Step 1: Choose the right company for you.

Step 2: Open your account. Usually this can be done on the same day. Some firms will carry out credit checks on you and will require that you call them from a landline to verify your identity.

Step 3: Choose what you want to bet on. There is everything from indices, FX, commodities, shares to more complex financial products like ETFs and interest rates. Start on something that you feel comfortable betting on and understand how the market is traded. Is it on each decimal point or is it each point movement? If you are unsure call them up or look on their market information sheet.

Step 4: Do your research. Use the charting software provided by your spread betting firm, look on Bloomberg, Reuters etc and other reputable financial news websites to get a feel for the market. Wait for the right entry point and choose your exit points and stop loss level in advance.

Step 5: Place your trade. Do it over the phone or online. Online is instant execution and is good for day trading, but if you want to speak to the traders and get a “feel” for the direction of the market on a futures trade call them up. Remember that the traders cannot give out advice – if you want advice, speak to an independent financial advisor.