IC Markets and Pepperstone are both Australian forex brokers offering market-leading CFDs spreads from just 0.0 pips with a $3.50 commissions and leverage of 500:1 with Pepperstone having award-winning customer service while IC Markets has a higher review score of 90% from 1,055 past and present CFDs customers.
When assessing Pepperstone vs IC Markets based on spreads for ECN style account (commission + spreads), Pepperstone came out in front. The below table shows the two forex brokers (and others) head to head.
Average Spreads (22/10/2019)
Pepperstone and IC Markets both offer ECN + STP style forex trading accounts. This type of trading execution allows each broker to obtain the best quotes from liquidity providers so you can receive the best spreads.
Unlike with a market maker who plays the counterparty to all your trades, ECN brokers automatically match you with a deep pool of liquidity providers. Prices are kept low as there is no dealing desk or requotes involved in the trading process. While no forex broker is a strict ECN forex broker, Pepperstone and IC Markets offer the closest to true ECN style trading.
Account types and their fees compared.
Below is a summary of both brokers ECN accounts. These accounts use ECN + STP style trading execution to offer the best possible spreads.
Pepperstone Razor Account
The Razor account from Pepperstone offers:
A min/max trade size of 0.01/100 lots.
$3.50 AUD/USD commission charge for each standard lot traded for MetaTrader 5
$3.50 AUD/ $3.78 USD commission charge for each standard lot traded for MetaTrader 4
$200 AUD/USD minimum deposit (this is not enforced).
In addition to low spreads, Pepperstone fees on brokerage are also reduced through their PIT (Price Improvement Technology). If a better price is detected during execution after a client has placed a trade then this price will be applied.
Clients with Pepperstone can receive rebates through their Active Traders’ program which can help you save on costs.
An alternative to the Pepperstone Razor Account is the Pepperstone Standard Account. See our comparison of Razor vs Standard here.
IC Markets Raw Spread account
Major benefits of IC Markets Raw Spread ECN pricing account include:
Min, max trade sizes of 0.01/100 lots.
$3.5 USD commission charge for each standard lot traded with MetaTrader 4 and 5.
Both Pepperstone and IC Markets offer MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5), WebTrader and cTrader. These solutions are suitable for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
MT4 is the most commonly used forex platform in the world. Since most brokers offer this platform there are low barriers to switching brokers. MetaTrader 4 has an:
Easy to use interface that is very easy to use with prompt order management functionality.
Algorithmic trading and access to expert advisors for scalping traders.
Pepperstone’s MT4 Option
Smart Trader Tools is a Pepperstone MT4 enhancement which boasts 10 main features such as:
Alarm Manager for notifications and alerts.
Connect, a central portal with an economic calendar, RSS feed for news and guides.
Correlation Matrix that shows a relationship between different assets and markets.
Correlation Trader to find similarities and differences between markets.
Excel RTD which offers real-time analysis, monitoring and reporting through excel.
Market Manager gives insights to open, pending orders and market prices.
Sentiment Trader to understand live sentiment data to assist with trade decisions.
Stealth Orders allow traders to hide their pending orders from the market.
Trade Simulator offering profit and loss results based on tested strategies.
Session Map showing what markets are open at different time-periods.
Overall, Smart Trader Tools offers Pepperstone traders using MetaTrader 4 with decision assistance combined with sophisticated trade management and execution. Market data is also transmitted to traders while alarms help notify traders of key market events.
IC Markets MT4 Additional Options
Advanced Trading Tools in our IC Markets review was IC Markets answer to Smart Trader Tools with 20 features. Advanced Trading Tools contains all the features Smart Trader Tools offer but includes additional features:
Trader Terminal which offers an all-in-one market watch, account summary and order list.
Market Manager offering a watch list of all open positions and shows headline account information.
Smart Lines which uses items plotted on charts that become a stop-loss or take-profit position.
Overall, Advanced Trader Tools is an institutional quality add on with feature-rich management and trading execution functions. Our IC Markets review found this to more than match Pepperstone’s solution.
MetaTrader 5 can safely be considered an upgrade on MT4. Unlike Mt4, MT5 is designed to handle trading through centralised exchanges such as the stock market. This means you can trade Shares CFD with MT5 but not with MT4,
MT5 offers many of the same features as MT4 but with a wider choice of and more advanced options.
