OANDA was established in the US in 1996 and has grown steadily ever since.
OANDA provides good access to financial markets, with Contract for Differences (CFD) in five asset classes.
With access to 71 currency pairs, 16 stock index CFDs, 23 metal CFDs, eight commodity CFDs and six CFD bonds, OANDA customers have a solid range of investment options from which to choose.
OANDA uses the well-known third-party trading platform MetaTrader4 (MT4) to support its main platform solutions for Web, desktop and mobile.
OANDA offers traders a choice of two different account types.
OANDA supplies quality, multilingual 24/5 customer support.
OANDA offers competitive spreads and commissions across its account types.
OANDA prides itself on providing unrivalled market analysis through several built-in technical tools.
Traders can access a powerful base of quality research and educational tools on the broker’s Website, supplemented by market news from third parties like TradingView, MarketPulse and MultiCharts.
The broker has clients from over 196 countries.
OANDA accepts US clients, though only for FOREX.
OANDA is the #2 FOREX broker in the US in terms of customer funds.
OANDA offers clients a stellar desktop trading experience and superior research amenities.
The broker consistently executes trades in 0.012 seconds via its V20 platform.
OANDA is regulated in the US by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), in Canada by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization (IIROC), in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in Australia by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and in Singapore by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). It is also regulated in Japan by the Financial Services Agency (FSA), and its affiliates in other European markets are regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA).
The broker was awarded “Most Popular Broker” and “Best FOREX and CFD Broker 2020” at the TradingView Broker Awards.
Moreover, it was awarded with the “Highest Mobile App Satisfaction and Third-Party Integrations” by the Investment Trends US FX Report 2020.
OANDA was established in the US in 1996. As an early mover in the online FOREX trading space, it has matured into a trusted and recognizable name on the global stage. The broker makes it clear on its landing page that it does “All things currency.” It backs up this claim with an impressive array of FOREX products for retail traders and B2B partners alike.
The company offers more FOREX-related services than your average broker. Besides providing retail FOREX investments, OANDA has developed a name for itself in the FOREX space by offering complementary B2B services, such as a powerful currency converter that is used by corporations and tax authorities, as well as a superior suite of FOREX data services that are highly trusted and facilitate, among other things, global FOREX payments.
In the world of investments, the company offers CFD trading in indices, FOREX, commodities, metals and bonds. It offers adequate market access, with 124 trading instruments available across several asset classes. Astute traders will recognize that this is a relatively small number of instruments compared to other brokers. The reason is that OANDA predominantly concentrates on FOREX, hence the small number of tradable instruments. Traders should know that not every instrument is available in every region the broker serves.
The broker offers two account types, the Standard Account, and the Premium Account. Both accounts are flexible enough to keep every level of trader satisfied. OANDA has worked on its trading execution speed to ensure that it executes trades as fast as markets change. It claims to have engineered its platforms to complete trades in a lightning quick 0.012 seconds.
OANDA is one of the few online brokers that offer services to US clients. It ranks as the second largest FOREX broker by a total quantum of funds in the US. Although its headquarters are in the US, it has several global affiliates. The broker has clients from over 196 countries.
The company is well regulated by top-tier regulators in many areas. In terms of fund protection, UK investors receive fund protection as mandated by the FCA. European Economic Area (EEA) customers will get the benefit of European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) mandated negative balance protection. Likewise, Canadian clients are covered by the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF), while qualifying Asian clients receive guaranteed stop-loss orders (GSLO). However, clients in the US do not have any such account protections.
OANDA boasts a well-designed Website that does justice to its range of retail investments and corporate services. The layout is easy to follow, and the functionality is of the highest order. There is a large client education section; and with multiple user interfaces, OANDA can claim to be in the top echelon of online FOREX brokers.
Who Is OANDA Good For?
