CMC Markets Review 2021 - How Does It Fare Against Other Forex Brokers?

CMC Markets Review: Transparent, Low-Fee Trading Platform For Advanced Traders

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CMC Markets offers low fees, access to popular markets and powerful trading tools, but is made only for those comfortable with high-risk derivatives trading.

CMC Markets has plenty of great things going for it. 

It offers competitive trading fees and commissions, access to instruments ranging from the classic to the exotic, and is a highly experienced entity that has won multiple awards.  

Strikingly, it has one of the best designed websites out there: highly transparent, well-organised and easy even for newbies to navigate and find the information they need. 

However, it only offers products that are only suitable for traders who are comfortable around margin calls, leverage, stop orders and other complexities that come with derivatives trading.  

Clearly, CMC Markets is not for those just stepping into the volatile world of trading. Is this the right platform for you? Let’s find out. 

Here’s what you’ll learn about CMC Markets in this article.

Overview of CMC Markets

What you can invest in: Stocks, Forex, Indices, Cryptocurrencies, Commodities, Treasuries, Share baskets – CFDs and Countdowns
Minimum balance required: None
Deposit fees: S$0
Withdrawal fees: S$0
Withdrawal limits: None
Commission: SGD trades – 0.10%, minimum S$10, USD trades – 0.10%, minimum US$10 (trades in other currencies follow different rates and minimums)
Inactivity fee: S$15 per month after 12 consecutive months of no trading activity
Licence: Authorised by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

Highly transparent, with one of the best-designed websitesProducts offered are CFDs and Countdowns, which are risky and highly volatile
Allows you to profit whether market moves up or down, with good selection of advanced trading toolsNot suited for beginners or those seeking passive investment
High number of assets offered, from classics like stocks, to rising stars like High minimum commissions can eat into profitability of smaller trades
Competitive, low commission rates
Well-designed trading platforms, free demo account for risk-free testing

Why should you trade with CMC Markets?

#1: Able to profit from both market ups and down, but requires advanced knowledge and skills

The most important thing you need to know about CMC Markets is that it is not for beginners.

CMC Markets is an online brokerage that offers only Contracts-for-Differences (CFDs) and a proprietary product called Countdown, both of which are highly risky trading products which take experience, knowledge and skill (and for Countdowns, sheer luck) in order to succeed.

Firstly, CFDs are a derivative which allows you to trade on the price movement of the underlying assets – these could be stocks, indices, cryptocurrencies, forex, commodities, etc. CFDs are fast-moving and require constant monitoring, and you also need to manage liquidity risks and meet margin calls. 

Next, according to the CMC Markets’ website, “Countdowns are fixed-return trades based on whether the settlement price of a product will be above or below the current Countdown price at the end of a range of short-term timeframes.” 

The main takeaway here is that CMC Markets is not made for investing – not the slow, steady, passive type anyway. You should think of it as a platform made for hardore traders who live and breathe the markets, and should only approach it if you’re prepared to do the same. 

#2: Good selection of instruments and sectors

Assuming that you’re on board with the type of trading that CMC Markets offers, you’ll find a wide range of trading instruments and access to many attractive markets at your fingertips. 

From classics like stocks, indices, forex and commodities, to cryptocurrencies, CMC Markets allows you to trade CFDs and take bets on Countdowns on them all. 

This makes CMC Markets a convenient one-stop platform that should fulfil your trading needs and goals.   

#3: Transparent, well-designed website, with powerful trading platform and multiple useful tools 

Another strong point of CMC Markets is the high degree of transparency and well-designed website, which is likely to make a good first impression. 

All the information you need is clearly and conveniently displayed, thanks to the intuitive and helpful user interface. Jargon and technical terms are also clearly explained, so that even complete beginners should feel at ease navigating the website. 

In terms of the trading platform and tools, CMC Markets doesn’t hold back. Your trading account comes with all the advanced tools you’ll need in your attempt to tame your trades – provided you know how to use them. 

#4: Commission rates are competitive, but could affect smaller trades

CMC Markets commission rates for CFDs range from between 0.10% to 0.18%, depending on the currency or market you are trading in. This is quite competitively priced, when compared to other online brokerages offering similar services.

However, there is a minimum charge per trade – S$10 for SGD trades and US$10 for USD trades. Also, the commission is applied twice per trade (when you buy and when you sell).

As such, the profitability of smaller trades could be affected because of the minimum charges. 

