If you want to discover in a simple way what are the main costs that you can find in Forex and CFD trading, we show them to you through an analysis of the commissions of the XM broker.
XM is an online Forex and CFD broker. It is one of the best known online brokers in the industry. It was founded in 2009 and since then it has shown spectacular growth: more than 3.5 million users entrust their trading operations to XM. The broker has won numerous industry awards and accolades.
It is a broker with a global presence, operating in several countries. It is easy to open a trading account and start trading with XM. In addition, it has several secure payment methods for depositing and withdrawing funds (we will discuss XM’s commissions on deposits and withdrawals later).
What is XM?
XM is actually a trading name belonging to a group of international companies. For example in Europe the contracting company is called Trading Point Holding Ltd and is properly regulated. Being based in Cyprus, it is regulated by CySEC (Cyprus Securities Exchange Commission), registration number 120/10.
Furthermore, as it is regulated in a member country of the European Union, it has the corresponding passport to offer its services throughout the common territory. In this way, it is also supervised by such respectable bodies as the Financial Conduct Authority of the United Kingdom (FCA), the BaFin of Germany and the Spanish National Securities Market Commission (CNMV). As a broker offering its services worldwide, it is also regulated by the Australian Securities and Markets Authority (ASIC).
XM offers traders a range of more than 1,000 financial products to trade in the following markets:
- Stock indices.
- Commodities (including precious metals and energy products).
What does XM offer?
In addition to gaining access to all the markets listed, XM offers a range of services to make trading easier and more efficient:
- XM free demo account for unlimited time.
- Possibility to open an Islamic account (swap-free).
- Multiple trading platforms.
- Twice daily trading signals (issued by professionals).
- Market analysis.
- Interactive charts.
- Possibility of automatic trading.
- Allows scalping.
- Allows hedging strategies.
- Possibility of setting e-mail alerts.
- Possibility of setting trailing stops.
- Application available for mobile trading.
These would be the main features of the XM broker. We will now move on to analyse its commissions, which is the subject of this article.
We can divide XM’ s commissions (and those of any Forex and CFD broker in general) into two types:
- Operating commissions: these are the fees charged for trading on the financial markets. A broker’s activity is to offer access to the financial markets and obtains its fees in this way. Therefore, this type of commissions are the ones that have the greatest impact on trading.
- Extra-operational commissions: these are the commissions that the broker applies for the parallel services it offers, such as currency exchange, maintenance of the trading account, etc. They are sometimes reduced or eliminated by the broker as a result of its commercial offer.
NOTE: You have to keep in mind that the conditions detailed below may vary from one country to another, so they can serve as a guide, but in any case you should go to the broker’s website to consult the conditions that are in force in your case.
XM’s operating fees
The spread is the most characteristic commission in CFD trading. As a general rule, brokers use this commission format to obtain their fee for opening trades in the markets and not a fixed commission every time a trade order is executed (although there are exceptions, as we will see shortly).
Spread is defined as a spread. And that is precisely what it is all about: the difference between two prices.
When trading Forex or other financial instruments using CFDs, it is natural for the broker to show two prices for each financial instrument:
- Bid price: this is the offer price. In other words, it is the price at which the boker is willing to buy if the trader wants to sell.
- Ask price: in this case, it is the price at which the boker is willing to buy (the broker’s ask price). When the trader wants to buy a financial asset, this is the price at which the broker is willing to sell.
Example of Bid and Ask prices
To open a trading operation it is necessary to buy or sell, depending on whether the position is long or short. When opening a long position, you buy the asset (or the CFD on the asset) and then sell it to close it. Short positions are the reverse, i.e. you first sell the asset and then buy it back at a lower price to close the trade at a profit.
In short, the Ask price must always be assumed to buy and the Bid price to sell (the order depends on the direction of the position). Thus, the spread is always assumed and represents the cost of trading. It is usually charged to the trading account each time a position is opened. For this reason, all positions start in negative (the cost of the spread).
The spread is determined in quote points (in the Forex market they are called pips). The value of each pip is a function of the volume or size of the position.
Fixed spread and variable spread
The spread can be fixed or variable. A variable spread is one in which the difference between the Ask and Bid price for a given financial instrument changes depending on market conditions.
In contrast to the variable spread, there is the fixed spread. It is defined as a spread that remains constant. Although prices fluctuate in the financial markets, the spread for a given asset always remains the same.
