Difference Between Common and Preferred Stock (With Table)

Shareholders in a corporation may own either ordinary stock or preferred stock, which together make up the company’s securities and assets. They are both components of a business’s ownership structure, as well as instruments that investors demand from a company in return for their financial contributions.

Common vs Preferred Stock

The main difference between common stock and preferred stock is that preferred stock does not give shareholders voting rights, while common stock gives voting rights. Preferred shares do not provide shareholder voting rights, while common shares do. Preferred shareholders get dividends before ordinary shareholders because they have precedence over a company’s profits, which means they receive dividends before regular shareholders.

Common stock offers investors a piece of a company’s ownership. Many businesses only issue common stock, and the common stock sells for a lot more on stock markets than preferred stock. The Common stockholders usually have the ability to vote on the board of directors and approve key business decisions such as mergers and acquisitions (although some companies have a non-voting class of common shares).

Preferred stock is more similar to a bond than an ordinary stock. Preferred stock dividends are often considerably larger than common stock dividends and are set at a particular pace, while common stock payouts may fluctuate or even be eliminated. The Preferred stock also has a fixed redemption price that a business will pay to redeem at some point in the future. This redemption value, like the maturity value of a bond, sets a limit on how much-preferred stock investors are prepared to pay.

Comparison Table Between Common and Preferred Stock

Parameters of Comparison

Common Stock

Preferred Stock

Held to Maturity Value

It varies.

It is full.

Voting Rights

Contains the right to vote. 

Does not contain rights to vote.

Call Feature

Does not contain a call feature.

It has a call feature.

Payment of dividends

Dividends aren’t set in stone or required. 

Dividends are required and are, for the most part, set. It should be paid before dividends are given to common stockholders.

Liquidation of Company

In the event of the company’s collapse, they are paid last in line. 

Given preference more than common stocks.

What is Common Stock?

The most common kind of stock is common stock, which reflects a company’s shares of ownership. When people talk about stocks, they usually refer to common stock. In fact, this is how a lot of stock is distributed. Ordinary shares are a claim on profits (dividends) and also allow you to vote. Investors usually elect board members who oversee management’s important decisions with one vote per share.

Compared with preferred shareholders, shareholders have a greater influence on business policies and management issues. Bonds and preferred stocks tend to perform worse than common stocks. It’s also the kind of stock with the best long-term growth prospects. If a company performs well, the value of its common stock may increase. Keep in mind, however, that if the company performs poorly, the stock’s value would fall as well.

When it comes to dividends, a company’s board of directors decides whether or not to pay them to ordinary shareholders. When a company fails to pay a dividend, the ordinary shareholder loses out in favor of preferred stockholders, suggesting that the latter has a greater priority.

What is Preferred Stock?

Preferred shareholders, as a result, have no voice in the company’s future when it comes to electing a board of directors or voting on corporate policies. Preferred stock, like bonds, provides investors with a guaranteed income for the rest of their life. Divide the dividend amount by the stock’s price to get the dividend yield of the preferred stock.

The par value is often used to determine whether or not a preferred stock should be issued. It’s calculated as a percentage of the current market price after it begins trading. A common stock, on the other hand, pays a fluctuating dividend that is announced by the board of directors and is never guaranteed. In fact, many companies do not pay dividends to ordinary shareholders.

The face value of preferred stocks (such as bonds) is affected by interest rates. Preferred shares depreciate as interest rates rise, and vice versa. On the other hand, the supply and demand of market participants will affect the value of the common stock.

Main Differences Between Common and Preferred Stock

  1.  The Value if Held to Maturity varies in the case of common stocks and is full in the case of preferred stocks.
  2. Common stocks contain the right to vote, whereas Preferred stocks do not contain rights to vote
  3. Common Stock has a call feature, whereas preferred stocks do not contain a call feature.
  4. Dividends aren’t set in fixed or required in the case of common stocks, whereas in preferred stocks, dividends are required and are, for the most part, set. It should be paid before dividends are given to common stockholders.
  5. In the event of the company’s collapse, common stocks are paid last in line. Preferred stocks are given preference more than common stocks.


To determine which stock to buy, you must first understand the difference between common and preferred shares. Preferred stocks are best for investors who seek a steady dividend. Because preferred shareholders get dividend payments first, they may be certain that they will be paid on a regular basis.

However, they lost the opportunity to generate unlimited profits than ordinary stocks might offer. Common stocks are a good choice if you want to earn a lot of money. It’s essential to remember that investing in common stocks has a significant level of risk since you may lose all of your money. As a result, depending on your risk tolerance, you should invest in common stocks.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0165410186900030
  2. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/pnlr161&section=49