· Founded in 2002 as Poland's first-ever leveraged FOREX brokerage house, XTB had a market capitalization of $546 million as of September 2020 and serves more than 200,000 clients worldwide.
· XTB is regulated by several financial authorities worldwide, most notably the top-tier UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
· XTB is considered low risk; it is a publicly traded company authorized by one high trust (tier-1) regulator, one average trust (tier-2) regulator, and one low trust (tier-3) regulator.
· XTB is a strong choice for traders who want to minimize their costs.
· Deposits and withdrawals are fast and mostly free, and multiple options are available, including credit cards, debit cards, Paysafe, Skrill, Neteller and electronic wallets. Account opening is also rapid and user friendly.
· XTB offers three different account types: Standard Account, Pro version and an Islamic Account.
· xStation 5, the native trading platform offered by XTB, is impressive. The broker also offers MetaTrader4 (MT4).
· Relative to research, XTB competes among the tops in the industry, thanks to high-quality analysis from both its in-house staff and third-party providers.
· Overall, XTB's education offering is striking because of its extensive library of written content and video materials. There are no live Webinars currently, however, although archived recordings are available.
· The mobile version of xStation 5 includes most of the functionality available in the desktop application, other than the ability to set price alerts.
Established in 2002 as Poland's first leveraged FOREX brokerage house, X-Trade transformed into X-Trade Brokers in 2004 to comply with new Polish regulations. It rebranded to XTB Online Trading (XTB) in 2009 and went public, listing on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) in 2016 under the ticker symbol XTB. The company has a market capitalization of $546 million as of September 2020, and serves more than 200,000 clients.
The Polish brokerage firm is regulated by several financial authorities worldwide, including the top-tier UK FCA. As with many FOREX brokers, XTB does not accept US traders. In addition, given that XTB is listed on the WSE, it is required to disclose its financials periodically. XTB is considered very safe because it has a long track record, is listed on an international stock exchange, and publishes its financial statements transparently.
XTB's flagship platform is a Web-based offering, xStation 5. This, coupled with the universal MT4 downloadable platform and a functional mobile application makes up XTB's entire online offering to traders.
While secondary costs are on par with industry standards, our reviewers found XTB's consistently lower spreads hard to ignore as they clearly separated it from the competition. Arincen's ranking algorithm factored this in when recognizing XTB's appeal to cost-conscious traders.
Meanwhile, the deposit and withdrawal processes are fast and mostly free. We also liked the seamless and hassle-free account-opening process.
XTB distinguishes itself from other FOREX brokers by way of three principal aspects:
The power of its xStation 5 platform.
The level and depth of educational and analytical material designed to meet the needs of all traders.
The open-door policy that includes a high level of support from its client-support team.
XTB offers free educational materials to clients to help them learn how to trade. It also offers multiple packages, like a Trader’s Library, Day Trading Guide, and how to trade during important world events, that may impact the markets from its online Trading Academy (which is accessible from both the Website and the platform).
Notwithstanding the fact that real stock and ETF trading is available in some European countries, XTB suffers from some important weaknesses. For example, stock CFD fees are relatively high, and the product range is mainly limited to FOREX and CFDs. At the same time, fundamental data offered by XTB covers only a few basics, such as P/E.
Is XTB Safe?
Yes, as noted earlier, XTB is considered safe. It is a publicly traded company that is authorized by one high trust regulator (tier-1), one average trust regulator (tier-2), and one low trust regulator (tier-3).
XTB UK is regulated by the FCA under license #52215, while XTB Europe is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) under license #169/12 as of 2018. XTB International, meanwhile, is regulated by the Belize International Financial Services Commission (IFSC) under license #IFSC/60/413/TS/19. X-Trade Brokers DM SA is authorized by the Polish Securities and Exchange Commission under license #DDM-M-4021-57-1/2005 and is overseen by the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (Komisja Nadzoru Finansowego). Likewise, XTB Spain is regulated by the Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores under license #40, while XTB South Africa is still awaiting license approval as of the writing of this review.
XTB UK offers its clients protection through the UK’s FCA. Among other things, XTB has to keep funds of its clients in separate accounts from the company’s funds. Client funds are protected up to £85,000 through the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), in case of XTB’s insolvency.
Because this broker is a publicly listed company, it adheres to strict capital requirements and external audits, adding an essential layer of security. Client deposits remain fully segregated from corporate funds at all subsidiaries. XTB is a trustworthy broker, but the protection of client deposits exists only at the UK and Cyprus entities.
