2020’s CFD Brokers: Which is Best For You & Your Trading? (+ Brokers To Avoid)

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Risk Warning: Your Capital is at Risk.

Contracts for Difference (CFDs) are popular trading instruments that allow traders to speculate on the price movements of financial assets like gold or oil without having to own the underlying assets themselves.

Your choice of a CFD broker will determine the quality of your trading experience – especially if you prefer trading on mobile with an iPad, iPhone, or Android device.

Here we recommend the best CFD brokers in who offer trading on mobile and desktop platforms, including a wide variety of underlying assets  – from gold, crude oil, and forex, to cryptocurrencies and world events.

Top-Rated CFD Brokers

This table allows you to compare brokers via our proprietary scoring system. You can click through to our full review or go directly to the broker’s website.

Scroll down below the table to read mini reviews for each of our top-rated CFD brokers.

IMPORTANT: CFDs are not available in the USA due to local regulation, and regulated brokers do not accept US citizens or US residents as clients.

Recommended CFD Brokers: Edition

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CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 71.00%-89.00% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Next we give summaries for each CFD broker we’ve reviewed on our site.

Or you can learn more about CFDs in general or compare brokers on individual features, by jumping to:

CFD Broker Quick Reviews

For each CFD broker below, you’ll find links to our full review of that broker or you can click through to the broker’s website.

AvaTrade: One of the UK’s Top Brokers

HQ: IrelandMin Deposit: $100Full Review
Founded: 2006Regulators: ASIC, CBoI, FSA, FSCA, BVIFSC, ISA, ADGM
Avatrade's trading dashboard
Avatrade’s workspace.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

Pros

  1. ✅ Robust mobile app
  2. ✅ Customer support available 24/5 via phone, live chat or email in 14 languages
  3. ✅ Up to 400:1 leverage.

Cons

  1. ❌ Demo account only lasts 21 days
  2. ❌ High minimum deposits.
 AvaTrade
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Crypto, Forex, ETFs, Bond/US Treasuries.
Other Products: Spreadbetting, Buy Shares
FeesOvernight, Inactivity
SpreadsSee our Avatrade review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4, MT5
Other PlatformsAvaTrade Web, MT4, MT5, DupliTrade, MQL5, ZuluTrade
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $100. Payment Types: Credit/debit card, wire transfer, Skrill, WebMoney, Neteller
Max Leverage30:1 on major currency pairs
Negative Balance Protection✅ (excl. Professional Accounts)
Special Account TypesRetail, Professional, Demo, Islamic
Social TradingAvaSocial, Copy trading
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesGetting started guide, Strategy guide, Economic indicators, eBooks, video tutorials
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: 10+

Start Trading Now at AvaTrade

CityIndex: Global Broker for 30+ Years

HQ: UKMin Deposit: NoneFull Review
Founded: 1983Regulators: FCA, MAS, ASIC
CityIndex workspace
CityIndex workspace.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

Pros

  1. ✅ Scored 100 out of 100 on our broker trust rating
  2. ✅ 1-click trading feature
  3. ✅ 30+ years’ experience in global markets and available in 180 countries

Cons

  1. ❌ Demo account isn’t linked to live account
  2. ❌ Card withdrawals take 3-5 days.
 City Index
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Forex, ETFs, Bond/US Treasuries, Options, Interest Rates. Other Products: Spreadbetting
FeesOvernight, Inactivity, same-day CHAPS
SpreadsSee our CityIndex review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4
Other PlatformsWeb Trader, AT Pro, MT4
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $100. Payment Types: Credit/debit card, wire transfer, PayPal
Max Leverage200:1 (UK and Australia), 50:1 (Singapore)
Negative Balance Protection✅ (excl. Professional Accounts)
Special Account TypesRetail, Professional, Demo
Social Trading-
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesTrading academy, video tutorials, analytics guide, strategy guide, news and sentiments
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: Unspecified

Start Trading Now at CityIndex

easyMarkets: Cancel & Reverse Trades

HQ: CyprusMin Deposit: $100Full Review
Founded: 2001Regulators: FSA, CySEC, ASIC
easyMarkets workspace and trade ticket
easyMarkets workspace and trade ticket.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website. Please note, this is an example trade – not a recommendation.

Pros

  1. ✅ dealCancellation feature allows traders to cancel and reverse trades
  2. ✅ Over 300 markets in a variety of asset classes
  3. ✅ Scored 85/100 in our broker trust rating

Cons

  1. ❌ Only 3 major cryptocurrencies available to trade
  2. ❌ Live chat trading unavailable on lower-tiered accounts
 EasyMarkets
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Crypto, Forex
FeesOvernight, dealCancellation
SpreadsSee our easyMarkets review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4
Other PlatformsWeb platform, MT4
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $100 (EU + VIP), $200 (outside EU). Payment Types: Credit/debit card, wire transfer, SoFort, GiroPay, iDeal, WebMoney, BPay, Neteller, Skrill, FasaPay, UnionPay, WeChatPay
Max Leverage✅ (excl. Professional Accounts)
Negative Balance ProtectionRetail, Professional, Islamic, Demo
Special Account Types-
Social TradingGetting started guide, eBooks, video tutorials
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesLive webinars, trading courses (beginner, advanced, intermediate, premium)
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: Unspecified

Start Trading Now at easyMarkets

eToro: The First Social Trading Platform

HQs: Cyprus, UK, IsraelMin Deposit: $50Full Review
Founded: 2006Regulators: FCA, CySEC, ASIC, FinCEN, MiFID
Video [0:50]: eToro trading experience.

