CMC Markets and IG are two of the largest forex brokers offering MetaTrader 4 or their own forex trading platform and regulated by ASIC (Australia) and FCA (UK), with IG providing spread betting and EUR/USD spreads from 0.6 pips vs CMC Markets who offer 339 currency pairs and cryptocurrency CFD trading.
Both brokers are markets makers however its interesting to note neither broker uses a dealing desk. Instead, both brokers source their rates via their network of interbanks.
Looking at the typical spreads of each broker, it does appear that the Spreads of CMC Markets is slightly narrower. One however should not necessarily base the conclusion on the above table. The typical spreads provided by each broker are for different periods and CMC Markets only round to the first while IG round to the second.
Key features CMC Markets retail investor accounts:
One account type
Access to over 348 currency pairs
Risk management tools
Cash rebate program
Automated Trading is available
Key features IG retail investor accounts:
Only one type of Account for retail investors (Forex Direct is for professional investors)
Access to over 90 currency pairs
Risk management tools
Cash rebate program
Automated Trading (only via MT4 Platform)
As you can see, both brokers offer similar features.
Both brokers require payment for the following fees
Holding costs / Overnight fees – fees to hold your position overnight
Market data fees – fees to access live data
Guaranteed stop-loss order charges – fees to open a GSLO
Other IG fees:
Inactivity fees – You will be charged $50 for each quarter you do not trade.
Our account and fee review shows that IG and CMC Markets are remarkably similar when it comes to accounts and fees. Generally, both brokers offer similar features, commission-free accounts with options of hedging. CMC Markets, however, do offer more almost 3 times more currency pairs than IG and you can do automated trading in all the platforms CMC Markets offer (IG only allow this via MT4). We will award this category to CMC Markets on this basis. This does necessarily mean IG should be discounted. For example, most traders will not want to trade with minor or exotic currency pairs or want to use trading robots.
Platforms – CMC Markets vs IG Markets
Both brokers offer MetaTrader 4 (MT4) but also offer a selection of other platforms. This includes its proprietary platform.
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) –
MetaTrader 4 are relatively recent additions to each brokers platform offerings. CMC Markets, for example, have only been offering MT4 since late 2018. CMC Markets appear to prefer you use their proprietary platform given that MT4 is somewhat hidden on their website.
MetaTrader 4 competitive advantages:
More brokers offer this platform than any other platform – this means you can easily switch brokers without needing to change platforms
More traders use this platform than any other – this means there is a large MT4 community that can help you with all your needs online
It is one of the oldest existing platforms which means it is reliable as it has continually been improved over the years
Common Benefits of MT4:
Available for download on different operating systems (CMC Markets and IG don’t offer via web)
Available on desktops, tablet, mobile
Uses Expert Advisors for automated or robotic trading
Highlight customisation with various apps that can enhance key features such as charts, GUI and functionality
Social trading to copy other traders strategies
Range of advanced charts and indicators
Features of MT4
What MT4 dos not offer:
Neither CMC Markets or IG appear to have share trading via MT4
CMC Markets Next Generation Platform
Next Generation is CMC Markets own award-winning proprietary. This trading platform is available via the web browser and on iOS and Android mobile devised. The platform offers the following
Over 35 drawing tools
Over 80 technical indicators (30 overlaps and 50 studies)
Price history going back up to 20 years
Ability to switch between chart intervals ranging from 1 second to a month
4 types of closeouts methods (standard, last in first out, largest position loss first, largest position margin first
5 types of order execution – Market, Limit and stop entry orders, guaranteed stop-loss order, regular stop-loss order, trailing stop-loss order, take-profit orders
Ability to trade directly from charts
Projection and pattern recognition tools
Online trading community to discuss trading
Social trading with other traders via a chat forum
For a long time, CMC Markets did not offer an alternative platform to ‘Next Generation’. This could be interpreted confidence their product is superior to other platforms. There is no doubt, CMC Markets is an excellent product that offers all the featured you will require for successful trading.
IG Markets Trading Platforms
IG place most of their efforts into their proprietary platforms (see Web-based, mobile and tablet apps) as it allows their client’s easy access to their large portfolio of instruments in a user-friendly and easy to use manner. MT4 for example, can’t quite match this. Their platforms are award-winning and have an excellent range of charts and indicators designed in such a way that you will not feel overwhelmed with the volume of data being displayed.
There are however may be times when using MT4 is beneficial. For example, if you wish to use robots. Unless you have a Forex Direct account (which is only available for professional traders) you will not be using L2 dealer and ProRealTime is best avoided as there are steep monthly fees. This platform is best if you like coding, lots of indicators and want to do backtesting.
