Brokers fight for your attention, they expand in the everlasting pursuit of fresh clients. The US market is especially attractive. However, barriers to entry are probably the highest in the world, regulators are strict and competition is brutal. Few brokerages manage to operate in this market, but they are large. In this comparison, we clash two US-open, well-known brands – OANDA and FOREX.com
The best services of OANDA and FOREX.com. Find out which is better.
Brokers are companies that connect you with the capital markets, so you can participate and trade too, not just banks and funds. The era of CFD marked retail investing. A simple but powerful derivative that enabled common people to virtually own an asset on a “tab”. CFDs allowed leverage and selling something you do not own. Brokers are more than just trading, they have expanded their services and made many different packages ultimately to bring traders a better experience.
As a general classification, brokers business has two main types, called A-book and B-book type brokers. The difference is how they match your trade order, who is selling if you buy, and who is buying if you order a sell. Market makers or B-book brokers take your order, while A-book uses ECN to match it with other participants. A conflict of interest can arise between Market Makers and clients, an idea that someone is making money on your loss is not well perceived. Both types have pros, cons, and hybrids of the two are not uncommon. Most importantly, you should know if you are a fast-paced trader, choose a low-cost broker with good regulation and reputation. Long-term investors may look for a wider asset range, like Market Makers OANDA and FOREX.com have.
FOREX.com VS OANDA
The two brands are one of the most popular in the US. They are competitors and are among the top at providing a plethora of features, services, and assets. Now, the quality of these is still questionable as we are unable to cope with an impressive variety and what looks like average to below-average client ratings. OANDA and FOREX.com are heavily regulated, there is no room for scams. Let’s see them head to head, and what might be an issue no other review is revealing.
FOREX.com offers more platforms than most brokerages in the industry. They have a proprietary platform available for mobile devices, as web, and as a downloadable if you like a bit better performance. Also, if you are a fan of MetaTrader platforms they have that too, both MT4 and MT5. However, MT4 and MT5 are available for Standard Accounts only. Additionally, some assets are only available on their proprietary platform.
FOREX.com adjust its offer based on your IP, and of course your country when opening an account. So, if you are in the US, you will have only MT4 and FOREX.com platforms available but more variety in choosing an account type.
FOREX.com proprietary platform is packed with analysis, tools, and reads. The feature stems from Trading Central, a well-known information source for brokerages. Trading Central has one of the best coverages across all markets, yet we always find analysis for a wide audience not deep enough. Traders develop various styles and these mostly offer only the Support/Resistance type of trading. However, FOREX.com platform is good enough for all except for specialized technical traders that ask for more indicators or automation. We liked that the platform features automatic calculus of ket trade values, price tolerance for slippage, and order linking.
If you are not a fan of MetaTrader or FOREX.com platforms, TradingView is supported without any charges.
OANDA has a really hard task to top FOREX.com when it comes to platforms. OANDA has a proprietary platform available on App Store and Google Play called fxTrade. This one is only for smart devices, no desktop variant is developed, however, it features a full range of OANDA trading instruments. Other platforms do not list all that OANDA has to offer.
Interestingly, the other two platforms are MetaTrader 4 and 5. FOREX.com, therefore, has an advantage.
But, there is a twist. OANDA offers more if you are using an IP address in the US. This means the broker has a very different approach, and even offers a proprietary desktop platform. If you are a US client you have TradingView connection too, and MetaTrader 4. There is more here, the EU OANDA domain also has TradingView but not MetaTrader 5.
So, overall OANDA has many platforms but what caught our eye is the additional support for the MetaTrader platforms. OANDA has a so-called Premium package that is available for free regardless if you trade on Demo or Real MetaTrader account. BVI-regulated OANDA also offers Autochartist plugin for analysis.
It is hard to compare these two brokers when it comes to platforms as each has a variable offering for each regulator. But one thing is certain, they are both well above average industry levels and can satisfy the most demanding of traders.
- A proprietary platform for trading on an intermediate level with many assets
- Has good transparency and fee calculation
- Integrated News, Calendar, Analysis, and other tools.
- Well-organized and designed for mobile devices and web
- Good customization level
- Capitalize.ai partnership (US)
- MT4 and MT5 where applicable
- Ninja Trader connection ability (US)
- Cool, non-standard tools for MetaTrader platforms
- A limited number of instruments on MetaTrader platforms
- Does not offer the same value for all countries
- FOREX.com web platform is not quite responsive
- Limited demo accounts (30 to 90 days)
- Uncommon prices when compared with other brokers(?)
- Feature-rich platform
- Well-designed, beginner-friendly layout for mobile smart devices
- Other complementary services such as MarketPulse
- Nice addons for MetaTrader platforms
- No demo limitations
- Does not offer the same value for all countries
- No desktop OANDA platforms (for BVI regulation)
- Limited number of instruments on MetaTrader platforms
- Overly simplified fxTrade app
If you read the content above you might ask if the instruments vary across broker domains for each regulator, the answer is yes. But the truth is both brokers offer a great range of instruments. We will focus on the more relaxed regulator of the British Virgin Islands.
