XM Pros and Cons
Outstanding trading tools and loyalty program
Low minimum deposit, high leverage, and competitive trading cost
Excellent research and education
Trustworthy and transparent with generous bonuses and incentives
Headquarters Cyprus Regulated CySEC, ASIC, FSC Belize, DFSA Year Established 2009 Execution Type Market Maker Minimum Deposit $5 Trading Platforms(s) MetaTrader 4, MetaTrader 5, Proprietary platform, Web-based Signals US Persons Accepted? Islamic Account Segregated Account Managed Accounts Institutional Accounts Support Hours 24/7 Customer Support Demo Account
XM Regulation and Security
XM Group (XM) is a group of regulated online brokers. Trading Point of Financial Instruments Ltd was established in 2009 and it is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC 120/10), Trading Point of Financial Instruments Pty Ltd was established in 2015 and it is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC 443670) and XM Global Limited was established in 2017 with headquarters in Belize and it is regulated by International Financial Services Commission (000261/158).
XM’s regulation in Cyprus provides its clients there with a degree of investor protection, as CySEC maintains an Investor Compensation Fund which is empowered to award depositors who lose their accounts due to failure of a regulated firm an amount up to €20,000.
XM has been in operation as a brokerage since 2009, giving it a relatively long track record. Typically, it can be said that the longer a broker has been in business, the more reputable the broker should be held to be.
Like all Forex / CFD brokerages regulated in member states of the European Union like Cyprus, all clients of XM enjoy negative balance protection. This means that it is impossible for any client to lose more than the amount they have deposited with XM. The “tail risk” of an extremely large and sudden market movement, amplified by any leverage used, is borne fully by XM under this European Union regulation.
XM UAE (Trading Point MENA Limited) is located within the United Arab Emirates and is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA reference no. F003484).
The question of fees charged by a brokerage should always be paramount in the mind of anyone searching for the right Forex / CFD broker. In considering the question, all costs of doing business must be considered carefully. We can break the entirety of fees and costs into two separate sub-categories: fees which are incurred through opening and closing trades, such as spreads, commissions, and overnight financing; and incidental fees, such as charges imposed by the brokerage due to account inactivity, or transaction fees applied to deposits or withdrawals. The trading fee element is going to be most important by far so this should be examined first.
Looking at trading fees first, we begin with spreads and commissions, which should be lumped together as an all-in “round trip” cost covering the opening and closing of a trade. As XM offer a few different account types which charge slightly different fees, we will judge the trading fees of its most common account type, the Standard Account.
XM provides commission-free Forex fees starting from spreads as low as 0.6 pips in the XM Ultra-Low Standard Account, which equals $6.00 per 1.0 standard lot, while the average is 0.8 pips or $8.00. It only applies to the EUR/USD and the USD/JPY, while other currency pairs have higher mark-ups, ranging closer between 1.5 pips and 2.0 pips for the most traded currency pairs and well above that for minor and exotic ones.
Traders in the XM Standard Account face higher costs, where the EUR/USD commences from 1.6 pips with an average of 1.7 pips or $17.00 per 1.0 standard lot. It is more than twice as high as the XM Ultra-Low Standard Account, which is a cost that traders must consider when selecting their account type. For a commission-free trading account, the XM Forex fees represent an excellent pricing environment.
Trading individual stocks at XM is available with competitive to average stock fees. US shares carry a commission of $0.04 per share, twice as high better-priced options, but the minimum cost of $1 per transaction ranks among the lowest. UK and German shares show a stock fee of 0.10% with a minimum of $9 and $5 per order. The percentage-based charge is average, and the minimum cost highly competitive, especially for traders with smaller portfolios. The combination of the XM structure results in acceptable stock fees.
XM provides traders with commission-free CFD trading, where all costs to XM remain included in the CFD fees. Traders must compare equity CFDs on an asset-by-asset basis with competitors to determine the total fees at XM. Given the lack of commissions, the average costs are higher but within a reasonable range. It may benefit low-frequency traders, but high-frequency traders may operate at a potential pricing disadvantage. Index CFDs remain reasonably priced, with the S&P 500 showing a minimum spread of 0.7 pips but above the average competitive commission-free mark-up of 0.5 pips. Data on the lowest costs for gold and silver reveal $0.30 and $0.03 spreads, respectively. XM lists WTI Crude Oil with a minimum of 0.04 pips and the minimum price fluctuation as 0.01 pip or $1.00. For corn, both values are 0.0275 and $0.04, respectively. Overall, XM implements an acceptable CFD fee, just outside the range of the most competitive pricing environments but favorable for traders with smaller portfolios and less trading frequency.
