Each provider offers something slightly different – maybe even a number of different platforms to choose from – but they all work in a similar way. For the purposes of this example, we’re going to take a look at IG’s version.
Say you think Microsoft’s share price is going to rise. You want to profit from this price movement by placing a spread bet, so you log in to your trading platform to take a position.
Here’s what you’ll see:
The platform is divided into four segments:
- The finder is the navigation tool that allows you to search or browse the markets
- Watchlists are lists of markets you’ve selected to keep an eye on
- Open positions are bets you’ve already opened
- Working orders are bets you’ve set to open as soon as a market reaches a specific price
If the platform is customisable, like IG’s, you’ll be able to move things around to ensure quick access to the areas that matter to you most.
Choosing your market
On this occasion, you use the finder panel to search for Microsoft. This brings up the ‘prices’ panel:
You’ll notice you aren’t just presented with one available market for Microsoft – in this case there are four choices for the same stock. This is because each bet takes place over a different time period, with a unique expiry date which you can see in the ‘Period’ column.
For each bet, you’ll be able to view price data, including its current sell and buy levels, the day’s high and low, and the percentage the price has risen or fallen since the market opened. You might also find news feeds, charts, and the option to add that market to a watchlist.
To open your bet on Microsoft increasing in value, you need to enter a deal size then click ‘buy’.
If your bet is accepted you’ll receive a confirmation message. On rare occasions, your bet might be rejected – this is more likely if you’re betting in a particularly large size.
The vast majority will go through straight away, however. Just remember to double check the details on the confirmation message carefully to ensure the deal went through as you intended.
Your open bet will now appear in the ‘Open positions’ panel, alongside its running profit or loss.
Closing your bet
Some time later, Microsoft’s stock has risen, so you decide to close your bet and collect your profits. Because you bought in the first place you need to sell in order to do this.
On the IG platform, you’d click on the market in the ‘Open positions’ panel to bring up the market’s deal ticket again. Because your only choice is to sell, the red ‘sell’ box is lit up this time. By selecting this, you close your bet.
- Advanced features – As you grow in confidence as a spread bettor, you’ll be able to take advantage of a range of additional functions on the platform, including charts, alerts, and a variety of advanced features
- Mobile spread betting – Many providers also offer apps for mobile and tablet, meaning you can spread bet on the move
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