OANDA is a serious player in the retail FOREX marketplace. Because of its long history in FOREX and its emphasis on this area as its specialty, it has purpose-built FOREX trading platforms and tools, along with competitive fees and spreads. It is an innovative player, with an extensive range of value-adding functions and calculators designed to push the boundaries of usability and experience.
OANDA offers FOREX services to institutional clients. This may not interest your average retail trader, but it might give them confidence that they are working with a large and trustworthy broker. OANDA is good for entry level and experienced traders alike. High-volume, seasoned traders will particularly enjoy knowing that they are at the front edge of developments in the FOREX trading space. In saying that, traders should know that the broker’s emphasis on FOREX means that its product basket is limited in other areas. Here are some key points to consider before engaging with this broker:
OANDA accepts US clients, making it one of the few global online FOREX brokers to do so. The broker is well-regulated by reputable entities. The company has placed extensive emphasis on developing useful tools and resources for traders. Examples of this are the Dow Jones FX Select news. It has also developed helpful calculators for retail clients and corporate partners alike. Through the company’s innovative analysis window with third-party TradingView, it can provide “an advanced financial visualization platform,” unlike anything seen with many of its rivals.
Its range of economic analysis, rolling newsreels, calculators, and market analysis, make it a market-leading firm. It boasts powerful product diversity with 71 currency pairs, 16 stock index CFDs, 23 metal CFDs, eight commodity CFDs, and six CFD bonds. As mentioned before, astute traders will notice that besides the strong FOREX offering, every other product area can improve.
Traders can choose to use the company’s proprietary desktop software, fxTrade, or an industry staple like MT4. The company is continually trying to improve its performance with innovations, such as direct chart trading. With intuitive chart trading, users don’t have to navigate between platforms and pages in order to initiate and finalize their positions directly from a chart. The broker has a no-minimum-account-size policy. This means that users can open accounts with as little as $1. Novice traders can use the handy demo account with an open-ended free trial.
US clients will feel the brunt of inadequate investor fund protection. They do not get negative balance protection like traders in many other jurisdictions. Therefore, US clients can end up owing money to the broker from negative account balances.
The broker also does not offer GSLO for US or UK clients. This continues in the broker's mold not going the extra mile to ensure client fund protection. In our view, this is where OANDA can improve. It is content to do the minimum and no more.
While the broker has a powerful FOREX offering, it does not offer individual stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETF), industry sectors or cryptocurrencies. This means it has a limited CFD offering of 55 items, which pales compared to some of its competitors.
Some reviewers have accused the broker of having a slow customer service desk. In a fluid and fast-paced market, this can be problematic for active traders hungry to stay in the game. While the broker’s educational resources are highly developed, users will have to access external pages to look at this content. This can slow the learning experience and bring into account safety questions from external pages.
Is OANDA Safe?
OANDA is a well-regulated company with a long trading history. The broker can be considered safe, but traders should know the detail behind this diagnosis. In the positive column, let’s start with the broker’s strong regulation. This is a big hurdle to overcome, and the broker must be commended for ensuring that it has qualified for and upheld its good status in all these regulations. Here is a list of its regulators:
US – CFTC.
Canada – IIROC.
UK – FCA.
Australia – ASIC.
Singapore – MAS.
Japan – FSA.
Other European markets – MFSA.
Traders should know that investor protections vary depending on where their account is held. It is always a good idea to study the terms and conditions of these entities. As far as additional protection goes, Canadian clients receive protection from the CIPF. In that same vein, EEA customers will get the benefit of negative balance protection as ordered by ESMA. Meanwhile, selected Asian clients receive GSLOs. However, as mentioned, clients in the US do not have any such account protections.
Our biggest criticism of this broker is that it has not attempted to enlist additional investor fund protections, especially for vulnerable markets. Many brokers voluntarily secure the services of third-party investor fund protections to give traders extra peace of mind. Broker insolvencies are unfortunately common, and traders need to carefully assess their trading strategies in relation to the protections they will receive from this broker. Many traders believe broker collapses will never affect them until it is too late.
