FXCM Review 2018

4.2 · 31 May, 2018
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FXCM logo

FXCM or Forex Capital Market is a London-based forex broker offering forex and CFD trading. FXCM is regulated by the UK FCA and the Australian ASIC. FXCM is part of the Leucadia, formerly called Jefferies. Leucadia is a holding which includes diverse companies. This parent company is listed on the New York and the London Stock Exchange. Furthermore, Leucadia has an investment banking background.

As a plus

The account opening process at FXCM is straightforward, easy, and fast. There isn't a minimum balance requirement. FXCM offers a fast funding and withdrawal process, and you have more options to transfer your money. Finally, the education content at FXCM has a good quality, including helpful videos and educational texts.

On the flip side

FXCM's product portfolio is limited as it is primarily a forex broker offering forex and some CFDs. Furthermore, its mobile platform has a bad search function and lacks also the customizability. Finally, the web trading platform is not user-friendly.

Recommended for forex traders looking for easy account opening, funding, and withdrawal processes.

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FXCM review
Investor protection and regulation

FXCM is regulated by top-tiers regulators, like the UK FCA. However, FXCM doesn't have a banking background, and it is not listed on any stock exchange.

Within FXCM Group there are two major entities which are regulated by different authorities and provide different amounts of investor protection.

This table shows FXCM Group's entities and their investment protection schemes.

Country of clients Protection Amount Regulator Legal Entity
Europe £50,000 FCA FXCM Limited
Australia No protection ASIC FXCM Australia Pty. Limited

FXCM is part of the Leucadia, formerly called Jefferies. Leucadia is a holding which includes diverse companies. This parent company is listed on the New York and the London Stock Exchange. Furthermore, Leucadia has an investment banking background.

On the flip side, FXCM doesn't provide negative balance protection.

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FXCM review
Account opening

The account opening process at FXCM is hassle-free, and straightforward. It takes roughly 30 minutes to open an account, you can choose from multiple base currencies, and there isn't a minimum balance requirement.

Who can open an account?

FXCM accepts customers from Europe, and also from most countries around the world. The limitations on account opening are very limited. 

There are a few notable restrictions, customers may not open accounts from the following locations:

  • USA 
  • Japan 
  • Brazil
  • Turkey 
  • North-Korea
  • Iran
  • Cuba
  • Sudan
  • Syria

Minimum funding requirements

FXCM does not have a minimum funding requirement. A new account can be opened without making a deposit. However, there is a $50 minimum. 

Account Types

FXCM offers three types of accounts:

  • Individual
  • Joint
  • Corporate

Joint and Corporate accounts are charged a one-time $50 account opening fee, which is waived with an initial deposit of $10,000.

FXCM also provides a demo account, however, it is restricted to some locations. FXCM also sends free educational material to your e-mail when opening a demo account which is a nice touch. 

Finally, FXCM provides an account type for high-volume traders. This account called Active Trader account which provides a more favorable cost structure and a better customer support compared to the standard accounts.

The Active Trader account ensures better spreads, a dedicated account manager, and more custom solutions. To activate, you must consult an FXCM representative, for further details, visit the Active Trader account page.

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Account Base Currencies

FXCM account can be opened with 4 base currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, and CHF

You must choose your base currency on the first stage of the account opening procedure.

One can add additional accounts, with different base currencies. For additional accounts, JPY, NZD, and CAD are also available. 

FXCM will exchange and transfer your funds to the new account upon request, or if you deposited in a different currency. 

However, depending on the amount transferred/deposited, this can be a bit expensive. Ranging from 10 points from market price to 150 points from the market price if you transfer $9,999 or less. This means you will pay a fee of $150 for a transfer of $9,999.

Account opening process

The account opening process is fully digital, fast, and straightforward. Brokerchooser completed the forms and submitted all the documents within 30 minutes.

First, choose which platform you wish to use, enter your name, choose which type of account you wish to open (individual, joint, company), and select the base currency (USD, EUR, GBP, CHF). 

