How did I first hear about Pepperstone?
I saw a number of advertisements for this broker on related websites as well as some IB affiliate links scattered about on a handful of social media avenues, so thought I’d take a look.
What was my first impression of them as a broker?
I checked some social media sites and saw a mixture of good and bad feedback from current as well as ex clients, although on the whole, the positive comments seemed to outweigh the negative comments. I noticed how people seemed to recommend them based upon their regulation status as a no.1 reason to go with them, but for me that is not a deal sealer in itself, so I really wanted to delve deeper into what they could offer me.
How easy is it to navigate the broker website?
Although the website seemed incredibly outdated, I would say it is as easy as it gets when it comes to navigating your way around. Clearly marked labels helped me locate answers and resources such as the FAQ page efficiently.
Do they offer a good variety of tradable assets?
On the advertisements and promotional comments on social media I did notice they had over 70+ tradable instruments; Pepperstone offer their clients 70 share CFDs, 62 Forex, 5 cryptos, 15 Indices, 3 energies and 7 metals. I feel this is a strong variety that could benefit all traders alike.
Do they offer different Account types and what are the benefits?
You have 4 accounts to choose from: ‘Standard’, ‘Razor’, ‘Swap Free’ and ‘Active Traders’. The Standard account is a good all-rounder with MT4 platform provided, overall decent spreads as low as 1.0 pips, negative balance protection and does not charge trade commissions. The Swap Free account is essentially the standard account with its conditions, but minus swap fees, so this would be suitable if you were looking for an Islamic account. If you opt for the Standard/Swap Free, you will be free from paying trade commission charges but these two have a 1 pip mark up on spreads, whilst the Razor account offers raw spreads from 0.0 pips, yet charges a $3.50 commission (per $100,000 traded) to open and an additional $3.50 to close the trade, so in total, $7 round turn. The Active Trader accounts is for higher volume traders, whereby you can earn cash rebates and save on trade commissions. With this last account you also would be provided with an account manager who would offer you premium, dedicated support.
What is their commission charge?
The Standard and Swap Free accounts do not charge trade commission but the Razor account charges $7 round turn on trade commissions ($3.50 per side per 100k traded). Furthermore, I do want to highlight the Swap Free account as it seems the most attractive potentially if you are wanting a straightforward and decent account, however, the fact you are not paying swap fees does not make you charge free. In turn, you are subject to paying ‘admin’ fees instead, which if worked out, would be approximately equal to the cost of paying trade commission charges. I found the $50 to keep FX and precious metal trades open to be extortionately priced at $50 per 10 days of trades being opened. This means that you are paying $5 per day, so the $50 is charged on your account collectively at the end of every 10 days. I had this clarified by a live chat agent also. Side note, live chat seem to be rather abrupt and abrasive when it comes to picking out information that is not entirely clear on the website, and do not even have the courtesy to ask if I needed further assistance after asking just one question, instead, they simply close the chat without warning, meaning I had to keep reopening a new chat to get clarification on what I set out to get answers on.
How competitive are their spreads?
You can access the minimum and average spreads which are available on the website for all instruments. I would rather have been able to see the live spreads as the average spreads to me do not always reflect entirely accurately on the spreads you are provided with on the live account. Whilst the spreads across the board are amicable, one must consider the trade commissions being rather high in comparison, so bear that in mind when choosing the correct account type for you, because essentially you are going to be choosing to pay the broker either way- via trade commissions or within the spread. What I am saying here is that you are either choosing an account with 0 commissions but spreads marked up by 1 pip, or, low spreads but also paying trade commissions of $7 round turn. The important thing to note here is that 1 pip is more than the value of $7, so whichever account you choose, you will not be making full benefit of the most ‘’attractive’’ elements that are sold to you.
What is the maximum leverage they offer?
For some odd reason, I could not find this information freely available in detail on the website so I enquired via live chat and learn that it would depend on whether the client resides inside or outside of Europe. I was advised that the maximum leverage across all accounts is as follows, should you be a resident in Europe:
1:30 for major currency pairs
1:20 for non-major currency pairs, gold and major indices
1:10 for commodities other than gold and non-major equity indices;
1:5 for individual equities
1:2 for cryptos
For residents outside of Europe you may have a leverage of up to 1:500 on Forex, and for stock Indices it is 1:100/1:200 depending on the individual stock, and cryptos are 1:5.
The maximum leverage can be quite difficult to maximise profits on winning trades if they are relatively small trades, therefore there is an underlying encouragement to deposit larger sums of money in order to be able to maximise those profits.
What do I need to open a verified account and how long does it take?
You would need to submit 1 primary photographic ID such as a passport or driver’s license, and then you must submit a secondary ID in the form of a utility bill or bank statement (dated within the past 6 months)
How long does it take to open a live account?
It takes up to 1 business day to have your documents approved and verified, which means you must ensure you do this between Monday-Friday as their compliance department do not operate over the weekend.
Are desktop/mobile/web trader versions all available?
Yes, Pepperstone have been very innovative when it comes to the platforms they offer; as their client you would be able to choose from MT4, MT5, WebTrader, cTrader, cTrader WebTrader, cTrader cAlgo, cTrader Mobile and iPhone/android mobile version is also compatible.
