IC Markets Review

IC Markets is a preferred platform among Australian traders who want low fees and access to forex, CFD, crypto, and more.

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Australia and China are like brothers from different mothers.

Bonded by the blood of mutually advantageous multi-decade trade relations, the two are impossible to separate. This is something too many forex traders simply do not understand. It is the reason IC Markets moved to ban non-Australian traders in mid-2019.

Non-Aussie forex traders were summarily migrated to IC Markets’ Seychelles branch, True ECN Trading Ltd., without so much as a by-your-leave. Luckily the fallout from this thus far has been minimal.

For those eligible, IC Markets has a lot to offer.

IC Markets launched in 2007. Its daily forex trade volume is massive. IC Markets is the largest single online forex/CFD brokerage in the world. The platform has also garnered kudos for what many believe to be the lowest spreads in the EU.

Fast Facts

  • Regulation: ASIC (Australia), FCA (UK)
  • Account Minimum: AUD200
  • Demo Account: Yes
  • Asset Coverage: Forex, stocks, cryptocurrencies, commodities, precious metals, energies, and equity indices.
  • Best For: Traders seeking raw forex/low spreads, low deposit minimums and fast execution.

Ratings

  • Commissions & Fees: 8.5/10
  • Investment Selection: 3/10
  • Account Options & Features: 8.5/10
  • Usability:5/10
  • Educational Resources: 9/10
  • Customer Service: 7/10
  • Overall: 7/10
Open Account on IC Markets’ website

Investor Warning: Trading Derivatives carries a high level of risk to your capital and you should only trade with money you can afford to lose. Trading Derivatives may not be suitable for all investors, so please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved and seek independent advice if necessary. Raw Spread accounts offer spreads from 0.0 pips with a commission charge of USD $3.50 per 100k traded. Standard account offer spreads from 1 pip with no additional commission charges. Spreads on CFD indices start at 0.4 points. The information on this site is not directed at residents in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.

If you are an aspiring forex trader from the U.S., Iran, Israel or Canada…well, good luck. You won’t be trading through IC Markets anytime soon. The platform is not able to serve traders from those jurisdictions.

🇺🇸 U.S. Traders: Try these top US forex brokerages instead.

Yet if you have the right credentials, IC Markets has a lot to offer. Should you trust IC Markets with your hard-earned scratch? Maybe. Maybe not.

After you read this article you’ll know if the platform is right for you. Let’s jump right into it.

Overview and Summary

  1. IC Markets opened its doors in 2007.
  2. IC Markets received its Australian Financial Services License in 2009.
  3. Largest ECN (Electronic Crossing Network) broker in Australia.
  4. Offers pips as low as 0.0 through the broker’s Raw Spread Connectivity (RSC).
  5. Australian arm (regulated by ASIC, one of the strictest agencies globally.
  6. Seychelles arm (IKBK Holdings Ltd) regulated by FSA (Financial Services Authority) of Seychelles.
  7. Excellent array of asset classes to trade.
  8. Reasonable leverage up to 1:500 across asset classes.
  9. Access to MetaTrader 4 and 5 platforms.
  10. Website translated into 18 languages.

What is IC Markets?

With more than 60,000 active traders and a daily throughput topping AUD600 billion some months, there is no doubt this is a serious global broker with serious global reach.

With more than a decade in “the biz,” IC Markets has long since put the uncertainty of its fly-by-night forex peers behind it. However, new developments over the last year have placed some unexpected obstacles in the path of this forex giant.

Screenshot of IC Markets website homepage with a Start Trading button
More than 60,000 active traders use the IC Markets platform.

There is no doubt the IC Markets slogan “making the world more tradeable for everyone” is catchy. Or at least it was until June 2019, when heightened ASIC restrictions effectively nipped that aspiration in the bud.

Australia and China have a very special bond and one which ASIC (the Australian Securities and Investments Commission), the country’s corporate regulatory body, fully intends to safeguard.

What does China have to do with it, you might be wondering? China is Australia’s main trading partner, and here we are not talking about forex. China consumes a reported one-third of Australia’s exports annually This has led some newsmakers to speculate on the future of this so-called “for better or for worse” relationship of mutual gain….or loss.

As such, IC Markets is not the first or even the second Australian-based forex broker to wake up one morning and discover its ability to serve international traders has been at least partially revoked.

