de | cn | ru
  VS.    

Bitstamp

Bitstamp Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 3.9

Our Experience

We registered an account at Bitstamp and after confirming the ID, we decided to make a credit card deposit. What first stroke us, was the fact you can only directly buy Bitcoin via credit card, instead of simply transferring funds to your account. The purchase went fine, after dealing with an external payment services provider. We immediately sold the coins, in order to have a USD trading balance. At that point we realized the 8% fee on credit card transfers (at the time, now the fee is 5%) truly applies.

 

Later on, we traded with the platform and everything felt fine. While the speed of execution was slightly lower than the one provided by most forex trading platforms, it was still pretty decent. The order book seemed to have some trading robots, which moved the best bids/asks constantly, but this didn’t hinder trading at all.


We also made a SEPA Bank transfer to this exchange. The funds arrived less than 24 hours later and the only fees we paid were the ones charged by our local bank.

 

We ended up having some Litecoin, which we transferred to Bittrex, in order to continue our journey in the world of altcoins. Additionally, we left some Ethereum, which we sent to a newly created wallet at MyEtherWallet – a wallet, which allows users to control their private keys. All of these blockchain transactions, which are external to Bitstamp happened in minutes. We are yet to test the speed of bank transfer withdrawals, from this exchange.

 

Trading Accounts

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Fee
Standard Undisclosed N/A 0.25%*

*Fees can go lower for bigger traders

 

Bitstamp is one of the few cryptocurrency exchanges which accepts deposits directly from traditional payment methods. In essence this service can be used to obtain Bitcoin (via a bank transfer or credit card) which you are then free to send.

 

The company, security of funds

Company Country Regulation
Bitstamp Ltd. Luxembourg CSSF

 

Bitstamp Ltd. is the company behind this project. They have offices in Luxembourg, London and New York. More importantly, this is the first fully licensed cryptocurrency exchange in Europe. It is regulated by the (Luxembourg Financial Industry Supervisory Commission, known as the CSSF). As we often warn against the risks involved in dealing with unregulated or off-shore forex brokers, it is nice to see a company in the cryptoverse, which is registered with a watchdog.

 

The CSSF Licensing ensures the company periodically files reports with the appropriate agencies. Bitstamp is registered as a “Payment institution”, which implies you can be sure about the real-money transfers you send to (and receive from them). That being said we don’t know if mandatory policies on fairness of execution are in place. No matter the case, this is much more than, what most other crypto-exchanges provide in terms of regulation.

 

Bitstamp was hacked in early 2015. Afterwards the company rebuild its entire trading platform. Nowadays they claim to store 98% of their client’s cryptocurrencies on cold storage, while only 2% are directly available on the exchange. This is a major improvement in terms of security.

 

Bitstamp partnered with Swissquote, in July 2017.  The Swiss bank and broker, decided to trust this company, in order to provide Bitcoin trading to its clients. This speaks volumes in terms of Bitstamp’s credibility. At the time of writing of this review, there is no integration with the MetaTrader4 (MT4) platform. Trading is instead done on the Swissquote’s website, with limited functionality. This is bound to change in the future. 

 

The user reviews for Bitstamp are fairly mixed. There are lots of satisfied customers and people claiming dissatisfaction with the support. Similarly to Poloniex, the company may be experiencing more significant traffic than expecting, but the negative comments are not that harsh. 

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Bitstamp allows trading cryptocurrencies against the old-fashioned EUR and USD. On the other hand few coins are supported, namely Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Ripple. If you want to dive into more exotic altcoins, you can use Bitstamp as a way to convert your cash into one of these three and then transfer it to a different exchange which supports your preferred altcoin.

 

Minimum initial deposit

There is no information on the minimum deposit at Bitstamp. While this is not that unusual, when dealing with cryptocurrencies, the company does accept traditional payments. There may be a level below, which they would not accept your transfer. We are used to forex brokers disclosing their minimum entry levels beforehand, like easyMarkets, who require $100.

 

Leverage

Margin trading is not available at Bitstamp. For those of you who do not know what margin trading is – this is a mechanism by which you trade with more buying power than the money you have in your account. When it comes to froex brokers, they allow substantial leverage levels, like 1:500, meaning you can trade with positions worth 500 times more than your investment. The catch is your account serves as a guarantee, and if you start loosing, there will be a point at which your positions will be closed (this is known as receiving a margin call, followed by a margin stop-out).