Trading Account Information
Offering of Investments
OANDA’s primary focus is on FOREX. It is worth mentioning the scale and complexity of its services in this area to understand its commitment to this asset class especially. OANDA provides a uniquely powerful currency converter that allows companies across the globe to access real-time rates for all the major FX pairs. Companies will also get up to 25 years of historical exchange rates across 38,000 FOREX pairs. This service is aimed at major corporations, tax authorities, auditing firms, and individuals around the world.
OANDA’s FOREX data services offer a high-powered historical currency converter in tandem with the company’s highly-regarded corporate payments solutions. Its FOREX data is accurate and reliable, allowing fast, secure money transfers with providers around the world. The broker offers competitive fees for individual and corporate transfers.
Taking the size of its investment into FOREX services, it should come as no surprise that OANDA is a pre-eminent force in the FOREX broker space. As aforementioned, it provides 71 currency pairs to prove this, besides 16 stock index CFDs, 23 metal CFDs, eight commodity CFDs, and six CFD bonds. US resident traders should know that CFDs and precious metals are not available for trade in their country.
Elite traders will quickly realize that the broker does not offer individual stocks, ETFs, industry sectors, or cryptocurrencies. This makes the company’s overall product basket far less comprehensive than is possible.
Advantages of Trading
OANDA offers a Standard Account and a Premium Account that cater to traders of all experience levels. The broker markets these accounts as having “institution-grade execution, 24-hour support (subject to markets being open).” Elite traders will be disappointed by the lack of gifts and perks with which rival brokers often reward them. However, there is still much to like about both account types:
70 FOREX pairs.
Spread bet sub-account (UK clients).
Rapid execution (under one millisecond on V20 platform).
Minimum account balance of zero.
Fully automated execution.
Contract size as low as one unit.
OANDA trading performance analysis dashboard.
70 FOREX pairs.
Spread bet sub-account (UK clients).
Rapid execution (under one millisecond on V20 platform).
Dedicated account manager.
Unlimited free wire transfers.
Fully automated execution.
Contract size as low as one unit.
OANDA trading performance analysis dashboard.
Priority service queues.
The OANDA Demo Account is a value-adding feature that allows brokers to practice for an unlimited time. Using the fxTrade Demo Account feature, traders can trial their strategies and build their trading confidence for as long as they need to. Traders have access to the same volume indicators, currency heat maps, and back testing they would get with a live account.
Opening an account with this broker is fast and convenient. Users simply access the broker Website and click “Open account.” After reading and accepting all the broker’s terms and conditions, traders can move on to choose their account type, show their trading experience, and provide the standard documentation required to get approval.
Deposits and Withdrawals
The broker has imposed a zero minimum initial deposit. This means that traders with limited capital can also start a trading career. Moreover, the broker ensures that its minimum lot size is one unit of the base currency of the quote. Nano lots are also available.
OANDA does not charge deposit fees, but traders can be charged by their payment provider or bank when making deposits. Some carriers, such as PayPal, not only charge a service fee, but also a percentage of the deposit amount. Traders should be sure to investigate these charges before they start. Here are the deposit methods the broker allows:
Credit and debit cards.
Bank wire transfer.
SEPA credit transfer (SCT).
The broker’s withdrawal fees depend on the withdrawal method used. Credit and debit card users can make one free withdrawal per card per month. Third parties like PayPal may levy an exchange fee. There are other options available by location. For example, clients in China can use China UnionPay and Bpay. The broker’s Website is filled with helpful information about these fees, and traders should study the terms closely before they make a withdrawal. Here are the methods supported:
Credit and debit cards.
Bank wire transfer.
OANDA's customer support is available 24/7 via email. Live chat and phone support are available 24/5. The support Website has an extensive information hub with a searchable archive that should answer the most frequently asked questions (FAQ). If you get through to the support team by phone, multilingual services are available.