Pros

  1. ✅ Traders can integrate social features into their trading through the CopyTrader tool
  2. ✅ Free demo account for life
  3. ✅ Can purchase & trade crypto coins

Cons

  1. ❌ First screen only shows some of the instruments available for trading
  2. ❌ Potentially confusing way of displaying leverage
 eToro
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Crypto, ETFs. Other Products: Buy Cryptos
FeesWithdrawal, Overnight, Currency conversion, Inactivity, Crypto Fees
SpreadsSee our eToro review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4
Other PlatformsWeb platform, MT4
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $50 (AUS/US), $1,000 (Islamic Accounts), $200 (Everywhere else), $500 (wire transfers). Payment Types: Credit/debit card, Neteller, PayPal, Skrill, wire transfer, Diners Club
Max Leverage30:1 on major currency pairs
Negative Balance Protection
Special Account TypesRetail, Professional, Islamic, Demo
Social TradingCopy trading, investor groups
Account Security2FA via SMS
Educational ResourcesTrading academy, podcast, video tutorials, fintech guide, market overview
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email, fax. Languages: 20+

Start Trading Now at eToro

Forex.com: Extensive Tutorials & Education Materials

HQs: Cyprus, UK, IsraelMin Deposit: $50Full Review
Founded: 2006Regulators: FCA, CySEC, ASIC, FinCEN, MiFID
Video [0:17]: Forex.com advanced charting on mobile.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

Pros

  1. ✅ Scored 100 out of 100 on our broker trust rating
  2. ✅ Extensive chart drawing tools & technical indicators
  3. ✅ “Getting Started” tutorial

Cons

  1. ❌ Website available only in English & Chinese
  2. ❌ Demo account isn’t linked to live account
 Forex.com
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Crypto, Forex. Other Products: Spot Metals
FeesWithdrawal, Overnight, Currency conversion, Inactivity, Borrowing costs for shorting, Same-day CHAPS
SpreadsSee our Forex.com review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4, MT5
Other PlatformsWeb standard, web advanced, mobile
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $100. Payment Types: Credit/debit card, wire transfer, PayPal
Max Leverage50:1 on major currency pairs
Negative Balance Protection✅ (excl. Professional Accounts)
Special Account TypesRetail, Commission, DMA, Demo
Social Trading-
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesTrading course (beginner, intermediate, advanced), trading theme guides, video tutorials
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email, fax. Languages: Unspecified

Start Trading Now at Forex.com

Fortrade: UK Broker + Easy-To-Use Platform

HQs: Cyprus, UK, IsraelMin Deposit: $50Full Review
Founded: 2006Regulators: FCA, CySEC, ASIC, FinCEN, MiFID
Fortrade Trading Screen
Fortrade workspace.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

Pros

  1. ✅ Extensive educational tools
  2. ✅ Getting started tutorial
  3. ✅ Islamic accounts

Cons

  1. ❌ Some withdrawals can take up to 15 business days
  2. ❌ Some traders may prefer MT4 over Fortrade’s proprietary platform
 Fortrade
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Crypto, Forex, ETFs, Bond/US Treasuries
FeesWithdrawal, Overnight, Inactivity
SpreadsSee our Fortrade review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android
Other Platforms
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $100, $2,000 (Islamic accounts). Payment Types: Credit/debit card, wire transfer, Neteller, Skrill
Max Leverage30:1
Negative Balance Protection✅ (excl. Professional Accounts)
Special Account TypesRetail, Professional, Islamic, Demo
Social Trading-
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesTrading academy, eBooks, video tutorials, market analysis course, practice trading tools
Customer SupportAvailability: 9am - 9pm (Mon - Fri) via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: 10+

Start Trading Now at Fortrade

FXCM: Custom Baskets + Variety of Platforms

HQs: Cyprus, UK, IsraelMin Deposit: $50Full Review
Founded: 2006Regulators: FCA, CySEC, ASIC, FinCEN, MiFID
FXCM trading dashboard
FXCM workspace.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

Pros

  1. ✅ Custom baskets
  2. ✅ No deposit or withdrawal fees
  3. ✅ Extensive knowledgebase and trading tools

Cons

  1. ❌ Can’t browse shares on demo account
  2. ❌ Trading platform can be clunky
 FXCM
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Crypto, Forex, Baskets. Other Products: Spreadbetting
FeesInactivity
SpreadsSee our FXCM review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4
Other PlatformsTrading Station, MT4, ZuluTrade, NinjaTrader, TradingView, Mobile
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $50 (Retail + Non-EU), $300 (EU). Payment Types: Credit/debit card, wire transfer, Skrill, Union Pay, Neteller
Max Leverage30:1 on major currency pairs
Negative Balance Protection✅ (excl. Professional Accounts)
Special Account TypesRetail, Active Trader, Professional, Demo
Social TradingCopy trading
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesOnline classrooms, live market news, forex-specific guide, trading tool guide
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: Unspecified

