In our IC Markets vs FXCM review, we found that IC Markets offers 65 currency pairs, 23 Indices and 10 cryptocurrencies and MT4 and 5 forex trading platforms. FXCM offers 40 currency pairs, 10 trading baskets and 5 different trading platforms.
IC Markets and FXCM offer variable spread with ECN pricing. These brokers business models operate with no dealing desk intervention as they source their prices from liquidity providers which they have no relationship with.
Most traders with IC Markets will be one of their RAW spread accounts as these accounts offer IC Market’s best value trading conditions. Traders with FXCM are most likely to be using their Standard account. This is FXCM’s default account if you trade a minimum 10 million USD on a monthly basis then you will be eligible for FXCM’s Active trader account. This is similar to IC Markets RAW Spread Account.
Both traders allow scalping, hedging and expert advisors (for trading automation).
IC Markets offers three main types of trading accounts for clients, all accounts have a $200 minimum deposit requirements.
The Standard Account offers you commission-free trading on the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 trading platforms. Spreads are slightly wider (starting from 1.0 pips) as trading fees are inclusive in the spread. This account is popular with beginner traders due to its basic cost structure.
The Raw Spread Account offers IC Markets best STP/ECN broker spreads, starting from 0.0 pips EUR/USD. You can trade on the MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5 trading platforms while paying only $3.50 commission per lot payable each way. The Raw Spread Account has deep liquidity and fast trade execution, making it ideal for high volume traders, scalpers and trading robots or algorithms. Due to the lower trading fees and ECN broker spreads this is IC Markets most popular account.
The cTrader Raw Account also offers low spreads on a range of CFDs with only $6.00 commission per lot round turn. This account is fore traders that prefer the cTrader trading platform to MetaTrader platforms.
For a realistic indication of what costs you can expect when trading with IC Markets, see our trading calculator. This tool calculates spreads costs plus commission using average spreads the broker provides each month.
FXCM offers two main account types:
The Standard Account is FXCM’s default account for retail traders. This account has no commission fees and spreads starting from 0.8 pips. If you use this account, there is a $50 minimum deposit.
The Active Trader Account is for professional traders or high volume investors as there is a minimum $10 million monthly trading volume to qualify. This account, like IC Markets Raw Spread account, has commissions so spreads can be tighter. Commission fees start at $3.00 per lot and reduce the more you trade.
ECN pricing accounts offer better value spreads than standard spreads even with commission fees taken into consideration. For this reason, we consider the IC Markets Raw spread account is the best available option as FXCM’s Active trader account has higher barriers to entry.
The IC Markets Standard Account and FXCM Standard Account both offer mid-range spreads in comparison to other popular forex and CFD brokers. IC Markets offers a spread of 1.10 pips on the EUR/USD currency pair, while FXCM offers 1.40 pips.
Data taken from broker website. Accurate as at 02/04/2021
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The IC Markets Raw Spread Account and FXCM Active Trader Account both offer competitive spreads. With direct access to liquidity and no dealing desk execution, IC Markets achieves some of the lowest average spreads of any forex broker. The spread for the EUR/USD currency pair is 0.10 pips.
FXCM also uses ECN pricing however with an average spread of 0.30 pips on the EUR/USD currency pair, it is weaker than IC Markets. This is even when one accounts for the lower commission Active Trader account has.
The IC Markets Raw Spread Account outperforms FXCM accounts due to the ECN pricing with lower average spreads on both major and minor forex pairs. While the FXCM Active Trader Account can lead to saving with for high volume traders, most retail traders are better to use IC Markets Raw Spread accounts.
Leverage in forex trading is the act of borrowing capital from the broker to increase your trading position while investing only a minimum of your own funds.
As price movements in leverage are generally small, leverage is a useful tool to gain better returns for your efforts.
It is important to remember that trading with leverage involves risk. Unfavourable forex movements can lead to higher than losses than you may anticipate.
The maximum leverage the brokers can offer depends on who their financial regulator is. European regulators have tighter regulation than other regions.
Both IC Markets and FXCM offer a maximum leverage of up to 30:1 for major forex pairs and 20:1 for minor and exotics, 20:1 for major indices, 10:1 for commodities, and 2:1 for cryptocurrencies.
If you are a professional trader then you can access more generous trading conditions. With IC Markets you can use a maximum 500:1 leverage for forex pairs, while FXCM only offers 400:1.
IC Markets offers maximum allowable leverage of up to 500:1 for forex. Leverage will FXCM will depend on how much equity you have in your account.
The below table shows the leverage available for IC Markets and FXCM accounts.
