Before you start
If you choose a provider that offers a free online demo account, you won’t even have to think about money when you first get started.
Get to grips with the dealing platform and mechanics of spread betting with a free demo account
In most cases, demo accounts are almost identical to live accounts, except that you spread bet with virtual funds rather than real money.
They can be invaluable tools, not only to help you get to grips with the dealing platform, but also to give you a sense of how much money you’re comfortable betting with.
How much you start with might vary depending on your provider’s basic costs. Some providers, for example, will charge you a fee to open a live account, while others won’t.
When compared to traditional trading, you only need a small amount of money to start placing bets on your live account. That’s because spread betting benefits from leverage, which allows you to put up a relatively small deposit compared to the size of the bet.
Leverage allows you to put up a relatively small deposit compared to the size of the bet
Any profits or losses will be based on the full size of your bet, however, which means they could far outweigh the size of your initial deposit.
You should therefore always keep enough money in reserve to cover any potential losses, and you should never risk more than you can afford to lose.
Funding your account
Once you’ve considered these factors, the amount of money you need to spread bet is very much down to personal preference and your attitude to risk.
If, for example, you intend to spread bet day in, day out, in large sizes, then you’ll need more funds than if you just want to place a small bet from time to time.
However, because of the volatile nature of the financial markets, we’d recommend funding your account with £100-£500 at the very least – even if you’re only betting in the smallest possible sizes. Anything less than this would mean you’d be risking a significant percentage of your account balance with every bet you make.
Subscribe to 'The week ahead' newsletter
Ready to put theory into practice?
Try a spread betting platform with £10,000 virtual funds. Remember, losses can exceed deposits.