XM is a spread only forex broker, while Pepperstone offers tight ECN pricing with commissions. Our team of forex experts have compared the two brokers to see who offers the best spreads, platforms and accounts. Here is our XM vs Pepperstone Comparison.
There are two main pricing structures when trading forex via a retail investor account. ECN-style spreads charge flat-rate commission fees while Standard Accounts are commission-free, but spreads tend to be wider. Pepperstone offers both pricing structures, yet XM traders are restricted to no commission accounts unless they are based in the UK or Europe.
While certain brokers fix their forex spreads, both XM and Pepperstone offer variable spreads that change with market conditions.
If you are based in the UK or Europe, you can sign up to XM’s Zero Account. Flat-rate commission fees are $7 round turn per 100,000 traded, yet spreads are less competitive than Pepperstone and other top brokers for most currency pairs except the EUR/USD and GBP/USD.
Much the same as an ECN broker, Pepperstone offers ultra-tight spreads on a range of major, minor and exotic currency pairs. Razor Accounts provide access to an institutional trading environment where spreads can be as low as 0.0 pips. Like XM, commission fees are $7 round turn per 100,000.
When compared to other top forex brokers, Pepperstone’s Razor spreads are far more competitive for the majority of major fx pairs. For instance, if you are trading with Forextime.com, USD/JPY average spreads are 0.50 pips while Pepperstone offers 0.13 pips. Similarly, with the AUD/JPY currency pairs, XM offers 1.20 pips compared to Pepperstone’s ultra-low spreads of 0.32 pips.
Data taken from broker website. Accurate as at 02/04/2021
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Beginner and infrequent traders may prefer a simple fee structure where there is no need to calculate commission costs. Pepperstone’s Standard Account offer low average spreads on most currency pairs and is an excellent option for those wanting to focus on the AUD/JPY forex pair, which averages 1.33 pips compared to XM’s 3.30 pips.
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XM’s Standard and Micro account types charge no commission fees on top of the quoted spread. When compared to Pepperstone and other online brokers, XM’s average spreads are much wider across all currency pairs.
For those based outside of Europe and the United Kingdom, XM offers an Ultra-Low account type that is commission-free yet provides access to tighter spreads than the broker’s Micro and Standard accounts.
Ultra-Low accounts can provide spreads similar to ECN accounts when commission costs are included. For instance, XM offers average spreads of 0.80 pips for the EUR/USD currency pair compared to 0.10 pips with XM’s Zero account. When commission fees are accounted for, Zero and Ultra-Low spreads are equal:
Similar to an ECN broker, Pepperstone is a no dealing desk (NDD) broker where orders are executed with Straight-Through-Processing (STP). As an NDD and STP broker, orders are matched with different top-tier external liquidity sources, allowing traders to gain access ECN-style pricing traditionally reserved for institutional investors.
As well as institutional-grade pricing, Pepperstone clients can enjoy extra-fast execution due to the broker’s partnership with Equinix. With servers located at New York’s Wall Street financial hub, on average Pepperstone’s orders are executed in less than 30ms, ensuring low latency and minimal lag. With ECN-style pricing and fast execution, Pepperstone is an ideal online broker for scalpers, active traders and Expert Advisors.
Unlike NDD brokers that source their prices from external liquidity providers, market makers such as XM match orders internally, setting their own bid-ask prices. Generally, market makers offer commission-free spreads, yet in the case of XM, they also provide the option of an ECN-style account to UK and European traders.
Although a market maker, XM promotes a no requote guarantee, with 100% of orders being filled by the broker and no potential for orders to be rejected. Although XM’s servers are located in London, New York and London, 99.35% of orders are executed in less than 1 second and therefore XM’s average order execution speed lags behind Pepperstone.
As a Pepperstone customer, you can leave your trading account dormant for any length of time without incurring inactivity fees. XM, on the other hand, charges $5 per month if you do not make a trade for 90 days. Once your XM account balance falls below zero, your account will be archived.
Swap fees (aka overnight financing fees) apply when positions are held open for extended periods. Both XM and Pepperstone traders incur swap costs when positions are open for longer than one day, with the fee derived from the interest rates of the currencies included in the fx pair being traded.