 

Fees

The commissions, charged by Bitstamp go as high as 0.25% for cash to cryptocurrency trades (for the lowest volumes). As is the practice with most other exchanges, they go lower with bigger volumes. The unusual aspect of this offering is that there is no incentive for the market “makers” (people who place orders on the exchange, instead of aggressively buying from the ones which other traders have placed). Most cryptocurrency exchange provide an ever so slightly lower fee for traders who provide liquidity.

 

Comparing this to the spreads provided by forex brokers is rather hard, as we have mentioned in our general comparison of the two type of service providers. On the other hand, Bitstamp’s fees are in-line with what other cypto-exchanges are offering.

 

 

Trading platform

 

Bitstamp’s trading platform is web-based. This is the norm with most cryptocurrency exchanges, unlike the situation with forex brokers, where downloadable software (like MT4) is prevalent. At first glance Bitstamp’s trading platform looks solid. A big emphasis is placed on charting, with a nice package. It feels pretty similar to cTrader, although it lacks a lot of the functionality. Lots of technical indicators and tools are available, but most forex trading platforms still provide even more options. That being said Bitsatmp’s offer is better that what we have seen at a lot of other crupto-exchanges. Here is a preview of the charting (click to zoom-in):

 

 

The order book is located below the chart and is one of the best ones available (at such exchanges). Here is a screenshot (click to zoom-in):

 

 

It was clearly designed by someone with trading experience as the bid and ask price are next to each other, where the two tables meet (on the left). This allows for a quick and easy comparison of the market depth, although the size of the orders (outer columns) must also be taken into account.

 

Methods of payment

 

Bitstamp accepts payments via Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card and cryptocurrencies. There are some specifics regarding the bank transfers, with EU clients being more easily accepted via the SEPA System. While this system is relatively faster than traditional bank transfers, it may come at higher fees (depending on your bank). On the other hand Credit Card transfers, while instant, come with an 8% fee. That being said, virtually anybody can transfer fiat currencies to this exchange. This feature is probably their biggest advantage over others.

 

Conclusion

 

Bitstamp is the first regulated European cryptocurrency exchange. The company keeps 98% of customer’s coins on cold storage wallets, which is a pretty good security measure. Bitstamp is one of the relatively few exchanges who accept deposits by Credit Card and Bank Transfer. Three of the major coins are traded directly against EUR and USD. On the other hand the exchange offers few alternative coins. In essence this is a great gateway for those who are new to the world of cryptocurrencies. Here is a summary Bitstamp’s strong and weak sides:

 

Pros Cons
Luxembourg licensing Few altcoins available
Accepts Bank Transfers and Credit Cards Was hacked in 2015
Competitive commissions 5% fee on credit card purchases
Relatively nice trading platform  
98% of coins kept in cold storage  

 

FXCM

FXCM Review
Trader's rating 3.9
Editor's rating 4.7

Trading Accounts

 

FXCM UK

Account type Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Average Spreads  
           
Standard $300 1000 1:30 1.5 pips + commission $4 (£3 in the UK)*   
 AciveTrader  $25 000 0.01 1:30 0.4 pips + commission $1.8 – $4 (£1.8 – £3 in the UK) *  

 

*Commission is calculated per standard lot of 100 000 base units (per side).

 

 

FXCM Australia

Account type Minimum deposit Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Spreads
Standard $50 1000 1:400 1.5 pips + commission $4 (£3 in the UK)*
AciveTrader  $25 000 0.01 1:400 0.4 pips + commission $1.8 – $4 (£1.8 – £3 in the UK) **

*Commission is calculated per standard lot of 100 000 base units (per side). 

 

FXCM offers two account types: Standard and Active Trader. For those unwilling to expose themselves to the greater risk related to trading in large volumes, micro lots are available on all account types.

 

Trading Conditions

 

Minimum initial deposit

In order to open an account with FXCM Australia, one has to invest just $50, which is a low minimum initial deposit. FXCM UK requires minimum deposit of $300, in line with the industry average. 

 

Spreads & Commission

FXCM offers competitive variable spreads, averaged 1.5 pips on EURUSD on commission-free accounts.