Start Trading Now at FXCM

HYCM: 40+ Years Plus MT4 & MT5 Platforms

HQ: UKMin Deposit: $100Full Review
Founded: 1977Regulators: FCA, CySEC, CIMA, DFSA
Video [0:57]: Trading with HYCM

Pros

  1. ✅ Multiple chart windows and instant tickets
  2. ✅ 40+ years in business
  3. ✅ Scored 85/100 in our broker trust rating

Cons

  1. ❌ Website can be difficult to search
  2. ❌ $250 minimum withdrawal on wire transfers
 HYCM
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Crypto, Forex, ETFs
FeesWithdrawal, Overnight
SpreadsSee our HYCM review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4, MT5
Other PlatformsMT4, MT5 (Desktop + Mobile)
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $100, $250 (wire transfers). Payment Types: Credit/debt card, Neteller, Skrill, wire transfer
Max Leverage200:1
Negative Balance Protection
Special Account TypesFixed, Classic, Raw, Islamic, Demo
Social Trading-
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesKnowledge base, webinars, online workshops
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email, fax. Languages: Unspecified

Start Trading Now at HYCM

Markets.com: Award-Winning Customer Service

HQ: CyprusMin Deposit: $100Full Review
Founded: 2008Regulators: FCA, CySEC, ASIC, FSCA, BVIFSC
markets.com workspace
Markets.com workspace
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

Pros

  1. ✅ $5 minimum withdrawal amount
  2. ✅ Nearly 100 technical indicators
  3. ✅ Scored 85/100 in our broker trust rating

Cons

  1. ❌ Fixed stop-loss & profit contingency levels
  2. ❌ Only major cryptocurrencies available to trade
 Markets.com
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Crypto, Forex, ETFs, Bond/US Treasuries. Other Products: Buy Shares
FeesOvernight, Currency conversion, Inactivity, Borrowing costs for shorting (in some cases), Islamic account fee
SpreadsSee our Markets.com review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4, MT5
Other PlatformsMarketsx, Marketsi, Mobile, MT4, MT5
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $100. Payment Types: Credit/debit card, wire transfer, PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, iDeal, Sofort
Max Leverage
Negative Balance ProtectionRetail, Professional, Demo
Special Account Types-
Social TradingTrading tool guide, financial live-stream service, webinars, market analysis
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesLive webinars, trading courses (beginner, advanced, intermediate, premium)
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: Unspecified

Start Trading Now at Markets.com

Pepperstone: One of the World’s Largest Forex Brokers

HQ: CyprusMin Deposit: $100Full Review
Founded: 2008Regulators: FCA, CySEC, ASIC, FSCA, BVIFSC
Pepperstone cTrader dashboard
Pepperstone’s cTrader workspace
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website. Please note, this is an example trade – not a recommendation.

Pros

  1. ✅ Three customizable platforms
  2. ✅ Regulated by two top-tier regulators
  3. ✅ Scored 85/100 in our broker trust rating

Cons

  1. ❌ Relatively small variety of instruments to trade
  2. ❌ Negative balance protection only applies to UK & Europe
 Pepperstone
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Crypto, Forex. Other Products: Spreadbetting
FeesWithdrawal, Overnight
SpreadsSee our Pepperstone review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4, MT5
Other PlatformsMT4, MT5, cTrader (Mobile + Desktop)
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $200. Payment Types: Credit/debit card, Neteller, Skrill, PayPal, Poli, wire transfer
Max Leverage500:1 (Australia), 30:1 (UK)
Negative Balance Protection✅ (excl. Professional Accounts)
Special Account TypesRetail, Razor, Swap-Free, Islamic, Demo
Social TradingMetaTrader Signals, Duplitrade
Account Security2FA via Authenticator App
Educational ResourcesCFD trading guide, forex trading guide, market analysis hub
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email, fax. Languages: Unspecified

Start Trading Now at Pepperstone

Plus500: #1 CFD Broker in the UK

HQ: IsraelMin Deposit: $100Full Review
Founded: 2008Regulators: FCA, CySEC, ASIC
plus500 dashboard
Plus500 workspace
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website. Please note, this is an example trade – not a recommendation.

Pros

  1. ✅ 2,000+ CFDs in 7 asset classes
  2. ✅ Free demo account for life
  3. ✅ Scored 90/100 in our broker trust rating

Cons

  1. ❌ No integration with MT4 or MT5
  2. ❌ Withdrawals can take up to 7 days
 Plus500
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Crypto, Forex, ETFs, Options
FeesInactivity, Currency conversion
SpreadsSee our Plus500 review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android
Other PlatformsWeb, Desktop, Mobile
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $100, $500 (wire transfer). Payment Types: Credit/debit card, PayPal, Skrill, iDeal, BPay, Klarna, Giropay, Trustly, wire transfer
Max Leverage300:1 on forex
Negative Balance Protection
Special Account TypesRetail, Professional, Demo
Social Trading-
Account Security2FA via One-Time Password on Google Authenticator app
Educational ResourcesTrader's guide, risk management guide, video tutorials
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, WhatsApp, email. Languages: 10+

Start Trading Now at Plus500

Trading212: Most Mobile App Downloads

HQ: CyprusMin Deposit: $100Full Review
Founded: 2008Regulators: FCA, CySEC, ASIC, FSCA, BVIFSC
Trading212 workspace
Trading212 workspace

