What is a Contract for Difference (CFD)

Contract for Difference (CFD) are a sort of financial derivative product that allows traders to speculate on the price of an asset. CFD trading works in the same way you open a trade on an asset at a given price, wait for the price to rise or fall, and then close the deal for a profit or loss.

Furthermore, CFD trading offers numerous benefits such as minimal entry hurdles, leverage, a diverse selection of tradable marketplaces, and extended trading hours, among others.

Contract for Difference trading, on the other hand, is risky and has several drawbacks. This is why you must have a solid understanding of how it operates.


This article defines Contract for Difference (CFD), from the benefits and risks of trading CFD to how you can trade this market. Read on to learn all you need to know about Contract for Difference.

Table of Contents

What is CFD Trading?

A contract for difference (CFD) is a derivative product that is linked to an agreement between a buyer and seller to exchange the price difference of a stock, bond, commodity, or other assets between the contract’s open and closure dates. The buyer profits if the price is higher at the close date. The seller profits if the price is greater on the open day.

One of the most significant distinctions between trading CFDs and traditional investing is that with CFDs, you never acquire ownership of the underlying asset. Instead, a CFD reflects the price of the underlying item, and instead of purchasing it, you simply bet on how its price may vary.

Assuming you wanted to trade CFDs on oil. If you thought the price of oil would rise, you might open a buy or long order in your CFD trading platform. If you opened the CFD trade at $2,500 and ended it at $2,530, you would profit $30.

On the other hand, if you think the price of oil would likely fall, you might open a sell or short order in your CFD trading platform. If you initiated the CFD trade at $2,500 and closed it at $2,450, you would profit $50.

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What Are the Benefits of CFD Trading? 

While there are many Contract for difference (CFD) brokers eager to present you with a long list of perks, it can be difficult to know what to believe. So, let’s have a look at the main advantages of trading Contracts for Difference.

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#1. Leverage 

The utilization of leverage is one of the most significant advantages of CFD trading. Leverage allows you to obtain exposure to a large position without having to commit the entire cost upfront. For example, suppose you wanted to initiate a trade worth 500 AMAZON shares. A conventional trade would entail paying the whole cost of the shares upfront. A contract for difference, on the other hand, may require you to put up merely 5% of the cost.

As a result, contract for difference (CFD) leverage allows you to have access to a larger percentage of the market with a smaller initial payment. CFD leverage, on the other hand, should be utilized with caution because potential losses are increased to the same level as potential profits.

#2. Wide Range of Tradable Markets 

CFDs may be constructed to reflect almost any market because they are derivatives of other assets. Through a single Contract for Difference trading platform, several CFD brokers provide traders with access to thousands of financial markets. Some of the markets available for CFD trading are Forex, Shares, Commodities, Stock Indices, Bonds, and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs).

#3. Trade Long and Short 

One of the drawback of conventional trading is that you can only earn when the markets are rising. However, trading CFDs enables you to engage in both long and short trading, allowing you to profit from both rising and falling markets.

#4. Longer Trading Hours

CFDs represent the pricing of an underlying item as well as the times during which those assets are traded. Regardless of the time of day, there is always something to trade with CFDs. Consequently, trading on currencies, commodities, and indices is available from Sunday night at midnight through Friday at 11 p.m. (London time).

#5. Lower Costs of Trading 

Trading CFDs is frequently less expensive than other types of investments. Unlike traditional investing, where you must pay the full asset value to invest. CFDs have a lesser entrance cost and lower margin requirements.

Furthermore, there are no starting or closing fees with CFDs. Instead, the majority of CFD brokers make the majority of their money from what is known as the ‘spread.’ When you look at any instrument in your CFD trading platform, you’ll notice two prices: buy and sell. These are known as the bid (buy) and ask (sell) prices, and the spread is the difference between them.

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#6. Expiration Dates 

While certain markets have built-in expiry dates, CFDs do not. Rather, you are free to close your positions whenever you want. This can allow you to execute very long-term trades without worrying about them expiring before you are ready. But occasionally, a trade may be closed on your behalf, for instance, if there aren’t enough funds in your account.

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What Are the Risks Associated With Trading CFDs? 

Just like every investment, Contract for Difference (CFD) is not without risk. Because CFDs are products with a high level of risk, it is critical to understand the risks involved before trading them.

The primary risk of any sort of trading is market risk. If the market moves in the direction you predicted, you will profit; if it moves against you, you will lose.

However, because CFDs benefit from leverage, these losses might be more severe when compared to your initial investment, which is why it is critical to always use leverage with caution.

Moreover, this might result in your balance falling below 0, or what is known as a negative account balance, in volatile markets. In light of this, it is crucial to pick a CFD broker that has a negative balance protection policy. 

How to Trade Contract for Difference (CFD)?

After learning how Contract for Differences (CFD) operates, you might be interested in learning how to trade CFDs online. Below we’ve put together the steps involved in trading CFD.

#1. Create a Trading Account 

The first step in trading Contract for Difference is to open an account with a reputed CFD broker. This might be a live account where you deposit money and trade on the stock market with that money. It might also be a demo account, which enables you to familiarize yourself with the program and hone your skills with free virtual money.

#2. Download a CFD Trading Platform 

Another factor to consider while trading CFDs is selecting the best Contract for Difference trading platform. However, you do not require a CFD trading platform that is solely dedicated to trading CFDs. As a result, if your broker offers CFDs, you’ll be able to trade them on platforms such as MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5, which are specifically designed for trading both CFDs and Forex.

#3. Choose Your Trading Method 

Following the selection of your CFD trading platform, the next step is to consider your trading strategy. With so many potential trades accessible in so many marketplaces, it is critical to have a strategy in place.

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Here are some things to think about when developing your trading strategy:

  • Routine: When do you plan to check the markets each day?
  • Trading Style: What type of trader are you? Will you be a day trader, scalper, swing trader, or manage long-term trades?
  • Markets: Which markets will you concentrate your efforts on? Stocks, Forex, or commodities?
  • Strategy: How will you decide whether to buy, sell, or close a position at a profit or loss?
  • Risk management: How will you establish your position size, stop losses, and take profits?

#4. Place Your First Trade

The most exciting step after determining your trading methodology is to set the ball rolling! Your first CED trade can be executed on a live or demo account. Experts always recommend that you start with a demo account to familiarize yourself with the broker interface before moving on to live trading.

FAQs About Contract for Difference (CFD)

What is contract for difference in Forex?

Contract for Difference (CFD) trading is a common entry point for investors to the financial markets. Brokers offer them for popular instruments including forex, commodities and spot metals, bonds, and other assets.

What is the difference between CFD and a futures contract?

CFD trading works, in the same way, you will open a trade on an asset at a given price, wait for the price to rise or fall, and then close the trade for a profit or loss. CFDs allow investors to trade futures price swings, but they are not futures contracts. Futures contracts, on the other hand, are standardized agreements or contracts that require the buyer or seller to acquire or sell a certain asset at a predetermined price with a future expiration date.

Is a CFD a derivative?

CFDs are derivative products because they allow you to bet on financial markets such as stocks, currencies, indexes, and commodities without owning the underlying assets.


Trading a contract for difference (CFD) has numerous advantages, including leverage, lower trading fees, the ability to trade both long and short positions, a diverse variety of tradable marketplaces, and extended trading hours.

However, CFDs have significant drawbacks, like volatility and market manipulation, which is why you should do your research before deciding on a Contract for Difference trading platform to use.

Finally, if you are new to trading, we recommend that you begin with a demo account and become familiar with your favorite trading platform and trading method before moving on to a live account.

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