How did I first hear about IC Markets?
IC Markets are highly reputable and have been somewhat a ‘household’ name in the forex world I feel, as they are very well known to most traders because they have been operating for quite some time. I also see a lot of affiliate links posted on Forex Facebook groups, too.
What was my first impression of them as a broker?
First impressions were a combination of ‘word of mouth’ and social media. You often find a lot of IB affiliate links posted on many Facebook groups and forex forums, so I must admit I did feel a bit bombarded by the links. However, seeing as they have been in business for many years, it is understandable they would have built up their affiliate team over the years. Overall their marketing on social media for the broker does not come across as ridiculously spammy or pushy to get people to sign up; they come across as transparent with what trading conditions they offer their clients.
How easy is it to navigate the broker website?
On first look at the website, navigation is easy as they have a simple, user-friendly layout. The tabs are clearly marked out and redirect you accordingly. Although the majority of information you’d expect to see displayed is set out on the website, they also offer a ‘help centre’ which is essentially an FAQ with a search feature, which is useful too.
Do they offer a good variety of tradable assets?
IC Markets appear to be well known to have a strong variety of tradable instruments on offer; in total they proudly mention offering a total of 232 instruments to trade, on their homepage. This consists of: 60 currency pairs, 17 Indices, over 19 commodities, 120+ stocks, over 6 bonds, 4 futures, and 10 Cryptos.
How competitive are their spreads?
IC Markets are very well known to have competitive spreads, all instruments of which are displayed on their website with the ‘average’ spreads. I found this to be a good indication as to what spreads to expect and the live account reflects these well. I also like the search feature on the ‘spreads’ page for a quick link to a particular pair you’re interested in viewing. The only thing I think is a little disappointing here is that they do not display the live spreads, only the ‘average’, which means that until you actually open n account, you cannot say for sure whether these are accurate averages.
What is their commission charge?
As stated on their webpage, for the ‘True ECN’ account, the broker charges $3.50 per lot per trade to open the position and then the same to close the position, totalling to $7 per lot per trade, round turn. On the other hand, the ‘Standard’ account charges 0 trade commission, but then in turns bumps up the spreads by 1 pip above the Inter-bank rate from the liquidity provider.
What is the maximum leverage they offer?
For this I was a little unclear so I tried speaking to them on live chat but was told I would have to wait 14 minutes so I thought I would try their phone service and was answered to within 3 minutes. I was advised that the maximum leverages are as follows:
Indices: 1:200, except for ‘China A50’ which is 1:100
The maximum leverages offered are very amicable for such a regulated broker, although for me personally 1:50 on crypto trading was not particularly favourable considering I have been able to obtain better leverage elsewhere.
Do they offer a variety of accounts?
Although the website essentially seems to show 3 account types, you may actually only choose from 2: ‘True ECN’ account (cTrader/ Meta Trader) or the ‘Standard’ account (Meta Trader). Note how they highlight with a ‘popular’ banner on the highest charging on commission, to encourage you to opt for the ‘True ECN’ account, rather than the ‘Standard’. However, although this one comes with 0 charge, the spreads are all marked up by 1 pip.
I tried to gain clarity as to why the cTrader charges a lower commission but did not seem to get a fully clear answer so I can only assume it means that it costs the broker less to offer cTrader rather than MT4/5, since cTrader is still not as commonly used or as popular as MetaTrader.
What do I need to open a verified account?
I used the search feature on the ‘help centre’ (FAQ) to find the answer to this. As standard goes, you must be over the age of 18 to open a verified account; you must submit a document as proof of address such as utility bill dated within 3 months, and a document proof of ID such as a driver’s license or passport.
How long does it take to open a live account?
The timescale given to be verified and approved is 48 hours. In my case I submitted my documents for approval early one Saturday morning but had to wait until midday Tuesday as their Compliance office operate 24/5. This was irritating as I have been with some brokers who can verify and approve your account within the same hour as submitting the documents, regardless it being a weekday or not.
Are desktop/mobile/web trader versions all available?
IC Markets offer all of the above, including cTrader and MT5 which really shows their diverse vision in wanting to cater for all of their clients equally.
Do they have a minimum/maximum deposit requirement?
For both accounts offered, the minimum deposit requirement is $200. There is no maximum deposit.
Do they offer any bonus schemes?
IC Markets do not offer any deposit bonus schemes which is a positive because this puts less pressure on the client to feel they are backed into a corner and feel as though they must keep depositing, or depositing specific amounts in order to gain any benefit from the broker.
