PLUS500: FOREX BROKER REVIEW
Plus500 offers a comprehensive CFD service for retail traders, providing access to over 2 000 underlying financial instruments. Consistently ranked in the Top 10 list of leading global brokers, Plus500 has over 250 000 clients spread across more than 50 countries.
Its core CFDs profile is forex, cryptocurrencies, commodities, stocks, options, indices and ETFs. A contract of difference (CFD) is a contract between two parties, typically a buyer and a seller. A CFD stipulates that a buyer will pay to the seller the difference between the current value of an asset and its value at contract time.
Founded in 2008, Plus500 is a publicly-traded listed in the main market on the London Stock Exchange for listed securities (LSE: PLUS). Plus500 is also part of the FTSE 250 Index. The broker company has a solid reputation as a trusted global brand.
What Plus500 offers
Plus500 offers the complete package of tight spreads, no commission, leverage of up to 1:300 and fast and reliable order execution. Clients have the option of two accounts consisting of a demo account and a live retail account and access to trading tools on a streamlined proprietary trading platform.
The strength of Plus500 lies in its strong technical capabilities in software programming and engineering. Its proprietary WebTrader trading platform is accessible and easy to use but limited in terms of platform customisation, automated trading and research analysis.
Plus500 is suited to the cost-conscious retail trader who is happy to trade specialised features for cost savings. WebTrader is ideally geared for CFD traders who want a mechanism to enter and exit positions timeously and manage their risks and profits on a convenient trading platform.
FAST FACTS ABOUT PLUS500
Country of origin
Plus500 is not available to traders in the United States due to regulatory restrictions in the country.
Who owns Plus500
The largest owner of Plus500 is Brighttech Investments with a 9.99% stake. Other owners include large investment banks and asset management companies, including JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley.
Plus500 is listed in the main market of the London Stock Exchange. One of the top shareholders is founding member Alon Gonen through Spart24 Ltd.
Plus500 in 2019
35 million plus positions opened
200 000 plus active customers
1.3 billion plus in traded value
2 033 CFDs on offer
In July 2018, shares of Plus500 were listed in the main market of the London Stock Exchange.
Operates as a bank
3 tier-1 jurisdictions
4 tier-2 jurisdictions
FCA: Financial Conduct Authority (United Kingdom)
CySEC: Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission
ASIC: Australian Securities and Investments Commission
FMA: Financial Markets Authority (New Zealand)
FSCA: Financial Sector Conduct Authority (South Africa)
MAS: Monetary Authority of Singapore
ISA: Israel Securities Authority
Free demo account
Forex spot trading
Cryptocurrencies: up to 50 traded as a CFD
Commissions and fees
Minimum initial deposit: 100 USD/EUR/GBP
Plus500 receives its compensation primarily through the market bid/ask spread. It has low CFD trading fees and average non-trading fees. There is no commission and fees are built into the spread.
Plus500 does not give discounts to active traders or VIP clients.
- S&P 500 CFD: Low; 0.45 is the average spread cost
- Europe 50 CFD: Low; 1 is the average spread cost
- EUR/USD: Average, 0.6 pips is the average spread cost
- Inactivity fee: Low, US$ 10 per quarter after 3 months of inactivity
Favorable withdrawal fee with 5 free withdrawals per month, after which the withdrawal fee is US$ 10.
Plus500 charges US$ 10 for a withdrawal less than the minimum amount of US$100.
Plus500 is not suitable for Day traders.
If Plus500 believes you are scalping (executing many trades within 2 minutes), your account may be blocked and closed.
Plus500 Trading platform
WebTrader is Plus500’s proprietary platform.
Easy to use and offers a clear fee report and a 2-step login.
Limited scope to customise the platform in terms of charts and workspace.
MetaTrader 4 is not available on the proprietor WebTrader platform.
Web-based and mobile trading platform but not a desk trading platform.
WebTrader specialised features
Earnings calendar powered by Dow Jones
Trailing Stops and Guaranteed Stop Loss Orders
Trader’s Sentiment Indictor, including Risers & Fallers and Popular Assets
Over 100 technical indicators
21 drawing tools for technical analysis
Free demo account
Professional account (only available to elective professional clients)
Web-based trading platform
Mobile trading platform
Minimum trading deposit
Debit/credit cards: US$100
Electronic wallets: US$100
Bank transfers: US$500
1:30 (1:300 Plus500AU Pty Ltd)
Credit and debit cards; Visa, MasterCard, Maestro
24-hours a day/5-days a week
Multi-lingual support desk
Website content available in 27 languages
Email in multiple languages
Online chat in English and additional supported languages
Plus500 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.