When Pepperstone and XM spread and execution are compared, Pepperstone wins overall due to its no dealing desk execution and institutional-grade pricing. While XM offers tighter spreads through its Zero account type, only UK and European residents are able to access the broker’s ECN-style pricing, while Pepperstone’s Razor account has no restrictions.
As well as low spreads thanks to top-tier liquidity providers, Pepperstone charges no inactivity fees keeping trading costs low, while XM traders incur penalties when accounts are left inactive.
View Pepperstone Review >>Visit Pepperstone >>
Pepperstone and XM offer a choice of account types to choose from. As well as commission-free and ECN-style accounts, both brokers offer swap-free accounts suited to Islamic traders.
Pepperstone offers two accounts types. Standard accounts types are commission-free, while Razor accounts charge flat-rate commission fees yet provide ECN-like spreads. Account features that both Razor and Standard accounts offer include:
The main differences between the two account types are:
XM offers four retail investor accounts for forex trading that feature different contract sizes, minimum deposits, minimum spreads. As shown below, all of XM’s account types are commission-free apart from the broker’s ECN-style Zero Account.
Traders wanting to practise trading with low volumes, have smaller account balances or require precise position sizes are well-suited to Micro Accounts, while Ultra-Low Accounts offer flexible features of both Micro and Standard Accounts, although a higher minimum deposit is required.
Availability of each account type depends on your location and the XM subsidiary you are trading with. Only traders based in Europe or the UK can sign up to Zero Accounts and are not able to register for Ultra Low Accounts.
Pepperstone’s Swap Free Account is similar to the broker’s Standard Account, except traders do not pay or receive swaps. Designed for those following Islamic finance practices, Swap Free account holders do not pay or receive interest-based overnight financing fees. As with the broker’s standard account, minimum spreads are as low as 1.0 pip and commission-free.
A limitation of Pepperstone’s Swap Free Account is that you are restricted to four base currencies, being the USD, GBP, EUR or AUD. If those using Swap-Free Accounts keep a position open for longer than 10 days, traders will incur an admin charge that ranges between USD 1-50.
XM’s Islamic Accounts are offered to forex traders of the Islamic faith. With no swaps or overnight interest fees, the account type complies with Islamic finance practises where interest based payments cannot be incurred or received. As well as imposing no hidden costs, XM does not widen spreads or charge fees for positions held open for longer periods.
When trading forex, the maximum leverage you can use depends on your broker’s financial jurisdiction and regulators.
If you are an XM trader, the leverage limits are as follows:
As a Pepperstone trader, you will be offered the following maximum leverage limits:
Account features vary greatly between XM and Pepperstone accounts. XM’s minimum spreads are generally wider than Pepperstone. Plus, Pepperstone’s Razor Account provides an ECN-trading environment suitable for active traders or algorithmic strategies and therefore the best account type for forex traders.
Pepperstone and XM both offer MetaTrader 4 (MT4) and MetaTrader 5 (MT5) software, with Pepperstone Razor account holders provided the additional trading platform option of cTrader. All platforms allow you to conduct advanced analysis while automating trading with algorithmic strategies or account mirroring services.
MT4, MT5 and cTrader are available as a desktop or webtrader platform as well as trading apps for iOS and Android devices. Trading platform features are outlined below, followed by the social trading tools and add-on features offered by both brokers.
Both Pepperstone and XM provide access to the hugely popular MT4 and MT5 trading platforms. As well as advanced charting and analysis tools, MetaTrader users can fully automate trading by using Expert Advisors (EAs). EAs allow traders to develop algorithmic trading strategies where positions are automatically opened and closed according to a set of parameters determined by the user, reducing the time spent finding profitable opportunities and placing orders. For beginner traders who may lack the experience needed to write Expert Advisors themselves, the MetaTrader’s online Marketplace offers an extensive library of EAs that can be purchased and downloaded.
As well as the differences mentioned above, MT5 also offers improvements over MT4 such as an economic calendar, depth of market and an MQL5 trading community chat function.
Pepperstone’s Razor account holders can access cTrader but the platform is not offered to XM customers. cTrader is a forex trading platform that provides an ECN-style trading environment with ultra-fast execution and institutional-grade pricing. cTrader features include:
Like MetaTrader 4 and 5, algorithmic trading strategies can be executed on the cTrader platform. Instead of Expert Advisors, traders can develop cBots using the C# programming language that automatically monitors markets and enters/exits positions following the trader’s preset parameters.