This is followed by additional personal information, and a KYC questionnaire.

The last step, you will need to submit a picture or scanned copy of your photo ID, and a proof of residence. 

Brokerchooser felt it was peculiar to make users choose the trading platform before opening the account. However, FXCM does offer a platform comparison page, unfortunately, it feels skewed towards their own platform.

fxcm-review-account-opening-process

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FXCM review
Funding and withdrawal

FXCM offers a basic array of funding and withdrawal options. There are no funding or withdrawal fees for credit/debit cards.

Funding Options
 

FXCM offers an acceptable variety of funding options. Funding is free of charge, but there is a $10,000 monthly limit on credit/debit card funding.

We have collected their offered funding options in the following table:

Funding option Fee Min. funding Max funding / month Days to arrive*
Wire Transfer None None None 1-2 (domestic) 3-5 (international)
Credit/Debit card None $50 $10,000 1
Cheque  None None None 5-10
ACH None $100 $50,000 5

*business days

Withdrawal Options

The two major withdrawal options are Credit/Debit card and bank transfers.

FXCM takes 1-2 business days to process your request. Additionally, Credit/Debit card withdrawals usually take 1 billing cycle, while wire transfers take 1-2 business days for domestic, and 3-5 business days for international transactions.

While Credit/Debit card withdrawals are free, you can only withdraw the amount that you have deposited using the respective Credit/Debit cards.

Per example, if one funds $500 with card 1, and $1000 with card 2, card 1 can only be credited a maximum of $500 in case of a withdrawal request. Basically, each withdrawal by card is technically a refund request. 

Also, should your card expire, they will not be able to process a withdrawal request to another card, in this case, you will have to use a bank wire transfer if you wish to withdraw. 

This means that you may incur a wire transfer withdrawal fee if your card expires. We asked FXCM's support team, who said this fee may be waived, but it is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

Wire transfer costs vary from free to $40, we've compiled a table below for your convenience:

Currency - type of transfer Domestic International*
USD USD 25 inside UK or US USD 40 outside UK or US
JPY Free inside Japan JPY 3,000 outside Japan
CAD CAD 25 inside Canada CAD 40 outside Canada
EUR - SEPA Free Free
EUR - non SEPA EUR 15 for UK, France, Germany, Italy EUR 30 outside UK, France, Germany, Italy
GBP - BACS Free Free
GBP - non BACS GBP 15 inside UK GBP 30 outside UK
AUD - non EFT AUD 15 inside Australia AUD 30 outside Australia
NZD NZD 15 inside New Zealand NZD 30 outside New Zealand
CHF CHF 15 inside Switzerland CHF 30 outside Switzerland

*locations based on origin of bank account.

Other withdrawal options include:

  • ACH - USD only
  • Skrill 
  • UnionPay - two free withdrawals per month, $20 minimum, $30,000 maximum daily

More funding and withdrawal info

FXCM review
Product portfolio

At FXCM you will have access only to forex and CFD asset classes.

FXCM has a limited portfolio, and within the provided asset classes it lags behind the competitors, like Pepperstone or Oanda.

Forex

FXCM gives you access to 39 currency pairs. This is a narrow proposition compared to its competitors', like Pepperstone's ~80 or Oanda's 55.

CFDs

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 79.7% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Stock index CFDs

At FXCM you can trade with 12 stock indexes. This is a little bit smaller than Pepperstone's 14 or Oanda's 16 stock index offer.

Commodity CFDs

7 commodity CFDs are available at FXCM. Just to give you a feeling, at Pepperstone you can trade with 13, while at Oanda you can trade with 32 commodities.

