CMC Markets is a highly regarded broker for share trading, but are they better than contracts for difference (CFD) specialist Plus500? Both forex and CFD brokers offer excellent trading platforms with over 80 technical indicators and 10+ charting tools. We compare the brokers key trading features to establish the winning broker for 2020.
Spreads are one of the main costs for each forex trade executed. Spreads (the difference between bid/ask prices) are the trading fee charged to clients, and how brokers are compensated for facilitating trades and providing market access.
Our sample of spreads from January 2020 shows a selection of major currency pairs. At most, there the spreads appear to differ by no more than 0.1 pip between Plus500 and CMC Markets.
Given the lack of difference in spreads for each broker, spreads need not be a major factor when choosing between Plus500 and CMC Markets.
Funding charges may apply for the following situations
When international credit cards are processed via a foreign acquirer.
Bank transfers to/from a bank account to Plus500 (rare).
Forex conversion when payment method does not support currency type.
With Plus500 you may incur fee where maximum monthly withdrawal limit is breached.
CMC Markets have no withdrawal limits but if withdrawing to a credit or debit card you can only withdrawal up to the amount you deposited using the card. In other words, if you made profit then this amount cannot be withdrawn to your card.
With CMC Markets, if a margin call has been made because your account balance is at risk then you will need to call CMC Markets customer support in order to add or withdraw funds.
CMC Markets do not offer Paypal for those with a share trading account.
Other funding costs include
Overnight Holding Costs
Guaranteed Stop Loss Orders Premiums
Leverage – Plus500 vs CMC Markets
Both Plus500 and CMC Markets use margin rate rather than leverage. The margin rate is the minimum deposit you will require to open and maintain your trading position. From this margin, one can determine how much leverage the broker will lend you.
CMC Markets have a more generous margin rate of 0.20% (500:1) than Plus500 which only offer 0.37.5% (300:1).
CMC required margins for currency pairs.
Leverage is a useful tool in a traders arsenal. Currency pairs only change a few cents most of the time, making it hard to make large profits without a large initial investment. More money invested means greater returns when prices move in your favour.
It is, however, important to understand that leverage comes with high risk that can lead to large losses when prices move in unfavourable directions. Therefore, it is important to understand the high risks associated with leveraged positions and use leverage responsibly. Trading platforms offer risk management tools that can assist in minimising losses and protecting capital.
CMC Markets offer a better margin rate than Plus500, therefore, we recommend CMC Markets.
Risk Management Inclusions
In addition to common risk management features like trailing stop, take-profit and call margin both brokers as well as standard guaranteed stop-losses, both Plus500 and CMC Markets offer Guaranteed Stop-Loss Orders (GSLO).
For a premium, clients can guarantee their stop-loss threshold on their trading position. A GSLO ensures you are protected against slippage that can occur with a standard stop-loss. Premiums will vary depending on the currency pair chosen but you only need to pay this if the GSLO is executed.
Some traders employ Guaranteed Stop Loss Orders when trading in volatile markets or if they lack experience. GSLO is a great risk management feature that can provide a high level of protection against losing your money.
Both Plus500 and CMC Markets offer the same basic risk management tools for spread betting. For this reason, we will call this category a draw.
Plus500 clients are restricted to the brokers proprietary trading platform. The Plus500 platform is available on desktop, web and mobile (iOS and Android).
The Plus500 platform is popular with casual investors due to its clean design and emphasis on simplicity. However, the platform lacks advanced features that more advanced traders may require. For instance, the platform does not offer social trading, the ability to trade directly from charts, or drawing tools. The mobile version lacks certain essential features that are available on the desktop version, such as drawing tools.
Plus500 offers the following
103 technical indicators (18 indicators on the mobile version).
10 fields for watchlists.
Custom chart templates that can be saved.
CMC Markets Trading Platforms
Clients have a choice of two trading platforms. These are CMC Markets own proprietary ‘Next Generation’ trading platform and MetaTrader 4. Both of these platforms are available to clients on a tablet or mobile (Android, Windows, Mac, iOS), as well as a webtrader platform. Those using the ‘Next Generation’ app on mobiles will have access to the same features as those on webtrader, however, those using a browser will have a more comprehensive selection of tools and features.
Generation Next Trading Platform has the following features:
81 Trading Indicators: great for in-depth technical analysis (note: the mobile version on has 23 indicators).
Expandable trade ticket design – users can add features such as stops and limits and level 2 pricing.
Chart pattern recognition – a tool to analyse trading and pricing. The tool can auto-adjust when time-scales of charts are changed to show updated patterns.
Alerts for chart patterns.
Sentiment Tool for social trading.
24 drawing tools.
Trading directly from charts.
Eight fields for the watch list.
In late 2018, CMC Markets began to offer MetaTrader 4 (MT4) as a trading option. The MT4 platform is known as the gold standard of trading platforms and is offered by more brokers than any other platform.
Introducing MT4 was a smart move by CMC Markets, given this will encourage traders using MT4 with other brokers to switch to CMC Markets. MT4 is a great platform in its own right but has one big advantage over many other platforms in that it does not lock you into a particular clients eco-system. By this we mean you can switch brokers also offering MT4 with few issues.