Extra protection for the IFSC-regulated broker is unavailable, and XTB fails to disclose its external auditors or custodian banks, although both are in place per regulatory stipulations.
XTB offers negative-balance protection, which is mandated under European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) rules that came into effect in 2018, but no guaranteed stop-loss orders (GSLO). Although XTB does not have two-factor authentication (2FA), it does offer biometric authentication for its mobile application and requires that passwords include strong features like upper/lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
Who Is XTB Recommended For?
XTB is a solid selection for traders who want to minimize their costs, whether it be the inherent cost of placing a trade (bid/ask spread) or not having to be burdened with extraneous charges such as wire fees. XTB offers maximum leverage of up to 1:500 for non-UK accounts, while UK accounts get up to 1:30 leverage.
XTB advertises minimum FOREX spreads of 0.5 and no commission for its Standard Accounts. For a Pro Account, with commission, the comparable figure stands at 0.1. These are among the best in the retail FOREX brokerage industry. Deposits and withdrawals are rapid and mostly free, with multiple funding options available, including credit/debit cards and electronic wallets. Account opening is also fast and user-friendly.
As noted, XTB is regulated by the FCA, which is an important regulatory agency in the UK and is highly regarded globally for being strict in ensuring that market practices are fair for both individuals and businesses.
XTB offers negative balance protection, which has become an important feature that most online FOREX brokers need to make available. Triggering this requirement probably was the SNB event of January 15, 2015, that rattled the markets, especially the highly leveraged retail FOREX market.
XTB places a priority on customer service, which includes 24/5 telephone support with a dedicated account manager and a live-chat facility. The capability to readily contact a broker is crucial for anyone engaged in the arena of online trading.
As for the cons, XTB does not accept US clients due to regulatory constraints, but the fact that the company is regulated by the UK’s FCA is comforting in this regard.
Another con is that XTB charges commissions for both cryptocurrency (Pro) and stock CFD (Standard and Pro) transactions. This is not advantageous to the client.
XTB does not offer GSLO, making it one of the few prominent FOREX brokers not to do so. GSLOs protect the trader from market gap risk and many brokers are willing to offer it (for an additional charge) and accept the risk themselves.
Finally, XTB's xStation 5 is not equipped with back testing or automated trading capabilities, leaving MT4 as the only alternative for algorithmic traders.
Trading Account Information
Offering of Investments
While more than 2,000 assets are available, FOREX traders are limited to just 57 pairs. Though this is not the highest number of pairs offered by a FOREX broker Arincen has reviewed, it should be more than adequate for most traders.
With 22 commodities and 25 cryptocurrencies, diversification opportunities are still above average. Equity traders have a wide selection of 1,808 CFDs, complemented by 42 index CFDs and 117 ETFs. XTB is an excellent choice for equity traders and asset managers with a preference for equity trading and well-sourced, cross-asset diversification opportunities.
The broker’s range of offerings may be considered lacking with its lack of spread-betting instruments. While XTB offers a maximum leverage of up to 1:500 for non-UK accounts, for accounts within the UK, the leverage stands at a much smaller 1:30.
Deposits and Withdrawals
XTB accepts bank wires, credit and debit cards, Paysafe, Skrill, Neteller and SafetyPay. Regional options may be available in select geographical locations. Indeed, your country of residence determines which electronic wallets are available for you.
For example, deposits via Sofort are available for German customers only. A bank transfer can take several business days, while payment with credit and debit cards and e-wallets is instant. You can deposit money from sources that are in your name only.
Although deposits via bank wire and credit and debit cards do not incur a fee, e-wallet deposits bear a charge of up to 2% of the deposit amount. Withdrawal charges also apply, both from XTB and payment providers, and are processed within 24 hours.
XTB's account base currency selection includes the USD, EUR and GBP. Further, HUF and PLN accounts are also available. This selection of account base currencies is average compared to similar brokers.
XTB charges no withdrawal fees if the amount is above $100, and the only way to withdraw money is by bank transfer. However, if you withdraw an amount below the threshold, XTB charges a relatively high fee. Bank transfer withdrawals take one business day. If you initiate the withdrawal before 1 pm GMT, it will arrive on the same day. Otherwise, it arrives on the next working day.
Advantages of Trading
An experienced customer service team works 24 hours a day, five days a week, and is available through phone, email and live chat. Further, clients are assigned an account manager to assist with any account-related matters. XTB support is available in the following languages: Czech, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Spanish, Slovak, Turkish, Vietnamese, Thai and Arabic.
