I use Deal4free, IG and Fins. At the moment I think IG are the best for index trading but they have a larger minimum bet than the others. For share trading, I would use Deal4free and for small bets I use Fins.
Deal4free have the smallest spreads but they seem to move it around to my disadvantage. Fins don't have a real time quote. You press the deal button, wait and get a quote. It can take a while and yesterday the website kept on being unavailable. This has been happening for over a year and they don't seem keen to fix it. Most times when there is a big move I find it hard to trade.
IG Index seem to be making the most changes, recently introducing online stops and binary bets. Deal4free have the best options with 'one cancels other' stop and limit orders. Finspreads have the smallest minimum bet but need to change the trading interface to catch up with the others and make it more stable.
If IG Index reduced their minimum bets and spread size, I would stop using the other two. Their trading platform loads quickly has been stable and is easy to use. Deal4free are a close second but I don't like the way the spread swings around and seems to make the small spread a lot harder to negotiate. The trading platform is slow to load and at times is not very user friendly. Fins need to make their trading platform stable and introduce real time quotes. It is fast to load but becomes unavailable at times during every day.
Hopefully IG have now put the pressure on the other two to sort out the problems. Then we just need a spread reducing war to make spread betting a worthwhile trading tool.
One point I forgot to mention. Deal4free provide real time charts of their spread price. The other two don't do this. This is an advantage for Deal4free but I have found they don't plot all the quotes on the chart. A few times I have been stopped out when the chart shows I shouldn't have been.
Can't remember if we've had this discussion before but if D4F are stopping you out when it doesn't show on the chart you should phone them and get them to reinstate the trade (provided it's to your advantage of course ). You should also check whether the real price really went to that extreme. I've been stopped out on extremes before or outside of the chart boundaries and when I complain they just reinstate the trade.
Phone them, don't just use the chat facility, and if the trader you speak to wont help ask to speak to the head traders Brian Griffin and Jeff Langham.
Sorry but I like Fins.
Yes I know the spreads are wide and sometimes fills are not what you would call instant, (they do advise that their figures on screen are indicative only) but I find the site very easy to use and at the moment I am on most of the time from 12.00 to 7.30 and haven't had a recent problem with the site going off-line although I have in the past.
I also deal with D4F, but not recently, I use them for shares and Fins mainly for indices, at the moment S+P and Nasdaq. I like the way they give a daily change, makes it much easier to follow.
Also I have never had a problem with stops. They have always given the stop at my level even though they lock the trade and it sometimes appears that the stops have not been initiated.
Sorry to be contrary, but my priority at the moment is ease of use.
IG won't take a bet on a spread for anything under £2, regardless of the which market you're working. If you're playing the Dow, the minimum stop is also normally 30 points, so you're set up for a minimum £60 loss if you get it wrong and don't realise in time.
Yes, I speak from experience...
IG also bias their prices by 5-6 points : in a daily uptrend, the price is (oddly) usually 5 or 6 above the actual price, likewise in a downtrend. This is fine of course, and can work in your advantage some days - until you think about it and realise that at some point when the trend changes they have to swing that 5-6 point loading around and get it on the other side of the spread. And if you happen to be on the wrong side of the fence when they do it....well, goodbye 10-12 points.
At least this is how I see it. There will now no doubt now be an onslaught of those disagreeing with me, those who dont understand what I mean and those who think the opposite.
Anyway, the speed of the execution can sometimes save you a point or so imo so I think it's probably worth it. Wouldn't harm them to shave a couple off though