Allowable leverage depends on where you are trading. Across the board, IC Markets maximum leverage is higher than FXCM. While 500:1 leverage may be higher than you need, you can always lower it should you wish.
You can open a demo or live account through IC Markets on three different trading platforms: MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, and cTrader. These platforms are compatible with both desktop (PC and Mac) and mobile trading (iOS and Android).
IC Markets clients can access the MetaTrader 4 trading platform and benefit from true ECN trading conditions (only with the Raw spread account). Unlike a market maker, the ECN technology provides you with quotes derived from multiple sources of liquidity providers (LP).
IC Markets has a network of almost 25 LPs and collocated servers in the Equinix NY4 data centre in New York. The proximity hosting services ensures fast order execution speed of 40ms and less than 1ms latency to VPS providers.
Additionally, IC Markets clients can access 20 exclusive advanced MT4 tools, including alarm manager, correlation matrix, trade terminal, sentiment trader and so much more.
Forex traders can also access the multi-asset platform MetaTrader 5. IC Markets clients have two options to trade with:
MetaTrader 5 also has a greater range of forex pairs and CFDs and an extensive list of indicators. IC Markets MT5 also has no first in first out (FIFO) policy, as well as enabling heading for its clients. The MT5 Depth of Market (DOM) feature allows you to execute trades with just one-click.
Last but not least, IC Markets clients can trade via the cTrader trading platform. The cTrader platform has personalized interface comes with a range of charting options and access to deep liquidity pools designed for algorithmic trading and high-speed trading including scalping.
IC Markets cTrader server is collocated in the LD5 IBX Equinix Data Centre in London. This ensures greater connectivity and faster speeds especially for the UK traders and EU residents.
Forex traders can enjoy leading tools and features via the cTrader platform including Smart Stop Out Level, DOM using Volume Weighted Average Price (VWAP), detachable charts, real-time reports, advanced order types and so much more.
There is a choice of three different trading platforms available through FXCM: Trading Station, MetaTrader 4, NinjaTrader, and TradingView. Both demo accounts and live accounts are available and you can trade on desktop and mobile Apps available on both Android and iOS devices.
FXCM’s proprietary trading platform Trade Station offers forex traders a new way of trading. The platform offers powerful trading tools, robust charting package and add-ons via FXCM Apps store.
The most useful and popular trading tools to build a trading toolkit includes integrated economic calendar and news stream, cloud service, advanced charts, trading analytics, customize time periods, strategy optimization and the well-known Speculative Sentiment Index (SSI).
The free and paid FXCM Apps offers traders additional tools that come in the form of add-ons, alerts, automated strategies and indicators.
FXCM also offers the industry-leading MetaTrader 4 trading platform. Here you can access forex, futures, and CFDs, all equipped with interactive charts, multiple order types, advanced analytical tools, and a range of trading indicators.
FXCM allows all types of trading strategies on its MT4 platform including scalping. Complementary to the default MT4 tools, FXCM clients can access partially close position feature and paid and free FXCM Apps (Experts Advisors, indicators and scripts).
The most eye-catching and useful tools include:
NinjaTrader is another trading platform available through FXCM that provides access to forex, futures, and equities markets. The NinjaScript programming language can be used for the strategy builder and help you develop a trading system. As an alternative to the other trading platforms, NinjaTrader is ideal for scalpers and active traders who want to benefit from the array of analytical tools and customizable charts.
In terms of functionality NinjaTrader platform can boost advanced charting and drawing tools, trade management feature, point-and-click strategy builder which doesn’t require any programming experience, risk management tools and sophisticated order types, customizable workspace, market analyzer, advanced alerts and so much more.
As both brokers offer different trading platforms, either would be suitable depending on your platform preference. Overall, as MetaTrader 4 is considered the most popular, the remaining trading platforms set the brokers apart. FXCM has a slightly more extensive choice of trading platforms with a little more variation than IC Markets, including some specialty trading platforms.
View FXCM Review >>Visit FXCM >>
IC Markets offers a greater range of Forex Currency pairs than FXCM. With 65 currency pairs to choose from, IC Markets not only exceeds FXCM 39 pairs but offer one of the largest range of all brokers.
While forex is only one type of derivative, it can be useful to trade other contracts for differences (CFDs). As a risk management strategy, trading across asset classes provides a level of protection as some assets can work as a hedge against other unfavourable movements in other assets.
