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What is CFD trading?

A contract for difference (CFD) is a popular form
of trading in the financial markets.

CFD trading

CFD trading offers traders and investors an opportunity to speculate on the price movement of the assets, without owning the underlying asset itself. In contrast with traditional investments, CFD trading allows traders to take positions on falling prices as well. Since owning the asset is not a condition with CFDs, an investor can sell the asset and profit when prices fall or lose when prices go up. CFD trading also gives investors access to the global markets - such as shares, cryptos, indices and commodities - in a single trading environment.


Means you only put down a fraction of the value of your trade. In other words, it significantly enhances your buying power by multiple your original investment, allowing you to control a position much larger than the original amount invested.

It is often described as being borrowed funds from the broker, although you are not physically borrowing any money. More information about leverage can be found below.

How does CFD trading work?

With CFD trading, you don’t own the underlying asset. You instead buy a certain number of CFD contracts* (also called units) on a market if you expect its price to rise, and sell them if you expect it to fall. The price of the CFD mirrors that of the underlying asset and follows it at all times.

* For more information regarding CFD instrument class types, please visit the section Key Information Document on our website, here.


To buy 1 Apple unit,
you need $56.27

Leverage 1:5

Your position will be five times bigger

($56.27 x 5 = $281.49).

  • For every point the price of the instrument moves in your favour, you gain 5 times more depending on the number of CFD units you have bought or sold.
  • For every point the price of the instrument moves against you, you lose 5 times more depending on the number of CFD units you have bought or sold.
  • Essentially, you’re putting down 100% / 5 (1:5 leverage is interpreted as 5x or 5 times) = 20% ($56.27) of the full value of the underlying asset, and Skilling funds the rest, allowing you to open a trade with a value of $281.49 for 20% of that value.

We offer CFDs on 800+ instruments (including FX, Metals, Energy, Shares, Indices, Cryptos) with a low initial deposit of only €100.

Start trading

Benefits of CFD trading

Trade on both rising and falling markets

Open either short or long positions according to the market conditions and your trading strategy.

Leveraged trading

You need significantly less capital to open a trade in comparison to owning an underlying asset. Leverage can significantly increase your gains as well as losses.

Regulated environment

Trading with Skilling ensures a regulated environment, segregation of all client deposits, and client-focused customer support. Skilling is regulated by CySEC under CIF license No. 357/18.

Fast execution

Ultrafast order execution of 8 milliseconds on average on FX. No dealing desk intervention. Your order gets routed automatically to one or several of our liquidity providers, ensuring your trade is always matched and filled quickly and efficiently.

What is margin and leverage?

While leverage multiplies your amount invested, margin is the required amount invested for any given trade.

With an investment of $1,000 and leverage 1:30, you can buy or sell an asset that is worth $1,000 x 30 = $30,000.

Margin is the reversed logic of the above example.

If you want to open a trade that is worth $120,000 and leverage is 1:30, your required margin (amount invested) will be $120,000 / 30 = $4,000.

Leverage and margin requirement varies between 1:2 to 1:30 depending on the asset class traded by retail clients. More information can be found here.


If you have a cash balance of $1,000 in your account and a leverage of 1:30, you can access $30 for every $1 in your available cash balance, or make trades worth up to $30,000 ($1,000 x 30 = $30,000).

Your investment


Trading volume

This means that, with a smaller deposit, you can still make the same profits (and losses) you would make trading shares or commodities. The difference is that the return on your initial investment can be much higher with leverage, compared to a traditional trading that offers no leverage. The risk is that potential losses are also increased in the same way as the potential profits.

  • Skilling offers Negative Balance Protection, ensuring that you cannot lose more than your total deposits.
You have $75 and you expect the price of gold to rise. You can either buy CFD on gold or invest the traditional way. Both examples compared in the table.

If you choose to invest in the traditional way instead, you would need the full $1,500 (no leverage) to buy and own an asset and this way only make money if the gold would increase in value.
Gold CFD trade
(with 1:20 leverage)
Traditional Investment
(no leverage)
Cash Needed $75 $1,500
Buy 1 ounce of gold at $1,500; closes at $1,550 (you made a win) You make $50, or 66.7% of cash needed You make $50, or 3.33% of cash needed
Buy 1 ounce of gold at $1,500; closes at $1,475 (you made a loss) You lose $25, or 33.3% of cash needed You lose $25, or 1.67% of cash needed

What are the costs of CFD trading?

Spread: When trading CFDs you pay the spread, which is the difference between the buy and sell price. If you enter a buy trade you use the buy price quoted and exit this trade, using the sell price, and vice versa.

  • The narrower the spread, the less the price needs to move in your favour before you start making a profit; or if the price moves against you, a loss.
  • We offer consistently competitive spreads.

Swap fees (also called the interest, rollover or overnight fees): At the end of each trading day (at 21:59 GMT), any positions open in your account may be subject to a charge called a swap fee.

  • The swap cost can be positive or negative depending on the direction of your position and the applicable interest rates. For more information regarding the swap calculation formulas please click Commissions and Swap Charges. Please note that the calculation formula may vary according to the instrument type and can be found in each section of the link above.

Note: Premium accounts have lower spreads and are charged commission instead. Learn more about the difference between account types here.

Which instruments can I trade with CFDs?

You can trade on over 800 instruments, including:

Discover CFD trading with Skilling

Open a real account and start trading in a matter of minutes, or practise your skills on a free demo account with real market conditions.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 69% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.OK