Pros

  1. ✅ Zero commissions on trades + no funding fees
  2. ✅ 3,000+ global stocks, ETFs, & CFDs
  3. ✅ Scored 90/100 in our broker trust rating

Cons

  1. ❌ No phone support or live chat
  2. ❌ Withdrawals limited to original funding method
 Trading212
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Crypto, Forex, ETFs. Other Products: Buy Shares
FeesSWAP interest, Currency conversion
SpreadsSee our Trading212 review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android
Other PlatformsWeb, Mobile
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $1 to $10 (Varies by region + method). Payment Types: Credit/debit card, Skrill, Dotpay, Giropay, Carte Bleue, Apple/Google Pay, PayPal, iDEAL, wire transfer
Max Leverage30:1
Negative Balance Protection✅ (excl. Professional Accounts)
Special Account Types3 Retail Accounts (CFDs, Invest, ISA), Professional, Demo
Social Trading-
Account Security2FA via Google Authenticator or Authy app
Educational ResourcesTrading guide, video tutorials, charting guide, trading concepts training
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Email, support tickets. Languages: Unspecified

Start Trading Now at Trading212

XM.com: No Re-Quotes & No Rejections

HQ: CyprusMin Deposit: $5Full Review
Founded: 2009Regulators: CySEC, IFSC, FCA, ASIC, DFSA
Video [3:59]: Trading on XM via MT4 on mobile

Pros

  1. ✅ Everyday webinars in 19 languages
  2. ✅ No re-quotes & no rejected trades
  3. ✅ Support in nearly 30 languages

Cons

  1. ❌ Variable spreads only
  2. ❌ No cryptocurrency CFDs
 XM
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Forex
FeesOvernight, Inactivity
SpreadsSee our XM review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4, MT5
Other PlatformsXM Web Trader, MT4, MT5 (Mobile + Desktop)
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $5 (Micro + Retail), $100 (Zero). Payment Types: Credit/debit card, Neteller, Skrill, wire transfer, Union Pay, Moneta, QIWI, CASHU, Abaqoos, Przelewy24, Giropay, Fasapay
Max Leverage888:1
Negative Balance Protection
Special Account TypesMicro, Standard, Zero, Islamic, Demo
Social TradingXM Mirror Trader, Forex signals
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesResearch hub, podcast, video tutorials, live educational streams, webinars, forex-specific live training, trading tool guide
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: 25+

Start Trading Now at XM

XTB: European Broker + Cash Back on Trading Volume

HQ: CyprusMin Deposit: $100Full Review
Founded: 2008Regulators: FCA, CySEC, ASIC, FSCA, BVIFSC
Video [5:08] – How to trade with XTB

Pros

  1. ✅ Three robust trading platforms
  2. ✅ 1,500+ trading instruments
  3. ✅ Market sentiment heat maps

Cons

  1. ❌ Focused on Eastern & Central European countries
  2. ❌ Italian financial transaction tax
 XTB
ProductsCFDs: Commodities, Shares, Indicies, Crypto, ETFs
FeesInactivity, Deposit, Withdrawal, Penalty interest, Italian CFDs
SpreadsSee our XTB review for spreads & commissions information.
Mobile PlatformsiOS, Android, MT4
Other PlatformsxStation 5, xStation Mobile, MT4
Deposits & WithdrawalsMin. Deposit: $250. Payment Types: Credit/debit card, PayPal, Skrill, wire transfer
Max Leverage30:1
Negative Balance Protection✅ (excl. Professional Accounts)
Special Account TypesRetail, Professional
Social Trading-
Account Security-
Educational ResourcesLive webinars, trading courses (beginner, advanced, intermediate, premium)
Customer SupportAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: Unspecified

Start Trading Now at XTB

How Do CFDs Work?

Contracts for Difference (CFDs) are a type of financial product that allows traders to speculate on the price movements of an underlying asset like gold or oil instead of taking physical ownership of the product.

Let’s take crude oil, for example, and compare the difference:

Purchasing Crude OilTrading on Crude Oil CFDs
If a trader wants to purchase crude oil and then trade it, they’ll need a place to store it and a means of shipping it.Storing and shipping costs are unnecessary because you’re not actually purchasing or selling the oil itself.

With CFDs, a trader is making a wager about whether the price of crude oil (or other underlying asset) will increase or decrease over an agreed-upon period of time.

The amount of this wager, the direction of the price movement (up or down), and the time period are written into a contract between a trader and a CFD broker.

When the time period for the CFD expires, the trader reaps a profit or suffers a loss, depending on whether the price change they predicted comes true or not.

With CFDs, traders can profit regardless of whether an asset’s price increases or decreases, as long as they predicted the correct direction of the price change and its speed (time period).

Understanding Leverage

A critical part of understanding how CFDs work is the concept of leverage.

Leverage is a way for a CFD broker to underwrite much larger trades than a trader could otherwise afford. It essentially multiplies a trader’s wager.

Here’s an example of how leverage works:

Let’s say a trader has $400 dollars in funds, crude oil is trading at $40 USD per barrel, and the leverage offered by a broker is 1:10.

  • Without leverage – A trader can only speculate on 10 barrels of oil.
  • With 1:10 leverage – A trader can speculate on 100 barrels of oil.

Caution: Although leverage can make CFDs attractive to traders because it can magnify profits, leverage also amplifies losses.