IC Markets have expanded their product range in recent times. They now offer bonds, futures and more cryptocurrency choices than they have in the past. In addition to 65 forex currency pairs, IC Markets offers:
As well as 39 forex currency pairs offered, FXCM also provides access to:
IC Markets not only offers a greater choice of Forex currency pairs than FXCM but a larger range of CFDs. Unlike FXCM, IC Markets offer bonds and futures and a bigger selection of cryptocurrencies. The one advantage FXCM has over IC Markets is with the availability of baskets. These are like a kind of ETF where the best products by category are put together to help better manage risks.
IC Markets offers local customer support from its office in Sydney, Australia and their UK branch. You can also contact the broker through email, Skype, phone, or through the live chat feature on their website. By comparison, FXCM also offers efficient customer support being available through email, phone, live chat, SMS, and their trading desk line. FXCM also has toll free global numbers in countries where FXCM has a local presence. Additionally, both brokers have a FAQ section to help with any additional queries.
The head-to-head FXCM vs IC Markets review shows that both broker supply resources for training purpose and market research materials. However, IC Markets tops FXCM in this category as it offers plenty of educational resources in video format, trade set-ups via WEB TV powered by Trading Central and an exclusive Information Hub.
IC Markets Information Hub is a forex learning centre that is a portal to everything you need to know about:
Additionally, IC Markets offers all-inclusive video tutorials series about the MetaTrader 4 platform for beginners to advanced levels. The third-party content from Trading Central offers exclusive trading ideas from professional analysts and experts.
FXCM also offers a selection of educational resources but their trading guides for learning forex are very basic. The only noticeable resource offered by FXCM is the daily newsletter “Before the Bell” powered by Trading Central that includes key technical levels for the day ahead. On the downside, the report only covers a limited number of instruments (EUR/USD, USD/JPY, GBP/USD, Gold, DAX, and Crude Oil).
Additionally, both brokers offer an economic calendar with all upcoming news events, plus FXCM offers a market scanner that can be used to find new trading opportunities based on your favourite technical parameters.
Both brokers provide a decent level of customer service and support. In terms of contacting the broker with queries, either broker is sufficient with live chats and global contact details. With regard to research and educational resources, IC Markets slightly outperforms FXCM due to the wider scope of tools and features available for forex and CFD trading.
IC Markets require a minimum deposit amount of USD 200 (or equivalent) to open a Standard and Raw Spread Account. For FXCM, you will need a minimum of USD 50 (or equivalent) to start with a Standard Account or USD 25,000 (or equivalent) to fund an Active Trader Account.
Both brokers off fee-free deposits when adding funds to your account. IC Markets offers a wider range of funding options.
There are 19 funding methods to deposit with IC Markets including:
FXCM also allows a range of deposit methods:
To withdraw from an IC Markets account, you are required to use the same method as you use for the deposit. There are no withdrawal fees associated and the time taken for your account to be withdrawn is typically:
Similarly, a range of options exist for withdrawing from an FXCM account, however, there are only withdrawal fees when using Bank Wire and Union Pay. The options include:
Both IC Markets and FXCM offer a range of funding methods covering all the most common options. Minimum funding for IC Markets is slightly higher than for FXCM, meaning if you are wanting to get started with a lower amount then FXCM is more suitable.
IC Markets has a license under three main regulators:
Regulation under two Tier 1 and one Tier 3 entities indicate that the broker is safe and reliable in providing superior financial services.
FXCM has a list of regulators including:
FXCM currently does not accept clients residing in the US, Russia, Ukraine, Singapore, Turkey, Japan, and the Virgin Islands.
FCA and CySEC both require forex brokers to offer guaranteed negative balance protection to retail clients. If you are a retail trader with IC MARKETS (EU) LTD (IC Markets European subsidiary) or Forex Capital Markets Limited (FXCM’s European subsidiary) then you can be sure you account never goes into a negative balance.
If you choose to trade a professional trader you will lose negative balance protection. If you trade with other IC Markets or FXCM subsidiaries (ie. Australia) you will not have this protection.
Both brokers offer top quality regulation. In Europe, you will have FCA or CySEC regulation which is much the same as they both above by ESMA requirements. Both brokers offer ASIC but if you are in South Africa, FXCM offers local regulation which IC Markets does not.
Both IC Markets and FXCM offer a range of features for forex trading. With the lowest spreads and reasonable commission charges, IC Markets is ideal for any type of trader from beginner to intermediate all the way to expert level. FXCM has a diverse range of standard and specialty trading platforms that are offered at extremely low trading fees. Head to head, IC Markets slightly outperforms FXCM as the broker covers more important aspects of trading and will likely suit a wider range of 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.