IC Markets offers 65 currency pairs vs 45 for FP Markets with IC also having lower EUR/USD spreads from 0.10. Both brokers offer CFDs with our IC Markets review finding the broker offers 8 CFD classes vs FP Markets who have 6 classes.
Both IC Markets and FP Markets mostly use Straight Through Processing (STP) trading execution to bring clients Electronic Communications Network (ECN) pricing. As ‘A book’ brokers using STP, orders are filled by external liquidity sources offering the best bid/ask prices with no dealing desk (NDD) involved in the trading process.
Both brokers source their prices and fill customers’ orders using a pool of top-tier liquidity providers as part of of the STP trading execution, allowing for ultra-competitive spreads and institutional-grade trading conditions.
As FP Markets and IC Markets operate under similar business and pricing models, they also provide traders with comparable trade execution speeds. Both brokers promote low latency and minimal slippage as key features but IC Markets offers better execution as the broker is connected to two servers in London and New York (catering to a wider geographic region), while FP markets rely on one server in New York.
With STP and NDD execution, the brokers are able to offer two main account types with different trading cost structures:
When IC Markets and FP Markets average commission-free spreads are compared, IC Markets offers the most competitive pricing for all currency pairs shown. If you want to focus your trading strategies around a major currency pair such as the EUR/USD, IC Markets offers lower average spreads of 1.10 pips (FP Markets averages 1.19 pips). Likewise, those wanting to trade the EUR/GBP gain access to spreads of 1.40 pips commission-free with IC Markets, while FP Markets customers are offered an average spread of 1.59 pips.
Data taken from broker website. Accurate as at 02/04/2021
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If you wish to execute day trading, scalping or Expert Advisor strategies, or purely looking for the tightest spreads available to retail investor accounts, Raw accounts are appropriate as you pay a flat rate commission charge while gaining access to ultra-low ECN-style spreads.
IC Markets offer the lowest spreads for all currency pairs displayed below. While FP Markets offers competitive pricing compared to other top brokers which also makes them a great choice of broker, IC Markets unbeatable spreads average 0.30 pips for the EUR/JPY, while FP Markets average 0.44 pips.
Commission fees are paid per side (per 100,000 traded) and depend on the base currency of your IC Markets or FP Markets trading account. For base currencies such as AUD, CAD and EUR, FP Markets and IC Markets charge the same commission fees. Although FP Markets offers a narrower choice of base currencies, commission fees are less for currencies such as SGD, JPY and HKD.
Please note, when trading via an IC Markets cTrader Raw account, fees are different from MetaTrader commission costs. Raw cTrader commission fees are USD 3 per side per 100,000 traded.
FP Markets and IC Markets provide similar trading environments with tight spreads, commission or no commission account options, as well as fast trade execution with NDD interference. Yet, with the lowest spreads across all the fx pairs compared above, IC Markets offers the best trading conditions and lowest spreads overall. Although FP Markets charges lower commission fees for certain currencies, this can easily be avoided by selecting the AUD or CAD as your base currency when you sign up to an IC Markets Raw account.
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As an IC Markets or FP Markets trader, you have the choice of a standard commission-free account, an ECN-type commission account, or a Swap-free account that designed for Islamic traders who observe Sharia law.
FP Markets customers wanting to focus on share trading via the broker’s proprietary trading platform, Iress, can sign up to a Standard, Platinum or Premier Iress Account, although commission costs are high and significant initial deposits are required. Trader wanting to trade Shares CFD may wish to consider this account as it offers Direct Markets Access (DMA) trading execution. If you only wish to trade Forex, the MetaTrader accounts a likely to be more suited.
When signing up to an IC Markets account, you have the choice of standard spreads that are commission-free or raw spreads where you pay a flat rate commission fee on each trade. Regardless of account type, an initial deposit of $200 is required. Depending on the commission fee structure and trading platform you prefer, the following account types are available:
While spreads and commission fees are the key differences between IC Markets Raw and Standard account types, certain trading strategies are better suited to each account type.
If you trade infrequently or you are a beginner trader, IC Markets Standard account offers a simple pricing structure avoiding the need to calculate commission costs for each trade executed.
If you are planning to implement day trading, scalping or Expert Advisor trading strategies, the broker’s Raw accounts on cTrader or MetaTrader is an ideal account type. Raw accounts with ultra-tight spreads provide traders with an institutional style trading environment, offering some of the best prices currently available to retail investor accounts.
