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IC Markets

IC Markets Review
Trader's rating 4
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading Accounts

 

Account type/Platform Minimum deposit Minimum trade size Maximum leverage  Typical Spread Swap-free
(MT4) Standard  $200 0.01  1:500 1.1 pips on EUR/USD Yes
(MT4) True ECN $200 0.01  1:500 0.1 pips on EUR/USD + $3.5 per standard lot per side Yes
cTrader ECN $1000 0.01  1:500 0.1 pips on EUR/USD + commission of $3.00 per standard lot per side No

 

IC Markets offers its clients a choice of three live account types, available on two different platforms. The Standard account is a commission-free one, and True ECN one provides tighter spreads, but a commission of $7 round turn applies.


Micro lots are available for trade on all account types and, of course, the broker provides free Demo accounts, which are always appreciated by inexperienced traders.


What is more, IC Markets provides swap-free service to investors of Islamic belief, who are able to open Sharia-compliant accounts.


The Company. Security of Funds


Incorporated in Sydney, Australia in 2007, IC MARKETS is a NDD broker providing trading in more than 80 instruments, including a number of currency pairs, various CFDs on indices, commodities and futures, as well as precious metals. It also offers trading in some of the most popular cryptocurrencies - Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, Dash and Bitcoin Cash.


The company behind the IC MARKETS brand is International Capital Markets Pty Ltd., which holds an Australian Financial Services License and is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).


ASIC requires licensed companies to comply with various rules and to meet certain requirements. Clients’ money is to be kept in segregated trust accounts, separated from the companies’ operating funds. As for the minimum capital requirement, forex brokers must hold at least $ 1 million in order to prove their good financial standing and to operate legitimately.


Despite the regulation and the requirements set to Australian brokers, one should be aware of the risks of trading on margin. Returns and gains are not guaranteed. ASIC, the Australian Government nor any other person guarantees any funds in your account.


We would also like to point out that unlike many EU-based brokers, Australian ones are not covered by any compensation scheme. 

 

In 2008, IC Markets got a license from the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (‘CySEC’) and can now offer its services thoroughout the European Union and the EEA.


Trading Conditions


Minimum Initial Deposit
Traders are required to deposit $200 in order to open an account with IC Markets, which is an average initial amount. In comparison, Plus500 requires $100 and XM (holding, among others, also an ASIC license) demands just $5 from its clients as a start.


Average Spreads & Commissions

IC Markets offers variable spreads, the typical ones on its commission-free account amounting to 1.1, which is average. Spreads on the ECN accounts, on the other hand, are as low as 0.1 pips on EUR/USD on average, involving a commission of $6/$7 per standard lot round turn on the cTrader and MT4 respectively. So, trading costs of such account holders amount to just 07 – 0.8 pips, commission included, which is really attractive, especially considering that one can open such ECN MT4 account for just 200 bucks.


In comparison, XM also offers variable spreads starting from 0.0 pips on EUR/USD and applies commission of $5 on its Zero account, while spreads on its commission-free accounts start from 1.0 pips.


For further information, you may look up real-time spreads of 15 leading brokers here.


Maximum Leverage

Clients of IC Markets use leverage ratios up to 1:500 and such maximum leverage rate is considered high. Some jurisdictions cap leverage to significantly lower levels (i.e. 1:25 in Japan), because higher leverage involves higher risk of losses in excess of initial investments.


Most brokers usually offer leverage of up to 1:200 or 1:400, for instance global broker FXCM, also holding an ASIC license, provides leverage up to 1:400, and Plus500 – up to 1:200. Nevertheless, many brokers provide leverage ratios equal to or exceeding 1:500.


Trading Platforms


While most brokers provide just the MT4 and/or their in-house platform, IC Markets offers its customers a choice of three popular platforms: MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5) and cTrader. 


MT4 is the most widely used forex platform, available to the broker’s clients as Mac, iPhone/iPad and Android versions, as well as a Web Trader version. MT4 provides all the tools and resources a trader needs: a number of technical indicators, advanced charting package, wide range of Expert Advisers (EAs) and extensive back-testing environment. EAs are especially popular among experienced users, as they allow full automatization of trades, so traders may sit back, while the software does all the work.


