OANDA is one of the pioneers in the field of online retail forex trading and it has a very good reputation among traders. It has also been approved by a number of notoriously strict license authorities, such as ASIC (Australia) and the UK FCA. Unlike many other online retail forex brokers, OANDA is even licensed and approved in the United States and welcomes U.S. traders.
In addition to their own proprietary trading software, OANDA will give you access to well-known independent brands such as the MetaTrader 4 (MT4), MetaTrader 5 (MT5), TradingView, and AutoChartist.
You can gain exposure to 65+ currency pairs here, so there is something suitable for most people, even traders who are into more exotic pairs.
To keep small-scale hobby traders happy, OANDA has decided to not have any threshold when it comes to deposits. If you want to deposit $1 into your account, you can.
Note: OANDA is a market maker, not an ECN broker, and this is not everyone’s cup of tea.
- 1 Ways OANDA could improve
- 2 Regulations
- 3 This broker is a market maker
- 4 Account types
- 5 Opening an OANDA standard account in two easy steps
- 6 Spreads
- 7 OANDA’s commission plus core spread pricing model
- 8 Forex trading and forex speculation
- 9 Speculating on cryptocurrency
- 10 Speculating on other asset types
- 11 Leveraged trades
- 12 Margin call
- 13 Trading Hours
- 14 Is forex scalping permitted?
- 15 Is forex hedging permitted?
- 16 Is automated trading permitted?
- 17 Trading platforms
- 18 The independent MetaTrader 4 (MT4) trading platform
- 19 The independent MetaTrader 5 (MT5) trading platform
- 20 The proprietary OANDA trading platform
- 21 TradingView
- 22 Autochartist
- 23 Educational material for forex traders
- 24 Open a free OANDA Demo Account filled with $100,000 in play-money
- 25 OANDA customer support
- 26 Deposits and withdrawals
- 27 Inactivity fee
- 28 Currency conversion fee
- 29 About OANDA
- 30 Questions and answers
Ways OANDA could improve
- OANDA does not offer speculation on stocks, which is not a negative for me personally, but I understand that it will be a deal-breaker for some traders who wish to do their forex and stock speculation from the same account.
- Something that is a negative for me is that the list of cryptocurrencies available for speculation here is still pretty short. Like many modern-day currency traders, I enjoy speculating on both traditional currency and cryptocurrency, so for me it would be nice if OANDA would extend their offering when it comes to cryptocurrency speculation. With that said, they are already offering not just Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ether, but also more unusual stuff such as PAX Gold.
- Since cryptocurrency speculation is available 24/7 I think the support should be open 24/7 as well. OANDA is still sticking to the old model of closing down their support during the weekend. This is fine for traditional forex traders, but a downside for those of us who like to be active during the weekends too. When trading, issues can arise that need to be resolved right away, and the idea of having to wait until Monday is not appealing to me.
- I wish that one withdrawal per month would be permitted without paying the withdrawal fee for all transaction methods. Today, this perk is only available for certain methods. So, be careful when you select transaction method, because otherwise you might have to pay a withdrawal fee for every withdrawal, even if you only withdraw money from your account once a month or less.
OANDA works through various subsidiaries around the world, in order to comply with national laws and license requirements. It is therefore a good idea for the trader to check under which subsidiary they will fall, since this will impact your legal situation, e.g. when it comes to using leverage. Some jurisdictions and license authorities limit how much leverage a broker can offer to a non-professional trader, and they may also require negative balance protection for non-professional traders.
Examples of members of the OANDA company group
- The OANDA Corporation is a registered Retail Foreign Exchange Dealer (RFED) regulated by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). It is also a registered Forex Dealer Member (FDM) of the National Futures Association (NFA), license number 0325821.
- The OANDA Canada Corporation ULC is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC)
- The OANDA Europe Limited is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), registration number 542574. Please note that the UK is no longer a member of the European Union.
- The OANDA Asia Pacific Pte Ltd is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), license number 100122-4. It registered as a commodity CFD dealer with the International Enterprise Singapore, license number OAP/CBL/2012
- The OANDA Japan Inc is a member of the Financial Futures Association of Japan (FFAJ), number 1571. It holds a Type 1 Financial Instruments license from the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA), Kanto Local Finance Bureau registration number 2137
- The OANDA Australia Pty Ltd is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), AFSL number 412981
This broker is a market maker
OANDA is a market maker and orders are processed through the OANDA in-house dealing desk. Your broker can therefore take the other side of your trade, which automatically creates a type of conflict of interest. Traders who dislike have their broker as their counterpart typically opt for ECN brokers instead, or some other solution where the broker is never your counterpart in a trade. Still, many traders are okay with having their broker as their counterpart as long as it also gives them super-fast execution speeds.
