Several spread betting firms offer referral and top up bonuses to their clients, currently there are several firms, mostly new firms and firms targeting beginner traders are the one that offer the most generous bonuses, these however often come with huge small prints and rules that make it possible to use their bonuses to trade with, but impossible to withdraw the actual bonus money, so is it really a bonus? If you are planning to stay with the said firm for a long time, and trade with that bonus, you can always withdraw the winnings, so it is a bonus.

Intertrader.com
Intertrader offer 10% top up bonus, that is they will add 10% to whatever amount of funds you deposit in your account with them, maximum bonus is ₤1,000. This offer is open until end of 2012, and there will probably be more similar such bonuses in 2013, but please be careful, this bonus money can only be used in trading and is not withdrawable until you have traded at a significant trading size, specified by this firm. Please don’t rush to make trading decisions based on a desire to withdraw this bonus, it should only be used as part of your trading funds.

Etoro.com
Etoro is a market maker type broker mostly known for trading currencies, but they offer a variety of innovative instruments on currencies and commodites. Their bonus works as follows:

Deposit Bonus
$100-$399 $25
$400-$999 $100
$1,000-$4,999 $250 and qualify for a Silver Trading Account
$5,000-$9,999 $500 and qualify for a Gold Trading Account
$10,000-$19,999 $1,000 and qualify for a Gold Trading Account
$20,000 and more 10% and qualify for a VIP Trading Account

Cityindex.co.uk
Cityindex offer a fixed ₤200 top up bonus on all ₤1,000 deposits, this allows the new trader to place some trades risking only this bonus money and none of their own, it’s a great way to get a feel of the markets trading with real money. This bonus also proportionately applies to smaller deposits made with them.

Similar offers, referral offers and bonuses are also offered from time to time by other firms, usually in the range of ₤50 to ₤100, which is not a very attractive offer and certainly should not be seen as a criterion in choosing one firm over another. On the above firms listed in this article, we have confirmed positive feedback on all of them, even Etoro is an excellent broker, but we have much less feedback on Intertrader.com, it appears that their 10% top up bonus comes with very complicated rules and they have made it very hard to really qualify for that 10% bonus, even though it will be credited into your account instantly, for example you may deposit ₤1000 and get ₤100 on top, but if the trades you place don’t meet the complex bonus rules you may end up with ₤1000 in your account but can only withdraw ₤1000! So if you are not planning to stay with them in the long term, don’t expect to really benefit from their offers!

Trading competitions
Many broker firms, spread betting, market maker and ECN account type providers offer competitions from time to time, one firm that does that is Alpari.co.uk they hold forex trading competitions, where you can enter using either a demo or real account, and the award can be quite high.

Other firms also do similar competition offers, in some cases they claim it’s possible to win up to $15,000 in cash, but again their terms and complicated rules make it questionable as to whether you can really get the prize even if you win.

Taking part in a competition, even by using a demo account, is very time consuming, it requires anything from a week to a month of intensive trading in order to win, and there’s no guaranty that you will win or that you will ever get the promised prize. Complex rules and exceptions can easily prevent you from winning the prize. The reason for this is very simple, some traders are extremely profitable and can win this prize once, then they can win again under someone else’s identity and account, i.e. their friend’s! The firms know this, so the biggest realistic price that one can win is those offered by Alpari.co.uk or similar firms offering similar prizes, usually up to ₤2000, no one to my knowledge has ever won $15,000 or $25,000 in a trading competition from a US based firm.