CFD trading

Flexible, accessible and free from stamp duty,1 CFD trading is an alternative way to go long or short on a huge variety of financial markets.

Why trade CFDs with IG?

It takes less than five minutes to open a CFD trading account, and you get reduced commissions for your first two weeks.2

  • Join the UK's No.1 CFD provider3 for superior service and support

  • Competitive rates: FX from 0.8 points, indices from 0.4 points, shares from 0.1% commission

  • Never miss an opportunity, wherever you are, with our mobile trading app 

  • Opportunities in over 15,000 markets: indices, forex, shares, commodities and more

  • Limit your risk with negative balance protection and a choice of stops, limits and alerts4

  • Access our free research tools to become a better-informed trader

Discover more advantages of using CFDs, and see some working CFD examples.

What are CFDs?

contract for difference, or CFD, is a derivative product which enables you to speculate/trade on the difference in price of a financial market between when the contract opens and when it closes. The profit or loss you make depends on the extent to which your forecast is correct.

  • Importantly, CFDs are a leveraged product. This means you only have to put down a small deposit for a much larger market exposure
  • Leverage comes with significant benefits and risks: your investment capital can go further, but you can also lose more than your initial deposit

While this means the product is very flexible, it also requires a high level of risk management. It's important to remember you're trading contracts with IG, not physically trading in the underlying market, so don’t actually own any assets.

Find out more about CFD trading

How do you trade CFDs?

To trade CFDs, you’ll first need to set up a CFD trading account. You can do so in a matter of minutes, and once approved, you can then fund your account and start trading using an online trading platform. This is where you’ll see all the available markets, as well as view the prices for each contract. 

We set prices based on the underlying market. For most markets, you are given a 'buy' and 'sell' price either side of the underlying market price. For equities, you will also need to pay a commission charge on top of this. You can take a position on a market going up (known as 'buying' or 'going long') or going down (known as 'selling' or 'going short').

Learn more about how to trade CFDs

Who trades CFDs?

CFDs are suitable for a wide range of traders:
  • Shares traders looking to diversify their portfolio by trading on indices, commodities, forex and more
  • Professional forex traders looking to gain exposure to deep liquidity with direct market access (DMA). To trade with Forex DMA, you’ll need to qualify for an IG professional account
  • Indices traders looking to take a position on entire sectors, from banking to mining
  • Plus commodities and ETP traders looking to access the markets without committing a lot of capital up front

What are the advantages of CFD trading?

  • Flexible: Speculate on market price movements without buying or selling the underlying market, eliminating the need for brokers, forex providers and futures exchanges
  • Go short and long: Trade markets you think are about to fall in value, not just those you expect to rise. This makes CFDs particularly useful for hedging existing positions in your portfolio
  • Make your capital go further: CFDs are a leveraged product, meaning you only need to put up a fraction of the value of the market – its margin – to gain exposure to the full value of your trade
  • No stamp duty: CFDs are free from stamp duty, and you can offset losses against future profits as a tax deduction1
  • Out-of-hours markets: Close positions overnight with 24-hour trading on a number of markets, or trade over the weekend with Sunday trading
  • Accessible: Whether you’re an experienced trader or relatively new to the markets, you can set up a free online trading account and get started in a matter of minutes

Find out more about the benefits of CFDs

Our charges

It's completely free to open an account with IG. Once you've funded your account and started trading, our main charge on each trade is the spread or a small commission for shares trades. Find out more about the spread.

You choose your price per contract (we offer low minimum contract sizes for new clients), and put down a margin payment. This allows you full exposure to a market with only a fraction of the total capital you'd normally need, though remember with leverage comes increased risk.

Learn more about our charges and fees

  Number of individual markets Minimum spread Margin rates from

























Choose from more than 15,000 markets

  • Indices

    FTSE 100, Wall Street, Germany 30 and more

  • Shares

    Competitive rates on over 8000 shares, plus DMA trading

  • Forex

    Choose from over 60 currency pairs with the UK's No.1 retail forex provider5

  • Commodities

    Trade on gold, silver, oil and dozens more commodity markets

  • Cryptocurrencies

    Trade bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and ripple pairs

  • Other markets

    Deal on interest rates, bonds, sectors, ETPs and more

CFD risk management

Like all forms of trading, CFDs carry risk. You’ll lose money if a market moves against you, and, if you fail to adequately manage your risk, these losses could increase suddenly and significantly. Keep in mind that CFDs are leveraged products, meaning you could lose more than the initial deposit you put down to open your position.

This is why it’s essential you do your research before you go into any trade, and that you have an effective risk-management strategy in place. IG offers a range of tools and features to help you manage your risk, as well as educational resources to refine your understanding of the potential pitfalls.