Conclusion – CMC Markets vs IG Markets
This category comes down to personal preference. While it is true both brokers offer a good choice of platforms, most traders are only going to need one platform. We generally recommend MT4 because this is a well known and proven platform. MT4 because it is available with many brokers means you can easily switch to another broker that offers MT4 should the need arise in future. Use of CMC Markets ‘Next Generation’ platform or IG proprietary platforms means you will be locked into their trading ecosystem which can make it difficult to trade in future.
Contracts for Difference (CFDs) – CMC Markets vs IG Markets
Both brokers offer a very large range of CFDs when you compare with other brokers. It is worth noting the sheer size of currency pairs CMC Markets offer. These forex pairs consist of majors, minors and exotics. CMC Markets also offer more commodities. IG on the other hand offer you will find offer a far larger range of indices and shares.
When it comes to margin, CMC offers a better margin (leverage). Minimum spreads are slightly in IG’s favour.
CMC Markets CFDs
In addition to above, CMC Markets also offer Binaries and Countdowns.
CFDS – IG
IG also offers ETFs/ETPs, Bonds, Interest Rates, IPO
Conclusion – CMC Markets vs IG Markets
We will generally recommend CMC Markets because they offer better margins however margins may not be so important to you when trading certain derivatives or asset classes. While it does look like IG offer slightly better minimum spreads, you would be advised to look at average spreads for the CFD you wish to trade with before choosing a broker.
Both IG and CMC have a good range of cryptocurrencies available for trade, with CMC offering a few more choices. Margin will be between 5% and 10%. The volatile nature of cryptocurrencies means there an opportunity for good profits which is why they are popular with traders despite their high risk.
CMC has provided a comparison of the cryptocurrencies and their spreads vs IG. CMC offers superior spreads, the popular Bitcoin having 8% better value and NEO offering as high as 33% better value.
IG also allow you to trade cryptocurrency indices. This is the Crypto 10 index.
Spread betting is available for traders in the UK and Ireland.
It works in a similar to CFDs work but there are some differences.
Spread betting means you are betting on the prices and/or outcomes of your chosen financial instruments. CFD involves the trade of a contract, which means you are trading the markets.
Why spread bet?
Spread betting is popular because there is no capital gains tax. This means you won’t be taxed on your profits. CFDs only allow you to offset taxes against your losses.
IG vs CMS Spread betting
Spread betting can be done with the same financial instruments available with for CFDs. There is no commission meaning spread betting is a spread only product. Your spreads will be the same as for CFDs.
Customer Service – CMC Markets vs IG Markets
Customer Support – CMC Markets
CMC Markets customer support for CFDs are available Monday 8 am to Saturday 8 am. This means they are open when there is a CFD market open somewhere in the world. Customer support for shares is only open during Australia stock exchange hours which is Monday 7.30 AM to 5.30 PM Friday. The following means are available to get in touch with the customer support team:
Phone (toll-free within Australia)
In addition to the above methods, you can get in touch with CMC Markets via Twitter and Facebook. Using these two mediums have some advantages as CMC Markets can directly link you to resources and guides that may benefit you.
Customer Service – CMC Markets
CMC Markets provide a solid range of customer services these include:
Dedicated new and analysis – here you can find a wealth of material for successful forex trading. CMC Markets experts are on hand to lend their knowledge and access to chart, technical and fundamental analysis are also available. You will also find an economic calendar and live news such as Reuters available.
CMC Markets have articles, eBooks, videos, seminars and webinars tailored for varying levels of trading experience. These tools take you through just about everything you will need to know with CFD trading.
Glossary: Here you can explanations of all terms about trading
FAQ: This is a collection of answers to commonly asked questions about trading with CMC Markets.
Demo Account: $10,000 of virtual funds is available in a demo account for you to develop and test your trading strategies. The account will remain available as long as you have a CMC Markets account.
Customer Support – IG
IG Markets customer support is available almost 24/7. Customer support is available throughout the week but hours are limited on Saturdays. Support from IG is available via email, phone, live chat and twitter. IG also has a community forum where all members of the IG community can provide support to each other.
Customer Service – IG
The IG Academy is a great resource for trading education. The academy includes the following features:
Online courses – There is a range of trading courses designed for all levels made up of videos, quizzes and interactive exercises.
Live Sessions – 30-minute webinars by experts from IG and DailyFX team are run around the clock. covering all sorts of trading topics.
Mobile – IG Academy us available as a mobile app.
