Credit Default Swap - CDS

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DEFINITION of 'Credit Default Swap - CDS'

A swap designed to transfer the credit exposure of fixed income products between parties. A credit default swap is also referred to as a credit derivative contract, where the purchaser of the swap makes payments up until the maturity date of a contract. Payments are made to the seller of the swap. In return, the seller agrees to pay off a third party debt if this party defaults on the loan. A CDS is considered insurance against non-payment. A buyer of a CDS might be speculating on the possibility that the third party will indeed default.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Credit Default Swap - CDS'

The buyer of a credit default swap receives credit protection, whereas the seller of the swap guarantees the credit worthiness of the debt security. In doing so, the risk of default is transferred from the holder of the fixed income security to the seller of the swap. For example, the buyer of a credit default swap will be entitled to the par value of the contract by the seller of the swap, should the third party default on payments. By purchasing a swap, the buyer is transferring the risk that a debt security will default.

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