Understanding Margin

If leverage sounds similar to a “loan,” that’s because it amounts to CFD broker financing for the contract duration of the CFD. The “loan” part of leverage is called margin.

In the oil CFD trading example above, the trader is borrowing $3,600 on margin from the broker for a trade: $4000 worth of oil CFDs purchased for $400.

Just like with a loan, a trader must have sufficient collateral to trade on margin. In the case of a CFD broker, that collateral comes from a trader’s equity.

Equity is the amount of money in a trader’s brokerage account — including deposits and any profits taken from previous trades that haven’t yet been withdrawn.

It’s important to understand that a trader typically cannot make transactions that exceed their margin amount.

How Do CFD Brokers Make Money?

CFD brokers make money in two ways:

  1. On an individual trader’s transactions via fees, spreads, and commissions
  2. Financing and hedging.

Fees, Spreads, and Commissions

These charges allow brokers to make money on trading actions. Note that some CFD brokers may say they charge “no commissions” and still others may say they have “no fees.”

However, they may compensate for these costs in other ways. Check to see what your prospective CFD broker charges for the types of transactions you’re likely to make.

Here are some examples of fees that a CFD broker may charge.

Monthly Account FeeWithdrawal FeesDeposit Fees
Inactivity FeeBorrowing Costs for ShortingCurrency Conversion Fee
Overnight FeeProfessional Trader FeesOther Fees (eg, swap charges)

Commissions and Spreads

Typically, a CFD broker charges either spreads or commissions, but in some cases may levy both types of overhead, depending on the trade type or account type.

For example, active day traders may be charged commissions while retail traders are only charged spreads.

Financing and Hedging

As we explain above, margin is a method of financing that traders can use in combination with leverage to try for larger profits than they otherwise could afford make.

The flip side of this financing is that losses are larger, too. Losses for a trader turn into profits for the CFD broker.

Brokers also use hedging as a means of making money. Hedging is the practice of making trades (usually in the opposite pricing direction) that can offset potential losses.

Here are some common ways that CFD brokers hedge for profit:

  • Forwards and Futures Contracts – These contracts “lock in” the current price of an asset for sale at a later date, regardless of the price at that time. If the later price is greater than the locked-in price, the brokerage firm takes a profit.
  • Long/Short Equity – A brokerage may go long or short on instruments that are expected to go in the opposite direction of a client’s trades.

A long position on a trade means that a trader will profit if the price of the underlying asset goes up. A short position means that a profit is earned if the price goes down.

How to Choose a CFD Broker

Use the following features to assess whether a CFD broker is right for you. Where applicable, we’ve also included comparison tables for the brokers we’ve reviewed.

Regulation and Reputation

The most important consideration in choosing an online broker is whether it’s regulated by a credible governmental agency with real enforcement powers.

A regulated CFD broker must obtain a license with government oversight agencies and adhere to the rules established by them.

These rules usually include important customer safeguards such as:

  • Segregating customer trading funds in separate accounts
  • Submitting regular audits to regulators and
  • Maintaining adequate capitalization.

If a CFD broker firm fails to adhere to a regulator’s standards, the regulator can levy fines or even revoke a firm’s license.

The Dangers of Unregulated CFD Brokers

A trader who opens an account with an unregulated broker is taking serious, unnecessary risks.

  • An unregulated broker doesn’t answer to any authorities and, therefore, can do whatever it wants with customer funds.
  • Since these firms operate online, it can be difficult to track them down if they defraud customers.

For more information about avoiding brokerage scams, see our tips on ‘Avoiding Scams‘.

Reputable CFD Brokerages Are Licensed

Traders should beware of claims of regulation by bogus brokers or agencies.

Prior to opening an account, traders should check a CFD brokerage firm’s website for the licenses and registrations held by it.

Some of the largest regulatory agencies include:

For more information about regulators in , see our in-depth regulators page.

CFD Broker Availability in

CFD brokers vary in terms of the countries they serve and the types of financial instruments they offer. Not all financial instruments are legal to trade in all countries.

Example:

CFDs, which originated in London, are popular in Europe but not legal to trade in the United States.

eToro Crypto Trading
eToro doesn’t sell CFDs to US citizens but crypto trading is allowed.

Mobile and Desktop Trading Platforms

The best trading platforms offer a streamlined experience. They are fast-loading, offer real-time charting and quotes, and provide a variety of technical analysis tools.

Some CFD brokers also incorporate:

  • Copy trading: the ability to mimic the trades of others on the platform
  • Economic calendars
  • Financial news feeds
  • Drawing tools, so you can highlight areas of your technical analyses.

Mobile Trading

Since a majority of people trade on-the-go, a key consideration in choosing a CFD broker is the quality of the mobile trading app.