Commissions and Fees
OANDA has a competitive fee structure in every location in which it operates. As part of its commitment to keeping prices low, the broker uses an automated global system to monitor prices and spreads. The system responds to market volatility and liquidity levels. Volatile markets tend to open spreads. However, OANDA uses its extensive historical base of spread levels to convince traders it is not operating any hidden fees.
OANDA, as is normal, makes money from spreads. It offers two pricing tiers for this item, “spread only” and “core pricing and commission.” The first option creates revenue when client transactions reach the asking spread, and the second option offers tighter spreads by adding a basic commission of $50 per million to the raw spread.
The broker is transparent about its pricing, and it publishes detailed rate cards on its Website. The spreads will naturally vary, with a currency pair like the EUR/USD spread possibly having a “spread-only” of 1.2 pips, yet its “core pricing and commission” would have a raw spread of 0.3 pips plus commission.
US-based traders can join the “advanced trader program.” This three-tiered incentive system for high traders offers benefits like spread and commission discounts, getting a dedicated account manager, and free Virtual Private Serve (VPS) services, but it does not come cheap. To qualify for Tier 1, clients must deposit at least $20,000 or trade over $10 million monthly. To get into Tiers 2 and 3, traders must transact between $100-$500 million, and $500+ million, respectively.
The broker charges an inactivity fee on accounts with no trading activity for 12 months. The fee will not be charged if there is an open position, and the broker ensures that the fee will not result in a negative balance on the account as the fee stops when the account balance reaches zero.
Currency Conversion Fees
OANDA is transparent about these fees and includes detailed explanations of this and other fees on its Website. Any profit realized from a transaction between two currencies will attract an adjustment fee of 0.5% mark-up or mark-down to the midpoint price.
Spreads and Margins
OANDA offers competitive spreads across its range of CFD markets, including indices, FOREX, commodities, metals, and bonds. The broker takes security (otherwise known as margin) against any losses that you may incur when you trade using leverage.
Both margin rates and maximum leverage ratios vary depending upon the instrument traded, your location, and whether you have been categorized as a retail or professional client. Traders can visit the margin and leverage card on the broker Website for more details.
Maximum leverage is mandated by the regulators in each region, but traders can control their leverage levels within those parameters. Trading on the margin can increase earnings dramatically, but it can also magnify losses exponentially. However, with negative balance protection, traders cannot lose more than the funds in their accounts.
Traders are advised to use stop-loss orders smartly to reduce leverage losses. The broker indicates that while the margin and maximum leverage for retail clients is governed by regulators, it can establish margin rates and maximum leverage for professional traders. Users should visit the broker’s Margin Rates and Leverage Ratios for Professional Clients page.
Platforms and Tools
OANDA has created a range of innovative trading platforms for all levels of clients. Using MT4, the broker has created a custom-built bridge that combines OANDA’s pricing and execution with MT4’s charting and analysis. Users can take a position on the fully customizable MT4 platform from their desktop or download the MT4 app for mobile and tablet devices.
Selected geographies will trade using OANDA’s bespoke platform fxTrade, although this appears to be a legacy platform that is on the way out, as there was little information available about the platform for this review.
Powered by MT4, the OANDA trade Web platform allows users to trade CFDs on an intuitive interface with an exceptional range of technical analysis tools and a sophisticated charting package. Execution speeds will satisfy even the most demanding trader. Users can make use of this superior trading technology to keep track of changing market developments. Useful features include a snapshot of pending orders and a helpful view of current positions.
The platform features innovative trader analytics, such as a behavioral tracking feature that watches the trader and helps them identify their trading strengths and shortcomings. Other helpful analysis tools include an economic overlay, insightful position ratios, and a searchable news hub. Traders will receive the benefit of expert technical analysis based on an extensive range of historical signals and trends. Third-party service TradingView provides superior charting tools.
Traders can manage their trading exposure with a slate of risk management orders. These tools can help protect user trades when prices move negatively in volatile periods. Traders can view stop-loss order guides and tutorials to teach them how to manage their financial exposure.
