Plus500 Review 2017


  • Easy to use platform
  • Only 100 EUR minimum balance
  • LSE Listed CFD broker
  • Limited product portfolio, only CFDs
  • Non-transparent fee structure
  • Minimal research tools

Plus500 Review Summary

 

We recommend Plus500 for experienced traders looking for an easy-to-use platform, with great user experience. 

Plus500 is a CFD broker, as such only CFDs are available. It is an Israeli company, listed on the London Stock Exchange section AIM. Its subsidiaries are regulated by both FCA (Plus500UK Ltd) and Cysec (Plus500CY LTD)1. Your investor protection depends on your residency as Plus500 serves customer through these subsidiaries.

CFDs are usually leveraged products with high risk. You should know that when you trade with CFDs, your capital is at risk.

Plus500 has a simple, easy to use trading platform, the mobile platform is especially well designed. The account opening process is fully digital and seamless. FX spreads are competitive, and Plus500 has some innovative solutions to offer, such as cryptocurrency CFDs. 

On the flip side, it only provides CFDs. The fee structure is not the most transparent as all trading-related fees are built into the spread and overnight rate calculation method is hidden. When you look at the spreads, Plus500 is competitive in FX, but it is a laggard at stock CFDs. It also sets your default leverage to 1:300, which you can change though.

Scroll down for the full Plus500 review.

 

Pros
  • Fast and seamless account opening process
  • More account currencies
  • Multiple ways to fund account
Cons
  • None
Good to know
  • CFDs are usually leveraged products with high risk. When you trade with CFDs, your capital is at risk.
Pros
  • Excellent, fully functional mobile platform
  • Well designed web and mobile platform
  • Some more advanced order types
Cons
  • One step authentication only
  • No downloadable desktop platform
Good to know
  • CFDs are usually leveraged products with high risk. When you trade with CFDs, your capital is at risk.
Pros
  • Email and live chat available
  • Chat was quick and professional
Cons
  • Chat was once down when tested
Good to know
  • CFDs are usually leveraged products with high risk. When you trade with CFDs, your capital is at risk.
Pros
  • Competitive FX spreads
Cons
  • Stock spreads are mid-range
  • Fee structure is not transparent
  • Financing fee calculation is very opaque
Good to know
  • CFDs are usually leveraged products with high risk. When you trade with CFDs, your capital is at risk.
Pros
  • None, no research available
Cons
  • No research available
Good to know
  • CFDs are usually leveraged products with high risk. When you trade with CFDs, your capital is at risk.
  • CFDs on Commodityies/Shares/ETFs/Indices/Currencies/Cryptocurrencies

Open account

Are you curious about the others as well? Our comparison table helps you to choose from all brokers.

Complete Plus500 Review

Gergely Korpos, 5 November 2017

 

Plus500 is an Israeli CFD broker and it is listed on the London Stock Exchange's smaller section, the AIM1. Plus500 has multiple subsidiaries serving clients in different countries. This means depending on where you are from you will be served by a specific Plus500 company. Most European clients are served by an entity regulated by Cysec the Cypriot regulator. If you are from the UK, you are served by a UK subsidiary, regulated by the FCA.

The FCA  is considered to be a stringent regulator, putting brokers under more scrutiny. If you are a European and not from the UK, you will be served by an entity regulated the Cysec. However, you will have the added benefit of FCA's check on the UK subsidiary. In our Plus500 review, we tested the standard account.

BrokerChooser’s Plus500 review contains the following sections:

Plus500 review
Overall 3.7
Account protection ★★★★☆
Account opening process ★★★★★
Money transfer and withdrawal ★★★★☆
Product portfolio ★☆☆☆☆
Fee structure ★★★★☆
Trading platform  
Web platform ★★★★☆
Mobile platform ★★★★★
Desktop platform NA
Research ☆☆☆☆☆
Customer service ★★★★☆

Plus500 review -

Investor protection scheme and regulation

★★★★☆

Brokerchooser believes in the most important broker selection criteria is security, so let’s kick off with investor protection.

Plus500 is listed on the AIM part of the London Stock Exchange, which is a big plus when it comes to security.

Your investor protection scheme and regulation practically depend on your residency.