  • Is it easy to execute trades on the go?
  • Does it have all the features of the desktop app?
  • Is the app fast?
  • Is the app available for your phone’s mobile operating system (eg, iOS, Android, etc)?
  • Does the brokerage regularly update and improve the mobile platform?
Plus500 Mobile Trading
Mobile device trading on Plus500.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website. Please note, this is an example trade – not a recommendation.
CFD Broker Mobile Features Comparison
 iOS & Android AppsMT4 MobileMT5 MobileOther Features
AvaTradeSame features as desktop app, including registration, deposit, social trading notifications
City IndexSame features as desktop app, including charting, dashboard, real-time price alerts & notifications
EasyMarketsSame features as desktop app, including analytical tools, news, real-time account monitoring, news, open/close positions, place pending orders, deposits & withdrawals
EtoroSame features as desktop app, including CopyTrader, Crypto wallet, Community forums, Real time market updates, CopyPortfolios
Forex.comSame features as desktop app, including real-time trade & order alerts, integrated fund management
FortradeSame features as desktop app, plus low memory footprint, ultra-high speed execution, and take-profit, stop-loss, & pending orders
FXCMMobile available via MT4 only
HYCMMobile available via MT4 only
Markets.comFundamental, technical, and sentiment-based tools, risk management tools, real-time access to experts
PepperstonecTrader mobile: Advanced take-profit/stop-loss levels, multiple monitor support. MT4 & MT5 mobile: Historical data, MT5 mobile only: CFDs on shares
Plus500Same features as desktop app
Trading212Same features as desktop app
XMMobile available via MT4 and MT5
XTBSame features as desktop app

Proprietary, MT4, and MT5 Trading Platforms

Many brokers offer the popular MetaTrader 4 (MT4) or MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platforms.

Some CFD brokers like eToro and Plus500 have their own proprietary trading platforms either instead of or in addition to the MetaTrader apps. These platforms may work via your web browser or also as downloadable desktop software.

CFD Broker Desktop Platforms Comparison
CFD BrokerMT4MT5Proprietary PlatformsOther Platforms
AvaTradeAvaTrade WebDupliTrade, MQL5, ZuluTrade
City IndexWeb TraderAT Pro
EasyMarketsBrowser-based
EtoroBrowser-based
Forex.comWeb standard, Web advanced
FortradeFortraderWebTrader4
FXCMTrading Station, TradingViewZuluTrade, NinjaTrader
HYCMn/a
Markets.comMarketsx, Marketsi,
PepperstonecTrader
Plus500Browser-based
Trading212Browser-based
XMXM Web Trader
XTBxStation 5, xStation Mobile
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) on AvaTrade laptop
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) on AvaTrade.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

Account Types and Opening Requirements

Check the CFD broker’s available account types to make sure they have one that meets your needs. Here are some common account types.

Account TypeDescriptionPrevalence
StandardA retail brokerage account that allows CFD trading.All retail brokers offer these account types.
DemoA way to try out a broker’s platform or practice trading using “play money.”Most brokers offer demo accounts, but many of them have expiry periods.
IslamicHalal (swap-free) accounts for traders who follow Sharia lawSome brokers offer these accounts. Contact the broker to be sure.
ProfessionalDesigned for high-volume day traders.Some brokers offer these accounts with strict funding and volume minimums.

Account opening requirements vary by broker and account type, but usually involve the following:

  • Proof of identity – Proof of identity typically requires address and phone information plus a government-issued picture ID like a passport.
  • Account funding – Minimum account balances can range from $1.00 to $250 for standard retail accounts. Islamic accounts sometimes require higher balances (eg, Fortrade requires $2,000). Day trading account minimums start at $25,000.

Deposits and Withdrawals

  • Deposit sources – Most CFD brokers accept wire transfers and credit card funding. However, if you wish to transfer money to your account another way (eg, PayPal or Neteller), make sure the broker you like supports your preferred method.
  • Account minimums – Brokers typically require a certain level of funding to be available in your account at all times to cover losses. Be sure to check our reviews: we note the CFD broker’s minimum account requirements so you’ll have the information handy.

CFD Broker Account Funding & Minimums Comparison

 Minimum DepositCredit/Debit Card, & Wire TransferSkrillPayPalNetellerOther Funding Methods
AvaTrade$100WebMoney
City Index$100
EasyMarkets$100 (EU + VIP), $200 (outside EU)SoFort, GiroPay, iDeal, WebMoney, BPay, FasaPay, UnionPay, WeChatPay
Etoro$50 (AUS/US), $1,000 (Islamic Accounts), $200 (Everywhere else), $500 (wire transfers) Diners Club
Forex.com$100
Fortrade$100, $2,000 (Islamic accounts)
FXCM$50 (Retail + Non-EU), $300 (EU)Union Pay
HYCM$100, $250 (wire transfers)
Markets.com$100iDeal, Sofort
Pepperstone$200Poli
Plus500$100, $500 (wire transfer)iDeal, BPay, Klarna, Giropay, Trustly
Trading212$1 to $10 (Varies by region + method)Dotpay, Giropay, Carte Bleue, Apple/Google Pay, iDEAL
XM$5 (Micro + Retail), $100 (Zero)Union Pay, Moneta, QIWI, CASHU, Abaqoos, Przelewy24, Giropay, Fasapay
XTB$250

CFD Asset Classes Offered

In 2020, derivatives traders have a remarkable array of underlying assets to trade CFDs on:

Underlying CFD AssetsExamples
CommoditiesGold or oil price movements or on commodity futures
Currency PairsEUR/USD
CryptocurrencyBTC/USD
Index FuturesFTSE 100, US 500
Stocks and ETFsTesla (TSLA), Facebook (FB), and Amazon (AMZN)
Other AssetsBonds, US Treasuries, Baskets

Make sure the broker you’re considering offers CFDs on the underlying assets you’d like to speculate on.

