Sterling Savvy


What Is Spread Betting Forex & How to Do It?

Tobi Opeyemi Amure
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What Is Spread Betting Forex

Welcome to the world of spread betting forex, an innovative trading method that allows you to speculate on currency pairs without owning the underlying assets.

In this article, I will detail the concept of spread betting forex, its advantages, and the steps involved in executing trades.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced trader, discover how you can participate in this dynamic form of trading.

What Is Forex Spread Betting?

Forex spread betting is a form of financial trading that enables individuals to speculate on currency pairs without actually owning the underlying assets.

It involves placing bets on whether the price of a currency pair will rise or fall, with the profit or loss determined by the accuracy of the bet.

In spread betting, the spread represents the difference between the buying and selling price of a currency pair, and traders can profit from both rising and falling markets.

This flexible and accessible trading method allows individuals to take advantage of market opportunities and potentially generate profits in the dynamic forex market.

Spread Betting vs Forex

The main difference between forex and spread betting lies in the approach to trading.

In forex trading, you directly trade currencies in the market, whereas spread betting allows you to speculate on the price movements of various markets, including forex, without owning the underlying assets.

With spread betting, you can gain exposure to the forex market and other markets without the need to purchase the actual currencies or assets. It provides a flexible and accessible way to participate in market speculation.

How to Spread Bet Forex?

To spread bet forex, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a Reliable Spread Betting Provider: Select a reputable spread betting provider that offers forex markets and provides a user-friendly trading platform. See my guide on the best spread betting platforms UK for help.
  2. Open an Account: Complete the account opening process, including identity verification and funding your trading account.
  3. Familiarise Yourself with the Platform: Get to know the spread betting platform, including its features, order types, and risk management tools.
  4. Select Currency Pairs: Choose the currency pairs you wish to trade. Conduct thorough analysis and use technical and fundamental indicators to make informed trading decisions.
  5. Determine Your Bet Size: Decide on your bet size, which represents the amount you are willing to risk per point movement in the currency pair.
  6. Place Your Bet: Execute the trade by placing a bet on whether the currency pair’s price will rise (go long) or fall (go short).
  7. Monitor Your Trade: Keep an eye on your positions and adjust them as needed. Use stop-loss orders to limit potential losses and take-profit orders to secure profits.
  8. Close Your Trade: Decide when to close your trade, either by manually closing it or allowing it to reach the predetermined stop-loss or take-profit levels.
  9. Review & Analyse: After closing the trade, assess your performance, review your strategy, and learn from both successful and unsuccessful trades.

Remember, spread betting involves risk, and it’s important to manage your risk effectively through proper position sizing, risk-reward analysis, and risk management tools provided by your spread betting provider.

Ways to Spread Bet on Forex

When spread betting on forex, there are different ways to execute trades:

  1. Spot Forex Trading: This involves trading forex pairs at the current market price, allowing for immediate execution without fixed expiries. Traders speculate on the price movement of the currency pair and aim to profit from the difference between the entry and exit prices.
  2. Forex Forwards: With forex forwards, traders agree to trade currency pairs at a specified price, known as the forward rate, which will be settled at a future date or within a range of future dates. This type of spread betting allows traders to hedge against potential currency fluctuations.
  3. Forex Options: Forex options give traders the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a currency pair at a predetermined price (strike price) if it moves beyond that price within a specific time frame. Options provide flexibility and allow traders to manage risk by limiting potential losses while benefiting from potential gains.

These different approaches to spread betting on forex provide traders with a range of strategies and trading opportunities to suit their individual preferences and market outlook.

It’s important to understand the characteristics and risks associated with each method before engaging in spread betting on forex.