Plus500 operates a bunch of subsidiaries and depending on your residency, one of these subsidiaries serves you. If you are from the UK, you will be served by Plus500UK, and the FCA’s up to £50k investor protection scheme covers you. If you are from an other EEA country (EU + Switzerland + Norway), you will be served by Plus500CY, the Cypriot Plus500 subsidiary. This case you will get investment protection by the Cypriot investor protection scheme, up to €20k. Plus500 serves through separate subsidiaries Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Israel (one subsidiary for each). Brokerchooser understands customers from the Middle East are served by the Cypriot company.

This segmented subsidiary approach and also other aspects, such as ownership, company profitability, regulatory compliance, etc are all transparent, clearly documented, and can be accessed by anyone through Plus500’s annual report.

Plus500 review -

Opening an account

★★★★★

Who can open an account?

At the time of our Plus500 review, we understood that close to all European citizens were allowed to open an account. Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, and customers from the Middle East are also served. US citizens are not accepted.

Account types

Plus500 offers a demo account free of charge, we believe that this is a great way for beginners to get acquainted with Plus500's trading platform, and help understand the key points of online trading. 

Plus500 has one live account type,  and it only serves individual accounts, no corporate accounts are offered. The minimum deposit is €100 on most funding methods, and a €500 minimum on bank transfers. Plus500 offers a very wide range of base currencies. Brokerchooser tested Plus500 with a minor currency (Hungarian Forint), and it was offered as a base currency. As such, there is good chance that your currency will be supported.

Account opening process

The account opening process is seamless, fully digital, and easy to complete.

Plus500 review - Account open - verification

There were a few minor hiccups when we tested the process. Imagine problems like you cannot enter your country code by +xx format, but you need to use 00xx. 

Plus500 review - Account open - phone

Besides the minor errors, it is a very fast easy-to-follow process with all the usual steps. A pro is that you are welcomed to the platform after you enter your name and email. From there on, email verification, MiFid test (questions on your financial knowledge), document and payment method verification is fully digital and you can use a digital copy of your ID. For proof of address, utility bills are accepted, and there is also a neat list provided what else.

Plus500 review - 

Money transfer and withdrawal

★★★★☆

Money transfers, both deposit and withdrawal are easy to do and straightforward. You can use credit card payment, bank transfer, Paypal, and Skrill. The bank transfer is an international transfer to a UK Barclays account. In all cases, you need to prove you are the one transferring money, not a third party.

Plus500 review - Money transfer

Withdrawing money is also easy to do with Plus500. Brokerchooser has not experienced any difficulties.

There is a clear description about withdrawing funds in the User Agreement 19.4.

Please refer to the original document, but Brokerchooser’s take is that as a default, Plus500 will let you withdraw funds to the same channel as you deposited, e.g. card, paypal or bank transfer. Withdrawal is free of charge for up to five per month. Beyond that, it is $10. Additionally, Plus500 might charge $6 for a bank transfer withdrawal. Customer care let us know it is free of charge for us. So, for Brokerchooser it is not entirely clear when the $6 is applied, we assume it depends on your country, so please double check.

Plus500 review - Withdrawal

There is minimum withdrawal amount. The minimum withdrawal amount is a $50 for Paypal and $100 for bank transfer and credit card. If you want to withdraw a lower amount, $10 charge will be applied. Also, when you close your account and withdraw all your money, you will be charged $10, unless the withdraw is to a credit card.

Plus500 review -

Product portfolio

★☆☆☆☆

Plus500 is a CFD broker offering only CFDs.

When you trade with Plus500, you always trade with CFDs.

This means when Plus500 offers “shares” or “crypto”, what they really mean are CFDs on shares or cryptos. So, if you buy an Apple share, you will not hold a real Apple share, but an Apple share CFD. If you would like to learn more about CFD trading you can find Brokerchooser's top CFD trading tips here.

Plus500 only offers CFDs, but the CFD product range is quite broad.  It covers

  • stocks
  • ETFs
  • indices
  • commodities
  • currencies
  • options
  • and cryptos

Stock CFDs

CFD brokers decide which stock do they provide to trade on. As such, even if an exchange is listed as available, not all stocks from the exchange are available. You can find Plus500’s available share CFDs here. To give you a feeling, Plus500 offers a good stock CFD on major stock markets, while it also covers smaller markets, like Austria or Poland.

