CFDs and Forex brokers Pepperstone and City Index offer MetaTrader 4 and WebTrader trading platforms. Both brokers have ASIC and FCA regulations with Pepperstone offering ECN style spreads for 64 currency pairs from 0.0 pips. City Index offers 84 pairs, risk tools and spreads from 0.5 pips.
Trading Spreads and Fees – Pepperstone vs City Index
Before one compares the spreads of each broker, it is important to understand why each broker is different and the different trading account types they offer for forex trading.
Pepperstone can be thought of as an Electronic Communication Network (ECN) plus Straight Through Processing (STP) ‘style’ broker. While a ‘True ECN’ or STP broker will use an external electronic trading system, Pepperstone maintains ownership of the electronic systems for the products they issue.
If you a looking to trade via ECN/STP, the fact Pepperstone is not a ‘true’ provider need not concern you. Very few brokers are actually ‘true’ ECN providers. What is more important is that Pepperstone sources their pricing using a deep pool of reputable external liquidity providers and pass these prices directly to you. Pepperstone is able to provide low spreads because they have no dealing desk, no requotes and don’t manipulate prices.
As spreads are set by the market, Pepperstone will add a flat one pip the spreads (in the case of standard account) or $7 commission (round-turn) in the case of Razor account (when using MT5) or 7 units for the base currency you are trading if you are using cTrader i.e AUD/USD will cost $7 AUD for each lot you trade.
Pepperstone ‘Razor’ account – Key Features:
ECN Pricing (no markups)
Choice of MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 or cTrader
Commission of $3.50 side-ways, $7.00 round turn
A $200 minimum deposit when you open account (though not enforced)
No dealing desk, no requotes
News trading available
Pepperstone ‘Standard’ account
ECN pricing plus 1 pip
Choice of MetaTrader accounts
$200 minimum opening account balance (though not enforced)
Both trading accounts offer the following base currencies: AUD, USD, JPY, GBP, EUR, CAD, CHF, NZD, SGD and HKD.
Pepperstone swap-free Islamic account
Although not advertised on their website, Pepperstone offers an Islamic account designed to satisfy sharia law which forbids Muslims from receiving or paying swaps. This account will have the same spreads as the Razor account but does not have rollover interest or overnight fees.
In place of swap fees, an administration fee is charged. Fees for major currency pairs will be under $10, while minors will be under $20. Exotic currency pairs will be higher.
City Index Accounts
City Index is a market maker. This simply means they are the counterparty to every trade you do.
As the dealing desk broker, City Index incorporates their fees into their spreads, this means there are no commissions.
Account Features Comparison
0.01 - 100 Lots
0.01 - 100 Lots
Standard Account - 1pip Razor Account - $7 Round trip for MT4 (cTrader varies)
0.20% (500:1) CFD Platform 200:1 MT4 Platform
Minimum Account Opening
Expert Advsors (MT4 Platform) Via API interface (CFD Platform)
No Dealing Desk Excecution
With the above explanation in mind, the Pepperstone Standard account spreads can be fairly compared to both City Index accounts. The Pepperstone Razor account spreads are cheaper but don’t take into account the commission that will be added with your trade.
Avg Spreads Pepperstone vs City Index
Pepperstone Standard (no commission)
Pepperstone Razor (ECN)
City Index (CFD)
City Index (MT4)
A look at these spreads and we can quickly see that using MetaTrader 4 with City Index is going to be the most costly option. If you are looking to trade with the MetaTrader platform, you would be better to trade with Pepperstone (or most other brokers) than City Index.
If you are dealing with Pepperstone Razor Account then you will have a commission of $3.50 each way (when using MetaTrader 4/5).
While only a very basic comparison, if Peppersonte Razor spreads are 0.16, City Index CFD spreads are 0.73 (see the table) and 1 pip = $10 (standard lots). Then we can surmise the following:
Pepperstone Razor spreads of 0.16 for EUR/USD = $1.6
City Index CFD spreads of 0.73 for EUR/USD = $7.30
Pepperstone Commission = $3.50 side-ways
City Index CFD commission = none
Pepperstone Razor = $1.60 plus $3.50 = $5.10 for each standard lot traded
City Index CFD = $7.30 for each lot traded
From this example, we can see that a commission account is likely to be cheaper than a spread only account. Both forex brokers offer variable spreads so both Razor and CFD accounts are likely to vary from the example.