Available CFDs
Stock indexes Commodities
ESP35 (Spain) XAU/USD (Gold)
EUSTX50 (Europe) USOIL
FRA40 (France) XAG/USD (Silver)
GER30 (Germany) UKOIL
UK100 (United Kingdom) SOYF
NAS100 (USA) NGAS
SPX500 (USA) Copper
USDOLLAR (Nasdaq dollar index)  
US30 (USA)  
AUS200 (Australian)  
CHN50 (China)  
JPN225 (Japan)  
HKG33 (Hong Kong)  

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FXCM review
Fee structure

FXCM offers some of the most competitive trading fees on forex trading. On the flip side, a lot of non-trading fee is applied.

To get things rolling, let's go over some basic terminology:

  • The commission is a fee charged by the broker for completing a trade. 
  • Spreads are the difference between the bid and the ask price, brokers often incorporate fees into spreads (i.e. the market sells EURUSD for 1.1, the broker will sell it to you for 1.2, they keep the .1).
  • Financing rate is the premium the broker will charge you for financing a leveraged position.
  • A currency unit is a whole unit of the base currency (i.e. if you deposit a 5,000 dollar account, it means 5,000 currency units)

Now, let's dive into the details.

Trading fees

The table below compares the spreads compared to competitor forex brokers, Oanda or Pepperstone. The EURUSD spread reflects the costs of major, while the NZDUSD spread reflects the costs of minor currency pairs.

FXCM standard account
FX Pair Usual spread, pips Pepperstone Oanda
EURUSD 1.3 1.16 1.2
NZDUSD 2.0 1.53 1.6

You can see that FXCM has a little wider EURUSD spread compared to competitor forex brokers. However, NZDUSD currency pair is significantly more costly in comparison with Pepperstone or Oanda.

The spreads at an Active Trader accounts differ from a standard account. Whilst a standard account is commission free, the Active Trader accounts offer lower spreads and reasonable commissions. If you trade with higher volumes worth checking the Active Trader account's costs. For example, the EURUSD spread is 0.7, while NZDUSD spread is only 0.5, both are significantly lower than standard account's spreads. 

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Non-trading fees

This table summarizes what kind of fees you have to count with

Non-trading fees
Account fee No
Inactivity fee Yes
Conversion fee Yes
Financing cost Yes
Deposit fee No
Withdrawal fee Yes

After 12 months of inactivity, you will be charged an annual 50 units of your account base currency, for example $50 in case of a dollar account. Just to compare, Pepperstone does not charge any inactivity fee, while Oanda charges EUR 10 after 2 years of inactivity. In case of JPY denominated accounts, the inactivity fee is JPY 5,000.

Whenever a conversion happens, FXCM charges a conversion fee which depends on the amount you transfer. Check here how differs the conversion fee from a transfer amount to another:

  • $0 - $9,999, a 1,5% conversion fee is applied
  • $10,000 - $49,999, a 1% conversion fee is applied
  • $50,000 - $99,999, a 0,5% conversion fee is applied
  • $100,000+, a 0,1% conversion fee is applied

When you hold your CFD positions overnight, a financing cost is applied. You can calculate easily your financing cost based on the following formula: [Closing Price* [(the relevant 3-month LIBOR rate/100) +- FXCM’s Markup]/Number of Days] * Trade Size. The financing markup for long positions is +3% and for short positions is -2%. Furthermore, note that if you hold your position a weekend, the financing cost is applied three times. You can avoid financing cost if you close your position before 5 PM EST.

Withdrawal fees depend on the currency, the type of transfer and the origin of your account. We've compiled a table below for your convenience:

Currency - the type of transfer Domestic International
USD USD 25 inside UK or US USD 40 outside UK or US
JPY Free inside Japan JPY 3,000 outside Japan
CAD CAD 25 inside Canada CAD 40 outside Canada
EUR - bank transfer Free Free
EUR - non-bank transfer EUR 15 for UK, France, Germany, Italy EUR 30 outside UK, France, Germany, Italy
GBP - bank transfer Free Free
GBP - non-bank transfer GBP 15 inside UK GBP 30 outside UK
AUD - non-bank transfer AUD 15 inside Australia AUD 30 outside Australia
NZD NZD 15 inside New Zealand NZD 30 outside New Zealand
CHF CHF 15 inside Switzerland CHF 30 outside Switzerland

For example, if you want to withdraw your money in GBP via debit or credit card and you have an account in the UK, you will be charged a £15 withdrawal fee.

