Oanda is one of the best forex brokers for USA clients. Their instruments offering could be better but overall they are an extremely reliable broker to work with.
- About Oanda
- Opening an Account
- How Long Does the Account Creation Process Take?
- What’s the Minimum Deposit?
- Identity and Verification
- Can Oanda Be Trusted?
- Research and Assistance
- Demo Accounts
- Desktop Experience
- Mobile Experience
- Investment Options
- Commissions and Fees
- Deposits & Withdrawals
- Customer Support
Oanda is one of the better-known trading platforms out there and it’s long been used by some of the more experienced traders for forex and certain CFDs.
In recent years, the site has aimed to make its service more popular with some of the newer traders, and by all accounts it appears to be working well.
In this Oanda review, I’m going to give you an up-close look at what the trading platform is, how it works and what you can trade there, as well as everything in between.
I’ll kick things off with a look at who Oanda actually are and where they operate from.
Oanda review was last updated in May 2020. Author – Jonathan Mann.
Oanda’s history goes back to 1997, when they officially launched their first live data feed.
Since then, they’ve grown from a tech start-up to a global, leading corporation.
In 2018 Oanda was acquired by CVC Capital Partners, one of the world’s leading private equity firms, which is reported to manage more than $70 billion in assets all over the world.
While Oanda doesn’t offer the largest selection of trading options on the planet, they do give their users a fair, reliable and low-fee experience.
It’s one of the reasons why I see so many traders using the platform – and I’ll admit, I’m fairly impressed with the operation as a whole.back to menu ↑
Opening an Account
I found Oanda’s account creation process to be incredibly smooth and straightforward.
It’s a fully digital operation (in most cases) which means you don’t need to worry about sending in any physical documents to open your account.
To get started, you’ll need to head over to Oanda’s website, select the type of trading platform you’d like to open and begin filling in a few personal details.
This includes the basics like your name, address and date of birth, along with your email address and phone number.
As is common with all reputable online trading platforms, you’ll need to sign a couple of waivers.
These are mainly designed to protect the company from lawsuits – but I actually do recommend you spend a bit of time reading through them, as they outline some of the basic risks you can expect to run into when trading forex and CFDs online.back to menu ↑
How Long Does the Account Creation Process Take?
The time it takes for your Oanda account to be up and running depends largely on the identification process.
Actually signing up for an account is simple and takes no more than 5 minutes.
However, due to various regulatory rules and regulations, Oanda are required – by law – to verify your identity.
I’ll speak more about this below, but I did find their verification ID process to be quite slow when compared against other sites.back to menu ↑
What’s the Minimum Deposit?
One of the main reasons I now encourage new traders to use Oanda is down to the simple fact that they don’t implement a minimum deposit.
Of course, your payment method’s restrictions apply, but there is no fixed amount you must deposit in order for your account to be set up.
Later on in this review I’m going to be talking more about depositing and withdrawing at Oanda.back to menu ↑
Identity and Verification
All customers will need to verify their identity before they’re able to place real money trades at Oanda (Please note, this doesn’t apply if you’re signing up for a demo account).
Usually, you’ll need to upload proof of name and address – a copy of your driving license/passport plus one of your utility bills is almost always sufficient.back to menu ↑
Can Oanda Be Trusted?
While Oanda has a pretty good reputation on the whole, there are a couple of issues surrounding trust.
However, I should point out that this surrounds the topic of the company not properly protecting customer funds – it wasn’t the case that they were acting illegally or doing things they shouldn’t have been doing.
They did, at one point, get in some trouble with regulators, but it appears as though they’ve now sorted this out.
In fact, Oanda was awarded the “Highest Overall Customer Satisfaction” award by the Investment Trends magazine – so it’s clear they’re doing something right now.
In terms of regulation, Oanda is registered with the USA’s Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
In Canada, they’re regulated by the IIROC – the Regulatory Organization of Canada.
They’re also regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. They also have regulatory approval in Australia and Singapore.
Despite being regulated by some of the top (and most notoriously strict) regulators on the planet, the one area where Oanda still falls short is their customer fund protection.
How much protection your funds have depends on which country you’re located in and which type of account you’ve chosen to create.back to menu ↑
Research and Assistance
I’ve reviewed a large number of online trading platforms, and when it comes to research and assistance Oanda are one of the best sites I’ve come across.
They offer an extensive selection of tools, including economic analysis, news feeds (updated in real time) and calendars, along with advanced data analytics.