As non-Australian brokers have increasingly sought to gain entrée to the lucrative Chinese marketplace, ASIC, sporting a shiny new set of product oversight powers, has been as systematically stopping them at the border. The outcome? Australia’s forex borders are all but closed at this point.

Currently, IC Markets does not accept traders from the United States, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Canada and Israel. As of June 2019, non-Australian residents from other regions who wish to trade with IC Markets may do so through the broker’s Seychelles counterpart, IC Markets (SC) aka Raw Trading Ltd.

Pros

  • Low fees overall and no fees for standard account deposits/withdrawals or account inactivity.
  • Option for zero commission with some accounts.
  • Option to trade at raw spread with some accounts.
  • Allows all trade strategies including hedging, scalping.
  • Simple, speedy onboarding (for all but Islamic account type which requires extra verification).
  • Free demo account allows access to all trade types and markets.
  • Three mainstream trading platforms: cTrader, MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5 plus online and apps.
  • High leverage of up to 1:500 with some asset classes makes IC Markets ideal for savvy traders.

Cons

  • Are you a citizen of the United States, Iran, Canada or Israel? You can’t use IC Markets.
  • Are you a non-Aussie? You can only trade through IC Markets (SC) in the Seychelles.
  • IC Markets offers no protection for investors (other than through ZULU Trade and whatever each trading platform software offers its unique users).
  • High leverage with few protections makes IC Markets a particularly risky choice for newbie traders.
  • Traders have no inbuilt negative balance protection so individual stop-loss setpoints are crucial.
  • $200 minimum deposit to open a live account and high CFD financing rates may be too rich for some.
  • Fewer research options than some competitors.
  • No bonus offers for live account holders.

Is IC Markets Regulated?

Yes.

ASIC Banner
IC Markets is regulated by ASIC, a.k.a. Australian Securities & Investments Commission.

While the ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) has always been a vigilant regulatory body, it became more so over the last year when the Australian government took action to expand its powers.

🇦🇺 Is IC Markets a leading Australian forex platform? Find out in our top Australian forex brokers report.

IC Markets – Seychelles: regulated by CySEC.

In Seychelles, Cypress-headquartered IC Markets (SC) comes under the oversight of the Seychelles Financial Services Authority (CySEC). Cypress has long been called the “Kingdom of Forex Brokerages” for its pivotal role in regulating EU-based brokerages.

As of mid-year last year, CySEC has responded to the crackdown on EU brokerages in a slightly different way than most CySEC’s regulatory oversight now mandates that individual forex brokers operating in the retail marketplace evaluate traders based on experience, offering different scales of leverage based on ranking.

Range of Offerings

IC Markets traders have a lovely menu of asset classes to choose from, including one true rarity: government bonds.

All four live account types (cTrader Raw Spread, Raw Spread, Standard, Islamic) are eligible to trade in all asset classes as follows:

  • Bonds (Indices): seven government bond offerings
  • Commodities (CFDs): 14 types including metals
  • Crypto: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and seven others
  • Forex: 64 forex currency pairs (all majors, majority of minors)
  • Futures: VIX (Cboe Volatility Index), oil, ICE (Intercontinental Exchange)
  • Indices: seven global indices available including FTSE 100, S&P, ASX 200, Dow Jones Index
  • Stocks (CFDs): ASX, NASDAQ, NYSE single stocks – 120 total

It is worth noting that, while the minimum leverage available is always 1:1, the available maximum leverage differs based on the asset class. IC Markets does not offer negative balance protection, so careful attention to leverage is advised. Here is a basic overview of leverage per asset class:

  • Bonds (Indices): 200:1
  • Commodities (CFDs): 500:1
  • Crypto: 20:1
  • Forex: 500:1
  • Futures: 200:1
  • Indices: 200:1
  • Stocks (CFDs): 20:1

Account Types

IC Markets offers five account types total: one demo account and four live trading account types. All but the Islamic account type typically takes just moments to activate and fund.

Here is an overview of what each account type has to offer you.

Screenshot of IC Markets website with account opening page selected
In case you want to open an account on IC Markets’ website, you can choose between three account types.

Demo Account

The IC Markets demo account is free to set up and use. It requires just 30 seconds to set up and you don’t have to volunteer any financial information.