There is the demo account (play-money trading), the standard account (real-money trading) and the professional account (real-money trading).
Traders in the United States can also access the Advanced Trader Program, if they fulfil the requirements. This program gives rebates and reduced commissions.
Can I get a swap-free account?
Yes, the Islamic account type is swap-free. This type of account is also known as Muslim account, Halal account and Sharia account.
Is it possible to open a joint account?
Opening an OANDA standard account in two easy steps
Opening an OANDA standard account is easy, and I completed the process in less than 10 minutes.
- Fill out the registration form and provide the information asked for. This will include information such as your name, address, email, phone number and previous trading experience.
- Verify your identity and address by uploading a photo of your identification (e.g. national ID card) and a PDF of a recent utility bill or bank statement showing your address.
The forex spreads start around 0.8 pips for EUR/USD, which is a competitive spread.
Just as with other brokers, you can expect wider spreads for less traded currency pairs.
OANDA’s commission plus core spread pricing model
This is a special pricing model available at OANDA.
With this model, spreads start from as low as 0.1 pip for the EUR/USD and you will pay a 40 USD commission per 1 million USD traded.
Over 65 different currency pairs are available here. You can of course find the majors and the minors here, but also a wealth of exotics.
Examples of available pairs:
Using CFDs for forex speculation
Many traders at OANDA use Contracts for Difference (CFDs) to gain exposure to currencies. This way, you can make money from currency exchange changes without actually buying, owning and selling currency.
Leverage is available for forex CFD trading at OANDA.
Forex spread betting
Forex spread betting is available in the UK.
Speculating on cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency speculation is available for traders in certain countries.
The most heavily traded cryptocurrencies here are (unsurprisingly) Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin.
- CFD:s based on Bitcoin are available with spreads from 40 USD.
- CFD:s based on Bitcoin Cash are available with spreads from 0.08 USD.
- CFD:s based on Ether/USD are available with spreads from 2.80 USD.
- CFD:s based on Litecoin/USD are available with spreads from 0.50 USD.
To improve their cryptocurrency offer, OANDA has partnered up with Paxos. Paxos is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and is licensed as a major payments institution.
Speculating on other asset types
You can also use OANDA to speculate on other asset types than forex, including bonds, commodities and indices.
Interestingly, OANDA is not offering speculation on stocks, which sets it apart from most other major online brokers and will be a big negative for some traders.
A majority of the available bonds are issued by governments in Europe (including the UK) or by the U.S. government. You can for instance speculate on the US 2-year T-note and the UK 10 Year Gilt.
Agricultural commodities, metals and energy commodities are all represented. You can for instance speculate on wheat, gold, silver, natural gas and Brent crude oil.
At the time of writing, roughly 15 indices are available for speculation here, including well-known ones such as the S&P 500 and the DAX 30.
As mentioned above, how much leverage you will be offered will largely depend on the jurisdiction, at least if you are classified as a non-professional trader. To find out about the requirements for being classified as a professional trader, contact the OANDA support team.
Many countries and license authorities have capped the leverage to 1:30 for non-professional traders, and some also have even lower ceilings in place for trades that are considered especially risky (e.g. cryptocurrency speculation or trading exotic currency pairs).
Non-professional traders in the United States can be offered up to 1:50 leverage for forex.
A margin call will be triggered if your account balance approaches the 50% margin stop-out level.
This depends on the underlying asset.
For classic forex trading, OANDA is available from Sunday 21:00 GMT to Friday 21:00 GMT, which aligns it with the global forex market.
Forex products are available to trade from Sunday 17:03 EST to Friday 16:58 EST.
Holiday closures are published on the official OANDA web site.
Is forex scalping permitted?
Yes it is. OANDA do not have any prohibition against forex scalping, and they are not imposing any restriction indented to discourage scalping.
Is forex hedging permitted?
Yes it is. OANDA do not have any prohibition against forex hedging, and they are not imposing any restriction indented to discourage the practise.
Is automated trading permitted?
Automated trading is permitted and encouraged. A lot of forex traders use Expert Advisors (EA:s) – a type of trading robots – for automated forex trading on the MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform through their OANDA account.
