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OANDA

OANDA Review
Trader's rating 2.9
Editor's rating 3.8

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit Minimum trade size Maximum leverage Avg.Spread 
Standard $ $1 - 1:50  1.4 pips on EUR/USD, variable

 

There is only one standard type of trading account at OANDA. On the one hand, this limits clients’ choice; on the other, it means that all account holders are treated equally.


To make things even better, this broker doesn’t require any minimum deposit, nor minimum trade size. However, you need to have at least $1 in your account balance in order to initiate a trade.


The Company


OANDA is one of the pioneer online forex brokers. Established back in 1996, It is now a large group with offices in Toronto, San Francisco, New York, London, Singapore, Tokyo, and Sydney. ALL group companies are duly regulated by the relevant authorities in the US, Singapore, Canada, the UK, Japan and Australia.


OANDA offers Internet-based forex trading and currency information services to both retail and institutional customers. The broker is a market maker, having one of the largest currency databases in the world. Its product portfolio includes forex, index, commodity & bond CFDs, as well as precious metals.


Security of Funds


OANDA Corporation is a registered Futures Commission Merchant and Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and is a member of the National Futures Association.


Brokers that are registered with the NFA are obliged to comply with an extensive set of rules. Unfortunately, these rules are often limiting from traders' point of view, but there is no way around them. For instance, 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.


Besides, NFA-registered brokers are required to maintain a net capital of at least $20 million to guarantee customers’ positions, which makes them super safe to invest with. Similar minimum capital requirements apply in most jurisdictions, for instance UK-based brokers are obliged to hold at least 730 000 EUR in order to prove their financial stability, and Australian ones must possess a minimum of $ 1 million in order to operate legitimately.


All OANDA Subsidiaries, including OANDA Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. (Singapore), OANDA (Canada) Corporation ULC (Canada), OANDA Europe Limited (UK), OANDA Japan Inc. (Japan) and OANDA Australia Pty Ltd. (Australia) are duly licensed and regulated by the respective bodies.


Trading Conditions


Minimum Initial Deposit

OANDA has no minimum deposit requirements for opening an account. This makes it attractive for risk averse or inexperienced traders who are not willing to invest a large amount of money.


Most brokers require a certain minimum initial deposit in order to cover the costs related to opening a new account. For instance, Forex.com demands $250 from its clients to start with, and FXCM - $50.


Average spreads & Commissions
This broker offers variable spreads, the average ones on EUR/USD amounting to 1.4 pips, which is on the upper end of average. Clients, however, take advantage of commission-free trading, as OANDA doesn’t charge any commission for their trading services, nor any account maintenance fees. Instead, the broker gets its remuneration through the spread.


In comparison, FOREX.com, also a global FSA-regulated broker and market maker, offers average spread of 1.8 pips on EUR/USD and also charges no commission fees. You may look up real-time spread of 15 leading brokers here.


Maximum Leverage
OANDA offers a maximum leverage level of 1:50 on FX products, which is quite low, however, the broker has no choice, since US regulator has set a limitation on leverage ratios. CFTC limits leverage available to retail forex traders in the United States to 1:50 on major currency pairs and 20:1 for all others.


If you need higher leverage, you can pick a broker, who offers leverage ratios of 1:500 and exceeding 1:500 from this list. We advise traders to exercise caution when using higher leverage levels, for such rates may not only multiply their earnings on a small deposit, but also lead to heavy losses in excess of the initial investments made.


Trading Platforms


Oanda provides its clients with a choice of threetrading platforms: its custom-made fxTrade, Protrader Multi-Connect (PTMC) and the popular MetaTrader 4.


fxTrade comes in desktop, web and mobile versions. It has a simple, yet effective interface, and what is more important – superb execution speed. According to OANDA`s website, this platform executes 98% of trades within 0.057 seconds or less, which is super-fast.


Furthermore, fxTrade is equipped with intuitive and powerful charting features, multiple sub-accounts to test different trading strategies and financial news and market analysis from leading news providers.


We presume that fxTrade is aimed mostly at new traders, since it has all the usual functionalities, but more advanced features are missing.

 

Oanda`s proprietary  fxTrade. Click to enlarge.

 

Oanda recently added to its platforrms line up Protrader, developed by PFSOFT. Protrader offers everything regular forex trading platforms do: Advanced charts and technical analysis, indicators, various order types, customization options, and auto trading options. In fact, Protrader has created AlgoStudio - a professional algorithmic strategy development tool. It enables users to test different types of data aggregation: time, ticks, range, Renko, LineBreak, etc.

 

In addition, Oanda offers the powerful MetaTrader 4, which is highly regarded by the online trading community mostly because it allows users to fully automate their trades. By choosing from a wide range of Expert Advisors (EAs), traders may sit back, while the program does all the work. What is more, it offers a number of technical indicators, extensive back-testing environment and advanced charting package. Here is a list of more forex brokers offering MT4 platform.


In addition, fxTrade bridges directly to MetaTrader 4 using custom-built technology, which we find useful.


Methods of Payment


OANDA offers its clients various methods to deposit/withdraw funds to and from their accounts. They vary, depending on the OANDA division of registration, but the main payment modes are debit/credit card, bank wire, checks, PayPal and UnionPay.