FXCM review
Web trading platform

FXCM's Trading Station platform is easily customizable and includes useful functions, like clear fee report. On the flip side, the platform's design is not user-friendly and some bugs occurred during the testing.

With FXCM you can trade on the following 4 platforms: Trading Station, Metatrader4, Ninjatrader, and Zulutrader. We tested only Trading Station as it is FXCM's own platform, while the other platforms are provided by third-parties. 

The platform is available in 14 languages, including some minor languages like Polish or Turkish.

Look and feel

Trading Station looks like a platform from the 90s, its design is not user-friendly at all. Furthermore, it was also annoying that if want to use research function or MyFXCM function, the platform will direct you to separate pages. These separate pages should be synchronized with the Trading Station platform.

fxcm-review-web-trading-platform

The default layout is built up panels, including:

  • Assets' prices and performances
  • Open and closed positions
  • Your account and its summary
  • Orders
  • Charts
  • News
  • Messages and actions

We liked the trading platform's customizability, you can compile and save your own layout. 

During the testing some bugs occurred, for example, an error message containing that news is not available popped up many times.

Login and Security

The login process is a one-step login – a two-step authentication would be useful here, although this isn’t currently available.

Search Functions and Charts

Because of the limited product portfolio, you wouldn't need a professional search function. FXCM's Trading Station provides a basic search panel which helps you find easily an asset.

fxcm-review-search-function

We liked the customizability of the charts, you can easily add indicators, trend lines. More than 40 indicator is available, and they are categorized which helps you to find them more conveniently. On the flip side, just like the whole platform charts are not well-designed.

fxcm-review-chart-analysis

Placing Orders

You can place an order if you click on the selected asset or if you go to the orders tab within the trading tab. You can choose between the one-click and confirmation, the only one-click, and the double-click trading modes. For example, one-click trading mode means that after you click on an asset, the order automatically will be executed.

fxcm-review-placing-order

You can use the following order types:

  • Market order
  • Market Range 
  • Limit entry order
  • Limit order
  • Stop order
  • Simply OCO (One Cancel the Other)
  • Complex OCO (One Cancel the Others)

Alerts and Notifications

You can set up price alerts in form of e-mails or SMS. You can find clear instructions for setup process of alerts on FXCM's website. However, it is everything but not a piece of cake. You have to go through an around 5-8 steps process.

Portfolio and Fee reports

You can see clearly your account's performance and the costs on the summary panel or on the MyFXCM panel. We didn't like that when you go to the MyFXCM panel you will be directed to FXCM's website where you have to log in again.

Algo Trading service

If you are interested in algorithmic trading, at FXCM you can do that. FXCM provides four free APIs: REST API, FIX API, Java API, and a ForexConnect API. If you create your own algorithm or buy one from someone else, you can plug this algorithm into the provided APIs.

Visit web platform page

FXCM review
Mobile trading platform

The FXCM mobile platform has a good variety of order types with order confirmation, however, there is no two-step login, the search function is hidden and bad, and there is very little customizability available.

Look and Feel

The app feels out of date, it does not take advantages of the fluidity and speed of the updated phone software. Brokerchooser tested it on an iPhone 8, and the screen resolution for the app was still optimized for iPhone 4, resulting in a low app resolution, and a tacky feel. 

fxcm-review-mobile-trading-platform-pairs

Login and Security

FXCM's app uses a single step authentication. On the welcome screen, you will have to enter your account number and password. As long as the app is running in the background, you will not have to enter your password again, which is bad for security. In order to lock your application, you either have to log out in the app or crash the application. 