Learn more about risk management with IG 


Shares Awards
Best CFD provider
2016, 2017

ADVFN Awards 
Best finance app 
2016, 2017, 2018

Online Personal Wealth Awards 
Best Overall Personal Wealth Provider 
2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Open an account now

It's free to open an account, takes less than five minutes, and there's no obligation to fund or trade.


How much does it cost to trade CFDs?

With IG, you’ll need to fund your account by a minimum of £250 to get started. 

The costs of CFDs themselves depend on the market you choose, changing according to, among other factors, the liquidity of the market in question. You generally only pay a commission charge for share CFDs, and a spread (the difference between the buy and sell prices) for all other markets. Plus, every market comes with its own minimum number of contracts you will need to buy or sell to open your position.

There is also a small charge to fund positions overnight and for guaranteed stops (if triggered), and there may be additional fees for specialist tools. 

See our full charges and fees

What’s the difference between spread betting and CFD trading?

Spread betting and CFD trading share a lot in common, including leveraged access to the markets, round-the-clock dealing and the scope for short-selling. There are, however, a few areas in which they differ:
  • Profits from spread betting are free from both capital gains tax and stamp duty, while profits from CFD trading are exempt only from stamp duty1
  • You pay commission when you trade CFDs on shares, while spread betting costs are only ever covered in the spread
  • Unlike spread bettors, CFD traders can gain direct market access (DMA) to exchange order books and deep liquidity

More on CFDs vs spread betting

What’s the difference between CFD trading and share dealing?

When you trade CFDs, you never own the underlying shares. You’re instead entering an agreement to exchange the difference in value of an asset between the point at which the contract is opened and when it is closed. When you trade shares, however, you are purchasing actual equity in the company.While this means you receive the benefits that come with ownership, it also means that you only stand to profit if the value of those shares rises. CFDs enable you to put yourself in a position to profit from markets you believe will fall, as well as those you expect to rise.

CFD traders can also take a position on a market using a far smaller initial outlay than traditional share dealing, thanks to leverage. To deal shares, you generally need to purchase shares for their full value, and as a result tie up significantly more of your capital.  

What platforms can I use to trade CFDs?

Whether you’re at home or on the move, just starting out in the markets or ready for the next step, we offer a number of platforms to help you trade CFDs:
  • Web platform: Our browser-based platform that comes as standard with an IG account
  • MetaTrader 4: An advanced trading platform built for automated trading
  • L2 dealer: A downloadable DMA platform, for direct access to shares and forex markets. (To trade with Forex DMA, you’ll need to qualify for an IG professional account)
  • Trading apps: Our free apps, natively designed across all major mobile and tablet devices

How can I switch from my current CFD provider to IG?

You can sign up for an account with us in moments, and start trading as soon as you’ve funded your account. 

Our mobile trading apps, state-of-the-art technology and free educational tools make the process of switching your account to us an effortless experience. And as the UK's No.1 CFD provider, we offer opportunities across 15,000 markets, including forex from 0.6 points, indices from 0.4 points and shares from 0.1% commission.3

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1 Tax laws are subject to change and depend on individual circumstances. Tax law may differ in a jurisdiction other than the UK.

2 Introductory offer. See more details.

3 Based on number of primary relationships with CFD traders (Investment Trends UK Leveraged Trading Report released August 2018).

4 Negative balance protection does not apply to professional traders.

5 By number of primary relationships with FX traders (Investment Trends UK Leveraged Trading Report released August 2018).

Example CFD Share Trade

Buying Barclays: detailed


Underlying market/value Barclays Plc 281/281.1
Our price 281/281.1
Deal Buy at 281.1
Deal size 2000 shares
Initial margin required

Notional value x margin factor

= £5622 x 20%

= £1124.4

What happens next?

The market rallies and the closing price of Barclays is 292. This level is used to calculate overnight funding.

The following day, the market continues to rally.


One day funding =

((One-month LIBOR + admin charges) x Notional value) / 365

= ((0.51% + 2.5%) x £5,840 / 365

= £0.48

Underlying market 295/295.1
Close Sell at 295
Gross profit


295 – 281.1 = 13.9p

Number of shares = 2000

£0.139 x 2000 = £278


Commission: £10 to open + £10 to close = £20

This is charged to open and to close. It is calculated ar 0.1% of the notional value of the position, with a minimum charge of £10

To open: Notional value x 0.1% = £5800 x 0.1% = £5.880. The minimum commission is therefore charged.

Funding: £0.48

Net profit £257.52 profit subject to tax
What if...

If the underlying market fell to 267/267.1 instead:

267 – 281.1 = -14.1 pence

(-£0.141 x 2000) + £20 + £0.48 

=£302.48 net loss

Help and support

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Trading opportunities

Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 79% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading spread bets and CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how spread bets and CFDs work, and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. Spread bets and CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.