Education support is regarded as a weak point for Plus500. The brokerage house provides a demo account for online learning and a limited selection of video tutorials on popular trading strategies and how to use the Plus500 trading platform. These are available via their Trader’s Guide.
Plus500 provides the Key Information Document (KID) as required by trading regulations. KID provides a basic overview and summary of information on the financial instruments that can be traded via Plus500. This includes forex, cryptocurrencies, commodities, indexes, options and ETFs.
Clients’ money is held in a segregated trust account in accordance with the relevant regulatory requirements.
Plus500 does not use client funds for hedging or for any investment or business purposes. Nor does it initiate speculative positions in the market that would put its clients’ money at risk.
Trading analysis tools are a weakness of Plus500. There is little provided on WebTrader in the way of research, analysis, tools, recommendations and commentary except for Alerts and a feature called Traders’ Sentiments.
Also referred to as Social Sentiment Indicators, this feature provides an aggregated analysis on the activity of other Plus500 traders.
Plus500 provides a limited selection of research articles and video tutorials on popular trading strategies and how to use the WebTrader trading platform. This information is available in the Trader’s Guide.
PLUS500 IS BEST BROKER FOR
Plus500 offers CFDs on over 2 000 financial instruments for online retail trading. The core instruments are forex, commodities, indices, cryptocurrencies and ETFs.
The broker company offers low trading fees, average non-trading fees and no fees on the first 5 withdrawals which makes it the best broker for the cost-conscious trader. Plus500 also offers some of the lowest spreads in the market.
The trade-off for its clients is limited specialised functionality, limited analysis tools and an inflexible trading platform that cannot be customised.
Advanced features such as automated trading, MetaTrader 4 and 5 as well as Expert Advisors are not available through Plus500. The limited functionality of Plus500 suits experienced investors who require an online mechanism to enter and exit trades manually and are prepared to tradeoff functionality with lower fees and low spreads.
Plus500 provides a proprietary WebTrader platform that can be accessed via the web and an efficient mobile trading app. The trading platform is streamlined and easy to use. It delivers convenient but limited charting tools and a well-designed economic calendar.
WebTrader is sorely lacking in fundamental and technical analysis as well as news feeds and expert recommendations. WebTrader offers little in the way of research and education tools.
A weakness of Plus500 is its proprietory trading platform cannot be customised. WebTrader does not accommodated Expert Advisors and other trading algorithms for automated trading. It also does not provide back-testing functionality; nor does it allow its clients to manage third-party funds through PAMM or MAM trading platforms.
IS PLUS500 SAFE TO USE?
Plus500 is a legitimate brokerage house and is regulated by more than one Tier-1 authority. The brokerage company was founded in 2008 and has proven itself as a stable entity that offers clients a secure, fair and transparent trading environment.
Plus500 is a publicly-traded company but does not operate as a bank.
Plus500 provides negative balance protection for CFD and forex spot trading for retail clients from the European Union. Negative balance protection means that clients cannot lose more their deposited money. Negative balance protection is not available to non-EU clients.
Plus500 is listed on the London Stock Exchange in the main market for listed securities. The benefit of this listing is improved liquidity and access to a greater range of potential investors in the company. It reflects the global nature of Plus500 and its position as a leading brokerage house.
The Plus500 trading platform is protected by a Secure Socket Layer (SSL). This security system automatically transfers sensitive information to a secure environment.
Plus500 uses a 2-factor authentication process to confirm a client’s identity. A confirmation code is sent via the app to your phone or via email to your PC.
PLUS500 REGULATION PROFILE
Plus500 in the United Kingdom is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
FCA regulates the financial services industry in the United Kingdom. Its role includes protecting consumers, keeping the industry stable and promoting healthy competition between financial service providers.
FCA has significant powers, including the power to regulate conduct related to the marketing of financial products. It is able to specify minimum standards and to place requirements on products. It also has the power to investigate organisations and individuals.
Plus500 in Cyprus is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySec).
CySEC is the financial regulatory agency of Cyprus. When Cyprus became an EU member state in 2004, all regulations, processes and operations of CySEC had to comply with the European MiFID financial harmonisation law. Its main role is to effectively monitor and supervise the local stock exchange and distribute licenses which allow investment and brokerage firms to operate in the forex, stock and CFDs market.
