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HF Markets (Hot Forex)

HF Markets (Hot Forex) Review
Trader's rating 4
Editor's rating 4.2

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit  Minimum trade size Maximum leverage  Average Spreads 
Micro  $50 0.01 1:1000  1.2 pip on EUR/USD
Premium $500 0.01 1:400 1.2 on EUR/USD
Fixed $500 0.01 1:400 1.8 pip on EUR/USD
Zero $100  0.01 1:200  0.1 pips on EUR/USD + commission $4 per lot traded (per side)
Currenex $500 0.01 1:400 0.2 pips on EUR/USD + commission $5.00 per lot traded (per side)
VIP $20,000  0.01 1:300 0.2 pips on EUR/USD + commission $6.00 per lot traded round turn

 

In order to suit the needs of traders of all preferences and levels of experience, HotForex offers its clients a variety of account types to choose from. You may choose from fixed and floating spreads, commission-free trading (in Micro, Premium and Fixed accounts) or tighter spreads, involving commission fees. Beginners can sign up for Micro accounts with as little as $5, and micro lots are available for trade on all accounts.


Apart from the above mentioned account types, HotForex offers 2 more copy trading ones: an Auto Account, enabling traders to subscribe to free and paid Trading Signals from the MQL5 Community, (built-in to the MT4 trading terminal); and HF Social, which provides trading powered by FxStat.


What is more, swap-free (Islamic) accounts are available with minimum initial deposit $150, designated for clients who are not willing to earn interest for religious reasons.


The Company. Security of Funds

 

Company Country Regulation
HF Markets (Europe) Ltd Cyprus CySEC
HF Markets (UK) Ltd UK FCA
HF Markets SA (DIFC) Ltd UAE DFSA

 

HotForex is a retail forex broker, offering attractive conditions for trading in a wide range of instruments, including Forex, Spot Metals and CFDs on commodities, indices and popular shares such as Google, Apple and Facebook.

 

HotForex is a brand name of a group of companies, operating in different jurisdictions. The most reliable is HF Markets (Europe) Ltd., a Cypriot Investment Firm (CIF), registered in the European Union and licensed by Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC).

 

The broker also holds licenses from UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the South African regulator, as well as from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). The HF Markets group also includes operates two offshore units (HF Markets Ltd., registered in Mauritius, and HF Markets (SV) Ltd., incorporated in St. Vincent & the Grenadines). 


Cyprus is currently one of the most attractive forex broker destinations and probably the main reason for this is its well-balanced regulation. Tough regulation with high entry capital requirements and low maximum leverage has reduced competition in the United States and Japan, while light touch regulation affects credibility and safety.


CySEC applies certain rules and requirements to Cyprus Investment Firms, which are not as stringent as those in the US, for instance, however they provide a certain level of credibility. Cypriot Investment Firms must hold at least €1,000,000 in order to prove their good financial standing. Besides, they are required to keep customer funds in segregated accounts, separated from the company’s operating funds.


As a further guarantee to clients’ funds, all CySEC-regulated companies are members of the Investor Compensation Fund, which is able to pay compensation up to 20,000 EUR, If the company is in default.


Additionally, every CySEC- regulated investment company is also MiFID compliant and therefore entitled to offer cross-border services within the EU under the MiFID Passporting Regime. This also means that they have to meet all requirements for financial servoces provider set on a EU level, such as to provide negative balance protection to their clients, not to offer trading incentives which expose their clients to additional risk, and more.


Trading Conditions


Minimum Initial Deposit

In order to open an account with HotForex, traders have to invest a minimum of $5. Such minimum initial amount is comparatively low, however, many Cyprus-based brokers require even less. For instance, FXTM and XM demand just $5 from their clients as a start.


Spreads & Commissions
This broker offers both floating and fixed spreads. Fixed ones are comparatively low, amounting to 1.8 pips on EUR/USD. In comparison, Easy-forex offers fixed spreads amounting to 1.8 pips on VIP accounts only.


As regards floating spreads with HotForex, typical ones on commission-free accounts amount to 1.2 pips on EUR/USD, which is average. According to us, the conditions on the Zero account are the most attractive ones: spreads averaged 0.1 pips on EUR/USD and commission $4 per 1.00 lot traded (per side), so basically trading costs amount to around 0.9 pips, commission included. And you can open a Zero account with just $100.