Commissions and Fees
Fees and commissions depend on the type of service and type of account you want to use. For example, XTB’s FOREX or index-trading with the Pro Account offers very competitive spreads. But, the ETF trading and equity trading commission can be costlier than other brokers.
While this broker advertises a minimum mark-up of just 0.1 pips, the Website indicates a 1.0 pip difference between the bid and ask price, which is a large discrepancy. Per the account information, the commission-free version begins with a minimum spread of 0.5 pips and the commission-based version with 0.01 pips for a fee of $3.5 per lot. Equity and ETF CFDs face a 0.08% commission with a minimum of $8 or a currency equivalent.
Swap rates on leveraged overnight positions apply, and XTB passes all such corporate actions as dividends, splits and mergers onto impacted portfolios. Deposits via e-wallets incur a minimum fee of 2%, while withdrawals from the cash account that are below $50 bear an extra cost of $30. Third-party charges may also apply. An inactivity fee of €10 (or currency equivalent) per month after a year of dormancy may apply. Scalping is allowed, but scalpers must determine if the spreads are tight enough to make the process profitable.
XTB offers three distinct account types. A commission on equity CFDs and ETFs applies in all three, and the maximum leverage is 1:500 (for non-UK accounts). The Standard Account is a commission-free FOREX, commodities and indices option, with an advertised minimum spread of 0.5 pips. The Pro version Account commences from 0.1 pips with a commission of $3.5 per lot. A 0.08% cost with a minimum of $8 or a currency equivalent applies for equity CFDs and ETFs, except for Polish equities, where it is 0.25% and PLN25.
The third type of account, the Islamic Account, is a swap-free alternative with a minimum mark-up of 0.7 pips and a fixed-commission of $10 or a currency equivalent for equity CFDs and ETFs. FOREX, commodities and indices face a $10 per lot charge, and cryptocurrencies face a charge of $4 per predetermined volume. Note that the MT4 account spreads are slightly higher than when using XTB's flagship platform, xStation 5.
With minimum deposits at XTB starting at 250 per base currency (i.e., £250, €250 or $250), the Pro Account is similarly priced to the Standard Account when trading higher volumes. By contrast, for smaller amounts, the Standard Account appears cheaper.
XTB's account-opening process is fully digital, fast and straightforward. Completing the forms and submitting all the documents required around 30 minutes. Once you are done, your account can be verified within a day. The five steps of XTB account opening are as follows:
Enter your email address and country of residence.
Add some personal information, like your date of birth and address.
Select the trading platform, account type and account base currency.
Answer questions about your employment status, financial status and trading experience.
Activate your account by verifying your identity and residency.
Some European clients can verify their identity via video, which is a handy feature. However, if that option is not possible, traders must upload a photo or scanned copy of their photo ID, passport or driver's license. Utility bills and bank statements are accepted as proof of residence.
XTB does not have a minimum deposit requirement for customers desiring to open a live account. However, logic dictates that this amount will be subject to the margin requirements of the smallest trade size that the customer wishes to place. International clients with high account balances are eligible for cashback rebates and welcome bonuses, while high-volume UK clients are offered lower spreads.
Platforms and Tools
XTB’s proprietary trading platform is imposing. xStation 5 was voted “Best Trading Platform 2016” by the Online Personal Wealth Awards and offers reliable, instant execution (at an average of 85 milliseconds) with no re-quotes.
It features a free-market audio commentary – typically a paid service with other brokers – as well as an advanced trading calculator that instantly determines every aspect of your trade. It also has a comprehensive video tutorial section, a stocks screener, sentiment heatmaps, and real-time performance stats that break down your trading behavior, showing you where your strengths and weaknesses are as a trader. xStation 5 is available across desktop, tablet, mobile, and even your smartwatch, and has a variety of innovative technical tools to help you with your trading. Regrettably, it does not support automated trading, which is where MT4 really excels.
Trading tool highlights include heat mapping (view top movers by color), a versatile stock screener, and sentiment analysis that shows the percentage of XTB clients that are long or short per instrument.
Beyond its modern and responsive design, several unique features help xStation 5 stand out. For example, charts include a countdown timer showing the remaining time left in each candlestick. Other examples unique features include economic news releases appearing along the bottom axis within charts, providing traders insights during important economic events. In total, 29 drawing tools and 37 technical indicators are available.
A key innovative feature in xStation 5 is the new “investment basket” tool, which allows traders to create a thematic basket of various symbols, and then place a single order to execute them all in one click. The custom baskets can contain both long and short positions, making it quite useful for trading more sophisticated strategies.
xStation 5 has three basic order types with the option of attaching "take profit" and/or "stop-loss" orders to them. Additionally, the trader can choose to make the regular stop-loss a trailing stop-loss prior to or after execution of a trade.
