What’s the difference between a credit spread and a debit spread?

Read Time:7 Minute, 0 Second

Comparison between credit spread vs. debit spread

Many spread methods may be employed when investing in options, including credit spreads and debit spreads. Both are vertical spreads, or positions, consisting of puts or calls with long and short options at various strikes. Both of them call for purchasing and selling options (with the same security) with the same expiration date and various strike prices.

These two spreads are fundamentally distinct, even if their structures may appear identical. Debit spreads entail the net payments of premiums, as opposed to credit spreads, which include the net collections of premiums.


The simultaneous purchase and sale of options on the same underlying asset are known as an options spread strategy.

A credit to the trader’s or investor’s account results from selling a high-premium option while buying a low-premium option in the same class or security.

A debit is made from the trader’s or investor’s account when they buy a high-premium option while selling a low-premium option in the same class or security.

In contrast to debit spreads, which result in a net payment of premiums, credit spreads produce a net receipt of premiums.

Credit spreads may be employed by traders in various market conditions, whereas debit spreads work better when implied volatility is minimal.

Credit Spreads

Selling or writing a high premium option while concurrently purchasing a lower premium option is known as a credit spread. When a position is opened, a premium is credited to the trader’s or investor’s account since the premium received from the writing option is more than the premium paid for the long option. The net premium is the most that traders or investors may make using a credit spread strategy. When the spreads contract, the credit spread turns a profit.

A trader may, for instance, carry out a credit spread strategy by

Writing one $30 strike-priced March call option for $3

acquiring one $40 strike-priced March call option for $1.

These two actions happen at the same time. Since the typical multiplier for an equity option is 100, the trade’s net premium came to $200. Additionally, if the technique narrows, the trader makes money.

A bearish trader anticipates a decline in stock prices. They purchase call options (long call) with a specific strike price and sell call options (short call) with the same number, class, and expiration but with a lower strike price. Contrarily, bullish traders buy call options at a given strike price and sell the same amount of call options within the same class and with the same expiration at a higher strike price. These traders do this because they believe that stock prices will climb.

But why would a trader choose such a tactic? They can reduce their risk if the market goes against them, and employing credit spreads often has smaller margin account requirements than other strategies. However, remember that the spread’s long option lowers possible gains. And because the spread necessitates two selections, commissions are frequently greater.

The difference between two prices, rates, or yields is represented as a spread. However, it frequently refers to the difference between a security bid and asks prices.

Debt Spread spreads

In a debit spread, an option with a greater premium is purchased, while at the same time, an option with a lesser premium is sold. In this scenario, the premium for the spread’s long option is higher than that for the written option. Options trading beginners frequently employ this tactic.

When a position is opened using a debit spread instead of a credit spread, a premium is debited or paid from the trader’s or investor’s account. The main purpose of debit spreads is to reduce the expenses related to holding long options holdings.

As an illustration, a trader may purchase one May put option with a $20 strike price for $5 and sell one May put option with a $10 strike price for $1. He thus made the deal for $4, or $400. His maximum loss is $400 if the trade is unsuccessful, down from $500 if he had merely purchased the put option.

Debit spreads allow traders to keep their losses to a maximum of their initial investment. Compared to other trading techniques, they also permit a higher return, particularly when the market undergoes mild price movements. However, traders should be aware that while losses are constrained, earnings are also constrained using debit spreads.

When it comes to credit and debit spreads, there is no better technique. Therefore, what works for one trader may not work for another, and vice versa.

Key variations

Here are some qualities that distinguish credit and debit spreads now that you know what they are.


Net revenues are involved in credit spreads, whereas net payments are debit spreads. When a trader writes (sells) an option with a greater premium while simultaneously purchasing an option with a lesser premium, they get a premium in their account.

Contrarily, debit spreads include purchasing options with a greater premium and selling those with a lower premium. Compared to the premium obtained for the written choice, the premium paid for the extended option is larger.

Trading Conditions

Credit spreads can be applied in a variety of trading contexts. As a result, traders can put them into action during times of high and low implied volatility. When conditions get riskier, investors should take on more holdings, and when market volatility is reduced, they should take on less.

Conversely, debit spreads are often designed for circumstances with minimal implied volatility. However, traders may employ specific cutoffs for each: a percentile of implied volatility for credit spreads above 50% and a percentile of implied volatility for debit spreads below 50%.

Other Dissimilarities

Other significant variations between credit and debit margins include:

Potential for Loss: With a credit spread, the loss potential may exceed the initial premium received, but with a debit spread, the loss potential is only as much as the net payment premium paid.

Using Margin Debit spreads does not often necessitate using margin while trading, but credit spreads must.

Time decay is advantageous for traders who use credit spreads. This is the pace at which an option’s value depreciates over time. For debit spreads, on the other hand, time is on the investor’s side.

When is a Credit Spread Better Than a Debit Spread?

Credit frequently spreads function in a variety of trade contexts. However, there is still a threshold that some traders follow when it comes to each. When the implied volatility percentile is higher than 50% and lower than 50%, traders may choose credit spreads and debit spreads, respectively.

Is Profitable Debit Spreads?

Debit spreads can be a winning strategy for traders who think stock prices will move in a specific direction. The asset must expire at or above the option’s strike price to maximize the benefit from a debit spread. Additionally, it lowers the trader’s risk exposure.

What is the Maximum Loss Percentage on a Credit Spread?

The difference between the strike prices of the options and the net receipt of premiums is the most money a trader may lose on a credit spread.

Debit spreads against credit spreads: Which is safer?

If the trader is confident that the price will move in a particular way, debit spreads might reduce risk. However, because they might restrict the possible profit, credit spreads can assist traders in managing risk. When traders are unsure about the direction the underlying asset price will go, they may be employed.

The Conclusion

Options traders that are savvy can include several tactics, such as credit and debit spread, into their trading routines. Trading using credit spreads focuses on net premium receipts (selling or writing a high-premium option while buying one with a lower premium). Debit spread users concentrate on net premium payments (buying an option with a higher premium while selling an option with a lower premium).

Similar to other options methods, these trading instruments could initially appear challenging. However, after you master the fundamentals, you might find using them simple. Simply said, it takes some practice to become proficient in their use and execution. However, if you’re just getting started, it’s always a good idea to conduct your homework and, if necessary, get guidance from an expert to reduce your losses.

0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %
Previous post The Meaning of Volatility in Markets and How It Affects Equities
Next post How To Determine Your Credit Score