Welcome to our full IC Markets review and guide to what we feel is the best broker for forex trading online. There are many good forex brokers online, some of which are ECN brokers, some are not. In general most offer very similar access to the markets, similar platforms and features, but sometimes they are not the best forex broker for scalping due to them not offering their customers forex pairs with lowest spreads.
At this point it’s obligatory that we make you aware that trading forex is very risky. Even with a great forex broker – your capital is at risk. Always seek advice before trading forex as it may not be suitable for you.
This is where true ecn forex brokers stand out from the crowd. They need to offer fast execution and be the lowest spread forex broker for you to stand a chance of scalping successfully. Other useful features would be a broker who offers you a free forex vps if your trading volume is above a certain level. This would allow you to automate your forex trading and maybe use expert advisors on MT4 to open and close positions. So let us run over some of the key features in our IC Markets review and show you why we think they are the best broker for forex trading online.
ECN Forex Broker
ECN stands for electronic communications networks and is usually a key feature of the best forex brokers.
What is ECN?
It means that there is no dealing desk. No middleman who determines whether to accept your trade. You execute your trade with an ECN broker and it’s routed directly into the market. If there are enough orders and liquidity waiting for your trade to be filled (buy and sell orders) then you get the price you request, if there is not enough liquidity at that exact price then your order can be filled slightly above or below your requested price. This is often known as slippage. However, unless you are trading at volume levels that would be the envy of large scale institutions, then you will normally get your exact price during high volume periods.
With true ECN you will be safe in the knowledge to know you are trading with the lowest spread forex broker. Often during active market hours spreads on major pairs such as EURUSD, GBPUSD and USDJPY will be zero, or at the very worst one tenth of a pip.
ECN forex brokers will charge a very small commission rather than adding a spread. This is the case with IC Markets who in their Metatrader 4 ECN account charge around one third to half a pip of commission (at the time of writing this, please check their website).
This is a good way to do business because they only make money from commissions when you trade, there is no reason for them to “stop hunt” or work against you. If you’re successful, you trade more often and they make more in commissions.
ECN Brokers – Lowest Spreads for Scalping
If you are not using an ECN broker for trading forex then it’s likely you are using a middleman. They have direct access to the market, but they add a spread of a couple of pips to your trade. When you execute your trade it’s routed through their system, they can then check automatically (if volume is small) and execute at the best price in the market. This can lead to delays and wider spreads which is not really suitable for fast markets or scalping. It can also mean your order being rejected if they don’t want to take the risk on the size of your trade. A good rule of thumb is, when scalping forex use a fast execution ECN forex broker.
Best Forex Demo Account Features
A forex demo account allows you to trade using virtual money without any risk. The best forex demo accounts will be fully featured with the exact same platform and spreads as their live accounts available, so you can really get a good feel for how it is to trade with that particular broker. The demo account should also have all order types available such as stop and limit orders and allow you to run automated systems to test.
It is highly recommended with any new broker that you test out their practice account in this way. IC Markets has a great selection available for every trading platform that they provide. You can get an MT4 demo account, MT5 demo account and Ctrader demo. This makes them one of the best forex brokers for demo accounts, and creates a trusted environment with their customers.
It’s really straightforward to open up a demo at IC Markets. Simply fill in some details with your email address, they send you demo login details via email. You can then download MT4 from their website, install it and head to the navigator window. On this panel if you right click on “Accounts” you will see a “login to trade account” option. Simply add the details from the email into here and you will be up and running in a few seconds.
Forex Platforms Available
At IC Markets you get a great selection of platforms to access the market. Here are the most popular forex platforms available at IC Markets.
Metatrader 5 – for MAC, PC and Mobile
MT5 is the latest platform from Metaquotes. It is available for desktop, tablet and mobile devices and allows you to build your own indicators and automated strategies. You can use the MQL5 language to program your own ideas, it is a language very much like C++ and quite easy to get started with. Metatrader 5 has superseded MT4 (Metaquotes offers no support for MT4 now) and many traders are now migrating their systems over to MT5. IC Markets is one of the best Metatrader 5 brokers.
Metatrader 4 – for MAC, PC and Mobile
MT4 is the original open source forex platform that was used by all the best forex brokers. Whilst MT5 has taken preference these days, many traders are still active on MT4. There are thousands of freely available indicators online, and many forex robots too. You can use MT4 on mobile with the apps, and desktop PC or MAC. While the platform is old, it is still very good and stable for trading successfully with. IC Markets is one of the best Mt4 brokers.
Ctrader at IC Markets
Ctrader is a platform for brokers which offers a full suite of technical analysis tools, order types and more. It comes with full featured charts and is suitable for copy trading or automated systems. While it is less popular than MT4 or MT5 there are many good things said about the Ctrader platform, so it is definitely worth trying a Ctrader demo from IC Markets before deciding which platform to use.
Forex VPS hosting – Free VPS
If you are looking for a free forex vps then IC Markets can help you out. If you trade above a certain amount of volume each month (check their website) you can get a free VPS from them to host your automated forex strategies.
This means you can also test out some new ideas and robots on demo accounts, or simply trade on the go from a desktop version of MT4 or MT5 via remote access (the apps have less features than desktop versions). The best forex vps should have some uptime guarantee, and be with a provider on tier one bandwidth for low latency connection. IC Markets will fund a free forex vps with a large selection of providers. You can check the list of VPS providers on the website here.