A True ECN vs Standard Account differ based on fees with the MetaTrader True ECN account or cTrader ECN account having lower spreads from 0.0 pips but a $3.50 per 100k commission while the standard account has $0 commission but higher CFD account spreads from 1.0 pips for EUR/USD.
1. Beginner Traders 2. Traders looking for simple expense calculation 3. Traders needing customer service outside business hours
1. Advanced high volume traders (Active Traders) 2. Traders utilising robots, scalping and hedging 3. Traders needing customer service outside business hours
Spreads + Commissions
ECN Trading Account
Guaranteed No Minimum Balance
No Fees On Deposits + Withdrawals
ECN Trading Account
Guaranteed No Minimum Balance
No Fees On Deposits + Withdrawals
IC Markets Standard vs True ECN Accounts Comparison
IC Markets offer two main kinds of accounts for the majority of clients. These accounts are the Standard vs True ECN accounts (a third account called the Islamic account is also available but this is only for clients with religious requirements so is outside the scope of this article). To help your decide which account suits your needs we compare the two accounts.
You will notice the Standard vs True ECN both have very similar features. These include:
MT4, MT5 and cTrader Forex Trading Platforms
Minimum Deposit requirements of $200
Leverage availability of up to 500:1
Micro Lot Trading (ie. 0.01) up to Standard lot Trading (ie. 1)
64 Currency Pairs
Stop Loss Level of 50%
All Trading Styles allowed (ie. Scalping, Hedging, Expert Advisors)
CFD Products to be Leveraged (ie. Bitcoin, Stocks)
24/7 Customer Service
Extra features such MT4 Enhancements, MAM/PAMM, ZuluTrade, MyFxBook’s Autotrade
All these features form a major part of your consideration when selecting IC Markets as your broker. Where things get trickier is understanding what is different between each account. The differences between each account essentially come down to two main features.
The technology used for trading
The costs incurred when trading
IC Markets Trading Model
IC Markets bill themselves as a True ECN forex broker, this means IC Markets will send your buy and sell price to the real market which consists of banks, hedge funds and dark pool liquidity providers without involving dealing desks, price manipulations or requotes. This is why IC Markets are known as an ‘A’ book broker unlike a market maker which is a ‘B’ book broker and will trade against you.
IC Markets Technology for Standard Account
IC Markets Standard Account uses a Straight Through Processing (STP) Forex broker model but promis True ECN pricing. This means they process all your trades electronically (not manually) and forward them to their chosen group of interbank forex market liquidity providers. ECN pricing can be achieved because they use the same liquidity pool as their True ECN account. The final spread will have 1 Pip added which is IC Markets charge for provdiing the service.
IC Markets Technology for True ECN Account
Electronic Communication Network (known as ECN for short) in a sense is the same as STP in that trading is done electronically but there are some noticeable differences. ECN means you are trading directly with interbank markets. Unlike STP where the broker can choose who your orders will be sent to, ECN is aggregated among all members in the liquidity pool. ECN is transparent because the bid and ask price is available for you to see. IC Markets offer spreads ECN as low as 0.0 pip for certain currency pairs.
Below is a comparison of ECN spreads vs Standard spreads
True ECN Charges
IC Markets charge a commission for their True ECN account as they have no control over the spreads as these are set by the liquidity market. MT4 commission depends on the number of lots you trade with (ie. volume you trade with) while cTrader platform depends on spot rate of the currency pairing when you go short or long.
In our examples below we using AUD USD currency pairing, this mean AUD is the quote and USD is the base.
MT4 commission for ECN Accounts
IC Markets charge the following commission when pairing AUS USD lots
0.01 micro lots (1000 units) then you will be charged USD $0.035 one way and $0.07 round trip.
0.10 mini lots (10,000 units) then USD $0.35 one way and $0.70 round trip.
1 Standard lot (100,000 units) then USD $3.50 one way and $7 round trip.
Note: the same principle can be applied for EUR USD but the commission is $2.75 one way or $5.5 round trip when trading with 1 Standard lot). Please see table below for commission on other currency pairings.
cTrader commission for ECN Account
cTrader unlike MT4 is based on a charge of USD $3 per USD$100,000 traded one way ($6 round trip) rather than lots. Commission needs to be converted to the base currency at spot rate. i.e. $100,000 x 1.4000 = USD $140,000 x (3 / 100,000) one way = $4.2
$100,000 x 1.4100 (example spot rate) = USD $130,000 x (3 / 100,000) return = $4.23
Standard Account Charges
STP technology allows IC Markets to widen their spreads with additional Pips. Looking at their spreads, IC Markets add a standard 1 Pip for all pairing in their Standard accounts.
Calculating the costs for each account type
In our example we are using AUS USD where AUS is the quote rate and USD is the base. Given IC Markets adda standard 1 PIP to the spreads on Standard account, we are using 1.4 Pips for Standard Account and 0.4 Pips for True ECN and cTrader account in our example.
Calculating commission with MT4 micro lots (1000 units) IC Markets Standard vs True ECN AUS USD
Standard – ($0.10 per lot with pip of 1.40) $0.10 x $1.40 (PIPs) = $0.140
True ECN ($0.10 per lot with pip of 0.40) $0.10 x 0.40 = $0.040 + $0.07 = $0.11
Thus we can conclude you will save 0.03c with True ECN account when trading with micro lots.
Calculating commission with mini lots (10,000 units) IC Markets Standard vs True ECN AUS USD
Standard ($1 per lot with pip of 1.40) $1 x 1.40 = $1.40
True ECN ($1 per lot with pip of 0.40) $1 x 1.40 = $0.40 + $0.70 = $1.10
Thus we can conclude you will save 0.30c with True ECN account when trading with mini lots.
Calculating costs with standard lots (100,000 units) IC Markets Standard vs True ECN AUS USD
Standard ($10 per lot with pip of 1.40) $10 x 1.40 = $14
True ECN ($10 per lot with pip of 0.40) $10 x 0.40 = $4.0 + $7 = $11
Thus we can conclude you will save $3 with True ECN account when trading with standard lots.
IC Markets Standard vs True ECN conclusion
In our examples above we shown that when you trade forex and the difference between Standard and True ECN account is always 1 PIP then True ECN Account will always be cheaper and this is regardless the number of Lots you use. ECN allows for greater transparency with its spreads, tighter spreads which we believe make for better and cheaper foreign exchange trading.
As a rule of thumb, the more you trade, the more your expenses will be, thus day traders and those using EAs (Expert Advisors) in particular will benefit from ECN. On the other hand, if you plan to hold your position for long periods then you may not consider the savings with commission worth the effort of using an ECN account. If you do plan to go long do keep in mind swap costs that are incurred if you hold your position overnight.
The only other reason one might prefer IC Markets Standard account is if you are a beginner trader and do not want the expense and hassle of having to calculate your commissions or if IC Markets ever offer narrower spreads for the Standard Account. We recommend joining a IC Markets demo account and trading with micro lots until you are comfortable trading with fx.
Regardless of which type of trading account you select, it is important to remember that forex markets are very volatile so you will want to ensure you fully understand the risks involved with forex trading and cfd trading. You will also want to be aware that you are dealing with leverage please ensure you understand the risks involved with margin trading.
CFDs are leveraged products. CFD trading may not be suitable for everyone and can result in losses that exceed your initial deposit, so please ensure that you fully understand the risks involved.