IG is the largest forex broker in the world, established in 1989 while CMC offers the most financial instruments including 339 currency pairs. Our CMC vs IG comparison found that IG is the lower brokerage provider and offered more trading platforms including MetaTrader 4.
You can view the IG vs CMC comparison table below or the complete CMC Markets review and IG Markets review.
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Both brokers are market makers however it’s interesting to note neither broker uses a dealing desk. Instead, both brokers source their rates via their network of interbank providers.
Looking at the forex broker no commission 2021 spreads table below (updated monthly), IG was found to be significantly lower.
Data taken from broker website. Accurate as at 04/06/2021
As you can see, both brokers offer similar features.
Both brokers require payment for the following fees
IG has significantly lower spreads when comparing standard accounts (commission-free accounts). In fact, IG has the lowest standard spreads of any forex broker. This doesn’t apply for ECN accounts (which have a commission but substantially lower spreads) in which IC Markets is the lower. For this comparison though, even considering other trading fees, it’s concluded that IG is the winner when it comes to costs.
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Both brokers offer MetaTrader 4 (MT4) but also offer a selection of other platforms. This includes its proprietary platform.
MetaTrader 4 are relatively recent additions to each broker’s 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.
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:
For a long time, CMC Markets did not offer an alternative platform to ‘Next Generation’. This could be interpreted as 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 place most of its efforts into its proprietary platforms (see Web-based, mobile and tablet apps) as it allows its 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 an 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.
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.
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Both brokers offer a very large range of CFDs when you compare them 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.
In addition to above, CMC Markets also offer Binaries and Countdowns.
IG also offers ETFs/ETPs, Bonds, Interest Rates, IPO
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 is 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.
Note: The Financial Conduct Authority no longer allows cryptocurrency trading. This means traders in the UK who join the brokers UK subsidiaries (CMC Markets UK plc or IG Markets Ltd) will not be able to trade cryptocurrencies.
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.
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.
Spread betting can be done with the same financial instruments available for CFDs. There is no commission meaning spread betting is a spread only product. Your spreads will be the same as for CFDs.
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:
In addition to the above methods, you can get in touch with CMC Markets via Twitter and Facebook. Using these two mediums has some advantages, as CMC Markets can directly link you to resources and guides that may benefit you.
CMC Markets provide a solid range of customer services these include:
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.
The IG Academy is a great resource for trading education. The academy includes the following features:
$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.
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.
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.
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 of $50,000 and withdraw a maximum of $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.
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:
Both IG and CMC Markets are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK.
This FCA places tight restrictions on leverage the brokers can offer to retail traders. With FCA, the brokers can offer a maximum of 30:1 for major currency pairs and 20:1 for minors, and negative balance protection is included for retail accounts. Cryptocurrency trading is not available with FCA regulation.
If you are a client of IG or CMC Markets from mainland Europe, then you will join IG Europe GmbH or CMC Markets Germany GmbH, which are regulated by BaFin who are the regulators for Germany and Austria. Like with FCA, you will get the same leverage conditions and negative balance protection however you will be able to trade cryptocurrency.
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.
Both IG and CMC are regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). This means the brokers can offer a maximum of 20:1 leverage when trading Forex.
Overall, IG is regulated in more regions with a plethora of tier 1 licences.
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.
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.
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 you’re 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.
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.
This is an easy one. CMC Markets win as they offer better, larger margins.
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 protection 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 types 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.
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.
CMC Markets have 3 bonus programs. These are the rebate on deposit, high-volume rebate program and refer a friend program.
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:
IG markets a high volume rebate program and ‘refer a friend’ program. In addition to this, they have a QANTAS frequent flyer points program.
The refer a friend program also earns 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.
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.
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.
Justin Grossbard has been investing for the past 20 years and writing for the past 10. He co-founded Compare Forex Brokers in 2014 after working with the foreign exchange trading industry for several years. He also founded a number of FinTech and digital startups including Innovate Online and SMS Comparison. Justin holds a Masters Degree and an Honours in Commerce from Monash University. He and his wife Paula live in Melbourne, Australia with his son and Siberian cat. In his spare time, he watches Australian Rules Football and invests on global markets.