Outside the United States, IG offers CFD (contracts for difference) trading. Popular in Europe and other international locations, CFDs allow you to make a bet on the variance of the price of an asset without buying it yourself. For example, you can place a CFD trade on the value of Euros per USD without buying any Euros directly. CFDs also allow for trading with high levels of leverage in most cases.
CFDs are not allowed in the United States, so here people use options and futures as an alternative to speculate on asset prices outside of the CFD markets. These financial instruments act as agreements to buy or sell a specific asset at a specific price (futures) or give the option to buy or sell at a specific price (options) at a date and time in the future.
If you reach the maturity or expiration date and your contract is “in the money,” meaning you made a good bet, your transaction executes and you can dispose of the asset simultaneously. The difference in the contract price and the current asset price makes up your profit or loss.
Regulations, Reputation, and Security
IG is a legal and regulated marketplace since 1974. The parent company, IG Group, also owns NADEX in the United States. IG Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol LON: IGG. IG is one of the oldest forex companies in the world
In the US, IG is regulated by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and is a member of the National Futures Association (NFA). These government and industry governing bodies, respectively, help protect you by ensuring a fair experience when trading on IG’s platform.
Overall, it is a reputable place to handle your foreign exchange trading account.
Types of Accounts
“IG accounts in the US are limited to foreign exchange derivatives. You can’t trade stocks or other common instruments with an IG account in the US.”
IG is not a full-service brokerage with access to all parts of the market. When you open an account, it is focused primarily on the forex markets. It offers live and demo accounts on its platform.
The main type of account gives you live trading access to forex markets. Once you deposit funds in a live account, you are just a few clicks away from trading in over 80 different currency pairs. A live account requires submitting personal information for communication and tax purposes. More on that below.
Opening a demo account is fast and easy. It took me less than a minute to access an account with a $10,000 balance in fake money to get my trade on. If you are new to forex, it is best to start with a demo account so you can learn how everything works. It is better to make a mistake with fake money than real funds.
“IG supports more than 80 currency pairs for US traders”
IG breaks its supported forex pairs into six categories. You can trade in major pairs, minor pairs, Australasian, Scandinavian, Exotic, and Emerging Markets currencies. Most currencies are traded against the US Dollar, Euro, or Great British Pound, though some pairs trade that don’t involve either.
Below, you can find screenshots showing major and minor pairs supported by IG:
“IG requires personal information, including information about your income, to open a live account. Opening a free demo account requires just your name, email address, and phone number.”
In the United States, opening an account is relatively quick and easy. However, you are required to submit some personal information, which includes your name, address, phone number, and Social Security Number. Your Social Security Number is required for tax reporting purposes. IG also asks for your current income, savings, and trading experience with foreign exchange to help ensure you are in the right financial position to trade with this platform.
If you have all of your information readily available, you can go through an instant ID verification process and access the live platform in about five minutes. Once your account is live, you can fund it only through Debit cards, ACH or wire transfer. You’ll need a minimum $250 deposit for a live account
Opening a demo account requires less information. Just enter your name, email, phone number, and a password to access the risk-free demo at no cost.
“IG offers its own online trading platform. It also supports MetaTrader 4 and mobile apps for iOS and Android.”
IG supports its own easy-to-use, web-based platform as well as MetaTrader 4, an international standard for forex traders. IG also has its own mobile apps and gives you the ability to use advanced charting packages. The IG platform is available for the web, smartphones, and tablets. MT4 requires a desktop application download.
The main IG platform on the web features drag-and-drop windows with options to customize what you see. Options include tables, charts, news, and the ability to save multiple workspaces.
These tools are very user-friendly. Some professional-level traders may be happy with the basic IG web trading platform, though those with the most experience would likely prefer MetaTrader 4. Regardless of your background, tools like Autochartist and PIA First add value to your trading experience.
Autochartist is an advanced charting tool that will automatically identify certain patterns and trading opportunities. PIA First is a market sentiment and technical analysis research tool. Head to the Signals tab when logged in to IG to access these tools.
You can quickly access news and the economic calendar right from the trading sidebar. It puts all supported currencies on your screen with just one click.
Charts can be customized with more than two dozen indicators and 19 drawing tools. Inside the chart, you can click the buy or sell button to pop out a trading window without ever closing the chart. See an example of that below.
You can also choose to activate a dark mode, a welcome refrain from the white backgrounds on many applications and websites. For heavy computer users, this helps alleviate eye strain. In either mode, the trade screen is easy to access and pops up to the right of the chart. You never have to leave the screen to enter your trade.
I put a very tight margin around a test order, and it closed on its own as expected.
You can view open positions on their own screen or add it to your workspace.
IG’s platforms support automated trading. If you want to take advantage, consider the MetaTrader 4 platform with its well-supported and well-documented auto trading features.
