OANDA may prevail in terms of regulations and research tools, but when it comes to raw spread, IC Markets take a better initiative that benefits short-term traders.
IC Markets and OANDA are two of the leading online brokers in the world. Their services are similar with both having a slight edge over each other across certain categories. They are both highly regulated by various financial bodies around the world where they operate which adds to their credibility and reliability as brokers.
IC Markets is relatively trustworthy even though it has no public listing. However, it is regulated by a tier-1 financial body (high trust), one tier-2 financial body (average trust), and one tier-3 financial body (low trust). The tier-1 financial body that regulates IC Markets is the Australian Securities & Investment Commission (ASIC). IC Markets is essentially an average-risk brokerage firm.
See Also: Is IC Markets Good for Beginners?
Similar to IC Markets, OANDA is not publicly listed too. However, when compared to IC Markets, OANDA is regulated by six tier-1 financial bodies (high trust) and no tier-2 or tier-3 regulators. The tier-1 regulators that authorize OANDA include the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC), Japanese Financial Services Authority (JFSA), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in the United States.
- IC Markets Vs OANDA in General
- In Regards to Raw Spreads
- Final Words
IC Markets Vs OANDA in General
Before we can determine which one of the two brokers has the better raw spread, we need to examine some of their features and what they offer to their clients.
Which has the Better Trading Tools?
The trading tools are examined in terms of platforms, analytical features, mobile trading, research, and education. For research capabilities, OANDA offers a much better market research experience and it is the same for mobile apps and trading tools as they are designed to provide traders with an overall excellent trading experience.
- Trading Platforms
|Desktop platform (Windows)||Yes||Yes|
|MetaTrader 4 (MT4)||Yes||Yes|
|MetaTrader 5 (MT5)||Yes||Yes|
- Trading Tools
|Alerts – basic fields||Yes||Yes|
|Watchlists – total fields||7||6|
|Charting – trade from the chart||Yes||Yes|
|Charting – drawings autosave||Yes||Yes|
|Charting- total number of drawing tools||15||431|
|Charting- total number of indicators||30||81|
- Mobile Trading
|Apple iOS App||Yes||Yes|
|Watch list syncing||No||No|
|Alerts – basic fields||Yes||Yes|
|Charting – draw trendlines||Yes||Yes|
|Charting – moveable trendlines||No||Yes|
|Charting – multiple timeframes||Yes||Yes|
|Charting – indicators||30||33|
|Charting – drawings autosave||No||Yes|
|Forex News (top-tier sources)||Yes||Yes|
|Daily market commentary||Yes||Yes|
|Social sentiment – currency pairs||Yes||Yes|
|Trading central (Recognia)||Yes||No|
|Education (Forex or CFDs)||Yes||Yes|
|Archived client webinars||Yes||Yes|
|Investor dictionary (glossary)||Yes||Yes|
|Beginner trading videos||No||Yes|
|Advanced trading videos||No||Yes|
How Many Currency Pairs and CFDs are Available for Trading?
IC Markets offers 61 currency pairs to clients while OANDA offers 71. In terms of CFDs, IC Markets provides traders access to more than 3,500 CFDs while OANDA offers just 124 which is a large difference in the product offerings.
|Forex pairs (total)||61||71|
|Total number of CFDs||3583||124|
|US Stock trading (Non-CFD)||No||No|
|International stock trading (Non-CFD)||No||No|
|Social trading/copy trading||Yes||Yes|
|Crypto Disclaimer (UK)||It should be noted that crypto CFDs cannot be accessed by retail traders from any broker’s U.K. entity nor by residents of the U.K. (with the exception of Professional traders)||It should be noted that crypto CFDs cannot be accessed by retail traders from any broker’s U.K. entity nor by residents of the U.K. (with the exception of Professional traders)|
What about the Funding Options?
To make it easy for clients to deposit and withdraw funds, IC Markets makes multiple options available to traders once they open an account. Some of these options include Skrill, wire transfer, FasaPay, Neteller, credit/debit card, BPay, and China Union Pay. Meanwhile, signing up to OANDA requires no minimum deposit.
|Bank wire (deposit/withdrawal)||Yes||Yes|
In Regards to Raw Spreads
When it comes to comparing the trading costs between brokers, especially for forex and CFD trading, it can be slightly complicated because pricing structures vary, and not every broker makes their average spreads data available. However, based on the available information, IC Markets provides traders with lower trading costs and better pricing overall.
The competitive pricing of IC Markets means it offers traders a better raw spread than OANDA. It is necessary to point out that IC Markets does offer a Raw Spread account to give traders a much better platform to enjoy its very tight spreads. The Raw Spread account is aimed at experienced traders that are looking for stable ultra-low spreads.
IC Markets is an online forex broker operating under the company of International Capital Markets Pty Ltd. Traders under the Australian jurisdiction are provided with the trading service of IC Markets AU that is headquartered in Australia and licensed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
On the other hand, non-Australian traders who open an account in this broker are registered under IC Markets SEY that is based in Seychelles, and regulated under the Seychelles Financial Services Authority (SFSA). The dual operation is a result of the relatively new rules from ASIC that prohibit their regulated broker to offer trading services outside Australia.
Classified as an ECN broker, IC Markets provide clients with MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, cTrader as platform trading options. This broker also follows market trends to include Cryptocurrencies as one of its products, enriching its already wide selection of trading assets that include Currencies, Indices, Metals, Energies, Softs, Stocks, as well as Bonds.