Active Trader account holders may benefit from tighter spreads and commission discounts, provided that they satisfy certain trading volume requirements. For further information, you may check out and compare real-time spreads of 10 leading brokers here

 

Maximum leverage

 

FXCM UK offers the highest possible under ESMA regulations spread levels to all of its clients:

30:1 leverage restriction for major currency pairs

20:1 for non-major currency pairs, gold and major indices

10:1 for commodities other than gold and non-major equity indices

5:1 for individual equities and other reference values

 

The maximum leverage offered by ASIC-regulated FXCM Australia is quite higer:

400:1 leverage for Forex trading

200:1 leverage for CFD trading

 

The Company. Security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
FXCM LTD UK FCA
FXCM Australia Pty. Limited Australia ASIC
FXCM South Africa (PTY) Ltd (IB) South Africa FSCA


This broker takes regulation, financial transparency and investor protection very seriously. In order to maintain transparency of operations, the company provides regular press releases where anyone can see the broker's monthly execution data. Besides, the companies within the FXCM group are regulated by some of the most respected regulatory bodies in the world: FCA in UK and ASIC in Australia.

 

Both FCA and ASIC regulated brokers are under strict supervision and are very well controlled. To acquire a license from the UK financial watchdog, financial services providers need to maintain net tangible assests amounting to at least EUR 730 000. Australian brokers, on the other hand, must hold at  least AUD 1 000 000 to prove  their financial stability.


Besides, under the UK regulations, investors’ funds are kept in segregated bank accounts separated from the company’s operating funds and, in case of default, sums of up to GBP 50,000 are protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
 

 

Trading platforms

 

This broker offers a selection of robust trading platforms to its clients, including the most popular MetaTrader 4, its award-winning Trading Station, and NinjaTrader. In addition, Copy trading is available through the advanced web platform ZuluTrade.

 

FXCM’s In-house award-winning platform Trading Station is available as desktop, web, and mobile versions.  Apart from its sleek design and intuitive interface, Trading Station comes equipped with Marketscope – a powerful charting package. Here are some of its key features:

 

-         -  Place and manage trades from the charts;

-          - Pre-loaded Indicators: over 30 popular indicators like MA, MACD, Bollinger Bands and RSI;

-          - Custom Indicators: over 600 custom indicators available;

 

FXCM’s Trading Station. Click to enlarge.

 

As trading robots are extremely popular among forex investors, Trading Station offers automated strategies that take the human element out of trading and what is more, you don’t need to stare at the PC screen all the time. You may easily determine key areas where your trading strategies can be improved, and gain confidence in your robots prior to applying them by using the platform’s strategy optimizer conducts excessive backtesting.

 

There are also some exclusive tools with Trading Station, like the unique order type, Good Till Date, which lets you execute at specific times; and the broker’s exclusive Real Volume indicators, which opens FXCM’s trading book of traders around the world.

 

NinjaTrader is another platform supported by FXCM. It has simplified interface and offers all of the functionalities that you can make use of if you trade on Metatrader 4 or the desktop version of Trading Station, and even more. You can also benefit from fast execution, trading from charts, creating your own trading strategies, superior back-testing options, custom indicators and alerts.

 

Those traders who stick to the good old MetaTrader 4 (MT4) will not be disappointed with FXCM, as the broker fully supports this powerful multiasset software. The platform comes equipped with an outstanding charting package, numerous built-in technical indicators, Fibonacci retracements, trend lines, support and resistance levels, and so on – pretty much everything a trader needs. Those who are handy with code may create their own automated strategies (EAs) and custom indicators in the MQL programming language.

 

Payment methods

 

Clients of FXCM may make deposits and withdrawals from and to their accounts via debit/credit card, bank wire transfer, check, and ACH (Automated Clearing House).

 

Conclusion

 

One of the biggest FX brokerages worldwide, FXCM is an excellent choice: a reliable and well-regulated broker, offering excellent trading conditions on a wide range of trading platforms. Here are, in a nutshell, the advantages and disadvantages with regard to this broker:

 

 

Pros Cons
Group of companies with multiple regulations Stocks, options, and futures are not available for trade
Tight spreads   
Low initial deposit  
A selection of trading platforms offered  
Advanced copy trading options   
Price improvement (e.g. positive slippage) is available  
   

             

 

Website: www.fxcm.com 

Headquarters:

55 Water St. FL 50, New York, NY 10041

Country: United States

Regulated by:
USA: CFTC, NFA # 0308179

US: CFTC and NFA (NFA Member# 0308179) 

UK: FCA (Firm registration #217689)

Australia: ASIC (AFSL #309763)

Hong Kong: SFC (SFC CE #AIM232)

Italy: CONSOB (#76)

Germany: BaFin (#122556)

France: Registered with the ACP, as the branch of Forex Capital Markets Ltd.

Forex
de | cn | ru