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Unlike many other top Forex brokers, OANDA is a multi-faced financial services provider that serves not only as a Forex broker, but also as a vehicle for numerous other financial investments and transactions. While company’s expansive offerings may pique the interest of some traders, those who are looking for a straightforward Forex trading experience can quickly be distracted by the mix of services, tools and information that are presented on the site.
During the course of the following OANDA review, we tried to extract the company’s valuable Forex trading services from the range of supplemental services that OANDA provides, which includes hedging and actual currency conversions. We saw through all of the marketing hype and evaluated the pure value of the company’s Forex trading services in our OANDA review, and we hope that this will help you make the right decision regarding this unusual brokerage.
Maximum leverage: 50:1
Minimum deposit: None
Minimum deal size: None
Languages available: English, Chinese, German, Japanese, Spanish
OANDA’s primary trading platform is called fxTrade. The demo version is aptly dubbed fxTrade Practice, in lieu of its former name, fxGame. Unlike most other Forex brokers that offer a demo for a limited time, OANDA’s fxTrade Practice is available for as long as it takes you to beef up your trading skills before opening a real account. Unfortunately for those who are familiar with other Forex trading platforms, OANDA’s platform does not offer the MetaTrader 4 platform, though users can integrate this popular platform into their OANDA trading platform, by invitation only.
If you’re looking for a mobile trading platform, OANDA may offer just what you’re looking for, as they offer several options, including those for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. A more general mobile Forex platform, fxTrade Mobile, is designed to work with most other cell phones.
Generally speaking, we found OANDA’s trading platform to be sufficient, but if you prefer to use the popular MetaTrader 4 platform exclusively, you’ll want to consider other Forex brokers like Ava FX or FXCM.
Despite its incompatibility with MetaTrader 4, OANDA offers some notable features that greatly augment the Forex trading experience. One unique feature offered by OANDA is its desktop trading application, which essentially creates a shortcut through which you can instantly access your OANDA account. This feature requires JAVA to run.
Another feature we found useful was the ability to create your own ‘box options’ in real time. In other words, OANDA allows you to mark your own indicators on your trading graphs so that you can easily track your Forex currency pairs to determine your next move. Similarly, the company’s Exchange Rate Ticker Widget enables users of both the real and demo versions of OANDA to receive real-time exchange rates for up to twenty currency pairs.
Lastly, OANDA offers a range of useful trading tools. During the course of our OANDA review, we found the currency converter, which is available in over 10 languages, to be the most useful, though not entirely unique. In addition to the services above, OANDA offers FXLabs, in which the new tools the company OANDA has developed can be used by users, thus allowing them to enjoy an enhanced trading experience. Among OANDA’s tools are live feed information, charts, comparisons and historical data as it relates to different currencies. Also available, are an FXManager platform for brokers, and the FXContest platform that allows users to compare their performance to the relative successes of other users.
Customer support is available from OANDA’s team 24/5. Specifically, support is available from Sunday at 4pm through Friday at 4pm EST. On the whole, OANDA’s customer support services are on par with those offered by the other top Forex brokers, if not slightly better. Our email to OANDA was answered in 16 hours, which was long, but relatively reasonable considering that we submitted our query on a Sunday afternoon, several hours before the customer service department opened for the week. Our chat inquiry received a courteous response within 3 minutes, which is significantly faster than most other Forex brokers responded, though not quite as quickly as Markets.com. Finally, we called OANDA’s customer service center and were on hold for under 2 minutes, which was a relatively short wait time as compared with other top Forex brokers.
Chat with OANDA
OANDA also offers a well-organized help center which includes articles (many of which are also available in PDF versions) and useful how-to videos that explain both basic Forex principles and specific tasks related to using the OANDA trading platform. Just keep in mind that since OADNA offers a myriad of services in addition to Forex trading, you’ll need to peruse the help center until you find the information relevant to Forex trading, instead of having it at your fingertips. Still, once you familiarize yourself with the layout, you should have no trouble finding the information you need.
