While the majority of this site is dedicated to showing the positive aspects of CFD Trading, it is important to keep in mind the CFD risks that lie lurking around the corner when trading this exciting product.
What is the difference in finance rates between trading shares and trading CFDs?
The fundamental difference between trading stocks versus trading CFDs is the overnight CFD Finance.
When it comes to trading shares, there is no financing component. You will only pay financing on shares if you take out a margin loan.
But when it comes to trading Contracts for Difference, you only place a small margin up front to control the entire position. With CFDs, you are effectively taking out a loan every time you open a trade and hold it overnight.
CFD finance, margin and leverage figures
Let’s say you have a $10,000 position on the S&P500 index. Your CFD broker may only require half a percent in margin to hold that position.
So you need to outlay $50 to control a $10,000 position on the S&P500 index.
In effect, you are ‘borrowing’ the $9,950 and your CFD broker will charge you interest for ‘lending’ you the money.
Intraday positions versus holding for several days
The finance fees are calculated when you hold a position past the New York close (at least for most brokers). If you close your position before the New York close, then you will not pay any CFD finance.
If you hold the position for three weeks, then you will pay finance every day you hold the trade open.
The good news is CFD brokers charge you a pro rata rate. Unlike a margin loan, you never have to apply for a credit rating or credit check to get approved to trade CFDs or Forex.
Example CFD finance rates from the leading CFD brokers
Each CFD broker calculates the finance rates in different ways. Instead of trying to explain a blanket rule of how CFD finance is calculated, we thought it would be easier to highlight the best CFD brokers finance rates here.
IG Markets finance rates
As you can see from the screenshot below, IG charge 2.5% above the relevant interbank rate. Rates differ depending on whether you are trading share CFDs, Forex, Indices or Commodities. Their financing rate is 3% for mini and micro FX contracts.
IG rate screenshot taken on 22 February 2017
CMC Markets finance rates
As of February 2017, CMC Markets charge financing if you hold positions after 5pm New York time. CMC refer to this as a holding cost, not a financing charge. You can see their share CFDs rates from the screenshot below, taken in February 2017.
When it comes to holding costs for Forex trades, CMC have a different calculation.
AxiTrader finance rates
With AxiTrader, they have a swap rate. The swap rate is available on their MT4 platform.
Having said that, below is a screenshot taken in February 2017, highlighting how they deal with Forex finance rates.
CFD Finance – Holding CFD positions overnight
You get charged CFD financing when you hold a position past the close.
CFD brokers determine a position is held overnight if you hold the position after 5 pm Eastern Standard Time in New York.
The timing for that is around 7 am Australian time (Sydney).
Check your CFD brokers product disclosure statement (PDS) for their exact rollover time.
The CFD Finance calculation – Calculating the daily interest charge
The below finance calculation is a brief visit back to the old days of CFD Trading. This is when they used to charge interest based on the RBA.
You may also notice the RBA back then was 7.25%. Fun times.
Long CFD position (how they used to calculate the rollover rates)
= (Total CFD position size * (RBA rate + 2%)) / 365
= ($10,000 * (7.25% + 2%)) / 365
= ($10,000 * 9.25%) / 365
= $925 / 365
= $2.53 per day debit
NOTE: Calculating the daily rate can differ in some countries. For example, Australia and the UK use 365 days in the year and others use 360 in their calculations. Read the Product disclosure statement of your CFD broker to work out which rate they use.
Therefore to hold a $10,000 CFD position will cost around $2.53 every day you are long.
Accessing Opportunity with CFDs
First and foremost, it is important to know exactly what the costs of doing business are when trading CFDs.
Secondly, understand CFD Finance is simply the cost of doing business and it is a relatively small charge.
Think of CFD financing as the cost to access more opportunity
You see if you had $10,000 in your share trading account then $10,000 is all you could trade. Therefore you are limiting your opportunity in the market. You can only trade two lots of $5,000 positions.
When trading CFDs your $10,000 cash could access more. But let’s say you decide to trade total positions that do not exceed $30,000.
As a result, you may wish to trade five lots of $6,000 trades. This gives you a greater chance to diversify and most importantly, access more opportunity.
So think of CFD finance as the cost to access more opportunity, giving you a greater chance of accessing more profits.
CFD Finance for a Short Sell CFD position
Short Sell CFD position (how they used to calculate the rollover rates)
= (Total CFD position size * (RBA rate – 2%)) / 365
= ($10,000 * (7.25% – 2%)) / 365
= ($10,000 * 5.25%) / 365
= $525 / 365
= $1.44 per day credit
CFD Finance changes daily based on market action
CFD Finance charges will differ every day as your position rises and falls with the market.
Let’s run through an example of holding a position for several days to see how it plays out.
- 1st day: Open CFD trade at $10,000 and position stays steady
- 2nd day: Position moves into profit and is now worth $10,230 (CFD Finance will now be calculated on $10,230)
- 3rd day: Market sells off, and your CFD position is now worth $9,750 (CFD Finance will now be calculated on $9,750)
- 4th day: The position meets your exit criteria and you close the trade.
As you can see, each day the amount of CFD finance you pay will depend on your open positions.
Avoiding overnight CFD Finance charges
If you open and close a share CFD position in the same day, there will be no CFD Finance charges. As you never held the position overnight, you never had to pay the financing.
Does that mean Trading CFDs is better suited to short term Intraday trading?
Not at all. Remember your goal is to:
- Build a trading system(s) that fits your trading time frame
- Develop a trading system(s) that suits your risk profile
- Create a trading system(s) that fits your psychological profile
If that means you trade intraday and avoid overnight interest then fantastic.
If you find your average hold for a trade is 35 days and your system(s) are profitable then OK. When testing your system(s) allow some room for overnight financing.
If paying finance is a concern, you can always trade the forward contracts, which have the finance component removed.
At the end of the day, finance rates are small given the low-interest rate environment we are in, in 2017.
When testing your system(s) allow some room for overnight financing.
Your goal will always be to trade your most profitable trading system over your ideal time frame. Do not attempt to become an intraday trader just to avoid overnight CFD Finance.
Do not attempt to become an intraday trader just to avoid overnight CFD Finance.