Pepperstone offers four different social-copy trading tools that customers gain use to automate trading:
The account mirroring services allow you to copy and follow the trades of experienced investors, greatly reducing the time spent analysing markets and conducting research. This can be an excellent tool for beginner traders as it provides the opportunity to learn from seasoned traders and build confidence forex trading. When searching for trading strategies to copy, most third-party providers allow you to filter traders by risk profile, location and asset classes being traded.
XM traders can access the broker’s free forex signals through the broker’s ‘Members Area’ online. Trading signals supported by XM’s expert traders and analysts can be easily copied into both MT4 and MT5, with 10 currency pairs covered daily.
With three trading platform to choose from and multiple social-copy trading options, Pepperstone provides superior forex trading software when compared to XM. As MetaTrader 5 offers certain benefits over MT4 and cTrader such as multi-currency backtesting, a wider product range and MQL5 Expert Advisors, using MT5 with a Pepperstone Razor account is a great option for all traders regardless of trading strategy or experience.
Both XM and Pepperstone are overseen by well-respected financial authorities that enforce differing regulation for online brokers. Trading CFDs and forex with a regulated broker ensures policies are in place to provide investors’ protection and can reduce the high risk of trading.
With oversight from the three major regulatory bodies around the world, Pepperstone is seen as one of the most trusted forex brokers.
While all regulators require brokers to segregate client funds from company funds, only those trading with the United Kingdom subsidiary will receive protection through the FCA’s Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The FSCS protects clients in the case a broker becomes insolvent by providing compensation up to £85,000. Additionally, the FCA, ASIC and CySEC enforce leverage caps of 30:1 for major currency pairs and 20:1 for minor and exotic fx pairs.
Pepperstone’s Dubai branch accepts residents of Dubai as well as certain Gulf states, while the FCA regulated entity caters to European and UK traders. Most traders based elsewhere are able to register with the ASIC regulated Pepperstone branch.
XM is regulated by multiple financial regulators with clients protected through segregated funds in each of XM’s five different locations. Depending on where you reside, you can register with one of the following XM subsidiaries:
Like Pepperstone’s UK branch, XM traders’ account balances are protected through compensation schemes if they are based in the UK (FCA) or Europe (CySEC).
Both brokers are regulated by top-tier financial authorities in multiple locations and follow the regulation enforced in each jurisdiction. Although policies providing investors protection vary between subsidiaries, XM and Pepperstone are highly regulated and well-respected online brokers.
To manage the high risk of trading CFDs and forex, investors can utilise XM’s and Pepperstone’s range of risk management tools to manage exposure. Three main types of risk management features are offered:
Negative Balance Protection (NBP) is a policy enforced by certain brokers that ensure traders do not lose more funds than they have deposited. If markets are volatile and moving rapidly, trading account balances have the potential to enter negative balances, causing traders to end up in debt to their broker. When balances enter negative values, brokers with NBP policies will close all of a trader’s open positions, ensuring the client does not become indebted to the broker.
In line with the United Kingdom’s financial regulation, Pepperstone provides negative balance protection to those trading with their FCA and CySEC regulated subsidiaries. As NBP is not a requirement for elsewhere, Pepperstone clients outside of the UK and Europe are not protected by NBP.
Please Note: from April 2021, ASIC is introducing compulsory NBP for Australian traders and brokers.
Unlike most top forex brokers, XM offers negative balance protection to all customers, regardless of their location or the XM subsidiary they are registered with. Therefore, all XM traders cannot lose more funds than they have deposited into their trading account.
When trading CFDs and forex, order types help to reduce the high risk that comes with volatile markets. While market orders buy or sell a financial instrument at the current market price, pending orders can be used to buy or sell when a pre-defined price is met in the future.
Both XM and Pepperstone offer the same pending order types, although availability differs between trading platforms. Neither broker offers premium orders such as guaranteed stop losses, with the following basic order types available on MT4, MT5 and cTrader:
As well as order types and top tier regulation, demo accounts can be used to test and optimise trading strategies in realtime market conditions.
With negative balance protection for all customers, basic order types and a demo account with no time restrictions, XM is the clear winner when it comes to risk management features.
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In addition to forex trading, both XM and Pepperstone offer a range of asset classes and CFDs that customers can trade. As MT4 and cTrader are forex platforms, both Pepperstone and XM’s Share CFDs are only available when using MetaTrader 5.