OANDA give their traders access to multiple trading platforms, including the well-known third-party platforms MetaTrader 4 (MT4), M etaTrader5 (MT5) and TradingView. There is also the proprietary OANDA trading platform.
The independent MetaTrader 4 (MT4) trading platform
This is an independent third-party trading platform utilized by a wide range of brokers. Personally, I think it is a good idea to learn how at least one of these major independent platforms work, e.g. MT4, MT5 and/or cTrader. Why? Because once I had learn how one of them worked, it became very easy for me to sign-up with and use another broker instead of feeling “stuck” with my current broker. Sometimes, I realize that while Broker A is optimal for my current trading strategy, it is less than ideal for another trading strategy that I wish to try out, and Broker B would actually be much more beneficial. However, when time and energy is limited – as it is for most of us – it can be tempting to stick with Broker A for the new strategy rather than learning a how to use a new platform. If you are familiar with at least one of the major independent platforms, you will find it much easier to try out other brokers and juggle multiple accounts.
- The MetaTrader 4 (MT4) platform is especially popular among forex traders, but also support other assets.
- There are a lot of tools available for technical analysis, including 3 chart types, 9 time frames for charts and 30+ technical indicators. You will get access to many drawing tools.
- MT4 supports 4 pending order types.
- You can carry out automated forex trading by using Expert Advisors (EA:s), the trading robots native to the MT4 platform. You can use the platform to build your own EA:s, or buy/rent EA:s built by others.
- The MT4 can be used directly in the browser window, but you can also download it and install the program on your computer.
- Mobile apps are available for iOS and Android.
A downside with the MT4 is that it can feel a bit overwhelming for novice traders.
The independent MetaTrader 5 (MT5) trading platform
This platform comes from the same developer as the MT4 and they have a lot of common, including being really great and well-made platforms utilized by a huge number of brokers and traders world wide.
A major difference is that the MT4 is a bit more focused on forex and the MT5 was developed to cater more to a broader range of traders. The MT5 has also been fitted with even more tools for technical analysis. Although in my experience, the tool box at MT4 is more than enough for my hobby trading needs.
The MT5 can be downloaded and installed on a computer, it can be used directly in the web browser, and it is available as mobile apps for both iOS and Android.
The proprietary OANDA trading platform
Unlike the MT4, the proprietary OANDA trading platform is only for web browsers – you can not download and install it on your computer. Mobile apps are available for both iOS and Android, and they work very well.
The platform is easy to use and reliable, and you can easily drag and drop windows to adjust it to your own needs and preferences.
The platform has strong support for technical analysis, including 11 customizable chart types and 65+ technical indicators.
It can be used in conjunction with TradingView.
Market data is supplied by several sources, including not only OANDA themselves but also well-known providers such as 4CAST and Dow Jones FX Select.
How to make a trade using the OANDA platform
- Double-click on the instrument of your choice. You will find the instruments on the left hand side of the window.
- In the “New Order” window, select “Buy” or “Sell”.
- Use the arrows to adjust the position size.
- Enter your Stop-Loss and your Take Profit points.
- Review the margin requirement, if applicable.
- Confirm the order by clicking on “Submit”.
TradingView is a platform that has become especially popular among traders who rely heavily on technical analysis. With TradingView, you can place orders directly form the charts.
With your OANDA account, you will get access to TradingView , including both the web browser version and the apps for mobile iOS and Android devices.
OANDA provides a range of analysis tools powered by Autochartist. This includes many advanced technical indicators.
Educational material for forex traders
With OANDA, you will get access to a lot of educational material for forex traders at various levels. Personally, I like the recorded webinars which can be used to learn more about niche concepts related to forex trading.
To try out what OANDA has to offer and see if you like it, you can open a free Demo Account. It comes filled with a whopping $100,000 in play-money. This way, you can feel how it really is to place orders the platforms. The Demo Account is also a great way to learn how everything works before you start putting any real money at risk.
There is no limit for how long you can keep your Demo Account active. This is a big plus for me, because I like to use my demo account to test-run and adjust new trading strategies before implementing them.
The OANDA Demo Account uses live market conditions and prices, and all instruments are available in demo mode.
Important: You will not get access to the Autochartist technical analysis add-on from the Demo Account.
Getting an OANDA Demo Account is quick and easy
Unlike some of the competitors, OANDA has made it really quick and easy to open a demo account, and you will not be forced to provide a multitude of information about yourself.
