Editor’s Verdict

Overview

Review

 

IronFX, owned by Cyprus-based Notesco Financial Services Limited, has been in operation since 2010. According to its website, IronFX is home to over 1,200,000 traders. The broker operates out of its Bermuda subsidiary, Notesco Limited, on which this review will focus, as IronFX serves most of its clients from there. I reviewed this broker to assess if its claim of low spreads is accurate. Should you trade with IronFX?

 

Summary

IronFX - Quality trading services meet an expensive pricing environment

HeadquartersUnited Kingdom
RegulatedCySEC, FCA, ASIC
Year Established2010
Execution TypeMarket Maker
Minimum DepositUnspecified
Trading Platforms(s)MetaTrader 4
Signals
US Persons Accepted?
Islamic Account
Segregated Account
Institutional Accounts
Support Hours24/5
Customer Supportemail-support chat-support
Demo Account

 

IronFX - first look:

  • One account type offers low trading costs.
  • Services by third-party provider Trading Central.
  • IronFX lacks transparency in describing its products and services, making frequent contact with customer service necessary.
  • Customer service tries to collect phone numbers so an account manager can answer questions.
  • History of misleading marketing and regulatory fines.
  • VPS hosting for algorithmic traders
  • Proprietary copy trading and account management services.
  • High leverage.
  • Fractional share dealing.

 

IronFX Main Features

Retail Loss Rate
70.51%
Regulation
Yes
Minimum Raw Spreads
0.0 pips
Minimum Standard Spreads
1.8 pips
Minimum Commission for Forex
$18.00 per round lot
Commission for CFDs/DMA
Commission-free but 0.10% minimum spread
Commission Rebates
No
Minimum Deposit
$100
Demo Account
Yes
Managed Account
No
Islamic Account
Yes
Inactivity Fee
IronFX claims account balance after 90 days of inactivity
Deposit Fee
Third-party
Withdrawal Fee
Third-party
Funding Methods
5

Regulation and Security

Trading with a regulated broker will limit the potential for fraud and malpractice. I always recommend traders to check for regulation and verify it with the regulator by checking the provided license with their database. IronFX presents clients with three regulated entities.

Country of the Regulator
Name of the Regulator
Regulatory License Number
Cyprus
Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission
License Number 125/10
United Kingdom
Financial Conduct Authority
FCA Number 585561
South Africa
Financial Sector Conduct Authority
License Number 45276

Please Note:

  • Most clients will trade with the Bermuda subsidiary, which operates as a duly registered business with registration number 51491 but remains an unregulated entity.

Reasons I prefer the South African subsidiary:

  • Higher leverage
  • Negative balance protection
  • Competitive regulator
  • Segregation of client deposits from corporate funds
  • Flexible trading conditions

What is missing?

  • Third-party insurance
  • Financial Commission membership
  • Profiles of core management

Noteworthy:

  • Despite three capable regulators, IronFX has a history of malpractice and regulatory fines from the CySEC, lowering the trust score of this broker.
  • Transparency remains an issue at IronFX.
  • Scam reports have surged over the past year.

 

In 2015, IronFX announced a voluntary exit from Russia, Germany, Italy, and New Zealand. It also closed offices globally, including China, Nigeria, and Russia. Additionally, it left Australia and no longer has ASIC oversight.

IronFX Regulators

Fees

Commissions/SpreadsBoth
Withdrawal options
  • :
  • Deposit options
  • :
  • I rank trading costs among the most defining aspects when evaluating a Forex broker, as they directly impact profitability.

    IronFX offers traders the following cost structures:

    • Commission-free trading costs where floating spreads in the Standard account commence from an expensive 1.8 pips or $18.00 per round lot.
    • Fixed spreads are available from 2.2 pips or $22.00 per lot.
    • The commission-based alternative lists 0 pip fixed spreads but commissions ranging between $18.00 and $43.00 per lot.
    • IronFX has a commission-free STP/ECN account with minimum spreads of 0.3 pips or $3.00 per round lot.

    Noteworthy:

    • Forex costs are over 300% more expensive at IronFX versus competitors except in one STP/ECN account, where they rank among the lowest in the industry.
    • Equity CFDs remain commission-free but come with a minimum spread of 0.10%, covering the lack of commissions.

    Which pricing environment should Forex traders at IronFX select?

    I recommend the following:

    • The STP/ECN Absolute Zero account, as it offers Forex traders industry-leading costs.

    What is missing at IronFX?

    • A volume-based rebate program.

    Here is a screenshot of quotes at IronFX during the London-New York overlap session, the most liquid one, where traders usually get the lowest spreads.

