CFD Forex Trading

CFD forex trading is an increasingly popular method of investing in currencies. Many traders have added forex CFDs to their portfolios. This article will explain what CFD forex trading is, how it works and how to get started. There will also be guidance on forex CFD trading strategies and how to choose the right broker and trading platform.

Best CFD Forex Trading Brokers

  1. AvaTrade - AvaTrade's 1250+ leveraged CFD products span a wide range of asset classes including stocks, indices, commodities, bonds, crypto, and ETFs. You can speculate on underlying assets in the broker’s feature-rich web and mobile platforms with market-leading research tools to help discover opportunities.
  2. Deriv.com - You can trade CFDs on popular markets, including the broker's exclusive synthetic indices which are available 24/7. There are plenty of charting tools available for technical traders, including over 20 indicators in the Deriv Trader platform. New users can also open an account and start trading CFDs instantly.
  3. Exness - Exness offers a selection of CFDs covering forex, stocks, indices, commodities and cryptos, with leverage up to 1:200. Accounts are geared mainly towards experienced day traders, with over 100 technical indicators available in the broker’s proprietary terminal.
  4. Pepperstone - Pepperstone maintains its position as one of the fastest and most dependable CFD brokers during our latest round of testing. With execution speeds averaging around 30ms and an outstanding fill rate of 99.90%, the broker ensures a seamless trading experience without requotes or dealing desk interference. It also provides ample trading opportunities across over 1,300 assets.
  5. XM - Day traders can speculate on leveraged CFDs with zero commissions, spanning popular markets including currencies, equities and commodities. Additionally, the MetaTrader platforms collectively offer dozens of advanced technical indicators built for short-term strategies.

CFD Forex Trading Comparison

CFD Forex Trading Comparison
Broker CFD Leverage Minimum Deposit Minimum Trade Regulators Visit
AvaTrade logo
1:30 (Retail) 1:400 (Pro) - 0.01 Lots ASIC, CySEC, FSCA, ISA, CBol, FSA, FSRA, BVI, ADGM Visit
Deriv.com logo
1:1000 $5 0.01 Lots MFSA, LFSA, VFSC, BFSC Visit
Exness logo
1:2000 $10 0.01 Lots FSA, CySEC, FCA, FSCA, FSC, CBCS Visit
Pepperstone logo
1:30 (Retail), 1:500 (Pro) $0 0.01 Lots FCA, ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, CMA, BaFin, SCB Visit
XM logo
- $5 0.01 Lots ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, FSC, FSCA Visit
IC Markets logo
1:30 (ASIC & CySEC), 1:500 (FSA), 1:1000 (Global) $200 0.01 Lots ASIC, CySEC, FSA Visit
Eightcap logo
- $100 0.01 Lots ASIC, FCA, xCySEC, SCB Visit
LiteForex Europe logo
1:30 $50 0.01 Lots CySEC Visit
CityIndex logo
1:30 (Retail), 1:50 (Accredited Investor), 1:200 (Sophisticated Investor), 1:300 (Wholesale Investor), 1:400 (Professional Trader). Varies with jurisdiction. $0 0.01 Lots ASIC, FCA, MAS Visit
DNA Markets logo
- $100 0.01 Lots ASIC Visit
FOREX.com logo
1:400 $100 0.01 Lots NFA, CFTC, CIRO, FCA, CYSEC, ASIC, SFC, FSA, MAS, CIMA Visit
IC Trading logo
1:500 $200 0.01 Lots FSC Visit
eToro logo
- $50 $10 FCA, ASIC, CySEC, FSA, FSRA, MFSA Visit
RoboForex logo
1:2000 $10 0.01 Lots IFSC Visit
InstaForex logo
- - - - Visit

#1 - AvaTrade

Why We Chose AvaTrade

AvaTrade is a leading forex and CFD broker, established in 2006 and regulated across 9 jurisdictions. Over 400,000 users have signed up with the broker which processes over 2 million trades each month. The firm offers multiple trading platforms, including MT4, MT5, and a proprietary WebTrader. 1250+ financial instruments are available for day trading, from CFDs to AvaOptions and now AvaFutures, alongside a comprehensive education center and multilingual customer support.

"AvaTrade offers the full package for short-term traders. There is powerful charting software, reliable execution, transparent fees, and fast account opening with a low minimum deposit."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • FTSE Spread: 0.5
  • GBPUSD Spread: 1.5
  • Stocks Spread: 0.13
  • Leverage: 1:30 (Retail) 1:400 (Pro)
  • Regulator: ASIC, CySEC, FSCA, ISA, CBol, FSA, FSRA, BVI, ADGM
  • Platforms: WebTrader, AvaTradeGO, AvaOptions, AvaFutures, MT4, MT5, AlgoTrader, TradingCentral, DupliTrade

#2 - Deriv.com

Why We Chose Deriv.com

Deriv.com is a low cost, multi-asset broker with over 2.5 million global clients. With just a $5 minimum deposit, the firm offers CFDs, multipliers and more recently accumulators, alongside proprietary synthetic products which can't be found elsewhere. Deriv provides both its own in-house charting software and the hugely popular MetaTrader 5.