The minimum deposit in IC Markets is in the middle range compared to other ASIC-regulated brokers, as it reaches $200 for every client. Market analysis materials are also prepared regularly for trading insights on IC Markets's official website, proving their competence to serve their traders with important contents created by market experts that work specifically for them.
For payment methods, IC Markets allows funding and withdrawal via wire transfer, credit card, PayPal, Skrill, Neteller, FasaPay, UnionPay, as well as Bitcoin via BitPay. The more interesting aspect from this broker is its multi-base currencies that include USD, AUD, EUR, GBP, SGD, NZD, JPY, CHF, HKD, and CAD.
As the trading technology in IC Markets is highly equipped with co-located servers and extremely low latency (especially on cTrader), the broker is widely known for its capability in hosting traders with the special needs for high-frequency trading as well as scalping.
To sum up, IC Markets is a fitting destination for active traders looking for a well-regulated broker. IC Markets is also flexible in terms of base currency and payment methods, signaling their commitment to welcome traders beyond their home country. As of late 2019, IC Markets provided their website in 18 international languages including English, Korean, Indonesian, French, Spanish, Italian, Malay, German, and Chinese.
The Raw Spread account offered by IC Markets features some of the lowest possible spreads that can be found on the market with the average spread for EUR/USD being 0.1 pips while there is just a little commission of $3.50 per lot payable per side or $7 round turn. With deep liquidity and a high speed of order execution, the IC Markets Raw Spread account is perfect for day traders, scalpers, and expert advisors. The Raw Spread account has the following features:
Raw pricing enables IC Markets to offer market pricing and optimal trading conditions to its clients via the MT4 and MT5 platforms. The trading environment created by raw pricing enables traders to enjoy institutional-grade pricing on virtually the same level as the foremost execution venues in the world. IC Markets is able to achieve this because it receives Executable Streaming Prices (ESP) from its pricing providers and then makes that available to its clients without a dealing desk, requotes, or manipulation of prices. This makes IC Markets the leading choice for high-volume traders, scalpers, and robots that require narrow spreads and the most efficient execution possible.
Level II Pricing – Market Depth
Market depth displays the complete range of executable prices in the way they are sent directly from the price providers of IC Markets. This allows the broker to offer full transparency of the liquidity of each forex pair by showing the volumes that are available for each price level at any specific period. A high level of liquidity coupled with low latency and asynchronous spot prices ensure that clients get the narrowest spreads possible.
Spreads from 0.0 Pips
IC Markets has some of the tightest spreads among forex brokers in the world with spreads starting at 0.0 pips on both the MetaTrader 4 and 5 platforms. Also, the average spread for the EUR/USD is 0.1 pips. This makes it one of the tightest average spread for EUR/USD in the world.
This feature is possible because the pricing connector of IC Markets aggregates a mix from about 25 different providers of prices which means the broker constantly gets the best price for its clients while at the same time maintaining tight spreads, especially during high volatility periods.
High Speed of Order Execution
IC Markets achieves this by having its server for the MetaTrader 4 and 5 platforms located in the Equinix NY4 data center in New York. This NY4 data center has been referred to as a financial ecosystem because it houses more than 600 exchanges, buy and sell side firms, trading venues, market data, and service providers. The server for MetaTrader 4 and 5 is then cross-connected to the broker's Communication Network to guarantee low latency and ensure that trades are executed at a high speed via the trading environment of IC Markets.
In terms of latency, signing up an account with IC Markets means trading with latency values lower than 1 millisecond. This creates an environment that is perfect for automated and high-volume trading as well as scalping.
Perfect for Scalping as There are No Trading Restrictions
The MetaTrader 4 and 5 platforms offered by IC Markets do not have any restrictions on trading as the broker provides optimum trading conditions for high-frequency trading and scalping globally. This enables traders to place orders between the spread since there is an absence of minimum order distance and a freeze level of 0. Thus, traders can place orders (even stop-loss orders) as close to the market price as they wish.
IC Markets also allows hedging of trading positions and traders can enjoy the benefits of margin netting as they do not have to worry about paying margin on hedged trades.
See Also: Hedging vs Netting in Forex Brokers
Flexibility in Lot Sizing
In terms of trade sizes, there are no restrictions or limits as traders can place trades as small as one micro lot (0.01). Interested traders can capitalize on this flexibility in lot sizing by running a trial on the platform with very little risk while also engaging in the management of trade sizes based on their account balance.
Based on the above discussion that has compared the features of IC Markets and OANDA while also fully examining the features of the Raw Spread account offered by IC Markets, it is clear that if you are a trader looking for a broker with one of the best raw spreads on the market, then it is IC Markets.
OANDA is a highly trusted global brand that is distinguished for its reputation and excellent market research. It also has a strong track record in terms of regulation and its support for third-party features enhances its overall services.
Nevertheless, the competitive pricing of IC Markets as well as its scalable execution makes it an incredible option for algorithmic trading. The structure and design of IC Markets are well-suited to providing this service especially if you are interested in scalping or other forms of high-frequency trading.
The tight spreads go a long way in reducing the trading costs for the myriads of transactions that traders will carry out. This is highly important due to the high volatility of financial markets that causes them to swing in directions that are sometimes favorable to the trader and sometimes unfavorable. This is why traders look for brokers that have accounts with high speeds of execution so that whenever they need to pivot on their trading positions, it can be done quickly without compromising their chances of making profits. Having a Raw Spread account ensures this possibility.