Search Functions and Charts

Search function for the products can only be found under the 'Settings' menu. This is very counter-intuitive and took Brokerchooser some time to find. Once you know where it is, it works as a basic bare-bones search field, no predictive input, or other additional features. 

fxcm-review-mobile-trading-platform-search

Placing Orders

The following order types are available on FXCM mobile platform:

  • At Market
  • Market Range
  • GTC - Good til cancel
  • IOC - Immediate or cancel 
  • FOK - Fill or kill
  • Limit
  • Stop
  • Trailing:
    • Dynamic
    • Fixed

Alerts and Notifications

There are no alerts or notifications available for FXCM's mobile trading platform. This is probably due to how outdated the application is. 

Portfolio and Fee reports

A fee report can be downloaded from within the app, the application opens a browser and the website generated fee report can be viewed and/or downloaded as a pdf file. 

fxcm-review-mobile-trading-platform-reports

Visit mobile platform page

FXCM review
Desktop trading platform

FXCM's desktop platform is almost the same than its web trading platform, some plus function is available. It has a good customizability with a not user-friendly design.

If you want to get a clear picture of FXCM's desktop platform, read the web trading platform section of this review because they are very similar to each other. 

fxcm-review-desktop-platform

One difference between FXCM's desktop and web trading platforms is that desktop trading platform has more order types. Beyond the order types which are available on web trading platform, you can also use the following orders:

  • OTO (One-Triggers-the Other)
  • OTOCO (One-Triggers-One-Cancels-the-Other)
  • If-Then
  • If-Then OCO (One-Cancel-the-Other)

Furthermore, you can add more indicators to the charts.

Finally, on the desktop trading platform, the news was not bugged. It is displayed right to the assets' ask and bid prices.

Visit desktop platform page

FXCM review
Research

FXCM offers several research tools, including daily newsletters, charting, and an economic calendar, however, recommendations, and technical analysis tools are only available to account holders.

The research center at FXCM offers a good variety of research tools, we especially liked the economic calendar, which was informative, concise, and user-friendly.

Everything is available in English, some research tools are also available in other languages, such as German, French, and Italian, however, this varies depending on the language. 

All the research pages are situated under the 'Research' section of FXCM. Most of it is well organized, however, some functions were hidden, and some essentials took too long to find. After one becomes familiar with the layout, it can be a useful tool to get your trading ideas flowing.

We could not find any fundamental data for forex or CFDs.

However, recommendation for forex currency pairs is available through FXCM's 'Trading Signals' page. There are two versions available, the free a.k.a. 'Market Scanner' recommends for a handful of currency pairs, whilst the pro version 'Trading Signals' is more extensive. You can access the pro version after logging in with your account, you can also set e-mail alerts, which we felt was a nice touch.

Furthermore, you can also sign up for 'Before the Bell' daily newsletters, where you may browse through some forthcoming trading ideas, and it is free for the first 15 days. The newsletter will give you 5-6 trading ideas each letter, with technical chart analysis included. 

News flow is available through the 'Global Market News' page. 'Global Market News' is an aggregator of financial news sites, which have been selected by FXCM. We liked the sidebar search function, you can view popular searches, or search according to categories, currency pairs, or by date.

fxcm-review-research

More research info

FXCM review
Education

FXCM does a great job offering educational content, both platform and trading educational videos are available on their website.

FXCM has a very well organized and high production quality education section. They offer videos and written content for traders from a beginner level. 

Their video library is very extensive, people can find videos in many categories, such as:

  • 'New to Forex'
  • 'Charts'
  • 'Advanced Features'
  • 'Trading Station Features'
  • 'Order Types'
  • 'Trading Station Mobile'
  • 'Deposits and Withdrawals'

Furthermore, there are free live webinars, pre-recorded videos, and pdf booklets available for free to anyone. 

We enjoyed the quality of the videos, they were well produced, factual, and concise. 

They covered a lot of topics from trading basics, to platform tips and tricks. 

As a bonus, they also offer a page called 'FXCM Market Insights', where current trading trends and hot news topics are discussed. 

fxcm-review-education

Visit education page

FXCM review
Customer service

FXCM offers all major support channels, operating 24/5 for live chat, and 24/7 for phone representatives.

