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HighLow

HighLow Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 4.6

 

Basic Information

 

Min.deposit

Min./Max. bet size

Payout %

Promotion

Trading platform

$50

$10/ $2,000 

Up to 88%*

up to $50 cashback

In-house web-based

 

*Up to 100%, spread included

 

HighLow is an ASIC-regulated binary options broker, that offers industry leading payouts on its unique trading platform. Unlike most binary options brokers, it offers a single trading account type.

 

In terms of assets, however, the broker’s portfolio appears rather limited. It includes less than 20 currency pairs, less than 10 indices CFDs and gold.

 

The Company. Security of Funds

 

Company

Country

Regulation

Highlow Markets Pty. Ltd.

Australia

ASIC

 

HighLow is a brand name Highlow Markets Pty. Ltd., a firm regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

 

ASIC requires licensed companies to meet certain requirements and to comply with various rules. Australian forex brokers must hold at least $ 1 million in order to operate legitimately, to keep  clients’ money segregated trust accounts and to report transactions regularly.

 

Unlike other European brokers, however, Australian ones are not covered by any compensation scheme.

 

Trading Conditions

 

Trading Options: High/Low, High/Low Spread, Turbo, Turbo Spread

Assets:  Currencies, Indices and Commodities

Expiry Times: High/Low, High/Low Spread – from 15 min to 1 day 3

Turbo, Turbo Spread - from 30 seconds to 5 minutes

 

As you can see, popular trading options such as long-term binary options, One Touch, Ladder and Pairs are not available with HighLow. Also, there is no option to follow other traders, such as SpotFollow or iFollow.

 

On the other hand, this broker offers an unusual type of options that show a bid/ask spread, the standard method of price making in the forex markets. These are Turbo Spread and High/Low Spread options.

 

Minimum Initial Deposit

The minimum initial deposit for clients of HighLow is $50, which is a low initial amount. Many binary options brokers require $100 - $200 from traders as a start, and they are not even regulated.

 

Min. bet size

The minimum bet size with this broker is $10, which is average. By comparison, with mobile-only binary options broker NenX one can place a trade with just €1. A bet size as low as this allows lower-risk trades.

 

Payout amount

HighLow's payouts are expresses in their platform as decimal odds. In fact, this broker offers rather high payouts, those for Turbo Spread and High/Low Spreadwhich actually being among the highest in the industry, reaching 100%.  However, with those instruments traders have also pay a spread, as their name suggests.  This is how the broker gets paid for its services and is able to offer 100% returns.

 

On the other hand, the payout amount for HighLow’s non-Spread instruments is 88%, which is also attractive.

 

Trading Platform

 

HighLow uses its in-house web-based platform, which is also available as mobile applications for iPhone/iPad and Android devices. It is quite unique and easy to use at the same time.

 

 

Once an asset is selected, the chart below will update, showing current price levels, trader sentiment, payout and the expiry. The platform’s charts, however, are basic, lacking advanced technical analysis features.

 

Besides, the platform provides a sentiment indicator, Trader’s Choice, that allows users to monitor current trading trends in real time.

 

Promotions

HighLow currently offers up to $50 cashback on initial trades for new clients.  

 

Methods of Payment

 

There are several payment methods available to HighLow’ clients: Credit cards (Visa), bank wire and e-payment service Neteller. Other region-based methods are also available.

 

There is a $20 fee for international transfers to overseas bank accounts.  

 

Conclusion

 

HighLow is an ASIC-regulated binary options broker whose offerings are pretty unique in terms of instruments and platform. It offers 100% payouts but these instruments also include a spread. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and drawbacks in relation to this broker:

 

Pros Cons
ASIC-regulated No long-term options, OneTouch, Ladder
Attractively high payout amounts Rather limited asset offering
Unique and easy to use trading platform  

 

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  

 

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