Pepperstone clients gain access to over 150 financial instruments derived from five different asset classes:
Those trading forex and CFDs with Pepperstone’s UK subsidiary should note that cryptocurrency trading is no longer available to retail traders due to recent changes in FCA regulation.
XM offers a greater range of CFDs with thousands of different products available, yet they do not offer any Cryptocurrency CFDs, which is a major weakness.
Unlike XM, Pepperstone offers Cryptocurrency trading, yet on the other hand, XM offers a much wider range of Share CFDs. As the two brokers offer similar asset classes and the number of currency pairs, XM and Pepperstone tie in regards to CFD product range.
XM and Pepperstone offer multiple contact methods, along with research and educational materials to assist traders. Whether you are new to forex trading or wanting to develop your develop advanced analysis skills, both brokers provide a range of resources ranging from webinars to economic calenders.
Pepperstone offers award-winning customer support via live chat, phone and email. Pepperstone responds to email queries within 24 hours, while phone and live chat contact methods are available 24 hours a day, 5 days a week.
The online broker is well known for its excellent trading support, receiving the following awards for their customer service:
XM offers multilingual customer service with live chat, phone and email contact methods available. Unfortunately, while assistance is available 24/5, XM is known for poor customer service with long response times and irrelevant answers.
When trading with Pepperstone, customers gain access to a library of educational resources suited to both beginner and experienced traders. Articles, webinars and tutorials cover topics such as the basics of forex trading, technical analysis, Expert Advisors and trading strategy development. Upcoming webinars can be found on the broker’s website, with past webinars available to watch anytime. For those wanting to build confidence trading on MetaTrader 4, an extensive trading platform tutorial is also available.
As well as educational materials, Pepperstone clients can utilise a range of research tools to enhance their forex knowledge and develop strategies. The broker’s research and analysis tools include:
XM offers a free educational course that explains the basics of forex trading with a focus on fundamental and technical analysis. Like Pepperstone, tutorials are available in addition to live webinars that are hosted by industry experts.
A detailed economic calendar and newsfeed can be used to research financial markets yet overall, XM’s fundamental research tools are limited.
With award-winning customer support, comprehensive educational resources and strong research tools, Pepperstone provides the best customer support when compared to XM. All contact methods gain efficient responses while XM suffers a reputation for poor and slow support.
Pepperstone and XM both offer traditional and e-wallet payment methods. Please note, availability of the below funding options varies depending on your location and the subsidiary you are trading with.
When opening a Pepperstone account, you can choose the AUD, NZD, SGD, HKD, JPY, USD, EUR, CAD, CHF or GBP as your trading accounts base currency.
To fund your account, Pepperstone provides a wide range of fee-free deposit options such as:
When withdrawing funds from your account, Pepperstone will return the funds into your nominated bank account within 3-5 days.
Base currencies available depend on the XM account type you are signed up to with Zero accounts restricted to fewer options:
Depending on the subsidiary you are signed up to and the location you are trading from, XM offers the following deposit options:
All deposit methods are fee-free unless you transfer less than $200 via bank transfer, where a $20 fee will apply. When making a withdrawal, XM will return the funds via the same method as funds were deposited. I.e. if you make deposits via Skrill, funds can only be returned to your Skrill account.
With no deposit and withdrawal fees and e-wallet funding methods such as PayPal, Skrill and BPay, Pepperstone provides the best payment options when compared to XM. XM charges fees when small amounts are transferred via bank wire, whereas Pepperstone clients incur no such withdrawal fees.
When XM and Pepperstone’s trading conditions, spreads, accounts and trading tools are compared, Pepperstone is the best online broker overall. The no dealing desk broker provides Razor Account holders with ultra-tight spreads and fast execution on MT4, MT5 or cTrader, replicating an institutional trading environment for retail investor accounts.
On top of tight forex spreads, Pepperstone offers Cryptocurrency trading while XM does not offer Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrencies. Additionally, account management fees are lower with Pepperstone compared to XM. Unlike Pepperstone, XM charges inactivity and withdrawal fees in certain circumstances increasing overall trading costs.
Overall, Pepperstone is more similar to an ECN broker than XM and provides excellent trading conditions while charging low fees.
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.