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Forex.com US

Forex.com US Review
Trader's rating 4.8
Editor's rating 5

 

Trading Accounts & Conditions

 

Account type Min. deposit Min. trade size Max. leverage Average Spreads
Standard $50 0.01 1:50 1.4 pips 

 

Leading US broker Forex.com offers a single account type on several trading platforms. The broker provides commission-free trading with variable spreads and the option to use micro lots.

 

In addition, Forex.com offers swap-free accounts to investors of Islamic belief, as well as free demo ones for 30 days after sign up.

 

 

Forex.com (US) Advantages

 

Regulated in the US and other countries

Forex.com belongs to the Gain Capital group. Gain Capital meets high standards of corporate governance, financial reporting and disclosure. The parent company of the major FX brand Forex.com, GAIN Capital Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:GCAP)  is a registered Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) and Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and is a member of the National Futures Association (NFA).

 

Besides, its subsidiaries are properly licensed in the countries of their operation: 

 

Company Country Regulation
GAIN Capital Group, LLC USA NFA, CFTC
Forex.com UK Limited UK FCA
GAIN Capital FOREX.com Australia Pty Limited Australia  ASIC
Forex.com Canada Limited Canada  ILLROC
GAIN Capital Group (Hong Kong) Limited  Hong Kong SFC
GAIN Capital Japan Ltd.  Japan FFAJ

 

Apart from Forex.com, Gain Capital Group is operating the brands City Index, GTX, Gain Capital, FinSpreads, and others.

 

The largest broker in the US

Not only that Forex.com is regulated in the United States, but it is actually the largest forex broker in the country. After FXCM has left the US market, Forex.com became the undeniable leading provider of financial services in the US.

 

Actually, a very few brokers have remained active on the strictly regulated US market: Oanda, Interactive Brokers, and TD Ameritrade.

 

Competitive spreads

Forex.com offers commission-free trading with variable spreads, the average ones on EUR/USD amounting to 1.4 pips, which is a rather competitive pricing. By comparison, the cost of trading at Oanda, another US broker, is exactly the same.

 

Low minimum investment required

In order to open an account with Forex.com, one has to invest just $50. Almost everyone can afford such an investment.

 

Several top-notch trading platforms available

Leading US broker Forex.com offers a single account type on several trading platforms. The broker provides commission-free trading with variable spreads and the option to use micro lots.

 

Actually, this piece of trading software is as sophisticated and customizable as the MT4. Its professional-grade trading tools include top-notch interactive charting with more than 100 predefined indicators, as well as the option to create some of your own. There are also a number of Integrated trading strategies, which are also customizable. Besides, users can code their own trading strategies (in C++), there is a back-testing excel tool available, and signals trading. Here is a snapshot of the platform:

 

Click on the image to zoom-in.

 

Some of the new functionalities of the platform after a recent update include powerful charts with integrated one-click trading, smart trade ticket with advanced risk management option, pre-defined and customizable layouts, and more. 

   

Various payment methods, fast withdrawals

Yet another thing we like about Forex.com (US) is the fact that it support several convenient payment methods, and namelY Debit Card, Wire Transfer, ACH and Checks. What is even more important from a client's point of view, withdrawals are processed pretty fast – within 48 hours.

 

Bonuses available

Last but not least, Forex.com (US) offers cash rebates for high volume traders. The latter are able to get rebates up to $10 per million traded. 

 

 

Forex.com (US) Disadvantages

 

Leverage capped to 1:50

Actually, this is not a weak side of the broker itself, but a legal requirement in the US. Brokers operating in the country are not allowed to provide leverage of more than 1:50, and Forex.com simply complies with the regulatory requirements. 

 

 

Conclusion

 

Forex.com (US) is the largest US broker and one of the few actively operating in the country. A market leader offering trading in more than 80 forex pairs and CFDs, it has serviced over 200,000 customers globally.

 

The US broker is a part of the Gain Capital group – a leading forex brokerage with global presence. All members of the Gain Capital family are duly regulated by the respective governmental agencies, including Forex.com (US). It is registered with the CFTC and a member of NFA. US regulation is one of the strictest, which is a good thing in terms of investor protection, however some of the rules imposed are considered too restrictive.

 

For example, Brokers registered with the NFA are required to maintain a net capital of at least $20 million to guarantee customers’ positions, which is the highest minimum capital requirement worldwide. Moreover, hedging is not allowed and leverage is limited to 1:50, as we already mentioned above.

 

Now, let’s sum up the strong and weak sides of Forex.com (US):

 

Pros Cons
A global leading broker Leverage capped at 1:50
Solid regulation  
Competitive spreads, commission-free  
Several trading platforms, including MT4  
Low min. deposit required  

 

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  

 

Forex
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