- Market – The simplest order, where a trader signals that their trade request should be executed at the prevailing market rate.
- Limit – A pending order, where the entry is at a predetermined point below or above the prevailing market rate, depending on whether it is a buy or sell. The trader also may opt to select the expiration time of this order.
- Stop – A pending order, where the entry is at a predetermined point above or below the prevailing market rate, depending on whether it is a buy or sell. The trader also may opt to select the expiration time of this order.
Placing a trade on xStation 5 is simple and intuitive. The order ticket is limited to originating basic market and pending orders with provisions for “stop-loss” and “take-profit” orders. The trader also has the option of making the stop-loss a trailing stop-loss, should they wish to do so. XTB does not provide a trading journal nor tax-accounting tools on the platform. The client chooses the trade size, and the order ticket populates with such pertinent information as the contract value (in either EUR or GBP), margin required (GBP), spread cost, commission (if any), pip value, and swap costs. Unlike some competitors' platforms, xStation 5 does not have a built-in tool for analyzing trading activity.
The MT4 trading platform available is the most basic version, which is not unusual for brokers that have developed a proprietary alternative. Since xStation 5 does not support automated trading, MT4 is the only alternative (MT5 is not offered). Automated trading aside, given that MT4 is slightly more costly, due to higher spreads, xStation 5 should be the preferred choice at XTB.
The mobile version of xStation 5 includes most of the functionality and features available in the desktop application. However, this excludes the ability to set price alerts. Traders can access XTB's trading instruments, complex order types, account details and charting from the Android or iPhone apps. A streaming news feed is also available on the mobile application.
XTB does not offer social trading, money-manager accounts, or a free Virtual Private Server (VPS) service. However, there are a few unique offerings worthy of a second look by some traders. The inclusion of "market sentiment," "top movers," "stock scanner" and "heat map" tools is impressive.
XTB does not offer ready-made products for back-testing, though clients can create their own back-testing applications because XTB offers an open API both for MT4 and xStation 5. XTB uses smart-order routing for equities and equity CFDs. However, XTB does not act as a direct member of any exchange, as it executes all trades via a third-party broker.
Research and Development
XTB rivals the best in the industry in high-quality analysis from both its in-house staff and third-party providers.
While Trading Central and Autochartist are not available, XTB makes up for their absence by offering exclusive strategies as part of its Premium Research service. Beyond streaming headlines from top-tier news providers, an economic calendar, market sentiment and other platform tools for research, XTB provides written articles from its staff and video content on YouTube.
Boosting its ranking as a multi-asset broker in this category, XTB provides a stock screener allowing traders to filter necessary fields to sort through more than 1,700 tradable single-stock CFDs and cash equities. This screener can be a useful research tool for scanning symbols to trade. Also, trading signals are included within the news panel with price analyses from Thomson Reuters, Barclays and CitiGroup, among others.
While XTB lacks a variety of daily market updates when it comes to its English video content on YouTube, such other supported languages as Polish, German and Italian produce daily video updates more actively.
XTB provides frequent market commentary and trading ideas in its “Market News” section. Traders receive multiple updates throughout the trading day, which may be brief fundamental summaries, technical trading alerts, the Trade of the Day and the Crypto Newsletter. While some content is text-only, the remainder includes charts and trading ideas. Most articles are free for all traders, but selected pieces will require a registered XTB account.
New traders have a well-structured Trading Academy where five subjects introduce the ABCs of trading, together with more advanced topics. Meanwhile, the MT4 Tutorial and the xStation 5 Tutorial cover the trading platforms available at XTB and consist of seven and 15 lessons, respectively.
Although the introduction to CFDs consists of only two lessons, the Fundamental Analysis consists of 10 modules and the Introduction to FOREX has just one lesson. Some lessons can be as long as 20 minutes, which is enough time to fully cover the topic without overwhelming traders. The lessons consist of a video and quality written content, charts and examples. Navigation among topics is rather simple, with a user-friendly design. The XTB Trading Academy, consisting of 35 lessons, represents a hidden gem and is a must-read for new traders.
Overall, XTB's education offering is very impressive, primarily because of its extensive written content and video materials. The only drawback is the current lack of live Webinars, although archived recordings are available.
XTB offers a wide range of educational materials to its clients. It offers educational videos, along with a “Trading Academy” section. The online Academy is divided into four categories: Basic, Intermediate, Expert and Premium. XTB also offers a free trading library download, which is ideal for beginners. The topics of fundamental and technical analysis are covered under the intermediate section. Further, live Webinars are frequently hosted on the site.