If you are running EAs, it is vital that your platform is connected to our servers 24 hours a day. The best solution in this case is VPS and IC Markets has partnered with Commercial Network Services, NYCServers and BeeksFX VPS, to provide a customized low latency solution for their clients. The VPS seamlessly connects traders to the Equinix NY4 grid using cutting edge technology and providing excellent execution.


What is more, this broker provides Multi Account Manager MAM/PAMM options on MT4.

 

IC markets launched the MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platform in May, 2017. The MT5 sees a growing level of use recently, as MetaQuotes company tries to strengthen its presence on the market and ouphase its still more popular predecessor, the MT4.

 

In addition, IC Markets offers access to cTrader platform, which is custom-made for use in ECN environment. The IC Markets cTrader suite includes a PC, web and mobile versions, as well as automated trading software cAlgo.

Traders who are fond of automated trading are offered three more options with this broker: ZuluTrade, Myfxbook’s AutoTrade and Signal Trader's unique mirroring technology.


Institutional and high-volume traders (with minimum volume of $500 million per month) are also offered FIX API option to access market leading liquidity at affordable prices. The FIX Inside API can integrate the proprietary electronic and algorithmic client server, browser based, and mobile trading systems.


Methods of Payment


IC MARKETS offers its clients a variety of deposit/withdrawal methods: via credit/debit card, bank wire, BPAY, Neteller, Skrill, Webmoney, China UnionPay, FasaPay, PayPal and Qiwi.


What is more, this broker offers 10 flexible funding options in 10 different base currencies: AUD, USD, SGD, CHF, GBP, CAD, HKD, JPY, EUR, and NZD.


Conclusion


IC MARKETS is a reliable NDD Australian broker, offering competitive conditions for trading in a wide range of products on two platforms. To sum things up, here are the advantages and drawbacks with regards to IC MARKETS:

 

Pros  Cons
Low ECN spreads  No bonuses & rebates
Wide range of trading platforms & auto trading solutions  
ASIC-regulated   
High leverage levels available  

 

Country: Australia

Regulation: ASIC Australian Financial Services Licence Number 335692. 

Coinbase

Coinbase Review
Trader's rating 2.8
Editor's rating 4.1

Our Experience

 

When testing the direct purchasing service, provided by Coinbase, we were relatively satisfied. After entering our debit card details it was saved as a payment method. We must notе that our card was 3D-secured, which appears to be a mandatory condition. Having your card stored in the website, as opposed to having to enter the details a second time (which is the case with some websites, dealing with external payment providers) is a huge benefit.

 

Here is a preview of the order screen:

The commission charged was slightly lower than the maximum of 4%, and we had full price transparency. When compared to the 8%, charged by Bitstamp (for direct card purchases), this is obviously preferable. The rate at which we bought Bitcoin was around €14 off the current market price, at GDAX. This is quite reasonable considering the fact we are talking about a volatile asset, trading around  €6,500 at the time of purchase. We tried comparing it with the rate provided by other exchanges, but the price differences (especially since we are talking about EUR trading) were much wider.

 

Trading Accounts

 

 

Account type Initial weekly limit Leverage Fees
Standard €325 None Up to 4%

 

Coinbase is one of the leading US companies in the world of crypto currencies. It operates two separate brands. One of them is Coinbase, a more retail consumer oriented platform for buying Bitcoin with fiat currencies, much like Bitstamp. On the other hand, GDAX (Global Digital Asset Exchange) is a more advanced crypto currency trading platform. This review will be focused on Coinbase.

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Coinbase USA NY BitLicense

 

Coinbase operates out of the US, with many subsidiaries around the world. It was the third company to be awarded the New York BitLicense. The story behind this license is quite controversial. In short, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) wanted to make the Big Apple a “Bitcoin trading hub”, much how it is one of the major centers of traditional finance. The idea, dating from 2015 wasn’t met with much enthusiasm by the leading companies, as many of them preferred to avoid application. Among the dozen who did, Coinbase obtained the license in January of 2017. The entire process is apparently so time (and effort) consuming, a lot of other major players opted out of it, which makes the license borderline useless. 

