What are CFDs?

Contracts for difference (CFDs) are derivative products which enable you to trade on the price movement of underlying financial assets (such as indices, shares and commodities).

A CFD is an agreement to exchange the difference in the value of an asset from the time the contract is opened until the time at which it's closed. With a CFD you never actually own the asset or instrument you have chosen to trade, but you can still benefit if the market moves in your favour, or make a loss should the market move against you.

CFDs are a leveraged product, which means that you only need to deposit a small percentage of the full value of the trade in order to open a position. This is called ‘trading on margin’. While trading on margin allows you to magnify your returns, losses will also be magnified as they are based on the full value of the position, meaning you could lose more than any capital deposited.

What is a contract for difference?

A contract for difference (CFD) is a popular form of derivative trading. CFD trading enables you to speculate on the rising or falling prices of fast-moving global financial markets (or instruments) such as shares, indices, commodities, currencies and treasuries.

CFD trading explained

Some of the benefits of CFD trading are that you can trade on margin, and you can go short (sell) if you think prices will go down or go long (buy) if you think prices will rise. 

Introduction to CFD trading: how does CFD trading work?

With CFD trading, you don’t buy or sell the underlying asset (for example a physical share, currency pair or commodity). You buy or sell a number of units for a particular instrument depending on whether you think prices will go up or down. We offer CFDs on a wide range of  global markets and our CFD instruments includes shares, treasuries, currency pairs, commodities and stock indices.

For every point the price of the instrument moves in your favour, you gain multiples of the number of CFD units you have bought or sold. For every point the price moves against you, you will make a loss. Please remember that losses can exceed your deposits.

What is margin and leverage?

CFDs are a leveraged product, which means that you only need to deposit a small percentage of the full value of the trade in order to open a position. This is called ‘trading on margin’ (or margin requirement). While trading on margin allows you to magnify your returns, your losses will also be magnified as they are based on the full value of the CFD position, meaning you could lose more than any capital deposited.

What are the costs of CFD trading?

Spread: When trading CFDs you must pay the spread, which is the difference between the buy and sell price. You enter a buy trade using the buy price quoted and exit using the sell price. The narrower the spread, the less the price needs to move in your favour before you start to make a profit, or if the price moves against you, a loss. We offer consistently competitive spreads.

Holding costs: at the end of each trading day any positions open in your account may be subject to a charge called a 'holding cost'. The holding cost can be positive or negative depending on the direction of your position and the applicable holding rate.

Market data fees: to trade or view our price data for share CFDs, you must activate the relevant market data subscription for which a fee will be charged. View our CFD market data fees.

Commission (only applicable for shares): you must also pay a separate commission charge when you trade share CFDs.