Comparing CFD Trading and Spread Betting

The core difference between CFD trading and spread betting is in taxation. While in CFD trading traders pay capital gains tax (CGT), spread betting is free from CGT. CFDs are available globally, while spread betting is only available in Ireland or the UK.

The spread in CFD trading is the difference between the sell and buy price stated for a commercial instrument. The selling price is usually lower than the purchase price and the spread will change based on the market situation. Read on to understand the similarities and differences between spread betting and CFD trading.

Similarities Between CFD Trading and Spread Betting

Spread bets and CFDs are leveraged and derivative commodities whose value comes from a fundamental asset. In both trades, investors don’t own assets in the fundamental market. CFD trading involves speculating on whether an underlying asset’s value will drop or rise in the future.

·         Ability to take Short and Long Positions

CFD providers negotiate deals with a choice of short and long positions depending on the underlying asset’s price. Investors choose a long position expecting a rise in the underlying asset. Short selling is the anticipation that an asset will drop in value. In both cases, the investor hopes to gain from the difference between the opening and closing value.

A spread is a difference between the selling price and the purchase price the spread betting firm quotes. The underlying asset movement is calculated in basis points and offers the option of purchasing short or long positions.

Both CFD trading and spread bets allow traders to take long and short positions. For example, you can assume a short position once the market prices drop and an extended position when prices start rising.

Mitigating Risks and Margin

Initial margins in both spread betting and CFD trading are needed as an introductory. The margin varies between 0.5 and 10% of the open position’s value. If assets are more volatile, investors should expect less risky assets and more margin rates.

While spread betting and CFD trading investors contribute only a tiny percentage of their asset’s value, they encounter similar losses and gains to those whose value was paid 100%. In these investments, spread betting firms and CFD providers may call investors on a different date for another margin payment.


Investors can easily avoid risks. However, they are tasked with making informed decisions to avoid huge losses. The potential profits in spread betting and CFD trading could be 100% similar to the underlying market. However, the losses are also similar. Whether you are trading CFDs or spread betting, consider activating a stop-loss order before initiating a contract.

A stop-loss order is a pre-established price that closes the contract automatically once the price is achieved. Some CFD spread betting companies, and CFD providers provide guaranteed stop-loss orders at an extra fee for added protection.

Key Differences Between Spread Betting and CFD Trading

Spread bets come with an expiry date once the bet is activated, but CFDs have none. Traders can execute CFDs directly in the market while spread bets are completed over the counter. Direct market entry prevents various market pitfalls by facilitating clarity and transparency in executing electronic trades.

Apart from margins, investors trading CFDs should pay transaction fees and commission charges to the provider. In spread betting, however, companies neither take commissions nor fees. Once the contract closes and losses or profits are incurred, investors either owe or are owed money by the trading firm.

·         Profits

Suppose profits are achieved, the CFD trader earns profit from the closing position minus fees and opening position. Spread bet profits are the shift in basis elements multiplied by the total dollars agreed upon in the initial bet. Both spread bets and CFDs are liable to payouts, especially in long position deals.

Investors do not own the asset but spread betting companies, and a CFD provider pays dividends once the underlying asset performs well. When CFDs earn profits, an investor is liable to capital gains tax.


CFD trading offers various advantages over the long term, while spread betting is ideal for novice traders seeking to improve their trading skills. CFDs are taxed while spread bets are free. Both spread bets and CFDs are leveraged derivatives meaning traders do not own the underlying asset, commodity, or currency. Instead, traders hold a deal proportionate to the underlying products. CFDs and spread bets offer equal leverage and potential reward or risk out of trading.