Spread Betting Accounts Guide

Spread Betting Account

Spread Betting Account Services

If you are looking to open a spread betting account each of the companies listed below offer the key spread betting benefits:

  • You can buy or sell the markets, ie you can spread bet on the markets to go up or down
  • There are no broker’s fees
  • Through a spread betting account you can trade a wide range of world markets including stocks and shares, you can also trade stock market indices, gold, oil and forex rates.
Plus Tax Free Trading*, i.e.:

  • No Stamp Duty
  • No Capital Gains Tax
  • No Income Tax
Tax laws may vary if you live outside if the UK or Ireland and can vary from time to time.

Note that spread betting accounts are generally subject to status and/or credit checks.

Don’t forget the risks…

Spread Betting Account Comparison

User Ratings 7.6 6.6 6.7 7.1
Web Platform Spread Betting Accounts Spread Betting Accounts Spread Betting Accounts Spread Betting Accounts
Mobile App(s) iPhone App iPhone App iPhone App iPhone App
iPad App iPad App iPad App iPad App iPad App
24 Hour Trading 24 Hour Trading with Financial Spreads 24 Hour Trading with City Index 24 Hour Trading with ETX Capital 24 Hour Trading with CMC Markets
Live Charts Financial Spreads City Index ETX Capital CMC Markets
Stop Loss Available Financial Spreads Stop Loss Orders City Index Stop Loss Orders ETX Capital Stop Loss Orders CMC Markets Stop Loss Orders
Automatic Stop Loss Automatic Stop Loss on Financial Spreads Trades Automatic Stop Loss on City Index Trades Automatic Stop Loss on ETX Capital Trades Automatic Stop Loss on CMC Markets Trades
FCA Authorised and Regulated Financial Spreads City Index ETX Capital CMC Markets
Comparison Notes.

For a more detailed comparison of the spreads the various companies use, please see our spread betting companies comparison page.

Spread Betting Accounts with Offers

New Account Offer Spread Betting Account Offer Spread Betting Account Offer Spread Betting Account Offer Spread Betting Account Offer
Note: New Accounts and New Account Offers are subject to Status, Terms and Conditions. For details click on the » Spread Betting Offers

Opening a Spread Betting Account

Sometimes when you try to open a spread betting account it feels as though the provider doesn’t like you, doesn’t trust you and/or doesn’t want your business.

This is not the case, the spread betting providers want as many accounts as they can open.

However, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which regulates spread betting and CFD trading has put in place a number of strict regulations and safeguards on who can have an account. There are a number of steps the providers have to take before they give you an account.

How Long Does it Take to Open a Spread Betting Account and Get Trading?

Some Things Take Time
Some Things Take Time

First you need to fill in the company’s online application.

If the company in question can verify the details of your application automatically, you can be trading in as little as 5-10 minutes, i.e. the time it takes to fill in the online application, have the account approved and make a deposit.

If you apply over the weekend, or outside office hours, then most firms say they will process your application within one hour of the office opening again.

Note – if you just want to quickly test your trading then it takes less than one minute to open a demo account. And with a demo account you don’t need to deposit any funds or face any checks. Also see our guide to demo spread betting accounts.

Why Does it Take So Long to Open a Spread Betting Account?

The regulator requires all spread betting providers to ‘know your customer’. This is often an electronic check via a third party e.g. a credit checking firm like Experian or Equifax.

If the spread betting company can electronically verify your personal details e.g. name, date of birth, address etc. then that will help a lot with getting your account set up quickly (good for you and good for the provider).

Sometimes they can’t verify you automatically, in which case they will ask you for extra details (or decline your application).

Why Does the Spread Betting Company Need More ID from Me?

Spread Betting Providers
Note that the spread betting providers are mostly based in the UK and they are fairly well connected to UK based electronic checking facilities like Experian and Equifax. This means they can check most UK applications automatically, also see ‘Why Does it Take So Long to Open a Spread Betting Account?‘ above.

The providers are also increasing their automatic checking facilities (they know it’s a pain for you to email / fax in your details)

Applications from Ireland and certain parts of mainland Europe are becoming more automated.

If the provider can’t approve you automatically then you will need to give them further information.

Most providers have an account opening team and they will email you with details of what you need to provide, this is typically one or more of the following:

  • Proof of who you are e.g. passport (photo page) or drivers licence (both sides)
  • Proof of address e.g. recent bank statement or utility bill
  • Proof of funds e.g. recent bank statement
You can normally email these to the provider.

