Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Trading platforms: Plus500

Choosing a suitable trading platform for yourself is an important part of the journey towards riches. To make the choice easier for you I'm going to review a few of them like Plus500, eToro and InstaForex. I'll start with what I am currently using.

Let's begin with the Plus500 platform, my personal favourite.

Plus500UK Ltd is a company registered in England and Wales. It's regulated by the FSA so you should be safe using their broker services.
With Plus500 you can trade currencies, commodities, indicies, ETF'sCFD's and shares of course. They have a downloadable platform that you can get Here, but if you don't want any extra programs on your PC, you can use their WebTrader as well. Both work almost the same and have the same features. Plus500 also offers a free €25 gift to those who register and start using their platform, which can be very attractive to low budget traders like me.

The platform takes less than a minute to download and as soon as you've registered you're ready to start trading. Supported languages are English, Swedish and Finnish. If you want to change the platform language, you will have to go the Plus500 website, switch the site language and then download the software again.

The minimum deposit limit per a single transaction is €100 and the maximum €9200. For a low budget trader a €100 investment may be scary, however, depositing does not mean you have to invest it all. For me there are five depositing options; Online Bank Transfer, Credit Card, Nordea Solo, Moneybookers and Wire Transfer. This might vary by your country though.

To withdraw any funds you will have to supply Plus500 with a document to verify your identity. You can scan or take a picture of the document, upload it straight using the platform, email it or fax it to Plus500. Accepted documents are a passport, ID card or a driving license.

If you feel that you are not ready to trade with real currency yet, you can always use the Demo mode to practice.

Now what I love about this program is the ease of use, intuitiveness and lightweightness. It feels a bit like Google Chrome. There's no extra bling, the beauty lies in the simplicity.

You can quickly access any investment option you want to trade from the categories on the left panel. Information on that item is displayed in a clear manner in the chart panel. Buying or selling is fast and have several options like Close at profit, Close at loss and Trailing stop. Additional information like when the market for that item will close can be accessed in the Details window. All the tools are close at hand without having to go through a bunch of menus.

The yellow boxes are a bug hiding the chart tools. It can become quite annoying
if you like to keep multiple charts open.Hopefully they will fix it soon.
The time frames in the chart are easily modifiable by dragging and they range from one tick to one week. There are 18 analyses tools available that are either applied straight on the chart or put on their own separate chart below the main chart. Plus500 also offers a price alert feature that sends you an email or SMS when an item of your choice hits the price you define.

The spreads are fairly low, for example EUR/USD and USD/JPY have only 2 pip spreads. These can be subject to change so don't forget to check them. The leverage for major currencies is 1:50 and for minor currencies it ranges from 1:25 to 1:50. Commodity leverages range from 1:14 to 1:20.

Plus500 unfortunately doesn't offer direct support or help for any issues you might have. The only way to contact them is by email or fax. This may feel like a turn off in the case that you need quick support with issues regarding fund transfer.

In summary:

  • Information is delivered to you in a clear and concise manner.
  • Low spreads
  • Easily customizable time frames.
  • €25 sign up bonus.
  • Ability to put items in the favourites category
  • Lack of direct support
  • €100 minimum deposit
  • No instant buy/sell button
  • No drawing tools or ability to put down markers on charts
  • No option to choose between low or high leverages
If you're a trader who does a few trades in a day then you will appreciate the effectiveness and simplicity of this platform and the low spreads.

If you're a trader who wants to make many small gains in a day with many short term invests, then I'd advise you to find another platform because of the low leverages and the lack of instant buy/sell button. In addition it's clearly stated in the Plus500 User Agreement that scalping is not tolerated and will probably first result in a warning and then a ban.

Although the amount of pros and cons is the same I'd still give this platform a 4 out of 5 stars in particular because of the ease of use and a clean interface.

If you want to give this platform a go, you can access it straight from Plus500 or this download.


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