Do they have a minimum/maximum deposit requirement?
Yes, the minimum deposit requirement is $200 (or equivalent), but after the initial deposit, there is no minim requirement. This $200 initial deposit requirement is applicable to all account types.
What deposit and withdrawal methods are available?
This information can be obtained from the website itself. Pepperstone you have a fair variety of choice when it comes to depositing and withdrawing in and out of your account, without any fees from the broker; you may use Credit/Debit Card, Skrill, Neteller or you can use B2B (transfer funds from an existing broker). In my experience, I found Neteller to be the most favourable choice of methods as it was relatively fast and consistently however I also made a bank transfer (international) and was charged a fee which I did not anticipate, but since this is a third party to the broker, it is understandable, so I stuck with Neteller which I more often than not, instant (a couple of hours)
What countries’ residents are restricted from trading with this broker?
Pepperstone do not accept clients from the following countries: USA, New Zealand, Japan, Burma, Canada, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic People’s Republic of North or South Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan, Argentina, Kazakhstan and Zimbabwe.
Do they offer a bonus scheme?
No deposit bonus schemes are offered by Pepperstone, meaning clients are encouraged to deposit at their own risk without being heavily influenced or encouraged to deposit continuously try and win the battle against bonus schemes.
Do they sell additional products/services/managed accounts?
While you may use EAs on their given platforms, they do not offer their own EAs. However, they do offer social and copy trading and via this, you will receive signals. I feel the feature of copy trading is really for those who would like to feel as though mimicking an experienced trader will guarantee them profit, rather than trading with their own initiative and trading without being influenced.
If assistance is required, how can you get in touch?
You can contact client support 24/7 via telephone, email or live chat. However, for submitting KYC documents, ensure you do so between Monday-Friday as these cannot be processed 24/7 since the Compliance team only operate 24/5.
What is the quality of customer service?
To me, customer service is a very important aspect of a broker, in order to welcome you and serve as a friendly assistant when you need. First and foremost, Pepperstone offer customer service 24/7 which is fantastic however I did notice on several occasions that the live chat would respond with a link from the website rather than provide a personal response. I felt this was a little abrasive as live chat should be used for efficiently locating answers, but providing the clients with link after link just left me under the impression that perhaps some agents lacked knowledge in certain areas, or were afraid to ask me to wait while they located the answer, which there is no harm in doing. I found calling up at times to be more worthwhile rather than obtaining particular answers from the live chat, which at times, felt like trying to extract blood from a stone. I also felt they closed the chat without this being cleared by the client first. For example, I would ask one question at a time but the chat would be closed the instant after the agent felt they had answered me- there were never any niceties such as ‘’Was there anything further I can help you with today?’’ or ‘’Thanks for contacting us, have a great day’’. The whole atmosphere they created for me was not friendly or approachable at all, which really put me off being a long-term client.
Do they offer an IB affiliate programme?
Yes, there are many affiliates of Pepperstone found on many social media avenues, which is obviously a great way for a broker to advertise to clients in a more ‘organic’ way via existing clients. You have the choices of becoming an Introducing Broker or a CPA affiliate but no information regarding commission structure is displayed openly on the website so I asked their customer support (live chat) about further information but was not entirely successful; It made me uncomfortable that I was pushed to visit a link and sign up, prior to knowing the commission structure. I did manage to establish that the IB affiliate programme would enable you to earn $1.00 per one lot traded (EDGE Razor account) and also 0.4 pips per one lot traded (EDGE Standard account). In regards to the CPA affiliate programme, the payouts are tiered; the more Qualified Traders you refer, the more you earn. The CPA amount differs from country to country, so I could not get a commission structure and was instead asked to send an email to the relevant department.
What is my overall opinion of Pepperstone?
Their customer support team were one of the first elements to put me off this broker- the service was not particularly friendly which did not instill any confidence in me as a client as I did not feel particularly confident in their service. Therefore, as a client I did not feel entirely comfortable to continue being their client long term. In addition, as soon as I started to pick apart the ins and outs of the broker’s offerings, I found it to be a little too complicated for my liking, and feel that although their trade conditions appear to be suitable and amicable for the wider majority of traders, I now do not feel that is the case. It appears that unless you are willing to invest large amounts from the beginning, you are not going to be as successful as you’d hope to be. The leverage caps to me were very restricting: 1:2 for cryptos (inside EU) and 1:5 (outside EU) is not particularly appealing to many, since more and more traders appear to be showing more interest in crypto trading. The leverage across all instrument trading is rather restrictive especially when the trade commissions are so high, meaning you need to naturally deposit a substantial sum before you even get started.
Overall, one word to summarize this broker would be ‘expensive’- the fact you must pay $50 per 10 days to keep forex trades open is incredibly unappealing, and seems ridiculously unnecessary, especially considering the trade commissions on top of that are not particularly cheap either. Aon top of that, you are provided with low leverage which does not seem like a fair deal for the client.
From my short experience with this broker, I would not confidently recommend this broker to those looking for a straightforward account, or those who perhaps do not fully understand how the trade conditions offered could impact one’s trades negatively and so detrimentally meaning you are potentially not fully experienced and suitable for trading with this broker.