CySEC is one of the most popular regulatory agencies in the world when it comes to regulating all types of financial companies operating out of Cyprus. A substantial number of retail forex and binary options brokers are regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).
Plus500 is regulated in Australia by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
ASIC is an independent Australian government body that acts as Australia’s corporate regulator. ASIC’s role is to enforce and regulate company and financial services laws to protect Australian consumers, investors and creditors.
Plus500 in New Zealand is regulated by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA).
FMA is the New Zealand government agency responsible for financial regulation. It is responsible for regulating all financial market participants, exchanges and the setting and enforcing of financial regulations.
Plus500 in South Africa is regulated by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).
FSCA is the market conduct regulator in South Africa of financial institutions that provide financial products and financial services and are licensed in terms of a financial sector law, including banks, insurers, retirement funds and administrators and market infrastructures. The authority is responsible for financial market conduct, regulation and supervision.
Plus500 is regulated in Singapore by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
MAS is Singapore’s central bank and financial regulatory authority. It administers the various statutes pertaining to money, banking, insurance, securities and the financial sector in general, as well as currency issuance.
Plus500 in Israel is regulated by the Israel Securities Administration.
ISA is the national securities regulator of Israel. Established by law in 1968, the Israel Securities Authority sees its mandate as a way to ensure an efficient capital market based on transparency and fairness.
WHAT YOU CAN TRADE WITH PLUS500
Plus500 provides traders with a comprehensive Contracts for Difference (CFDs) service. The brokerage company provides a proprietor WebTrader platform to trade retail CFDs in forex, cryptocurrencies, commodities, indices, shares, options and ETFs.
Trade the most popular currency pairs with up to 1:300 leverage.
Real-time access to the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple XRP, Neo, IOTA, Stellar, EOS, Cardano, Tron and Monero.
Plus500 is the first broker to introduce a Bitcoin CFD in 2013.
Access to more than 20 commodities CFDs with leverage of up to 1:150. Gold, oil and silver trading is the most popular commodity CFDs.
Plus500 offers CFDs on popular stock market sectors like USA 500, US-TECH 100, NASDAQ 100, UK 100, France 40, lithium, cannabis, US biotech and Chinese internet companies with leverage up to 1:100.
Plus500 allows you to trade share CFDs on major entities such as Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon with leverage up to 1:5.
Plus500 allows you trade on options such as Tesla, USA-500 and Boeing with leverage of up to 1:10.
Plus500 allows you to trade on most popular Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) like VXX Volatility and SPDRUSA500 with leverage of up to 1:100.
PLUS500 TRADING TOOLS
A market order is the most basic and default option you can select; it means your trade is executed at the current best price. A market order is the best choice if you want your order to be fulfilled immediately.
Stop Limit and Stop Loss Orders
A limit order lets you specify a limit price to buy and sell an asset. The asset will only be bought or sold when the limit price has been reached or has passed the limit price.
A stop order is activated once your market or limit buy order on a position is executed and you have an open position. The aim of a Stop Order is to secure profits and minimise losses.
These features are designed to allow Plus500’s clients to set a specific price on a position to minimise their loss in case the price moves in the wrong direction. Once this price is reached or passed, the Stop Order is triggered and a position is automatically closed. This feature is free of charge on Plus500.
However, there is no guarantee a position will close at the exact price level specified because of slippage. Slippage occurs due to volatile price movements when the market reaches or surpasses the pre-determined price but only closes at the next available price.
Trailing stops is a variation of the traditional stop loss where it provides a trailing function that permits traders to automatically up their stops as the markets move into profit.
It’s designed to protect profits by enabling a position to remain open as long as the price is moving in the right direction, but closing the position as soon as the price changes direction by a specified number of pips.
This feature is free of charge on Plus500 but it is not guaranteed that your position will close at the exact price level you specify.
Guaranteed Stop Order
Plus500 also offers a Guaranteed Stop Order. During certain volatile market conditions, a Stop Loss Order might not be executed at the exact preferred price. This feature forces the position to close at the chosen price even if the market price surpasses it.
Once the stated level is reached, the position automatically closes. This feature is not available for all instruments and a fee is built in via a wider spread.
Negative Balance Protection
Plus500 offers negative balance protection to its European clients. This feature ensures clients cannot lose more than they have deposited into their account.
Push notifications and alerts on market events
Plus500 sends notifications and alerts to any client that opens or closes a position, when an instrument reaches a specific price, prior to a Margin Call and for a number of other reasons. The Push Notification service offers Plus500’s clients a certain degree of control over your trading account, even when they are logged out of the trading platform.
