IC Markets is an ASIC and CySEC regulated forex broker with the lowest spreads of any CFD broker in 2021 with leverage up to 500:1. The broker is great for CFD traders looking for low brokerage and MT4, MT5 or cTrader trading platforms.
IC Markets is the lowest fee forex brokers. In April 2021 a forex broker spread comparison found the IC Markets Raw Spread account had the tightest spreads and low commissions. Other features of IC Markets include high leverage, no deposit or withdrawal fees and a minimum deposit requirement of $200.
Traders have the choice of the three leading forex trading platform; MT4, MT5 and cTrader. This allows the trading of currency pairs, CFDs and crypto.
As an IC Markets CFD trader, you can choose from one of three main trading accounts.
The broke offers an account type for all styles and levels of trading experience. Forex traders looking to execute automated trading strategies or trade high volumes will prefer the Raw Account’s low fees. On the other hand, those new to trading will the simple pricing of IC Markets Standard Account appealing, as the no commission structure means there is no need for complex brokerage fee calculations.
View the Standard vs Raw Spread comparison table to find the right account for your needs.
If you are a CFD and forex trader following Sharia Law, the broker offers an Islamic Account type with either Raw or Standard pricing that does not incur any interest based swap rates. While CFD and forex trades held open for longer than one day pay or receive a swap rate (aka overnight financing fee) that is derived from interest rates, Islamic accounts comply with Islamic finance practises by paying flat-rate admin fees rather than swap rates.
The overall rating is based on review by our experts
Compare Forex Brokers compares the average spreads of the top forex brokers MetaTrader 4 ECN account. The MT4 Raw Spread account has provided the lowest spreads of any ECN broker account in every month of 2020.
Data taken from broker website. Accurate as at 02/04/2021
Based on the published lowest average spreads, the broker was awarded the 2020 lowest spread forex broker. It should be noted that the EUR/USD which IC Markets has the lowest spread is the most traded currency pair. Having a low spread on this forex pair is therefore critical when judging the lowest spread broker. Key factors that help IC Markets achieve the lowest spreads worldwide is the brokers:
IC Markets offer 10 base currencies including the AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, SGD, JPY, CHF, NZD, CAD to HKD. The base currency a trader chooses when opening an account will determine the commission rate you pay. Below shows the commission for the MetaTrader 4 Raw account.
The MT4 raw spreads charged are on par with the best forex brokers worldwide. To show IC Markets competitiveness, the graph below compares the rate a trader will pay with different brokers when opening an account with the AUD as the base currency.
You can view our comprehensive 2021 spread and commission comparison article for more detail on the forex broker’s fees.
The IC Markets raw spread trading accounts (formally true ECN account) are considered the ‘best value’ based on:
Compare Broker Spreads >>Visit Broker >>
IC Markets offer the three most popular forex trading platforms worldwide. The MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5) and cTrader forex platforms offer the best desktop trading platforms and mobile trading app options. This includes all mobile devices, i.e. iPhone, iPad and Android applications, with both demos and live accounts available.
There are 20 additional tools and technical indicators the CFD broker integrates into the MetaTrader platforms. These add-on tools give traders an edge in most CFD and forex trading conditions. Examples of the trading tool apps include:
Add-on technical indicators can greatly enhance your technical analysis when using MT4, these range from Keltner, to pivot and gravity indicators.
IC Markets forex trading platforms use Equinix servers that allow for fast order execution speeds, with cTrader utilising the LD5 server in London and MT4 and MT5 the NY4 in New York.
The broker also have a direct access inter-bank price feeds from over 50 banks and institutional liquidity providers, allowing for ultra-tight spreads and minimal slippage when forex trading.
IC Markets forex platform is the leader of the Australian forex brokers based on three factors:
IC Markets requires you to make an initial minimum deposit of USD $200 (or equivalents) when opening a trading account. There are 19 funding methods (most fee-free) to deposit funds, including:
As with deposits, making an IC Markets withdrawal incurs no fees, although certain banks may charge $20 AUD for international bank transfers. Within the secure client area withdrawals can be requested with the daily cut-off time at 12:00 AEST. The time it takes to receive the withdrawn amount depends on the method used including:
It should be noted that the withdrawal method needs to be the same as the deposit method chosen. As an example, if you use a debit card to make a deposit, then the same card needs to be used for the withdrawal. Webmoney also used to be offered but is no longer available.
View our detailed IC deposit page for more details on deposit methods, requirements and fees.
IC Markets offer are a number of CFD trading services with no dealing desk execution, consisting of:
*NOTE: Although it may not apply to IC Markets, new guidelines under FCA Regulations have deemed that UK retail traders are no longer able to trade cryptocurrencies.
There are three main regulators that IC Markets have a licence with. You will receive different levels of investor protection depending on where you live and the subsidiary you sign up.
In Australia, IC Markets is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and holds an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL no. 335692). ASIC has several safeguards to protect forex traders, including the requirement for brokers to hold funds in a segregated bank account.
While not as strict as some financial regulators in Europe, ASIC is introducing new requirements in April 2021. Next year, ASIC regulated brokers will be required to provide negative balance protection and enforce leverage caps.
IC Markets uses are the National Australia Bank (NAB) and Westpac Banking Corporation (Westpac). View our ASIC regulated page to compare IC Markets to other Australian forex brokers.