Conclusion


OANDA is a leading global forex broker, offering online trading in a wide range of currency pairs, CFDs and precious metals under attractive conditions. To sum up the above, here are the advantages and disadvantages of this broker:

 

Pros  Cons
Variety of platforms offered  Market maker
Mt4 available Low maximum leverage
No initial deposit required  
No minimum trade size  
No commission and account maintenance fees  
Well-regulated  

 

Find Better Broker 

Headquarters:140 Broadway, 46th Floor, New York, NY 10005 

Country: United States

Regulated by: CFTC, NFA , MAS, FSA, IIROC, DFSA

Branches:
OANDA UK 
OANDA Japan 
OANDA Asia Pacific
OANDA Middle East 

GDAX

GDAX Review
Trader's rating 1
Editor's rating 4

Trading Accounts

 

Account type Minimum deposit Leverage Maker Fee Taker Fee
Standard Undisclosed 1:3 0% Up to 0.25%

 

GDAX, which stands for Global Digital Asset Exchange, is a company owned by Coinbase. While some of you may know Coinbase for the ability to purchase Bitcoin directly by Credit Card, GDAX is the other part of the company – the exchange aimed at traders. Trading fees at GDAX are much lower and margin trading is available.

 

The company, security of funds

 

Company Country Regulation
Coinbase USA NY BitLicense

 

As mentioned above GDAX is actually a part of San Francisco – based Coinbase. The company holds the New York BitLicnese, which is by its nature an interesting piece of legislation. The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) attempted to make the city a major Bitcoin trading center, the same way it hosts the world’s largest stock exchange. One may argue the idea backfired, as a lot of the key players backed-out of the 2015 proposal. This is due to the burdensome and slow regulatory procedure. As of the summer of 2017 only three companies have received the license and Coinbase is one of them.

 

When it comes to hacking, a major attack has not struck GDAX or Coinbase. That being the case, there was a “flash crash” in Ethereum prices, which raises suspicion. The coin was trading at around $317, when it suddenly spiked to an alleged value of 10 cents and quickly retraced. The company proceeded to halt trading and later claimed this was merely a “fat finger” - single large trader accidentally placed a market sell order, which triggered a chain of stop-loss orders to be executed. Here is а live video, shot by a trader, who has connected a MetaTrader4 platform to his GDAX account (the interesting thing happens around 2:50):

 

 

The public’s concerns, of course, come from the fact GDAX offers margin trading. The company could have manipulated the price, in order to wipe-out traders who were long. All of this is purely speculation.

 

 

Other than this case, the user reviews for GDAX generally match the ones for Coinbase. One of the major concerns of the fans of decentralization in the cryptoverse, is the fact a lot of the investors behind the project are well-established in the traditional financial sector.

 

Trading conditions

 

Trading instruments (cryptocurrencies)

Only three crypto currencies are available at GDAX, namelyBitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Trading is done against USD and EUR, with BTC/GBP also being available, alongside the crypto-crosses ETH/BTC and LTC/BTC.

 

Minimum initial deposit

There is no information on the minimum initial deposit at GDAX, which is not that unusual in the crypto currency sphere. On the other hand, most forex brokers have such a level and disclose it on their websites. For instance the FCA-regulated industry pioneers at IG (who also offer some coins as CFDs) proudly announce they do not have a minimum – you can open an account for as low as you want.

 

Leverage

Margin trading is available on GDAX, with a maximum leverage ratio of 1:3. While this may sound like nothing in comparison to the 1:500, which a lot of forex brokers offer, keep in mind such high levels only apply for fiat currencies, which rarely have price movements bigger than 1-2% per day. 

 

When it comes to crypto, the aforementioned broker IG offers 1:13 in leverage (a 7.5% margin requirement). For a full comparison between crypto-exchanges and forex brokers, who offer Bitcoin trading, read this article.

 

Fees

The costs of trading at GDAX are a lot lower than the ones available at Coinbase. When trading on the exchange, market “makers” (the people who place passive orders and wait for other traders to trigger them) do not pay a fee. Market “takers” (i.e. the “aggressive” traders who directly buy/sell with a market order) pay fees starting from 0.25% and going down for the bigger traders. Both of these levels (especially the free of charge passive trading) are very competitive.

 

Trading platform

 

The platform provided by GDAX, which is web-based, is a lot better than the one offered at Coinbase. That being said, we find the charting lacking when compared to the charts provided by TradigView (which other exchanges have integrated, as well as MetaTrader4, of course. Only a couple of predetermined moving averages are available, in terms of technical indicators. Here is a preview (click to zoom-in):

 

 

The order book is located at the left and the more bizarre design decision to place the “ask” column on top of the “bids” is made. While this may seem strange to experienced traders it does provide a nice graphical representation for beginners. The tape is located to the left, with the middle ground being taken by the chart (which is nothing special) and the open positions tab. 

 

Methods of payment

 

While Coinbase is obviously the main source of clients (and funds) for GDAX, money can also be sent directly to the exchange. This is a massive convenience tool, as accounts can be funded, without the need of paying the hefty Coinbase fees. That being said, Credit/Debit Card deposits can only be made via Coinbase, while GDAX accepts Bank transfers.

 

Conclusion

 

GDAX is a part of Coinbase and more specifically the part of the company, which is targeting more active traders. The fee structure is very competitive, especially with the free market “maker” trades. The selection of trading assets is not great, but the trading platform feels relatively nice (although charting is nothing special). Here is a summary of GDAX: 

 

Pros Cons
New York BitLicense Few altcoins available
Competitive trading fees Suspicion regarding the ETH spike
No major hacks yet  
Accepts Bank Transfers  
Relatively nice trading platform  

 

Forex
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