Non-trading fees at XM remain low. There are no internal deposit or withdrawal charges, but traders may face third-party costs. XM covers costs for deposits and all bank wire levies from XM banks on deposits above $200. Traders may still pay charges levied from their banks. XM also lists the potential of currency conversion fees in its terms and conditions without specifying them. It does note that it will publish any applicable costs in its Online Trading Facility in the Commission, Charges & Margin Schedule. An inactivity fee applies after twelve months of dormancy with a one-off deduction of $15 and a monthly charge of $5.
The average round trip cost of trading the benchmark EUR/USD Forex currency pair is 1.7 pips. However, this falls to only 0.8 pips in the XM Zero account.
The average round trip costs of trading individual stocks, soft commodities, and equity indices are average for the industry.
Finally, data on the average round trip cost of trading the precious metals Gold and Silver shows that it is never below 30 cents for Gold and 3 cents for Silver.
It can be said that these levels of spreads and commissions are competitive for depositors of relatively low amounts. The minimum deposit required to open a Standard Account is only $5, so for traders depositing only a few hundred dollars or less, these fees will certainly be competitive. However, traders with considerably larger sums to deposit such as a few thousand dollars would be able to find more competitive alternative brokerage options within the industry, unless they wish to open an XM Zero account which has extremely competitive fees.
The next thing to consider as part of the fee structure is overnight financing, which is usually a net charge applied to every trade daily which is open at 5pm New York time, although it can sometimes be a payment. These fees are, at least theoretically, based upon tom/next fees applied in the intrabank market, but retail brokerages tend to offer relatively unfavorable rates which can make swing or position trading expensive, especially when buying into currencies with very low or negative interest rates. XM are open and transparent about their overnight financing rates, which is a good sign. XM state that their rates are based upon the bank market’s tom/next rates plus the XM mark-up. Comparing the rates offered at the time of review to the industry average, their overnight financing rates are relatively competitive, meaning that XM may be a good choice for traders who wish to hold positions open for periods longer than a day or two.
We end this section on fees by looking at incidental transaction fees, occurring through non-trading processes.
XM charges an account inactivity fee of $5 per month after 90 days. XM charges no additional fees on deposits or withdrawals except where an amount of less than $200 is moved by wire transfer.
Our conclusion on fees: XM’s fees are competitive for traders making deposits under $1,000 across all account types, while the XM Zero account is competitive at any deposit level.
What Can I Trade With XM?
After regulation, safety, and the fee structure, the next most important element to consider when choosing a Forex / CFD brokerage is what is offered for trading on the broker’s menu. Some traders will be seeking exposure only to one asset class, such as Forex, or CFDs on individual stocks and shares, while others will be looking for diversification.
XM offer the following instruments for trading:
Forex – more than 55 currency pairs and crosses, including exotic currencies, as listed below.
Stocks – an extremely wide selection of individual stocks are offered for trading, with more than 1,200 different equities currently listed by XM. This is a very impressive, wide range of choice offered as an access to global equities. Stocks are offered from seventeen different national equity markets, including of course the major markets such as the U.S.A., the U.K., Germany, Switzerland, and Australia, but also Russia. Otherwise, the geographical markets are entirely European. Traders interested in trading individual major market stocks should give XM serious consideration as a broker of choice.
Commodities - a decent selection of 8 soft commodities are offered, which is more than most brokerages run to. They are listed below.
Five energies, including natural gas, are available to trade.
The final element of XM’s commodities offering are precious metals, namely, gold and silver. More exotic precious metals such as platinum and palladium are not available.
Equity Indices – 18 major equity indices are on the menu, which is a decently wide-ranging selection for choice. The full list of equity indices is set out below.
