Difference Between CFD and Spread Betting?

Difference Between CFD And Spread Betting

Contracts for difference (CFDs) are short-term leveraged derivative contracts that monitor the value of an underlying instrument and payout by that value. Spread betting is when you make a speculative wager on an underlying instrument’s price movements without owning it.

CFD and Spread betting are financial derivatives to trade with direct market access and gain profits. They are known as a popular form of derivatives trading. Traders can choose trading instruments such as shares, currencies, commodities, indices, and many more.

Here, we’ll be analysing the difference between CFD and Spread betting to understand the derivatives accurately. 

What are Contracts for Difference (CFDs)?

CFDs are complex instruments in which CFD traders just have to speculate between the opening and closing prices. This is because physical delivery of goods does not occur; rather, the difference between prices is settled in cash.

Advanced trading strategies are required for CFD trading. Generally, they are carried out for the short term. Nevertheless, traders can make quick profits with CFD trading.

How Does It Work?

When a trader sees any change in an asset’s future prices, he enters into CFD trading. Two parties are involved in trading forex CFDs. There is no physical exchange of goods, but a contract is made to execute the transactions on a predetermined date.

The opening price of the underlying asset is recorded in the contract. The same is settled in cash according to the closing price of an underlying asset on the execution date. 

Traders who expect prices to rise buy contracts for difference, and CFD traders who expect a downward trend in prices sell the opening position.

There is a high risk of losing money with CFD trading exchanges. This is because CFDs are complex instruments, and underlying market prices can fluctuate quickly according to circumstances. Therefore, short selling of instruments is also carried out with CFD trading.

What Is Spread Betting?

It is the process of speculating on the price fluctuation of security. Traders do not have to own the underlying asset. Instead, they have to bet on the bid and ask prices.

A company quotes two costs: the bid and another is the ask prices, also known as the spread.

Investors can bet on the situation whether the price of the respective security will be higher than the ask or lower than the bid price. They do not have to own the security and speculate on the price movement.

How does it Work?

Spread bet allows traders to speculate on the change in the price of the trading spread bets instruments. Various types of instruments are available for betting, such as shares, indices, commodities, forex (FX), and several others.

In simple terms, it can be said that traders bet on the rise or fall of the market. Some traders also do spread bet for tax purposes because there is no tax applied on it.

In addition, high leverage is available for trading, so traders need to deposit fewer funds.

For example, if the contract is $50,000, traders need to deposit only 10% of the $5,000 for the trade. Traders can place spread bets in both types of rising, and falling markets are the bear and bull markets.

Key Differences Between CFD and Spread betting

There are a few key points of similarity and key differences between the two. The main difference is how they are treated for tax purposes. Here are the differences between CFD and Spread betting:

Tax Treatment

  • Spread Betting – It is not like stock trading. A spread bet is free from capital gains tax and stamp duty for traders in the UK. Some traders also trade it because of this benefit. The profit earned on bets is completely theirs’, and there is no need to pay capital gains tax or other taxes to the government.
  • CFD Trading – Traders do not need to pay stamp duty on CFD trade, but it is not free from capital gains tax. It is a benefit for which traders perform CFD trading. But CFDs require advanced trading strategies to earn profits.

Short Selling

  • Spread Betting – Traders have the option to go long as well as short with a spread bet. If traders expect a rise in market prices, they can go long, and if they expect a fall in prices, they can go short with the same trading instruments. It is up to traders whether to go for short or long selling.
  • CFD Trading – Investors also can opt for short or long selling in the CFD trade. They can choose according to the direct market access performance based on their prediction. Traders can open a long position based on the rising trend and a short position based on the falling market trend.

Holding Costs

  • Spread Betting – Spreads may vary according to the trading instrument of the broker that you opt for. Traders need to pay spreads and holding costs for spread bet contracts. These are two types of costs that are associated with it.
  • CFD Trading – Holding costs may apply to CFD trading, but traders do not need to pay spread bet charges. The holding cost may vary according to the time period a trader is holding the contract.

Who Can Trade?

  • Spread Betting – Traders residing in the UK or Ireland have access to spread bets. Other traders cannot perform spread betting as they do not have access to place spread bets.
  • CFD Trading – Traders all around the globe can participate in CFD trading. But traders who do not have enough experience lose money when trading CFDs.

Commission Charges

  • Spread Betting – Generally, there are no commission charges on CFD trading, but still, it may depend on the broker with which you are trading. Customers need to study the charges of spread bet and CFD brokers before selecting one for trading.
  • CFD Trading – Traders need to pay commission and spread bets charges on CFD trading. The percentage of the commission may depend on the trading instruments. Spread bets charges also depend on trading instruments.