For me, it took less than 3 minutes to register and get my demo account up and running.
- I went to the OANDA web site and selected “Open A Demo Account”.
- I entered my name, email address and phone number.
- I made a password and hit submit.
- On the next page, I decided what I wanted to try out first: the MT4 or the proprietary OANDA platform. I picked “Launch OANDA web” and was taken directly to the trading interface.
OANDA customer support
Support is only available during weekdays, not during the weekends. This is fine for many traders who stick to the traditional forex trading schedule, but can be a minus for currency traders who speculate on cryptocurrency during the weekends and my need help with issues when the support is closed.
Support is available through phone, email and live chat.
The live chat has several language options, including English, German and Spanish. Personally, I dislike that I have to jump through quite a few hoops in the live chat (submitting information, e.g. my email address) before I can be connected to a representative. I prefer live chats where you are connected directly and can deal with the issue at hand right away, instead of having to waste time on things that honestly have nothing to do with my inquiry. The support staff should not need my email address to be able to answer a basic question.
+1(877)6263239 (This is a phone call to the United States)
+44(20)71011600 (This is a phone call to the UK)
+6565798289 (This is a phone call to Singapore)
+61280466258 (This is a phone call to Australia)
+0120923213 (This is a toll-free number for traders in Japan and can not be used outside Japan)
You find the live chat on the OANDA web site. Go to the “Contact Us” section of the site.
Deposits and withdrawals
Several different transaction types are accepted for deposits and withdrawals, including a selection of debit/credit cards, e-wallets, and bank wire transfers. It is for instance possible to use PayPal and Trustly.
Exactly which transaction methods you can use will depend on your location.
OANDA does not charge any fee for processing your deposits, but they will charge a withdrawal fee for many withdrawal methods, so make sure you check the cost (if any) associated with the method you wish to use. The size of the withdrawal fee will depend on the transaction method.
- It is currently $15 for withdrawals to debit/credit cards, with no fee charged on your first withdrawal each month.
- It is currently $20 for your first bank wire transfer withdrawal each month, and $15 per withdrawal for any following ones that month.
So, if you are using a credit/debit card do not normally withdraw money from your account more frequently than once a month, this is not a big problem. For traders that like to do more frequent withdrawals, it can erode the profit over time.
There are many brokers who do no charge any fees to process your withdrawal requests, so you don’t have to go with OANDA if this practise is unsuitable for your habits.
Making a deposit to an OANDA account
Making deposits to my OANDA account is quick and easy.
- I log into the OANDA Hub.
- I select “Deposit”.
- Since some people have more than one OANDA trading account, you can be required to select which trading account you want the money sent to. Then, press “Continue”.
- I select transaction method and enter how much money I wish to deposit.
- Since I use my credit card card for deposits, I now enter the required credit card information before confirming the deposit.
This will largely depend on the method. For some e-wallets, withdrawals take one business day or even less. Credit/debit card transfers usually take up to 3 days. International wire transfers can take 5 days or more.
If the account is inactive for 12 months, OANDA will start charging the $10 inactivity fee. Only trading count as activity in this regard; simply logging in to your account is not enough to keep it active.
On the plus side, traders who have been inactive have reportedly been able to negotiate a rebate in exchange for activating their account again.
Currency conversion fee
If you trade an instrument in a different currency to your account base currency, a 0.5% currency conversion fee will apply.
OANDA was established in 1997 and is one of the pioneers with in its field. Back then, it was a currency exchange data provider. Today, it has grown into offering much more and is one of the most popular online retail brokers, especially for forex traders.
True to its roots, OANDA still provides FX data feeds and money transfer services, and is utilized in this capacity by major brands such as Deloitte, Expedia and AirBnb.
OANDA launched their first trading platform for retail traders in 2001 and quickly gained a lot of attention by permitting small-scale hobby traders to carry out deals as small as $1.
In 2018, OANDA was acquired by CVC Capital Partners.
OANDA is headquartered in London, UK. Smaller OANDA offices are found in several other parts of the world, including New York City and Toronto.
Questions and answers
Does OANDA provide negative balance protection for retail clients?
Only in certain jurisdictions.
Is there a welcome bonus?
This varies depending on the jurisdiction, since many of the stricter jurisdictions have clamped down on big welcome offers designed to entice non-professional traders.
What is the Advanced Trader Program
If you are a part of the Advanced Trader Program, you can expect rebates and other perks. This is a program for high volume / high account balance traders. It is only available in the United States.