Australia’s Largest Broker Still has the goods..
I have used IC Markets for over three years. In fact, they’re the broker I’ve used on and off for years.
Up until re-doing these reviews for Fusion Markets and finding they’re the new lowest-cost FX Broker, IC was always top of my recommended broker list.
Let me be clear, this isn’t because IC did anything wrong to make me change my opinion and change my favourite to Fusion, I just simply wanted to diversify and to ensure sure I split the risk evenly between a few providers. I also always like knowing what else is out there. You should too!
A little background about IC Markets in general for those who don’t follow the industry as much.
IC Markets has really grown and grown over the years and according to their volume reports on the website, are Australia’s largest FX broker by volume. They trade something crazy like $600 billion a month now.
To put that into perspective, the nearest broker in Australia to that is nearly $400b behind, so they’re quite large next to their Australian peers. That also puts them in perhaps the Top 5 globally.
With that in mind, it’s not mentally straining to know why their volumes are high.
IC is what we call in cricket an ‘all-rounder’. They tick all the boxes and are exactly what you need in a broker.
They don’t bother you, they have consistently good pricing every day and their deposits and withdrawals are free of fees and of hassles.
Spreads, Pricing and Commissions
It doesn’t get much better than IC when you’re looking for a good value broker. IC has consistently low spreads across all 56 pairs which they offer.
Here are the minimum and average spreads for IC Markets. AS you can see, on the major pairs, they’re very competitive.
Commissions are unfortunately the same as just about every other Australian broker, i.e. the magic $7. A bit boring, I know.
$7 per standard lot ($100,000 of notional currency) is still very low cost and there are a number of providers who are still a lot higher than this, but I tend to not review them as they’re just too expensive to bother with.
I did a bit of “mystery shopping” under an alias to test the response of live chat and their main support inbox to make sure it wasn’t different to my own experience.
Live chat was fast, and they knew what they were talking about across a range of questions.
For extra comfort, I tested both during Australian hours and then after hours.
I do this because often times brokers can have vastly different experiences between the day and night shifts. Why? Because Australian brokers have their main staff on during the Asian session then at night it usually goes to a support team in the northern hemisphere (so you don’t have nightshifts for the Aussies). I’ve found in the case of a couple of brokers everything is good during the day but then if you try to speak to someone at night – it’s hopeless.
Last, I like brokers which when you email their main support (in this case firstname.lastname@example.org) them and create a ticket, you get a chance to rate the support. This is good because it shows that a broker cares enough to allow themselves to be rated.
My only gripe with their support is it can be a little ‘transactional’. It’s not as genuine or friendly as other providers. Perhaps due to them having so many clients everywhere. Some traders may prefer the hands-off nature of their support, however.
As I disclosed earlier in my review, I have used IC Markets for a number of years, so I can attest to their reliability in support better than any other provider reviewed here.
I will say over the years, I have found IC Markets to be the most reliable I have used as a broker. This is easy to say because I have traded with them the longest of all brokers.
I will give an example of why to further prove my point.
When they had a short server outage around 18 months ago (don’t kid yourself, every broker has them once every so often – it’s how they handle it that proves their worth). I was in a trade that should have hit a take profit. After the outage was complete, I contacted their support and they agreed to pay the amount.
This is a small gesture, and some may say that it was the least they could do, but not every provider does this or is as nice doing so.
It proves a point about how the broker treats you when things aren’t going splendid!
Applying for an account
Applying for an account was very simple with IC Markets.
The application did not ask too many questions beyond what is typically required, and my login details were sent within a few hours’ time.
IC Markets was one of the easiest application processes to complete.
Execution with IC Markets was also very impressive, and I can say has been for some time.
Years ago, I was able to get a better understanding of their technology setup. As I understand, they use the “OneZero Bridge” which is industry-leading. A large portion of Australian brokers use this bridge and the execution is fast.
Other cool stuff
IC Markets was the first Australian FX broker to offer MT5 to their clients. While I have not yet been able to use it (I will definitely review this for everyone when I do!), I respect IC for being agile enough to offer this so quickly when other brokers haven’t done so.
As a result of IC Markets offering MT5, they can also provide access to other products such as Stock CFDs (i.e. buying CFDs on Apple, Google etc.) as well as Bond CFDs. To my knowledge, no other provider has bonds on their platform.
For all the cryptomaniacs, IC Markets also offers a range of Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple etc.
Fee-Free Funding! As you might know, I hate paying fees to deposit into my account. IC do not charge any and the withdrawals are fast.
Final thoughts on IC Markets
IC Markets is a top player within the Australian FX industry but also amongst the global players. While volume isn’t everything, it does show they have a lot of clients who are satisfied with their trading and have been growing like crazy.
As I disclosed earlier in this review, I have also the longest experience with IC than any other provider and have never had a serious issue with them.
Here are some other positive points to finish off with to summarise:
- Overall best broker for spreads, execution, reliability.
- Fee-free deposits! As you might’ve seen already, I like this a lot.
- Reputation as being Australia’s biggest FX Broker
- The offering of MT5 meaning you can trade products such as Stock CFDs, Bonds etc.
Here is where I think they can improve:
- Their repeated claim of being “True ECN” but refusing to provide trade receipts like other ECN brokers is a little strange.
- Service isn’t as ‘personal’ as other providers.
They are great across the board whether it be spreads, service, execution and reliability. It’s also really easy to open an account.
BUT, they are still charging $7 per lot which is a lot more than Fusion Markets does. So if you have a particular need to pay more or want something that Fusion doesn’t have, these are the right guys.
Rating – 4.3/5