Other education tools:
News and Analysis
Financial Events –
Risk Management Education – Covering a range of risk management strategies
Key trading terms glossary
Personal Platform Tour – Step by step guide when using IG platform
$20,000 of virtual funds is available in a demo account for you to practice your trading. The demo account will not allow you to practice with ‘slippage’ and you will find that trades are not rejected due to size or price.
Conclusion – CMC Markets vs IG Markets
We believe IG customer service and support is superior, not only is customer support available each day of the week, you can use a greater range of communication mediums to reach them.
Deposits and Withdrawals – CMC Markets vs IG Markets
CMC Markets Funding
You can fund your CMC Markets account using three primary methods. These are credit cards, debit cards, and bank transfer. In addition to these, you can use alternatives like POLi, BPAY and PayPal. When making a deposit or withdrawal there is a 1% processing fee for credit cards and 0.6% for debit cards. There are no minimum deposit requirements.
IG Markets Funding
Your account can be funded with credit cards, debit card, bank transfer and via PayPal and BPAY. When funding by card, you can deposit a maximum$50,000 and withdraw a maximum $35,000 per day. For larger deposits and withdrawals you should use bank transfer.
There are no charges when using debit cards or BPAY but there is a 1% charge when using Visa or PayPal and a 0.6% charge when using MasterCard.
Conclusions – CMC Markets vs IG Markets
CMC Markets offer more funding options and don’t apply the same daily volume limits when using cards so we recommend CMC Markets.
Both IG and CMC Markets are covered by different regulators depending on what country you join the broker from.
Regulators provide oversite of the brokers they regulate to ensure the brokers operate in a manner that protects their clients’ interest. Practices regulators typically implement include:
Segregated funding accounts with a tier-1 banking institution
Product Disclosure Statements (PDS)
Security of clients data
A financial services compensation scheme
A broker cannot hedge clients positions
Establishment of a complaints and dispute resolution process
Traders joining from The UK and Europe
Both IG and CMC Markets are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and Europe.
This FCA places tight restrictions with leverage the brokers can offer to retail traders. With FCA, the brokers can offer a maximum 30:1 for major currency pairs and 20:1 for minors. Along with tight leverage,
Traders joining from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand
IG and CMC markets will apply regulation in line with what is permitted by ASIC. IG allows a maximum 200:1 leverage. CMC will allow 500:1. ASIC doesn’t require guaranteed negative balance protection.
Traders joining from Singapore
Both IG and CMC are regulated by the Monetary Authority Singapore (MAS). This means the brokers can offer a maximum 20:1 leverage when trading Forex.
Shares Review – CMC Markets vs IG
CMC Markets and IG are two of the biggest and oldest financial derivatives dealers on the market. Unlike many other brokers, we have reviewed in the past, CMC Markets and IG are as well known for their stock services along with their IG services. So we will start by reviewing each broker’s share services before resuming our usual review structure.
CMC Brokerage Rate
CMC Classic - Maximum 10 trades a month
$11 or 0.10% for first 10 trades $9.90 for 0.08% for 11th to 30th trade $9.90 or 0.075% for 31+ trades
CMC - Active Investor - Make 11-30 trades each month
$9.90 or 0.10% for first 10 trades. $9.90 for 0.08% for 11th to 30th trades $9.90 or 0.075% for 31+ trades
CMC Premium Trader - more than 30 trades each month
$9.90 with minimum 30 trades
IG Personal Account
$7 or 0.08%
Shares fee comparison
Looking at the above table we can see that IG fees are more simple, straightforward and cheaper when we compare with CMC Markets. CMC Markets on the other hand fees are a little more complex in that they vary depending on the number of trades you make each month. So if you are after the cheapest fees, then IG might be the broker. There are however a couple of caveats to be aware of. IG is not a CHESS sponsor, they only provide Issuer sponsored shares.
Issuer sponsored shares like IG offer, is not ideal because this means more administration work for you as you will need to register the title of your shares on a register. Issuer sponsored shares also make it more difficult to transfer shares between platforms if you need to do so. It is recommended to choose CHESS sponsored shares.
It is also worth mentioning that the more your trade, the more ‘bonus’ features CMC Markets will give you access to. For example, Active investors will get access to free live data and free access to technical analysis and eScreener research reports. Premium traders will get access to free educational resources and tax and portfolio reporting.
