Oanda Review 2018

4.1 · 14 March, 2018
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Oanda is a privately held forex and CFD broker with US origins. It is regulated in 6 countries, however, it is neither listed on any stock exchange nor has a bank parent.

As a plus

Oanda offers competitive pricing, easy and fully digital account opening with no minimum account balance, and powerful analytical tools. 

On the flip side

Oanda has a limited product portfolio (FX and CFDs only), and the company is not listed on any stock exchange nor has a bank parent. Furthermore, money withdrawal is pricey, there is an inactivity fee, and the customer support is slow and provides irrelevant.

Recommended for price-sensitive FX traders.

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Oanda review
Investor protection and regulation

Oanda is regulated by top-tier regulators, including the US CFTC, however, they are neither listed on a stock exchange nor have a banking parent. 

Oanda is a privately held forex and CFD broker with a long history that originates back to the US establishment of the firm in 1995. Numerous steps carried out by the computer scientist and economist co-founders - Michael Stumm and Richard Olsen - lead to a unique brand quality that is well known for transparency and great trade execution.

Headquartered in the USA, Oanda is under the rigorous regulation of the CFTC and five other bodies around the globe when most competitor forex and CFD brokers have their seats in Cyprus, Limassol. Oanda is a privately held company and is mainly owned by two venture capitalist firms, Index Ventures and New Enterprise Associates. 

As a truly global online brokerage, Oanda complies with six major regulatory authorities. For European traders, the Oanda accounts are protected by the UK regulator, FCA, meaning in case of Oanda’s default client funds are protected up to 50.000 GBP.

Oanda's regulation and protection
Client's country Protection amount Regulator Legal name of the entity
Australia No protection ASIC OANDA Australia Pty Ltd
Canada $1mil CIPF IIROC OANDA (Canada) Corporation ULC
EEA £50k FSCS FCA OANDA Europe Limited 
Japan No protection FSA OANDA Japan Inc
USA No protection CTFC / NFA OANDA Corporation
Singapore No protection MAS / IES OANDA Asia Pacific Pte Ltd

What makes Oanda special is that very few forex retail brokers can serve US residents legally as they lack CFTC regulation and National Futures Association (NFA) membership. Oanda meets both criteria.

Generally, we see that Oanda is supportive of new regulatory decisions and restrictions but not only that. During the post SNB (Swiss National Bank) crisis Oanda showed good example of protecting investor funds. They closed positions automatically, and also forgone negative balances and did not re-quote trades for clients who occurred losses. 

Negative Balance Protection

Oanda offers no negative balance protection. According to Oanda, there have been times (Swiss National Bank crisis) when they did not make users pay their negative balance, but forgoing negative balances remain at Oanda's discretion.

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Oanda review
Account opening

Account opening at Oanda is fast, fully digital, and requires no minimum balance.

Who can open an account?

Oanda is available from over 80 countries, most notable exclusions include India, New Zealand, and South Korea.

Minimum funding requirements

  • Standard - no minimum funding
  • Premium - minimum $50,000 or equivalent funding

Account types

You may choose from a Standard or a Premium account

Premium account benefits include:

  • Spread only pricing (no trade commissions, no re-quotes)
  • Unlimited free wire transfer (rebate for any transfer related costs)
  • Dedicated relationship manager (account related assistant, deposits, withdrawals, etc.)
  • Custom trading support (trading/analysis support from industry professionals)

Account opening process

From start to finish you can calculate with less than 10 minutes to be able to fund your account. The steps are the following:

  • Sign up: General online sign up in order to receive a username-pass combo login
  • Your personal information: Expect to tell the most basic personal information plus an employment status and an income estimation
  • Verify your identity: Here you can simply drag and drop a color picture or a scan of an official document that proofs your identity and residence
  • Confirmation site: If everything went well you will be forwarded to a thank you page from which you can directly reach the funding opportunities

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Oanda review
Funding and withdrawal

One credit/debit card withdrawal per month is free at Oanda!

Funding options

Funding your Oanda trading account is possible via debit/credit card, PayPal and bank wire transfer options. Credit/Debit card funding is immediate, while bank wire transfer may take up to 5 business days. 

Oanda does not take any charges from the incoming amounts but your bank might do so. Paypal charges a service fee of £0.30 per transfer plus 3.20% of the total amount transferred for non-UK clients. For more details visit Deposit Funds with OANDA.

