Call Debit Spreads

Introduction to the Call Debit Spreads

Call Debit Spreads are a significant strategy in options trading, offering traders a way to potentially profit from moderate price increases in the underlying stock. This strategy, also known as bull call spreads, involves buying and selling call options with different strike prices but the same expiration date.

Key Takeaways

  • Call Debit Spreads involve buying and selling call options of the same expiration but different strike prices.
  • The strategy offers controlled risk and capped profit potential, making it suitable for moderately bullish market conditions.
  • Costs and margin requirements are relatively low, and the strategy is less risky compared to outright buying calls.
  • Success with Call Debit Spreads requires careful selection of strike prices, monitoring market trends, and understanding the risks involved.
  • Traders favor this strategy for its defined risk-reward balance and potential to profit from moderate stock price increases.

Call Debit Spread Profit / Loss Diagram

Let’s plot this strategy so we can visually see how the trade P/L performs (y axis), at expiration, given a particular stock price (x axis).

Call Debit Spread Diagram from IntraAlpha
Call Debit Spread Diagram

Here are the underlying contracts represented in the graph above.

Option 1 Option 2
Type Call Call
Long/Short Long Short
Strike 90 110
Premium 11 2
Quantity 1 1

Understanding Call Debit Spreads

At the core of Call Debit Spreads is the simultaneous purchase of a call option and the sale of another call option with a higher strike price. This spread results in a net debit to the trader’s account, hence the name. The strategy limits both the maximum gain and maximum loss, making it a controlled risk-reward scenario.

Long Call Debit Trades

In a long Call Debit Spread using XYZ corp as an example, suppose XYZ is trading at $100. A trader might buy a call option with a strike price of $100 and sell a call with a strike price of $110. If the premium for the purchased call is $5 and the sold call is $2, the net premium paid is $3 ($300 for one contract of 100 shares). The maximum loss is the net premium paid, while the maximum gain is the difference between strike prices minus the net premium ($1000 – $300 = $700 in this case).

Commissions and Fees with Call Debit Spreads

Trading Call Debit Spreads typically incurs lower commissions and fees compared to more complex strategies. For our XYZ corp example, if each leg of the trade costs $1 in fees, the total round trip cost would be $4. This cost is a small percentage of the trade’s total value or premium, often less than 5%.

Margin Impact of Call Debit Spreads

Using the same XYZ corp example, the margin impact is usually the net premium paid. As XYZ is trading at $100, and with a net premium of $300, this amount is reserved in the trader’s account until the position is closed or expires.

Benefits and Risks of Call Debit Spreads

This strategy limits potential losses to the net premium paid, making it less risky than buying a call option outright. However, the profit potential is also capped. The major risk is the stock price not moving as anticipated before expiration.

Proven Tips for Success with Call Debit Spreads

To succeed with Call Debit Spreads, it’s crucial to choose the right strike prices and expiration dates. Monitoring market trends and volatility can also help in making informed decisions.

Real-Life Call Debit Spread Examples

In our XYZ corp example, if the stock price rises above $110 before expiration, the maximum profit is achieved. However, if it stays below $100, the trader incurs the maximum loss (the net premium paid).

When and Why Traders Use Call Debit Spreads

Traders often use Call Debit Spreads in moderately bullish market conditions, expecting a rise in the underlying stock price. This strategy is preferred for its defined risk and potential for profit in a rising market.

How do Call Debit Spreads Work?

The mechanics involve buying a lower strike call option and selling a higher strike call option. This creates a spread with a fixed risk (the premium paid) and a fixed reward (the difference between strikes minus the premium paid).

Are Call Debit Spreads Risky?

While less risky than some other options strategies due to the capped loss potential, Call Debit Spreads still carry the risk of losing the entire premium paid if the market doesn’t move as anticipated.

Are Call Debit Spreads Bearish or Bullish?

Call Debit Spreads are considered a bullish strategy, as they profit from a rise in the underlying stock price.


Mastering Call Debit Spreads can be a valuable skill for traders looking to benefit from moderate bullish movements in the stock market. With controlled risk and defined profit potential, it’s a strategy worth considering for those looking to diversify their trading approaches. For further assistance, message us on or join our Discord for more support.

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