Website is available in 32 languages; customer support is equally multilingual. Generally, most traders never require help from a broker’s support team. In the event of such a need, Plus500 provides adequate support capabilities, which are highly rated by more than 8,100 reviews!
Commissions and Fees
Following the norm in the brokerage industry, Plus500 generates its revenues primarily from customer trades that “cross” the bid/ask spread, which is competitive within the industry. Plus500 does not charge commissions on any client transaction and all trading costs are contained within the spread of the instrument. While the spread does not vary with trade size, the company does offer high-volume traders a discount.
Further, the broker also generates revenues by charging premiums, effectively a “financing charge” on positions held overnight by clients that may be subject to currency conversion charges if they trade in a currency other than the account’s base currency; and, there are fees for GLSO, and inactivity fees kick-in following an account being deemed idle for three months.
Traders may qualify for a Professional Account, offering higher leverage, but the costs are the same. As previously noted, investors with a Professional Account may increase their maximum leverage 10-fold, from 1:30 to 1:300.
A strong Plus500 selling point is that it does not subject client accounts to ancillary fees. Thus, there are no charges for normal withdrawals or terminating an account. The minimum to open an account is 100 units of the base currency. Funding options include MasterCard or Visa credit or debit cards, e-wallets (Skrill or PayPal) and bank fund transfers.
Overall, Plus500’s pricing is in line with the industry average, although it trails the best FOREX brokers when it comes to active trader pricing. Plus500 does not provide discounts to active traders or VIP clients. For the EUR/USD, the Plus500 platform displays a dynamic spread of 0.00008, which is 0.8 pips. During August 2020, the average Plus500 spread for the EUR-USD was 0.8 pips.
Platforms and Tools
Plus500’s Web trading platform, WebTrader, is an excellent choice for casual investors because of its ease of use and focus on providing only the essential and necessary tools required for trading. The few advanced features available with Plus500’s platform include trailing-stops and GLSO, which can be helpful risk-management tools for novice traders.
WebTrader has a simple and easy-to-use interface that allows you to create watchlists, analyze charge and place and monitor trades. The technical analysis charges offer more than 100 technical indicators that you can apply to many different time frames, from tick charts to weekly charts. Unlike many of its competitors, however, Plus500 does not offer the immensely popular MT4 platform, an alternative that would provide more functionality and customization options for clients.
WebTrader’s most appealing feature is that it is easy to use, with layouts that will feel familiar to experienced traders. Clients may choose from 2,000+ instruments, analyze their selection on a customizable technical analysis charge, and then make their trade in just a few clicks – all within the same window. Unfortunately, however, WebTrader is a “closed” system. Advanced traders who rely on incorporating third-party analytical and automation tools in their trading process will be disappointed because none of these tools are able to be integrated directly with WebTrader.
As noted earlier, Plus500 does not offer any of the special features typically available at other online FOREX brokers. Thus, it does not allow for automated trading via Expert Advisors (EA) or other trading algorithms.
It also does not provide back-testing functionality, nor does it allow clients to manage third-party funds via Percentage Allocation Management Module (PAMM) or Multi-Account Manage trading platforms. Plus500 simply provides a streamlined WebTrader along with similar mobile trading apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, with which clients can place and monitor trades.
GSLOs are available with some markets, but come with an increased spread and cannot be added to previous trades.
WebTrader has three basis order types (noted below) with the option of attaching “take-profit” and/or “stop-loss” orders to them. Further, the trader may 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 is a buy or sell. The trader also has the option of choosing 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 is a buy or sell. The trader also has the option of selecting the expiration time of this order.
The Plus500 mobile trading app presents a seamless transition from the WebTrader browser platform, which is good to see. The look, feel and functionality all are similar. At the same time, like WebTrader, the Plus500 mobile trading app lacks the advanced tools and all-around functionality to challenge industry leaders. As an example, Plus500 charts from the Web do not sync on mobile, as they do in the trading apps available at Saxo Bank.
Although Plus500 has significantly improved its charting (109 indicators and more than 200 drawing tools), the mobile trading app still has much room for improvement in terms of the number of features it can add. News, research and advanced trading tools continue to be lacking.
Research and Development
As far as investment research goes, Plus500 leaves much to be desired, particularly when compared to such research leaders as CMC Markets, Saxo Ban and IG, to name a few. Plus500 does not offer such basic research features as daily market commentary, FOREX news or weekly Webinars. That type of research is nowhere to be found within the Plus500 trading platform beyond sentiment data, a link to Yahoo! Finance for exchange rates and an economic calendar from Dow Jones. Lacking is technical or fundamental analysis content. That aside, Plus500 allows you to place alerts on a percentage change in client sentiment data. We found this to be creative and something above basic price alerts. Further, the broker provides a “Live Statistics” indicator that shows the instrument’s performance for five-minute, 60-minute and one-day time frames. At the same time, the broker’s charting tool is good quality, with 119 technical indicators and great editor tools. You also can save the charts. We also liked the feature to use multiple charts simultaneously.
Although many brokers provide videos, courses, quizzes, e-books and more – all to help clients learn about the markets in which they are investing – Plus 500 provides none of these services. No doubt, Plus500 should expand its offering of educational content to improve its score in this category; while Plus500 began to roll out educational video content under its “Trader’s Guide” series more than a year ago, only six videos are currently available, and each is barely a few minutes long.
