A CFD represents the price movement of an asset and the investor gets a clear picture of the value changes that happen during the duration of holding the position open.
When a trader agrees to a futures contract, they agree to buy or sell the underlying asset at a determined price and date in the future. It is a contract that will be executed in the future and the set price will stay unchanged, irrespective of the value movement of the asset. The buyer of a futures contract has to compulsorily execute the underlying asset when the contract expires. Consequently, the seller of the contract/deal has the obligation to provide the asset at the decided date.
Futures operate on prices established by the markets as they are traded on exchanges. On the other hand, CFDs work on prices established by the broker. Thus, the integrity of price is expected to be higher in the case of futures, when compared with CFDs.
Simply put, futures can be considered a less flexible and more structured alternative to CFDs.