Deposit times and fees per transaction
Funding type Funding limit Time for funds to arrive Costs of funding
Credit/Debit Card 10,000 USD/EUR/GBP per month Immediate  No fees charged by Oanda*
PayPal No limit for verified PayPal accounts, 100 USD from unverified Up to 1 business day No fees by Oanda, Paypal charges: 0.3 GBP + 3.20% of transaction
SEPA transfer No limit 3-5 business days No fees charged by Oanda*

SWIFT Wire transfer

No limit.

3-5 business days.

No fees charged by Oanda*

*Client's bank fees, and intermediary bank fees may occur. 

Withdrawal options

Bank transfer withdrawals carry a flat fee of 20 EUR, but you can forgo this cost by selecting the card or the PayPal method. One card withdrawal every month is free of charge. For more details visit Oanda Withdrawals

Withdrawal fees per transaction
  Bank Transfer Credit/Debit Card
Local Currency USD Local Currency USD
Asia Pacific No Fee 20 USD 20 SGD 15 USD
Australia 40 AUD 35 USD 20 AUD 15 USD
Canada 20 CAD 15 USD 15 CAD 15 USD
Europe 15 EUR 15 USD 20 EUR 15 USD
US 15 USD 15 USD 15 USD 15 USD

 

Account base currencies

Each account can choose one base currency, and further 19 sub-accounts may be opened per user. This is a great feature.

These currencies are available for base and sub-accounts:

  • EUR, GBP, CHF, USD, CAD, AUD, JPY, HKD, SGD

 

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Oanda review
Product portfolio

Oanda only offers CFD and FX trading. 

Oanda is associated with the currency market and the firm is seemingly happy with this stamp as clients can reach only Forex and CFD products, nothing else. Single equity CFDs are not offered (not even blue chips like Google, Facebook, Apple) but other than that there is a great variety of derivatives to trade online. In case you needed to refresh your knowledge on CFDs, read our CFD broker 101 blog section.

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 82% 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.

  • Forex: The menu is full here as you can find all major and a lot of exotic pairs, over 55 of them, which is a good amount. A useful feature is the real time rate and spread check option from the website.
  • CFDs: Oanda offers the following CFDs:
    • Indices (16 Index CFDs available)
    • Commodities (8 Commodity CFDs available)
    • Precious Metals  (19 Forex/Precious metal CFDs available, 4 Precious metal CFDs available)
    • Government Bonds (6 Bond CFDs available)

 

Available CFDs
Bond CFDs Commodity CFDs Index CFDs Precious Metal CFDs
Bund Brent Crude Oil Australia 200 Gold
UK 10Y Gilt Copper China A50 Palladium
US 10Y T-Note Corn Europe 50 Platinum
US 2Y T-Note Natural Gas France 40 Silver
US 5Y T-Note Soybeans Germany 30 Gold/AUD
US T-Bond Sugar Hong Kong 33 Gold/CAD
  West Texas Oil India 50 Gold/CHF
  Wheat Japan 225 Gold/EUR
    Netherlands 25 Gold/GBP
    Singapore 30 Gold/HKD
    Taiwan Index Gold/JPY
    UK 100 Gold/NZD
    US Nas 100 Gold/SGD
    US Russ 2000 Gold/Silver
    US SPX 500 Silver/AUD
    US Wall St 30 Silver/CAD
      Silver/CHF
      Silver/EUR
      Silver/GBP
      Silver/HKD
      Silver/JPY
      Silver/NZD
      Silver/SGD

For more information on margin requirements, visit Oanda's page here.

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Oanda review
Fee structure

Brokerchooser experienced that trading fees are competitive almost the lowest.

Trading fees

Oanda commission pricing is not available in the EU because of their only spread policy, however, US clients have access to core spread + commission pricing. We believe that quality trade execution is reflected in the moderate spread fees.

The average 1.2 pip spread on EURUSD will disappoint some hardcore scalpers (extremely frequent FX traders) but with a premium account (deposit above 50,000 USD) spread gets tighter. Just to compare, from our reviewed brokers Interactive Brokers charges only an average of 0.3 pips difference between the bid/ask for the same eurodollar cross. But you should consider the overall picture: Interactive Brokers applies commission as well. So at the end of the day, Oanda is more competitive for a typical, 20,000 USD trade. The overall cost (commission + spread) of this trade is 2.1 USD with Oanda and 4.5 USD with Interactive. 