That said, Plus500 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 that instrument. The KID has summary information on cryptocurrencies, commodities, FOREX, ETFs, options, indexes and equities. Plus500 expects its clients to know what they are doing or, at the very least, to seek out educational material elsewhere.
Plus500 provides a demo account that could be seen as a useful learning tool. As noted, however, Webinars are not available and the equation section is not well structured. In short, at Plus500, you can learn in the following manner:
· Demo Account.
· Educational articles about the different asset classes, risk management tools and FAQs.
· Basic educational and trading platform videos.
· eBook about using the trading platform (eBook can be downloaded from the trading platform).
Even with a clear lack of educational content, Plus500 is a winner for less-experienced traders who desire ease of use and simplicity. On the other hand, active traders will be left wanting more as research is mostly absent and advanced tools are nowhere to be found. For a more robust trading experience, consider IG, eToro and CMC Markets.
With 2,000+ CFDs available (of which 70 are FOREX pairs), along with a low minimum deposit to open a live account, Plus500 provides new market entrants an easy way to explore the world of online trading.
Plus500 is a solid CFD broker. It is recommended for traders aware of the risks of CFD trading. The broker is regulated by several financial authorities globally, including the UK’s FCA, and is listed on the LSE. If you are not from the UK, however, you most likely will be served by alternative regulators, like Plus500 Cyprus. In this case, the Cypriot investor protection would apply to you.
Plus500’s platform is easy to use, provides a great user experience even for a first-timer and the account opening and customer support both work well. On the other hand, CFDs are the only product offered, the research tools are limited, and the CFD fees are average.
The lack of educational and research resources and not providing MT4 as an alternate platform (along with no auto-trading) make this broker unsuitable for beginners and technically oriented traders alike. Experienced investors who prefer to enter and exit their trades manually, however, may find the functionality trade-off work the lower expenses.
Plus500 in Brief
Based in Israel, this CFD broker has much going for it, despite not offering the MetaTraders suite and/or falling short on all-important research and education aspects of this industry. An easy-to-use platform, rich offerings and solid regulation make it attractive to many traders worldwide.
The team at Arincen collected more than 120 pieces of data covering in excess of 100 licensed FOREX companies. Data collection was done in three ways:
1. Companies’ Websites.
2. Other Websites that have ranked FOREX companies.
3. A survey questionnaire (referred to here as Survey “1”) we had sent to the companies invited to participate in the exercise.
We have identified 12 criteria for our assessment, each containing several aspects and carrying its own relative weight. These include licensing, deposits and withdrawals, number of assets etc.
Afterward we validated the data by:
1. Registering with FOREX companies as a secret shopper and/or as Arincen.
2. Survey number “2,” in which we asked these companies’ customers for important feedback and past experience.
The next step saw us evaluate and rank each company, relying on the hard work of 15 Arincen employees. We were very careful in ensuring the most accurate assessment possible, including taking into account different languages, as well as the various mobile-app operating systems, e.g., Apple, Samsung etc.
To add credibility to our research project, we sent a final and third survey (referred to here as Survey “3”) to enable participating FOREX companies evaluate our own research and whether it accurately reflects the realities on the ground. We were fortunate enough to receive a mark of 9.9 out of 10! We have kept to a minimum the margin of error, which stood at a measly 1%.
Where is this broker regulated?
Plus500 is authorized by three tier-1 regulators (high trust) as follows: the FCA, ASIC and the MAS. The broker is also authorized by four tier-2 regulators (average trust).
In what other ways does this broker protect me?
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 not offering additional deposit insurance, the broker is signed up to the FSCS that entitles qualifying clients to £85,000 compensation in the event of broker failure.
The broker also offers Negative Balance Protection, as well as offering GSLO orders that protects traders from major losses due to seismic market shifts.
Which countries does this broker serve?
Plus500 accepts customers from many countries around the world. However, there are some notable exceptions. For example, residents of the US and Canada cannot open an account, while other nations, such as Cuba, Iran and Syria, are also excluded.
Does this broker offer Cryptocurrency trading?
Yes. Plus500 provides access to more than 2,000 financial instruments across a wide range of different asset classes, including cryptocurrencies.
Does this broker provide any extra offerings?
Plus500 operates a “First Deposit Bonus” system that is linked to trader points and deposit amounts. This broker also enlists traders into its Rebates Program that is cashed out weekly. Clients are advised to consult the broker’s bonus terms and conditions regularly.
How do I fund my account?
Plus500's offers several deposit and withdrawal services, including bank transfers, credit and debit card, PayPal and Skrill. There are also e-wallet options depending on your region. Traders will need to consult the broker’s Website for the relevant information.
Which trading platforms does this broker offer?
Plus500 offers its proprietary Web trading platform, WebTrader. However, traders should know that the broker does not offer the popular MT4 platform.
How can I access customer service?
The broker’s customer service options are limited to online chat and email support, though these are available 24/7. The most glaring omission is the lack of a telephone number, even for sales inquiries, and Plus500 no longer serves clients via WhatsApp. Instead, there is an integrated “Contact Us” page for inquiries.