"Deriv.com will suit day traders looking to make fast-paced trades using CFDs and multipliers with high leverage up to 1:1000. The broker is also the industry leader in synthetic indices, which simulate real market movements and are available around the clock. "

- DayTrading Review Team
  • FTSE Spread: 0.5
  • GBPUSD Spread: 0.5
  • Stocks Spread: 0.07
  • Leverage: 1:1000
  • Regulator: MFSA, LFSA, VFSC, BFSC
  • Platforms: Deriv Trader, MT5

#3 - Exness

Why We Chose Exness

Exness is a Cyprus-based forex and CFD brokerage established in 2008. With over 260,000 clients, several awards and reputable licensing, the broker has maintained its position as a highly respected global brand. Active day traders can access the popular MT4 and MT5 platforms, raw spreads and multiple account types.

"Exness remains an accessible broker for all experience levels, though experienced day traders will particularly appreciate the ultra-low commission rates, fast withdrawals and high-quality charting software."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • FTSE Spread: 15.1
  • GBPUSD Spread: 0.1
  • Stocks Spread: 0.7
  • Leverage: 1:2000
  • Regulator: FSA, CySEC, FCA, FSCA, FSC, CBCS
  • Platforms: Exness Trade App, MT4, MT5, TradingCentral

#4 - Pepperstone

Why We Chose Pepperstone

Established in Australia in 2010, Pepperstone is a top-rated forex and CFD broker with over 400,000 clients worldwide. It offers access to 1,300+ instruments on leading platforms MT4, MT5, cTrader and TradingView, maintaining low, transparent fees. Pepperstone is also regulated by trusted authorities like the FCA, ASIC, and CySEC, ensuring a secure environment for day traders at all levels.

"Pepperstone stands out as a top choice for day trading, offering razor-sharp spreads, ultra-fast execution, and advanced charting platforms for experienced traders. New traders are also welcomed with no minimum deposit, extensive educational resources, and exceptional 24/7 support."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • FTSE Spread: 1.0
  • GBPUSD Spread: 0.4
  • Stocks Spread: 0.02
  • Leverage: 1:30 (Retail), 1:500 (Pro)
  • Regulator: FCA, ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, CMA, BaFin, SCB
  • Platforms: MT4, MT5, cTrader, TradingView, AutoChartist, DupliTrade

#5 - XM

Why We Chose XM

XM is a globally recognized forex and CFD broker with 10+ million clients in 190+ countries. Since 2009, this trusted broker has been known for its low fees on 1000+ instruments. XM is regulated by multiple financial bodies, including the ASIC and CySEC.

"XM is one of the best forex and CFD brokers we have tested. The flexible account types will suit a variety of short-term trading styles while the $5 minimum deposit and smooth sign-up process make it easy to start trading."

- DayTrading Review Team
  • FTSE Spread: 1.5 pts
  • GBPUSD Spread: 1.9
  • Stocks Spread: 0.002
  • Regulator: ASIC, CySEC, DFSA, FSC, FSCA
  • Platforms: MT4, MT5

What Is CFD Forex Trading?

A contract for difference (CFD) is a contract between a buyer (trader) and a seller (broker) that stipulates that the difference between the current value of an asset and its value at the end of the contract will be paid to one of the parties at the expiry. CFDs allow investors to profit, or lose, from price movements without having to own the underlying asset.

How CFD Forex Trading Works

Essentially, CFD forex trading entails opening trades based on whether the value of one currency will rise or fall against another.

The investor can speculate on either upward or downward movement in the value of the currency. If they think the value of the base currency will rise, they will open a long position. If the value does increase, the net difference between the purchase and sale prices will be the net result of the trade (either profit or loss).

Similarly, the trader could believe the value will drop and open a short position. In this case, the profit or loss is the net result of the value between the initial price and the final value.

CFD forex trading strategies

A good way to understand CFD forex trading is to look at an example, such as the GBP/USD forex pair. Consider that the ask price is 1.20720 and an investor believes the value of the pound (GBP) will rise against the US dollar. That investor purchases 1,000 pips of GBP.

Two weeks pass and the value of the GBP has risen as the investor predicted, the bid price is now 1.22220.

The trader is paid the difference between the initial ask price and the final bid price, multiplied by the size of the trade. That is 0.015 multiplied by 1000, which equals a £15 profit.

CFD Forex Trading Vs Spot Forex Trading

Forex trading can be conducted with or without CFDs, but what difference does it make?

In non-CFD (spot) forex trading, traders still speculate on the value of a currency rising or falling against its pair.

However, they then directly buy or sell the currency, depending on their position. This means the investor owns the currency itself and more money is required to buy the currency. Profit or loss is then finalised by directly selling the currency when the price has risen or fallen.