What are the deposit and withdrawal methods available?
With IC Markets you are at a luxury with the choices of deposit and withdrawal methods; you may deposit via Bank/Wire transfer, credit Card, Skrill, Webmoney and Neteller. Unfortunately, not all timescales are visible on the ‘help centre’ but it does state that methods such as Card, Neteller and Skrill are instant, One thing to note is that for a card withdrawal, should it be received before 01:00 GMT (12:00 AEST), it will then be processed on the day of receipt, whereas if it is received after this time, you will receive the fund the following business day. Overall, I find these methods available to be fairly varied, and very efficient as I did not have an instant where my deposit or withdrawal was delayed outside timescales provided. Additionally, IC Markets do not charge deposit/withdrawal fees, which is a nice added touch knowing a broker covers such fees.
What counties’ residents are restricted from trading with this broker?
As per their policy, IC Markets are not permitted to accept clients from the following countries:
Do they sell additional products/services/managed accounts?
Although IC Markets allow the use of EA’s, they do not directly sell any EAs or Signals, nor do they offer Managed Accounts. However, they have partnered with Myfxbook to offer Autotrade which allows clients to copy strategies offered by signal providers from Myfxbook. You also may use MT4 signals directly from MetaTrader4.
If assistance is required, how can you get in touch?
Client support over the phone, live chat and email are all 24/7 however if you would like a response fast, their live chat is usually unbearably busy so phoning up for me was sometimes the faster solution for me. I feel that in this day and age most people like to use live chat as a preferred method to calling up, however one downside to this broker is the fact sometimes it has taken the best part of an hour to get someone to respond to a query via live chat. Personally, I do not mind too much to call in, but it feels that on many occasions, they are understaffed on the live chat team, which is highly off-putting if my small, simple queries cannot be answered efficiently, if I need to waste time calling in and waiting on hold etc.
What is the quality of customer service?
Overall, I would rate the quality of their customer service as very good as response explanations are consistently clear and concise. An advantage to their Support team is that you can contact them 24/7 via phone, live chat or email. The only issue I encountered on multiple occasions is the frustration in efficiency of actually being able to talk to someone via the preferred method (live chat). There were times when even on live chat I had to wait over 20 mins to get hold of someone for a simple explanation that was not particularly clear on their website. Although this was frustrating, I feel that overall, they give good and detailed responses, meaning I would not repeatedly have to keep contacting them time and time again regarding the same issue, which you can encounter with some brokers.
Do they offer an IB affiliate programme?
Yes, you can become one of IC Market’s affiliates if you wish. You may earn commission of $2 per lot (round turn) on the ECN account, and 0.4 pips per lot (round turn) on the Standard account.
What is my overall opinion of IC Markets?
I would like to first emphasise my frustration at the wait time you must endure to speak with a support representative. I feel IC Markets are transparent with their offerings and how they operate, however one thing that many brokers seem to neglect as a priority, is customer service, and I feel that IC Markets, unfortunately, is one of these brokers; I consistently felt that I had to wait around on live chat for an average of half an hour, which to me is nothing but a grand waste of time when I could have signed up and been trading live with an alternative broker during that wait time alone.
Taking everything mentioned and analysed into account, I think that IC Markets is a great ECN broker overall, offering amicable trading conditions for those who really have already mastered the art of Forex Trading. I feel that the trading conditions are really set out specifically, and if used correctly, could work in your favour. For Scalp traders, I believe this broker could work well, as their Forex spreads are very tight and their leverage also very favourable, for the most part. However, while their spreads are incredibly low, their trade commissions are very high. More to the point, what I mean here is that the contract size is generally a lot lower than average, which means that the commission becomes quite expensive: 1 lot means you are only able to trade 1 contract and thus $0.1 , in order to trade a lot size that equates to $10 per pip, a client would have to trade 100 lots and incurs a commission of $300. In addition to this, the lowest lot size for most of the instruments that you can place is 0.1, which essentially means that your trades incur a lot more charges to make the same amount as you could with another broker, for example.
I would definitely not recommend this broker to novice traders as I feel you could easily be caught out here with many factors such as the trade commissions in correlation with the spreads which for most new traders, are both dismissed as afterthoughts. That being said, the minimum deposit requirement is $200 which is a subtle warning flag that unless you know what you’re doing, you could lose a fair amount of money with this broker.