FXCM phone support is available 24 hours a day, every day of the week.

Other contact methods include e-mail support and live chat, available 24 hours a day on weekdays.

FXCM offers phone support in 44 countries toll-free, each location has local language representatives, for a comprehensive list click here.

Customers can meet personally in one of the 8 FXCM offices, which are located in: Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, South Africa, and the UK. 

Upon contacting FXCM's support, the representatives always gave good quality answers, with links to useful documents and sites. On most occasions, the support was fast and professional, however, we also encountered when the representative was unprofessional in tone, and also times when the live chat support was very slow. 

fxcm-review-customer-support

Contact customer service

FXCM review
Bottom line

FXCM offers a fast and straightforward account opening, which is available from many countries around the world. Their funding and withdrawal process is fast and hassle-free, and their educational content is high quality, well organized, and useful for all levels.

However, FXCM has a very limited product portfolio, only forex, and CFDs. Furthermore, their trading platforms are in need of an update. The mobile platform is very outdated, and you can not customize your experience well. The web trading platform is not user-friendly, one should appropriate time to learning it before starting to trade. 

Try FXCM today, for more forex brokers, check out broker reviews.

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FXCM logo

FXCM or Forex Capital Market is a London-based forex broker offering forex and CFD trading. FXCM is regulated by the UK FCA and the Australian ASIC. FXCM is part of the Leucadia, formerly called Jefferies. Leucadia is a holding which includes diverse companies. This parent company is listed on the New York and the London Stock Exchange. Furthermore, Leucadia has an investment banking background.

As a plus

The account opening process at FXCM is straightforward, easy, and fast. There isn't a minimum balance requirement. FXCM offers a fast funding and withdrawal process, and you have more options to transfer your money. Finally, the education content at FXCM has a good quality, including helpful videos and educational texts.

On the flip side

FXCM's product portfolio is limited as it is primarily a forex broker offering forex and some CFDs. Furthermore, its mobile platform has a bad search function and lacks also the customizability. Finally, the web trading platform is not user-friendly.

Recommended for forex traders looking for easy account opening, funding, and withdrawal processes.

Compare to other brokers

Overall

Pros
  • Fast and straightforward account opening
  • Fast funding and withdrawal process
  • Good educational tools
Cons
  • Limited product portfolio
  • Not customizable mobile platform
  • Not user-friendly web trading platform

Investor protection and regulation

Pros
  • Regulated by top-tier financial authorities
  • ¬£50,000 FSCS protection for European clients
Cons
  • Does not hold a banking license
  • Negative balance protection not available

Account opening

Pros
  • Fast account opening - within 3 days
  • Account opening fully digital
  • No minimum account balance
Cons
  • None

Product portfolio

  • Forex
  • CFDs

Fee structure

Pros
None
Cons
  • Inactivity fee (50,000 currency units after 12 months)

Web trading platform

Pros
  • Good customizability (for chart, for workspace)
  • Clear fee report
  • Available in more languages
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • Not user-friendly
  • Bugs

Mobile trading platform

Pros
  • Order confirmation available
Cons
  • Bad search function

Desktop trading platform

Pros
  • Clear fee report
  • Available in more languages
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • Not user-friendly

Research

Pros
  • Analyst recommendations for stocks, bonds, etc.
  • Good interactive chart
  • Good set of analytical tools
Cons
  • No in-house research team
  • No fundamental data available
  • Some functions are hard to find

Education

Pros
  • Trading platform tutorial videos available
  • Educational videos available
  • Easy to understand
Cons
None

Customer service

Pros
  • Phone support available
  • Live chat available
Cons
  • Slow support
  • Unprofessional tone

AUTHOR OF THIS REVIEW

Gergely Korpos
Gergely Korpos
Co-founder, CPO
Gergely's aim is to bring more clarity into personal investing. He has 10 years of experience in financial markets with GE Money, KPMG and MOL. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and financial portfolio manager
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