Home Broker Reviews XM Review – Pros and Cons in 2020

XM Review – Pros and Cons in 2020

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Summary

Based heavily on the MetaTrader platform, XM is recommended for forex and CFD traders seeking low trading fees. Its parent company, Trading Point Holding, is a global forex and CFD broker and also owns Trading.com.

XM is available globally (with some exceptions) and is regulated by:

  1. CySEC – Cypress Securities and Exchange Commission
  2. ASIC – Australian Securities and Investments Commission
  3. IFSC – International Financial Services Commission of Belize

*While not the focus of this article, Trading.com is also regulated by the UK’s FCA (Financial Conduct Authority). This adds yet another level of regulation and security to XM through its parent company, Trading Point Holding.

Disclaimer: All trading involves risk. More than 70% of investors lose money in Forex and CFD trading. As these complex instruments allow for the use of leverage, there is a high risk of losing more money than you have deposited. Before attempting to participate in spread bets and CFDs, consider how well you understand them and if you can afford to lose your money.

This article is only meant for educational and instructional purposes and should not be considered investment advice.

Introduction to XM

Account opening at XM is fast and user-friendly with low CFD and withdrawal fees. The educational tools are readily available and valuable.

In contrast, XM forex only offers CFDs, cryptocurrencies, and forex and only to European clients. This product offering may be too narrow for some traders. While CFD fees are low, forex fees are average and have an attached inactivity fee (after not trading for 90 days).

Pros

  • High-quality educational tools
  • Fast account opening
  • Low withdrawal and CFD fees

Cons 

  • Inactivity fee
  • Only European clients
  • Only forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs

Fees

XM forex fees are average, and there is an inactivity fee, but their CFD charges are low.

Pros

  • No withdrawal fee
  • Inexpensive CFDs

Cons

  • Non-competitive forex fees
  • Inactivity fee

 

XM Fees 

Assets Fee level Fee terms
S&P 500 CFD Low The fees are built into the spread, 0.7 is the average spread cost.
Europe 50 CFD Low The fees are built into the spread, 2.6 is the average spread cost.
EURUSD Average With standard and micro-accounts, the fees are built into the spread, 1.7 pips is the spread cost. With XM Zero accounts, there is a $3.5 commission per $100 000 traded, and the average spread is 0.1 pips.
Inactivity fee Low An inactivity fee of $5 / month after 90 days. If balance reaches $0 account is archived.

Ranking Fees

On the whole, XM fees are affordable, but that’s mostly because of their surprisingly low CFD fees. However, forex fees are average to high depending on which pair you’re trading.

That said, there are a few aspects to fees that need a bit more explanation. To start things off, let’s look at some vocabulary. Broker fees can be divided into two categories: trading fees and non-trading fees.

Trading fees consist of commissions, financing rates, conversion fees, and spreads.

Non-trading fees consist of all the charges you have to pay but that aren’t directly associated with trading, such as inactivity and withdrawal fees.

The sections below contain detailed information regarding fees at XM and comparison data with XTB and eToro. We’ll start with trading fees.

Trading Fees With XM

Taken as a whole, XM trading fees are low, but each trading instrument has different pricing. There are also 3 account types which further modify pricing in different ways. 

The Micro and Standard accounts have high spread costs but do not charge commissions. In contrast, the XM Zero account charges a commission but has lower spreads.

In our comparisons, we use the Standard account to calculate fees. This is important because it is notoriously difficult to compare fees across brokers as fees are calculated differently by each broker.

For our comparison, we used:

  • Stock CFDs – EUSTX50 and SPX
  • Stock index CFDs – Vodafone and Apple
  • Forex – USD/GBP, USD/EUR, USD/AUD, CHF/EUR, and GBP/EUR

To compare trading evenly, we standardized the types of trades. A typical trade consisted of opening a position using leverage, holding it for 7 days, and then selling the position. Positions taken were:

  • Stock index CFDs: 20:1 leverage on a $2000
  • Stock CFDs: 5:1 leverage with $2000
  • Forex: 30:1 leverage with $20,000

(Included variables: financing costs, spreads, and commissions.)

XM CFD fees are low compared to competitors.