FOREX.com is a monster when it comes to the number of tradeable instruments. According to the broker’s website, there are over 5500 in total. Over 80 currencies, thousands of stocks across the globe (on FOREX platforms and about 400 on MT5, none on MT4), 15+ indices including an arrange of interesting themed ones, Commodities, and four crypto – Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, Cardano,DOGE, Solana and Ethereum. FOREX.com has made a big mistake on their website where most assets are stated as unavailable on MT4. The truth is mistakes like this happen even to the biggest of brokers. MT4 traders, you CAN trade crypto and commodities, open a demo to make sure as the list may change.
OANDA has some limitations on the MT4 platform but overall has more instruments than FOREX.com. There are 45 currency pairs, Gold and Silver, a good range of indices (15), 8 commodities, and 4 cryptocurrencies. This range is average when compared to other brokers except in the Index category. MT5 is another story, we see many companies across Europe, but no US or other continents, 18 cryptos, and the rest are the same as with MT4.
Generally, we feel FOREX.com is at disadvantage in the instruments race, OANDA has more in crypto and many EU shares.
Both brokers are expensive Market Makers, it is especially true if they do business in the US. According to our research, FOREX.com belongs to the top 20 percentile of the widest spreads in the industry. If we compare XAU/USD alone, FOREX.com offers 90 pips VS OANDA at 30 pips. EUR/USD at 1.4 pips for FOREX.com VS OANDA at 1.3 pips. BTC/USD sits at about $40 on OANDA and $90 on FOREX.com. Well, clearly the spread winner is OANDA. FOREX.com states they offer fixed spreads too.
What about the other costs? Well OANDA does not have any funding fees and a $4 commission per lot for the Commission account. FOREX.com charges $5 per lot for a Commission account, an inactivity fee of $15, and no funding fees.
And the trading costs winner is…OANDA. Although it is not very competitive with other brokers. Both brokers feature better conditions for active traders.
Regulation and Reputation
This is the juicy part of the comparison rarely any review contains. To start with FOREX.com, the brand belongs to GAIN capital, a company that holds other domains and brands as well such as Citi Index and FXTradingPro.com. GAIN Capital became a part of NASDAQ-listed StoneX Group and in 2022 both companies are fined by the US regulator NFA. Now, the reason is technical but the fine came for “violating compliance rules by improperly adjusting customer accounts and for improper treatment of customers affected by the system malfunction and account adjustments. Furthermore, the company violated regulatory rules by submitting inaccurate and incomplete information to NFA.” GAIN Capital has more of these, in 2010 the reason was slippage.
Now let’s match these for hints in client reviews. FOREX.com has below-average ratings. Clients mostly report inadequate pricing, stop loss hunting, withdrawal problems, and kicking out profitable traders.
FOREX.com holds regulation licenses of NFA, CTFC (US), IIROC (Canada), CySEC, CIMA (Cayman Islands), FCA, FSA (Japan), ASIC, and MAS (Singapore).
OANDA has a better rating according to the traders’ opinion. However, it is mediocre. The main complaints are the buggy platform, closing profitable accounts, bad customer service, and selective FIFO trading cuts (no hedging allowed).
This broker also has a penal history. One example is 2018 when NFA found “failures to properly handle customer complaints and inaccurate unrealized profit/loss”.
Interestingly, OANDA filed a lawsuit against GAIN Capital over patent infringement in 2020 and the legal battle is still ongoing.
Both brokers do not have a great reputation so you may look for better options.
Both brokers have online chat, contact forms, and ticket systems. We always like to have direct contact with agents to assess how good are they at resolving problems and answering general questions.
FOREX.com has a nice chat app side button while OANDA chat is not so obvious. We went to chat with FOREX.com and ask about the mentioned discrepancy about the instruments range in MT4. The agent was surprised by the website mistake but failed to provide us with a comparison of the platforms that is already online. Interestingly that comparison also had mistakes. Good part is that the holding time was short.
Chatting with OANDA agents required a lot of information. What state do we come from, our email, account, etc. We went on and asked about hedging and found out that MetaTrader platform traders should avoid such strategies on the same asset. Overall we feel OANDA has better support than FOREX.com.
Conclusion and Summary
These Market Maker brokers are one of few that operate in the US and as such are valuable for US traders. We also believe clients have better protection and broker ethics in these strict regulation areas. But if we compare them to other non-US brokerages we think their trading costs and low reputation outweigh strong regulation and good instruments range.
The best parts of both brokers are their additional tools, education, and MetaTrader enhancements. We encourage MetaTrader traders to try them out. We also consider FOREX.com STP accounts in the US to be interesting but only for those who can afford the requirements. The STP method has attractive trading conditions. Finally, we urge you to check real ratings and try their services on a demo first. You will certainly find value in numerous complementary content for free.
Fintech-Insight is dedicated to delivering unbiased and dependable insights into cryptocurrency, finance, trading, and stocks. However, we must clarify that we don't offer financial advice, and we strongly recommend users to perform their own research and due diligence.