IG was established as a UK company way back in 1974 and today is one of the biggest CFD brokers in the world. IG is listed on the London Stock Exchange, discloses its finances accordingly and is authorised by multiple top tier regulators, including the Financial Conduct Authority.
IG themselves claim to be the World’s No. 1 for CFD trading and spread betting, and boast having an easy-to-use platform. We wanted to see for ourselves, and pass our findings onto you, which is why we’ve tested the platform and created this IG review, with particular focus on IG bitcoin and crypto trading.
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IG clients have the choice of two trading platforms to use; MT4, a third party platform that’s well trusted and used by multiple brokers throughout the world, and their own award winning platform. For the purposes of this IG review, we’ve taken a look at their own platform.
The IG platform is geniously designed and is easily customisable b y the user to suit their needs. The look and feel are both simple and effective, and the white background is lighter and easier on the eye than the dark or back interfaces that have become commonplace on many other brokers’ platforms.
In terms of security, there’s a two step login process which requires the user to download the IG Authentication app onto a mobile or tablet device to be completed. It’s a little bit of a pain, but it’s safe, secure and private.
IG’s mobile trading app is a fairly sound and well functioning platform, and in this IG review, we feel the developers have done well to bring their excellent web platform to the small screen. The app works well and does everything you’re likely to need with all features easy enough to find, however the overall design isn’t on par with the web platform. We also provide you with a general overview of the best apps on the market.
In this part of our IG review, we turn our attention to their deposit and withdrawal payment methods. IG offers all of the deposit options you’d expert from a reputable broker; credit/debit cards, bank transfers and eWallets, including PayPal. In terms of currencies, IG offers an impressive, but not astounding 6 account base currencies; USD, GBP, AUD, EUR, SGD and HKD.
The standout point in this section of our IG review is that there are no deposit nor withdrawal fees, we dug deep, and there doesn’t appear to be any hidden fees either. While credit/debit card and PayPal payments are processed instantly, bank transfers can take upto several business days, so we’d strongly recommend avoiding this deposit method if you possibly can. Withdrawals can be made with their credit/debit cards or via bank transfer but not with PayPal or any other eWallets.
Customer support is provided to IG customers via 3 main channels; email, live chat and phone line. While their overall customer services levels are satisfactory, this is perhaps the lowest rated section of this IG review.
To start off on a big positive note, is that their phone customer service has a greater availability than most of their competitors. IG’s help team is available almost 24/7, closing for just 10 hours from 10pm Friday to 8pm Saturday. One big pitfall however, is that their connection and response times were quite long in our experience. The live chat response time was good, however it’s unnecessarily hard to find; while most websites make there’s available on the right hand corner of the homepage, IG’s is hidden in their Contact Us section. The customer service section of our IG review was saved by their email response time, which we found to be quick, clear and helpful.
IG is authorised by 11 different regulatory bodies from 10 different countries, including top tier regulators such as the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). They are also listed on the London Stock Exchange, meaning their finances are extremely transparent. All of this, combined with their good track record throughout their 45 years of trading, suggests that IG are safe and trustworthy, but we wanted to dig a little deeper when conducting this IG review.
We’re pleased to say that, on the whole, IG’s security and safety stands up to their reputation as one of the world’s most trusted brokers. When it comes to client funds protection, traders from the UK, Switzerland and the EU are protected up to £85,000, CHF 100,000 and €20,000 respectively. As IG keeps clients’ funds separate from their own, clients from all countries are theoretically safeguarded should IG enter financial difficulties.
With IG crypto you can trade in 8 different cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ripple and litecoin. Alternatively, traders can opt for the crypto 10 index, which allows you to access the 10 largest coins in a single trade, meaning you don’t have to rely on the value of one single currency.
In our IG review, we found their crypto trading options and educational materials to be very helpful for beginners, even if IG is not a crypto broker where you can directly buy the assets. This is a necessary element for us when reviewing a broker as trading cryptocurrencies is risky due to the unpredictable and volatile market.
With IG you have two options when it comes to crypto trading (depending on your jurisdiction); CFD trading and spread betting. With both of these trading types, you don’t ever actually own the underlying asset, which is where trading differs greatly from buying crypto on an crypto exchange. In essence crypto trading involves buying and selling to currencies at the exact same time. If the value goes up you make a profit, if it goes down you make a loss, which means that prediction and speculation are key to making your trades work. Fortunately, in most jurisdictions, IG offers negative balance protection, meaning you’ll never lose more than your deposit.