Below is a table comparing the differences:
Number of Analytical tools
Number of indicators
Programming Language (for expert advisors)
Number of orders executable
Number of pending orders available
Partial Order Filling Policies
Order Fill Policy
Fill or Kill
Fill or Kill Immediate or Cancel Return
Yes (since 2016)
32bit / 2GB
64 Bit / 4Gb
Speed / Stability
Fast / Stable
Faster / More Stable
All (Decentralised and trading exchanges)
Multi-threaded + Multi-currency + Real ticks
with Add on
Depth of Market
Both brokers offer MT Webtrader which is MetaTrader platform for mobile trading. WebTrader offers many of the features available on MT4 but designed to better handle the natural limitations mobiles will have due to size.
cTrader is an alternative trading platform to MetaTrader. The platform is generally considered to have superior technical charting options than MetaTrader along with offer faster execution. Key features of cTrader include
26 Timeframes (MT5 only has 21)
Ability to reverse position with one click
Level II depth of market
Mobile browser trading
Ability to close all position with one click
Cloud-hosted profiles, passwords and templates
If you are looking to trade other derivatives than forex pairs then cTrader might not be the best option. This is because cTrader is not designed for CFD and cryptocurrency trading. Its strength is in forex.
Social trading and copy trading platforms
Both brokers offer a range of social, copy and mirror trading platforms.
Pepperstone Social trading, copy and mirror trading tools
Both Pepperstone and IC Markets offer the same platforms for trading. Which platform you choose will depend on your requirements. It worth revisiting our section of fees as commissions differ for each broker.
Pepperstone offers a larger collection of social copy and mirror trading applications compared to IC Markets. IC Markets social copy tools, however, are still excellent.
Both IC Markets and Pepperstone achieve the fastest execution speed in the industry by using dedicated fibre optic cable. Faster execution speeds help prevents ‘slippage’ occurring.
Pepperstone Edge Technology
Pepperstone Edge Technology when it comes faster and better-trading consist of the following:
Speedier Execution with a designated fibre optic cable. This achieves the maximum possible speed of 240ms which is a 12x improvement on previous Pepperstone technology.
Low Latency with 10 optical fibre cables crossing directly to Equinox MetaTrader servers near New York financial centre. Direct connection achieves a latency reduction 10 times.
One-Click Trading – As spreads are constantly changing, traders can efficiently execute trades with just one click. This is a MetaTrader 4 feature.
Overall Pepperstone has very solid features when it comes to execution speeds. Use of dedicated cables and best technology will give traders confidence transaction processing will not suffer delays or lags.
IC Markets Technology
IC Markets technology is very similar to Pepperstone’s. Both use very similar fibre optic technology and have the same one-click trading feature but the low latency technology differs.
Faster Execution with dedicated fibre optic cable. IC Markets advertise an average order execution under 40ms.
Low Latency through a direct connection to Equinox servers in NY for MetaTrader 4 & London with cTrader.
VPS Cross-Connect Low Latency. IC Markets have an arrangement with Commercial Network Services (CNS) which can achieve under 1-millisecond latency to their MetaTrader servers.
One-Click Trading – Like Pepperstone, our IC Markets review found they offer one-click trading.
Overall IC Markets offers an excellent range of advanced technology to achieve very fast order execution speeds with low latency. IC Markets state on their website they 100% guarantees their execution.
Pepperstone vs IC Markets Conclusion – Execution
Our comparison show Pepperstone and IC Markets provide some of the highest speed execution in the brokerage industry. When choosing between Pepperstone and IC Markets based on execution we recommend IC Markets. Why? Mainly due to IC Markets splitting their servers between two different locations and also offer VPS.
Both Pepperstone and IC Markets are lack proprietary risk management tools and features. However, there are some standardised features available:
‘margin stop out‘ notifies you when a trade balance is headed below a minimum amount. The broker will automatically seek to exit the trader from the market before they dip below zero. This is a type of negative balance protection.
‘margin stop loss order’ means traders can set the amount they are prepared to lose on any individual trade. Brokers will try to get the trader out of a position before the set amount is been crossed. This is however not guaranteed.
Pepperstone and IC Markets fall under the financial bodies of the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC). Pepperstone is also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means Australia and UK, European traders will receive protections applicable to their appropriate juridsiction.
Separate Accounts – ASIC regulation requires accounts to be segregated. Pepperstone uses NAB while IC Markets use 2 banks: NAB and Westpac.
Guaranteed negative balance protection: Retail traders with Pepperstone UK which has FCA regulations will automatically receive guaranteed negative balance protection. Traders with Pepperstone and IC Markets under ASIC regulation will not receive guaranteed negative balance protection.
Pepperstone vs IC Markets Conclusion – Risk Management
While both brokers lack risk management tool. The only difference between each Pepperstone and IC Markets is Pepperstone fall under 2 international regulatory bodies. While only ASIC will matter to most Australian traders, FCA regulation may matter to some traders with international accounts. Therefore Pepperstone is the recommended broker for risk management.
