How did I first hear about UFX?
I actually spoke briefly with a few of their representors, who were exhibiting their services to at a Finance Magnates Event in London a few years ago.
What was my first impression of them as a broker?
My first impression was fairly neutral as I had seen and heard a healthy mixture of positive and negative reviews on them. I do not recall seeing any UFX IB affiliate links plastered over Forex forums and social media, so I assumed that although they are well established, they are not perhaps the most highly recommended on social media. However, I did notice they had nominated some awards over the years so that reeled in some more interest.
How easy is it to navigate the broker website?
The website itself is somewhat outdated, but user-friendly nonetheless. The Layout is comfortable, and not intimidating or blasted with heaps of information to over complicate it all; on first browse, it’s very much ‘what you see is what you get’. They also have a random but neat search feature at the top for quickly pinpointing assets offered.
Do they offer a good variety of tradable assets?
Yes, the website sets out all tradable assets: Forex currencies, ETFs, Stocks, Commodities and Indices. In terms of cryptocurrencies, they have stopped offering crypto trading, which I think is a poor decision since most brokers nowadays offer this, which is popular among most day traders.
Do they offer different Account types and what are the benefits?
Yes, UFX offer 6 account types to choose, from each with different requirements and some with added benefits. The Micro account has the lowest minimum deposit requirement of $100 whilst the Platinum/Islamic account has a minimum deposit requirement of $10,000. In between the two ends of the spectrum, you have the Mini account with a minimum deposit of $500, the Standard with a minimum of $1,000 and the Gold with a minimum of $5,000. As you can see below, only the Gold and Platinum accounts are entitled to using the MT4 platform. All other accounts are limited to trading via UFX own customized platform. One good thing, however, is that all accounts receive 24/7 customer support, daily recommendations, a video library and daily market reviews. However, I find it a bit unsettling that you are not able to choose the MT4 platform over their own customized platform, known as the ‘regular’ platform. I also find it displeasing that they do not offer an Islamic account version for all account types, meaning that Islamic traders are limited to one account option whereby they have a minimum deposit requirement of $10,000, which does not seem fair.
I also inquired on live chat a couple of times about the real differences between their Regular platform (their own platform) and MT4 that they offer, but never managed to get to the bottom of it- I was simply responded to with a link to the comparison table above, and not given a direct answer. So I can only assume the prices ARE different on their own customized platform, since only 2 out of their 6 choices of accounts offer MT4, also, those two have high deposit requirements ($5,000 and $10,000 minimum deposits) meaning the majority of traders are pushed to use their own platform, while the smaller portion of clients wanting MT4, are forced to deposit large sums, so it is a win-win situation for the broker whichever account type the client opts for.
How competitive are their spreads?
First thing to note is that their spreads are fixed, rather than variable, and also, these also fixed prices are lower on the accounts you must deposit larger amounts with, and the accounts with lower minimum deposits have higher fixed spreads. As much as this can be perceived as a positive, what has surprised me is the prices that they are fixed at. For example, EUR USD is priced at 4 pips on the Micro account, which, at first, I presumed I was interpreting this incorrectly when it actually should have been 0.4, which would therefore keep it in line with its competitors. I felt that I needed to clarify this with Live Chat whereby they confirmed my initial suspicions were correct and that the price was actually 4 pips. To put this in to perspective, the majority of the other broker I have reviewed, tend to fluctuate between 0.5 and 1 pip for this particular asset. As you can see, this would therefore make UFX between 4 and 8 times more expensive.
What is their commission charge?
UFX do not charge any trade commissions, meaning they must make their money via alternative avenues, confirming what I mentioned previously that one way they make a good proportion of their profit is via the heavily marked up (fixed) spreads.
Although UFX do not charge trade commissions I did notice another fee they have, which I found out on the FAQ page. UFX charge a ‘maintenance’ fee of $100 on open accounts, per 45days.
What is the maximum leverage they offer?
