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Trading CFDs – Good or Bad?

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Last Updated on 2 weeks by AllinAllSpace

Contracts for difference, AKA CFDs, are a grey niche market in the financial markets. There is a legitimate reason for those who view the CFD market as unnecessary as the CFD market is, sort of say, a secondary market for those who do not wish to enter the complicated process of exchanges and securities regulation. There are some advantages to the CFD market, though. Let’s put it all out there, good and bad.

CFDs, plain and simple – What are they?

OK, imagine a friend offers you to trade against him on the gold price. Let’s say the gold price is $1200, and your friend tells you to choose the direction (up or down). You choose to buy gold, meaning every increase (the difference from the price you bought the security) in the gold price will be paid by your friend. Otherwise, you will pay your friend the difference. In that case, your friend is now a marketmaker. Hence, he’s making a market, even if he has, for the moment, only one client. And, in a way, you are playing against each other.

In order to understand better CFDs, let’s understand leverage. Then, imagine you are not that rich, but your friend has some pocket money. He tells you then that he can leverage your amount of money. Hence, if you deposit 1,000 USD, it will be equivalent to 10,000 or 100,000 (depending on the leverage he provides). For you, it’s an opportunity to make a high profit with a relatively low amount of money. For him, you are now statistics.

However, it’s still a fair transaction if both sides know all the risks and rewards.

CFDs – good or bad?

The CFD market suffered many years of defamations and criticism. Is there a need for this market? Aren’t the regulated exchanges (stocks, futures, ETF’s, etc) enough for investors and traders?

In addition, CFD brokers were perceived as scam companies, changing rates, offering excessive bonuses, and holding your withdrawals when you wish to pull out your funds. And, it’s partly true, they did some of those things. So far, it has been an unregulated industry managed by quick buck management.

So what is the need of retail investors/traders in CFDs brokers? It will never be a market with a purpose, such as futures exchanges, stocks, and bonds that provide a tool for companies and investors to recruit capital and grow. The CFD market, however, can provide other benefits to traders.

The CFD industry has changed – regulators realized that the industry is here to stay. There are many traders who find this type of trading more attractive than stocks or futures – it’s fast, dynamic, and volatile. Moreover, several things have changed the industry in the past years towards a sort of legitimate industry:

First, ESMA and other regulations that restrict the brokers:

  • Brokers are not allowed to offer bonuses in order to attract investors
  • The leverage, which was previously determined by the brokers’ is now limited to 1:30
  • A disclaimer must be included in the broker content (Ads, articles, reviews, etc.)
  • Documentation and authorization of new customers are mandatory and in line with the broker’s authorized regulation.

Another good thing that happened in the industry, at least for the traders, is the concentration of brokers. Instead of many unknown small brokers (some of which are still in the market), today, there are 5-10 big brokers with capital and the stability to pay back their losses. Those brokers include AvaTrade, Plus500, IG, and Forex.com (for US residents).

What are the pros and cons of CFDs?


✅ The possibility to trade with a small amount of money

✅ Trading platforms and functions are easy to learn and operate

✅ Commissions are relatively low

✅ The possibility to earn a high profit with a low amount of deposit

✅ Compared to banks and investment banks – easy to open an account


❌ High risk and, again, high risk to lose your money

❌ Leverage can be an obstacle

❌ Not fit for long-term investments (check for overnight interest rate and hidden commissions)

Is it legal to trade CFDs in the United States?

Trading CFDs in the United States is illegal unless the broker is regulated through the SEC. There are some brokers that provide CFD trading for US residents – Forex.com and Oanda provide this service.

CFDs Brokers

As mentioned above, for those who are located in the US, Forex.com is one option. Other options include Oanda and Interactive Brokers.

For those who are located outside the United States (although there are other countries that permit CFD trading – here is a full list), AvaTrade, Plus500, IG and ZuluTrade are good options.

Risk Disclaimer: 80.5% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

If you decide to trade CFDs, then…

Do not use high leverage! It can work once, twice, and maybe ten times, but eventually, you will lose.

Don’t go too crazy with your first deposit, the only way to have a profitable account is if the profit or loss match your tolerance. Otherwise, you will lose in a second. It’s a mind game.

Do not listen to any of the analysts at the broker’s side. Even if they are not against you, they are not on your side.

Be ready to lose. No one can always win in the CFD day trade.

If you are a long-term investor or wish to take a steady and stable investment, it’s not for you…

*Risk Warning. CFD trading carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all investors. CFDs are highly leveraged over-the-counter derivatives. You can lose more than your initial deposit, and your potential losses may be unlimited.

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