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Plus500 is one of the biggest online trading firms in the world. But it has always been unavailable to US traders. The company focuses on contracts-for-difference (CFD) trading, and as we know, CFDs are illegal under US Securities Laws.
Plus500 has now brought futures derivatives to the market for US traders.
In this guide, we explain how Plus500 operates in the United States under TradeSpider/Plus500Futures, and what products it offers.
Plus500 was founded in 2008 and has become one of the top CFD providers in the world — providing access to financial markets with over 2,800 asset classes. It is listed on the FTSE 250 Index of the London Stock Exchange (LSE). Their recent acquisition of Cunningham Commodities LLC has allowed them to expand into futures trading.
Plus500 Products In The US
Plus500 allows traders in 50+ countries to speculate with contracts for difference (CFD) on commodities, crypto, shares, indices, ETFs, options, and forex. As of 2023, Plus500 also offers Futures trading in the US“.
Plus500 offers two distinct products for US traders. These are:
- Options (also referred to as ‘options on futures’)
Remember, if you see ‘Option CFDs’ on the Plus500 website, it’s not what we are referring to, and should you be based in the US, you can’t legally trade such products.
You can trade futures and options on a wide variety of financial instruments:
- Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, etc)
- Agriculture (Wheat, Soybean, etc)
- Metals (Gold, Copper, Platinum, etc)
- Energy (Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Micro WTI Crude Oil)
- Forex (currency pairs like EUR/USD)
- Interest Rates (Micro 10-Year Yield, 30-Day Fed Funds)
- Equity Indices (S&P MidCap 400, Russell 2000, etc)
How Does Plus500 Operate In The US?
In early 2021, Plus500 announced the acquisition of Cunningham Commodities LLC and completed the deal in July 2021.
Cunningham Commodities LLC is actually a trading platform provider offering software that allows traders to speculate on futures and options. The base platform is T4, which allows users to trade futures and options.
CFDs Remain Illegal In The US
Plus500 is now bringing options and futures to US traders, but not CFDs. CFDs remain illegal under US Securities Laws.
Note: Options offered to US customers by Plus500 are entirely different from options CFDs. Options CFDs are, in fact, CFD products, while the already launched standard options are not.
Plus500 still will not allow US traders to access CFDs.
Trading Account Types and Requirements
One thing Plus500 is known for is their free Demo Account. You can sign-up for one almost instantly and start trading using real-time prices but without real money. It’s a great way to learn the platform as well as gain trading experience risk-free. It’s also good for testing risk management and other trading strategies. This account never expires.
Setting up a real money account is slightly more involved. But Plus500 offers fast onboarding with what they call “pioneering technology.” You will need photo ID, proof of residence, and financial information.
The Plus500 interface allows you to switch between Demo and Real Money accounts easily.
Deposits and Withdrawals
Depositing and withdrawing money with Plus500 is easy. There are no fees from Plus500 in either case.
You can use an e-wallet (Paypal), debit/credit card (Visa/Mastercard), or bank account transfer (ACH). One option not available to US-based traders is Skrill.
In general, minimum deposits are $100 (or equivalent). But for ordinary bank transfers, it’s $500. For withdrawals, it’s $50 for Paypal and $100 otherwise. Note that if your account balance is less than the minimum withdrawal, you can withdraw all of it; your money is never stuck in account.
Note that withdrawals may take up to 3 days for Plus500 to process. And then, depending on the institution can take up to 7 days to process after that.
Plus500 provides support in a number of ways. For beginners, they offer Trading Academy. This consists of FAQs, eBooks, and videos. There’s actually a lot there that experienced traders will find useful as well. And the Economic Calendar will also help all traders.
But if you need personalized help, Plus500 offers three options: email, live chat, and WhatsApp. They do not offer telephone support.
Leverage allows traders to speculate on financial markets with less money than the total value of a trade. They provide the margin for their trade with the money in their accounts.
Note that there are two forms of margin in futures trading. First is the intraday rate, which is the level of funds needed to first open a position during the trading day. Second is the full-day rate, which exchanges require to keep the position open outside the trading day.
Margin rates can vary greatly depending on the underlying asset, time, and type of Futures contract. In general, intraday margin can range from $30 (micro e-mini Futures contracts) to $2000 (standard Futures).
With their CFD trading, Plus500 offers margins from 1:2 up to 1:30 depending upon the instrument. Futures margins vary between each instrument. Options margins are roughly the same but tend more toward the low side of this range.