Also known as rollover interest or overnight financing fees, a swap rate is an interest charged or received when a position is kept open longer than one day. While swap rates differ between currency pairs (the rate is determined by the interest rate differential between the currencies involved in the trade), all positions held open on a Wednesday night are charged triple swap rates.
Often referred to as a Swap-Free Account, IC Markets Islamic account is designed for those following Islamic finance practises where the interest cannot be received or paid. Rather than paying overnight financing fees, IC Markets charges a flat rate fee for positions held open longer than one day. Overnight financing charges vary between currency pairs, ranging from $5 per lot to $50 per lot, with triple charges applicable on Friday evenings.
Islamic accounts are available with Raw or Standard spreads and commission fees and can be accessed through cTrader, MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5.
Similarly to IC Markets, two main pricing structures are offered by FP Markets. A low minimum deposit of $100 AUD is required to start trading, with commission fees and minimum spreads as follows:
Whether you are using a Standard or Raw account, positions held open for longer than one day will incur swap charges. FP Markets offers a forex calculator online where you can estimate swap rates for overnight positions.
FP Markets Islamic account is available on MT4 or MT5. Following Islamic finance practises, traders do not pay or receive swap rates (aka rollover interest). Instead, for positions that are held open overnight, a flat rate admin fee is applicable. The admin fee traders pay varies with the financial instrument involved. For instance, popular stock indices such as the AUS200 or UK100 pay USD $1 per night, per lot, while trades involving exotic currency pairs such as the EUR/ZAR pay a significant admin fee of USD $33 per night. For major forex pairs such as the AUD/USD, EUR/USD and GBP/USD, a $5 admin charge is incurred.
In addition to Raw, Standard and Islamic account types, FP Markets offer Iress accounts designed for trading shares among other CFDs. Initial minimum deposits are much higher than FP Markets Standard and Raw Accounts, with the three account tiers ranging from standard accounts with a $1000 minimum deposit requirement, to a premier Iress account that requires an initial deposit of $50,000.
As IC Markets and FP Markets offer both Standard, ECN-style and Swap-Free account types, the brokers tie this round. Similar minimum deposits are required, with minimum spreads of 0.0 pips promoted by both brokers via their Raw Accounts. Regardless of whether you aim to execute scalping strategies regularly, or a beginner trading infrequently, both brokers provide a suitable account type.
In addition to forex trading, IC Market and FP Market traders can create diversified investment strategies using CFD instruments such as indices, commodities and shares. As discussed in the next section, market access varies greatly between trading platforms and customers should consider the asset classes they wish to trade before they choose an account type and trading platform.
As well as forex trading, IC Markets clients can trade indices, commodities, metals, bonds, futures, shares and cryptocurrency CFDs.
As shown below, FP Markets product range tends to be less diverse than IC Markets with no bonds and a significantly smaller number of commodities and crypto CFDs.
The maximum leverage you are offered by each broker is determined by the forex pair or CFD you are trading, as well as the subsidiary you are registered with. For instance, if you are trading major currency pairs with FP Markets or IC Markets ASIC regulated Australian branch or FCA regulated subsidiary in the UK, the maximum leverage offered is 30:1 for major currency pairs and 20:1 for minor and exotic pairs.
Maximum leverage on asset classes such as cryptocurrencies is much lower, with both brokers offering 2:1. Please note, retail traders are no longer able to access crypto markets under FCA regulation.
Both brokers offer a professional account to Australian, European and UK traders if you match the criteria and then you’ll be able to trade with increased leverage.
Both brokers offer great market access with 60 currency pairs, yet each has its own strength – FP Markets in shares and IC Markets in crypto. Although FP Markets provides access to over 10,000 stocks, you are required to sign up to an Iress account type and use the broker’s proprietary trading platform. IC Markets, on the other hand, offers a great selection of asset classes and 10 different cryptocurrency CFDs to choose from.
IC Markets and FP Markets each offer a choice of three trading platforms that are suited to different traders’ needs. Both brokers provide access to MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5), with IC Markets also offering cTrader. FP Markets Iress Account holders can have the additional option of the broker’s proprietary platform, Iress.