The FAQ page states that the maximum leverage they offer is 1:400 however on live chat I was advised that due to ESMA policies, leverage is capped at:
1:30 for major currency pairs
1:20 for non-major currency pairs, gold and major indices
1:10 for commodities, excluding gold and non-major equity indices
1:5 for stocks
I did ask the live chat agent about the discrepancy between what they had told me and what they state on the FAQ (1:400 leverage), and must admit I was a little surprised with the response I received was that any client can fill out a form and request 1:400 leverage. When I assumed that surely one must need to deposit a larger sum to receive such a benefit, I got a vague response. I am now led to believe the 1:400 leverage stated on the FAQ page is there to lure clients in, and very few clients actually get to trade with higher leverage than what ESMA allows. This is another sneaky way of handpicking clients that want to make use of higher leverage, and carefully selecting the ones that potentially are not successful in trading, therefore enabling the broker to profit greatly from such client losses.
What do I need to open a verified account?
In order to open a verified live trading account, you would need to comply with UFX policies and regulations. You are required to submit a proof of ID document such as a passport or driver’s licence. You would also need to submit a document as proof of address such as a bank statement or utility bill, dated within 3 months, as well as a copy of your credit card, front and back, but you may cover the card number to show only the last 4 digits, as well as cover the CVV.
How long does it take to open a live account?
The timescale for account approval is within 48 hours, but in some cases, it could be sooner than that. In my case, it was about 40 hours, but it was within the timescale stated, and 48 hours maximum is standard to competitor brokers.
Are desktop/mobile/web trader versions all available?
Finding the answer to this question should have been straightforward however for some reason the live chat agent made me repeat myself several times and totally ignored my question. Anyhow, I eventually found out that UFX offers their own desktop and mobile version, as well as MT4 desktop and mobile versions being available for certain account type holders (high depositing traders). As you can see below my frustrations increased as I could not get a straightforward answer (you can see me repeating my questions underlined in yellow, while the agent’s response was consistently a link -underlined in red – that did not offer the information I was after). The website states they appear to offer more than one platform, however I had previously been advised by a representative they only offer 2 platforms.
Do they have a minimum/maximum deposit requirement?
Yes, depending on the account type you wish to use, will depend on the amount you re required to deposit ranging from $100 to $10,000. Should you opt for a micro account, you are only able to use their own platform., whereas if you deposit $5,000 (Gold account) or $10,000 (Platinum account) then you are able to use MT4.
This is a very clever way in which this broker makes money as it may seem appealing to start with a lower deposit amount such as $100, especially for the majority of traders new to a broker. However, if you can only use UFX customized platform, with fixed spreads, as opposed to MT4, it is clear that the UFX platform has been tailored to win rather than the client. On the other hand, should you want to use MT4, you are forced to deposit large sums of money, so it is a win-win situation for the broker.
What deposit and withdrawal methods are available?
I managed to locate this information on the FAQ page. For both deposits and withdrawals, UFX offers debit/credit Card, local Bank transfer, Skrill, Neteller, Sofort, ELV, Giropay, iDEAL, Neosurf, CUP, CashU, Qiwi, WebMoney, POLi and Paysafecard.
UFX have a policy commonly found in brokers whereby you must withdraw the same amount with the same method (e.g: visa card) that you initially made the deposit with. Any profit on top can then be withdrawn via an alternative method.
I was disappointed that Bitcoin is not a method available as for me that is one of my preferred options for funding a forex account as it is typically fastest and more convenient for me. In terms of UFX fastest method of deposit and withdrawal, it would be Skrill which takes up to 48 hours to complete after approval (usually a few hours to approve then 48 hours to complete transaction).
One positive to note is that UFX offer quick step-by-step reference guides on how to actually make the deposit/withdrawal which is handy to clients who are not overly familiar or confident with certain methods available.
Which countries are restricted from trading with this broker?
UFX does not allow resident from the following countries to register and trade with them: USA, Belgium, Israel and Romania. However, citizens from Canada, Palestinian Terriers and Iran can trade with UFX should they be living abroad.