IG offers mobile apps optimized for both smartphones and tablets running Android and iOS. IG does not make the Android version available for my Pixel 3 XL or my recent Nexus 6P, so take note of whether or not your phone is supported before signing up if mobile trading is important to you.
For currencies you are tracking, you can turn on custom alerts. These can be handy on both computers and mobile devices.
Types of trades
“IG offers market orders, limit and stop orders, and the ability to trade using leverage to amplify your returns.”
Stop loss orders are available with at least 4 pips between the current price and the price you use for the stop. You can also enter a limit to automatically close your position and take a profit. Trades are available right from the charting pages.
For popular forex pairs, margin requirements fall between 2% and 5%. Leveraged trades are good for people confident they can execute a successful strategy. If mishandled, you could end up losing more than you deposit in your account. The maximum leverage is 50:1.
A virtual private server is available for those willing to invest in even faster trade execution. Scalping and other sometimes controversial strategies are allowed. Trade with care.
Costs and fees
“Fees are built into the spread between buy and sell prices. There are some additional fees for less common activity.”
There is no specific trade fee with this type of forex account. Instead, fees are built into the buy and sell price listed on the exchange. The sliver of a difference between the prices is what IG earns from traders. The average spread for major forex pairs ranges from 0.9 to 1.3. Minor pairs range from 3.3 to 4.3 in most cases.
Additional fees are charged when a position is held open overnight and when accounts sit inactive for a long period of time. If you don’t trade for two years or more, accounts are charged $12 per month.
There are fees for international deposits and deposits not made in US dollars. If you withdraw via a wire, you are charged a $15 fee.
Regular traders can qualify for volume-based rebates. Rebates are tiered from 5% to 15% and start at $100 million in monthly trade volume.
IG does not offer an Islamic account in the United States.
Bonus & Promotions
There is no current bonus or promotion for US accounts. See the rebate program above for information on how to save with a very active account.
“Support is available by phone, email, and live chat 24 hours a day during the trading week.”
Customer service is available by phone with a call to the Chicago area. I had a question for IG and sent it by email on a Friday afternoon. I received a response on Monday afternoon, or in about one business day (due to the fact that the markets close on Friday afternoons). You can also reach IG customer support via email or a live chat box on the IG website.
Support is available by phone 24 hours a day during market hours – Saturday at 3:00 am to Friday at 5:00 pm Eastern. The website also has an extensive help section with answers to common questions.
Research and Education
“You can learn all about foreign exchange trading at IG Academy, a free online series of forex courses. IG offers integrated tools to help you research positions on the fly. IG Group also owns DailyFX, a free, online forex news website”
The main education section of IG is called IG Academy. This free course is broken down into beginner, intermediate, and advanced topics. There are eight courses in total. Course 1 starts you with an Introduction to the Financial Markets. If you complete all eight, you’ll end with topics including trading psychology, fundamental analysis, and understanding risk and reward.
In the IG platform, you have quick access to news, the IG Twitter feed, market signals, and the IG economic calendar. IG Group also owns DailyFX, a free, online forex news website. Through both sites, you can find webinars, articles, and other resources to learn more about forex trading.
“IG works well for beginner traders and offers tools suitable for advanced traders. IG offers a platform that meets traders’ needs at all experience levels.”
IG is an excellent platform for beginners. You can start out with a free demo account and the online platform is intuitive and easy to use. Advanced traders can find useful tools and advanced charting features, but they may be happier using IG’s integration with MetaTrader 4. IG in the US does not yet support MetaTrader 5, the latest version of the popular trading platform.
Advanced and professional traders may enjoy the online IG platform, but in some cases, you could feel that features are limited compared to MT4 and MT5.
IG is registered with the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and is a member of the National Futures Association. It is regulated by both of these organizations.
IG is based in London in the United Kingdom. The US headquarters is in Chicago.
IG makes money from the spread between buy and sell prices. It has some additional fees based on your activity.
- How do I deposit in IG account?
You can fund your account only through Debit cards, ACH or wire transfer.
- How do I withdraw money from IG?
Withdrawals are made to a bank account directly via ACH. You can also withdraw via wire transfer or using the same debit card used to fund the account.
- How do I open an account with IG?
You can open an account by going to the IG website and filling in your personal information.
- Does IG offer margin accounts?
- Are funds at IG secured or insured?
Funds are not insured by the FDIC or SPIC.
Overall, IG is a competitive forex platform for traders in the United States. This is a transparent and regulated platform that works for beginner to advanced traders, just make sure you fully understand how everything works before starting with real money. It is possible to lose more than your account value due to leverage.
If you want to learn about forex, starting with IG Academy and a demo account is a great choice. As you learn more, or if you are starting with some forex skills already, you may want to upgrade to a MetaTrader 4 account at IG.
If you understand the costs and risks, IG is an excellent platform for foreign exchange. With an intuitive platform and a wide range of features, it is a great place to dive into FX.