1. Overnight holding costs – You will incur a small charge from each broker for holding an open position overnight. This is an industry-standard.
2. Guaranteed Stop Loss Order (GSLO) –
City Index offers a GSLO option if you wish to manage your risk against losses. The cost of a GSLO is EUR/USD for 1 lot is 4 x qty of CFD that is charged in the base currency.
If you are trading in a high-risk trading environment then a GSLO can be a solid trading strategy.
3. Currency Conversion Fees – Both brokers charge a fee to convert currency back to the base currency
4. Inactivity Fees –
If you don’t trade with your City Index account for 24 months then you will incur a monthly $15 charge.
Pepperstone does not have an inactivity fee.
5. Deposit and Withdrawal Charges / Funding Charges
Pepperstone does not charge when using Visa or MasterCard to make deposits. Bankwire, Paypal and BPay also do not incur charges from Pepperstone’s end.
Pepperstone does not charge for withdrawal except for Bankwire which will incur a US$20 fee. Usual charges by the fund providers still apply (i.e. banks, PayPal, skrill will be passed onto you). You cannot withdraw with credit/debit cards.
City Index does not charge to deposit or withdraw with Visa or Master debit/credit cards
City Index requires a minimum of $50 when withdrawing. You can withdraw a maximum $20,000 on a single transaction and $20,000 per 24 hours if withdrawing online with a credit card.
Spreads Conclusion – Pepperstone vs City Index
If you are after the lowest spreads then we recommend Pepperstone’s Razor account. This is because ECN style spreads are usually narrower than spreads from a market maker.
If you don’t wish to deal with commissions then we suggest having a look at City Index CFD account.
While the saving of $1.80 using Pepperstone’s Razor account rather than City Index CFD account might not sound like much. the costs will add up especially if you are using leverage. The higher the leverage, the more capital you have to trade with and therefore the more lots you can trade. You will be saving $1.20 for each lot you trade. This will represent a significant saving over time.
You will need to consider other costs in addition to spreads. For example, Pepperstone does have a deposit charge when using a credit card.
In Europe and the UK, both brokers must meet the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulations. This means leverage for retail clients in the UK and Europe is
Major forex pairs are 30:1
Minor currency pairs are 20:1
As a retail trader under FCA, both brokers will provide you with guaranteed negative balance protection.
If you are a high volume trader with an account in excess of €500,000 then you may qualify as a professional trader. As a professional trader, your leverage will be:
Pepperstone – 500:1
City Index – 400:1
Professional traders will not receive guaranteed negative balance protection. Your margin closeout will be 50%.
Leverage for clients not in the UK or Europe
For City Index and Pepperstone to be compliant with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) the maximum leverage they can offer is 500:1. This level of leverage is available to clients for both brokers outside the UK and Europe. There is no negative balance protection.
The one exception to this is City Index clients in Singapore. MAS regulation restricts leverage for forex trading to 20:1
It is important to understand the risks of trading on margin or leverage. Borrowing from the broker means you are taking on a debt which you will need to pay back to the broker. It is therefore important that you trade responsibly.
Despite the risks, trading on leverage or margin can work in your favour. Forex currency movement doesn’t change very much day to day, so the large capital needed to achieve genuine returns can be achieved with leverage.
If you trade with Pepperstone or use City Index’s CFD trading platforms rather than MT4 then you have access to the maximum possible leverage. If you require lots of leverage then trading with MetaTrader 4 through City Index is not your best option.
Spread betting by its nature does carry risks however there are strategies you can implement to minimise your risk. Pepperstone and City Index both offer the standard risk management tools such as Stop loss, limit orders and trailing stops and utilise automatic margin call system (for negative balance protection). Both brokers also allow hedging which means you can hedge your bets.
City Index offers a few more features that Pepperstone does not offer. These include:
Guaranteed stop-loss orders (GSTO) – For a premium as little as 1 PIP you can protect investment against unexpected loss. If the market is volatile, the market is prone to gapping or slippage or you don’t want to lose more than you initial deposit GSLO is a good option.
If done-orders – Also known as contingent order. This is an order that has two steps, where the second-order is actioned only in the event criteria for the first is fulfilled.