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) are two of the most popular trading platforms worldwide. With advanced technical analysis tools, automated trading features and an easy-to-use interface, the platforms are well-suited to beginner, intermediate or advanced traders.
Both FP Markets and IC Markets offer MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5, although access may vary depending on the account type you are using.
Automating trading with Expert Advisors (EAs, aka trading robots) is becoming increasingly popular as EAs dramatically reduce the time spent conducting research and placing orders. As well as more efficient trading, Expert Advisors remove the human emotion when developing strategies, allowing the predetermined algorithm to identify opportunities, maximise gains, and minimise losses. Traders can develop their own EAs, or download existing EAs from the MetaTrader marketplace.
Algorithmic trading with EAs is available on both MT4 and MT5, although there are key differences in features between platforms that are explained below.
Although commodities, indices and precious metals can be traded on MT4, the platform was initially designed to facilitate forex trading for retail investor accounts. While popular asset classes such as share CFDs and ETFs cannot be accessed on MT4, it is still incredibly popular due to its Expert Advisor features and analysis tools.
MT4 features that FP Markets and IC Markets traders can utilise include:
A unique feature that IC Markets offers is a package of 20 trading tools compatible with MetaTrader 4. The add-ons include risk management and execution tools such as a mini terminal, tick chart trader and market manager. As well as add-on tools, the package provides additional indicators such as High-Low, Pivot and Renko indicators.
MT5 users gain access to an expanded collection of trading and analysis tools such as:
Additional features that MT5 users gain that are not offered by its predecessor include:
The various improvements to MT5 are well-suited to those wanting to execute day trading or scalping strategies due to the platform offering 21 different timeframes, plus a greater range of technical analysis tools.
Likewise, those using Expert Advisors may prefer MT5 over MT4, as the MQL5 programming language is comparable to the object-oriented C++ language. The more efficient MQL5 means it is easier for traders to learn the programming language, as well as write and edit EAs.
The forex trading platform is a good choice for beginner and advanced traders alike as it provides a user-friendly institutional-style trading environment.
Algorithmic Trading: Similarly to MetaTrader’s Expert Advisors, cTrader users can fully automate trading using cBots. cBots are developed using the software programming language, C#.
cTrader also offers ultra-fast execution speeds. Yet, while MetaTrader servers are hosted by Equinix’s New York Data Centre, cTrader servers are based in Equinix’s Data Centre in London. This may be advantageous for those wanting to focus on forex trading based in the United Kingdom or Europe. Additional cTrader features and tools include:
Ideal for those wanting to trade a wide range of Share CFDs, FP Markets proprietary trading platform, Iress, offers market access to ETFs and over 10,000 stocks. While commodities, futures, forex and indices are available, market access is limited (only 34 currency pairs available).
To access FP Markets Iress trading platform, customers must sign up to one of three Iress account types: Standard, Platinum or Premier. Other features of the trading Iress platform include:
While asset classes, trading tools and automated trading features are similar across platforms, the combination of IC Markets and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) wins this round.
With all of MT4’s features, plus level 2 depth of market, MQL5 to write EAs, extended analysis features as well as access to Share CFD markets, MT5 provides all the tools needed to develop diverse and effective trading strategies.
To manage the high risk of trading forex and CFDs, trading platform features such as order types and demo accounts can be used. Additionally, signing up with a broker that is regulated by top-tier financial authorities provides investors protection, although this varies between jurisdictions.
The order types available to manage risk vary between trading platforms. While market orders execute a trade at the current market price, pending orders can be used to buy and sell financial instruments at a predetermined price. You can use the following order types on MT4, MT5, cTrader and Iress to enter and exit markets at optimal times:
Demo accounts are an additional risk management tool offered by both FP Markets and IC Markets. Demo accounts are useful for practising trading strategies against real-time market data, familiarising yourself with technical analysis as well as building confidence placing different orders.
IC Markets and FP Markets are overseen by top-tier financial authorities that ensure subsidiaries provide the correct level of investor protection, depending on the jurisdiction.
Depending on where you reside, you can register with an IC Markets subsidiary that is regulated by one of the following financial authorities:
If you are a European or UK trader, IC Markets is required to provide negative balance protection. Negative balance protection is a policy enforced by certain financial authorities such as CySEC and the FCA to ensure you cannot lose more funds than you initially deposited. If your trading balance falls below zero, IC Markets will close all open positions to protect your account from entering a negative balance. As negative balance protection is not a legal requirement for FSA or ASIC regulated brokers, traders’ outside of the UK and Europe do not receive such protection.