This IG review is focussed primarily on crypto trading, however their other options are certainly worth a mention here. With IG you can trade forex, indices, shares and commodities as well as cryptocurrencies.
IG are an award winning Forex provider with access to over 17,000 global markets and 90 currency pairs. IG offers over 80 indices for traders to take a position on, and traders can also benefit from their deep liquidity, which increases the chances of trades being accepted.
When it comes to shares with IG, clients have the option to invest in shares as well as trade, which is good news for those who prefer to play the long, more stable game and actually own the underlying asset. For commodities trading, IG currently offers 27 major commodity markets with no fixed expiries.
As we mentioned in the previous section of our IG review, their platform supports two different trading methods; spread betting and CFDs. Both ways of trading are similar in that you don’t actually own the underlying assets with either. Spread betting is a popular trading method in the UK and Ireland as profits are tax free.
Overall, we’ve scored this platform highly for having low fees in this IG review, however there is one exception, as their stock CFD fees are pretty high, however so are those of their competitors.
The biggest plus point of this IG review is that there are no deposit nor withdrawal fees, meaning you can get started and withdraw your funds free of charge. The trading fee structure is transparent and made easily available on IG’s website. Their trading fees are built into the spreads and shares fees come in the form of commission. Generally, these fees are average, however the good news for European customers is that their forex fees for all EUR/GBP/CHF currency pairs are among the lowest we’ve found on the market.
IG does charge an inactivity fee of $12 per month, however dormant accounts only start getting charged after 2 years of inactivity as opposed to the industry standard 12 months.
IG is available in a number of countries across the world, however capabilities and restrictions for account holders vary depending on the trading laws of the host country. They are available in all European countries, including the UK and Switzerland. Elsewhere in the world, IG has bases in Australia, South Africa, Singapore, New Zealand, Dubai, Japan & the USA, however they’re also available in numerous other countries throughout the world. Their global reach as a big contributing factor to the overall positivity of this IG review.
IG is one of the only top UK registered brokers to have the USA within its jurisdiction, however US clients are restricted as they can only create a basic trading account and only have forex trading functions.
In terms of regulation, IG is authorised by numerous tier 1 regulatory bodies that cover all of the countries mentioned above. These include the FCA in the UK, ASIC in Australia and the NFA in the USA.
In this section of our IG review, we’ve provided a step-by-step guide of how to trade cryptocurrencies:
Decide if you want to trade via spread betting or CFDs. Spreading involves speculating on the price and betting on a position. With a CFD, you have a contract where you agree to exchange the price of a cryptocurrency from your opening to closing position.
It’s very important to learn about crypto markets as they’re different from other markets and more volatile. IG provides plenty of tools to help you study as well as a demo account option.
When conducting our IG review, we found creating an account to be fairly straightforward and it can be done within minutes, however the ID verification process can take upto 3 days.
Your trading plan should include your strategy, risk management and market analysis methods. The volatility of the crypto market is both what makes it attractive and scary as it can fluctuate quickly and steeply, so it’s important to go in with a plan.
With IG, you have the choice of the third party MT4 platform and their own award winning platform. As we mentioned earlier in this IG review, we recommend using their own platform.
As you don’t own the underlying assets with crypto trading, there’s no need for a wallet and you can therefore start trading as soon as your account is open.
Since their foundation in 1974, IG have built a strong and trusted reputation within the trading industry and with their loyal clients. Our IG review has been largely positive, but we also wanted to take a look and what their customers have said about them in recent months.
IG has a slightly above average 3.6 customer rating on Trustpilot, however the bad reviews are low at just 14%. Almost every negative IG review is down to their poor phone customer service, which we also had some troubles with. On the plus side IG’s team are very quick to respond to negative reviews and to resolve their issues.
Overall, IG is a safe, secure and reputable broker, and perhaps one of the biggest names around, which is why our IG review has been mostly positive. That said, IG’s self proclaimed position as the world’s No.1 spread betting and CFD provider is perhaps a little unjustified at the minute, especially as their customer service leaves a lot to be desired at the minute, particularly with their phone line. However it would only take a little bit of tweaking and improvement to bump IG back up with the best in terms of customer service.
Trading financial products carries a high risk to your capital, especially trading leverage products such as CFDs. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
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