Plus500’s Economic Calendar allows clients to filter corporate events by dividends and earnings releases within defined and customised time frames.
Plus500 generates its own video tutorials on how to use its proprietory platform as well as reviews of popular trading strategies and financial instruments.
PLUS500 WEBTRADER TRADING PLATFORM
Plus500 offers WebTrader which is a proprietary trading platform. It offers access to over 2 000 financial instruments and quick navigation between different trading elements. WebTrader was developed on an exclusive-use basis for Plus500 clients and does not integrate with the popular MetaTrader 4.
WebTrader is a closed system which is limiting for advanced traders who rely on third party analytics and automation tools in their trading strategy. These tools and other specialised tools are lacking in WebTrader, unlike MetaTrader 4 and 5 which has greater functionality.
The main screen is organised in a logical manner and allows traders to rapidly access over 2 000 financial instruments in real time without having to pull up additional windows. Traders have at their fingertips access to trade positions and executions, pricing information, charts and fund and balance information.
Drop-down trade tabs contain a list of all the products on the trading platform which means traders don’t have to search hard to find trading instruments. This is made easier by a ‘favourites’ feature which you can use to quickly find your most active trades.
The trading platform generates a ticket which offers a number of options that advanced traders find attractive. You can choose the size of the trade and add risk protection features to secure profits and limit losses.
The Plus500 trading platform also allows traders to populate a window with instruments that are helpful to track trades. It automatically integrates a trader’s existing positions into the list. It differs from trading platforms like MetaTrader 4 that separate open positions from a watch list. The feature is easy to use and saves valuable time.
A unique feature allows Plus500 traders to search for activities by date. It allows traders to review reasons why positions were closed, when they were opened and closed and the profit and loss of each trade.
Traders are able to monitor available funds, equity and profits and losses using an easy-to-navigate trading screen which links the deposit page to funds in an account.
The most disappointing aspect of the Plus500’s WebTrader platform is its limited charting capabilities. The trading platform allows traders to apply various technical indicators to the charges but the number of indicators and time frames are limited, compared to an advanced platform such as MetaTrader 4.
Plus500’s trading platform does not support MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 or any other algorithm system for automated trading. It also does not allow traders access to features sch as advanced charting and an API feed.
Traders can only pull up one chart at a time on the Plus500 trading platform which is extremely limiting for active traders who generally compare multiple instruments at a time.
The chart function on the Plus500 trading platform is useful to compare price movements but its lack of robust charting capabilities is its downfall, particularly for advanced traders who are used to the more sophisticated charting capabilities of MetaTrader 4.
Special features that are lacking in Plus500 make it less appealing for advance traders. These include automated trading via Expert Advisors (EAs) and other trading algorithms. Other shortfalls include no back-testing functionality or access to PAMM or MAM to manage third-party funds.
Lastly, Plus500 falls short in providing valuable fundamental and technical analysis tools. Plus500 offers its clients access to over 2 000 financial instruments but provides few tools to analyse them.
PLUS500 REVIEW SUMMARY
Founded in 2008, Plus500 is a leading global broker with a solid reputation of being a trusted brand for CFD trading.
The brokerage company delivers a proprietory trading platform that is easy to use and provides access to over 2 000 financial instruments. It was the first global broker to offer CFDs for cryptocurrency trading.
Plus500 is the perfect online retail broker for two sets of clients:
- Beginner traders who want a simple, easy-to-use trading platform with a demo account, no commission and attractive fees.
- Experienced traders who want a simple interface to access the full house of financial instruments and are happy to trade-off specialised functionality for lower fees on retail accounts.
Plus500 has gone out on a limb offering a proprietory trading platform that excludes the hugely popular MetaTrader option. WebTrader does its job perfectly for new entrants to CFD trading but it’s lightweight and limited for more advanced traders.
WebTrader scores on ease of use and providing retail traders access to over 2 000 CFDs, including 50 currency pairs as well as cryptocurrency CFDs. Combined with a low minimum deposit for live accounts and attractive fees, Plus500 has a lot to offer CFD traders.
On the downside, Plus500 falls short on specialised functionality offered by the likes of MetaTrader 4, research tools, charting capabilities and education support.
Forex Trading Africa Disclaimer
Forex is a complex financial instrument and trading forex involves a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. You need to understand how forex trading works and decide whether you can afford to take the risk of losing money on trade orders that do not go your way.