While the variable spread is usually lower in normal circumstances, however, there may be extraordinary moments (such as in the case of the publication of a major economic news story) when the market becomes illiquid and the spread increases.
XM applies a variable spread. In any case, traders can choose to trade with a fixed spread with this broker. He only has to pay the additional premium for maintaining the spread (which is why the fixed spreads are higher).
Similarly, XM is a broker that does not offer requotes. This means that the price at which the CFD will be bought or sold is the price at which it is entered. The client receives the price that the broker’s system receives.
The average spreads offered by XM on the most liquid currency pairs, such as EUR/USD, are from 0.7 pips on Ultra Low Micro and Ultra Low Standard accounts. Relatively speaking, by industry standards, these are considered medium-low. You can see a comparison of brokers with lowest spreads here.
XM Zero Account Commissions
XM offers its clients a type of ECN account, in which the broker sends orders directly to the market and offers the best prices it obtains from its liquidity providers.
The main feature of this type of account is the drastic reduction of spreads, which can be as low as less than 1 pip, in exchange for a fixed commission of around $3.5 for trading a volume of $100,000.
This commission is charged when a trade is opened and takes into account the commission for the opening and closing order. In other words, it must be multiplied by two.
In the case of trading financial assets that are not denominated in US dollars, the calculations are made according to the existing exchange rate.
The average spreads of the Zero Account for certain Forex market instruments are as follows:
- EUR/USD: 0.1 pips.
- USD/JPY: 0.1 pips.
- EUR/JPY: 0.6 pips.
- GBP/USD: 0.4 pips.
The XM Zero Account comes with a number of other advantages, such as the possibility of obtaining a virtual private server (VPS) free of charge.
How to open a Zero Account with XM?
Like the other accounts available, Mirco and Standard, the XM Zero Account can be opened from the XM broker website. The process is quick, simple and fully digital. It can be opened in the following currencies:
It is possible to open this type of account even if you are an XM client, through the user area. Therefore, several types of accounts can be held simultaneously with this broker.
On the other hand, a minimum deposit of $100 or equivalent currency is required to open the XM Zero Account (for the other account types, only $5 or equivalent currency is required).
Swap commission, also called roll over or overnight premium, is a small fee that must be paid each day the position is open. It can therefore also be considered an operating fee, although in intraday trading (where positions are opened and closed within a trading day) it does not have to be paid.
Swap commission could be defined as the financial cost of the trading operation. Since trading in Forex and other instruments through CFDs involves leveraged trading, the swap would be the financial cost of obtaining these funds that multiply our available capital in our account.
In reality, when the trader opens a position, he only deposits a percentage of the amount as margin to withstand the losses that may occur if the market moves against him. However, the funds to open the full position are deposited by the broker itself
In Europe, the maximum leverage is limited by the financial authorities (ESMA). The maximum allowed is 1:30 for major currency pairs. Similar limits on the use of leverage also exist in Australia and other countries. Clients from other regions can trade with a higher leverage, as allowed by the broker itself if there is no restriction.
In any case, leverage is like a loan of money from the broker. This loan means that the broker cannot dispose of these funds, so it refinances the operation every day and the cost of this refinancing is what we call the swap commission (for this reason it is also called “roll over”).
The point is that when trading CFDs, there is no physical delivery of the securities (price differences are settled) and the positions are leveraged. Therefore, they must be closed at the end of the day.
They can be kept open if they are rolled over. But it means having to bear the daily interest (although, as we shall see shortly, this can be an income rather than a cost).
What are Islamic accounts?
Before going into more detail about the swap fee and its characteristics, it is worth noting that XM allows you to open so-called Islamic accounts. These types of accounts do not apply swap commission because charging interest is forbidden in the Islamic faith and, consequently, in its laws (Shariah Law).
Opening an Islamic account with XM is optional on any type of account available with this broker (Micro, Standard and XM Zero). Unlike other brokers, XM does not replace this commission with additional fees.
When is the Swap commission charged?
There are markets that are open 24 hours a day, such as Forex. However, a cut-off time is used to determine when the trading day ends and the next trading day begins.
The cut-off time is usually 17:00 according to US East Coast time (New York time). Likewise, the swap commission usually coincides with midnight according to some countries time. This is why the swap commission is also called the overnight premium.
All positions that remain open after this time are considered “overnight“, from one day to the next. Therefore, they must be rolled over and are subject to the swap commission.