As an arbitrary pick on number of assets on a stock market, Plus500 covers ~190 stocks from the UK stock exchange and ~40 from the Italian market. This is roughly same as Markets.com, but lower than IG, which provides CFDs on all stocks from the UK and ~180 in Italian stocks. There are 22 available stock markets to trade on which is a broad offer:

Stock market
Europe Other major markets
UK USA
France Japan
Germany Australia
Italy Hong Kong
Netherlands  
Finland  
Belgium  
Denmark  
Sweden  
Switzerland  
Spain  
Austria  
Norway  
Greece  
Poland  
Portugal  
Ireland  
Hungary  

ETF CFDs

Plus500 offers roughly 80 different ETFs, with a good selection of

  • major stock,
  • commodity
  • and other indexes.

When comparing with other this is a mid-range offering, e.g. eToro offers ~60, kind of similar, but Saxo offers 675.

Index CFDs

Plus500 has an ok coverage of the biggest equity indices (23 in total), but only equity indices. No commodity or other non-equity indices are available.

Commodity CFDs

There are 17 commodity CFDs offered, including

  • precious metals (e.g. gold),
  • energy (e.g. oil),
  • industrial metal (e.g. Copper)
  • and agriculture (e.g. Cocoa).

Currency CFDs

A wide range of forex selection is available, you can even find 59 currency pairs. This compares with ~70 at Oanda and ~55 at Markets.com.

Option CFDs

A short list of equity index and share options are also available but do not expect a wide offering. On the index side German, French, UK, Dutch, US and Italian index options are offered. While on the stock side you have Alphabet, Facebook, Apple, Snap and Deutchebank options to trade with.

Cryptocurrency CFDs

A wide selection of cryptos are available denominated in USD. You can trade with:

  • Bitcoin
  • Bitcoin cash
  • Ethereum
  • Zcash
  • Monero
  • Ripple
  • Litecoin
  • Dash
  • NEO

For the full product offering visit the relevant Plus500 website page.

Plus500 review -

Fee structure

★★★★☆

The Plus500 fee structure is moderately competitive compared to other CFD brokers. The least favorable fees are on the stock spreads.

The fee information is not the easiest to reach as is scattered around both the help sections of the website and the user agreement. It is not just information which is scattered here and there.

A CFD broker's overall fee structure is anyhow hard to oversee. Luckily, Brokerchooser is here to help with a structured Plus500 review.

Trading related fees

Plus500 does not charge commissions, it makes its income solely on the spread.

Plus500`s spreads are mixed.

Compared to other Brokerchooser featured brokers, its currency spreads are competitive, but the stock spreads are among the least favorable.

You can compare the overall CFD trading cost of the different brokers in our broker comparison table.

A selective spread comparison with other CFD brokers shows Plus500's competitiveness in FX, but it is a laggard at stock CFDs. Both eToro and Markets.com has the same trading fee structure as Plus500, so spread comparison is relevant.

Usual spread Plus500 eToro Markets.com
EURUSD (pips) 0.6 3 2
Apple (USD) 0.37 0.09 0.3
BMW (EUR) 0.25 0.22 0.15

Spreads from above are usual spreads at the time of the review. Spread may change in the future or can be wider during market turbulence.

Non-trading fees

When it comes to non-trading fees, Plus500 provides a quite favorable structure.

Inactivity fees and withdrawal fees are competitive. However, financing rates are on the higher end of the spectrum.

Plus500 applies three non-trading fee categories:

 

  • Inactivity fee: after 3 months of inactivity (no trading) you need to pay a 10 USD quarterly fee
  • Withdrawal fee:
    • 6 USD withdrawal fee for bank transfers
    • 5 free of charge withdrawals in a month for other methods (like card) that conveniently be enough for a normal account usage. If you exceed this limit, you need to pay 10 USD per one withdrawal
    • withdrawing under the minimum withdrawing amounts also come with a 10 USD fee
  • Financing cost (Overnight fee), called Premium in Plus500 platform

The actual financing rates are only published on Plus500 trading platform. The calculation method is not transparent and Plus500 can change the rates anytime at its discretion. Not so relaxing, right? A brief comparison of the actual rates with two other CFD brokers, eToro and Markets.com shows Plus500`s financing rate at the higher end of the spectrum.

