You can trade the financial markets in different ways. CFD trading is one of them.
CFD is the short form of Contract for Difference. It involves speculating if the price of a financial instrument will rise or fall in value. You do not own or possess the financial instrument, you only make informed guesses about its price movement.
Trading CFDs is risky and is for experienced professional traders only.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) regulates CFD brokers in Australia. For the safety of your funds, you should only trade with CFD brokers that are licensed with them.
ASIC also has a leverage cap for retail CFD traders. This is put in place to protect traders from excess losses. As much as possible, avoid high leverage when opening your trading account. You cannot trade CFDs without a CFD broker.
Comparison of Best CFD Trading Platforms Australia
|Forex Broker||AUD/USD Spread||Minimum Deposit|
1 pip with Rollover charges
0.7 pips with zero commission
0.24 pips (Raw Spread Account) pips
No minimum deposit
1.6 pips typical spreads on Standard Account
1.4 pips on Standard Account
Best CFD Trading Platforms Australia
For this guide, we compared ASIC-regulated CFD Trading platforms in Australia.
- eToro – Best CFD Broker Australia
- CMC Markets – CFD Broker with Range of Trading Instruments
- Pepperstone – Australian CFD Trading Platform with Low Spread
- XM – CFD Trading Broker with Spread only Accounts
- FP Markets – Regulated CFD Trading Platform in Australia
- Plus500 – LSE Listed CFD Trading Platform in Australia
We have selected these CFD brokers based on the Regulation/Trust score for Safety of funds, Fees, Available CFD instruments, Platforms, Risk management tools, Customer service & other factors.
#1 eToro – Best CFD Broker Australia
eToro offers social trading to their Australian Traders. But traders need to pay inactivity fees while they are not trading.
Regulation: They are regulated with ASIC as eToro AUS Capital Limited. eToro’s license number is 491139. ASIC issued the license to eToro on 03/06/2016. We consider eToro a low-risk broker.
68% of retail investors that trade with eToro loses their money while trading with eToro.
AUD/USD Fees: eToro offers trading on AUD/USD at 1 pip spread. Rollover charges are $1.983 for a short position and $2.453 for a buy position.
Non-trading fees: You will pay an AUD 10 monthly inactivity fee. This fee is charged after 12 months of no trading activity on your account.
Available CFD instruments: eToro offers a decent range of financial instruments. You get to trade 49 currency pairs, 2849 stocks CFDs, 32 commodities, 69 cryptocurrencies, 13 indices, and 264 ETFs CFDs.
Platforms: eToro does not offer the two popular MetaTrader platforms. You will have to use their web and mobile trading platforms. For copy traders, they support a proprietary platform called Copy Trader.
Risk management tools: eToro does not offer guaranteed stop-loss orders. They execute your stop-loss order at the best available market price depending on market conditions. However, they offer negative balance protection.
Customer Service: eToro AUS Capital Limited can be reached on 1-800-778-439. You can also contact them via email at [email protected] Live chat is available as well.
- Zero commission for investing in stocks
- Regulated by ASIC
- Social trading
- Zero commissions for trading currencies
- Good number stocks
- No deposit fees
- Copy trading is available
- Currency conversion charges
- Withdrawal charges
- Little or no trading education tools
- The number of currency pairs is limited.
#2 CMC Markets – CFD Broker with Range of Trading Instruments
CMC Markets holds an ASIC license under the company name CMC Markets Asia Pacific (Pty) Limited.
Regulation: Their ASIC license number is 238054 and they have held their license since 27/03/2002. According to our research, CMC Markets is a low-risk CFD trading platform.
72% of retail traders lose their money with CMC Markets
AUD/USD Fees: CMC Markets offer AUD/USD at 0.7 pips with zero commission. Rollover charges for long and short positions are 0.0038% and 0.0030% respectively.
Non-trading fees: You are charged AUD 15 as an inactivity fee monthly after 12 months of trading inactivity. CMC Markets also charge a premium fee for guaranteed stop-loss orders (GSLOs).
