Plus500 Review 2018

4.0
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Plus500 logo

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). Your investor protection depends on your residency as Plus500 serves customers 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.

Important notice for daytraders: at Plus500 scalping is defined as "A trading strategy where a significant portion of the customer's positions are opened and closed by him/her within 2 minutes." If Plus500 believes you were following this strategy, your account might be blocked and closed. So if you plan to execute trades within 2 minutes, Plus500 is not your broker.

As a plus

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

Plus500 provides only CFDs. The fee structure is not the most transparent as all trading-related Plus 500 fees are built into the spread and overnight rate calculation method is hidden. The analyst recommendations, fundamental data, relevant news feeds are totally missing from the Plus 500 platform.

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

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Plus500 review
Investor protection and regulation

Plus500 is regulated by 5 authority globally and also listed on London Stock Exchange, although just at the smaller AIM section. However, it doesn't have bank parent.

Plus500 operates a bunch of subsidiaries and depending on your residency, one of these subsidiaries will serve you. Your investor protection scheme and regulation practically depend on your residency:

Country of client

Protection amount Regulator Legal name of entity
EEA countries (EU, Switzerland, Norway) €20,000 Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission Plus500CY
UK

£50,000

Financial Conduct Authority Plus500UK
Israel No protection  Israel Securities Authority

Plus500IL Ltd 

Australia No protection Australian Securities Securities and Investments Commission Plus500AU Pty
Singapore No protection Monetary Authority of Singapore Plus500SG 

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

It's also a big advantage that Plus500 provides negative account balance protection.

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Plus500 review
Account opening

Account opening in Plus500 is very seamless and easy. You can deposit your fund in several different currencies. On the flip side, there is a minimum account balance.

Who can open an account?

Close to all European citizens are allowed to open an account. Only residents of Belgium are not allowed to open an account in Europe. In France, you can only open a Limited Risk Account which places a guaranteed stop order with additional charge. Australians, New Zealanders, Singaporeans, and customers from the Middle East are also served. US citizens are not accepted.

Minimum funding requirements including Plus 500 minimum deposit

The Plus500 minimum deposit is €100 on most funding methods (electronic wallets and debit/credit car), 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 also be supported.

Plus500 banner

Account types

Besides the live account, you can try the demo account of Plus500 until you get familiar with the program.

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.

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.

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Plus500 review
Funding and withdrawal

Funding and Plus500 withdrawal are easy to do, straightforward, and can be done in several forms.

Funding options

You can choose from the several options to take deposit:

  • Bank transfer: you transfer to a UK Barclays account. In all cases, you may be asked to upload a photo/scan of a bank statement or proof of payment:

Plus500 review - Money transfer

  • Debit/credit card: you may be asked to upload a photo/scan of your card, credit card statement, or a document from the bank.

  • Electronic wallets: Paypal, Skrill.

Plus 500 withdrawing options

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. You can also watch video regarding process of withdrawing. Plus500 will let you withdraw funds to the same channel as you deposited:

  • Bank transfer
  • Debit/credit card
  • Electronic wallets (Paypal, Skrill).

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 Plus 500 withdrawal amount is $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.

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Plus500 review
Product portfolio

Plus500 is a CFD broker offering only CFDs. You can choose from more than 2,200 products including innovative ones, like Cryptocurrencies.

Plus500 is a CFD broker and if you would like to learn more about CFD trading, you can find Brokerchooser's top CFD trading tips here.

Plus500's CFD product range is quite broad. It covers

  • Equities
  • ETFs
  • Indices
  • Forex
  • Options
  • Commodities
  • Cryptos

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With CFDs, you can trade with leverage. Leverage levels are almost the same for every country, but you can find some exceptions. For example, if you are from Poland the maximum leverage level is 1:100. Very important! There is a default leverage level for all products and you can reduce only by contacting customer service. However, you can increase the leverage any time up to the maximum. The maximum level of leverages differs from product to product:

Product type

Max leverage

Equities 20
ETFs 100

Indices

300

Forex 300
Options 5
Commodities 152

Cryptocurrencies

5

Equities

CFD brokers decide which stocks you can trade on. Some exchange is listed as available nevertheless you can't trade with all stocks. 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:

Equities
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  

ETFs

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.

Indices

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.

Commodities

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

Plus500 has moderately competitve fee strucuture compared to its CFD broker peers. Forex spreads are highly competitive, while stock spreads are less favorable. Financing rates are one of the highest within peers.

Trading fees

Plus500 does not charge commissions, it makes its income solely on the spread. 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) 0.39 0.09 0.35
BMW (EUR) 0.25 0.24 0.2

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

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Non-trading fees

When it comes to non-trading fees, Plus500 provides a quite favourable 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, except for the credit/debit card
  • 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 3.7% 1.8% 3.1%
Apple 9.9% 4.9% 6.2%
BMW 10.7% 6.9% 6.2%

Plus500 review
Web trading platform

Plus500 operates a well-designed, easy to use web platform. On the flip side, some features are missing, like research tools, leverage setting option or customizability. 