 Commodities, Shares, IndiciesCryptoForexETFsOther Assets
AvaTradeBond/US Treasuries
City IndexOptions, Interest Rates, Bond/US Treasuries
EasyMarketsVanilla Options, Baskets
eToro
Forex.com
FortradeBond/US Treasuries
FXCMBaskets
HYCM
Markets.comBond/US Treasuries
Pepperstone
Plus500Options
Trading212
XM
XTB

Leverage

CFD brokers vary according to whether they offer leverage and how much. Local regulations (such as those required by ESMA in the EU) also affect the amount of leverage that you are allowed to trade with.

For retail accounts, maximum leverage typically tops out at 30:1 on average. Professional trading accounts can offer much higher leverage.

Leverage Limits by Regulatory Agency

Some regulators impose leverage limits on all CFD brokers within their jurisdiction.

RegionMaximum Leverage
EuropeIn countries regulated by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the maximum leverage on CFDs is 30:1 for retail traders.
United KingdomThe UK currently abides by ESMA’s maximum leverage of 30:1 for retail traders.
AustraliaASIC allows for leverage up to 500:1.
USACFDs are not available to US residents and citizens.
Leverage for platinum on Fortrade
An example of the leverage for platinum on Fortrade.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website. Please note, this is an example trade – not a recommendation.

Max Leverage by CFD Broker

 Max Leverage
AvaTrade30:1 on major currency pairs
City Index200:1 (UK and Australia), 50:1 (Singapore)
EasyMarkets30:1 on major currency pairs
eToro30:1 on major currency pairs
Forex.com50:1 on major currency pairs
Fortrade30:1
FXCM30:1 on major currency pairs
HYCM200:1
Markets.com30:1 on major currency pairs
Pepperstone500:1 (Australia), 30:1 (UK)
Plus500300:1 on forex
Trading21230:1
XM888:1
XTB30:1

For more about leverage, check our Commodity Trading Guide.

Fees by Broker

 Deposit & Withdrawal FeesOvernight FeeCurrency Conversion FeeInactivity FeeOther Fees
AvaTrade
City Index✅ Same day CHAPS transfers incur a £25 fee, Borrowing costs for shorting
EasyMarkets✅ dealCancellation
Etoro
Forex.com✅ Same-day CHAPS transfers incur a £25 fee for amounts under £5,000. Dividend adjustment fee, Borrowing costs for shorting
Fortrade
FXCM
HYCM
Markets.com✅ Islamic account fee: 1%, Borrowing costs for shorting
Pepperstone
Plus500
Trading212
XM
XTB✅ Penalty interest, all transactions on share CFDs from Italy are subject to FTT

Spreads and Commissions by Broker

Spreads can be tricky to compare across brokers because they can be charged in different ways:

  • As a percentage of the trade amount (eg, 0.13%)
  • As points or pips for forex trades (eg, 50 pips)

Commissions may be charged as a flat fee per transaction or a percentage of the trade amount.

Pip is an acronym for “percentage in point.” In dollar currencies, a pip is equal to 1/100 of a cent ($0.0001) while in Japanese yen, one pip adds ¥0.01 to the transaction cost.

Market Sentiment and Social Trading

Most CFD brokers offer some way to measure market sentiment which can give insights to how the market as a whole is leaning on a particular position.

Market sentiment on Fortrade.com
An example of market sentiment on Fortrade.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website. Please note, this is an example trade – not a recommendation.

Social trading, pioneered by eToro, allows traders to exactly copy the trades of its most successful traders.

eToro CopyTrader profile
CopyTrader profile on eToro.
Please note, this is an example trade – not a recommendation.

Technical Analysis and Charting

Technical analysis and charting can help traders make decisions about which positions to take. Some CFD brokers offer more complex analysis features or more robust charting than others.

Some of the most popular analyses include:

Payment Methods

CFD brokers typically offer a wide variety of payment and deposit methods so that traders can choose which methods work best for them. The most common payment methods are:

  • Credit or debit card
  • Wire transfers
  • PayPal
  • Skrill
  • Neteller

Some brokers also support niche payment services like: Abaqoos, Apple Pay, BPay, Carte Bleue, CASHU, DotPay, Fasapay, GiroPay, Google Pay, iDeal, Larda, Moneta, Poli, Przelewy24, QIWI, SoFort, Trustly, UnionPay, WebMoney, and WeChatPay.

Click here to compare different funding methods offered by different brokers.

Account Security

Although all CFD brokers require user passwords and employ back end security measures, traders wishing for more security should look for a broker that offers Two-Factor Authentication (abbreviated as 2FA).

Two-factor authentication can be done via:

  • An SMS message sent to your mobile device
  • An authenticator app like Google or Microsoft Authenticators
  • An email message
  • A security notification popup on your mobile
  • Unique one-time password (OTP)

Only the following brokers offer 2FA:

BrokerAccount Security
eToro2FA via SMS
Pepperstone2FA via Authenticator App
Plus5002FA via One-Time Password on Google Authenticator app
Trading2122FA via Google Authenticator or Authy app

Education and Customer Support

Consider the available support channels (eg, phone, email, live chat) and hours. Do they cover your time zone? Do they offer support in your preferred language?