Available CFD instruments: CMC Markets offers up to 11,000 financial instruments. You can trade 333 currency pairs, and CFDs on 80 indices, 19 cryptocurrencies, 100 commodities, over 9000 shares, and 50 treasuries.
Platforms: CMC Markets offer CFD Next Generation and MetaTrader platforms. The former is a web-based platform.
Risk management tools: CMC Markets offer guaranteed stop-loss orders for a premium fee and negative balance protection.
Customer Service: CMC Markets CFD trading lines are available 24/6. You can connect to the line on 1300-303-888 and +61 (0) 2 8221 2100. You can also reach the CFD broker through email.
CMC Markets Pros
- Zero commission for forex pairs
- Regulated by ASIC
- Guaranteed stop loss order
- Local mobile number is available
- Up to 11,000 trading instruments
- No deposit/withdrawal charges
CMC Markets Cons
- Inactivity fee
- MetaTrader 4 does not support GSLOs
- MetaTrader 4 is not available as a web-platform
#3 Pepperstone – Australian CFD Trading Platform with Low Spread
Pepperstone also charges a round-turn commission of AUD 7 on every standard lot traded with a Raw Spread Account. On their cTrader platform, the round-turn commission is $6.
Regulation: Pepperstone is regulated with ASIC under the company name Pepperstone Group Limited. Their license number is 414530 and have been licensed since 27/10/2010. We consider Pepperstone a low-risk CFD trading platform.
AUD/USD Fees: Pepperstone offer AUD/USD at 0.24 pips (Raw Spread Account) pips and 0.84 pips (Standard Account). You will find overnight charges for AUD/USD on their platform.
75.8% of retail investors lose their money when trading with this CFD broker.
Non-trading fees: Pepperstone does not charge deposit/withdrawal fees or inactivity fees.
Available CFD instruments: You get to trade 60 currency pairs, 20 stock indices, 900 stocks, 100 ETF CFDs, 20 commodities, and 3 currency indices with Pepperstone.
Risk management tools: Pepperstone does not offer guaranteed stop-loss orders. However, there is negative balance protection.
Customer service: Pepperstone can be reached via email and live chat. You can also call their AU toll-free line on 1300-033-375. Their email is [email protected]
- Regulated by ASIC
- No inactivity fee
- Good market range
- Local mobile number is available
- Commissions are charged
- No guaranteed stop loss
- You can only find rollover charges on their trading platform
#4 XM – CFD Trading Broker with Spread only Accounts
There is no commission. Their typical spreads are higher than other CFD brokers.
Regulation: XM are regulated with ASIC as Trading Point of Financial Instruments Pty Limited. They have been licensed since 19/06/2013 with license number 443670. Your money is safe with XM.
78.3% of retail traders lose their money with XM.
AUD/USD Fees: XM offers trading on AUD/USD at 1.6 pips typical spreads with Standard Account, and USD 2.23 and AUD 1.73 are charged as the swap fees for long and short positions respectively.
Non-trading fees: Inactive accounts are charged AUD 5 monthly after 12 months of inactivity. No deposit/withdrawal charges.
Available CFD instruments: You can trade CFDs on 6 asset classes with XM. They include 57 currency pairs, 1,286 stocks, 10 commodities, 2 precious metals, and 14 equity indices.
Platforms: You can trade with XM using Metatrader 4 and Metatrader 5 platforms.
Risk management tools: XM offers a guaranteed fill on stop-loss orders and negative balance protection.
Customer service: You can contact XM via live chat and email. Two local phone numbers (+612-8607-8385, +612 8252 0854) are also available. Their customer service email is [email protected]
- Regulated by ASIC
- Zero commission
- Guarantees fill on stop loss orders
- Over 1000 stocks are available
- There is an inactivity fee
- A limited number of currency pairs
- High spreads
#5 FP Markets – Regulated CFD Trading Platform in Australia
You can trade AUD/USD on FP Markets’ Standard Account and Raw ECN Account. The spread for AUD/USD is significantly lower on the latter. However, you will have to pay a $6 round-turn commission
Regulation: FP Markets are licensed with ASIC under the company name First Prudential Markets Pty Limited. They have been licensed since 21/01/2005. Their license number is 286354.
