In our Forextime vs IC Markets review, we found both forex brokers offer MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and 5 (MT5) trading platforms, good CFD range and high leverage. This FXTM vs IC Markets review compares each broker to find the best broker for trading.
In an attempt to suit the preferences and financial objectives of a larger audience, both brokerages have ensured that clients have a choice of multiple trading account types. Both IC Markets and FXTM offer Standard and ECN trading accounts:
IC Markets’ Standard Account aims at simplicity. Clients can trade without being charged any commissions while paying an all-inclusive bid-ask spread. By accessing the broker’s MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 trading platforms, they can choose from 64 currency pairs, 16 Commodities and 16 major Stock Indices, all with a minimum deposit required of $200.
In comparison, FXTM offers three types of Standard accounts:
IC Markets offer its clients two types of ECN accounts compared to 3 ECN accounts offered by ForexTime. The main characteristics of the ECN account combine no dealing desk execution model, faster speeds with competitive trading cost, interbank spreads and transparent trading conditions.
As an ECN forex broker, IC Markets grant access to 64 currency pairs and metals along with 15 major CFD indices that can be traded on:
Meanwhile, FXTM offers three types of ECN accounts:
Along with the live account types, a free demo account is available at both IC Markets and FXTM. Additionally, both brokerages offer an Islamic account (swap-free) option for clients of the Muslim faith.
Overall, both forex brokers offer a good selection of retail investor accounts. For this category, IC Markets and FXTM are seemingly equally good options to start forex trading and other CFDs.
In the current review, we have decided to present a head-to-head comparison of the minimum spreads that both brokers offer on their ECN account types and the standard account.
Spreads offered across IC Markets’ product list remain quite competitive, being as low as 1.0 pip on pairs such as EUR/USD or USD/JPY. By comparison, the FXTM standard account boasts spreads that start from 1.3 pips on major Forex pairs. At the same time, the FXTM Cent account boasts higher spreads that start from 1.5 pips on major Forex pairs.
Since IC Markets utilizes a pool of 25 top-tier liquidity providers, it is able to offer the lowest possible spreads, starting from 0.0 pips on all Forex pairs. Furthermore, in an attempt to respond to competition from other top Forex brokers such as Pepperstone, IC Markets keeps the average spread offered on EUR/USD at 0.1 pips 24/5 (one of the best worldwide).
The average spreads on major currency pairs are:
In exchange for raw pricing and ultra-fast order execution, which would best suit trading styles such as scalping as well as automated trading, the STP broker will charge a commission of $7.0 per round turn for 1 Standard Lot traded.
On the cTrader platform, spreads start from 0.0 pips on all Forex pairs thanks to the broker’s deep liquidity pool. In exchange for ECN trading conditions, IC Markets will charge a commission of $6.0 per round turn for every 1 Standard Lot traded.
Meanwhile, FXTM’s ECN spreads come in different sizes, depending on your account type:
We should note that FXTM offers Forex spreads starting from 0.0 pips on its Pro Account only if clients maintain a minimum account balance of $25,000/EUR 25,000/GBP 25,000 all the time.
The minimum spreads on spot metals:
Note that even the average spreads offered by IC Markets on Spot Metals (1.0 pip on XAU/USD, 0.2 pips on XAG/USD, 1.5 pips on XAU/EUR and 0.3 pips on XAG/EUR) remain lower than the minimum spreads offered by FXTM.
Clearly, IC Markets’ deep interbank liquidity allows the broker to keep spreads across its entire Forex product list very tight. IC Markets spreads can save you up to 200% as you’ll have less trading costs.
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The maximum leverage allowed for trading CFDs and Forex varies depending on the regulation jurisdiction. In the European Economic Area, under ESMA/CySEC rules, the maximum leverage ratios both IC Markets and FXTM offer retail clients are the following:
At the same time, in the United Kingdom, where IC Markets is not regulated under ESMA/FCA rules, the maximum leverage ratios FXTM offers retail clients are on par with the CySEC leverage restrictions.
Meanwhile, in Australia, where FXTM is not regulated under ASIC rules, the maximum leverage ratios for Forex and CFD trading offered by IC Markets are as follows:
And, in South Africa, where IC Markets is not regulated, there are no known leverage caps for retail Forex traders. In that jurisdiction, the maximum leverage ratios FXTM allows depend on the live trading account type. They can be presented as follows:
At IC Markets, global clients can access the same leverage limits as adopted by Australia’s ASIC.