A game-changing feature is the option to trade dynamically from chart views. This intuitive method allows traders to seize opportunities seamlessly as soon as they have identified them. Other powerful features include customizable watch lists, news alerts, expert opinions, and economic analysis from third party MarketPulse.
The broker goes to great lengths to provide traders with “a powerful and more dynamic trading experience.” They back this up by partnering with expert services, such as MultiCharts, CQG FX, and TradingView, to enhance the client trading experience. Its robust VPS function is run through leading partners, such as Liquidity Connect, BeeksFX, and Commercial Network Services (CNS).
The OANDA trade desktop platform carries on the broker’s commitment to innovation. In much the same way as the Web version, clients can trade directly from charts. They can analyze trends with powerful indicators from Advanced Chart.
The charting feature truly sets the broker apart. Traders can place trades, view them, and close the resulting orders directly from charts. Users can select from over 10 chart types. These come in a range of basic-to-advanced Renko and Kagi charts. Traders can also access over 50 drawing tools. These include useful illustrations, such as Pitchforks, Gann Fans, and Elliot Waves.
Traders can personalize the platform, depending on their preferences. Common approaches are to create multiple trading profiles and setting up trade defaults. Users can drag windows to create multiple screen views for better monitoring.
In keeping with OANDA’s emphasis on providing as much helpful information as possible, users can access real-time market news from select aggregators, such as Dow Jones and FX Select. The powerful economic calendar helps users identify trading opportunities.
This proprietary system shows evidence of clever design, and it has a comfortable user experience. However, it is dated in appearance, making some functions cumbersome to reach. Still, traders can trade complex order types like buy and sell, and they can also activate trailing stops.
The account analytics are adequate, and the charting comes courtesy of MultiCharts, which provides advanced styles and insightful displays. Traders will get watch lists, automated news alerts, and high-level analysis. However, these external signals open in separate browser pages. Overall, the platform fits well within the stable of the OANA.com platforms, even though it lags the ultra-modern bespoke MT4 version the broker also offers.
The OANDA mobile app is available for Android and iPhone users. Traders can trade on the full selection of CFD markets. Once again, charting functionality is of the highest quality, even on the mobile app. With many technical indicators and tools, traders are just as informed while they are on the go as they would be when trading from an office.
Many of the best features of the Desktop and Web versions remain intact. Traders can just as easily access historical quotes and expert opinions. The platform is well-designed and provides the sleek interface that modern traders require. In another helpful feature, news alerts, economic calendars, and financial announcements are all available easily from the app.
Research and Development
OANDA offers an array of premium market analysis, rolling news alerts, and advanced data analytics. The broker’s “order book” shines a light on trader impulses and behavior with the goal of teaching them how to avoid common biases.
Using third parties like MarketPulse, Autochartist, and Dow Jones news, the broker gives traders a deep and comprehensive analytical base from which to work. The broker also provides a pattern-matching engine and a thorough historical analysis of volatility in markets and its impact on trades. Using all this information, experienced traders can plan, test and strengthen their trading strategies actively.
One negative of all this information is that it can be overwhelming. In our review, there is so much information available that it could form the basis of a meaty trading course. We must ask who really has the time to devote to getting on top of all the material? Also, with such a deluge of resources, it can be difficult for traders to create a learning journey that has a defined start and finish.
It comes as no surprise that this section is filled with information, too. There are a plethora of educational videos and articles for new and experienced investors alike. Traders will access live Webinars that cover handy topics such as “Getting started in trading.” The level of complexity goes to Webinars on “Fibonacci retracements and clusters.”
The Website includes material on market analysis, tools on how to maximize the platform experience, economic analysis, and a useful question-and-answer section. However, if you spend enough time on the Website, you will notice that some information is outdated, and you are sometimes routed to external resources. In fact, not all the information is centrally located as there is so much of it. The broker has also tried to get the information to appear natively in its trading apps and platforms, which is why it might seem as if the information is not well structured.