With oversight from three major regulators, FP Markets is seen as a trusted broker. The broker’s policies aimed to protect investors differ between subsidiaries, with CySEC enforcing the strictest financial regulation overall.
If you are based in the UK or Europe, you can register with FP Markets CySEC regulated branch. As with IC Markets EU customers, FP Markets will provide negative balance protection. Those residing elsewhere have the option of the FSA or ASIC regulated subsidiaries, where negative balance protection is not a requirement.
FP Markets and IC Markets are seen as trusted, highly regulated brokers that provide similar risk management tools and investor protection. Both brokers are regulated by ASIC and CySEC, with European and UK traders receiving negative balance protection.
When choosing a broker, the level of support and educational resources you require may vary whether you are new to trading or an experienced investor. Two main areas of customer service to look at before choosing a broker are:
A major benefit to trading with IC markets is that customer support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To get in touch with IC Markets representatives, you can use phone, email and live chat contact methods, all which provide quick and efficient responses.
Like the broker’s excellent customer support, IC Markets offers a wide range of educational materials and research tools to help expand your forex trading knowledge:
Unlike IC Markets, FP Markets customer support is limited to 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. Phone, email and live chat contact methods are available, although the live chat function is known to be slow while providing irrelevant answers. Australian traders are provided with the additional option of visiting the broker’s head office, based in Sydney, Australia.
While FP Markets lacks the excellent webinars that IC Markets hosts, the broker still provides a good range of educational and research resources:
With 24/7 customer support via live chat, email and phone, IC Markets offers the best customer service overall. In addition to customer support being helpful and efficient, the broker offers a wide range of educational resources and research tools. I design the education and research tools to help traders develop their trading knowledge while staying up to date with news and changes within financial markets.
When funding your trading account, there are three key points to consider:
When setting up your IC Markets account, a base currency needs to be selected. The broker offers CAD, CHF, JPY, NZD, SGD, HKD, GBP, EUR and AUD as base currencies, regardless of whether you are signing up to a Raw or Standard account type.
IC Markets offers 15 funding options, including traditional and e-wallet methods. The broker does not charge any deposit and withdrawal fees, yet third party fees may apply for certain withdrawal methods. When making withdrawals, funds will be returned via the same payment method the funds were initially deposited with.
Deposit and withdrawal methods available include the following:
Please note, each deposit methods accept specific currencies, i.e, UnionPay only accepts the Chinese Yuan and Bpay the Australian Dollar.
IC Markets do not charge account fees such as inactivity fees, making it an excellent low-cost broker for infrequent traders.
FP Markets can set up their trading account with one of the following base currencies: USD, CAD, AUD, NZD, JPY, GBP, HKD, GBP, EUR, CHF and CAD.
The broker provides credit card, banking and e-wallet payment options. As with IC Markets, each payment method accepts different base currencies and may not be suitable for all traders and locations.
Apart from international broker to broker transfers where a $25 AUD fee applies, no deposit fees will be incurred if you use any of the above methods on MT4/MT5.
Withdrawal fees vary between payment method, credit cards and domestic bank wires are fee-free, while certain e-Wallet withdrawals can be charged up to USD $30.
FP Market customers incur no penalties for leaving their trading accounts dormant. Traders can stop placing orders for any length of time without incurring inactivity fees.
While FP Markets offers a good range of funding methods, a major disadvantage when trading with the broker is that certain e-wallets withdrawals can be charged up to $30. IC Markets offers a wide range of base currencies, fee-free deposit and withdrawal options plus no inactivity fees. Meaning when compared to FP Markets, IC Markets provide the best funding methods overall.
Both online brokers offer similar account types, CFD product range and investor protection, yet with ultra-tight average spreads and a choice of the three best trading platforms on the market, IC Markets is the overall winner.
As well as lower spreads, IC Markets is well-known for its low trading costs and excellent trading conditions. Customers can choose between ECN-like commission pricing, a standard commission-free structure or an Islamic account type, with MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 or cTrader available as platform options. IC Markets offers demo accounts for all platforms and accounts, with a virtual balance of $50,000 provided to practise forex and CFD trading.
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.