The demo account supports all products, trading platforms, and trading strategies. Opening a demo account is the best way to get an overview of everything IC Markets has to offer without the risk or financial commitment.

cTrader Raw Spread Account (Live)

cTrader raw spread account uses the proprietary cTrader software designed to facilitate high volume forex CFD trades. Here is an overview of this account type’s main perks:

  • Commission (per lot): AUD3.00
  • Spreads starting from: 0.0
  • Location of server: London
  • VPS (CNS Cross Connect) availability: No
  • Platform/language: cTrader (C+)

The cTrader raw spread account offers all the same perks you will find with the other three live account types, including these:

  • Raw pricing drawing from 25 different pricing providers.
  • Spreads starting at 0.0 pips (average spread EUR/USD 24/5 of 0.1 pips).
  • Up to 1:500 leverage (both manual and automated trades).
  • Deep liquidity with complete transparency using VWAP (volume-weighted average price).
  • Ultra-fast order execution (under 1ms latency).
  • Zero trading restrictions: scalping, automated and high-frequency trading welcome.
  • Flexible lot sizes as small as 0.01 (one micro lot) to minimize trading risk.
  • 10 account funding options: debit, credit card, wire transfer, broker-to-broker transfer, etc.

Raw Spread Account (Live)

The raw spreads account works with either MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5, with New York servers delivering average latency of under 1ms. Spreads are as low as 0.0 pips and an AUD3.50 commission is assessed per trade. Here is an overview of this account type’s main perks:

  • Commission (per lot): AUD3.50
  • Spreads starting from: 0.0
  • Location of server: New York
  • VPS (CNS Cross Connect) availability: Yes
  • Platform/language: MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 (MQL4/MQL5)

The raw pricing model offers institutional pricing (executable streaming prices, ESPs) with no price manipulation, dealing with desk interference or re-quotes. High volume traders, scalpers, and robots are welcomed.

Raw spread accounts offer all of the above perks and these additional value-added benefits:

  • No minimum order distance requirements.
  • Freeze level of “0” (i.e. place near-market stop-loss orders with ease).
  • Ability to place orders between the spread.
  • No FIFO (first in, first out) rule – hedge positions permitted.
  • No margin payments on hedged trades.
  • Margin netting benefits.
  • Depth of market with available volumes for each currency pair visible at all times.
  • Asynchronous spot prices guarantee tightest spreads.

Standard Account (Live)

The commission-free standard account offers an all-inclusive spread starting at one pip using either the MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5 platform.

The standard account offers fast on-boarding with raw pricing benefits and latency as low as 1ms. Here is an overview of this account type’s main perks:

  • Commission (per lot): N/A
  • Spreads starting from: 1.0
  • Location of server: New York
  • VPS (CNS Cross Connect) availability: Yes
  • Platform/language: MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 (MQL4/MQL5)

Islamic Account (Live)

Also called a swap account, this account type can be integrated with the cTrader, Raw Spread or Standard account types using the cTrader, MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5 platforms. Here is an overview of this account type’s main perks:

  • Commission (per lot): ranges from $5 to $50 per lot
  • Spreads starting from: 0.0
  • Location of server: New York or London
  • VPS (CNS Cross Connect) availability: Yes
  • Platform/language: cTrader (C+), MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 (MQL4/MQL5)

The benefits and limitations of the Islamic trading account include these:

  • 90+ trading instruments available.
  • Leverage of up to 1:500
  • Spreads starting as low as 0.0 pips
  • No extra costs in lieu of swaps.
  • Overnight fees and fees for trades open more than one day may apply to exotic currency pairs.
  • Commissions and spreads for raw spread and standard accounts will apply.

New to forex? Learn about spreads and commissions from the pros.

It is first necessary to open a regular account (which can be any of the other three live account types) and then request a Sharia-compliant account. The IC Markets website states that additional documentation may be requested before final approval can be granted.