Overall, both brokers are compliant with the leverage restrictions imposed by the regulatory agencies. However, FXTM offers higher leverage ratio of up to 1:2000 to clients from outside of tier-one jurisdictions.
View FXTM Review >>Visit FXTM >>
Both IC Markets and FXTM have ensured to offer their clients a range of trading platforms, equipped with additional tools. MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 trading platforms are shared between the two forex brokers, while the cTrader platform is available exclusively to IC Markets’ clients.
We consider IC Markets’ MT4 software as one of the best solutions for both novice and sophisticated Forex traders. As a leading Forex broker, FXTM also puts a lot of emphasis on its MetaTrader 4 platform.
The MetaTrader 4 platform allows access to a sound environment for development and testing of Expert Advisors (EAs). IC Markets has an advantage over FXTM due to Low latency and ultra-fast order execution. The average order execution speed is 36.5 ms, while the broker’s MT4 server is located in the Equinix NY4 data centre.
IC Markets and FXTM’s MT4 platforms have Windows and Mac OSX compatibility with good mobile trading capability – apps for iOS and Android devices. While the MT4 WebTrader is compatible with six browsers (Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera).
Both brokerages grant access to MT4’s even more powerful successor, the MetaTrader 5 platform. We can summarize its key features and benefits as follows:
Along with the MetaTrader package, both IC Markets and FXTM offer one additional trading software option.
Similar to other leading brokerages such as Pepperstone, IC Markets has included the cTrader software in its trading platform list. It allows for an even superior chart and layout customization options, advanced analytics, full depth of market and also grants access to cAlgo and Smart Stop Out features.
FXTM, on the other hand, offers the FXTM Trader mobile app – its proprietary software that features state-of-the-art charting tools, one-click trading option and also allows for trading across more than one device.
At IC Markets, clients can access to copy trading features such as ZuluTrade, Myfxbook AutoTrade and MQL5. At the same time, FXTM grants access to its in-house copy trading platform FXTM Trading Signals. This social trading network combines popular technical indicators and presents different scenarios, four Take-Profit levels, Stop Loss recommendations as well as daily updates prior to the start of EU and US trading sessions.
For trading platforms, IC Markets offers a better experience as it offers an additional option (cTrader) as compared to FXTM. FXTM only stands out with their proprietary trading app and in-house social trading network. However, IC Markets tops FXTM as it grants its clients access to more third-party copy trading platforms.
IC Markets provides traders with 8 different financial markets compared to FXTM’s 5 asset classes. A similarity that both brokers bear is their focus on Forex trading. While clients can choose from 61 major, minor and exotic currency pairs accessed through MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 and cTrader platforms at IC Markets, FXTM offers a total of 62 Forex pairs accessed via its MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 software.
Along with Forex pairs, both brokerages offer a set of CFDs.
Disclaimer: Trading CFDs on retail investor accounts comes with a high risk of capital losses due to the use of leverage. Retail clients need to make sure they fully understand how these derivative instruments work before they start trading.
To be more specific, the CFD range at both brokers includes:
*NOTE: Under new FCA guidlines, retail traders in the UK are no longer able to trade cryptocurrencies.
Overall, between IC Markets and FXTM, IC Markets offers more financial instruments and subsequently more trading opportunities. Additional CFDs like cryptocurrencies, bonds and futures are exclusively offered only at IC Markets. Click the button below to explore a wide range of global CFDs.
Professional customer support service is another essential aspect, which we took into consideration in our review. We were left with a rather positive impression after contacting the support team at both IC Markets and FXTM, especially via their live chat options. At both brokerages, we were treated in a respectful manner and all of our inquiries received immediate, plain and relevant answers.
Along with the live chat, other chat options at FXTM include WhatsApp, Viber, Telegram and Facebook Messenger.
Additionally, both brokers can also be contacted via email (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) and over the phone (+61 (0)2 8014 4280 – IC Markets), (+357 25 55 87 77 – FXTM). IC Markets has also provided several toll-free numbers to contact its support team.
However, we should note that only IC Markets offers 24/7 customer support service, while the latter is available only on business days at FXTM.
Our review has found that both brokers offer impressive Forex education content on their websites.