 

When it comes to crypto exchanges, hacking is an important topic. That being said there haven’t been any major hacks at Coinbase, although numerous individual cases have been reported. Some involve the hackers going past the two-factor authentication barrier, which one would believe to be very secure.

 

As we mentioned above, Coinbase is the retail-oriented brand of the company. As such it accepts fiat currencies and allows an instant purchase of several coins (more on the list, later). The vast majority of user complaints against Coinbase involve the size of the commission fees which the company charges. They vary by region and payment method, but go as high as 4%.

 

In 2018, Coinbase acquired an e-money license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which allows it to provide payment services in the UK and issue e-money. Abiding by the FCA requirements, Coinbase will be keeping clients in segregated funds and will observe operational standards on par with the other regulated financial institutions.

 

Additionally, Coinbase is backed by a lot of investors, including major players in “traditional finance”. This is another factor which fans of the decentralized aspect of crypto currencies do not enjoy. 

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Only a few coins are available at Coinbase, but they are the majors – Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Don’t forget this is an entry-level service, which is aimed at people who are not that familiar with the world of crypto currencies. If you would like to buy less known coins (or altcoins), you could do that at another exchange, after transferring your newly acquired BTC/ETH/LTC there.

 

Weekly Limits

After verifying your e-mail, telephone, ID and credit card, at Coinbase, you can beginning purchasing coins. Our initial limit was €325 per week (via Credit Card). This may vary for you, based on your location (US clients will surely get a USD level). This level can be increased after you reach the maximum and some time has passed. This is done as a security measure and one should not feel frustrated about it.

 

Leverage

Coinbase does not offer margin trading. This is the more accepted practice, when dealing with crypto currencies. The forex brokers who offer Bitcoin trading, on the other hand mostly provide CFDs on it and margin trading is allowed. For a full comparison of trading crypto currencies on an exchange and with a forex broker read this post

 

Fees

The commission structure at Coinbase is one of its criticisms. If you decide to deposit via Credit Card, for instance, you can buy your chosen coin directly. While this may appear to be convenient, it comes at a price – for most countries the commission fee on such a purchase can go as high as 4%. 

 

Alternatively, you can fund your account with fiat currencies, which you can then use to trade. In that case the fees are set at 1.5%, which is pretty high. However if trading is what you are looking for, the company’s other brand – GDAX (as well as many others) are alternatives.

 


Trading platform

 

Coinbase does not provide a platform, as much as it offers an interface similar to an online banking application. Here is an overview (click to zoom-in):

 

 

There is a basic chart in the top section, allowing you to switch between the three supported instruments and multiple timeframes. On the bottom you have a column with all of your wallets with the company as well as a transaction history column. Overall, it doesn’t get any simpler than this. That being the case, we must reiterate, this is only the “real-money payments” brand of the company, while a more dedicated platform is also available at GDAX.

 

Methods of payment

 

When it comes to the methods of payment available at Coinbase, they include Bank Transfer, Credit/Debit Card and PayPal (only for US clients). While we discussed the transaction fees above, it’s worth pointing out that no additional fees are charged for crypto currency transfers to other exchanges or wallets.

 

Conclusion

 

Coinbase is one of the major players in the crypto currency space. The company is focused on allowing people who are not familiar with Bitcoin and allows them an easy way of acquiring crypto currencies. While there isn’t any trading platform to speak of, the company has another brand (GDAX) which provides exactly that. We feel it would be much better for Coinbase to honestly state their trading fees are higher, but you can use your account at their other platform, in a big banner upon account cration. Here are Coinbase’s pros and cons: 

 

Pros

Cons

New York BitLicense Few altcoins available
No major hacks yet High trading fees
Accepts Bank Transfers and Credit Cards  
Easy to use interface  
Ability to transfer crpyto to wallet  

 

Forex
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