I have no doubts that the amount of material available at Oanda ticks all the boxes and is far more than you’d find at most other trading platforms.
They also provide a fantastic selection of educational videos and training modules, designed to get novice traders up to speed.
Live webinars are hosted every couple of weeks, and these go over a number of different (and important) topics like market analysis, economic analysis and detailed training on how to actually use the trading platform.
All these resources are made available to users free of charge, and many of the site’s videos can even be downloaded onto your mobile devices.
This makes it easy to learn on the go and means you’re never far from getting help and support, should you need a bit of guidance.back to menu ↑
When I was putting this review together, I found myself able to set up and create a demo account – although this was a forex account and it didn’t delve into looking at CFDs.
I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of creating the account – and to be fair, it offered what I’d consider a comprehensive and well-made experience.
Like setting up a real account, you’ll need to enter a few personal details before your demo account is up and running.
However, you don’t need to worry about going through ID and verification checks – this is only required if you choose to go on to open a real money trading account.back to menu ↑
While Oanda probably won’t be winning any awards for their desktop website’s usability any time soon, it’s good enough – I just found that it does take a little bit of getting used to at first.
Thankfully, those educational guides I mentioned earlier do a great job of walking you through the basics, plus there’s some customisation features available, so you can set up the platform to your personal taste.
Speed-wise, the website is quick and I think it’s clear Oanda have invested a significant amount of time and effort into building their site.
I don’t have any major criticisms, other than the fact that I’d just like it if the user interface was a bit more user-friendly.
When it comes to trading platforms, there are two for you to choose from. The first is Oanda’s own proprietary platform – this is the most commonly used and is what this review is based around.
As I just mentioned, it allows you to customise a number of different options, and you can move around the tabs and change their positions to suit your needs.
The second trading platform option you have is MetaTrader4.
This is an industry-leading trading platform that’s offered as a second platform at many of the world’s major trading sites.
It’s pretty similar to the main Oanda platform, although there are fewer ways for you to customize your end-user experience.back to menu ↑
Oanda’s mobile app – FXTrade – does a really good job when compared against many competitors, and it contains an extremely impressive array of features inside of it.
The app is available to download free of charge on iOS and Android devices, and if you already have an account you can log in straightaway.
If you’re a new user, you can create an account through the mobile app – but to be honest with you, I’d recommend that you complete the account sign-up process from your desktop computer/laptop, as quite simply, it’s much easier.
I think I’d actually go as far as saying that the mobile app offers as much functionality as Oanda’s main desktop website.
You’ll find yourself able to access all the site’s trading instruments and complex order types, and you can even view a detailed breakdown of account analytics, all from within the app.
Plus, the app’s security is top-notch too.
I also wanted to take a look at some of the other features found within the mobile app. For example, you’ll be able to view charts, which includes price overlays.
There’s a customisable display style too, and this makes it possible to trade directly from the chart itself.
This is something that most competitor trading platforms aren’t capable of offering, and it’s incredibly useful.
News feeds can also be accessed from the mobile app.
They’re not quite as responsive as those found on the trading platform’s main desktop website, but they give you a decent idea of what’s going on in the world.
The feed is updated every minute.
If you’re not interested in downloading a mobile app, you can also access Oanda’s trading platform through your mobile device’s internet browser.
However, I’ll point out that the user experience isn’t as good as using the mobile app.
This doesn’t mean it’s not possible to trade and access your account, but I think that if you’re going to trade from your mobile device, it’s well-worth downloading the mobile app.back to menu ↑
Taking a look at the investment products available to you at Oanda you’ll see straightaway that you can only trade forex and CFDs.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but be warned that the investments on offer are fewer than some of the other trading platforms you’ll come across today.
When it comes to their CFDs, Oanda do offer quite a substantial range of options, including bonds, precious metals, indexes and commodities, along with, of course, forex.
However, when I looked more closely into each of these options I did find the variety to be quite poor.
When I compare Oanda to some of their main competitors I think it’s clear they do fall a bit short in terms of their investment products.
To really put this into perspective for you, Oanda offers a total of 52 CFDs.
Other major trading platforms can offer up to 10,000, so the trading platform is great if you have a specific asset you want to trade, but poor if you’re looking to trade a number of different options.
Minimum trade limits are low, especially for Forex.
This does make the site well-geared towards new traders and those who are looking to try out trading, rather than spending tons of cash trading.
Of course, the upper limits are near-enough limitless, so the trading platform is suitable for traders on all budgets.
However, Oanda does get a special mention for the fact that you can set the leverage manually.
