Founded in 1996, iForex launched an online trading application in 2004. The company is headquartered in Greece and regulated by the financial authorities in The British Virgin Islands. iForex, provides Forex, index, commodities, shares, and extensive cryptocurrency markets to traders. The iForex platform checked the boxes for the minimum required functionality, but there wasn't anything in the technology to be an advantage. Traders from several "restricted countries" including the U.S., U.K., and Australia are unable to open accounts with iForex. Dealing spreads and trading costs seemed low; however, the firm's registration status means there isn't enough transparency into their backend dealing practices to be completely confident about total costs.
iForex typically had wider spreads than the industry average, but there were no commissions. There was an extensive list of cryptocurrencies available including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple. The spreads for cryptocurrencies were very wide. We noticed Bitcoin spreads became extremely wide on a morning where the cryptocurrency was falling 10%. Account fees were limited or nonexistent, and there was a nominal minimum account balance required ($100) to open an account. Although iForex scored reasonably well on the breadth of products available and for its low account fees it should be noted that the trading spread was surprisingly large. Some traders may find it to be more expensive to trade with a wider spread than with a broker who offers a narrower spread and charges nominal account fees.
iForex's trust scores suffered in our ratings because registration in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) does not provide the same kind of oversight and account protection customers have come to expect from brokers registered in the UK or the U.S. While we didn't see any evidence of insolvency or other financial issues, it's fair to say that a BVI registration does not have the best reputation in the industry. We were also concerned with iForex's average level of internet encryption technology, especially since the trading platform is only available on a web platform. There are no guaranteed stop losses but account holders are provided with negative account balance protection.
Account funds are held by iForex and trades are cleared by iForex's parent, Formula Investment House B.O.S. Ltd. The expected oversight and protection from the financial authorities iForex is registered with is minimal. While the negative balance protection may be attractive there are offsetting disadvantages in the form of limited protection in the event of default to consider.
iForex did not offer any of the minimal features we consider a minimum requirement for scoring in this category. Typical trading platforms like MetaTrader 4 (or similar) are not available and the web-based trading platform was bare-bones. However, there were a few extra features that we thought were worth a mention and may be of interest to some traders, including cryptocurrencies, an economic calendar from Econoday, and technical trading signals from Trading Central.
There weren't many special or unique features offered by iForex. But, depending on your needs there may be some advantages to the analysis from Econoday and Trading Central. The technical reports, alerts, and analysis from Trading Central can be educational as well as actionable for traders who don't have a lot of experience analyzing the markets on their own.
The desktop application is web-based and runs in a browser. Order entry, finding quotes, and adding stocks to a "favorites" watchlist was intuitive and easy to access. The web application includes charts that were reasonably robust, but not as good as other tools in the industry like TradingView/Multicharts. The mobile platform functions like the web application so traders shouldn't have much of a learning curve switching between the two environments.
There is nothing to install because the platform runs in a browser, which may be easier for some traders. Order entry was straightforward and advanced order types like buy and sell limits are available. Each asset class (shares, forex, indexes, crypto, etc.) are segmented in tabs which was easier to navigate than the typical lists or menus. The advantages of the web-based trading app are its simplicity and ease of use.
The typical charting and analytical tools are either barebones or missing from the trading platform. Details like market breadth, volume, and fundamental analysis tools were largely nonexistent. Advanced traders who need to do more analysis for their trades will likely be disappointed.
The mobile trading platforms offer similar functionality to the desktop applications. Traders can access trading instruments, advanced order types, a favorites watchlist, and account information all from their mobile device. The mobile platform also includes charts, however, the charting functionality is limited.
The mobile apps were easy to use and had enough minimal functionality to execute trades and do some analysis. The asset classes (Forex, shares, indexes, commodities, cryptocurrencies, etc.) were organized neatly and easy to find. For checking orders and making some trades, the mobile app should meet the minimum requirements for most traders.
Very minimal analytical tools or news feeds makes the mobile app barely more than a way to check an account or trade status. The app was easy to install but had minimal security beyond password access which could be a deal-killer for traders who rely on mobile access.
Customer support hours were comprehensive and there were multiple methods to contact a support representative. However, we found responses to be slow. iForex is known to encourage traders to sign up for training, which is something we observed in our testing as well. This was not the best experience. The searchable FAQ database was very good and easy to use, which may help traders looking for faster answers for some questions.
Phone support was available during all market hours with several options for international callers. We found chat support to be buggy and inconsistent and email requests for support were not returned. Service was slow, which isn't a unique problem in the industry, but that could be a bigger concern if customer service became logjammed during a major market event.
Besides the charts in the trading platform, iForex offers few research tools. The news is summarized and may not be very timely on busy days. However, the economic calendar from Econoday and the technical trading reports and signals from Trading Central may be helpful for some traders.
The most valuable research tools were from third-party providers. Both the calendar and the technical reports are likely to be helpful for new and experienced traders. The technical reports are likely to be helpful for traders still learning how to analyze market trends and identify trading opportunities. There was some helpful education included with the technical reports to get traders familiar with the format and features. The charts in the trading application included a broad array of technical indicators and drawing tools that could be customized based on a trader's needs.
The stories in the news feed were brief and infrequent, which will likely leave some investors searching the internet for alternative sources of information when the market is moving. The charts in the trading platform met the minimum requirements for most analysis but did not match the more advanced offerings available in the industry today.
The education provided by iForex met all our minimum requirements for a good 4.0 score; however, almost all the content was at a very basic level. The education was well organized and easy to find. While we usually like the short video format iForex used the animations were overly-stylized often lacked deeper application to specific markets. More videos and content that went into much more detail on advanced concepts would have been very helpful.
The educational videos were well produced but didn't go into much detail on each topic. The FAQ database may wind up being a better resource for traders looking for more detail on some topics. Basic investors should learn a lot through the education, but we don't believe it will be enough to help someone be proficient in the markets.