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Spread Betting vs CFD Trading: A Detailed Comparison

Spread Betting vs CFD Trading: A Detailed Comparison

In addition to their differences, spread betting and CFD (contract for difference) trading have a lot in common. Here’s how CFDs compare to spread betting:

Financial market investments can pay you handsomely. Traders, on the other hand, do not always have access to the cash required to generate big returns. Using a tiny initial payment, investors can gain large market exposure with leveraged products. Contracts for difference (CFDs) and spread betting, which are popular in the United Kingdom, are leveraged instruments that are essential in the equity, FX, and index markets.

CFDs, or contracts for difference, are short-term leveraged derivative contracts that monitor the value of an underlying instrument and payout in accordance with that value.

Spread betting is when you make a speculative wager on an underlying instrument’s price movements without actually owning it.

Although CFDs and spread betting appear to be identical on the surface, there are a few key differences.

How CFD Trading and Spread Betting Work

Spread betting and CFD trading are two types of derivative products that allow you to speculate on the price movement of an underlying asset. Shares, ETFs, currency, commodities, indices, and other assets can be used as the underlying asset. You never own the underlying asset with either form of derivative.

You can take a long or short position while trading CFDs or spread betting. This means you can bet on whether an asset’s price will rise (long position) or fall (short position) and profit in either direction. The difference between the asset’s price when you close the deal minus the price when you opened the trade, multiplied by the amount of money you invested, is your profit or loss.

Furthermore, while employing CFDs or spread betting, you can leverage your trades. Your broker will determine the maximum leverage for each asset depending on its financial risk. When trading CFDs or spread betting, you may or may not be allowed to customize the amount of margin you use, depending on your broker.

There are some subtle variations between spread betting and CFD trading within those broad strokes.

How Does CFD Trading Work?

You are entering into a contract with your broker or CFD provider when you trade CFDs. There may be a commission to open or close the contract, as well as holding fees such as overnight or swap fees, which increase the cost of your position.

Importantly, CFD contracts can be transferred from one CFD trader to another. This implies they can be bought and sold on the open market, and many brokers offer direct market access (DMA). This raises the importance of quick trade execution speeds while also increasing transparency in the CFD market.

How Does Spread Betting Work?

Financial spread betting is similar to CFD trading in that it begins with a contract opened with your broker. A commission is never charged to open a spread bet.

Because spread bets cannot be transferred between traders, they must be traded over the counter with your brokerage. Spread bets also have an expiration date. The bet can be closed at any time before the expiration date, but if it has not been closed previously, it will be closed at that time.

Differences Between Spread Betting and CFD

Spread Betting vs CFD –


The way gains from these two derivatives are taxed is one of the primary differences between spread betting and CFD trading.

Because you never possess the underlying asset, stamp duty is exempt in the UK and Ireland for both types of trade. CFD trading, on the other hand, is subject to capital gains tax, although spread betting is not.

That means you’ll have to pay capital gains tax on any income you make from CFD trading. You can utilize losses from CFD transactions or trades with other financial instruments to offset winnings from subsequent CFD trades or trades with other financial instruments. Spread betting profits are not taxed, but spread betting losses cannot be used to offset income from CFD trading or other types of investments.


Another distinction between CFDs and spread betting is the cost of trading. A commission or processing fee may be charged to open a CFD trade, however fees are never charged on spread bets from most Spread Betting Platforms. Many CFD providers now provide commission-free trading, which is great news.

You’ll have to pay a spread whether you’re trading CFDs or spread betting. This is the price difference between the bid and ask for the underlying asset you’re trading. Spreads vary by asset and are subject to market liquidity fluctuations.

Another thing to bear in mind when trading forex with CFDs is that you must buy the CFD in the proper currency for the FX pair you wish to trade. That implies you may have to pay currency translation fees to your broker if you trade forex pairs in currencies other than GBP or USD.

Spread bets on forex pairs can be opened in any currency, so there are no currency translation fees to worry about.

Expiration Dates

Contract expiration dates are also a differentiator between CFDs and spread bets.

Contracts for difference (CFDs) do not have an expiration date. Contracts are typically for one month, but before the previous one expires, your broker will automatically roll your position over into a new one. As a result, you have the option of keeping your job available for as long as you wish (although there may be holding fees and increased margin requirements if your position is losing money).

Expiration dates do exist for spread bets, on the other hand. Spread bets are divided into two categories: those that expire at the end of the trading day and those that expire quarterly. You may be able to roll over your spread bet into a new contract depending on your broker. Your bet will be automatically closed at expiration if you do not roll over your contract.


The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates both spread betting and CFD trading in the United Kingdom. This is the UK’s major financial watchdog, and it establishes guidelines for how brokers can offer leveraged financial products to retail accounts.

It’s worth noting that spread betting is only legal in the United Kingdom and Ireland. CFD trading, on the other hand, is legal all around the world. As a result, the FCA regulates all spread betting brokers. However, some CFD brokers in the UK may be regulated by foreign regulators like the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).

Investors should be aware that CFDs and spread betting cannot be used to trade cryptocurrencies in the United Kingdom. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has outlawed all bitcoin derivatives trading, including CFDs and spread betting.

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