All IC Markets live accounts can be funded using a range of international services. Not all funding services may be available in all areas or with all currencies. Here is a basic overview of the different account funding services and any known associated restrictions:

Funding ServiceCurrency/ Restriction
Credit or Debit CardsAUD, USD, JPY, EUR, NZD, SGD, GBP, CAD with instant processing
PaypalAUD, USD, JPY, EUR, NZD, SGD, GBP, CAD, HKD, CHF with instant processing
NetellerUSD, AUD, GBP, EUR, CAD, SGD, JPY with instant processing
Neteller VIPAUD, EUR, GBP, CAD, SGD, JPY with instant processing
SkrillAUD, USD, JPY, EUR, SGD, GBP with instant processing
UnionPayRMD with instant processing
Wire TransferAUD, USD, JPY, EUR, NZD, SGD, GBP, CAD, CHF with 2 to 5 business days processing
BPayAUD only with 12-hour to 48-hour processing
FasapayUSD only with instant processing
Broker to brokerAUD, USD, JPY, EUR, NZD, SGD, GBP, CAD, CHF, HKD with 2 to 5 business days processing
POLIAUD only with instant processing
Thai Internet BankUSD only with 15min to 30min processing
RapidpayEUR or GBP only with instant processing
KlarnaEUR or GBP only with instant processing
Bitcoin WalletBTC only with 1-2 hour processing
Vietnamese Internet BankingUSD only with instant processing

IC Markets Fees

IC Markets has a simple fee structure. No fees are charged for account deposits or withdrawals. The one exception is wire transfers. A fee of 20AUD (or equivalent for other currency) per wire transfer will be assessed. Other fees may also apply if additional funding transfers are required.

Certain international banking institutions may have their own fee structure for account deposits or withdrawals.

Trading Platforms

IC Markets offers traders all three of the industry-standard state-of-the-art, popular platforms: cTrader (with optional cAlgo plugin and cTrader Web) plus apps for iOS/Apple and Android, MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5, each of which also offers MTWeb and apps for iOS/Apple and Android.

cTrader

One key reason some traders prefer cTrader is because it has expanded charting capabilities and straight-through processing (STP) functionality. cTrader also gives you access to 10 major equity indices and 64 currency pairs. If you use the cAlgo plugin, you can program your own indicators using the C+ programming language.

You can use cTrader with Mac, PC or online (browser-based).

Meta Trader 4

IC Markets Metatrader 4
IC Markets lets its clients execute trading operations via Meta Trader 4 platform.

Meta Trader 4, or MT4, is arguably the most famous trading platform in use today. If you want to use your own EA (Expert Advisor), you can access the MTQ4 language to create auto-trading algorithms that work for you.

MT4 can be used with PC, Mac or Linux. There is also a web-based interface available that is less popular.

Meta Trader 5

One difference with the Meta Trader 5 upgrade is that traders can now trade in single stock entities. Another addition is the opportunity to code and save custom indicators using MQL5. There are other desirable customization perks as well.

MT5 can also be used with PC, Mac or Linux or with the web-based interface.

Two newer platform offerings include ZULU Trader and Myfxbook. Neither has an associated app at this time.

ZULU Trader

ZULU Trader is a social trading platform with some extra features. The simulation tool lets you learn and try out new strategies before going live. With more than 100,000 traders from 192 countries represented, ZULU Rank makes it easy to find reliable trading signals. The platform also has a built-in capital protection feature called ZULU Guard.

Myfxbook Auto Trade

This unique platform offers a trade copy (account mirroring) for easy onboarding. Open an account and connect it to Myfxbook. Then select the system you want to mirror and begin trading. There are no volume-based fees and you don’t have to install or learn to operate the software.

This is a particularly useful tool for newbie traders who want to learn with some inbuilt risk mitigation.

IC Markets App

IC Markets Mobile Apps

IC Markets does not currently have its own integrated proprietary app for mobile traders. Rather, it makes use of the integrated apps for the trading platforms it offers.

Currently, cTrader, MT4, and MT5 each offer apps for both iOS/Apple and Android/Google Play.

Most traders prefer desktop, web-based (online) and mobile in that order. But apps are available if you want to try them.

Spotware cTrader apps (public beta).

  • iOS/Apple app: 5.0 (out of 5 stars) With only one posted review, it is hard to know how well this app is performing with users.
  • Android app: 4.0 (out of 5 stars) The reviews by and large are positive with specific praise for functionality and ease of use.

MT4 Apps

  • iOS/Apple app: 4.8 (out of 5 stars) There is no doubt the MT4 platform has ironed out the majority of the big bugs. Users report minor update needs and overall acceptable functionality.
  • Android app: 4.6 (out of 5 stars) User reviews are very positive overall; some cite connectivity and functionality issues, especially with small screen viewing modes.