One Cancel the Other – You can place two orders simultaneously. When one order is fulfilled, the other will automatically be closed.
Conclusion – Pepperstone vs City Index
If risk management is a consideration when choosing a broker then City Index offers more and better options when we compare with Pepperstone. Risk management tools are really useful if you are new to trading or trading in a very volatile market, if you have trading experience then you might find the standard risk management tools are adequate.
This is City Index’s browser-based trading platform is known as Web Trader. Released in late 2018 this platform replaces Advantage Web as it uses HTML5 rather than Flash. HTML5 offers faster loading performance while consuming less power. It also more mobile and tablet friendly.
City Index’s Web Trader trading tool offers the following key features
Creation of up to 10 personalised workspaces and ability to switch between them with a single click. You can choose from charts, watch lists, news and position windows
Advanced charts including custom indicators and drawing tool designed for precision
Ability to create charts that show an overlay of 2 different markets
Charts powered by Trading View. Choose from 10 different chart types
Trade tickets available directly within charts
57 indicators and studies
Search functionality – to help you find what you need
Search Tool – Search by market name or stock code. Results will show alphabetically
Browse Tool – This feature allows you to browse by product type of region
Balance bar to easily see you P&L and add funds
Smart Trade ticket with risk management tools
Set ticket by price, points away or P&L. When you set one of these values, the others will update in real-time
Automatic ‘Margin required’ updating when you set your ticket price.
Multiple stops and limits against one position via trade ticket
Ability to hedge your trade via trade ticket
360° Market view
Tools to help you find trading opportunities
Market analysis with Reuters
Latest market prices with charts, news and pricing
City Index AT Pro
Available as a download on desktop, this is City Index trading platform for advanced users as it offers the most more powerful trading features than its other platforms. It is designed specifically for traders with an interest in spread betting. It adds to the features available on Web Trader it also offers the following
Creation of custom templates using any of the following languages – .NET, C# or Visual Basic.
Choice of custom templates
Choice of 140 indicators which exceeds most trading platforms in the industry
Backtesting tools that work with spreadsheets for historical analysis.
Over 25 drawing tools including retracements, Fibonacci and Gann lines.
Ability to Pan over 15 timeframes
Social Trading with ‘Connect’
City Index Apps for IOS and Android
City Index has apps available for Apple and Android mobile and tablet products. The mobile platforms offer the same features as Web Trader but fewer variety features. For example, 60 indicators are available which is less than Web Trader but still an excellent range.
MetaTrader 4 (MT4) – Pepperstone and City Index
Both City Index and Pepperstone offer MetaTrader 4 by MetaQuotes. This is one of if not the world’s most popular trading platform. The platform and is built for trading foreign exchange and a range of contracts for difference such as commodities. However, is not the best option if you wish to trade shares.
One of the big benefits of MT4 is that many brokers offer it. This means you can change brokers without needing to learn a new platform
MT4 stands out as a platform because it allows you to trade with three types of execution modes.
Execution on Request
Execution by Market
In addition to the choice of execution modes, you can also place different types of order requests.
Order Request Types:
Pending Orders these include
MT4 offers 2 types of stops
Stop Loss / Take Profit
Other Main Features
30 technical indicators and 2000 free custom indicators plus 700 paid ones meaning you can perform a market analysis to as complex a level as you wish. Indicators types include:
23 Analytical functions
Expert Advisors for algorithmic trading including backtesting capability
Social Trading / Copy Trading
Access to lots of add on tools to further enhance your trading
MetaTrader 4 – Pepperstone or City Index
City Index spreads with MT4 are wider and offer less leverage than with Pepperstone MT4. Pepperstone also offers MT4 as a web browser (through Web Trader), City Index doesn’t offer this.
MetaTrader 5 (MT5)
This platform is only available with Pepperstone. MT5 is an improvement on MT4 in that it allows you to trade all CFDs in addition to Forex. MT5 offers the following features
Trading on all CFDs
Available as download, iOS and Android and via a web browser
100 charts for forex and stock quotes at one time
6 types of pending orders (2
11 different minute charts and 7 hourly charts
over 80 technical indicators
22 analytical tools
46 graphical object
Hedging (only with brokers outside America)
Expert Traders with MQL5 which is superior to MQL4 on MT4
Access to 2500 algorithmic applications
Access to more fundamental analysis such as Economic Calendars (MT4 requires an add on for these)
Conclusion – Pepperstone vs City Index
In the past, we have usually recommended MT4 as our preferred platform. This was because MT5 was initially built to meet American financial regulations of the NFA so did no allow LIFO trading or hedging. MT5 has now been modified and can offer these features through brokers not based in the USA. We now see MT5 as the best platform as it offers everything MT4 can do and more.
