Share Trading and CFD Trading: What’s the Difference?


Both CFD trading and stock trading have a way of profiting from market price fluctuations. What instruments are you meant to use? In order to respond to the discussion on CFD trading vs. share trading, we will examine the discrepancies.

Quick Summary

What’s CFD Trading?

With online CFD trading, you speculate on prices extracted from the underlying asset without actually owning the underlying asset. For example, let’s assume that you believe the valuation of Facebook’s stock is going to grow. You can purchase a CFD stock from your broker at the current market rate. If the value of Facebook stocks rises, you could sell your CFD at a new, higher price. Your broker will then refund the difference to your account.

What is Share Trading?

Stock and shares trading is the purchase and sale of shares of a physical company. Going back to our Facebook example, if you think the price will increase, you might purchase 10 Facebook shares. Then, if their value decreases, you might sell them and pocket some income.

CFD Trading vs Stock Trading


There are some strong variations when it comes to trading in CFD vs. trading in real stock. Most importantly, you do not own the underlying asset that CFD holds, although you do while dealing in shares. This means that with FTSE CFDs, for example, you can benefit from price fluctuations without entering into a legal contract to own any shares and equity in companies.


The willingness to fund transactions is another key distinction between CFDs and stocks. For CFDs, you can invest on leverage, i.e., a tiny outlay. You can significantly increase your stake by leveraging your broker’s available money. The margin criteria are normally between 5% and 25%.

Let’s presume you’re going to buy Apple’s stock at $500 a share. If you owned five actual shares, you would need $2,500. But if you buy five CFD stocks with a 5 percent spread, you’d only have to put down $125. Not only does that leave you with more money to spend elsewhere, but it means that you’ve increased your position by twenty-fold. This might potentially raise earnings. Yet while the advantage of leverage is the potential to increase profits, losses may also be compounded. Choose share dealing, and you can’t lose more than your initial deposit.


Market access is another distinction to be considered when looking at CFD trading vs. share trading. You will exchange a wide variety of CFD instruments, from securities and indices to forex and cryptos. With stocks, you are limited to transactions in securities and ETFs only.


There are fees, whether you choose equity trading or CFD trading. For stocks and bonds, you usually pay a fee for all trades. International trades can also be subject to a currency exchange charge. With CFDs, spreads should usually be made on all markets aside from shares. Many brokers have a fee and commission with CFDs on shares.

Settlement of Cash

It can take a few days for a sale to settle and earnings to be made available for share positions. There is no settling time in CFD investments. Profits and expenses are usually available as soon as you close the position. As a result, you can easily recycle capital in your next role.


The tax implications are taken into account when choosing CFD trading or share trading. For CFDs, in the UK, for example, you don’t pay stamp duty because you don’t really own the underlying asset. However, CFD earnings are subject to capital gains tax. For the case of stock investing, stamp duty is payable, and so is capital gains tax.

Note that the tax treatment of CFD or stock trading can vary significantly between various countries. We can’t cover all of the differences in this article, so make sure you check with your local tax office before you engage in any trading activity.


Stock investing is not ideal for hedges. Yet CFDs can be used to hedge share positions. CFDs encourage you to go short, meaning that if the market price declines, any gains in your share position can be offset by income earned by the opposite short CFD position.

Market Hours

As CFDs give you access to thousands of stocks, including index funds from around the world, you can exchange easily 24 hours a day. For shares, you can only purchase and sell outside trading hours on the stock exchange.

Short-Term Strategy vs Long-Term Strategy

CFDs are potentially the perfect commodity for short-term intraday and day traders. Options and bonds are considered a safer option for long-term investments. It is not to suggest that gains can not be gained from selling stocks and shares while day trading.


Platforms do not play too much of a part in the evaluation of CFDs vs. stocks. Both instruments are available via desktop and mobile devices. Brokers provide personalized and common software, like the best platform – MetaTrader 4 (MT4). Both offer direct market access (DMA) platforms that are also open.

Shareholder Privileges

CFDs do not offer any shareholder rights to investors. Equity shares, on the other hand, carry with them the right to vote on company matters. This potential impact can be especially beneficial if securities are part of a longer-term investment policy.


Dividends also play a role in the discussion on CFD trade vs. share trading. Vote for CFDs and allocations are balanced for adjustments in dividends. In the case of stocks, you will earn dividends directly if paid.

Long & Short Opportunities

With stockbroking, you can only trade at rising prices. You can take both long and short positions with CFDs.


There are no expiry dates for shares. CFDs also have no maturity dates, aside from futures and options.

Which One is the Right One For Me?

CFD trading and trading in shares each have their own advantages. For beginners, the shares are simple and less risky. For traders with experience and a good understanding of capital markets, leverage on CFDs can be lucrative. CFDs are now opening the door to several markets beyond stocks and bonds.

When you’re unsure whether to go with CFD trading or share trading, why not try both? You can quickly switch from an open stock role to a CFD on several platforms. A sample account is also a perfect way to check all items before you hit your purse.