XM CFD fees for a $2,000 long position held for one week

XM XTB eToro
S&P 500 CFD benchmark fee $2.4 $2.0 $2.4
Europe 50 CFD benchmark fee $2.4 $2.2 $2.7
Apple CFD benchmark fee $3.4 $17.9 $6.3
Vodafone CFD benchmark fee $5.6 $20.9

XM forex fees are average compared to competitors

XM forex benchmark fees of a $20,000 30:1 long position held for one week

XM XTB eToro
EURUSD benchmark fee $17.1 $15.0 $19.6
GBPUSD benchmark fee $13.8 $11.1 $16.2
AUDUSD benchmark fee $13.9 $10.0 $12.4
EURCHF benchmark fee $9.1 $6.6 $11.8
EURGBP benchmark fee $12.2 $9.9 $19.9

Real Stock fees vary by country and market

XM stock commission

Stock market Minimum commission per transaction (USD) Commission per transaction (%)
USA 1.0 0.04
UK 9.0 0.1
Germany 5.0 0.1
France 5.0 0.1

Non-trading fees

Non-trading fees at XM are average compared to competitors. There is no deposit fee, withdrawal fee, and usually no account maintenance fee. (Withdrawals of less than $200 have a $15 fee)

One fee to be aware of is the $5 inactivity fee if you don’t trade at least once in a 90-day period.

XM non-trading fees

XM XTB eToro
Account fee No No No
Inactivity fee Yes No Yes
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $25

Account Types

XM offers 3 account types:

  1. Micro
  2. Standard
  3. Zero

Opening an account with XM is accessible and user-friendly. Your account can be available on the same trading day as your application. 

Pros

  • Digital
  • Fast
  • Affordable

Cons

  • None

There are no corporate accounts at XM.

Who can use XM?

XM is available globally but is specifically focused on European clients. If you are from Canada, Japan, China, Israel, New Zealand, or the USA, you cannot open an account at XM.

Minimum Deposit at XM

The minimum deposit at XM is $5 for the Micro and Standard accounts. The XM Zero account has a minimum deposit of $100.

Opening your account

Opening an account at XM is easy, fast, and maybe even a little fun. The online application can be completed in as little as 20 minutes, and account verification can be completed on the same day.

Accounts can be in over 20 languages, including English, Greek, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Chinese, Arabic, and many others.

The six primary sections on the application form for opening an account at XM are:

  1. Personal information – name, address, phone, email, birthdate, 
  2. Trading platform – MT4 or MT5
  3. Account Type – Micro, Standard, Zero
  4. Base currency – 11 to choose from
  5. Financial account information (for deposit) and a short quiz on your financial knowledge.
  6. Identity and address verification – Upload a copy of an ID and proof of address.

xm-account-opening

Deposit and Withdrawal

Deposit and Withdrawal at XM are fast, flexible, and affordable.

Pros

  • Free withdrawals
  • No deposit fee
  • Credit debit card deposit

Account base currencies

XM offers 11 account base currencies to choose from when opening an account. Those currencies are RUB, AUD, JPY, CHF, GBP, ZAR, SGD, PLN, HUF, EUR, and USD.

Few brokers offer this many base currency options. For example, XTB offers 4, and eToro only offers 1.

The base currency of your account is valuable because it affects the conversion rates and what fees you pay. If your base currency is USD but you’re funding it from ZAR, you’ll pay a conversion fee on every deposit.

One way of minimizing currency conversion fees is by using multi-currency digital bank accounts. Multi-currency digital bank accounts can be a little complicated, so let’s use an example. 

 Let’s say you have an account at XM that has a base currency of USD, but your bank account is in Swiss franc (CHF). You can open a digital bank account with TransferWise in USD. Then, you transfer your CHF in your bank account to your TransferWise USD account. You will be charged a currency conversion fee, but it will be much smaller than the fee charged by most banks or by XM. After that, you put in the bank details of your TransferWise USD bank account into XM. This way, XM will deduct funds from your USD account and NOT charge you a conversion fee.

Making deposits

Beyond charging no deposit fees, XM also adds the options to make your deposits from a variety of sources including:

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • MuchBetter Wallet
  • Skrill
  • Trustly

XM deposit options

XM XTB eToro
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/Debit card Yes Yes Yes
Electronic wallets Yes Yes Yes

xm-deposit-optionsXM also allows for bank transfers, but those can take several days to arrive.

*Note all funding sources MUST be in your name.

Withdrawal fees and options

Beyond charging no withdrawal fees, XM allows you to withdraw your deposit to a variety of destinations, including:

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • MuchBetter Wallet
  • Skrill
  • Trustly

An important point is that while your deposit can be withdrawn using any method available to you, profits can only be withdrawn using bank transfer. There is also a fee of $15 associated with bank transfers of less than $200. Credit card withdrawals take up to 2 business days. Other forms of withdrawal are the same or longer.

You can withdraw your fund by logging into your account, clicking on “Withdraw Funds,” choosing your withdrawal method, entering your withdrawal amount, and clicking “Submit.”