The Plus500 webtrading platform is a simple one. By simple, Brokerchooser means both clean, easy to use, well-designed, but also not sophisticated. As such, even a beginner could navigate the app with ease.

The Plus500 trading platform is available in many languages including Chinese, Arabic, and 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. 

The leverage ratio is set up 1:300 by default. 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.

Look and feel

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

Login and security

You can apply a two-step authentication process beside the one-step authentication. 

Plus500 review - Webtrading platfrom - login

Search functions and charts

The functions of Plus500 platform are 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.

At the bottom of the platform, there is a 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

Placing orders

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 is 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.

Alerts and notifications

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.

Portfolio and Fee reports

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. in the closed positions sections, the charged premiums (aka. financing cost) are well reported,

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Plus500 review
Mobile trading platform

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

The Plus500 user reviews rate the Plus 500 platform on mobile at 4,2 out of 5. We were also satisfied with the 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 stuck to a conventional smartphone and tested the mobile iOS app. 

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.

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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. The only thing you can reach out on the website is a not detailed economic calendar.

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Plus500 review
Education

Plus500 does not provide any education tools.

You can not find any video or content to help you improve your knowledge.

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Plus500 review
Customer service

Both the Plus500 live chat and their e-mail support are quick and reliable.

You can contact the customer service via:

  • live chat
  • email

We tested the Plus500 live chat several times. Most of the time 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.

On the flip side, we also had a negative experience with live chat. In this case, the agent was not able to reduce the level of leverage (a pretty basic request) and could not answer our questions. So the quality fluctuates. 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 fine. 

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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.

Is plus 500 reliable? Being listed on the London Stock Exchange and being regulated by the FCA add a lot to security. 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 Cysec.

What is more, Plus500's trading platform is easy to use, even at the first time user can navigate the app with ease.

On the other hand the structure of Plus500 fees is moderately competitive. FX spreads are favorable but share spreads are not the best. Financing rates are high. For this fee level, some research tools would have been nice. 

Important notice for daytraders: at Plus500 scalping is defined as "A trading strategy where a significant portion of the customer's positions are opened and closed by him/her within 2 minutes." If Plus500 believes you were following this strategy, your account might be blocked and closed. So if you plan to execute trades within 2 minutes, Plus500 is not your broker.

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

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Plus500 logo

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). Your investor protection depends on your residency as Plus500 serves customers 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.

Important notice for daytraders: at Plus500 scalping is defined as "A trading strategy where a significant portion of the customer's positions are opened and closed by him/her within 2 minutes." If Plus500 believes you were following this strategy, your account might be blocked and closed. So if you plan to execute trades within 2 minutes, Plus500 is not your broker.

As a plus

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

Plus500 provides only CFDs. The fee structure is not the most transparent as all trading-related Plus 500 fees are built into the spread and overnight rate calculation method is hidden. The analyst recommendations, fundamental data, relevant news feeds are totally missing from the Plus 500 platform.

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

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Overall

Pros
  • Easy to use platform
  • Listed on AIM section of the London Stock Exchange
  • Competitive spreads
Cons
  • Limited product portfolio, only CFDs
  • Non-transparent fee structure
  • Minimal research tools

Investor protection and regulation

Pros
  • Listed on stock exchange
  • Transparent financial reports
  • Negative balance protection
Cons
  • Doesn't have bank background

Account opening

Pros
  • Fast and seamless account opening process
  • Whole process is fully digital
  • Several account currencies
Cons
  • Minimum account balance

Funding and withdrawal

Pros
  • Multiple options: bank transfer, cards, online wallets
  • Process is quick
Cons
  • None

Product portfolio

  • Forex

Fee structure

Pros
  • Competitive forex spreads
  • Five free of charge withdrawals in a month (except bank transfers)
Cons
  • High financing rate
  • Stock spreads are mid-range
  • Financing fee calculation is very opaque

Web trading platform

Pros
  • Well designed and user-friendly platform
  • Applicable two-step login
  • Some more advanced order types available
Cons
  • Missing leverage setting feature
  • Missing research tools
  • Bad customizability

Mobile trading platform

Pros
  • Well designed and fully functional platform
  • Safe login functions
Cons
  • Minor bugs

Research

Pros
  • No research available
Cons
  • No research available

Education

Pros
  • No education available
Cons
  • No education available

Customer service

Pros
  • Email and live chat available
  • Quick and professional service
Cons
  • Chat was once down when tested

AUTHOR OF THIS REVIEW

Gergely Korpos
Gergely Korpos
Co-founder, CPO
Gergely's aim is to bring more clarity into personal investing. He has 10 years of experience in financial markets with GE Money, KPMG and MOL. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and financial portfolio manager
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