For example, if you open a position at 21:59 (GMT) and close it at 22:01 (GMT), you will have to pay this financial cost. However, if a position is opened at 22:01 (GMT) and held open until 21:59 the following day, the position is considered to have been opened and closed within the same trading day (intraday transaction) and this fee will not apply.
On the other hand, weekends must also be taken into account. For this reason, one day the swap commission will be triple, as it takes into account the cost of keeping the position open on Saturday and Sunday.
You may think that the triple swap commission is applied on Fridays, however, as trades are usually settled on both days, XM (like other brokers in the sector) applies this commission on Wednesdays.
How is the swap commission calculated?
The swap commission is based on the overnight interest rate applied in the interbank market. The annual interest rate is divided by 365 days. This is how the daily interest is calculated.
For example, for an asset quoted in US dollars, you would be charged the interbank interest rate set by US banks for short-term loans, plus a small spread that XM may add for risk assumed.
However, this fee works differently in the case of trading in the Forex market. It may be a credit to the trading account rather than a debit.
When trading Forex, you trade in currency pairs (currencies are traded in pairs against each other). This involves an exchange of currencies: you buy one currency and sell another simultaneously
With CFDs it works the same way, if you buy the pair, you are supposed to buy the base currency (the first in the pair) and invest long: when the base currency appreciates or the counter currency (the second in the pair) depreciates, it appreciates.
The opposite is the case when the pair is sold to go short. In this case, if the base currency depreciates or the counter currency appreciates, the trader will make money because the pair depreciates in the market.
Be that as it may, every Forex trade involves two currencies, with one currency being long and the other currency in the pair being short. Therefore, when calculating the swap commission, the difference in the interbank interest rates of these two cur rencies is taken into account and the result can be in favour of the trader. In other words, it can result in a credit to your account.
There are currency trading strategies that are based on taking advantage of these interest rate differentials (carry trade).
Extra trading fees
Basically, XM’s fees for parallel services are non-existent (except for maintaining an inactive account). In any case, let’s review the most common ones and see the policies applied by the broker in this regard.
As is common in the industry, XM does not usually charge a fee for providing the trading platform, demo account, signals, alerts or market information services. This type of support is part of XM’ s commercial offering
Deposit and withdrawal fees
XM is characterised by the fact that there are no fees for depositing money into the account. In addition, withdrawals are instantaneous.
Withdrawals are also free with XM. This broker covers all costs. Even the trader can see how withdrawals by international bank transfer are exempt from bank fees if the withdrawal is more than 200 US dollars (or equivalent currency denomination).
Withdrawals by credit/debit card or e-wallets are covered in all cases and are free of charge. In other words, XM does not charge a fee and covers any fees that may be levied by the chosen payment method.
Currency exchange fees
When opening a trading account, a currency in which deposits are denominated must be established. The broker may charge a commission when deposits or withdrawals are made in another currency
However, XM does not charge any foreign exchange fees.
Inactivity fee in XM
With regard to account maintenance, XM does not charge an account maintenance fee as long as the account remains active.
Inactive accounts are defined as accounts that have not had any trading operations in the last 90 days. However, a trader may not trade but keep his account active if he performs any of the following tasks:
- Deposits or withdrawals.
- Internal transfers.
- Registration of additional trading account.
If no activity of any kind has taken place in the last three months, XM applies a monthly commission of $5
If the account balance is less than $5, the balance will be subtracted from the account. Similarly, there will be no charge if there is no balance in the trading account.
Throughout this article we have reviewed how XM’s fees are in line with industry standards. The operating costs are typical of what a trader has to deal with, however, XM has competitive fees
The Micro Account and the Standard Account have a number of relatively low operating fees built in. However, the XM Zero Account offers much more advantageous conditions for traders who intend to trade large volumes.
On the other hand, this broker lowers the non-operating commissions, even eliminating a large part of them. There are practically no additional costs for opening and maintaining the account active, as well as enjoying all its services.
Finally, there is one aspect that should not be overlooked: XM offers a free and unlimited demo account. The trader can test the conditions first hand without any risk thanks to this tool. You can open a demo account with XM for free here. You can also test their commissions and conditions on a real account without putting your money at risk thanks to this 30 USD No Deposit Bonus.
So much for our analysis of XM’s commissions and fees. If this information has been of interest to you, you can share it on your social networks to make it reach more users. On the other hand, we will be happy to answer any comments, doubts, experiences or additional information. You can leave your comments in the section below.
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