    IronFX Forex Quotes

    The average trading costs for the EUR/USD in the commission-free IronFX Absolute Zero account:

    Average Spread
    Commission per Round Lot
    Cost per 1 Standard Lot
    0.3 pips
    $0.00
    $3.00

    The Zero Spread account features the following commissions per 1.0 standard lot, between three and eight times higher than competitors:

    • $18 for the EUR/USD and USD/JPY.
    • $23 for the GBP/USD, USD/CAD, USD/CHF, EUR/GBP, and AUD/USD.
    • $28 for the EUR/CHF, NZD/USD, and EUR/JPY.
    • $43 for the GBP/CHF and GBP/JPY.

    Noteworthy:

    • The Zero Commission account is over five times more expensive than the Absolute Zero alternative.

    One of the most ignored trading costs is swap rates on leveraged overnight positions. Depending on the trading strategy, it may become the most significant fee per trade. I always recommend that traders check them before evaluating the total trading costs.

    Noteworthy:

    • IronFX offers a positive swap on assets where market conditions warrant them.

    MT4 traders can access swap rates from their platform by following these steps:

    1. Right-click on the desired symbol in the Market Watch window and select Specification.

    2. Scroll down until you see Swap Long and Swap Short.

    Below is a list of trading cost examples for buying and selling the EUR/USD, holding the trade for one night and seven nights, in the commission-free IronFX Absolute Zero account.

    Taking a 1 standard lot buy/sell position, in the EUR/USD at the average spread and holding it for one night will cost the following:

    Minimum Spread
    Commission per Round Lot
    Swap Long
    Swap Short

    Total Trading Costs

    0.3 pips
    $0.00
    -$3.96
    X
    $6.96
    0.3 pips
    $0.00
    X
    $0.21
    $2.79

    Taking a 1 standard lot buy/sell position, in the EUR/USD at the average spread and holding it for seven nights will cost the following:

    Minimum Spread
    Commission per Round Lot
    Swap Long
    Swap Short

    Total Trading Costs

    0.3 pips
    $0.00
    -$27.72
    X
    $30.72
    0.3 pips
    $0.00
    X
    $1.47
    $1.53

     

    My additional comments concerning trading costs at IronFX:

    • The Absolute Zero account and swap rates combine for a cost structure that ranks among the cheapest in the industry.
    • Traders should avoid all account types, except Absolute Zero, as trading costs elsewhere remain excessive.
    • IronFX does not list currency conversion fees.
    • No inactivity exists, but IronFX notes after 90 days of inactivity, it reserves the right to claim all remaining funds, which I deem unjust, as it pressures traders to remain active or risk losing their entire account balance.

     

    What Can I Trade

    IronFX offers Forex traders 83 currency pairs, ranking it among the top brokers in this category.

    Equity traders get access to large-cap names trending on social media, suitable for most retail traders but unfit for demanding traders. While the 268 assets offer new traders acceptable entry-level exposure, advanced traders will find it inadequate for proper cross-asset diversification. IronFX does not offer trading in cryptocurrencies.

    What is missing?

    • Mid-cap and small-cap alternatives from the equity CFD list.
    • A broader selection of commodity CFDs.
    • IronFX does not offer ETFs.
    • Cryptocurrencies are not available.

    Asset List and Leverage Overview

    Commodities
    Metals:
    Indices
    Stocks
    CFDs
    Oil
    Gold
    ETFs

    IronFX Leverage

    The IronFX Bermuda and South African subsidiaries offer traders maximum leverage between 1:200 and 1:1000, depending on the account type. I recommend it for active traders as it presents more overall trading flexibility, directly influencing profitability.

    Other things worth noting about IronFX leverage:

    • The Cyprus and the UK subsidiaries limit maximum leverage on Forex to 1:30.
    • Negative balance protection exists, ensuring traders never lose more than their deposit.
    • Leverage is dynamic, assisting traders with risk management.

    IronFX Trading Hours (GMT +2 Server Time)

    Asset Class
    From
    To
    Cryptocurrencies
    Not applicable
    Not applicable
    Forex
    Monday 00:00
    Friday 24:00
    Commodities
    Monday 01:00
    Friday 24:00
    European CFDs
    Monday 10:00
    Friday 18:30
    US CFDs
    Monday 16:30
    Friday 23:00

    Noteworthy:

    • Equity markets open and close each trading day and are not operational continuously like Forex and cryptocurrencies

    I recommend the following step for MT4 traders to access trading hours:

    1. Right-click on the desired symbol in the Market Watch window and select Specification.

    2. Scroll down until you see Sessions.

    Account Types

    A complicated account type structure exists at IronFX, comprised primarily of two distinct categories which include nine account options.

    Traders must decide between the following:

    • Commission-free versus commission-based account.