Our conclusion regarding XM’s offering of tradable assets is favorable, with a wide range of asset classes offered that should satisfy most traders. The offering is especially impressive concerning global equities, with an unusually large amount (over 1,200) on the menu at the time this review was published. We expect there is a sufficiently wide range here for those traders who are not particularly interested in individual stocks and shares, but who want to be reasonably diversified across major markets.
XM Trading Hours
The XM trading hours are between Sunday 22:05 UTC and Friday 21:50 UTC, with most trading opportunities from the official start of the London trading session at 08:00 UTC, until the close of the New York trading session at 22:00 UTC. The Asian trading session, led by Tokyo opening at 23:00 UTC and closing at 06:00 UTC, presents the third most liquid one. The overlap between the London and New York open, between 13:00 UTC and 16:00 UTC, is where most of the trading activity occurs. The high liquidity during the three hours results in the tightest spreads. It is a development that scalpers and other short-term traders depend on for increased profitability.
XM Account Types
XM Group offers its clients 4 types of account:
- MICRO - allows you to operate with micro lots, lower level of risk and it has minimum initial deposit of $5.
- STANDARD - allows you to operate with standard lots and it has minimum initial deposit of $5.
- ZERO - account allows you to operate with standard lots, lower spreads starting at 0 pips and it has minimum initial deposit of $100. XM ZERO account has a $3.5 commission per $100,000 traded.
- ULTRA LOW (with low spreads) - allows you to trade with either micro or standard lots, lower spreads starting from 0.6 pips and it has minimum initial deposit of $50.
All account types allow hedging, scalping, and automated trading via Expert Advisers.
We think that the range of account types offered are realistic, easy to use and understand, and good value. Too often in the retail Forex / CFD industry, account type classifications are made unnecessarily complex for marketing purposes. It is admirable that XM seem to have refrained from doing this and are instead looking simply to give their clients what they want and need.
XM Demo Account
Traders may use the XM forex demo account to test trading strategies or Expert Advisers at XM. Unlike many brokers who offer one fixed demo setting, XM allows traders to approach it the same way they will a live trading account. It allows for closer simulation to actual trading results from the testing of strategies. XM limits the number of demo accounts to five per client. When creating a demo account, traders can select the trading platform, MT4 or MT5, and their account type, followed by the base currency from any of the eleven supported ones. Next is the investment amount, where ten options await, and finally, the maximum leverage from 16 choices.
XM Trading Platforms
|Guaranteed Limit Orders|
|Interest on Margin|
|Guaranteed Stop Loss|
XM offers all its trader clients a choice between the use of the two most popular retail Forex trading platforms globally. Clients with any account type may choose to use either MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5. Both platforms are well-known, intuitive, and easy to understand, and have been around for many years. Both platforms are also very popular with the retail trading community. Some traders may wish for a deeper choice of platform that is given here, yet a big majority of traders who find themselves considering becoming customers of XM will find the choice on offer adequate.
XM offers a range of MT4 and MT5 platforms for both Windows and Mac Operating Systems which gives traders unrestricted access to all platforms.
In addition, a range of MT4 and MT5 Mobile applications for both Apple and Android Operating Systems seamlessly allow access to an account with full account functionality from a smartphone or tablet.
XM pioneered the offering of an MT4 platform with trading execution quality in mind. It offers the following benefits: Over 100 Instruments including Forex, CFDs and Futures, 1 login access to 8 platforms, spreads as low as 1 pip, full EA (Expert Advisor) functionality, 1 click trading, technical analysis tools with 50 indicators and charting tools and 3 different chart types.
Trades can trade with the MT4 platform on their Mac as well as on mobile devices such as Androids and iPhones, iPads and tablets.
XM WebTrader 4
XM WebTrader 4 is accessible for PC’s and Mac’s without downloading. Traders can choose from over 100 Instruments Including Forex, CFD’s and Futures, 1 single login access to 8 Platforms, spreads as low as 1 pip, 1 click trading and built in news functionality.
The MT4/MT5 WebTrader provides the same functions as the desktop client but does not require downloading a trading terminal. It is compatible with all operating systems. All trading operations are available, and the only notable difference is that the MT4/MT5 WebTrader does not support EAs or the build-in copy-trading function, which rank among the best features. Traders must use the desktop version if they require them. The MT4/MT5 WebTrader suits manual traders who seek a lightweight trading platform and traders who frequently trade from different locations and devices. For the best trading experience, there is no substitute for the MT4/MT5 desktop trading platforms.