Final Thoughts on XTB
XTB offers current and prospective clients many of the tools that are needed to be successful in the online trading arena. What it does better than other firms is offer customers some of the lowest FOREX spread costs in the industry. The costs (made up of spreads plus commissions) for the other product offerings are more in line with the industry norm. xStation 5 is intuitive and functional, and certain unique features heighten its appeal to all types of traders.
Meanwhile, being FCA-regulated lends it credibility while negative-balance protection gives clients much-needed peace of mind. The quality of customer service is above average, and the education catalog is adequate.
MT4 offers EAs, back-testing and auto-trading for the more technologically advanced trader. Overall, XTB is best suited for cost-conscious clients wishing to engage in trading the retail FOREX markets.
Established in 2002, XTB is publicly traded and regulated in one tier-1 jurisdiction, making it a safe broker (low-risk) for trading FOREX and CFDs. With over 2,000 assets across six categories, new retail traders and professional asset managers alike will benefit from trading opportunities and diversification possibilities. Automated traders have the familiarity of the MT4 trading platform, while manual traders will find a superior out-of-the-box solution in the XTB proprietary xStation5. Those interested should inquire about the asset selection available at MT4, as it appears to be less than at xStation5, where XTB notes more than 4,000 instruments.
XTB in Brief
What distinguishes XTB is the fact that it offers some of the best customer experience among all the companies we have surveyed. It boasts the fastest response rate of all the companies under investigation. This is especially relevant, since the market is always on-the-go, and you need to act fast. XTB offers lots of asset classes, as well as the ability to use the MT4 trading platform. Finally, it maintains a relatively low spread, which is suitable for quick deals.
The team at Arincen collected more than 120 pieces of data covering in excess of 100 licensed FOREX companies. Data collection was done in three ways:
Other Websites that have ranked FOREX companies.
A survey questionnaire (referred to here as Survey “1”) we had sent to the companies invited to participate in the exercise.
We have identified 12 criteria for our assessment, each containing several aspects and carrying its own relative weight. These include licensing, deposits and withdrawals, number of assets etc.
Afterward we validated the data by:
Registering with FOREX companies as a secret shopper and/or as Arincen.
Survey number “2,” in which we asked these companies’ customers for important feedback and past experience.
The next step saw us evaluate and rank each company, relying on the hard work of 15 Arincen employees. We were very careful in ensuring the most accurate assessment possible, including taking into account different languages, as well as the various mobile-app operating systems, e.g., Apple, Samsung etc.
To add credibility to our research project, we sent a final and third survey (referred to here as Survey “3”) to enable participating FOREX companies evaluate our own research and whether it accurately reflects the realities on the ground. We were fortunate enough to receive a mark of 9.9 out of 10! We have kept to a minimum the margin of error, which stood at a measly 1%.
Where is this broker regulated?
XTB is authorized by two tier-1 regulators (high trust), one tier-2 regulator (average trust), and one tier-3 regulator (low trust). The two tier-1 regulators are the FCA in the UK and the CySEC in Cyprus.
In what other ways does this broker protect me?
XTB has to keep the funds of its clients in separate accounts from the company’s funds. Client funds are protected up to £85,000 through the FSCS, in case of XTB’s insolvency. As well, XTB offers Negative Balance Protection, which is mandated under ESMA rules. However, it does not offer GSLO order types.
Which countries does this broker serve?
XTB has a global outlook and accepts customers from as many countries as it can. However, due to regulatory hurdles, it cannot offer services to as many as 20 countries, including several key markets, such as the US, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Israel, Singapore and Belgium.
Does this broker offer Cryptocurrency trading?
Yes, the broker offers trading access to as many as 25 cryptocurrencies.
Does this broker provide any extra offerings?
XTB offers a “Welcome Bonus” that amounts to 50% of a trader’s first deposit being added to their account if they trade a minimum number of lots (15% of their first deposit amount) within 60 days of account opening. This is only open to non-UK/EU/MENA clients.
How do I fund my account?
XTB accepts bank wires, credit and debit cards, Skrill, Neteller, Paysafe and SafetyPay. Deposits via Sofort are enabled, but only for German customers.
Which trading platforms does this broker offer?
XTB offers access to its proprietary trading platform, xStation 5. The broker also offers access to MT4.
How can I access customer service?
An experienced customer service team works 24 hours a day, five days a week and is available through phone, email and live chat.