    IronFX Account Types

    My observations concerning the IronFX account types:

    • Five floating spread accounts are available, all with expensive trading costs, where the minimum deposit is $100 and up for higher account tiers.
    • One fixed spread account exists with commissions between $18.00 and $43.00 per round lot.
    • IronFX additionally has three STP/ECN accounts, where the Absolute Zero option offers traders ultra-low trading costs, a welcome contrast to the eight expensive alternatives, but the minimum deposit required is $500.
    • The STP/ECN base currencies are USD, EUR, and JPY, except for the No Commission account, where IronFX lists Bitcoin despite not supporting cryptocurrencies as a deposit method.
    • A dealing department hotline is available.
    • Islamic accounts are available in four account types, but not including any of the STP/ECN accounts.

    My recommendation:

    • Only the Absolute Zero account for a minimum deposit of $500 and maximum leverage of 1:200 offers traders a low-cost pricing environment, while the remaining eight rank among the most expensive in the retail Forex industry.

    IronFX Demo Account

    IronFX offers MT4 demo accounts, and I like the absence of a time limit on the demo accounts. It presents traders with an ideal environment to test EAs and new strategies. I want to caution beginner traders about using a demo account as an educational tool. It can create unrealistic trading expectations, and the absence of trading psychology negates the educational value. 

    My recommendation:

    • MT4 offer flexible deposits, and traders should select an amount similar to what they plan for their live trading account.

    Trading Platforms

    The MT4 trading platform, the most popular among traders and leader in algorithmic trading, is offered together with an upgraded package labeled MT4 Advanced. A multi-page PDF is available to explain the added functionality, which turns the basic version into a state-of-the-art trading terminal and offers a significant advantage over most other brokers that only present the out-of-the-box MT4.

    Traders may use the desktop client, webtrader, or mobile version, the basic package with an acquired license. MT4 also has an embedded copy trading service. The upgrade to the trading platform represents the most valuable asset at IronFX.

    What is missing?

    • IronFX delivers an upgraded MT4 trading environment with only API trading missing.

    My observations:

    • Traders with MT4 EAs must use the desktop client.
    • VPS hosting is available.

    Overview of Trading Platforms

    MT4
    Yes
    MT5
    No
    cTrader
    No
    Proprietary/Alternative Platform
    No
    Automated Trading
    Yes
    Social Trading / Copy Trading
    Yes
    MT4/MT5 Add-Ons/Upgrades
    Yes
    Guaranteed Stop Loss
    No
    Negative Balance Protection
    Yes
    Unique Feature One
    Upgraded MT4 trading platform
    Unique Feature Two
    Low trading costs and quality trading tools

    Unique Features

    IronFX offers VPS hosting to support automated trading solutions, free of charge for accounts above $5,000. Otherwise, a $30 monthly fee will apply. The service provider for this service is Fozzy Inc. Traders should read the terms and conditions before signing up.

    A Personal Multi-Account Manager (PMAM) is also available, which appears to be an in-house version of the MT4 Multi Account Manager (MAM) and the Percentage Allocation Management Module (PAMM). A user guide walks interested clients through this product, intended for retail portfolio management.

    Copy traders can try the IronFX TradeCopier, available alongside the embedded MT4 solution. It is ideal for passive Forex traders and those who seek to earn additional revenue as a strategy provider.

    An alternate passive trading approach exists via the IronFX AutoTrade platform, where traders copy entire strategies. I like the details IronFX provides for each strategy and signal provider.

    Research and Education

    IronFX maintains a blog where traders get occasional trading signals and market commentary in a well-presented format. The bulk of its research capacities comes from third-party provider Trading Central, which I find an acceptable solution. IronFX offers the Trading Central MT4 plugin, allowing traders access to tradeable ideas from within the trading platform.

    Beginner traders get a quality educational platform with the IronFX School. I like the abundance of videos, a combination of content for beginners, market commentary, and trading ideas. The written content is brief, failing to offer in-depth coverage of topics but suffices as an introduction.

    My takeaways:

    • Services by Trading Central and the IronFX video library present traders with quality research and educational services

    My recommendations:

    • Traders can evaluate copy trading features embedded in MT4.
    • The IronFX TradeCopier and IronFX AutoTrade platform offer passive trading options.
    • MT4 has thousands of EAs, and traders may explore them to determine if they suit their trading style.
    • Beginner traders should additionally research online free of charge.
    • Manual traders get quality trading signals from Trading Central.
    • Beginner traders should source in-depth educational content elsewhere before trading at IronFX.

    Customer Support

    Support Hours24/5
    Customer Supportemail-support chat-support
    Website Languages
      • English
      • Polish
      • Portuguese
      • Russian
      • Chinese
      • Japanese
      • German
      • French
      • Italian
      • Arabic
      • Spanish
      • Other
  • Customer support is available 24/5 via e-mail and live chat. Regrettably, IronFX does not list a phone number. 

    IronFX Customer Support

    The live chat pops up frequently, which I found disruptive. Customer support responds swiftly but attempts to collect contact information for an account manager to call. It is an unacceptable practice.