Ease of Use
Before discussing the ease of use of OANDA’s trading platform, it’s critical to note that OANDA requires you to disable your popup blocker, and that the site does not function maximally in Chrome. As such, Chrome users wishing to use OANDA should try using an alternate browser such as Internet Explorer or Firefox.
Because OANDA offers many different financial services, finding the Forex registration isn’t as simple as it would be with a broker that only offers Forex services such as eToro. Moreover, once you locate the Forex section which is placed above the site’s primary navigation, you’ll be asked to complete a five step registration process, which is markedly longer than the three step registration process of most other brokers. What we found especially unusual is the depth of the questions provided, many of which required sensitive confidential details that weren’t requested by other brokers, such as who your employer is, and your job title. You will also need to scan and upload copies of your government-issued identification and proof of residence, steps which prolong the registration process and can be aggravating for users without easy access to scanning equipment. This process also differs dramatically from other Forex brokers’ registrations which allow for trading immediately after registering.
When opening an account, you will be able to choose from seven available currency options. You will also be able to select the leverage you want for your trading. OANDA offers much lower leverage than other platforms, which limits the risk. OANDA recommends a leverage of1:20, though they offer a maximum of 1:50 (whereas most platforms offer 1:200).
Once logged in, using the application if fairly simple and intuitive. It is easy to open new positions and then edit them. There is full information on the history of positions, transactions and activities in the account. The desktop can be set according to your personal preferences, to provide you with the tools most valuable to you. So you can decide which pairs you want to see and in what order, and you can set the form of the charts to be the most convenient for you to use.
To withdraw funds for the first time you are also required to set up a user profile that includes your bank account details, even if this wasn’t the method you used to deposit. Once the profile is set up, withdrawal process is rather simple. Funds will be returned to the same payment method with which you made the deposit.
OANDA claims to “be obsessed” with offering the lowest spreads in the market.
They are the first who offered pipettes, meaning that they offer spreads as low as 1.2 for EUR/USD. In addition, the spreads are the same for traders of any size. So even if you decide to trade only $1 – which you can on this platform, you will receive the same spread as someone who is trading $10 million (the maximum size of a single trade). These low costs are made possible by the high liquidity the company has access to thanks to their many members, as well as the banks they are partnered with which include: JP Morgan Chase, Citibank, UBS, Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Canada.
OANDA prides itself with the accessibility it provides to users discussion forums from anywhere within the site or the trading platforms. The community of users provides powerful information from which users can learn about FOREX and using OANDA’s platform and services.
With all its products, resources and forums to browse thru, OANDA offers a complete Forex trading experience. While it definitely takes time to master all these tools, you should have no problem mastering the system with a bit of practice.
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They will tell you about how good they are, let me concentrate on the other side to be fair. So, what have we got?
- A buggy website.
- A lot of bureaucracy during account opening.
- No options for secure electronic document uploading, you have to take the risk and email them scans of the documents. It's quite unsafe and unsecure.
- Waaay outdated trading tools. Aren't they still on MT4????
In trading, the winner is often the one with the best tools. Good luck if you are with Oanda. you may need it often.
- hidden fees during the money transfers: I paid for the incoming wire to Oanda, for the outgoing wire. I thought, that was it. No, two weeks later I received a (well delayed, wasn't it) extra charge for $25 "from the intermediary bank". an authentic hidden charge.
they sure have a nice marketing team though. WE ARE THE BEST they tell you. Sorry, I don't think so.
