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Forex.com

Forex.com Review
Trader's rating 2.9
Editor's rating 4

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size  Maximum leverage* Average Spreads
Standard $50  0.01 1:200  1.8 pips 
AciveTrader/Premium  $20 000/$10 000   0.01 1:200 1.3 pips **/1.5 pips
*Leverage in the US is limited to 1:50.
** Spreads can be as low as 0.7, based on the clients’ trading
volume.

 

FOREX.COM currently offers two account types: Standard, and Active Trader.  The ActiveTrader account was launched in November, 2016 in Canada and US and soon it will also be rolled out to the rest of the markets where the broker operates. 

 

An alternative to the ActiveTrader, Premium account (currently available in UK, Australia, etc.) is available with $10 000 and offers spreads averaged 1.5 pips. It also offers 2% interest on your account balance, up to $50,000.

 

The Active Trader account is accessible only via the broker’s proprietary FOREXTrader platform and will not be offered to traders using the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) or any Managed Accounts and accounts referred by an introducing broker (IB).

 

In addition, FOREX.COM offers swap-free accounts to investors of Islamic belief.

 

Trading Conditions

 

Minimum initial deposit

In order to open an account with FOREX.COM, one has to invest just $50, which is a low minimum initial deposit. In comparison, FXCM also demands $50 from its clients as a start.

 

Spreads & Commission

One of the main advantages of major broker FOREX.COM is that it offers commission-free trading. Of course, this means that the company gets remuneration for its services by a mark-up. That is why FOREX.COM’ variable spreads are not among the tightest in the industry – average ones amount to 1.8 pips on EUR/USD pair. Nonetheless, you get access to a selection of trading platforms with fast execution (average execution speed is 0.05 seconds), and most importantly, your funds are safe.

 

In addition, ActiveTrader account holders may benefit from an average 15% reduction on our standard spreads. Spreads on this account type can be as low as 0.7 pips on EUR/USD, plus, their holders get personalized support, priority service and no account fees on the FOREXTrader Platform.

 

In comparison, FXCM offers variable spreads, averaged 1.5 pips on commission-free accounts. For further information, you may check out and compare real-time spreads of 15 leading brokers here

 

Maximum leverage

The maximum leverage levels offered by FOREX.COM is up to 1:200, which is considered average. Of course, the maximum leverage provided to US clients is 1:50.

 

If you need higher leverage ratios, many FX brokers provide such. FXCM offers leverage up to 1:400 and you may also check out a list of brokerages providing leverage up to 1:500 or higher here. You should keep in mind, however, that higher leverage involves greater risk of losses.

 

The Company. Security of funds

 

Set up in 1999, Gain Capital now has a global reach. Being one of the largest brokers in the US, it is therefore in direct competition with FXCM for the domination of the US market. It is It offers trading in currency pairs, index & commodities CFDs, precious metals, as well as exchange-traded futures and options (US clients).

 

First of all, GAIN Capital Group, LLC is a registered futures commission merchant and retail foreign exchange dealer with the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and is also a member of the National Futures Association (NFA).

 

Brokers that are registered with the NFA are obliged to comply with a stringent set of rules. 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 instance, NFA-registered brokers are required to maintain a net capital of at least $20 million to guarantee customers’ positions, which is the highest minimum capital requirement worldwide.

 

Besides, hedging is not allowed and leverage is limited to 1:50, while European brokers are free to provide leverages up to 1:1000 or even higher than that.

 

The parent company, GAIN Capital Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:GCAP), is a New Jersey-based forex and CFD broker. As a global publicly traded company, regulated in 7 jurisdictions, Gain Capital meets high standards of corporate governance, financial reporting and disclosure. Generally speaking, if you choose to invest in forex.com, you may trade without worries about your funds’ safety.

 

Company

Country

Regulation

GAIN Capital Group, LLC

US

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

 

Trading platforms

 

Forex.com offers its clients two basic trading platforms: its in-house FOREXTrader & and the popular MetaTrader 4. In addition, the brokerage also supports Tradable and its special ECN platform, GTX.