As with their CFD business, Plus500 features low-cost trading of futures and options. They do not charge a platform fee and commissions for micro contracts are only 49¢.
Additionally, there are no:
- Live data fees
- Deposit fees
- Withdrawal fees
- Platform fees
- Inactivity fees
- Routing fees
There are some fees, however. Guaranteed stop orders are charged at a variable rate (displayed in the trading platform). Currency Conversion fees apply when the account currency is different than the currency required to purchase an asset.
Plus500 Review: Futures and Options Trading Platform
Plus500 does not work with MetaTrader 4 or 5. Instead, they provide their own proprietary trading platform, TradeSniper/Plus500Futures. It combines user-friendly use with powerful analysis and trading functionality. There are web and mobile apps:
- TradeSniper: Mobile trading app for Apple (iOS) and Android devices
- Plus500Futures: Web app for desktop computers
One profound aspect of Plus500 is that it provides a variety of e-mini and e-mini micro contracts. These allow you to trade futures without having to speculate on the large standard futures contract sizes.
The system comes with a set of charts and technical analysis tools to help in trading. It also features debit card payment transfers enabled — unique in the industry.
The apps provide live alerts such as expiring and limit margin notifications. It also allows you to set take profit and stop loss orders.
These apps allow you to switch between Demo and Real Money modes.
Plus500’s Regulatory Oversight
In the United States, Plus500 is registered as a Futures Commodity Merchant (FCM) with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). They are also a member of the:
- National Futures Association (NFA)
- Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT)
To put this into perspective, CBOT is one of several market-makers for the giant Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), while the NFA is one of the largest derivatives regulatory bodies in the country.
Since Plus500 Ltd does business all over the world, they are regulated by a number of other agencies in different jurisdictions:
|United Kingdom (Plus500UK Ltd)||Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) — License No. FRN 509909|
|Cyprus (Plus500CY Ltd)||Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) — License No. 250/14|
|Australia (Plus500AU Pty Ltd)||Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) — AFSL #417727; FMA in New Zealand — FSP No. 486026; FSCA in South Africa — FSP #47546|
|Singapore (Plus500SG Pte Ltd)||Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) — License No. CMS100648-1|
|Israel (Plus500IL Ltd)||Israeli Security Authority (ISA) — ID no. 515233914|
|Estonia (Plus500EE AS)||Estonian Financial Supervision and Resolution Authority — Licence No. 4.1-1/18|
|Seychelles (Plus500SEY Ltd)||Seychelles Financial Services Authority (FSA) — Licence No. SD039|
|United Arab Emirates (Plus500AE Ltd)||Dubai Financial Services Authority — F005651|
Is Plus500 available to US residents?
Plus500 is now available to US residents. It launched its futures and options trading platform in 2023. You can sign up now as discussed above.
Can Americans use Plus500?
Americans can use Plus500 to trade options and futures. This is the result of the completed acquisition of Cunningham Commodities LLC in 2021.
What countries is Plus500 available in?
Plus500 is currently available in more than 60 countries. Some of these include Australia, where Plus500 is licensed by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). Other countries include Germany, Austria, Hungary, France, and Greece in Europe, as well as countries from other parts of the world like South Africa, Taiwan, Uruguay, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Bonaire, Dominican Republic, and Indonesia.
Where is Plus500 based?
Plus500 has offices all over the world — most notably Haifa, Israel and London, UK. Plus500 has subsidiary companies in UK, Cyprus, Australia, Israel, Seychelles, Singapore, Estonia, and UAE. Most recently the United States is also part of the list, as Cunningham Commodities LLC is a US-based company, now owned by Plus500.
Is Plus500 good for options?
Plus500 is a good for trading options. This is especially true for smaller traders since they offer e-mini and micro e-mini contracts. E-mini contracts are one-fifth the size of ordinary futures contracts. And Micro e-mini contracts are one-tenth the size of e-mini contracts. So you don’t need a large amount of capital to start trading.
Does Plus500 offer negative balance protection?
Plus500 offers negative balance protection on their CFDs and we assume they will also provide it for futures and options as well. This is done with a “margin call” feature that prevents accounts from going negative. It’s something like a stop-loss order of last resort.
Credits: Original review written by Marko Csokasi. Major updates by Frank Moraes with contributions from the Commodity.com editorial team