Free Brokerage on Index CFDs – How Do CFD Brokers Make Their Money?

When anyone starts trading financial products for the first time, the trading costs involved are one of the most important criteria to consider. That is what makes trading index CFDs such a great product as they are generally commission free.

So the question most people ask is how can CFD brokers allow people to trade index CFDs commission free?

The reason CFD brokers allow you to trade index CFDs commission free is the fact that they have a spread on the index that you are trading. The spread is the difference between the first buyer and the first seller.

If we were to have a look at the Aussie 200 index for example the spread may be two or three points. The first buyer might be at 4000 and the first seller at 4002. As you can see there is a two point spread and so if we traded at one dollar per point then buying at 4002 and selling at 4000 would result in a two dollar loss. That two dollar loss is in effect your brokerage.

Trading Index CFDs with a small spread is critical

So as you can see there is no commission when trading an index CFD as in this example, but you will notice that if you got in and out when the market had not moved you would suffer a $2 loss. So whilst you may consider that you are getting the product commission free you are in effect being charged a small amount of brokerage. The great thing about this product is that the spread on an index CFD is usually kept to a minimum.

Free brokerage or $100 round trip?

There is no doubt that when you first starting out an index CFD at $1 per point is a brilliant option to consider. However, you can begin to see if you traded 25 contracts at 2 point spread your effective brokerage would be $50 to buy and $50 to sell making it a $100 round-trip.

Given the recent volatility of the Australian market and worldwide markets it becomes easy to see why one dollar per point is a very viable option. Even on the Australian market, which may move 100 points a day, at $1 per point you could be making or losing $100 a day.

Beware excessive overnight financing charges

The other reason CFD brokers are able to provide an index CFD commission free is that they charge an overnight financing rate which may be as high as the RBA rate plus or minus 4%. This means if you are holding an index CFD trade for a year you would be charged 4.25% +4% which equals 8.25% per annum calculated back as a daily rate. Always keep in mind that this financing rate is charged on your total position size which means it can get quite expensive allowing the CFD broker to pocket that finance.

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