Yearly financing rate Plus500 eToro Markets.com
EURUSD 3.44% 1.83% 2.83%
Apple 11.36% 9.13% 5.92%
BMW 9.73% 13.14% 4.50%

Plus500 review -

Trading platform

Plus500 operates a web and a mobile platform and does not provide a downloadable desktop platform.

Both the web and mobile platforms are easy to navigate around.

They are not overcomplicated, quite the contrary, are both simple platforms.

Plus500 review - Webtrading platfrom - overall

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Illustrative prices

Plus500 is available in many languages and Brokerchooser assumes these are the same languages as Plus500 page is available in. The web page is available in 32 languages, including Chinese, Arabic, or more exotic languages, like Hungarian or Estonian. We tested the platform for Hungarian, it worked with a few strange translations. This means it might be safe to assume that 32 languages are available. However, double check with the Plus500 customer care whether your language of choice is available.

Web platform

★★★★☆

The Plus500 webtrading platform is a simple one. By simple, Brokerchooser means both clean, easy to use, but also not sophisticated. The Plus500 webplatform has a nice design. As such, even a beginner could navigate the app with ease. On the flip side, features are missing, like research tools, leverage setting option,  or customizability. Nevertheless, for casual day-trading it serves its purpose well.

Trading Platform Login

Plus500 applies a one-step authentication process, without an option to do a two-step authentication. This is not the best practice among our tested brokers.

Plus500 review - Webtrading platfrom - login

Functions of the platform

The Plus500 web platform is really easy to use, and you will get around quite quickly. Instead of listing all its features, let us show you some feature screenshots.

Plus500 review - Webtrading platfrom - asset information

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Illustrative prices

Trading (unsurprisingly) happens at the trade menu point. On the left, you can quickly find the asset you want to trade with. It is grouped well by asset class, e.g.larger groups like shares, currencies, etc. Then shares are grouped by countries, and then alphabetically. Currencies are grouped by majors and minors.

The search function works well. Brokerchooser tested search function by typing “apple”, “oil”, and “Japan” with the intent to find these assets. It worked all well at Plus500.

Once you find the desired asset a simplified one-liner shows bid, ask, price change, and daily highs and lows. You can add the asset to your favorites, set up alerts, and get more information about the asset.

Brokerchooser liked the alert function.

You can set up an email or sms alert if the price reaches a level, the asset changes x%, and if the Plus500 Buyer/Seller sentiment changes to a specific %.

Plus500 review - Webtrading platfrom - alert setting

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Illustrative prices

Besides setting up alerts, you can also learn more about the selected asset. It is not a lot though. You can investigate the percentage of buyers vs sellers of open positions at Plus500 for the specific asset. Additionally, you see the current price compared to daily high and low, premium, and margin information of the asset.

Order types and order management

The Plus500 order management is mid range, more than basic, but also not the most sophisticated.

Besides the basics, it has good features.

  • You can set up, take profits and stop losses. You can set limits only by price level, not by percentages, which is a bit of a bummer.
  • Additionally, you can add a guaranteed stop loss, which eliminates slippage (FYI, Brokerchooser has not tested this feature, so we cannot tell how well it works).
  • Trailing stop and a limit orders are also available.

Plus500 review - Webtrading platfrom - order

                                                                                                      Illustrative prices

In all cases, there is a good help function available describing the specific features in a comprehensible way.

Chart analysis

At the bottom of the platform there is an okayish chart analysis tool. You can add ~20 indicators to the chart, change candle and line graph styles and set the time range. So, it is not really a sophisticated tool. You cannot save the graph, or cannot give orders on the chart.

Plus500 review - Webtrading platfrom - chart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Illustrative prices

When it comes to reporting and analyzing your portfolio and trading performance, you should check open positions, orders, closed positions, and funds. These menu points are well organized, and you can navigate through them quite easily.