Many of the leading trading platforms don’t allow users to do this and it’s incredibly useful if you’re looking to lower the risk of each trade you make.
I’d always advise that you check each trade before confirming it, as the pre-set leverage levels tend to be quite high – but again, this all comes down to experience, and it’s one of the reasons why I strongly recommend that you do your research before trying forex for yourself.back to menu ↑
Commissions and Fees
When it comes to fees and commissions, Oanda are pretty good – they use an automated engine which allows traders to effortlessly follow global pricing.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that all spreads are still subject to the market’s volatility and liquidity.
Oanda do not charge any account fees – meaning you don’t need to pay to set up an account.
There are usually no fees for withdrawing money, unless withdrawing using bank transfer.
As with most forex platforms though, there is an inactivity fee, which is £10 (or 10 units of your currency) per month.
This inactivity fee is charged when your account hasn’t been used for 12 months.back to menu ↑
Deposits & Withdrawals
When you first create an account at Oanda, you’ll be prompted to choose one of 9 base currencies.
The options available are EUR, AUD, HKD, USD, CAD, JPY, GBP, CHF and SGD.
The reason I mention this is because the currency you choose when first setting up your account is the one that you’ll need to use when making deposits into your account and withdrawals out of your account.
Like most online trading platforms, Oanda offers a small but sufficient number of payment options.
You’ll find yourself able to make deposits and withdrawals using debit and credit cards, direct bank transfers and PayPal.
Occasionally (and if you receive prior permission) you can sometimes make deposits/withdrawals using cheques too.
However, this is generally reserved for larger investors with deeper pockets.
Making deposits is simple and hassle free.
There are no fees attached to depositing, and if you’re using debit/credit card or PayPal the funds are credited to your account instantly.
The minimum deposit amounts are also low at Oanda, although the exact figures change depending on which payment method you’re using.
Withdrawals made using PayPal are always free, plus each trader gets one free withdrawal using debit and credit cards per month.
Unfortunately, I found the withdrawal fees for bank transfers are relatively high, so I’d personally recommend you don’t take money out of your account this way.back to menu ↑
One of the first things I look for when reviewing a trading platform is their customer support.
You may think that their research and trading facilities are paramount – and they are.
However, I find that customer support really does make the difference between top and bottom-tier trading platforms.
Like most leading trading platforms today, Oanda offers three ways of getting in touch with the customer support team.
Unfortunately, their only 24 hours a day, 7 days a week customer support is through email, which can be rather frustrating.
Usually, it’s phone/live chat support that’s offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so this implies Oanda’s out of hours team is rather small.
Usually, I’m a big proponent of phone support.
There’s nothing better than being able to call someone up and speak to them in person – and I also find that it’s usually the fastest way to receive a proper response.
However, one of the issues I found with Oanda is that their waiting times (for their phone line) are quite long.
There are numerous reports online of customers waiting for up to 30 minutes to speak to a member of the customer support team, which is far longer than the waiting times found at most other platforms.
It’s a similar story with live chat too.
While the waiting times aren’t quite as long, I still found myself waiting around 15 minutes to be connected with an operator.
However, I should point out that when I was eventually connected to a member of the customer support team through live chat, they were very helpful and responsive.
Live chat and phone support are offered between Monday and Friday between 1:00pm and 6:00pm ET. I really don’t think this is good enough – especially for a trading platform of Oanda’s size.
However, I should point out that there is quite a detailed FAQ section that aims to answer many of the common questions you’ll have – any account-specific issues will usually need to be dealt with by a human customer support team worker, though.back to menu ↑
I have no qualms recommending new and experienced traders to use Oanda.
They have very competitive fees and their proprietary trading platform is well made.
While the website isn’t quite as glamorous as some of the main competitors, it does the job, and I particularly like their extensive range of research and analytical tools which help to bring new traders up to speed.
I think the main downside of Oanda is the fact that they offer a pretty limited selection of products.
You’ll only find forex and CFDs available, and their selection of CFDs is pretty limited.
I also found that the customer support facility has lots of room for improvement, and in the future, I’d like to see the high withdrawal fees for bank wire transactions lowered to meet industry standards.
Still, on the whole, Oanda is a great trading platform, and with no minimum deposits, it’s a great platform for traders of all experience levels.
- Low spreads
- Diversity of trading tools
- Fast execution time
- Reliable forex broker
- Fast account opening
- Number of instruments could be better
- Deposit methods could include more options
- Withdrawal fees could be lower
Details: Oanda Review
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