The biggest shortfall, as with the research section, is the lack of a clear pathway with a defined start and end point. It can be disconcerting to learn a new topic without knowing if it is a foundational topic or simply nice to know.
In our assessment, OANDA is deservedly a powerful player in the FOREX market. The broker is well-known, and its tools and services are well-regarded for good reason. It is regulated in key markets, even if it lacks something in the way of voluntary investor fund protection.
At the same time, the broker has strong market access that favors FOREX in a big way. Traders can use MT4-enabled platforms that have rich functionality, and that are loaded with helpful analysis, graphics and charts.
The broker’s chosen platform, based on MT4, is sleek, modern and intuitive. It contains several key plugins to enhance the trading experience. Users get access to a wide range of trading signals, market analysis and helpful features, such as in-chart trading.
With a competitive range of spreads and fees, the broker is an excellent option for traders interested in an outstanding FOREX partner. OANDA’s market access is slanted toward FOREX, and the broker does not shy away from this. Traders looking for more asset class diversity might think twice before engaging with this broker.
The research section is comprehensive, but it could be better laid out. The same goes for the educational material, which is overwhelming and can be difficult to track. None of this should take away from what the broker has done in this area, which is to curate a research and educational section that will be hard to match by its rivals.
All in all, there is a lot to like about OANDA. With so much choice in today’s broker landscape, traders must decide upfront whether they will be happy to concentrate as heavily on FOREX as this broker does.
If they make the decision that this broker is for them, then they will find a long-established, well-regulated broker that is always trying to improve the success rate and trading experience of its clients. With intuitive and immersive platforms, vast amounts of insightful market analysis and advice signals, traders will find a home here.
Fees are competitive, and the broker strives to improve everything in its stable from execution speeds, platform robustness, fee competitiveness, and research capabilities. OANDA is a FOREX broker that is determined to keep improving.
OANDA in Brief
OANDA is a powerful player in the FOREX market. Its retail offering is strong and dependable, backed by progressive research and educational sections. The broker has spared no effort at creating a rich and immersive trading environment with its leading platforms. Traders interested in a strong FOREX partner will not go wrong with this broker.
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:
1. Companies’ Websites.
2. Other Websites that have ranked FOREX companies.
3. 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:
1. Registering with FOREX companies as a secret shopper and/or as Arincen.
2. 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 to 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?
OANDA is well-regulated by three tier-1 regulators (high trust). These are: the CFTC in the US, the UK’s FCA, and the ASIC in Australia. It is also regulated by the MAS in Singapore, Japan’s FSA and the IIROC in Canada.
In what other ways does this broker protect me?
Canadian clients receive investor fund protection from the CIPF. In the same vein, EEA customers will get the benefit of Negative Balance Protection as ordered by the ESMA. Meanwhile, selected Asian clients receive GSLOs. As a signatory to the FSCS, qualifying traders are covered for £85,000 in the case of broker insolvency.
Which countries does this broker serve?
The broker has clients from over 196 countries, including the US.
Does this broker offer Cryptocurrency trading?
Traders cannot access cryptocurrencies with this broker.
Does this broker provide any extra offerings?
OANDA does not offer any bonuses at the sign-up stage. However, regular traders are incentivized with reduced fees for high trading volumes. Traders are advised to check the qualifying requirements.
How do I fund my account?
Here are the deposit and withdrawal methods this broker allows: credit and debit cards, PayPal, Internet banking, bank wire transfer and SEPA credit transfer.
Which trading platforms does this broker offer?
OANDA offers a bespoke version of MT4. Selected geographies will trade using OANDA’s bespoke platform fxTrade.
How can I access customer service?
OANDA's customer support is available 24/7 via email. Live chat and phone support are available 24/5. The support Website has an extensive information hub with a searchable archive that should answer the most FAQs.