Founded in 2008, Plus500 has since grown to become a leading online retail forex and CFD brokerage, surpassing two million monthly transactions by its third year of operation in 2011. Just a few years later, in 2014, Plus500 became listed publicly on the AIM section of the London Stock Exchange and reached unicorn status when its market capitalization surpassed a valuation of $1 billion.
The Plus500 brand serves forex and CFD traders through its regulated subsidiaries that are licensed in major financial hubs in the United Kingdom, Cyprus, and Australia.
Plus500 offers over 2,000 tradable products, including forex pairs and CFDs on shares, indices, commodities, ETFs, and options. Traders can choose between desktop, mobile, tablet, and web-based trading platforms.
Commissions & Fees
In terms of commissions and fees, Plus500 offers competitive spreads on most of its major forex pairs. We saw Plus500 spreads of 0.8 pips on the EUR/USD, using random forex quotes, for example, yet it is important to note that this was not an official “average” spread from Plus500.
Therefore, due to a lack of average spreads published by Plus500, it is difficult to compare its spreads to other brokers who publish average spreads from time to time; otherwise, spreads on the EUR/USD at Plus500 are comparable to spreads at CMC Markets and IG, as well as pricing for certain account types offered by FXCM, Saxo, and FxPro.
|View All Fees||Plus500||Markets.com||CMC Markets||IG||eToro|
|All-in Cost EUR/USD - Active||N/A||2.000||0.772||0.363||N/A|
|All-in Cost GBP/USD - Active||N/A||2.000||1.115||1.092||N/A|
|CFDs - Total Offered||2045||2002||10172||15000||1096|
|Commissions & Fees|
We would like to see Plus500 publish its average spreads for key currency pairs, as it looks like its pricing ranks high in the commissions and fees category for some of its majors pairs, despite higher spreads on other pairs such as the USD/CHF and NZD/USD and related cross-pairs that contain NZD and CHF currencies.
Accessing live chat on the Plus500 website was very fast, as no forms are required to contact a representative and chat is available 24/7 during the trading week. The live chat operator may ask for an email address to be provided to register the chat, unless you are already logged into the web platform, in which case your credentials are seen by the representative automatically.
It is important to note that Plus500 doesn’t offer formal phone support; instead, it focuses all its customer service support resources on a ticket-based email support system and a fully staffed 24 hour-a-day live chat operation during the trading week.
I was impressed that the live chat box followed me when I transitioned from the web platform to the main website. Live chat technology aside, offering chat on both the website and platform is not a commonly found feature; usually, it is one or the other. For example, CMC Markets and Saxo Bank only offer live chat from within their trading platform, while IG, on the other hand, offers only website chat support.
It is important to note that Plus500 doesn’t offer formal phone support; instead, it focuses all its customer service support resources on a ticket-based email support system and a fully staffed 24 hour-a-day live chat operation during the trading week. There are, however, extraordinary circumstances in which phone support may be provided, but that would be a very rare situation, as explained by Plus500 staff.
What Plus500 lacks in its phone support it makes up by having an efficient ticket-based email support system and 24/7 live chat. That said, phone is an important customer service channel which many clients prefer. While I was impressed with the overall quality of the Plus500 experience, the lack of a formal phone service negatively impacted the broker’s score in this category.
It was surprising to see there is no research shown within the Plus500 demo in terms of any top-tier news from providers such as Dow Jones, Reuters, Bloomberg, or even technical-related analysis content from the broker itself or third-party sources.
The same applies for live account holders: there is no news, research, or educational content. Needless to say, I do not recommend Plus500 for research.
Platforms & Tools
Available for desktop, web, and mobile, the Plus500 platform can be a great choice for causual investors due to its simplicity, as some platforms are very advanced or too complicated for users with no trading experience to navigate and understand.
This positive characteristic of platform simplicity is simultaneously Plus500’s biggest drawback when it comes to the platform’s features, as not much is available beyond the most essential tools needed for trading.
The desktop version of the Plus500 platform running on Windows 10 was a smooth experience from installation through logging in for the first time, and the layout was simple and neatly organized into four tabs.
After exploring the default tabs as well as the upper toolbar categories, it was clear the Plus500 platform is very light and not rich with features usually found on the desktop platforms of industry peers.
Moving to Plus500’s trade ticket in the desktop platform, the trade ticket window that appears when you click buy or sell is well balanced as it is simple to use and has some advanced features such as the guaranteed stop for an added cost that can easily be added.
The simplicity of the design but lack of depth continues across the platform. If you have never traded before, the Plus500 platform could be a place to start before graduating to a more advanced platform. However, for advanced traders there is little here to love.
Moving to the web version of the platform, the Plus500 WebTrader platform combines Java and html features within a sleek user interface design, adding a more streamlined layout than the desktop version – one that is consistent in its overall look and range of features.
WebTrader has an improved design and feels as if everything is packaged more neatly in the layout compared to the desktop version; however, the charting fell short just as in the desktop version, along with the absence news and research.
Overall, both the Plus500 desktop and web platforms (my preferred choice) are very simple and user-friendly, and they do well in focusing users’ attention on the process of trading. However, like the desktop platform, Plus500 is not built for active traders.
The Plus500 mobile app is similar to the web and desktop versions, with a consistent look and feel and a simple design and platform layout.
Like the rest of Plus500’s trading platforms, the simplicity of the layout helps first-time users focus on one thing – trading.
Consistent with the desktop and web platform, Plus500 does well in keeping the mobile app light and easy, while there is still plenty of room for improvement in the mobile app in terms of the number of features, including news, research, and charting features that could be added.
Like the rest of Plus500’s trading platforms, the simplicity of the layout helps first-time users focus on one thing – trading. This theme was consistent in the desktop version and web platform, and seems more strategic than coincidental, as we found it very easy and natural to place and manage trades on all of the Plus500 platforms, including the mobile app.
Overall, the Plus500 mobile app was one of the lightest we’ve reviewed so far and does well in keeping the watchlist, alerts, and trading functionality easy to access and manage.
In addition to being regulated in Cyprus, Plus500 is licensed in two major regulatory hubs, the UK and Australia, and was applying for a license in Israel around the time of our research in October 2016. It also subsequently received a license from the FSB in South Africa ahead of our review in 2017.
Plus500 can be a good choice for first-time market entrants as the platform is very easy to figure out and its design is centered on making the trading experience simple throughout.
However, client education materials and research content are absent from the Plus500 offering, and the trading platforms available are very light compared to Plus500’s competitors.
Considering the range of tradeable instruments, with over 2,000 CFDs available, including nearly 60 forex pairs, together with a low minimum deposit to open a live account, Plus500 provides new market entrants many choices and an easy way to test the world of online trading.
For our 2017 Forex Broker Review we assessed, rated, and ranked 20 international forex brokers. Each FX broker was graded on 255 variables. Learn more.
Forex Risk Disclaimer
There is a very high degree of risk involved in trading securities. With respect to foreign exchange trading, there is considerable exposure to risk, including but not limited to, leverage, creditworthiness, limited regulatory protection and market volatility that may substantially affect the price, or liquidity of a currency or currency pair. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators presented in these products will be profitable, or that they will not result in losses. Learn more.View all Plus500 Fees & Features
Reviewed by Steven Hatzakis Steven Hatzakis is the Global Director of Research for ForexBrokers.com. Steven previously served as an Editor for Finance Magnates, where he authored over 1,000 published articles about the online finance industry. Over the past 18 years, Steven has held numerous positions within the international forex markets, from writing to consulting to serving as a registered commodity futures representative.
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