XM MT4 Multiterminal
The XM MT4 Multiterminal platform is the ideal tool for traders wanting to handle multiple MT4 account from 1 single terminal with ease with 1 Master Login and Password.
It supports up to 128 trading accounts, has multiple order types, three allocation methods and provides management and execution in real time.
MetaTrader 5 offers a range of extra features that analyze the market and help traders trade in any style they want.
In addition to all the features of the MT4 platform, the MT5 platform also offers different order types such as 'Fill or Kill' and 'Immediate or Cancel' as well as technical and fundamental analysis using over 79 analytical tools.
The popularity of mobile trading did not go unnoticed at XM, which offers mobile apps for the MT4 and MT5 trading platforms for Android and Apple devices. They operate on mobile phones and tablets, provide full MT4/MT5 functionality, support three chart types and 30 technical indicators. Real-time interactive charts and built-in market analysis tools exist. Despite millennial traders favoring mobile trading apps, committed traders use them only to monitor portfolios. Given the limited screen space, profitable traders conduct market research, technical analysis, and portfolio management on the desktop client or the web-based alternative. XM provides the necessary links to Google Play and the App Store for the swift installation of the desired mobile trading apps.
XM Unique Features
The standout features of XM are twofold: first, its strong regulatory regime in two major industry centers (Australia and Cyprus, the latter of which gives passporting into E.U. regulation throughout the Union); secondly, its very extensive offering of individual equities listed in European countries and other major developed nations.
XM’s Zero account also has an extremely competitive fee structure at a very low minimum required deposit.
XM is proud of its history and its accomplishments. Its Milestones in our Corporate History chart goes back to 2011 and points to a background of trustworthiness and corporate involvement.
The XM management has visited over 120 cities around the world to connect with their clients and partners in order to interact with them on a face to face basis. They have hosted more than 100 seminars to educate traders, enabling them to make better trading decisions. These activities have helped XM reach the highest levels of client retention of any Forex broker, anywhere.
In fact, XM prides itself on having over 300,000 real accounts opened to date from 196 countries and over 150,000,000 trades executed with zero re-quotes or rejections, ever.
XM Withdrawal Problems
XM is one of the biggest retail brokers operational with more than 3,500,000 traders from 196 countries. It provides traders with more than 25 payment options and given the size of this broker and broad international reach. Therefore, it is not surprising for a few clients to claim XM withdrawal problems. XM maintains a clean track record with five regulators, making isolated stories of issues related to a withdrawal dubious. Those claims are often made in online forums with the well-document malicious intent to extract payments from brokers to avoid tarnishing their reputation. All known claims were related to traders violating the terms and conditions. One trader claims he deposited his friend’s Skrill account into his XM trading account. The case dates back to 2013 and violated anti-money laundering (AML) regulations. While they were not as detailed as today, at that time, some brokers did not check the source of deposits, while withdrawals faced strict scrutiny. The trader provided no supporting evidence and stopped responding to the thread he started, suggesting it was nothing more than a malicious attempt, potentially sponsored by a competitor, a common practice in the industry, or by a disgruntled trader who faced losses.
XM also offers generous bonuses, However, clients registered under the EU regulated entity of the Group are not eligible for the bonus (ESMA regulations). XM remains a legit, trustworthy, and honest broker that offers bonuses. Traders should consider the source of any claims of XM withdrawal problems and the lack of evidence before trusting misleading smear campaigns.
Finally, XM has a currency converter using live currency rates, suitable for traders who make deposits outside their account base currency. Users need to enter the currency they wish to convert from the drop-down menu under From and the currency they receive under To. The final step is selecting the amount and clicking on Calculate. The XM currency converter will display the exchange rate and the total converted currency.
Research and Education
The XM Research & Education offering is impressive. It should be said that a Forex / CFD brokerage can offer an excellent service without providing any education or research offering at all. Brokers primarily exist to execute trades and safeguard deposits efficiently, and these core functions are what customers need and want.
All too often, substandard brokers throw together a hastily assembled collection of low-quality educational material, simply for the sake of trying to put across a good appearance. Happily, in the case of XM, the educational and research offering is there because it is worthwhile.
