XTB is an excellent all-around broker. It’s one of the biggest and best-established CFD brokers around. It offers FX, an extensive range of CFDs (stocks, ETFs, bonds, commodities, and cryptos), as well as real stocks, making it a good choice not only for traders but for investors as well. It’s also among the lowest-cost brokers, with narrow bid/asked spreads and little in the way of extraneous costs. The educational offering is excellent, as is the daily flow of information, making it a good choice for beginning traders who are looking for guidance. And it’s highly regulated by several serious regulators plus publicly listed, giving an addition measure of security.
The main drawback, if it is one, is that the firm only offers its own proprietary trading platform (xStation 5). It’s a great platform, easy to learn, that offers most of what you could want but it aims for simplicity rather than comprehensiveness. Nor does the firm offer some of the platform add-ons, like Trading Central or Autochartist, that some other brokers do. As a result some of the most sophisticated (i.e., fussy) clients may find it lacking. Also the firm offers no copy trading alternatives.
XTB has many outstanding points that make it among the best brokers.
First and foremost is its prices – it has among the narrowest spreads in the industry, plus few other extraneous charges. It would be a natural place for cost-conscious traders to start. Yet at the same time it features an usually wide array of CFDs, including stocks, ETFs, commodities, and cryptos.
Its proprietary platform, while by no means the most comprehensive available, is intuitive and well enough equipped for the vast majority of traders. The educational offering is top-notch and there’s a veritable tsunami of information coming across every day, making it a good choice for beginning traders.
It’s regulated in several strict jurisdictions, plus offers negative balance protection to traders in the UK, EU, and MENA (but not those onboarded under the International entity.
Choosing an account is quite simple as the firm only offers one account with no minimum deposit requirement.
X-Trade was founded in 2002 in Warsaw as the first leveraged FX brokerage house in the country. It became X-Trade Brokers and then XTB in 2004. In 2005 it got a Polish license to offer brokerage services on all financial instruments and in 2016 it got a listing on the Warsaw Stock Exchange under the symbol XTB.
The CEO is Omar Arnaout.
The firm specializes in servicing clients in Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and Latin America.
Like all CFD houses, XTB is a market-maker. That is, when you trade with it, they take the other side of the trade. This is inevitable with CFD providers.
The website is available in English, Arabic, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malay, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, and Vietnamese.
As far as we can tell! It’s regulated in one Tier 1 location, one Tier II, one Tier III, and two EU regulators that I have no idea about. Furthermore, the company is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and so has to meet various capital requirements and file audited results on a regular basis. That’s a good reassurance too. It doesn’t guarantee safety – plenty of listed companies have gone broke – but it does add another layer of transparency. It’s survived several financial crises, including the 2015 Swiss National Bank debacle that brought down several firms. And it participates in a number of investor protection schemes under UK and EU law that may reimburse clients up to a certain limit in case of loss.
Yes, it’s regulated in one Tier 1 location, one Tier II, one Tier III, and two EU regulators that I have no idea about.
The different units and their regulators are
I can see why they have Polish regulation, since they’re a Polish company, but why Spain, since their CySec regulation would allow them to operate in Spain anyway. In any case it’s added safety for you.
Is XTB legal in USA?
No, XTB does not accept clients from the US.
Other major countries that it doesn’t accept clients from include Australia, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Pakistan, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Turkey.
The group headquarters are in Warsaw, Poland. They also have offices in Belize, Britain, Chile, Cyprus, Czech republic, Dubai, France, Germany, Portugal, Romania, and Spain.
XTB is a publicly listed company. Most of the stock (67%) is held by Jakub Zablocki, one of the co-founders of the company. The general public holds 29% and institutional investors hold 4%.
So far, so good! They’re regulated by a number of regulatory agencies, including the very strict FCA in the UK, and to the best of my knowledge haven’t had any major problems in the years that they’ve been in existence. I checked with the FCA and they’ve never had to take any disciplinary actions against the company.
Leverage is pre-set automatically to the maximum allowed under that regulatory regime. For international clients, that means 1:500 Maximum. However it will be lower for those in other regulatory environments.
Professional clients can ask to increase their exposure, which will automatically lower their leverage. But you’re not a professional client so this doesn’t matter for you.
The table of leverage can be found here.
There’s really only one account at XTB, which naturally is called the “Standard” account.
Clients in some jurisdictions have the option of a “Swap Free,” i.e. Islamic account, the only difference of which is that it doesn’t offer swaps (duh!) and in return has a slightly wider minimum spread (0.7 pip vs 0.5 pip).
The “Swap Free” account doesn’t seem to be available in the UK, which is maybe why the minimum spread is a smaller 0.35 pip. But on the other hand, you can open an “Elected Professional” account if you meet the requirements (you don’t, so don’t even ask what they are).
The demo account expires after 30 days.
XTB operates entirely on spread. There are no commissions, except as noted below.
Fees are pretty low overall. There’s no deposit fee, no account maintenance fee, and no withdrawal fee (if you use your debit card to deposit money and you withdraw more than $50 or $100, depending on the region).
An inactivity fee of EUR 10 a month kicks in after a year, which is fair enough.
Stocks: You can trade commission-free unless you trade more than EUR 100k a month. The company does charge a 0.5% conversion fee when you buy stocks in a currency that isn’t your base currency (e.g. a UK trader buying a US stock). This is about the same as you’d pay if you got an online bank to change the money. (They might change it at the prevailing interbank rate but then would charge you 0.5% to transfer the money, so it comes out the same.)
There’s a $4 commission on certain cryptocurrency transactions.
A list of all their fees and commissions can be found here.
Looked at the other way – negative fees, as it were – the company offers cashback rebates to active traders outside the UK and EU who were onboarded under their Belize-regulated entity. (Large = trade more than 15 lots a month.) The other regulators they operate under don’t allow cash rebates, so if you live in the EU or UAE you’re out of luck. Large traders in the UK can get discounts, however.
Spreads are where XTB competes the most. I’m a bit confused as to what the firm’s spreads are. Of course the standard account has floating spreads so they change with market conditions, but the firm has conflicting information on its website about the minimum spread. Looking at the UK site, here they say “the minimum spread is 0.9 pips,” but here they say it’s 0.35 pip. Switch to the International account and the same page says the minimum spread is 0.5 pip, while another page says it’s 0.1 pip. I can understand that different regions get different pricing, but why are there different prices listed for the same region?
I asked XTB about this and they referred me to their Market Specification Page, which lists all the minimum spreads, target spreads, available leverage or margin, swap points, and commission if applicable. Plus trading hours. So you can check that out for the specific market you’re interested in, if you’re interested.
Whichever it is, it’s quite tight. Combined with the fact that there are few if any fees and no commissions, XTB is one of the lowest-cost brokers around.
XTB has a large selection of almost 2,200 tradable instruments available, all CFDs except for currencies. (There may be some variation depending on which entity you’re registered with.) While there are other companies that offer more single stocks, XTB’s offering of stock market indices, commodities, ETFs and cryptos are among the largest I’ve seen. They’re especially good at Eastern European assets, as befits a Polish company headquartered in Warsaw.
FX: The company offers 57 FX pairs (even though it only says 48 on the website! I counted). In addition to the usual G10 currencies, they also offer and unusual number of Eastern European currencies (CZK, HUF, PLN, RON), plus three Latam currencies (BRL, CLP, MXN), as well as CNH, TRY, and ZAR. RUB is up on their website even as we talk but I wonder if you can actually trade it nowadays.
Indices: They offer 30 market indices, all you could want. As well as the usual major-market suspects they also offer several Eastern European ones, eg Czech, Moscow, and Warsaw, as well as the KOSPI, Mexico, and Vietnam. They also trade the VIX index, Wall Street’s “fear” gauge, as well as the VSTOXX, which is the European stock market version. And the DXY dollar index.
Commodities: They have an extraordinary selection of 28 commodities, again everything you could want. This is much more than most other brokers offer. It includes
Stocks: They offer CFDs on 1,904 stocks from 17 countries. Most are from the US (1,126) and UK (213). All the other countries are in Europe.
Most (but not all) XTB units also offer cash equities as well as CFDs.
ETFs: In addition, they offer CFDs on 159 ETFs, which is quite unusual. Most of these seem to be sourced from the US, but of course this includes many ETFs that invest in various areas around the world, such as Latin America or China.
Cryptos: They also offer an unusually large array of 46 crypto CFDs, starting with Algorand and going to Zilliqa. Note that this is 46 different cryptos, without any double-counting of the same crypto vs different currencies (in other words, there’s no BTC/USD, BTC/EUR, and BTC/GBP).
The UK of course doesn’t allow trading in crypto CFDs, but otherwise the product offering is pretty much the same in the UK, EU, and internationally.
UK clients may be disappointed not to see spread betting on the menu. It’s not available.
The minimum deposit at XTB is $0 – zero -- which really can’t be beat. Of course you can’t start trading with no money so it’s kind of academic, but they do win the “lowest minimum deposit” award.
You can fund your account with bank transfers, credit/debit cards, or several e-wallets (Paysafe, safetypay, and Neteller). There’s no charge for deposits by bank transfers or credit cards for international or UK clients, but a small charge for credit card payments by Polish clients. There’s also a 2% charge for deposits using Paysafe. Check out the details for your country & preferred method of deposit.
For international accounts, they only accept deposits in USD. For UK accounts, they accept deposits in EUR, USD, GBP, and HUF. Polish traders can have an account in PLN.
The account opening process at XTB is pretty simple. Assuming you have your documents ready, your account should be available for trading within one day.
International clients can withdraw money from their XTB account free of charge as long as they withdraw more than $50. Withdrawals below $50 incur a fee of $30, which is most of the money you’re withdrawing so there’s no point in doing it. This fee varies depending on what unit you’re dealing with. The UK operation for example has a $20 fee for withdrawals below $100.
For international clients, the company only allows withdrawals by bank transfer. It operates on the SHA (shared cost) model, which means charges are split between the sender (XTB) and the beneficiary (you). XTB pays for sending the money, while you pay charges for intermediary banks and your own bank, if any.
All withdrawals are processed the same day if received before 1 PM, otherwise the next day.
XTB is unusual in that you can only trade through their own proprietary platform, called xStation 5. Most brokers also offer the choice of some third-party platforms, such as MT4 or MT5.
xStation 5 comes three versions: a web (i.e. browser) version, a desktop app, and a mobile app. They’re all available for all operating systems.
xStation 5 goes for simplicity and ease of use, rather than comprehensiveness. The range of orders is limited to the basic three: market, limit, and stop orders. You can set stop-loss and take profit levels, including trailing stops, but there’s no facility for many of the more complex order types. It’s quite simple to enter a trade – you can do it with one click. Building watchlists and modifying charts are similarly intuitive. On the other hand there’s no trading journal nor tax accounting tools. There are enough different charting tools but not the hundreds offered by some firms, and only 39 technical indicators (which is probably 35 more than you need, but never mind). You can’t create your own indicators.
The mobile apps integrate seamlessly with the desktop platform so you can trade on your computer during the day and then keep watch in the evening on your phone when you’re out. Traders can modify and close existing orders and calculate profit/loss in real time. The search function works well, which is good considering the large number of assets available to trade. Traders can also access market news, educational materials, and the economic calendar from within the app.
For the more advanced trader who wants to backtest strategies and use Expert Advisors (EAs), aka trading robots, to trade automatically, xStation 5 isn’t the best choice. It doesn’t have any such features built in. What it does have is Open API. I have to admit, I’m not sure whether that enables you to do these things.
The platform therefore may not satisfy the more sophisticated traders who like to use exotic technical indicators and obscure Japanese chart types to create automatic trading strategies that will run while they sleep, but on the other hand it’s perfect for beginners who don’t want to get overwhelmed and bogged down sorting through menus.
You can see a video about the platform here.
XTB does not offer many of the trading tools that other firms do, such as Trading Central or VPS services. However it has a few tricks up its sleeve regardless.
The firm offers its own XTB Market Sentiment data directly into the platform. You can see what your fellow XTB clients are up to: what percent are long or short which instruments. This is useful information, although whether you want to follow the crowd or believe it’s a useful contrary indicator is up to you.
Similarly, the Heat Map shows the number of XTB clients who’ve made or lost money. I’m not sure I’d want to see this.
The Stocks Scanner is an extremely useful tool that uses 15 factors to filter stocks according to your criteria, such as market cap, P/E, beta, etc. Given that the firm offers CFDs on nearly 2,000 stocks this is quite helpful in sorting out the wheat from the chaff. Also Top Movers.
Hedging and scalping are allowed.
The platform does have open API, which allows you to create your own automated trading programs, but this requires a lot more knowledge than using pre-made EAs on MT4. You can also use the open API for creating your own back-testing applications, if you know how to do that. Personally I have no idea myself.
No social or copy trading possibilities, unfortunately.
The firm has a great educational and information offering.
There are dozens and dozens of brief educational articles, starting with “How to Activate Your Account” and “What is a CFD?” and going on to such sophisticated topics as “Trading Emissions” and “Heikin-Ashi: Basic Concepts.” I can’t even figure out how many articles there are because as I kept scrolling down, more and more appear. The materials are clear, concise, and comprehensive.
In addition, the firm offers “Premium” courses that can be accessed free of charge on the xStation 5 platform. These apparently include introductory videos and articles and cover everything a beginner needs to know.
XTB has YouTube channels in a huge number of languages: Polish, Slovakian, Hungarian, Romanian, Portuguese, Latin American Spanish, Spanish-Spanish, French, German, Italian, Arabic, and of course English.
There’s also a steady stream of news articles during the day. Looking at it now, I see 16 articles out during the day that I’m writing this, starting with “Morning wrap” and “Economic Calendar” and including “Chart of the day” and “Trade of the day.” If that’s too much, you can filter the news feed by such categories as “instrument” or “trading signal” or “technical analysis.”
Webinars: XTB offers frequent webinars with live market analysis, demonstrated on XTB’s trading platform xStation 5, followed by a live discussion, where traders get to chat with XTB’s market analysts and account managers. These are only offered to clients and so are not listed on the website.
You can contact XTB via email, live chat, or by phone. They have local phone numbers all over the world. Phone support is available 24/5, which is the industry standard, and live chat is available 24/7, which is better than many other brokers. Chat support can be launched from the trading platform, which is convenient.
Additionally, clients have a designated account manager, so you won’t have to explain your problem over and over again to a new person each time.
Customer support is available in English and Arabic, Chinese, Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, and Vietnamese. You can also visit them at any of the local branches listed above if you wish.
Live chat requests sometimes redirect to an email form when lines are busy, but otherwise it’s pretty good.
When I sent them a list of questions for this review it took about two weeks to get a full set of answers, but they did eventually answer all of them.
XTB is an excellent broker for beginners. Their platform is straightforward, easy to use, and offers all the tools you’d want without being overwhelming. Their educational offering is solid. They have quite enough news and information to give you ideas. They assign you a specific account manager so you can have someone to hold your hand while you trade. There are videos, webinars, and training available in any number of languages. And the low minimum for account opening – zero! – can’t be beat. Meanwhile, the cost structure is simplicity itself: all spreads, no commissions (until you trade over EUR 100k in stocks a month). The only downside is that you’ll be learning on their proprietary platform so if you decide to trade somewhere else you won’t be able to take your set-up with you. But maybe you won’t want to trade somewhere else.
The only downside for beginners are two: one, no copy trading alternatives and two, few passive investment alternatives (except ETFs, of which there are plenty). But for people who are looking to get into trading, especially in Eastern Europe or Latam, XTB is an excellent choice.
Regardless of how or what you trade, the broker you choose should be safe to use, affordable, and offer everything you need to trade at your best. That’s why we’re highly selective. We only feature brokers regulated by a trusted authority and we make it easy to compare their fees & features, so that you can make an informed choice.
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