Do they offer a deposit bonus scheme?
Although this used to be an offer, UFX no longer offer a deposit bonus scheme. A broker that does not offer a bonus scheme to me is automatically more preferable than one that does; deposit bonuses are simple traps to push clients to deposit more money, and continuously. UFX does not offer this any longer, so this is definitely a positive element of how they operate.
Do they sell additional products/services/managed accounts?
It seems they did offer these services in the past, but no longer offer Signals, EAs, or managed accounts. However, should you deposit more than $500, you are entitled to a ‘specialist’ representative that will work with you and provide educational material to assist you. I feel this is not all it is cut out to be, as you would need to maintain a stable account to receive such benefit of a specialist representative, but even then, how much help could they REALLY provide? Why would a broker offer specialists, for free, to assist clients in being consistently profitable? I feel this ‘benefit’ is merely a ploy to keep clients on-board, to simply instill confidence in clients and encourage them to deposit repeatedly, even if they are losing out, and not being particularly profitable.
If assistance is required, how can you get in touch?
If you wish to speak to a support agent, you can use the telephone line, live chat or email in. Note that you may contact UFX via all three channels 24/5 from Sunday 5:00 – Friday 13:00 GMT. I am disappointed they do not offer 24/7 customer support as this always adds some peace of mind for clients from the registration process right through to being an experienced trader- you never know when you would like to inquire about something in particular about the services you are paying for, even when the markets may be closed, or you may be taking a day off from trading.
What is the quality of customer service?
Overall, the first negative is that they do not offer customer support 24/7, which to me is a disadvantage, especially knowing that the majority of competitor brokers do offer this, which always adds peace of mind, especially to new clients who are potentially nervous or just starting out in their forex career.
The quality itself regarding receiving competent and direct responses from the support agents are overall very weak- although response wait time is not usually more than a about 5 minutes, you’d be lucky to get a straight answer immediately. I found myself repeating the same question over and over, and still not getting a response directly related to my question, as you can see in some screenshot examples throughout this review. I found the customer support highly frustrating on every occasion I spoke with them, and it was one large factor that put me off continuing as a client with this broker; if I cannot communicate comprehensively and be assured of the status of my funds?
Do they offer an IB affiliate program?
Yes, you can become an Affiliate of UFX. It is highly frustrating that I was unable to get a straight response on commission structure form the website or from the live chat support team. Instead, I had to raise a ticket and wait for an answer that I believe should be readily available. The fact the live chat agent was unable to give me the commission structure only led me to think that it varies from affiliate to affiliate, so they potentially do not have a fixed structure. I did receive an email response to my ticket approximately 6 hours later, which provided me exactly the same sign up link that the website itself and the live chat agent provided- no commission structure is mentioned until you actually sign up. This emphasizes my concern that the structure varies from affiliate to affiliate. I felt very uncomfortable with this to not move forward with the affiliate side of things as this to me, was too pushy: as you cannot get a simple answer about what you are signing up for, until you actually sign up.
What is my overall opinion of UFX?
I found this broker incredibly difficult to communicate with from the beginning of my time as a client with them, right up to the end due to their customer support and lack of knowledge to be able to assist me efficiently. It all felt very lethargic and a waste of time.
I was not at all impressed with the trading conditions are among the worst I have come across in terms of incredibly high spreads, just as one example. So, the fact they offer 0 trade commissions evens that cost out, making trading very expensive for the client. Furthermore, the leverage caps as a result of ESMA policy are just not competitive or amicable. It seems absurd that I could opt for UFX who offers me a leverage of 1:30 on Forex majors, when there is a whole host of brokers out there able to provide leverage for Forex majors of 1:100 or even as high as 1:500.
I feel this broker is just a bit of a minefield as nothing seems straight forward or easy to work out. They do not offer one aspect that would keep me as a client. Simply put, I do not feel you get what you pay for. Therefore, UFX will not be among any broker recommendation that I feel I could give as I just feel that there are many brokers out there who are highly competitive in all aspects.