    My observations:

    • Traders should read the FAQ section before reaching out to a customer service representative.
    • For non-urgent questions, I recommend live chat.
    • IronFX fails to provide phone support or access to the finance department.

    Bonuses and Promotions

    As I reviewed IronFX, its $1M trading competition ended, but it holds them frequently. IronFX offers a 100% first deposit bonus, plus two additional boosters.

    A quality affiliate program is also available with high payouts and sign-up bonuses. It supports traders who seek a passive revenue stream to supplement their trading activities.

    My observations:

    • The bonuses are non-withdrawable.
    • Terms and conditions apply, and traders must read and understand them before requesting a bonus.
    • Bonuses are not available for STP/ECN accounts.

    Opening an Account

    The online application processes new accounts in line with industry standards. The quick application grants traders access to the back office. In compliance with AML/KYC requirements, account verification is mandatory. That requirement can usually be satisfied by sending a copy of the trader’s ID and one proof of residency document. 

    IronFX Account Opening

    Minimum Deposit

    The IronFX minimum deposit is $100 for the Standard account and $500 for the Absolute Zero alternative. IronFX maintains a few expensive accounts with higher minimum deposit requirements.

    Payment Methods

    IronFX offers bank wires, credit/debit cards, Skrill, Neteller, and Dotpay.

    Accepted Countries

    IronFX caters to most international traders, including the UK, Australia, Canada, and Cyprus. Like most international brokers, IronFX does not accept traders from the US.

    Deposits and Withdrawals

    Traders will conduct all financial transactions from the secure back office of IronFX. The deposit and withdrawal options remain notably limited, as outlined on the website of its Cyprus subsidiary.

    IronFX Deposits

    My observations:

    • IronFX does not levy internal financial transaction costs, but third-party processing fees may apply.
    • Not all deposit methods are available to all traders, with availability of services dependent upon geographic location.
    • Deposit processing times for bank wires are up to three business days.
    • IronFX does not provide withdrawal processing times, but many traders complain about issues here.
    • Per the information provided at the CySEC unit, bank wires are not available for withdrawals.
    • Transaction limits for withdrawals apply.
    • Cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals are not available, but IronFX offers Bitcoin as a base currency.

    My recommendations:

    • Traders should use the payment processor with the lowest fees.
    • I also recommend checking the costs from the payment processor to the bank account unless a debit/credit card is available.
    • It is ideal to use an option besides the bank or credit/debit card used for day-to-day financial operations.

    Trading Platform

    Platform Languages
      • English
  • OS Compatibility
      • Mac
      • Windows
      • Mobile
      • Web
      • iPhone
      • iPad
  • Charting Package
    Scalping
    Hedging
    Mobile Alerts
    E-mail Alerts
    Guaranteed Limit Orders
    Guaranteed Execution
    One-click Execution
    OCO Orders
    Interest on Margin
    Web-based Trading
    Mobile Trading
    MT4
    MT5
    cTrader
    Proprietary Platform
    Automated Trading
    Guaranteed Stop Loss

    The Bottom Line

    I like the trading environment at IronFX in its Absolute Zero account, as trading costs rank among the lowest in the retail Forex industry. It extends to swap rates on leveraged overnight positions. High leverage, an upgraded MT4 trading platform, and quality trading tools add to the competitiveness of this broker. However, traders should carefully consider Iron FX’s past, including the 2016 scandal, and should not ignore the inactivity rule, where IronFX claims all funds, if no deposits or trades occur within 90 days.

    FAQs

    Is IronFX a good broker?

    expand.png
    In its current form, IronFX is recovering from a series of missteps. When it launched in 2010, it provided a significantly better trading environment. A series of regulatory fines and changes led to a drastic regression. However, IronFX has since added high-quality trading services and introduced a very competitive pricing environment.

    Is IronFX regulated?

    expand.png
    The CySEC, the FCA, and the FSCA regulate IronFX. It is important to note that the international entity operating out of Bermuda, the one featured in this review, where most traders will manage portfolios, remains an unregulated entity.

    What is the minimum deposit for IronFX?

    expand.png
    The minimum deposit for the Standard account is $100 and $500 for the Absolute Zero account.

    How long does IronFX withdrawal take?

    expand.png
    IronFX does not provide this information amid a lack of transparency. Many traders report withdrawal problems at IronFX, but I could not independently verify the issues.

    Is IronFX a scam?

    expand.png
    IronFX is not a scam, but it deployed questionable behavior, as outlined by the Australian regulator ASIC, which no longer regulates this broker.

    About the Author

    DailyForex.com Team
    The DailyForex.com team is comprised of analysts and researchers from around the world who watch the market throughout the day to provide you with unique perspectives and helpful analysis that can help improve your Forex trading.