Figuring Out the Differences: CFD Trading and Spread Betting


CFD trading vs. spread betting is a fascinating discussion. They are leveraged devices, but they are not subjected to the tax regulations. Here we’re going to discuss the similarities between CFD trading and financial spread betting. We’ll finish by deciding which asset suits your needs better.

Quick Summary

Before we understand how they vary, what exactly are contracts for difference (CFDs) and spread bets?

CFD Trading Clarified

Through online CFD trading, you gamble about and trade the price gap between the open and the close of a contract. You buy and sell at any time, so you can use leverage to maximize the results. Importantly, you are never the owner of the underlying asset. Your trading size is the number of units/CFDs you buy.

Spread Betting Explained

You’re only speculating that the market is going up or down. The size of your position is the sum of your bet per point of movement. For example, let’s assume that you felt the price of EUR/USD was going up. If you bet 5 pounds per point on the currency pair, you’d get 5 pounds of income on each point the price has increased. Likewise, you’d lose £5 at every point where the price went down.

CFD Trading vs Spread Betting


In a number of ways, spread betting and CFD trading are similar:

  • Leverage – Both are leveraged goods, ensuring you can dramatically maximize your position’s value with a tiny investment. You’re always going to be able to take a spot with just a 5 percent gap. That said, their finance differs between providers. Fortunately, a margin calculator exists on most platforms.
  • Market Access – You can also trade in thousands of markets, from stocks and bonds to forex, cryptos, gold, ETFs, futures, and options. Users of both goods should also have exposure to foreign markets around the clock.
  • Derivatives – In both CFD dealing and spread betting, investors do not own the underlying asset.
  • Long & short – For all instruments, you can take long and short positions.
  • Platforms – Best financial spread betting and CFD trading platforms are available on web and smartphone devices and include common services such as MetaTrader 4.
  • Demo accounts – Irrespective of whether you want to start trading with CFD or spread betting, most companies offer a demo account. A trial account lets you learn the fundamentals before spending real money.
  • Education – There are enough online tools available for both competitive spread betters and CFD traders. Check out videos and interactive classes for help with concepts and tips on trading. Blogs and forums can also be a perfect way to provide professional swap tips about how efficient they work.
  • Short-term vs. long-term – Both tools are suitable for day traders and short-term investors. They are, however, less successful than long-term investment strategies.
  • Holding expenses – There are holding fees on most spread betting and CFD trading sites.


So what’s the difference between CFD trading and spread betting? The main distinctions are:

  • Tax – The main difference is the tax implications. With spread betting, profits in the United Kingdom are exempt from both stamp duty and capital gains tax. However, though you are excluded from stamp duty for CFD dealing, earnings are subject to tax on capital gains. Even though losses can be offset against profits. See what the tax requirements of your jurisdiction are before you begin trading.
  • Who can trade – CFD trading is widely available to customers from around the globe. Spread betting, however, is often limited to citizens from the United Kingdom and Ireland. So, if you want, verify that the commodity is regulated in your country before you open a trading account.
  • Fees – In the case of CFD trading, fees typically come in the form of spreads and commission charges. For spread betting, although commissions are included in spreads, there are typically no extra commission costs.
  • Direct Market Access (DMA) – Spread bets are over-the-counter (OTC) products, while CFD trading usually occurs via the DMA platform.
  • Account Types – With spread betting, most companies offer only individual accounts. But if you’re trading CFDs, you usually have an option between individual and corporate accounts.
  • Expiries – Spread bets include expiration dates well into the future. CFDs, on the other hand, do not expire (futures being excluded).
  • Hedging – Though hedging is possible for spread betting, CFD trading is more suitable for hedging due to their tax treatment.

What’s the Best Thing For Me?

In general, spread betting is ideally tailored to customers looking for tax-free gains, reduced contract sizes, and minimal commissions. CFD investments will cater to traders looking for DMA platforms, the tax-deductible advantages of hedges, and the option of a qualified or corporate trading portfolio.

Overall, the controversy highlights that whilst the two methods have a lot in common, slight distinctions would make CFDs better suited for others and perfect spread bets for others.

Remember that there might be geographical variations in CFDs’ tax treatment and spread betting in your country of residence. We recommend that you consult with the nearest tax office before engaging in any trading or spread betting operation.

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