IC Markets European branch is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC). Brokers in this region follow forex trading rules determined by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). CySEC and the ESMA has strict rules covering several areas including:
For traders outside of Australia and the EU, IC Markets has a subsidiary under the name Raw Trading Ltd, registered in the Seychelles (Africa). The company number is 8419879-2 and dealer licence number is SD018. The Financial Services Authority of Seychelles (FSC) is an offshore financial authority that enforces less investor protections than CySEC or ASIC.
Overall, IC Market has regulation in two ‘tier-1’ and one ‘tier-3’ (offshore) region which will give traders peace of mind. Brokers that may seem similar to IC Market such as Hugo’s Way do not have regulation in any ‘tier 1’ region and should be avoided.
IC Markets offer the highest leverage level of up to 500:1 from its ASIC and SC regulatory divisions. This leverage varies across the broker’s 65 currency pairs and other CFDs (such as cryptocurrencies). Below compares IC Markets to the other leading brokers such as IG.
If you reside in an European Union (EU) region and trade through the CySEC branch, the maximum leverage is significantly lower:
Leverage is effectively the amount a forex broker allows a trader to borrow when trading CFDs and forex. It’s a multiple of the deposit so for the maximum of 500:1 leverage this means you can trade up to 500 times the initial capital. For example, a $200 deposit can lead to $100,000 worth of currency to be traded on currency markets.
Forex Trading Leverage Example:
Currency markets normally have relatively small movements each day compared to other financial products. If you use a conventional forex exchange service (eg purchasing USD currency) the returns would be normally very modest. To amplify these movements, leverage is offered to retail traders to make it easy to make a profit (or loss) from smaller price movements.
High leverage is particularly suited for forex traders who have a high-risk tolerance when scalping or using expert advisors, or trade currency pairings with low volatility (or during a low volatility period). The high risk of losing funds means that lower leverage may be more suited to certain traders like beginners.
As IC Markets provide the highest leverage of 500:1, it is important to manage the high risk of forex trading. High leverage is ideal for retail traders with a high-risk appetite or those using third-party tools such as expert advisors, while beginners should be cautious.
While high leverage can magnify returns, all levels of trading experience can utilise IC Markets risk management tools to reduce the high risk of losing money.
A guaranteed stop loss order such as that offered by Plus500 is when you can pre-set the maximum amount your willing to lose on an individual trade. Regardless of market conditions, this predetermined entry or exit price selected is guaranteed with no chance of slippage.
This differs from icmarkets.com stop-loss order facility, which allows a trader to set the maximum loss. But in high volatility environments, losses may exceed this amount.
IC Markets provide an advanced margin call facility that detects when a trader is approaching a $0 balance and exits the trader automatically. The key issue is that in extreme market events (i.e. the floating of the Swiss Franc) this software may not have the ability to exit the market fast. This can lead to losses exceeding deposits, and the Australian forex broker may request for the outstanding debt to be paid.
Overall, IC is an ECN-style broker which means faster execution speeds and lower spreads, yet does not offer the extensive risk management features that market maker brokers offer. You can view our comparison with easyMarkets to compare an ECN broker vs market maker broker.
IC offers 24/7 customer support via a range of contact methods. Local customer support is available from their Sydney office at Level 6 309 Kent Street Sydney, NSW 2000. CFD traders can reach them through different channels like email, Skype or by phone. Their Sydney response time is within 15 minutes based on our enquiries with most complex issues solved within a day.
Live chat customer service is also offered by the CFD provider. The company is dedicated to providing a high quality educational centre (video journals and articles) that is great for those who have no previous knowledge in trading forex and CFDs. Pepperstone is one of the few fx brokers that has won more awards for customer support than IC Markets.
IC offers various research tools and support when forex trading, including:
Outside of these features, our IC Markets review found the forex broker doesn’t offer advanced research features such as new headlines and pattern-recognition tools.
IC Markets is the best ASIC and CySEC regulated broker based on spreads and fees. A 2020 average spread comparison found IC Markets has the lowest spreads of any regulated broker worldwide.
IC Markets is regulated by CySec (Cyprus) which is within the ESMA regulatory umbrella. Traders can select that branch which has the usual ESMA policies on negative balance protection and leverage limitations. You can view regulatory details of IC Markets here.
South Africa is one location IC Markets caters for through its Seychelles subsidiary. Traders can benefit from the broker’s maximum leverage of 500:1 in this region.
IC Markets is Australian based since 2007 with an ASIC licence (AFSL 335692). Both Australia retail and professional traders can join IC with the choice of the standard or raw trading account. Another comparative Australia forex broker is FP Markets.
The minimum deposit is $200 with IC Markets and similar to Admiral Markets, Blueberry Markets, FXTM and FXCM. View our minimum deposit requirements and funding method section.
A withdrawal from IC Markets is possible through the deposit method made from a credit card, international transfer to Paypal. Withdrawals will take 3 to 5 business days for most withdrawal methods, but international transfers can take up to 20 days.
IC Markets is the best broker for traders looking for low fees. They offer the lowest spreads of any forex broker and low commissions from $3.50 per lot. With the choice of MT4, MT5 or the cTrader forex trading platforms, they are the best forex broker for intermediate or expert forex traders.
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.