Forex Spread Betting vs Contracts for Difference (CFDs)

Forex spread betting and contracts for difference (CFDs) are both popular forms of derivative trading, but they have some key differences:

  • Ownership: In spread betting, you don’t own the underlying asset (such as a currency pair), and you’re simply speculating on the price movement. With CFDs, you enter into a contract to exchange the difference in price of the underlying asset from the time of opening the trade to its closure.
  • Taxation: Spread betting is tax-free in the UK, while profits from CFD trading are subject to capital gains tax. However, tax laws may vary depending on your jurisdiction.
  • Trading Structure: Spread betting involves placing a bet on the price movement, where the profit or loss is determined by the accuracy of the bet. CFD trading allows for more flexibility, including the ability to go long or short, and profits or losses are calculated based on the difference in price between opening and closing the trade.
  • Charges & Fees: In spread betting, the cost is built into the spread, with no separate commissions. With CFDs, there may be additional commissions and fees, including overnight financing charges and spreads.
  • Regulation: Both spread betting and CFD trading are regulated activities, but the regulatory framework may differ based on the jurisdiction and the specific provider.

When choosing between forex spread betting and CFDs, consider factors such as your tax situation, trading preferences, and the specific offerings of reputable providers.

Spread Betting Forex Strategies

When it comes to forex spread betting strategies, traders employ various approaches to maximise their potential profits and manage risks.

Here are a few common strategies used in forex spread betting:

  1. Trend Following: This strategy involves identifying and trading in the direction of a prevailing trend. Traders aim to capture profits by entering positions aligned with the established trend, whether it’s upward (bullish) or downward (bearish).
  2. Breakout Trading: Breakout traders focus on identifying key levels of support and resistance and entering trades when the price breaks out of these levels. This strategy aims to capture significant price movements that occur when the price breaks through a range or consolidation pattern.
  3. Range Trading: Range trading involves identifying price ranges where the currency pair tends to trade within defined boundaries. Traders take advantage of buying near support levels and selling near resistance levels, aiming to profit from the price oscillations within the range.
  4. News Trading: This strategy involves trading based on the impact of news events and economic releases on the forex market. Traders monitor economic calendars and enter positions before or after significant news announcements, anticipating price volatility and potential trading opportunities.
  5. Carry Trading: Carry traders take advantage of interest rate differentials between currency pairs. They enter positions to earn interest on the currency with a higher interest rate while borrowing the currency with a lower interest rate. This strategy aims to capture both interest rate differentials and potential capital gains.

Remember, no strategy guarantees success, and each comes with its own risks.

It’s essential to develop a trading plan, manage risk effectively, and continuously adapt your strategy based on market conditions and your trading objectives.

Practice, research, and experience are crucial to mastering forex spread betting strategies.

Pros & Cons of Forex Spread Betting


  • Tax Benefits: Spread betting is tax-free in many jurisdictions, including the UK, which can provide significant cost advantages for traders.
  • Flexible Position Sizing: With spread betting, you can choose your bet size, allowing for precise control over your risk exposure.
  • Access to a Wide Range of Markets: Forex spread betting providers offer access to a vast array of currency pairs, allowing traders to explore various opportunities in the global forex market.
  • Ability to Profit from Both Rising & Falling Markets: In spread betting, you can take advantage of both upward and downward price movements by placing bets in either direction.
  • No Ownership or Physical Exchange: As a derivative product, spread betting doesn’t involve owning the underlying asset, making it a more straightforward and cost-effective way to participate in the forex market.


  • Risk of Losses: Spread betting involves substantial risk, and losses can exceed your initial deposit. It’s essential to manage risk effectively and use risk management tools, such as stop-loss orders.
  • Potential for Emotional Trading: The high-risk nature of spread betting can lead to emotional decision-making, which may negatively impact trading performance.
  • Dependence on Provider’s Pricing: Spread betting relies on the provider’s quoted prices, which may vary slightly from the actual market prices, potentially affecting trade execution and profitability.
  • Limited Market Regulation: While spread betting is regulated in many jurisdictions, the regulatory framework may be less extensive compared to other forms of trading, potentially exposing traders to certain risks.