You can compare Oanda trading fees with other broker's fees in our comparison table, here are some of the major FX spreads compared (please note that all of the brokers in the comparison table below have all inclusive spreads): 

Oanda Standard Account
FX Pair Oanda Pepperstone Swissquote
EURUSD 1.2 1.2 4
NZDUSD 1.6 1.5 5

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Non-trading fees

When there are no open positions for at least 24 months as in such situation a 10 EUR monthly inactivity fee is charged.

Oanda's overnight fees are very competitive, they offer 1.65% on USD and 1.14% on EUR:

Financing rate (overnight fee) Oanda IG Swissquote
USD 1.65% 3.67% 5.48%
EUR 0.40% 2.08% 4.25%

Here are other non-trading related fees: 

Account fee No
Inactivity fee 10 EUR/month after 2 years of inactivity on the account
Financing rate  It depends on the traded product. E.g. yearly 0.40% for EUR and 1.65% for USD
Deposit fee No
Withdrawal fee  15 EUR / wire transfer withdrawal 
Custody fee No

 

Oanda review
Web trading platform

Oanda's homegrown trading platform is very user-friendly, and offers an easy learning curve.

Login

Oanda offers two-step safe login to the web trading platform. 

UX, user-friendliness

Oanda's platform is well-designed and user-friendly, the buttons are clearly marked, it is easy to navigate the web trading platform. 

Customizability

Customizable workspace and charts allow for a good level of customizability for Oanda's web trading platform.

Product search function

It is hard to find the search bar, which is located in the graph area, you have to click the product name in the upper-left corner of the chart to bring up the search. On the other hand, all of the available products can be seen from a drop-down menu, which is easy to use. 

Chart tool

Chart tool has 60+ indicators to choose from, many chart customization is available, it saves the modified chart by clicking the save button.

Order Panel

Clicking on the bid or ask price of the instrument will bring up a new order window. Market, limit, and stop orders are available, you can edit trailing. As you set the units like to be traded, the one pip value will be shown in EUR amount, reducing the chance of surprise for beginners when the market starts moving against them.

For setting pending buy sell orders just use the chart with a right click. Once you see the price line it can be moved by grabbing it.

Regarding the different order types novice users can read a detailed description here.

Animated GIF image of Oanda's Platform - An Oanda Review by Brokerchooser

Other technical tools

Oanda leverage ratio and practice account deposit size is possible to set via “Manage Funds”, no need to write additional letters to the support team. Both are very important settings for traders preparing for their real account challenges. News sections is a feed of Marketpulse and Dow Jones Newswires. Adding a bit more diversity would be welcome as compared to Interactive Brokers where over 20 news providers are available for free, Oanda’s offer here is quite modest.  As a nice little touch, a red-green scale below the chart reminds about the daily performance of the currencies, serving as a market volatility meter. Also, hopefully, a lot of traders will pay attention to the left-hand side to the sliding scale “Margin Used” button, in essence, shows how risky the position size or portfolio size is.

The outlook of the chart might be familiar for many users as it is powered by TradingView. The design, drawing options and also trading capabilities are above the top.

 

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Oanda review
Mobile trading platform

Available on any iOS or Android devices, the Oanda mobile trader offers the same functions as the web trader application, with the exception of a search function.

As an added benefit, the mobile app offers order confirmation and price alerts as well.

Screenshot of Oanda's Mobile Platform

 

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Oanda review
Desktop trading platform

Oanda offers a desktop platform too, it has similar functions to the web trader. Windows and Mac OS versions are available. 

Altough very similar to the web interface, we must point out that the search functionality and the user-friendliness are not as good as on the web trader.

However, here are some of the innovative tools Brokerchooser thought were good on Oanda desktop platform (functions are also available online, but on separate pages, not integrated as here):

  • Forex Order Book: This is a 24-hour summary of open orders and positions held by OANDA's clients. 

  • Forex Open Positions Ratio: Breakdown of OANDA clients’ open positions across major pairs.

  • Currency Heat Map: A great visual chart showing FX pair changes in percentages. 

Animated Explainer Image Of Oanda FxTrade Capabilities

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Oanda review
Research

Own research team, news, articles, and some forex analytical tools are available.

  • MarketPulse.com: Oanda's website for market reports, articles, and analysis can be found here.  The design is a bit outdated. However, the core information is presented clearly. The articles are well written, however, the community interaction is quite low. Brokerchooser feels a closer integration with the trading platform could make better use of this space.
  • Oanda Labs: Their website offers the Oanda forex analysis tool, developed by Oanda's engineers. Orderbook and trade statistics, market rates, market news and information tools can be found. For now, it is in beta, Oanda promises to expand and improve on these in the future. 