Pepperstone vs IC Markets Other CFDs (i.e. Cryptos)
Both Pepperstone and IC Markets boast a vast array of Contracts for Difference (CFDs) on top of forex. IC Markets’ range of CFDs is greater however, Pepperstone is not an ‘all in one’ financial broker and therefore offer a more limited range when compared with IC Markets. Both ECN style providers offer:
Commodities such as metals and energy instruments including crude oil
Soft Commodities such as agricultural instruments
Both Pepperstone and IC Markets offer these cryptocurrencies – Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin while IC Markets also offers Ripple. Both brokers offer leverage of 5:1. See our comparison with Plus500 for a broker with a large range of CFDs.
IC Markets, unlike Pepperstone, also offers the following:
Crude oil and many other commodities can be traded with fast execution speeds and low spreads.
Pepperstone vs IC Markets Conclusion – CFDs
IC Markets are an All in One Broker. If having access to all types of CFDs is important then IC Markets is likely our preferred broker when looking at CFDs in isolation.
Both Pepperstone and IC Markets boast live chat, phone and email customer support.
Pepperstone’s customer service is award-winning while IC Markets has a 24/7 server and a greater range of help desk tools.
Pepperstone has developed a strong reputation for excellent customer service. “Investment Trends” have awarded Pepperstone as number #1 for customers services in both 2016 and 2017. Pepperstone customer service team in Australia consists of individuals who trade themselves. This means clients can have confidence that support understands issues and concerns for all types of traders.
IC Markets customer support team have 3 offerings that Pepperstone don’t have. These are:
24/7 support. Customer service is available weekdays and weekends. This may be important for ECN clients looking to trade when markets are closed as ECN is available during outside market hours.
Help Centre (keyword search) for self-help.
Emails can be sent specifically to different IC Markets personnel such as Client Relations, Support, Accounts, Info, Marketing: IB/Partners.
IC Markets offer a quality customer service experience and is especially good for traders wanting service at both weekdays and weekends.
Pepperstone vs IC Markets Conclusion – Customer Service
Although IC Markets offer a few customer services features Pepperstone does not. Most of these features will only be useful for a small portion of clients. Traders generally will not need customer support outside business hours for example.
Pepperstone award-winning record is very impressive and we like the fact the customer service team are all experienced traders. For this reason, we award the customer service category to Pepperstone.
Our review of Pepperstone and IC Markets found that each offer over 10 deposit and withdrawal methods. Neither Pepperstone or IC Markets charge fees for deposits but international institutions may charge a fee. Payments must be first-party and the bank accounts used must be in the same name. While both Pepperstone and IC Markets have very similar funding policies the main difference is the hours one can place a withdrawal request and expect to receive the payment the same day.
If a withdrawal request is received before 7:00 am AEST then the withdrawal will be processed the same day otherwise. If received after 7:00 then the withdrawal will be processed the next day. Any bank account connected to a Pepperstone trading account will receive the funds (this needs to be first-party).
A credit card can also be used for withdrawals if the amount matches or is less then the deposited amount. If a withdrawal is more than deposited amount then an alternative withdrawal method will be needed. Bank wire transfers take on average 3 to 5 business days to settle.
The minimum deposit of Pepperstone is $200.
If a client wishes to receive a withdrawal of funds on the same day then a request must be submitted before midday Australian Eastern State Time. If a withdrawal request is submitted later than this time then funding will be deposited into clients the next business day. Paypal/Neteller/Skrill withdrawals must be in the same account from where they were deposited initially. These withdrawals have no cost.
The minimum deposit of IC Markets is $200.
Pepperstone vs IC Markets Conclusion – Deposits and Withdrawals.
Both Pepperstone and IC Markets allow for speedy deposit and withdrawal processing. The minimum deposit for both fx brokers is also $200. The biggest difference is that IC Markets allows traders to request withdrawals for later in the business day to receive payment on the same day. We ultimately view IC Markets as the winner therefore in this category.
Both IC Markets and Pepperstone offer a very similar range of features. Both make use of ECN technology to offer excellent spreads, the spreads over time tend to be very similar but it is worth exploring if one offers better spreads for your desired currency pairing. Each broker offers superior technology so that some of the best execution speeds in the industry can be achieved. Importantly this reduces the risk of slippage occurring which can be very costly if prices swing unfavourably for you.
The brokers also offer the same risk management tools though neither offers the best range of risk management tools in the industry should this feature be important to you. Trading is via the same MT4 platforms. Which broker you choose is likely to come down to the available deposit and withdrawal methods and available education tools.
We recommend signing up for a free trial account with each broker and exploring all the available features. This will help you decide the best broker for you.