Research is offered as news and analysis on key markets and relevant geopolitical developments, including technical analysis performed on selected price charts. Forex, commodities, and stocks are covered.
In the XM Learning Center, subsections are divided into Live Education, Educational Videos, Forex Webinars, Platform Tutorials, and Forex Seminars.
The educational rooms are live trading rooms which clients may enter and participate in and see live markets traded in real time. Most of them are open for eight hours continuously on weekdays, which is extremely impressive. Seven educational videos on a range of common Forex trading topics are also present in their relevant subsection.
Account holders can benefit from weekly webinars in 13 different languages including Arabic, Bengali, Indonesian, Polish and others given by 18 expert instructors whose pictures are presented on the site.
The list of video tutorials seems endless and cover topics as basic as how to open a Forex account to how to use a MT4 Droid pad on the Mobile Trader app.
Upcoming XM workshops and seminars are listed as are ones that have already taken place.
In addition, their economic calendar posts any upcoming events taking place in markets throughout the world.
There are market reviews, a Forex news report and technical analysis that appear daily.
A selection of trading tools are also offered, in addition to free forex signals and forex calculators.
Most traders will never use their broker’s customer support service beyond the occasional query for clarification of the trading terms offered. Still, its good to know that if you do need the help desk, you will be dealt with promptly and helpfully.
XM’s customer support has a good reputation, partly because it is offered in a wide variety of languages with dedicated native speakers offering support to clients in their own language.
The XM customer support desk is available 24 hours a day, from Monday to Friday – the same time period over which the markets are open. Representatives speak English, Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Bahasa Malay, Bahasa Indonesia, Hungarian, Russian, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish, Hindi, Arabic, Korean, Portuguese, Czech, Slovakian, Bulgarian, Romanian and Dutch.
Traders can contact a rep at different departments in several international locations via email of telephone. Live chat is also available.
Bonuses and Promotions
- Free VPS for clients who maintain a balance (Equity-Credit) USD 5,000 or currency equivalent.
- $30 Non-Deposit Trading Bonus for new clients only.
- The two-tier deposit bonus offers 50% deposit bonus up to $500 and 20% deposit bonus up to $5,000.
- The XM Loyalty Program offers the clients XM Points (XMP) per lot traded. These XMP can be redeemed at any time for credit bonus which can be used for trading purposes only.
*Trading Bonuses and Loyalty Program are not eligible for clients registered under the EU regulated entity of the Group
XM Opening an Account
The account opening process with XM is relatively quick and painless. You can expect to get your account open and ready on the same day that you begin the account opening process. Clients only need to navigate through a couple of web screens where they submit a few details and choose the type of account they want to sign up for.
XM Supported Countries
XM accepts clients who are resident in:
- South Africa
in addition to most other countries.
XM does not accept U.S. persons as clients.
In addition to providing personal and account details, new clients are required to verify their ID and proof of residency by way of utility bills or bank statements. Proof of ID may be verified by providing an official national identity card, passport, or driver license. Images can be uploaded for verification and response times are very quick.
XM Deposits and Withdrawals
At XM there is no minimum deposit required. However, system restrictions limit the minimum deposit amount to $5 for electronic funding such as Moneybookers, Skrill and Neteller as well as credit cards and bank wire transfers. Moneygrams and Western Union payments are also accepted.
Withdrawals can be made using the same methods. In fact, the deposit and withdrawal options are listed side by side on the website and a trader needs only click on “make a deposit” or “request a withdrawal” in order to make a transaction.
Withdrawals via bank-wire of amounts under $200 are subject to a $15 administration fee. While this is not completely uncommon, it is a little unusual and smaller depositors should consider whether they will be able to plan to sit tight and hope to grow their account to a level where this fee would not apply to any likely amount the client will wish to withdraw.
XM deserves a mostly positive review. Fees are competitive for depositors of a few hundred dollars, and the XM Zero account option seems to be competitive for Forex traders at any deposit size starting at the $5 minimum! A good, diverse range of assets are offered for trading, including over 1,200 individual stocks and shares. XM’s reputation is towards the higher end of the industry average, with a long track record and good regulatory standing in Australia, Belize and Cyprus.