Despite this, there are still good reasons to choose MT4. If you only wish to trade forex or certain CFDs then MT4 is a great resource thanks to its clean interface and ease of use. So will satisfy the needs of most forex traders.
City Index’s’ custom trading platforms are also a great platform. They come with more inbuilt tools than MetaTrader and are an award-winning platform, ADVFN awarded it best spread betting platform in 2017 and UK Forex Award did same. If you do choose City Index it does help to understand you do risk being locked into their ecosystem. If you wish to change brokers in future, it can be difficult to move off a propriety platform.
We feel there is little reason to choose MT4 with City Index given it higher spreads and limited leverage.
Contracts for Difference (CFDs) – Pepperstone vs City Index
Both brokers offer a large range of markets for tradings CFDs.
As a trader with Pepperstone, you can trade the following:
Share market CFDs – Pepperstone offer 60 US shares with leverage of 20:1. Surprisingly you cannot trade ASX CFDs.
Indices – choose from 14 different indices and all the major stock market around the world.
Commodities – Pepperstone offers all the major commodities available for trade.
Hard commodities: Spreads for gold and silver average 1 and 1.56 pips. Spreads for Platinum and Palladium start at 5 pip. The margin for these metals is 0.2%.
Soft Commodities such as Cotton have a margin requirement of 2%. Spreads vary greatly between each commodity.
Currency Index CFDs – you can trade the USDX which measure 6 major currencies (mostly Euro, Yen and Pound) against the USD. Spreads start at 0.3. Lots are traded in 100 USD and require 0.2% for each 1 lot.
Cryptocurrencies – 5 Cryptocurrencies are available with leverage of up to 5:1 available.
As a trader with City Index, you will be able to trade on the following markets:
Share Market CFDs – City Index allows you to trade over 4500 national and global shares. You can trade with leverage from 20:1 and commission cost are $5 for shares on the Australian stock market or from 0.08% for trades of large volumes. American shares will cost 0.02% or $15 while share on the UK market will cost €10 or 0.1% commission. When trading you will require 5% margin
Commodities – City Index allows you to trade over 25 global commodities. Spreads start at 0.06 points or sugar but can go as high as 150 for some commodity futures. Margins are between 1% and 3% for all commodities.
Indices – City Index allows you to 21 global stock market indices with the spreads being as tight as just 1 pip. Leverage of 200:1 (o.5% margin) is available.
Interest Rates – 3 Interest Rate market are available for speculative trading. These are Short Sterling 3mnth, Eurodollar and Euribor 3 month. Spreads for each are as narrow as 0.02 with margin starting at 0.25%
Metals – You can trade from 5 metals including Gold and Silver. Gold spreads are around 0.3 with a margin of 0.50% while Silver is around 2 with a margin of 1%.
Bonds – City Index allow you to take advantage of the deep liquidity available in 12 different bonds across the UK, US and European markets. Spreads start at 0.02 points. Bong margins begin at 0.25%
Options – You can speculate on daily, monthly and quarterly options contract in over 20 different markets such as UK 100 and SP 500. Spreads start at 4 points. Margin range from 0.5% to 2%
Cryptocurrencies – With City Index, you can choose from 5 different cryptos. City Index claim to have some of the lowest spreads on the market however Cryptocurrencies are one of the most volatile CFDs you can trade with so this could change very quickly. This is reflected by the wide differences in the spread for each cryptocurrency type. Margin rates for all cryptos are 25% but for Bitcoin Cash, it is 50%
note: Futures are also available for some of these City Index CFDs. Spreads and margins will be higher if you choose to speculate on futures. Futures are great for long term trading.
Conclusion – Pepperstone vs City Index
If you are looking to trade a wide range of CFD or want the option of futures then City Index may be a better option than Pepperstone. You will need to compare the CFD you wish to trade with to determine which broker offers you better conditions as it CFDs terms vary for each broker but certainly City Index gives more options for trade.