71% of retail investors lose their money when trading with FP Markets.
AUD/USD Fees: AUD/USD is offered at an average spread of 1.4 pips with Standard Account, and 0.3 pips plus AUD 7 round-turn commission on Raw ECN Account. For rollover charges, you will pay AUD 2.27 for long positions. If you are going short, you pay AUD 1.02.
Non-trading fees: FP Markets do not charge inactivity fees. You might pay deposit/withdrawal charges if you chose certain payment methods.
Available CFD instruments: The following CFD instruments are available: 63 currency pairs, 10,000+ shares, 6 metals, 5 commodities, 17 indices, 11 cryptocurrencies, and 2 bonds.
Platforms: Metatrader 4 and 5 platforms are available. You can also trade with FP Markets mobile trading app.
Risk management tool: FP Markets do not offer guaranteed stop-loss orders but there is negative balance protection.
Customer Service: FP Markets is available via live chat 24/7. Their Australian mobile number is +61 (2) 8252 6800. You can make email enquiries at [email protected]
FP Markets Pros
- Regulated by ASIC
- Local mobile number is available
- No inactivity fees
- Customer support is available on weekends
- 10,000+ stocks
- No deposit/withdrawal fees for most payment methods
FP Markets Cons
- Commissions are high
- No guaranteed stop loss orders
What is CFD Trading?
CFDs are derivative products used to speculate the price movements of their underlying assets. The underlying assets could be a stock, currency pair, metal, commodities, indices, etc. For example, Gold CFD has gold as its underlying asset. As a trader, you can analyze and speculate if the price of gold will rise or fall, after which you can place a buy or sell trade. You can trade CFDs in Australia through licensed forex brokers.
CFD trading is purely speculative. If your speculation is wrong and a financial instrument rises in value when you have opened a sell contract, you lose money to your broker. Trading with leverage also increases the amount of money you can lose. This is why CFD trading is risky and should be left to experienced professional traders.
With CFD trading, there is no physical exchange or ownership of financial instruments. Your broker credits your profit into your trading account if you win a trade. If you lose, your broker debits the loss from your trading account.
How CFD Trading is Done?
When trading CFDs, you either gain or lose money.
You calculate your profit/loss based on the difference between the opening and the closing price of your trade.
See these two examples:
1) A trading account with AUD 200 equity and 1:5 leverage. You are placing a buy trade on AUD/USD, which is currently trading at 0.7216. Your speculation is AUD/USD will rise by 50 points from the 0.7216 entry price.
Trade lot size: 0.05 (50 cents per point)
Entry price: 0.7216
Take profit: 0.7266 (50 points)
Stop loss: 0.7196 (20 points)
If this trade goes as you speculated, the profit is calculated as
50 cents x (0.7266 – 0.7216)
50 x 50 = 2500 cents (AUD 25)
This trade ended in AUD 25 profit.
2) This time, you are trading AUD/NZD using a trading account with AUD 200 and 1:5 leverage. We will be buying AUD/NZD currently trading at 1.0551. You are speculating the currency pair will rise by 70 points from the entry price.
Trade lot size: 0.05 (50 cents per point)
Entry price: 1.0551
Take profit: 1.0621 (70 points)
Stop loss: 1.0521 (30 points)
Unfortunately, the trade did not go your way this time. AUD/NZD fell, and our stop loss was triggered 30 points from the entry price. This trade ends in a loss and it is calculated as follows
50cents x (1.0551-1.0521)
50 cent x 30 = 1500cents (AUD 15)
This trade ended in AUD 15 loss.
How Can You Trade CFDs in Australia?
Step 1) Choose an ASIC-regulated forex broker. You can validate a forex broker’s regulation from ASIC website.
- Go to the forex broker’s platform to see their regulation statement. It is usually a footnote on their websites. Pepperstone’s statement can be seen in the picture below.
- Go to the link above and enter the forex broker’s name as shown below. Click the ‘go’ icon.