Web trading platform

MetaTrader 4 and 5 are the platforms used by XM. These platforms are versatile, customizable, and industry standard. However, some versions lack price alerts and might feel outdated on today’s modern devices.

Pros

  • Highly customizable
  • Quality fee report

Cons

  • Outdated “feel”
  • No price alerts

XM platforms to choose from

Trading platform Score Available
Web 2.8 / 5 stars Yes
Mobile 3.8 / 5 stars Yes
Desktop 3.3 / 5 stars Yes

The MetaTrader suites are fully functional across all platforms: web, mobile, and desktop.

We recommend using MetaTrader 5 as it has a few more capabilities that MetaTrader 4 does not, such as the ability to trade stock CFDs.

The MetaTrader platforms are available in 35 languages.

Appearance

MetaTrader was designed many years ago, and while the functionality and customizability are industry standard, the appearance still feels like the 1990s.

xm-trading-platform

Login and security

Logging into the web trading platform requires two-factor authentication (2FA) for all account access. Surprisingly, neither MetaTrader 4 nor 5 provide the option for 2FA.

Search

Search in MetaTrader is reminiscent of the 1990s, and works well but is not intuitive in the days of high-power search functions overflowing with metadata.

Placing orders

MetaTrader performs all basic order types including:

  • Limit
  • Stop
  • Market

Order types are essential, be sure you understand them by reading this. (Link)

Orders can be controlled using time limits such as:

  • GTT (Good ’til time)
  • GTC (Good ’til canceled)

xm-placing-orders

Alerts and notifications

While not available on the web trading platform, alerts can be set in the desktop trading platform.

Portfolio and fee reports

Inside the “History” tab, you can find your portfolio and fee reports, including the commissions you paid and the profit-loss balance sheet. 

Mobile trading platform

The mobile version of MetaTrader 4 and 5 is excellent, well designed, and easy to use. However, more advanced forms of security (such as fingerprint scanners) are not supported.

Pros

  • Price alerts
  • Quality search
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • No order confirmation
  • Limited modern security

The mobile trading platform also supports many different languages (though on Android it is more complicated than on iOS).

Appearance

The mobile trading platform at XM is excellent and user friendly. 

xm-mobile-trading-platform

Login and security

With only single-factor login available, MetaTrader is slightly concerning. Also, the lack of Face ID or fingerprint scanners is inconvenient.

Search functions

The search functions on the mobile version of MetaTrader are better than on the web version. They are similar to modern searching paradigms you are familiar with.

Placing orders

MetaTrader mobile supports all the same order types and order times that the web platform supports.  

xm-placing-order

Alerts and notifications

MetaTrader mobile can show price alerts and other notifications, but only if they are set up on the desktop trading platform first. This is one area where the mobile app is too dependent on the desktop for support.

Desktop trading platform

All things considered, the desktop version of MetaTrader 4 and 5 is very similar to the web version with the important distinction of being able to:

  1. Have price alerts.
  2. Extensions for customizability

Pros

  • Price Alerts
  • Customizable
  • Clear fee report

Cons

  • Awkward search tools
  • Outdated “feel”

The web version of MetaTrader is essentially the same as the desktop version. One crucial difference is that the desktop version allows for notifications and price alerts. These notifications and alerts can be received on mobile or through email. 

xm-trading-platform

Markets and products

XM offers the ability to trade forex, CFDs, and cryptocurrencies. Some real stocks can also be traded by clients who are non-European. Mutual funds, ETFs, bonds, futures, and options are NOT available.

XM specializes in forex and CFD trading, and within those areas, it has a wide range of offerings available. 

Disclaimer: All trading involves risk. More than 80% of investors lose money in Forex and CFD trading. As these complex instruments allow for the use of leverage, there is a high risk of losing more money than you have deposited. Before attempting to participate in spread bets and CFDs, consider how well you understand them and if you can afford to lose your money. 

This article is only meant for educational and instructional purposes and should not be considered investment advice.

XM product selection

XM XTB eToro
Currency pairs (#) 57 49 47
Stock index CFDs (#) 18 42 13
Stock CFDs (#) 1,200 1,700 1,900
Commodity CFDs (#) 15 18 6
Cryptos (#) 5 25 17

It’s also valuable to remember that you are in control of the leverage levels at XM. Some brokers set the leverage amount for you, which can be risky. For example, if you’re concerned about the risk of a particular position, you can lower the leverage from 5:1 to 2:1. This will risk less money in case your bet doesn’t turn out. 