For whom is CMC Markets best suited?

Just in case you somehow missed it earlier, we’ll say it one more time: CMC Markets is for advanced traders only, and those looking for passive investing will not find it here. 

However, if you’re a hardcore trader who can wield the three different types of stop-loss orders like a Dragonball anime character, butter your toast with leverage (up to 50x at CMC Markets) and explain the difference between a standard close out and a last-in-first-out to a roomful of five-year-olds, you’ll find CMC Markets to be a polished, competitively priced brokerage firm with access to some of the most potentially profitable markets out there. 

What charges or fees should you look out for?

When trading CFDs on CMC Markets, be sure to watch the minimum charges applied on each trade, as they have the potential to make smaller trades less profitable.

There is also a S$15 per month inactivity fee, which will be levied on your account should you go without any trading activities for 12 continuous months. However, the levying of this fee will not cause your account balance to turn negative, but can cause it to drop to zero.

Other fees to watch out for are the standard ones that come with CFDs, which the website conveniently sums up for you. 

When funding your account via credit cards, there will be a 2% transaction fee. There are no fees for opening or closing your account. 

What are the promotions available for CMC Markets?

Currently, there aren’t any promotions available for CMC Markets. We’ll update this space if we come across any, so check back often!

How do you open and fund your CMC Markets account?

Opening your CMC Markets account

Follow these steps to open your CMC Markets account

  1. Go to CMC Markets Singapore page
  2. Click on the ‘Create Account’ button in the top right
  3. Follow the on-screen prompts to complete your registration 
    1. See this page for a detailed breakdown on your account

If you’re looking to try out CMC Markets without investing money, you can sign up for a free demo account

Funding your CMC Markets account

You may fund your account using any of the following methods:

Funding methodCrediting lead timeFees
Credit Card (MasterCard or VISA only)Immediate2% 
PayNowBy next business dayNone
Bank transfer/FASTBy next business dayNone
GIRO (non-POSB/DBS)2 to 3 business daysNone
MEPS Funds Transfer (non-POSB/DBS)By next business dayBank charges may apply

At-a-glance comparison: CMC Markets vs other popular brokers

Commission feeMinimum depositMaintenance fee
CMC MarketsSGD trades: 0.10% or min. S$10
USD trades: 0.10% or min. US$10
Different fees apply for trades in other currencies
NoneS$15 per month after 12 months of inactivity
DBS VickersSGD trades: 0.28% or min. S$25
USD trades: 0.18% or min. US$25
OCBC Securities (iOCBC)SGX: Min. S$25 (online) or S$40 (broker-assisted).
US exchanges: Min. US$20 (online) or US$30 (broker-assisted).
S$1,000 (for 18 to 20 years old)
None for all others
TD AmeritradeS$0 for US-listed stocks and ETF
US$7.44 for online trades of over-the-counter stocks
US$0.70 per options contract
US$2.41 per futures contract

No min. for account opening
Min. US$500 required to receive real time data
Min. US$2,000 for margin capability
Min. US$5,000 to sell options naked
Min. US$25,000 to actively day-trade

Saxo MarketsMutual funds and SGX stocks: S$0 
US ETFs, CFDs and Stocks: min. S$3
US bonds: min. 0.05% 
Bonds, commodities, futures and options: min. S$1.25
S$2,000 for regular savings plan
S$3,000 for SaxoTraderGo platform
UOB Kay HianSG stocks & stocks CFDs: min. S$10 to S$25 
US stocks & stock CFDs: min. USS$20, 
SG corporate bonds: min. S$2.14
S$3,000 for CFDs
S$5,000 for FX
Maybank Kim EngSG stocks: min. S$10 to S$25 
US stocks: min. US$20
OandaDaily rates and charges according to market conditions
N/AInactivity fee of S$10 per month applies after 12 months without trading activity
IGS$10 minimum for equity CFDs per open/closeN/AN/A
City Index0.08% or S$10 minimum for Singapore CFDsS$150N/A
Tiger BrokersSGX stocks: 0.08%, min. S$2.88 per order (currently waived) 
US stocks: US$0.01, min. US$1.99 per trade
Interactive Brokers (IBKR)SGX stocks: 0.08% of trade value, min. S$2.50 per order 
US stocks: US$0.005 per share, min. US$1 per order
N/AUp to USDS$10 per month (less commission paid that month)

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By Alevin Chan
An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.