- You will arrive at this page below, where you have to mark Pepperstone Group Limited and click the ‘view details’ icon.
- The next page displays the forex broker’s regulation details according to ASIC.
Step 2) After verifying the forex broker’s regulation, you can proceed to open your trading account.
Step 3) Verify your KYC documents. Pepperstone will typically ask for your driver’s license, passport, or government-issued ID
Step 4) Download the CFD trading platform. Forex brokers like Pepperstone offer MT4.
Step 5) Start trading.
Risk warning: Kindly note that CFDs are leveraged products so they are risky. CFD trading is for professional traders. 70% of retail investors lose all of their money.
How To Open a CFD Trading Account in Australia
In this section, we will walk you through what a typical account opening process looks like. We will be using CMC Markets as an example here. Opening a CFD trading account is a combination of systematic steps.
1. Go to CMC Markets’ Australia website at cmcmarkets.com/en-au. Go to the top right corner and click on ‘create account’.
2. Choose your preferred account type between the two options below.
3. Enter your email and create a password. You will also have to choose your preferred trading platform here.
4. Supply your address, phone number, and full name. After this, click on ‘create account’. A verification code will be sent to your email.
5. Enter the code and click on ‘verify’ to confirm your email. The website will then redirect you to log in to your CMC Platform.
6. When you log in, you will get a demo account. You will have to click on ‘open a live account’ at the top right corner of the platform and then ‘Apply’ Now to proceed.
7. Choose your account type and your account’s base currency. Click on ‘Next’.
8. You will be supplying some personal details here. Date of birth, driver’s licence, and residential address. Make sure these details are accurate because they will be verified. You will also answer basic questions on nationality and tax. Click on ‘Next
9. You can then proceed to answer questions about your employment and personal finance. When you are done, click on ‘Next’.
10. For this step, you will have to answer questions about your trading knowledge and experience. Click on ‘Next’ when you answer the questions.
11. Read the declarations and check the ‘I agree to all the above declarations’ and click on ‘Submit’
12. Click on ‘Continue’ on the page that follows.
13. Complete your KYC. You can choose a document from one of the four options in the image below.
How to Choose a CFD Trading Platform in Australia
ASIC regulation is the most important factor to consider. We have looked at how you can check this in a previous section. However, there are other important factors to consider when choosing a CFD trading platform. Putting all of these factors together is important for a wholesome trading experience. Here are some of them:
Account Type: CFD brokers usually offer at least one account. Most brokers have more than one. It is important to consider this factor for various reasons. First, there is flexibility in trading costs. Some accounts like ECN-type accounts have low spreads with an extra commission.
Also, there are also accounts with relatively high spreads with zero commission. Furthermore, some brokers might not have an equal distribution of CFDs on all of their accounts. Some accounts might have stock CFDs while some do not. All of these depend on the broker you choose so you have to check.
Let us see how you can go about this. We will use a CFD trading platform with multiple accounts as our example. Most brokers in our review meet up to this standard. However, we will be using XM.
First, go to the Australian version of XM’s website. On the website, click ‘TRADING’ (highlighted red), then ‘Trading Account Types’ (in the red box). Here is an image to help you understand
If you do this correctly, you will be taken to another page. Scroll down that page and you will see XM’s account types as shown below
From the image, you can see the differences in the trading account types. For example, the XM Ultra Low Account has spreads beginning from 0.6 pips. The other accounts have spreads beginning from 1 pip. This means spread cost is higher on the latter.
Can you see why it is important to compare different accounts?
Fees: Opening an AUD Account gets rid of conversion fees which is a non-trading charges. However, there are other trading fees like spread, commissions, and swaps. Most brokers charge spread and swaps. Commissions might or might not be charged based on account types.
Trading fees affect your final profit or loss. Brokers charge them regardless of your trade result. This is why it is important you check if they are high or low.
Deposits/Withdrawals: This is another important factor. You want your CFD trading platform to have multiple deposit/withdrawal channels. Bank transfers, credit/debit cards, and e-wallets are the most common. You could incur some fees during funding/withdrawal. So you want to check if there are extra fees attached to the payment methods available. Most brokers charge no extra fees. However, your bank and third-party payment providers might charge extra fees.