The excellent service the Pepperstone customer service team provide was recognised in 2018 by UK Forex Award. Support is available during 24/5 via the usual mediums – Live Chat, Phone and email.
Pepperstone offers a wealth of training tools for your trading education. These include:
Writeups are freely available on their website that explains all the basics you need to know with trading FX and CFDs.
Fortnightly Webinars which you can attend via registration. These webinars cover a range of advanced topics.
Trading guides for beginner and advanced level which aims to demystify a range of topics you will need to know when trading.
Pepperstone has a team of in-house analyst providing all the latest Market news, trading opportunities and financial events you will want to know when trading.
Pepperstone allows you 30 demo access to a demo platform for any of MT4, MT5 and cTrader. This 30-day restriction can be removed with a request to Pepperstone support. Pepperstone will provide you with $50k in virtual funds.
City Index Customer Support
Customer Service with City Index is available throughout the working week (24/5). The City Index team provide helpful and timely support for all sorts of questions you may have when it comes to trading with City Index. Support is available through Live Chat, Email and Phone.
City Index Customer Services
City Index provides a FAQ section broken by topic which features answers to a range of commonly asked questions. This is likely to be your first stop when it comes to your support needs.
Research and Education:
City Index provides a wealth of free resources that will improve your trading ability and confidence. Features include
Trader strategy courses values at over $5000 developed by Tony Sycanmore from TECHFX TRADERS. The course is divided into 3 modules. Demystifying Forex, Learn to Trade and Trade like a Pro
Trading Instructional Videos covering these like learn to trade CFDs and FX, How to optimise your trading performance (i.e. when to enter and exit a trade) and education on technical and fundamental analysis
Webinar masterclasses run by TECHFX TRADERS covering a different topic each session.
Introduction to Trading article series
City Index has 2 free demo accounts programs for you to test your trading skills on. Each is the same except one is for City Index CFD and the other is for MT4. With the demo accounts you will get the following:
$20,000 in virtual funds.
100 FX pairs
If you choose the CFD platform you will gain access to 4,500 markets. MT4 is mainly FX and selected CFDs. Once the 12 week period is over, you will lose access to the demo platform and will need to apply for a fresh demo account. This means you will lose access to the data you already have.
Conclusion – Pepperstone vs City Index
Both City Index and Pepperstone offer excellent customer service so you can be confident you will get the needed support with either broker. We found City Index’s support tools to be more in-depth than Pepperstones however Pepperstone does offer a better demo arrangement given the higher access to funds and possible unlimited access.
If you are part of the Pepperstone Active Trader program and you meet minimum trade volumes per month you will be rewarded with a cash rebate. This will be deposited into your account daily.
Pepperstone also has a refer a friend program. If you refer someone and this person signs up with Pepperstone and deposits at least US$1000 into their account and makes at least five trades with standard lots then you will be reward with USD100.
A cash rebate program is on offer with City Index. The more you trade each month the more City Index will reward you. The amount City Index rebate will vary according to the asset class trade. This rebate can be withdrawn as cash once deposited in your bank account each month.
Both brokers are regulated by various bodies in different countries. Having regulation means that the broker will conduct their business in a fair, ethical way and operated in a way that meets the strict compliance requirements set by the regulator.
Regulators require the broker to take measures that will protect your funds. These measures include
Keeping your funds in a Tier-1 segregated bank accounts
Requiring the broker to keep capital in reserve
Providing a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) so the client knows what to expect when dealing with them
Establishing a client dispute resolution process
Pepperstone is regulated by:
United Kingdom: Financial Conduct Authority – FCA under FCA registration number 684312
Australia: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission – ASIC under the following licence number AFSL No.414530
City Index is regulated by:
United Kingdom: Financial Conduct Authority – FCA under FCA registration number 1761813
Australia: The Australian Securities and Investments Commission – ASIC AFSL 345646
MAS: Monetary Authority Singapore – MAS Co Reg # 200400922K
If you are in Europe or the UK you will fall under FCA regulation rules. One benefit of FCA regulation is that retails traders will receive guaranteed Negative Balance Protection.
If you are a City Index client from Singapore, then City Index will be compliant with MAS regulations.
Both brokers will apply ASIC regulations for most client outside the UK and Europe (and Singapore in the case of City Index).