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CFDs are becoming a popular alternative for traders looking for short-term leveraged trading of stocks and other assets. Make sure you compare all the brokers to find one that truly suits your needs. Unlike buying a stock or futures contract, a CFD is a derivative, which means that you never actually own the underlying asset during the transaction. CFDs can be created to mirror almost any financial instrument or market, including individual equities, indexes, currency pairs, interest rate products or bonds.
If it moves, and there is demand, you can be sure that there will be a CFD for it. CFDs are generally not recommended for new traders. A solid understanding or leverage, margin, counterparty risk, and the complexity of derivative products is recommended.
Set up a demo account and experiment, but make sure you do your research, understand the product and its ins and outs before you deposit real money into an account.
Hence the name, Contract For Difference. Most CFD providers also require that you cross the spread to enter or exit a position. As you can see, leverage is powerful.
Here lies the attraction of leverage and CFDs. Of course, the opposite could also be possible. The equivalent move could wipe your CFD account of all of its capital and more. As CFDs are leveraged products, they offer significant advantages and disadvantages over regular stocks or futures.
Unlike trading an underlying, the counter-party to your trade is your broker itself. As you can imagine, this raises a myriad of conflict of interest issues, and regulators continue to try and find an acceptable balance between protecting customers from predatory practices and allowing traders the freedom to trade what they wish.
Shady practices would be reported to regulators, which would ultimately hurt their business and profitability. The takeaway is that traders need to do their research on CFD brokers and regulation in their country. A good place to start is our list of recommended brokers. The spread or commission hits every trader and every trade. It is therefore key to compare one broker to another. Direct comparison may not be simple however. The spread will differ between assets, and may also change day by day if an asset is volatile.
So a broker may have the smallest spread for Forex pairs, but the largest for indices — and the figures might change the next day. Depending on the asset, a broker might be the cheapest choice — or the most expensive.
So when comparing brokers and the spread, ensure you are checking the spread on the assets you will be trading most. The margin represents the funds that a trader must deposit and commit in order to open a trade. Where this is the case, the leverage is often illustrated in terms of multiples — so The equivalent margin would be 0.
So when comparing brokers, a low margin requires smaller deposits. This will be important to some traders, but less so to others. Trading platforms might be thought of as broadly the same. This can be a mistake if a trader finds a particular platform difficult to use. Yes, most platforms will have similar functions — but the usability and look and feel can vary — and some will not suit every trader.
It is vital to be trading on software that is familiar and easy to use. Traders can miss prices, or worse, make mistakes trading, because the trading platform did not suit them for whatever reason. The trading buttons might be very clear to some users, but if you are the trader that ended up entering a large trade by mistake, you might wish you had based a broker choice on the clarity of the platform.
All of the brands listed here offer demo accounts — try before you buy. This is becoming less important as more and more payment methods are added by brokers — but if you have ever had problems making payments or receiving money from a broker because they have a restricted list of withdrawal methods — you will know how important it can be to check first. If you plan to research your trades via your broker or their software, you want to ensure you have the best research tools available.
Charting standards do differ significantly. Some brokers ETX Capital in particular offer the best charting facilities, with a range of technical analysis tools that will satisfy even the most ardent technical analysis experts. Some brokers however, assume their traders either do not do research, or do it elsewhere. Their tools lag behind some rivals. So again, take a look via a demo account and see if the broker delivers to a standard you need. As ever, trading on the move will be important to many traders — others will be happy to not use a mobile app.
Regulation should be a key criteria for any broker. Only regulated CFD brokers are included on these pages. Bonuses can sometimes sway a trader. Terms and conditions are always important with any bonus deal. They can often cause a new customer to over trade. However, where used correctly, a bonus can mean more funds to trade with, or a couple of risk free trades — so they can be useful.
Just remember that a short term bonus is not going to make up for expensive spreads in the long run. Our reviews cover all of the factors required to compare CFD brokers, and as mentioned previously, all of the CFD brokers listed on our pages provide demo accounts. So traders can take their time, read the detailed review, and try out the platforms themselves before making a choice. Once you have all the information, you can then decide the best CFD broker for you.
Use these steps to make an informed decision about the best broker for you and your unique investing style;. Traders can use any number of broker accounts, and use those with the best terms for specific trades or assets. Trade Gold with one firm, but US Stocks with another.
Use whichever account offer you the best deal for that particular trade. Because of the margin, CFDs are usually used by traders looking to trade short term or intraday moves. The amount of leverage available differs from broker to broker, depending on the product and market. Much like forex, this allows you to trade larger size than you may otherwise be able to, or give you access to expensive stocks that you might not be able to trade.
This opens up new markets and opportunities. Exposure to global markets: Most CFD providers offer a huge variety of markets. This can all be done on one account, without the need for expensive data or execution fees. Trading fees can add up pretty quickly, especially using retail brokers. This is a double edge sword. A small move in the underlying can wipe out the value of your position or more, leaving you in the red with your broker.
Entering or exiting a CFD position requires you to cross the spread. This is the price paid for access to margin. It also makes some strategies very difficult to execute e. Betting against your broker: A CFD is a contract with your broker. They profit if you lose.
This opens up many conflict of interest questions. Get in touch with them directly if you have questions before depositing any money in the account. Spread or Commission The spread or commission hits every trader and every trade. Leverage and Margin The margin represents the funds that a trader must deposit and commit in order to open a trade. Trading platform Trading platforms might be thought of as broadly the same. Deposit and Withdrawal options This is becoming less important as more and more payment methods are added by brokers — but if you have ever had problems making payments or receiving money from a broker because they have a restricted list of withdrawal methods — you will know how important it can be to check first.
Features Charts, Technical Analysis, Research If you plan to research your trades via your broker or their software, you want to ensure you have the best research tools available. How large is each trade, what is your overall trading aim etc.
Deposit real money, and trade Remember: