OANDA Review

4
Year founded
1996

OANDA is a rather old broker from New York. They’ve been around since 1995, and by now 75 currency pairs have been accumulated. There are also other product types, such as commodities, metal commodities, bond and indices. It’s all revolving around Forex, however, and currency exchanging is their primary business.

It’s a very extensive broker, in short. Apart from that, they also dabble a lot in software development. Their algorithms are celebrated for providing precise data, for instance. That’s also why they claim to be lightning fast in their order execution.

As all brokers, they have their flaws. Whether or not these flaws are enough to ruin one’s trading experience is yet unclear, but let’s see.

Trading conditions

OANDA doesn’t seem to have any fixed commissions around their trading transactions. There are fees charged for withdrawing and depositing money, as well as usual overnight charges. The spreads are doing all the work when it comes to trading penalties.

This broker actually has a fairly sizeable table of spreads for all of their products. Each product type is justified for having certain spread sizes, but OANDA is generally said to try and keep them down as tight as possible.

The minimal spread possible here, for instance, is 0.8 – on UK 100, an index projecting the financial well-being of 100 most successful British companies. The spreads on major FX pairs aren’t too wide, either – the EUR/USD exchange is usually at 1.5 pips, a healthy number.

But of course, the more exotic pairs don’t enjoy such tightness. The spreads on, say, Turkish Liras can easily reach 200 pips, owing to the less safe nature of currencies outside of the Big Dozen.

That much is clear – now for the account types available here.

Account types

There are 2 major account types available on OANDA. There are also 2 minor plans, but let’s focus of the big two for now. The accounts are, as follows:

ü  Standard. It’s an account type virtually all people have at the start. You don’t even need to deposit anything to open it. It’s got all the features, products and necessary instruments needed – a sound deal, by all accounts;

ü  Premium. Now, this one is a bit different. To unlock it, you have to accumulate at least $20,000 on your account. This will give you your own assistant manager and priority treatment at customer support. That’s largely it.

You don’t really get anything you can’t live without on Premium. All it gives you is a few neat bonuses as a thank-you for staying so long with this broker. You’ll get the automated execution, constant customer support (except on weekends) and all the trading content both for free and on Premium.

There is an interesting bonus that changes the financial side of things dramatically. You see, OANDA gives you one free card transfer a month for withdrawal purposes. If you do it more than once, you’ll have to pay for all the additional transactions. Premium gives you an ability make wire transactions for free all the time.

Now, the fee is not that terrible, but if you know you’ll have to transfer the money many times in a month and not in one big package, it sounds like a pleasant offer. Obviously, it’s just there to make people who trade in large volumes trade even more, and thus give the broker more money through spreads.

That’s about it for the major plan offers. There are still to minor deals to speak of.

First – the demo account. It’s a standard option that doesn’t require you to submit too much data. You’ll be able to click on all the functional parts, see if everything’s operational and go through the trading process from A to Z. That’s where you should go if you don’t trust a broker yet but want to give them a chance.

Second – the corporate account. It’s an exclusive deal for organizations. All the provisions about commissions, fees and other services are discussed individually. The details in general are more favorable for the investor company, of course. OANDA also uses this chance to promote their unique historical data API to organizations.

This API is astoundingly beneficial even for the individual traders, but more about that further down. For now, let’s go over to the trading solutions these people offer you. There’s a lot to discuss.

Trading platforms

There are 5 trading platforms available on OANDA. 3 of them are unique broker’s products, one of them (TradingView) is an advanced API of sorts that powers many different platforms across the Internet, and the last in MetaTrader 4. Let’s just cover them one-by-one.

OANDA Web

Across their unique creations, the Web platform is used by most customers.

It’s powered by the TradingView we just mentioned, which means you, as an investor, can enjoy a much deeper insight into the current stay of markets.

Web is a rather light solution. There aren’t too many instruments, and those which exist are simple by design. They are mostly used to analyze your decisions, efficiency and correct you if you aren’t doing something precisely right.

The most promising tools include the risk management instruments and the performance-measuring solutions. The risk control part includes simply user-friendly UI dedicated to placing stop-loss orders as well as understand how they (and other risk-reducing tactics) work. Extremely useful, that.

As for performance, it’s a simple collection of parameters that mostly estimate your profits and losses and make correlations with your financial decisions. Based on this information, you may or may not make conclusions about your trading behavior which will or will not lead to better results in the future. It’s all in your hands, to be concise.

Now, this software is also need for letting you make decisions looking almost exclusively at the charts. Usually, you would need market data, sell & buy entries, as well as other info to decide on an action. It wastes time so much time. Here, all the data you need is accessible through the charts.

They are clean and friendly-looking. It’s all powered by the TradingView technology, which makes sure the charts are always information. Click around them and you’ll see tons of necessary info appearing right where you need it.

What makes this trading style even better is OANDA’s very own historical data API. It holds information about countless deals of over 30,000 currency pairs across several decades. But, important for now, its sources allow the platform to show you precise market data exactly when it appears. Decent servers also make it possible for them to fire this info at you at a lightning speed, improving the famed local execution.

This trading platform is light and perfect for new arrivals. It’s not littered by instruments, tools and indicators, and you can still make fortunes with the help from it. If you don’t want to stress over numbers, this software is for you.

OANDA Desktop

The Desktop platform is rather similar to the previous candidate. With that said, it’s still extremely unique and fits better for a more in-depth trading experience.

The Web version had some indicators built into the advanced charts we talked about. This time, however, the indicators, tools and other features are independent. Although the charting is till superb, and you get all the necessary information, you also get over 50 tools to improve your routine.

You obviously can’t fit them all into your charts, so you’ll have to customize your charts. It’s not the last time you hear it about OANDA Desktop.

There are 10 different chart types, and just as many chart design variations – all for better customizability and practicality. From any of these chart types, you can still open and close positions in a manner of seconds. That’s the pleasure of trading on any OANDA platform.

Another example of high customizability is the way you can rearrange your charts and other windows on display. You can potentially put up to 10 charts simultaneously on your screen if you want to. It’s not really advised, but you can still do it.

There’s also a chapter dedicated to the market data and news by the key outlets such as Dow Jones. Because the servers and the engine are outstanding, you’ll get fresh updates as soon as possible. That means, in turn, that you’ll be able to ride the trend before anyone else is aware.

OANDA Mobile

The third option is the Mobile app – available on iOS and Android. It’s a perfect way to trade when you don’t have an immediate access to PC. What’s more, this app is outstanding in its own right, not just as a second-rate replacement to other software.

This app is highly customizable. You can set up your preferred parameters and indicators, as well as tailor the charts to your own liking. There are also several timeframe options for 1 hour, 2 hours, 3, 4, and so forth. It’s not game-breakingly customizable, but enough to please your preferences.

Interestingly, this app also has tons of indicators and tools (more than 50, in total). It’s bizarre how this tiny software can fit so many instruments, but somehow it manages. To help you more, there are also alerts from OANDA (notifications about promising deals you might like) and a lot of market data (like always).

The only problem is that they sort of failed to make a stable app, even though they are such a proficient software developer. It can freeze, lag and refuse to let you in. Another common problem is the lack of user-friendliness. It’s actually not easy to navigate here at first – understandably, from all the indicators that litter the place.

MetaTrader 4 and TradingView

These two are third-party trading platforms.

MT 4 is a name familiar to all – it’s a comfortable old interface with all the necessary tools and indicators you may need. There have already been said a lot about it – you can simply read an extended review on another certified outlet. It should only be said that you can enjoy fast execution and relatively tight spreads of OANDA on MT4, which is a great combination.

The same goes for TV – it’s a separate trading platform based on the API with the same name. This API powers other platforms in this list, as you remember. You can expect all the good stuff you heard + tight spreads and fast execution. It’s actually not a bad idea at all to use TV, this software is greatly undervalued.

Additional services

OANDA doesn’t have too much to offer besides all that. It is a great supplier of trading software, but they aren’t too generous with other services. It’s worth to mention the educative section, however.

It’s not as extensive as what some other brokers have, but it gets the idea across. It’s really just for education. There’s an entry-level portion with the tutorials about trading, basic patterns and spreads. Then, you can get to more advanced articles – about oscillators, tools, instruments and strategies.

Considering that OANDA can get pretty confusing and hard to navigate at times, it’s a great addition.

Final words

Most of the time, OANDA works great. They are truly a good option if what you look for is the variety of trading software, competitive spreads and speedy execution. There are some red flags, though.

For instance, their apps don’t seem to work great all the time. They are efficient, but they suffer from problems that shouldn’t exist on such apps. It’s possible that their servers are simply overloaded from all the burdens they have to carry, but it’s impossible to say for sure.

In short, it’s a decent broker for a practical side of things, but you’d better look out. It’s actually a #1 rule in this business – never trust a broker completely.