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Oanda review
Education

Oanda offers live and pre-recorded webinars, that range from the basics of trading to expert topics.

  • Oanda Classroom: On Oanda's website, you can sign up to view live and recorded webinars. Basics of trading, risk management, and live market analysis webinars available to everyone, while the 'Permium Webinar Series' are only for live account users, and cover more expert topics of trading. The videos are well produced, however, Brokerchooser feels that they should be better organized, for example, a playlist for trading platform basics would be nice to see. 

Oanda classroom, live and pre-recorded webinars

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Oanda review
Customer service

Oanda has all the main support channels, however, they have very slow response times, and irrelevant answers.

Oanda’s customer service team is available 24 hours a day whenever the market is opened, however, response times are very long.

When Brokerchooser tested the live chat, we had to wait an average 15-30 minutes to be connected to an agent, for more difficult questions, they referred us to their e-mail support. Furthermore, the live chat is ended by the agent very quickly if you don't answer them right away.

E-mail support can only be reached through an on-line form, instead of answers, we were contacted by a sales team member 3 days after submitting our query.

Once Brokerchooser asked for answers, the sales team member forwarded us to a support expert, who answered the questions after 2 days, for a total e-mail response time of 5 business days.

When contacting Oanda support, you are continuously prompted to set up a call time, however, these calls result in a sales push from Oanda.

Overall, Brokerchooser felt that the support team was very slow and not relevant, it felt that their main objective is to push you through account opening.

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Oanda review
Bottom line

Oanda stands out from the Forex and CFD broker crowd with its multiple regulatory compliances.

As a plus, Oanda has good FX fees, it is easy to open an account, as it is fully digital and fast. As an FCA regulated entity, it offers an up to 50,000 GBP investor protection for European customers. 

On the other hand, Oanda has a limited product portfolio, only FX and CFDs, it is not listed on any stock exchange, and does not have a bank parent company. Furthermore, Oanda's customer support is slow and tends to provide irrelevant answers.  

Overall, we recommend Oanda to price-sensitive FX traders.

 

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Oanda logo

Oanda is a privately held forex and CFD broker with US origins. It is regulated in 6 countries, however, it is neither listed on any stock exchange nor has a bank parent.

Recommended for price-sensitive FX traders.

Compare to other brokers

Overall

Pros
  • Very competitive forex pricing plan
  • Fast account opening
  • Fully digital account opeining
  • No minimum account balance
  • Strong technical analysis tools
Cons
  • Limited product portfolio
  • Not listed on stock exchange
  • No banking background
  • Bad customer service
  • Pushy sales team
  • Inactivity fees

Investor protection and regulation

Pros
  • Regulated by financial regulators, including FCA and CFTC/NFA
  • Customer focus during SNB crisis
Cons
  • Not listed on stock exchange
  • No negative balance protection
  • No banking parent company

Account opening

Pros
  • Fast account opening
  • Fully digital process
  • No minimum balance
Cons
  • Pushy sales team

Funding and withdrawal

Pros
  • Credit/Debit card deposit and withdrawal available
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • Minimum of 3 business day withdrawal time
  • High withdrawal fee (except one card withdrawal/month or Paypal, which are free)

Product portfolio

The available asset classes to trade:

  • Forex
  • Index/Commodity/Precious Metal/Bond CFDs

Fee structure

Pros
  • No inactivity fee
  • Very competitive forex pricing plan
  • Good financing rate
Cons
  • Low transparency info on the website

Web trading platform

Pros
  • Good level of customizability for charts and workspace
  • Clear, downloadable fee report
Cons
  • No alerts or notifications available

Mobile trading platform

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good level of customizability for charts and workspace
  • Notifications and Alerts available
Cons
  • Search function needs improvement

Desktop trading platform

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Good level of customizability for charts and workspace
  • Clear, downloadable fee report
Cons
  • No alerts or notifications available
  • Web trader is more user-friendly
  • Web trader has better search function

Research

Pros
  • User-friendly
  • Own research team
  • Relevant news flow
  • Quality interactive chart
Cons
  • No recommendation
  • No fundamental data
  • Written information could use more integration with the trading platform

Education

Pros
  • Platform tutorial videos available
  • General educational videos available
Cons
  • Videos could be better organized

Customer service

Pros
  • Phone, live chat, e-mail are all available
  • Customer service in English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portugal and Russian
Cons
  • Very slow chat (often 30-45 min wait time)
  • e-mail support does not answer questions right away
  • Often incomplete-irrelevant answers

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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