Brokerchooser liked 

  • in the closed positions sections, the charged premiums (aka. financing cost) are well reported,
  • your account statement you can send via email to your own email address,
  • in the account snapshot, your current leverage is well reported.

Plus500 sets your leverage ratio to 1:300 by default when opening an account

Brokerchooser was not a fan of this practice. You can only change your leverage setting via the customer service, and the representative was a bit pushy on asking back for confirmation when we wanted to decrease the leverage. This is not the best practice. You should start trading with a low leverage and increase leverage if you think it is appropriate. When insisted, certainly the leverage was decreased, but it took almost 24 hours. At the time of Brokerchooser's Plus500 review, the minimum leverage available is 1:50 for currencies (1:2 available on some cryptocurrencies). The level of leverage can change in the future.

All in all, the web trading platform is a simple, easy to use platform.

Mobile platform

★★★★★

Plus500 provides its mobile platform for all systems. iOS, Android, and Windows Phone are all available. Apparently, you could also use your smart watch. Brokerchooser sticked to a conventional smartphone and tested the mobile iOS app.

The mobile platform is very well designed and easy to use. It is among the best designed trading apps.

Plus500 review - mobil platform - overall

                                                                                                      Illustrative prices

You can do the same with the mobile platform as you can with the webtrade, from setting up alerts, to adding chart analysis indicators. For login you can use your TouchID, or keep you logged in. The mobile app appears in the same language your mobile operating system is set.

Plus500 review - mobil platform -order

                                                                                                      Illustrative prices

When testing Plus500 mobile platform, Brokerchooser found some minor bugs. On a more exotic language setting, the account snapshot menu point did not open and we were logged out. The bug did not happen when we changed to English.

All in all, the mobile platform is the full equivalent of the web platfrom, and can be characterized as a well designed mobile trading platform.

Plus500 review -

Research

☆☆☆☆☆

Plus500 provides almost no research tools helping you trade.

You can only investigate the split of buy vs sell positions of Plus500 clients and you can add ~20 technical indicators to the chart. And that’s it. There is no analyst recommendations, fundamental data, relevant news feed, or economic calendar.

We found alerts functions to be good though. You can set up alerts easily for an asset reaching a certain price, price changes in percentage, or market sentiment changes.

Plus500 review -

Customer service

★★★★☆

You can contact the customer service via

  • live chat
  • email

We tested the live chat several times. When it worked, it was quick and reliable. You can rate your customer agent instantly, a good way to give feedback. The representative could answer Brokerchooser’s questions. When faced with more complicated questions they took some time but came up with the answers. The agents seem to be near shored to Central Europe (or at least ours were). In one occasion we encountered the waiting time for the live chat was more than 15 minutes, so practically, not live anymore. It was handled well, by informing us in advance that the live chat is overloaded.

Plus500 review - Live chat not functioning

The email customer support was also fine. 

Plus500 review -

Bottom line

In this Plus500 review we tested Plus500 thoroughly and here is Brokerchooser’s bottom line. It is an okay broker who is looking for an easy-to-use platform, with a great user experience, and for traders who are aware of the risks of CFD trading.

Being listed on the London Stock Exchange and being regulated by the FCA add a lot to security1. These security plus points are very important when choosing a CFD broker. There are a lot of scams out there. Be aware though, if you are not from the UK, you will be most likely served by Plus500 Cyprus, and hence the Cypriot investor protection will apply. Still, it is good to see that Plus500's subsidiaries are regulated by both the FCA and Cysec1.

What is more, Plus500`s trading platform is easy to use, even a beginner could navigate the app with ease.

On the other hand, its fee structure is mid-range. FX spreads are favorable but share spreads are not really favorable. For this price range, some research tools would have been nice. 

As there is practically no minimum balance,  no withdrawal fee above a $100 and inactivity fee only kicks in after three months, feel free to try it out.

Plus500 review summary for share


 

1Plus500 Ltd is listed on the AIM, section of the London Stock Exchange, Plus500UK Ltd is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 509909), Plus500CY LTD is authorised and regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (Licence No. 250/14).

CFDs are usually leveraged products with high risk. When you trade with CFDs, your capital is at risk.

Open account

Are you curious about the others as well? Our comparison table helps you to choose from all brokers.

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