It doesn’t have to be a scan, a picture on your mobile is normally OK. Just keep it:

  • Clear and easy to see / read (don’t resize the image)
  • In colour
  • If you want to cover / blackout some of your transactions on a bank statement that is normally OK
If you live in the UK and are being asked for a proof of address it’s often because you have moved house, haven’t live at your current address for long enough and/or they can’t find you on the electoral register.

Why am I Being Asked for Proof of Funds?

In certain circumstances you will be asked for ‘proof of funds’ e.g. you may need to email or fax over a bank statement.

If you are retired or unemployed then you are more likely to be asked for proof of funds.

Remember spread betting is high risk, you should only trade with money you can afford to lose. If you don’t have much in the way of disposable funds then you shouldn’t be spread betting.

Why Won’t the Spread Betting Company Let Me Have An Account?

This often comes down to one of the following:

  • The company can’t verify your personal details

  • You have told the company in question that you don’t have enough trading experience

  • You don’t have a job or you don’t have the necessary funds

  • You live in America (or Japan or New Zealand) – see below

  • You live in a blacklisted country – see below

More Risk
You want more risk???

Credit Account or Deposit Account?

Only a few firms offer credit accounts.

Whether you opt for a credit account or a deposit account, this form of trading is leveraged and therefore high risk. The leverage part of spread betting is essentially you borrowing money to take a much larger position than your funds will allow.

Before you opt for a credit account, ask yourself, do you really want to borrow money on credit, so you can use that to borrow further funds (on leverage) to trade high risk products?

Note – Spreadex offer both credit and deposit accounts.

I am a Legitimate Investor But They Won’t Give Me an Account

Sometimes after you apply for an account you get an automatic email declining your application. This is probably because your application failed a number of tests.

If you still want an account, and you’re a legitimate investor, try calling the company in question and asking them why.

In some cases they will ask you to email / fax in proof of address, a bank statement and ID. If that’s all they ask for, and you can get those details to them, then the company should be able to open your account quite quickly.

Companies That Ask Fewer Questions

Some companies won’t ask too many questions when you apply. These fall into two categories:
  1. Firms regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
  2. Firms not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
FCA Regulated Companies That Ask Fewer Questions

Some firms will let you create a username and password, deposit funds, and start trading almost immediately without you supplying any other details.

Be warned though, when it comes to withdrawing your money the company in question will then have to go through the task of verifying you and will probably ask you to send in proof of who you are.

This isn’t always quick so don’t bank on a quick withdrawal.

Non-FCA Regulated Companies

We prefer FCA regulated firms because it means the firms (probably) conform to the official regulatory guidelines and they are covered by the ‘Financial Services Compensation Scheme’.

Also see, Is My Deposit Safe?

I Live in the USA, Why Can’t I have an Account?

The spread betting firms don’t hate Americans or people who live in the States.

However, financial spread betting is currently illegal in America, so if you live in America you won’t get an account with a legitimate firm.

Money Laundering and Withdrawals

Note that the companies also have to comply with money laundering regulations and that can impact relatively simple things like getting your money back.

If you have deposited money in your spread betting account using a debit card then withdrawing money back to the same debit card is normally hassle free.

However, if the debit card you deposited your funds with has expired then the company will often do a bank transfer back to the originating bank of the debit card. For that to happen though, you will probably need to email / fax in a recent bank statement to prove it’s the same bank account and that you’re not money laundering.

If you live in a country where there is lax financial regulation and the country is in the ‘high risk’ category of the various international anti-money laundering regulations then you will find it difficult getting a spread betting or CFD trading account, see below.

Is My Deposit Safe?

FinancialSpreads, IG and the other FCA regulated firms, see ‘Account Comparison’ above, are required to segregate your funds in a designated account.

The account is ring-fenced from trading activities and covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to make sure your money is safe.

Blacklisted Countries

If you live in one of the following countries then there’s a good chance that the various spread betting companies have it on a blacklist, i.e. they won’t approve any applications from that country.

This is because the countries in question are not deemed to comply closely enough with International Anti-Money Laundering regulations (it’s not because they don’t like you).

At the time of writing, blacklisted countries include: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bolivia, Congo, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gaza Strip, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Myanmar, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam, West Bank and Yemen.