Shares other considerations
Broker / Conditions
5% for AUS and US
5% for AUS and US
No. Shares on Australian Market
No. Shares on International Market
Cost for international Shares
USD$15 or 2c
* $0-$5000 is $19.95 * $5000-$10,000 is $29.95 * Over $10,000 is 0.31%
Order by Phone (AUS/US)
$7 / USD$25
$59.95 (up to $20,000) / All $59.95 or 0.59%
Guaranteed Stop Premium
0.3% to 1%
based on GSLO formula
Live Data Fees (otherwise 20 min delayed)
Additional fee applied if activated
$10 a month for live data (free if minimum monthly volumes are achieved)
Rolling / Overnight Fee
$50 per quarter
The table above also shows some other considerations when choosing your broker. International shares are cheaper with IG when you order online with CMC Markets notoriously expensive if you order by phone. The biggest issue with IG however, might be if your not an active trader. If you don’t trade for a certain period you will incur large inactivity fees.
IG shares are generally cheaper and have a simple cost structure however CMC Markets offer more shares and these shares are CHESS sponsored. We believe the effort you will need to register IG issue sponsored shares will outweigh any potential cost saving. Therefore we recommend CMC Markets.
Leverage – CMC Markets vs IG Markets
CMC Markets offer superior leverage of 500:1 when you compare with IG of 200:1. Greater leverage means you can achieve greater earnings with less of your own capital on hand. This means you can maximise the return on your investment when movements are favourable.
CMC Markets and IG use margin rather than leverage. Margin specifies how much you need in your account to take your positions. The margin will vary for the currency pair being traded which can be as low as 0.20% (which is equal to 500:1) in the case of CMC Markets and 0.50% (200:1) in the case of IG.
Both brokers also use a tiered margin system. This means the less volume you trade (defined by lots) the better margin you can use.
We believe higher leverage when used properly and skillfully is a good thing however it is important to understand the risks involve. Leverage does mean you are taking on debt, so if price movements are not in your favour then you risk incurring significant losses.
Conclusion – Leverage
This is an easy one. CMC Markets win as they offer better larger margins.
Risk Management – CMC Markets vs IG Markets
Both CMC Markets and IG offer the standard suite of risk management tools common to all brokers. These risk management tools include order execution tools such as market, limit and stop entry order, regular stop-loss orders, trailing stop-loss order and take-profit orders. They also offer common none execution features such as snapshots of your balance so you can manage your liquidity, alerts so you can be notified of issues that may impact your investments and risk management education so you can protect your investment intelligently.
The main risk management feature to be aware of that both CMC Markets and IG offer however is Guaranteed stop-loss orders (GSLO). GSLO provide watertight protect against slippage. This means you will not lose more than you are willing to lose. Both brokers allow you to place the GSLO for free however you will pay a small premium in the event your stop is applied. The margin you require may also change.
GSLO is especially great for inexperienced investor or new investors who may be more vulnerable to poor investment decisions. To help these type of investors, IG offers a limited risk account option. This simply means that all your positions will have GSLO applied by default. Once the trader’s skills have grown and they no longer always need GSLO then they can move to a standard risk account.
Conclusion – CMC Markets vs IG Markets
Both CMC Markets and IG offer the same basic risk management tools. There might be some differences in the premium you pay when using a GSLO but this will depend on the volume and currency pair you trade with. For most traders, it won’t matter which broker you choose however if your new to trading then the limited risk account IG offer can be beneficial.
Bonus Offers – CMC Markets vs IG Markets
CMC Markets have 3 bonus programs. These are the rebate on deposit, high volume rebate program and refer a friend program.
Deposit Rebate Bonus
When you open a trading account, CMC Markets will reward you with a bonus 20% of your deposit throughout your first month of trading.
The rebate program is for high volume traders. If you trade a minimum $25 million a month you can qualify for a rebate. In the case of FX, you will receive the following:
Refer a friend program:
IG markets high volume rebate program and ‘refer a friend’ program. In addition to this, they have a QANTAS frequent flyer points program.
Refer a friend:
The refer a friend program also earn you trading credits. Each friend you introduce will earn you move trading credits.
This program is for high volume traders. As long as you trade at least $25 million each month, you will receive a rebate.
QANTAS Frequent Flyer Points program:
If you use QANTAS frequent flyer you might find the IG frequent flyer points program beneficial. If you are a new member you can receive up to 20,000 QANTAS frequent flyer bonus points. If you are an existing member you can receive QANTAS frequent flyer points each month providing you meet minimum trading requirements.
New IG Members
Existing IG Members
Conclusion – CMC Markets vs IG Markets
CMC Markets offer a first deposit rebate program. These rebates can lead to greater returns for all deposits you make into your account in the first month. We, therefore, consider CMC Markets the better option.