If you choose to use MetaTrader 4 you will still need a Next Generation Account. CMC markets require this to overcome funding limitations with their MT4 platform.
It is important to note that you cannot trade shares via the CMC Markets MT4 platform. CMC Markets only allow trading of Forex, Indices and Commodities, yet users can still trade shares via the Next Generation platform.
Pros of MT4
The same functionality on mobile as on webtrader (except for Expert Advisors).
30 technical indicators that can be expanded with add-ons.
24 drawing tools.
Three different interactive charts with nine time periods that are customisable.
Inbuilt Expert Advisors.
Customisable platform and charting.
No support for futures and options.
Originally built for the FX market. Support for other asset classes is available but may not be as accessible as other platforms.
No share trading.
Conclusion – Plus500 vs CMC Markets
Plus500 is a great platform for beginner and intermediate traders. If you require more advanced trading tools and analysis then we suggest you use one of the CMC Markets platforms such as MetaTrader 4.
Contracts for Difference (CFDs) – Plus500 vs CMC Markets
CMC Markets has a global reputation as a share and forex broker, with some commodities available. CMC Markets offer extensive market access to a range of share and forex instruments available. However, if you are wanting to trade CFDs, Plus500 offers a larger CFD product range.
Conclusion – Plus500 vs CMC Markets
If you are looking for a broker with a wide range of contracts for difference then we recommend Plus500. If you are looking for a broker that offers a large range of shares then we recommend CMC Markets.
Customer Service – Plus500 vs CMC Markets
Plus500 lack customer support features when you compare with the main online forex brokers. While they do offer 24/7 live chat and email support and even WhatsApp, the absence of phone support is glaring. While you can certainly use live chat or email to resolve your issues, it is safe to say, many people still do like to have phone access to customer support when needed.
Not only are the customer support features scarce, Plus500 does not offer much in the way of customer service and education. Most CFD and forex brokers offer educational resources to assist clients of all levels of experience. Plus500’s lack of such resources may hinder traders forex trading development.
Not only do Plus500 not offer much in the way of education, Plus500 fails to offer comprehensive technical analysis from experts. Many brokers engage analysts to provide input, education and updates on news or trends in the market. Plus500 offers neither in-house or 3rd party technical analysis. They also do not offer economic calendars which is a basic feature in the industry.
With all this said, the lack of these features does not make Plus500 a bad product. Not everyone needs these features and much of the information provided by other forex brokers is available for free elsewhere.
The Plus500 demo account has two key benefits that make it superior to other virtual accounts offered by brokers. Firstly there is no access restriction. This means you have unlimited access to your demo account with no time restrictions. Secondly, there is no funds restriction, meaning you have all the virtual funds you need to practice your trading with.
CMC Markets Customer Support
Unlike Plus500, CMC Markets offer customer support via phone, live chat and email. This service is available Monday 8 am to 8 am Saturday. You can also reach the CMC Markets support team via the CMC Markets twitter and facebook account.
It is interesting to note that if you use the live chat via the website, you will be dealing with the stock market support team. This can lead to some confusion given the support team will assume your asking questions relating to CMC Markets stock market accounts.
If you have questions regarding CFDs then you will need to log in with your account to chat to the live chat team. This is not always convenient if you don’t have a CFD account, meaning you will need to call the help desk if you have questions.
CMC Markets Customer Services
CMC Markets offer a great collection of customer service tools.
Research: CMC Markets offer a range of news and analysis features that help you stay on top of all the latest news and events in financial markets. These include:
A dedicated team of in-house analysts that offer expert insights. Australia has two analysts in its panel. Michael MaCarthy and Ric Spooner. These analysts regularly appear on CNBC, Sky, ABC and BBC so you can be sure they know their chops.
Third-party resources – Morningstar, Reuters News and so on.
An economic calendar outlining significant corporate and economic events.
Education: CMC Markets offers a wealth of educational material, these include:
Webinars covering a range of topics including trading, market analysis, technical analysis.
Articles, guides, ebooks and whitepapers.
CFD trading and forex education program.
Glossary of key trading terms.
Demo Account: CMC Markets provide access to $10,000 of virtual funds in a demo account. The account is free for you to use as long as you have a CMC Markets Account.
Conclusion – Plus500 vs CMC Markets
CMC Markets offers superior customer experience and provides quality educational and research resources, while Plus500 offers below-average support and education. Therefore, CMC wins this round by a mile.
Bonus Programs – Plus500 vs CMC Markets
Plus500 have a first deposit and rebate program where you will be rewarded with credits based on the size of your deposit or trading volume. The more trader points you earn the more credit you will receive.
Below shows the credits you will earn for the trading points you have along with the amount you receive for your first deposit.
Below shows a sample of the trader points you will earn for trading forex. You need to trade at least $1500 and points earned will vary for each currency pair. You will also receive points for trading with other CFDs.
CMC Markets will top up your account with 20% of your deposit throughout your first month of trading.
If you trade a minimum of 25 million in a month you qualify for CMC Markets rebate program.
Refer a friend
You can also receive a bonus if you refer a friend
Plus500 wins thanks to its on-going rebate program that is better value than CMC Markets.