In CFD forex trading, you are only speculating on the value rising, without buying and owning the currency. CFD brokers usually require a much smaller margin (around 5%) and any profit or loss comes from the spread between the initial currency value and the final value of the currency.

Where You Can Trade Forex CFDs

CFD regulations vary in different countries. CFD trading, forex or not, is banned in the US and Brazil. However, many other major trading countries allow these instruments. Countries like the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Hong Kong all allow forex and CFD forex trading in over-the-counter (OTC) markets.

Strategies

There are a few different trading strategies you can adopt when trading forex CFDs. We will run through four of the most popular below.

Day Trading

This is the practice of making short-term trades on the same day. Typically, the CFD forex trading position is held for anywhere from a couple of minutes to several hours before being sold, though it is not generally held overnight. The premise involves taking advantage of volatile forex pairs and requires high levels of concentration, you need to constantly monitor the market and be ready to make quick decisions.

Scalping

This is similar to day trading, except that positions are held open for minutes at a time and closed as soon as it becomes profitable. Again, this involves constant monitoring of the market.

The strategy hopes to minimise risk by reducing the opportunity for a reversal and profits are made by the aggregation of many low-profit, high volume trades. Margin trading is often used to facilitate scalping, though you should be careful as one large loss can erode a significant portion of your progress.

Position Trading

Position traders don’t take short-term approaches like day traders and scalpers. Instead, a position trader will buy CFD contracts and hold them for a few days or weeks. This is a strategy that doesn’t require such constant monitoring of the market but it can need perseverance if there are market dips.

Swing Trading

Swing trading is suitable in more volatile markets than position trading. The emphasis is on looking for strong price swings over one or several days. The strategy entails identifying short-term trends and waiting for signs of a reversal, trading against the trend once there are some. Swing trading may require that CFD forex positions be held overnight, incurring additional interest fees.

Pros Of CFD Forex Trading

Cons Of CFD Forex Trading

How To Start CFD Forex Trading

This step-by-step guide will help you get started trading forex CFDs:

Choose A Broker

The first thing to do is select the best CFD forex trading brokerage for you. Low spreads and financing fees are two basic things to look out for, along with trading platforms, asset ranges and customer service.

There are many brokers, both regulated and unregulated. Forex and CFD trading with Videforex, IG Group, Oanda or XTB are popular choices. Additionally, more options, like CFDs on forex, stocks, indices, oil and gold are available with XM.

Those investors looking for mobile trading may want to consider Trade Interceptor and xStation, both of which offer APK and iOS trading apps.

Select An Asset

Each forex pair comes with a different level of risk. Major pairs like USD/GBP are relatively stable and demonstrate strong liquidity. Exotic pairs such as GBP/HKD are more volatile and have more dramatic price movements, giving more potential for those that know what they are doing.

Open A Position

Once you have selected an asset, you can open a CFD forex trading position by taking out a contract. Be sure to check the leverage ratio and ensure you have the funds to cover any potential losses. Also, look at implementing stop loss and take profit orders to limit risk.

Monitor & Close Position

Keep an eye on the price and trends for the currency pair you have a position open on. Many platforms will have a mobile app for you to use on the go. Consider any fees when looking to leave the position open overnight. As soon as the price is right, close your position and finalise the trade.

CFD forex trading definition and tips

Trading Tips

This list of tips will boost your CFD forex trading skills:

Final Word On CFD Forex Trading

CFD forex trading is a way to speculate on the foreign exchange markets without physically converting currencies. Investors can make use of high leverage rates and simpler fee structures than their spot forex counterparts. However, it is important to implement robust risk management systems and carry out detailed research to guide your strategy. See our list of recommended CFD forex brokers and follow the guide above to get started.

FAQs

Why Is CFD Forex Trading Illegal In The US?

Part of the reason is that they are an over-the-counter (OTC) product. This means they don’t pass through regulated exchanges and hence the US have banned them.

CFD forex trading is legal in the UK, whether you use a regulated broker or not. However, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated brokers have several restrictions and rules they must abide by to protect their clients, including segregating bank accounts.

Is CFD Forex Trading Taxable In The UK?

Yes, CFD forex trading is taxable in the UK. While you won’t pay stamp duty, profits are eligible for capital gains tax (CGT), unlike spread betting.

What Is The Difference Between CFD Forex Trading And Spread Betting?

Spread betting is very similar to CFD forex trading in that they are both forms of financial speculation using derivatives products.

However, where CFDs can be closed whenever the investor wishes, spread bets have a fixed expiration date (though they can be exited before this). Moreover, CFDs are charged commissions and fees, with taxable profits, where spread betting brokers make money from spread markups and profits are tax-free.

What Is The Difference Between CFD And Forex Trading Vs Share Trading?

CFD forex trading is very different from share trading, be it a spot or CFD itself. The main difference is the underlying assets, with forex CFDs based upon the performance of a pair of currencies, where shares are based on company stock prices.