MT5 Apps

  • iOS/Apple app: 4.7 (out of 5 stars): Most reviewers seem pleased, although the iPhone app seems to be outperforming the iPad version.
  • Android app: 4.5 (out of 5 stars) Despite the high overall ratings, newer users are reporting lag times, freezing and issues with changing default settings.

Research, News and Education

One key area where many traders feel IC Markets falls short is in research and education resources. This combined with the high available leverage and lack of balance protection makes IC Markets a riskier choice overall for both new-to-forex/CFD traders and risk-averse traders.

Perhaps most evident in its absence is fundamental data – the ability to analyze the greater forex marketplace by way of social, economic, political and other global trends. The good news here is that cTrader, MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, ZULU Trade and Myfxbook do offer their own in-house education and research options. So you may be able to cobble together the resources you need in this way instead.

Learn about forex trading 101 with this ultimate beginner’s guide.

Customer Service

The quality of IC Markets’ customer support greatly depends on how you make contact. In keeping with Australia’s long and close association with China, the broker offers a separate dedicated support network just for Chinese traders, complete with its own phone number, email addresses, and live chat feature.

The glossary is fairly extensive and the frequently asked questions portal page is useful. The Live Chat offers chatbot or email support. Outside of live hours, the email feature remains available 24/7. Office hours are extensive: 7 to 7 (AEDT) Monday through Saturday and 22 to 22 (GMT) Sunday through Friday.

Phone support is offered on a call-back basis through the Help Centre. However, you can also make a call using the toll-free numbers for Australia, the UK, Thailand, Cypress, Indonesia, Germany, Spain, Brazil, Malaysia, South Africa, and Poland. For countries not supported by the toll-free service, there is also a global phone number.

Final Thoughts

IC Markets is currently the largest forex/CFD brokerage in the world. Of course, this is only useful information if you happen to be eligible to use the platform. It is no secret the United States has become incredibly strict about which brokerages are able to accept U.S. traders.

Australia has since followed suit, although IC Markets has been able to deftly navigate around this to some degree through its Seychelles arm.

Is IC Markets perfect? No, it is not. But then again, what forex brokerage hits this mark? None we can think of.

What IC Markets does have to offer in terms of overall regulatory oversight, transparency of fees and pricing, account options, platform choices and extra features, leverage, raw spread forex and access to customer support makes them a potential win in our book. If you plan to give them a try please circle back and share your experiences here.

IC Markets: Frequently Asked Questions

Is IC Markets regulated?

Boy howdy are they. ASIC and CySEC keep a close watch over the Australia and Seychelles brokerages, respectively speaking.

I am not Australian. Can I sign up to trade with IC Markets?

Yes, as long as you are not from the United States, Canada, Iran or Israel. You can sign up via IC Markets (SC) in Seychelles.

What are IC Markets’ operating hours?

One unique aspect of trading forex is that it goes on continuously. This doesn’t always mean brokerage customer support is available continuously, however. IC Markets does a good job of remaining accessible 24/7 via live chat, email and/or phone, toll-free in many cases.

Does IC Markets offer VPS?

Yes. You can choose from three providers: Forex VPS, Beeks FX VPS or New York City Servers. There is a fee which is around AUD20 per month. For more active traders who trade 15+ lots each month consistently, IC Markets will waive the fee.

VPS is only available currently for traders who choose to use MT4 or MT5. It is not available for cTrader users.

Where does IC Markets liquidity come from?

IC Markets has two main liquidity streams: public and private (dark pool) funds. Public funds come from respected major banks and financial institutions including Goldman Sachs, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, HSBC and others.

What is the average IC Markets order latency?

IC Markets maintains two Equinox data centers in New Jersey (New York) and London. These data centers also serve some of the largest financial and trade institutions and brokerages in the world. IC Markets routes orders via fiber optic cable through the appropriate Equinox data center for near-instantaneous execution (between 1ms and 40ms on average).

For traders who choose to take advantage of IC Markets VPS, you can connect to Equinox directly via VPS cross-connect.

All reviews, research, news and assessments of any kind on The Tokenist are compiled using a strict editorial review process by our editorial team. Neither our writers nor our editors receive direct compensation of any kind to publish information on TheTokenist.io. Our company, Tokenist Media LLC, is community supported and may receive a small commission when you purchase products or services through links on our website. Click here for a full list of our partners and an in-depth explanation on how we get paid.

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