 

The fully-customizable FOREXTrader is equipped with advanced trading features, professional charting tools and integrated research and analysis. It comes in as web, PC varsions and full array of mobile apps (including iOS and Android devices). FOREXTrader PRO’s professional-grade trading tools include real-time charting, pattern recognition software by Autochartist, and custom-built automated trading software, called Strategy Center.

 

Among the FOREXTrader’s features is the Strategy Center with automated buy and sell signals, which allows traders to access 15 user customizable pre-defined trading strategies as well as build their own via the Strategy Wizard. The Strategy Center includes the ability to back test strategies against historical data and then activate them to generate buy and sell signals in real time.

 

Forex.com's inhouse FOREXTrader platform. Click to enlarge.

 

The comprehensive research and analysis includes round-the-clock updates from our expert in-house research team, real-time concise headlines from Reuters News, and professional technical analysis from industry-leading Trading Central.

 

With this platform, users are able to choose between instant and market execution (through the Execution Mode drop-down). Unfortunately, FOREXTrader does not allow hedging, as open positions are closed in compliance with the (First in First Out) FIFO accounting rule, applicable in the US.

 

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.

 

The most common forex trading platform - MetaTrader4 - is also supported by Forex.com. It offers competitive pricing on over 45 currencies, superior market execution and EA optimized environment. Furthermore, Forex.com’s MT4 is equipped with some unique trader tools & resources, such as live commentary from the company’s Global Research Team, real time technical analysis from Trading Central and actionable ideas from Autochartist. According to us, MT4, offered by forex.com has one significant disadvantage - it does Not offer a 3rd party bridge.

 

GAIN Capital’s GTX is an independent and innovative ECN designed for institutions and professional traders. It offers robust algorithmic trading capabilities that enable clients to develop and implement a wide range of trading strategies using GTX’s Java or FIX-based APIs.

 

Payment methods

 

Clients of Forex.com may use bank wire transfer, as well as debit/credit cards as payment methods.

US clients may also make deposits and withdrawals via Check and eCheck (U.S. bank accounts only), while EU clients can use Sofortbanking (online funds transfer available in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Belgium only).

 

Conclusion

 

Although its spreads are not among the tightest on the forex market, we highly recommend Forex.com, for it has earned its reputation of a reliable broker with strong regulation and transparent policy. It offers reasonable conditions for trading in forex, CFDs and stocks on a wide range of platforms. Here are, in a nutshell, the advantages and disadvantages with regards to Forex.com, the retail forex brand of Gain Capital:

 

Pros       Cons
Well-regulated & reputable broker Mediocre spreads
Commission-free trading  
Choice of trading platforms, MT4 available  
Fast execution speed  

                                                                                  

Company Name: FOREX.com

Website Address: www.forex.com

Headquarters: Bedminster One, 135 US Highway 202/206, Suite 11, Bedminster, NJ 07921.

Country: United States

Regulated by: NFA (USA), CFTC (USA), FCA (UK), FSA (Japan), ASIC (Australia), IIROC (Canada)

 

Languages: English, Chinese Traditional and Simplified, Arabic, Russian, German, and Japanese 

Phone: +1 908-731-0750

Fax: +1-908-731-0701

E-mail: [email protected]

Free Phone: Toll Free: 877-367-3946 (US & Canada)

Year of company's foundation: 1999 

Year of company's forex division foundation: 1999

Client base: Individuals (IBs, Money Managers, White Label partners, please visit www.gaincapital.com).

Services: Forex and Metals (UK and AU only). Trading 24 hours a day from Sunday 5pm ET – Friday 5:00pm ET. Commission Free trading (bid/ask spreads apply). Web-based trading platform requires no download or installation. No debit balance guarantee. Free access to charting, news and research. 24 hour customer support via phone, email and chat during trading hours. Mobile trading available. 24 Hour trading.

Languages: English, Chinese simplified and traditional, Arabic, Russian, Japanese

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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