For purposes of comparison, average variable spreads on Exness’ commission-free accounts amount to 0.9 pips on EUR/USD, while ECN account holders are offered average spreads of 0.4 pips on EUR/USD with $5 commission per standard lot.


Leverage
The maximum leverage with HotForex is high, reaching 1:1000. Some jurisdictions cap leverage ratios at considerably lower levels (1:50 in the USA, 1:100 in Poland).


The reason for such leverage limitations is that the higher leverage, the higher the risk of losses, which may even exceed initial investments. However, many Cyprus-based brokers offer leverage levels, similar to the ones provided by HotForex (XM – up to 1:888), or even higher – Exness offers leverage up to 1:2000. More FX brokers offering leverage equal to or exceeding 1:500 may be vewed here.


Trading Platforms


This broker supports both MetaQuotes' plaforms: the standard  MetaTrader4 (MT4) and the latest MetaTrader 5.

 

MT4 is an internationally acclaimed trading terminal, offering a full spectrum of trading tools and resources: built-in technical indicators, advanced charting package, a wide range of Expert Advisors (EAs) and extensive back-testing options for them. Traders can download ready-made or create their own EAs and let the program do all the work, no human emotions involved.


MetaTrader 4 is available to clients of HotForex as desktop, web and mobile versions. More brokers using the MT4 can be viewed here


What is more, HotForex provides MT4 MultiTerminal, which offers a practical and convenient way to manage multiple accounts simultaneously from a single interface.

 

The MT5, on the other hand, was intended as a multi-asset trading platform. In addition to forex, it facilitates trading in exchange-traded stocks. The platform is generally an enhanced version of the MT4, keeping most of the functionalities of its predecessor - the great charting, Expert Advisors, and more.


Besides, free VPS hosting is offered to both new and existing customers who deposit a minimum of $5,000 and maintain this amount for the subsequent months. VPS hosting allows the execution of orders 24 hours, 5 days a week.

 

In addition, HotForex has developed a copy trading service of its own. It is called HFCopy and enables the broker's clients to follow other traders and copy their deals.


Promotions
By the time of writing this review, HotForex runs the following promotions:


- 100% SuperCharged Bonus – applies to each deposit of $250 by FIX, Premium, Currenex and Islamic account holders up to $50,000;
- 30% Rescue Bonus - to a maximum of $7,000 which cannot be withdrawn under any circumstances;
- 100% Credit Bonus - applies on new deposits or internal transfers to trading accounts of at least $100 (available on Micro, Premium, Islamic, FIX and Currenex account types), which can be withdrawn as soon as trading volume requirements are met.
- Performance based competitions: demo contest with $3500 pool prize;
- Other ongoing promotions: HTA award and a $1000 cash prize as a showcase to the superb skills that lead to an excellent performance.


Methods of Payment


HotForex supports a wide range of payment methods: credit/debit cards (Visa, Visa Electron, MasterCard, Maestro, American Express), bank wire transfer and e-wallet payment systems Skrill, Neteller, WebMoney, TrustPay, iDeal, Sofort, Western Union, Przelewy24.


Conclusion


HotForex is a EU award-winning broker that offers wide range of trading products and account types under competitive conditions. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and drawbacks with regards to this broker:

 

Pros  Cons
Solid regulation (FCA, CySEC, DFSA)  No choice of trading platforms
Low competitive spreads  
MT4 available, HFCopy  
Attractive Bonuses & Promotions  

 

Headquarters:
HF Markets Europe Ltd

Spirou Kyprianou 50, Irida 3 Tower, 10th Floor, Larnaca 6057
 
 
Country: Cyprus
 
Regulated by: CySec
 
Promotions:
100% SuperCharged Bonus  
100% Credit Bonus
30%   Rescue Bonus  
 

Dealing:
Straight Through Processing (STP

Spread:
Variable, from 1 pip  (no commision)
Variable, from 0.02 pips  ($6 or $10 commision)

Deposit/Withdraw
Bank Wire, Credit card,  Skrill (MoneyBookers), WebMoney, Neteller, Perfect Money, CashU

Platform:
Metatrader, Currenex, Web Trader, iPhone Trader, druidTrader, PAMM, FIX/API

Extra Services:
Technical anaysis from TradingCentral.com
MYFX platform for deposits over $2000

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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