Other than availability, you also want to check how long it takes to process payment. Typically, deposits are instant while withdrawals can take 2-3 days.
AU Customer Support: You might need your CFD broker to clarify some things for you. It could be trading conditions, their charges, or regulation. Most CFD brokers have an FAQs section but it might not suffice. Therefore, a CFD broker should be reachable via email, live chat, and mobile phone (preferably an AU number). Try and test a forex broker’s support to see how fast they answer before signing up with them.
What are the Risks of CFD Trading?
1) Risk of leverage
Leverage can make or mar your account. You can make more profit as much as more loss trading with leverage. See a practical example below
Let us assume you have a trading account with AUD 200 and 1:1 leverage (no leverage). If you buy Gold CFD (0.01 which is 10 cents per point) at the entry price of 1817.89 but the price falls and triggers your stop loss at 30 pips from entry (1817.59). Your loss is a paltry AUD 3.
If you take this same trade on an AUD 200 trading account with (1:5) leverage. The implication of this is that your account is 5 times stronger (AUD 1000). You will be able to control more trade volume for a small margin.
So, you placed a buy trade on Gold CFD at 1817.89, with the same stop loss. This time, you can trade at 0.1 (AUD 1 per point) lot size because of your leverage. The trade goes against you but your loss is calculated as 1 x 30 = AUD 30.
The 1:5 leverage multiplied your loss 10 times the time you used no leverage. This is why CFDs are risky and should be left to professional traders.
2) You can lose your entire trading capital
This can happen if you overleverage your account and trade volatile instruments. If you do not have enough money in your account to meet up with margin requirement, you will not be able to trade. Negative balance protection ensures you do not lose more than your capital. However, it is possible to lose all of your trading capital
3) You do not own underlying assets
CFD trading only allows speculation on the price movement of underlying assets. You cannot own any of these assets in traditional investment portfolios. You can only trade them. Because of this, how your trade goes mostly depends on professional traders and financial institutions.
4) CFDs are complex derivative products
CFDs are complex instruments. Different factors affect their movement. From simple supply and demand to macroeconomic news. It takes years of trading to master CFDs. If you are not a professional trader, you should stay away from CFDs.
A hypothetical example – Imagine you are trying to buy EUR/USD on the first Friday of a particular month. You have set your take profit and the stop-loss and the trade is running. However, every first Friday is when the US releases its non-farm payroll (NFP) data. Somehow, the data came in not favoring the USD. The market will move against you quickly and you might lose money.
The NFP data is just one of the many macroeconomic factors that affect CFD trading. There are many more.
5) Holding costs
Some CFD trades can take up days or weeks to reach your exit point. The longer you hold a trade, the more the holding costs you procure. Holding costs accumulated over a long period will make you pay a lot to your broker. For every day you do not close a trade, you will pay a swap for that day. Holding costs can reduce your profit or amplify your loss when they accumulate
FAQs on Best CFD Trading Platforms in Australia.
Is CFD trading legal in Australia?
Yes, CFD trading is legal in Australia. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) regulates CFD trading in Australia.
What is CFD trading?
CFD trading is a method of trading financial instruments by speculating on their price movements without a physical exchange of the instruments. This Is a way of speculating on the price of an underlying asset.
What is the best CFD trading platform in Australia?
As per our research, Pepperstone, XM, CMC Markets, FP Markets, and eToro are good for Aussie traders. They are licensed with ASIC and considered low-risk.
You can read our in-depth review of ASIC regulated brokers for more.
Which CFD trading platform is best for beginners in Australia?
According to our review, Pepperstone and CMC Markets are the best CFD trading platforms for beginners. They both offer MT4 and their websites are easy to navigate.
Can you make money from CFD trading?
According to ASIC, more than 70% of retail traders lose their money while trading CFDs. CFD trading is risky; forex brokers are mandated to mention the percentage of traders that lose money when trading with them.