What about Trading Platforms? 

  • Spread Betting – For spread betting, traders need a broker because it is required to be conducted over the counter. That is why an online broker is required to execute the transaction successfully.
  • CFD Trading – Traders can even make CFD contracts on their own. They do not need an online CFD broker to execute the contract. It is made on both parties’ mutual agreement to enter into the contract.

Pros of CFD and Spread betting

Trading CFD and Spread betting has always been a demanded trading instrument for every trader. Traders who have the ability of risk management and can afford a high risk of losing money enter into these trades.

On the Contrary, these both have wider spreads and lack commission-free trading. These pros and cons make difference between CFD and spread betting and help traders go with the best one.

There are several trading benefits and drawbacks of CFD trading and spread betting:


Efficiency in Taxation:

Because of a key distinction in how the UK tax laws authorities view financial derivative spread betting and CFD trading, financial spread bet stakes are far more tax law efficient than CFD trading.

A significant difference between CFD and Spread betting is the efficiency in taxation. 

Unlike CFDs, which are subject to a capital gains tax law of up to 28 percent on any profits gained, spread bets are virtually always capital gains tax-free, with no CGT responsibility.

The traders of CFDs have to pay capital gains tax while the spread bet is free from such charges.

No Commission:

Unlike CFDs, which charge a percentage of the overall transaction cost, spread bets positions have no commission.

The spread bets, which represent the commission part of the transaction, are the only expense involved in that spread betting and have no bearing on the magnitude of the transaction or the eventual gains you will realize.

Trade-in Sterling:

Because your trading activity is conducted in your base currency, spread betting will always be denominated in that currency.

Your account will be displayed in pounds, your transactions will be ‘bets’ placed in pounds, and your gains (and losses) will be in pounds.

Higher Profits:

Higher profits can be earned within a short duration of time. You will need advanced risk management strategies to avoid the risk of losing money. Traders can even go short or long as per the conditions to gain more profits from the financial markets in which they are trading.


Wider Spreads:

Wider spreads to compensate for the lack of fee, spread betting spreads are frequently wider than those seen in CFD markets, effectively handicapping the trader on whichever side of the deal he falls.

This might be a significant disadvantage of the difference between CFDs and spread betting, especially when dealing with limited trading possibilities.

Fixed Daily Financial Markets:

Positions in spread betting are automatically settled after the trading day, with the opportunity to renew them.

Your budget only limits CFDs – as long as you can afford the overnight financing charges associated with CFD leverage, you can keep your CFD position open indefinitely until the falling markets move sufficiently in your favour.

Less Price Transparency:

Naturally, the prices are adjusted to favour the CFD broker by factoring in broader aspects that are thought to be ignored by the underlying market exposure. Still, at the very least, the prices appear fairer and closer to underlying prices than comparison spreads.

What Actually Do CFD and Spread Betting refer to?

Spread betting is formally regarded as a form of gambling. The profit is the difference between the market price at the closing of the trade and the sell/buy amount when you accept the position, multiplied by the per stake sell price you’ve set.

While spread betting takes a slightly different approach to trade than CFDs or, for example, stock speculation, it functions as a highly leveraged, extremely tax-efficient tool capable of producing returns comparable to CFDs.

Spread betting is a rapidly expanding field of financial instrument trading, with estimates indicating that over 1 million trading accounts are presently active in the UK. And there’s a compelling rationale for it.

However, the true benefits of spread betting go far beyond appearances; it’s a viable technique to trade various markets in a highly leveraged and cost-effective manner.

One of the first important benefits is unfunded leverage, which is achievable since the leverage takes a somewhat different shape than CFDs. That is the difference between CFD and Spread betting leverage trading. 

The Bottom Line

When comparing the aspects of CFD trading (start now with the best broker) and spread betting, one will note that there are more parallels than differences.

They both indeed employ the same technology, and they both have a wide choice of the underlying market to choose from. Despite their commonalities, the two have a lot of variances as well, which calls for a read of the difference between CFD and Spread betting.

CFDs do not have an expiration date, and because they are a margin instrument, they incur a daily funding fee on the account if the long position is kept overnight.

CFDs are subject to capital gains tax, whereas financial spread betting profits are capital gains tax-free. Another distinction between CFDs and spread betting is how trades are executed. 

In spread betting, a trader takes a certain amount of money on a single point in any available underlying markets.