Along with an extensive glossary of Forex terms, IC Markets has provided education content structured in sections, each focusing on a particular topic such as Forex Trading, Technical Analysis, Fundamental Analysis, Risk Management, Trading Psychology and Trading Plan. At FXTM, traders can find a selection of eBooks free-of-charge, covering different educational content.
In addition, the Australian Forex broker has included a set educational content that comes in video format, including:
Meanwhile, FXTM also provides short Forex trading videos, grouped into categories such as Forex Basics, Trading Basics, and Technical Analysis among others. More, the brokerage trading firm also conducts free Forex webinars regularly.
Last but not least, IC Markets provides insight into global markets in a set of daily publications in its Market Analysis blog. At the same time, FXTM doesn’t offer daily market analysis however, the research team will conduct monthly currency outlook webinars with market insights.
In conclusion, FXTM tops IC Markets by offering more methods of communications via several social media channels. However, IC Markets tops FXTM by offering a diverse and all-in inclusive trading education and research section.
IC Market’s minimum deposit is $200 across all 3 account types. By comparison, at FXTM, the minimum deposit required of clients depends on the trading account type they select.
When it comes to supported base account currencies, clients clearly have a richer choice with IC Markets, since the Australian brokerage allows deposits made in 10 different currencies, including AUD, USD, JPY, EUR, NZD, SGD, GBP, CAD, CHF and HKD. In comparison, FXTM allows deposits in 7 different base account currencies, including USD, EUR, GBP, PLN, CZK, INR and NGN.
Since IC Markets will not charge any extra deposit or withdrawal fees and offers its clients 15 different account funding options, it remains one of the most competitive brokerages on this front, along with Pepperstone. Meanwhile, FXTM will not charge any fees on deposits, but there will be a withdrawal fee depending on the payment method and base currency selected. It offers 7 different account funding options, including:
Withdrawing funds via a credit card, via bank wire transfer and via some of the e-wallets will incur certain fees, which can be viewed in the table below.
At the same time, with IC Markets, clients can choose from the following account funding methods:
Fund withdrawals via debit or credit cards are usually processed within 3 to 5 business days, while withdrawals via e-wallets are instant once processed. On the other hand, withdrawals via bank wire transfer will incur a processing fee of AUD 20 (or currency equivalent) by IC Markets’ banking institution and may take up to 14 days to complete.
The head-to-head comparison shows IC Markets clients have a diverse selection of payment methods and can choose between 10 different currencies. More, IC Markets covers all expenses for deposit and withdrawal with most payment options.
Both IC Markets and FXTM are fully compliant with strict regulatory standards of some of the most notorious Forex regulators worldwide. However, IC Markets tops FXTM because it holds forex licenses in two tier-1 jurisdictions, namely:
By comparison, FXTM is fully licensed by one tier-one regulatory agency, namely the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the United Kingdom, with License No. 777911.
Additionally, IC Markets (SC) is a trading name of Raw Trading Ltd, a company that falls under the regulation of the Financial Services Authority of Seychelles with Securities Dealer License No. SD018.
Finally, FXTM’s global operations are authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) of the Republic of Mauritius (Investment Dealer License number: C113012295). Additional two tier-two jurisdictions (South Africa’s FSCA and Cyprus’ CySEC) complete the list.
When it comes to client security, both brokerages assure that their clients’ funds are kept fully segregated from their corporate accounts at top-tier financial institutions. This way the risk of fraudulent behaviour (using client funds for operational purposes, marketing budgets or as reserve capital) is reduced to a minimum.
Additionally, since both brokers have adopted the Secure Socket Layer technology, all electronic payments and communications with clients are secure, with data transmission being encrypted.
Also, as both brokers are members of the Cyprus Investor Compensation Fund (CIFs), retail clients have a guarantee that they will be compensated in case the brokerages are unable to meet their financial obligations.
Yet, our review has found that only FXTM follows a negative balance protection policy. Under the latter, the losses incurred when trading CFDs on retail investor accounts cannot exceed clients’ initial deposit with the broker. In case of an unexpected occurrence (market gap, for instance) that results in a negative balance, FXTM will not request the respective amount from its clients and will bring their account balance back to zero.
On the other hand, IC Markets does not have such a policy and, therefore, retail clients must employ sound money management to avoid repaying a negative balance.
Both brokers are safe and legitimate companies to provide secure online trading to their customers. Forex is a decentralized market, thus regulation plays a key role in ensuring fair trading operations.
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.