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.
1. ECN spreads and low fees 2. Choice of cTrader or MT4 and MT5 Trading Platforms 3. Fast execution speeds 4. Highest leverage 5. Award-Winning Customer Service
1. True ECN Broker with low spreads and fees 2. Choice Of The Best Forex Platforms 3. Fast Order Execution and Low Latency 4. Superior Technology 5. 24/7 Customer Service
1. No Guaranteed Negative Balance Protection 2. Some CFDs Not Offered (ie Shares) 3. Minimum deposit of $200.
1. Limited Risk Management Tools Offered 2. Lacking in Range in CFDs Offered 3. No Sign on or Promotion Bonus
Spreads + Commissions
Forex Trading Platform
1. MetaTrader 4 with Smart Trader Tools 2. cTrader with cAlgo for trading with robots.
1. MetaTrader 4 and 5 2. cTrader including cAlgo for automated trading
1. Standard Risk Management Tools (i.e Margin Stop Loss Order). No Guranteed Features 2. Regulated by Australia Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) 3. Segregated accounts with National Australia Bank
1. Minimum Balance Protection 2. Margin Stop Loss Orders 3. Australia Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) Regulation 4. Segregated accounts with NAB and Westpac
1. Experienced high volume traders (Active Traders) 2. Traders utilising automated trading and scalping 3. Forex traders who value competent customer support
1. Advanced high volume traders (Active Traders) 2. Traders utilising robots, scalping and hedging 3. Traders needing customer service outside business hours
Spreads + Commissions
ECN Trading Account
Guaranteed Stop Loss
Guaranteed Negative Balance Protection
No Fees On Deposits + Withdrawals
ECN Trading Account
Guaranteed Stop Loss
Guaranteed Negative Balance Protection
No Fees On Deposits + Withdrawals
Pepperstone vs IC Markets Spreads & Fees
When assessing Pepperstone vs IC Markets based on spreads for ECN account, Pepperstone came out in front. The below table shows the two forex brokers (and others) head to head.
Average Spreads (21/02/2019)
Pepperstone and IC Markets are both true ECN Accounts. ECN is based on sophisticated technology which allows ECN brokers to obtain the best quotes from liquidity providers for its clients. Unlike a market maker broker, ECN brokers automatically match and executes the orders requested based on the quote.
It should be noted both foreign exchange brokers also offer standard accounts. These standard accounts have no commissions by higher spreads and are used generally for those new to forex trading. Standard accounts also are more commonly selected by low volume traders.
The ECN accounts are for experienced and high-risk traders and have the following features:
1) Deep Pool Liquidity
ECN brokers trade directly with a large number of liquidity providers to achieve an average spread. Pepperstone’s pool consists of 22 major banks while IC Markets pool consists of over 50 liquidity providers. As spreads are set at the market level, brokers charge a commission.
2) No Dealing Desk
No dealing desk is involved in the trading process as all trade is done 100% via ECN. As no broker is involved, there is no re-quoting to be incurred in the spread. This means lower fees for traders.
Pepperstone’s Edge Razor Account
The Razor account offered by Pepperstone boasts:
A min/max trade size of 0.01/100 lots.
a $3.50 AUD commission is charged on swaps for each lot traded (on MetaTrader 4 platform).
A $200 min deposit.
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.
Pepperstone also offers a cash rebate program that can save up to 43% on commissions. Deductions on trade commissions are offered when trades of:
200 lots in a single month nets traders a $1.0 commission discount.
500 lots in a single month nets traders a $1.50 commission discount.
1500 lots in a single month will net traders a $2.0 commission deduction.
2,500 lots in a month will result in a $3.0 commission saving.
5000 lots traded in one month will yield a commission reduction as negotiated in a deal with Pepperstone directly.
An alternative to the Pepperstone Razor Account is the Pepperstone Standard Account. See our comparison of Razor vs Standard here.
IC Markets True ECN
Major benefits of IC Markets ECN broker include:
min, max trade sizes of 0.01 per 100 lots.
A $3.5aud commission charged on swaps with each 1 lot traded (only on MT4).
We advocate for Pepperstone if you are looking for low trading fees. On average, Pepperstone has slightly lower spreads. In regards to high-frequency traders, commissions are lower thanks to their active trader program.
Both Pepperstone and IC Markets offer MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and cTrader. 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.
Forex Platform Conclusion
IC Markets has the strongest forex trading platform offering. The extra features offered by IC Markets Advanced Trading Tools add-on means it is superior to Pepperstone’s add-on.
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 on the basis of 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 towards the minimum amount. The broker will then automatically seek to exit the trader from the market before they dip below zero.
‘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, is 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).
Separate Accounts – ASIC regulation requires accounts to be segregated. Pepperstone uses NAB while IC Markets use 2 banks: NAB and Westpac.
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 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 Dash, Ethereum, Dash, Litecoin however IC Markets 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 understand 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 customer service category to Pepperstone.
Both Pepperstone and IC offer leverage ratios of up to 500 to 1. Leverage refers to how much an Australian forex broker lets their clients borrow for trading purposes. High leverage is for traders hungry and able to afford to take great risks. It’s also required for many automated trading strategies. These automated strategy tactics often use low levels of capital and then have sharp entry and exit into currency markets.
Pepperstone and IC Markets both offer leverage the same leverage however higher leverage makes the speed of execution very important. Given IC Markets won the execution category we therefore, are awarding this comparison to IC Markets.
Pepperstone vs IC Markets Deposits & Withdrawals
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 their own 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 7:00am 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 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 prior to 12:00 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.