Im not sure how old this review is but it seems a bit dated. I can say as far as Oanda platforms they have a nice Java one and really nice iPhone and iPad one as well. Now I can't say that I have used MetaTrader but I can tell you that Oanda does indeed offer it as an option to those who wish it. Oanda does seem to offer very tight spreads at least compared to FXCM. They also claim not to trade against their traders. Just some food for thought.Greg July 2011
Same Guy - you're totally right, and I fixed it. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!Sara Patterson June 2011
BTW, they now accept credit card deposit for USD, so you might as well update the "disadvantage" section. ;) http://fxtrade.oanda.com/account/deposit-fundssame guy June 2011
LOL @ all these negative "ya ya ya bucket shop bucket shop" comments by the shills. Have fun!lolatyou June 2011
I am totally agree with Baneya. Oanda is a Bucket Shop. What he is telling happened to me yesterday. I was trading and the market move against me. When I wanted to close the trade, the connetion was lost. So, stay away of Oanda and look for a real ECN broker. They are thieves.Raul May 2011
I've used Oanda on a test basis and one comment I want to add is that during new breaks (medium to high FX calander events) their spreads wided unto 10-15 pips. during the same period DBFX only went to 4-5 pip range.sonny April 2011
Oanda are thieves. They may say the spreads are small, but they charge interest on every one of their trades, except for going long on AUD. If you go long EUR against the USD, you pay negative interest. If you go long EUR against the JPY, you pay negative interest. Long EUR against the Swissie, you pay negative interest. It is a backdoor way to steal your money, very underhanded, and should be actionable for misleading trade practices.Jeff January 2011
I have been with Oanda for about a year. Oanda is a market maker so they actively trade against there customers. They actively hunt stop losses. Oanda's trading platform freezes often. I have lost my connection to my trading account while trading and they told me that I was having internet connectivity problems even though I could get to other web sites and log in to my email without a problem. They also did not know that I used to be a network administrator before telling me that I was having internet connectivity problems. Oanda is a highly manipulated environment. The correct term for this type of broker is a "Bucket Shop" ECN brokers are the most free market breed of broker. They do not have a dealing desk that can be manipulated. ECN brokers want you to be successful because they make money when you make money. Oanda makes money when you loose. As time moves forward traders will opt for ECN brokers and market makers will go bust.baneya December 2009
I find it odd to see this site flagged with 3 stars, while completely trash others have 5. I tried a dozen including most of the top page and they might be beautiful or super-easy but what ultimately matters is the meat, sorry. OANDA is NOT easy mode - true and opening a cross oceanic account can be a pain. But past those barriers, their factual quality is hugely above other 5 star names. 1) They are actually certified and traceable, unlike so many "fiscal paradise island funds" who can do you any abuse and even disappear with little hope of refund. They want 1000 safety measures when opening an account (is it bad? Sure it sucks but it's quite transparent, i.e. something new in finance and they helped me online for hours when my bank made a mistake) 2) Their platform is not as easy or powerful as I'd like (ie no Metatrade or similar) but in exchange they have low response times and even during moderate big jumps your quotes are honored, stop loss and trailing always saved my money so far. 3) In case of trouble (and as new trader you *WILL* have some) their chat was always ready, prompt and resolutive (this is what I mean with "meat", the good services can be seen when things go wrong not by their nice graphics) 4) The spread is decent indeed just make sure to check what rate is going for the day and pair because despite they publish their wages (aka spread) per currency there are so many combinations you can easily miss on one of them. 5) As I said above, their platform is not Metatrade but still it supports a good deal of parametrizable indicators, oscillators and so on, from Fibonacci to many famous and less famous ones. They got a PDF and online guide about when to use them but remember their site is for the "newbie that has learned some ropes already". But to fully know what to do, just spend (or better, *invest* because it's gold time) some time on babypips.com/school and you'll be more than setup. In closing, I'd give OANDA 4 to 4.5 stars and only because they lack of programmable platform. The long term and standing qualities (not without troubles, but no broker has no troubles expecially those spending all their time at making taking money off you VERY easy but hard to take it back) and long term day after day viability make it for me one of the best entry level and middle level brokers. I found better - there's always better - but they expect you to be a semi-professional with $10k+ on hand and thus beyond this review site.Vahrokh September 2009