Tips for Forex Spread Betting

  • Understand the Market: Gain a deep understanding of the forex market, including the factors that influence currency prices, economic indicators, and market trends. Stay updated with relevant news and events that can impact currency movements.
  • Develop a Trading Plan: Create a well-defined trading plan that outlines your trading goals, risk tolerance, and strategies. Establish clear entry and exit points, risk management techniques, and position sizing guidelines to guide your trades.
  • Use Risk Management Tools: Implement effective risk management strategies to protect your capital. Set stop-loss orders to limit potential losses and take-profit orders to secure profits. Additionally, consider using trailing stops to lock in gains as the market moves in your favor.
  • Practice with Demo Accounts: Before risking real money, utilise demo accounts offered by spread betting providers to practice your trading strategies. This allows you to familiarise yourself with the platform, test different approaches, and gain confidence in your trading abilities.
  • Monitor Leverage & Margin: Leverage can amplify both profits and losses in spread betting. Ensure you understand the leverage ratios and margin requirements of your trades. Use leverage judiciously and avoid overexposure that could lead to significant losses.
  • Stay Disciplined: Emotions can impact trading decisions, leading to impulsive and irrational choices. Maintain discipline and stick to your trading plan, avoiding impulsive trades based on fear or greed.
  • Continuous Learning: The forex market is dynamic and ever-changing. Commit to continuous learning and stay updated on market developments, trading strategies, and industry trends. Expand your knowledge through educational resources, books, webinars, and engaging with experienced traders.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, spread betting forex offers a unique and flexible way to participate in the forex market without owning the underlying assets.

By speculating on the price movements of currency pairs, you can potentially profit from both rising and falling markets.

This article has provided an overview of what spread betting forex is and how to engage in it.

It is crucial to conduct thorough research, develop a trading plan, and practice risk management strategies to navigate the complexities of spread betting effectively.

With the right knowledge, skills, and discipline, spread betting forex can be a valuable addition to a trader’s arsenal, offering opportunities for potential profits in the dynamic world of forex trading.


Is forex spread betting illegal in the UK?

No, forex spread betting is not illegal in the UK. In fact, spread betting on forex is a popular and widely practiced form of financial trading in the United Kingdom. It is regulated and overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), ensuring that brokers and providers adhere to strict guidelines and standards to protect traders’ interests. Spread betting offers UK traders a tax-efficient way to speculate on forex price movements without owning the underlying assets. However, it’s important to note that trading always carries risks, and individuals should understand and comply with the regulations and legal requirements associated with spread betting in their jurisdiction.

Is forex trading the same as spread betting?

No, forex trading and spread betting are not the same. Forex trading involves buying and selling currency pairs with the aim of profiting from the actual price movements. Spread betting, on the other hand, allows you to speculate on the price movements of various markets, including forex, without owning the underlying assets. With spread betting, you are essentially placing a bet on whether the price of an asset, such as a currency pair, will rise or fall. The main difference lies in the approach and the way profits or losses are realised in each method of trading.

Is forex spread betting tax free?

Yes, forex spread betting is tax free in the UK. Spread betting is considered gambling rather than a financial investment, which means any profits made from spread betting activities, including forex spread betting, are exempt from capital gains tax and income tax in the UK. This tax advantage is one of the reasons why spread betting is popular among UK traders. However, tax laws can be subject to change, and it’s always recommended to consult with a tax professional or HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for the most up-to-date information and guidance regarding tax obligations.

What are some of the best forex betting sites?

There are several reputable forex spread betting providers in the UK. Some well-known platforms include IG, CMC Markets, City Index, ETX Capital, and Spreadex. It’s important to research and compare the features, trading conditions, customer support, and user reviews of different platforms to find the one that aligns with your trading preferences and needs. Additionally, consider factors such as regulatory compliance, platform reliability, and the range of markets available when selecting a forex betting site.

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Will Fenton is the founder of Sterling Savvy. He is a personal finance expert and writes about trading, investing, budgeting, and other financial topics.

Along with his education in Economics & Finance, he has experience working in the financial services industry in London working for one of the UK’s leading financial companies, “a trustworthy and respected provider of news, education and market analysis for the everyday investor”.

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