Also, review the CFD broker’s site for the type of educational materials available for traders at your level.

CFD Brokers by Education and Customer Support

 Educational ResourcesCustomer Support
AvaTradeGetting started guide, Strategy guide, Economic indicators, eBooks, video tutorialsAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: 10+
City IndexTrading academy, video tutorials, analytics guide, strategy guide, news and sentimentsAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: Unspecified
EasyMarketsGetting started guide, eBooks, video tutorialsAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: 5+
eToroTrading academy, podcast, video tutorials, fintech guide, market overviewAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email, fax. Languages: 20+
Forex.comTrading course (beginner, intermediate, advanced), trading theme guides, video tutorialsAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email, fax. Languages: Unspecified
FortradeTrading academy, eBooks, video tutorials, market analysis course, practice trading toolsAvailability: 9am - 9pm (Mon - Fri) via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: 10+
FXCMOnline classrooms, live market news, forex-specific guide, trading tool guideAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: Unspecified
HYCMKnowledge base, webinars, online workshopsAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email, fax. Languages: Unspecified
Markets.comTrading tool guide, financial live-stream service, webinars, market analysisAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email, fax. Languages: Unspecified
PepperstoneCFD trading guide, forex trading guide, market analysis hubAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email, fax. Languages: Unspecified
Plus500Trader's guide, risk management guide, video tutorialsAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, WhatsApp, email. Languages: 10+
Trading212Trading guide, video tutorials, charting guide, trading concepts trainingAvailability: 24/5 via Email, support tickets. Languages: Unspecified
XMResearch hub, podcast, video tutorials, live educational streams, webinars, forex-specific live training, trading tool guideAvailability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: 25+
XTBLive webinars, trading courses (beginner, advanced, intermediate, premium)Availability: 24/5 via Live chat, phone, email. Languages: Unspecified
Forex.com Education
An example of the educational content on Forex.com.
This screenshot is only an illustration. Current market prices can be found on the broker website.

How We Rate CFD Brokers

When we review CFD brokers, we consider the following areas.

 TopicQuestions We Answer
#1ReputationWhat awards, accolades and publicity has the firm received from the trading community?
#2HistoryWhen was the firm founded?
What were the major milestones in its history?
#3Operating TerritoriesWhich countries does the broker serve?
#4RegulationWhich agencies regulate the broker?
How do these agencies help protect customers?
#5ProductsWhat are the specific financial products traders can trade on the platform?
#6AccountsWhat types of trading accounts are available?
What are the features of each type of account?
#7FeesWhat spreads, fees and commissions does the broker charge its customers?
#8DepositsWhat is the minimum deposit required to open an account?
What methods can traders use to fund their accounts?
What deposit and withdrawal restrictions, if any, does the broker impose on its customers?
#9PlatformWhat are the most important features of the trading platform?
What does the platform look like?
What educational materials (e.g., videos, reports and tutorials) does the broker provide to traders?
Does the broker provide demo accounts and, if so, are there restrictions on using these accounts?

#10PromotionsDoes the broker offer promotions such as signup bonuses for new account holders?

We revisit our assessments periodically in order to notify our readers in the event action is taken against these brokers by regulatory agencies.

There is no one online broker that’s the best fit for every trader.

Further Reading

Now you’re ready to start researching and trading CFDs!

You can also check out our other broker lists:

FAQs

Below we answer some commonly asked questions about online brokers and CFD trading.

Are CFDs legal in the US?

No, trading CFDs is illegal for US citizens and residents. Additionally, most CFD brokers don’t accept US citizens or US residents as clients. CFDs are illegal in the US because they are an over-the-counter (OTC) trading product. OTC trading products aren’t listed on regulated exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), bypassing US regulatory bodies.

Thus, for US citizens to trade CFDs, the US Congress would have to change regulatory law.

Is CFD trading safe?

No, CFD trading — indeed any form of trading — is not “safe.” Trading involves complex risks, that is, factors affecting price movements of assets that retail traders are unaware of or that are unpredictable. Most retail CFD accounts lose money. Only experienced traders should consider trading CFDs.

Is eToro a CFD broker?

Yes, eToro is a CFD broker (though not in the US). eToro offers CFD trading on commodities futures, currencies, indices futures, and stocks. They also offer cryptocurrency trading and cryptocurrency-fiat currency trading. In addition, account holders can buy and sell cryptocurrency on eToro without a digital wallet.

eToro is fully regulated by CySEC, FCA and ASIC.

What is the difference between CFD trading and forex trading?

CFD trading and forex (FX) trading differ in terms of the underlying assets you are trading on and the nature of the contracts. When you are trading in the foreign exchange (forex) market, you are trading currency pairs only. CFD contracts are available on a wide range of asset classes, including forex, commodities, indices, stocks, ETFs, and events.

Unlike CFDs, forex trading offers the opportunity to benefit from interest rates associated with currencies and it is legal in the US.

You can also trade spot metals in the forex market because they are considered a form of currency. For example, you can trade gold, silver, platinum, or palladium against fiat currencies. You can also trade metal pairs, such as gold vs. silver (XAU/XAG).



Credits: Originally written by Lawrence Pines. Major updates in October 2020 by Natalie Mootz; in June 2020 by Sherrie Gossett; and with contributions from the Commodity.com editorial team.

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