XM does have leverage “presets,” which are automatic levels of leverage placed by the system. If you like those levels, you can use them, but you should know that you can change them as needed.

Real stocks

Real stocks are only available to XM clients who do NOT live in Europe. Even then, those non-European clients must sign up for the special “Share” account. Real stock purchases are slow to execute.

Social trading

There is a social trading feature at XM. It’s called the “Mirror Trader,” and it allows you to select professional traders and copy their trades onto your accounts. This can also be done:

  • Manually – on a trade by trade basis
  • Semi automatically – choosing some trades manually and others automatically
  • Automatically – copy everything done by the selected traders.

Research

To support your trading endeavors, XM has a variety of technical analysis tools and a reliable economic calendar. However, there is no fundamental data.

Pros

  • User-friendly
  • Quality news
  • Trading ideas

The research tools available at XM come in two forms:

  • MetaTrader platform-tools
  • Website “Research and education” area

The research and education are high-quality if you choose English. The other available languages provide limited information.

Charting

The charting tools at XM are reliable, but not stellar. The 31 technical indicators are a plus.

Again, the outdated design makes some of the tools more difficult to use than they seem. 

Newsfeed

XM has a news feed that is well categorized and functional. Connected to that is the economic calendar providing a function for filtering countries, importance, and data type.

Customer service

Available through phone, email, and live chat, XM’s customer service is multi-lingual and fast. (Phone support is only available during the week.)

Pros

  • Fast response
  • Phone support
  • Live chat

Cons

  • Phone support is not 24/7

Customer support is quick and generally accurate. 

Live chat is quick the first time around but gets slower over time. Occasionally answers are not relevant to the questions asked (e.g. you might need to ask repeatedly to get the right answer).

Phone support was quick, but it’s important to remember that customer service representatives are generally not traders, so technical trading questions they will not be able to answer. 

xm-support

Education

The education offering at XM is top-notch. Most of the tools are available even to demo accounts where you can watch tutorials and webinars. 

Pros

  • Educational videos
  • Trading tutorials
  • Demo account

The majority of the education content at XM is video content. The topics range from beginner to advanced and include subjects like financial markets, technical analysis, and money management.

If you have questions you can’t find answers to, XM also holds regular Live trainings (both online and offline) that you can attend.

xm-educational-videos

Regulation

XM is well-established and well-regulated. This indicates that it is a safe broker. However, since it is not listed on any exchange, it does not have to reveal its financial information. This could be a concern for some, and there is reduced transparency.

Pros

  • Top tier regulation
  • Negative balance protection

Cons

  • Financial information not public

Is XM regulated?

Yes, XM is regulated by:

  • CySEC – Cypress Securities and Exchange Commission
  • ASIC – Australian Securities and Investments Commission
  • IFSC – International Financial Services Commission of Belize

Is XM safe?

No broker is “safe,” as all trading involves risk. 

However, XM protects you in several ways. Through its several subsidiaries, XM operates in several countries and many languages. The amount of investor protection offered to you by XM is directly linked to where you live.

XM legal entities

Country of clients Protection amount Regulator Legal entity
EEA countries* €20,000 Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) Trading Point of Financial Instruments Ltd.
Australia No protection Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Trading Point of Financial Instruments Pty Ltd.
All other countries No protection International Financial Services Commission of Belize (IFSC) XM Global Limited

The FCA further protects clients who can open an account with Trading.com (Financial Conduct Authority). The investor protection provided to them at this entity is up to £85,000.

XM also provides negative balance protection for both European and non-European clients. 

Conclusion

Trading Point Holdings is the parent company for XM and Trading.com. Between the three businesses, there are 4 different regulators involved, including the FCA. There is, however, a lack of transparency because none of the three companies disclose their financials. 

On the trading side, XM offers some of the lowest CFD and withdrawal fees available, and their account opening process is effortless. Beyond that, their educational tools are high-quality and valuable. 

Drawbacks at XM include limited product catalog, which only includes forex, CFDs, and cryptocurrencies (some stocks are available only in some countries and only under certain circumstances). The average-to-high forex fees and $5 monthly inactivity fee are also disappointing.

If you prefer the MetaTrader platforms and want to trade CFDs at a low price, XM could be the best choice on the market today.

Disclaimer: All trading involves risk. More than 80% of investors lose money in Forex and CFD trading. As these complex instruments allow for the use of leverage, there is a high risk of losing more money than you have deposited. Before attempting to participate in spread bets and CFDs, consider how well you understand them and if you can afford to lose your money. 

This article is only meant for educational and instructional purposes and should not be considered investment advice.

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