XTB offers very comprehensive access to the Forex, shares, indices, metals and commodity markets. The company is regulated in the UK and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). XTB traces its history back to Poland and is publicly listed on the Warsaw exchange and registered with the Polish Financial Supervision Authority. Spreads, trading costs, and account fees were about average for the industry overall; however, Forex spreads were consistently better than average. A custom trading platform, xStation 5, and MetaTrader 4 were available for the desktop along with mobile applications.
XTB has low fees and costs overall. However, with a "pro" account, costs for some Forex pairs and indexes were even further below average. Traders should evaluate XTB's actual costs based on the instruments or markets that they focus on. We based our ratings on the least expensive blended commission+spread available to some accounts. Investors can use guaranteed stops in the "basic" account level, which could increase trading costs but may be valuable for investors looking for that kind of protection. Most account fees were typical for the industry with a minimum required deposit of 250 GBP, USD, or EUR.
Like many other brokers we reviewed, XTB's trust scores suffered slightly in our ratings because of the lack of account protection above and beyond what's required by UK financial regulators. Traders cannot use custodian banks to hold their capital. XTB offers negative account protection, which is a positive, but there are no account-wide emergency stop losses. XTB is regulated by the FCA in the UK which provides some account protection in the case of a default.
Account funds are held by XTB in segregated accounts and subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority. The amount of protection for each account in the event of default is limited. Negative balance protection is good, but guaranteed stop losses and slippage protection are only available for "basic" accounts that have caps on the maximum trade size and a wider fixed spread.
The "Special Features" category is our way of looking for unique features that may not be available or expected with each broker. Our score for XTB's Special Features is low for a few reasons. They don't offer social (or "copy") trading, money manager accounts or a free VPS service. Special software for system design, backtesting, or analysis outside of the standard functionality in the trading platforms were also missing. This made their Special Features offering slim and largely dependent on MT4. However, there were a few unique offerings that may be worth a second look by some investors. These include trading from the Apple watch, a trader sentiment tool and a stock screener.
We didn't find a lot of unique offerings from XTB in the Special Features category. However, it's important to note that there weren't many industry-standard features that were missing either. Functionality in both trading platforms was good and the web-based, custom trading application was easy to navigate and provided fast execution.
XTB's custom trading application, xStation-5, had a fairly standard interface with menus, watchlists, charts, and notifications in a typical layout. The platform launched quickly and in our experience seemed to have fast execution. Screening tools, heatmaps, and sentiment indicators were easy to find and provided helpful information. The standard MT4 platform was also available for traders already familiar with the application and its features.
The platform has familiar menus that allows traders to get up to speed quickly. We found it easy to enter trades, build watchlists and modify the charts. Custom layouts can be created, and traders can enter complex order types including buy, sell, and trailing stops from watchlist-style menus or directly from the charts. Position sizes are customizable, and defaults were easy to set. The charts were easy to use and included advanced functionality. While we might not consider the charts to be the best available, the resolution was incredibly sharp.
The custom trading application, xStation-5, did not have algorithmic trading, backtesting, or custom indicator capabilities. This is available through MT4, but it means traders must choose between the two platforms depending on what they hope to accomplish. The platform layout could be customized a little, but wasn't as flexible as traders would may like.
The mobile version of xStation-5 includes most of the functionality available in the desktop application, except the ability to set price alerts, which seemed like a strange oversight. Traders can access XTB's trading instruments, complex order types, account details, and charting from the Android or iPhone apps. The news feed is also streamable through the mobile app. Some security features, like a pin to prevent the app from showing on watches or widgets, were customizable on the mobile app.
The mobile app includes all the functionality to analyze and research trading opportunities. Clients can use advanced order types and track their accounts the same way they would in the desktop app. Users can manage and create watchlists to make the experience more manageable, even on a small screen.
There is no way to set price alerts on the mobile app, and no fingerprint security in addition to the login password. A news feed was available, but in-depth analytical reports were not included.
XTB's customer support is available whenever the markets are open via phone, chat, and email. During our tests, we found that support was very responsive on the phone. But our chat experience was more erratic. It wasn't uncommon, for example, for our chat requests to be redirected to an email form instead. Phone and chat support could be launched from the trading platform. FAQs and educational resources could also be launched from within the trading application.
XTB's support was good and available during all market hours. Responses via chat were spotty but phone support was good. Some features like one-on-one training and market analysis on demand were only available at minimum trading activity levels. The office in the UK has an "open door" policy, which may be handy for investors near Canary Wharf in London.
XTB offered enough research tools to tick most of the boxes in our review. But there wasn't much available that we would consider unique to the market. This is not necessarily a bad thing, just a comment. Market commentary from XTB's analysts were good but brief and seemed to be updated infrequently. We would have liked to have seen more detailed reports and technical analysis to supplement the market calendar, news feed, and YouTube videos.
We found the most interesting analytical tools to be the screeners, heatmaps, and sentiment indicators. These tools were available through XTB's website and within the trading application. The news feed and analyst blog were acceptable and included some actionable technical and fundamental analysis throughout the day. The calendar was very good, easy to use and integrated into the trading platform.
Although webinars were advertised, we found it odd that prior recordings were not available and no future events had been scheduled at the time of our review. Live market commentary was mostly limited to the news feed and blog, which had somewhat narrow coverage from just two analysts.
XTB's education was easy to find and navigate. We felt they hit all the major topics we were looking for. Outside experts were also used for a few advanced topics and strategy updates, or "freemium" supplemental education. Most of the content was well organized in a familiar lesson structure with videos and quizzes. Unfortunately, like most broker education, XTB's content didn't extend much beyond the basics. Although we liked that the education was available from the trading platform, we found the color-scheme (small white text on a black background) made it difficult to read for long periods.
Beyond the education covering their platforms, we found most content to be fairly basic. There were some "freemium" teaser content from third-party experts, but there wasn't enough to fill the gaps for those seeking truly advanced education. New investors should be able to learn enough to get started in the markets; however, the writing and illustrations were low quality and could be confusing at times.