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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. 

Kraken

Kraken Review
Trader's rating 1.4
Editor's rating 4

Account type

 

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Maker fee Taker fee
Standard Undisclosed 1:5 Max of 0.16% Max of 0.26%

 

Kraken is one of the most popular crypto currency exchanges. It is currently the world’s leader, in terms of Bitcoin to EUR trading volumes. 

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Payward, Inc, USA N/A

 

The Kraken exchange is operated by the San Francisco-based Payward Inc. The company is not under direct regulation by any agency, but this is not unusual in the crypto currency space (at least for now). 

 

The company’s overall reputation is pretty solid. It hasn’t experienced any major hacks yet. Furthermore, it was chosen as the platform, through which payments to creditors of ill-fated Mt.Gox received their claims. If you are not familiar with the case,  Mt.Gox was a huge Bitcoin exchange in Japan, which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2014, following a shady turn of events, which are another topic altogether. The company was then under special administration, which chose Kraken as a reliable partner, in order to facilitate payments to creditors.

 

Most of the coins on Kraken are kept in cold storage, with the exception of the ones currently used for trading, of course.

 

User reviews on Kraken are fairly mixed. Complaints vary from slow processing of deposits, lack of response by the customer support to stop-loss orders not triggering. While the latter is concerning the former two may be related to lack of staff, similarly to the issues which Poloniex currently has.

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

 

Kraken offers quite a few trading instruments. Although the exchange is most famous for its Bitcoin and Ethereum to cash (EUR and USD) markets, altcoins are also available. Here is a list of all the coins you can trade one way or another: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, EOS, Dash, Ripple, Monero, Iconomi, Zcash, Augur, Gnosis, Stellar Limens, Dogecoin, Melon. Kraken plans to add new coins in the future.

 

It is worth mentioning this is one of the rather few exchanges which provides trading Bitcoin against currencies like the CAD and GBP. Although majors in the forex market, these are not often provided at crypto-exchanges. That being said liquidity may be an issue.

 

Minimum initial deposit

 

No minimum deposit level is specified by Kraken. Although this is not unusual in the cryptoverese, forex brokers (some of which allow Bitcoin trading) specify this on their websites. As an example, the industry leaders at IG proudly claim they do not have a minimum deposit requirement.

 

Leverage

 

Leverage is only offered for some of the instruments at the Kraken Exchange. It varies from 1:2 to 1:5. These levels may seem low, if you are used to forex trading, where a lot of brokers offer 1:500 in leverage. That being said, even they provide lower levels for crypto currency trading. For instance, the FCA-regulated industry veterans at HYCM currently offer 1:10 for Bitcoin trading.

 

Kraken charges a fee for leveraged trading. It varies from 0.01% to 0.02%, based on the instrument and is applied every four hours. This is a hassle you will not have if you chose to trade Bitcoin with a forex broker. Do keep in mind there is a huge difference between the services provided by forex brokers and crypto-exchanges. For a full breakdown, read this article

 

Fees

 

Kraken charges different fees for market “makers” and “takers”. At the time of writing of this review, they are 0.16% for the makers and 0.26% for the takers (for the lowest volumes). 

 

For those of you who are unaware of what these terms mean, trading on an exchange is slightly different than, forex trading. If you want to buy a particular instrument, you can do this directly, by getting it from the lowest available ask price (offer). This is an “aggressive” entry, which takes away market liquidity and is connected to a bigger fee (the taker fee). On the other hand, you can place your own bid in the order book, which then has to be triggered by another trader, who would sell his asset to you. In this case, you are providing liquidity to the market and pay a lower fee (the maker fee).

 

Overall, the fees provided by Kraken are in line with offerings by other exchanges.

 

Trading platform

 

When it comes to the trading platform, Kraken provides their own solution for some of the functionality, while relying on TradingView for the charting, similarly to Bitfinex.

 

There is pretty detailed access to the short term market dynamics. The tape, includes a historical bid/ask chart, which can be useful. Here is a preview:

 

 

The depth of the market is also presented in an easy to understand manner. Here is a preview:

 

You can see the book on the right side, with a graphical depiction on the left. 

 

The charts, provided by TradigView are a good tool for technical analysts. They are available via a click of a button next to the instrument list. The chart pops-up as a small external window, which you can later move, resize and so on. You can create an entire layout (even on a separate monitor) of your PC can handle the hardware requirements of modern browsers. Here is a preview:

 

 

Kraken also offers a mobile app, which is currently only available on iOS. Hopefully an Android implementation will come soon.

 

 

Methods of payment

 

Fiat currency payments at Kraken are only done via Bank Transfer. There is a slight advantage, if you have a bank account within the European Economic Area, since the SEPA payment system is supported. Crypto currency deposits are also available, but instant real money options such as Credit Card, PayPal or Neteller are not.

 

Conclusion

 

Kraken is a US-based crypto currency exchange. That being the case, the company operates a lot with Europan customers, as it is the world’s leader in terms of Bitcoin to EUR trading volumes. Kraken is as reputable, as one can get in the cryptoverse, with no major hacks or scandals so far. The trading environment feels good, providing detailed tape-reading potential. Commissions are in-line with the current industry averages. Here are Kraken’s strong and weak sides:

 

Pros Cons
Reputable company, no hacks yet  Credit cards and Paypal not accepted
High Bitcoin to EUR liquidity  Mobile app available only for iOS
Solid charting, by TradingView  Recent negative user reviews
Commissions in line with the industry  
Bank Transfers available  

 

Forex
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