Alpari Review: Complete Broker Overview
Alpari is a pretty large Forex broker that has been servicing traders from around the world for over 10 years.
Through the use of direct market access, thin asset spreads and an array of trading technology, Alpari has managed to register over 1 million clients during this time period. These clients can trade a range of FX and CFD assets with high levels of leverage.
However, are they really that safe?
In this Alpari review we will give you exactly what you need to know about this broker. I will also give you some top tips in order to make the most of your trading experience here.
Alpari was founded in 1998 and their main office is based in St Vincent and the Grenadines. They have a registration number of 20389 IBC 2012 and are located at Alpari Limited, Suite 305, Griffith Corporate Centre, Kingstown.
Although they operate their brokerage out of this entity, they also have two separate subsidiary companies in the UK. One of these is responsible for conducting research for the broker and the other operates the website’s technology.
The company used to have their head office in the UK as well as a operate a UK broker entity. However, due to a shock announcement in 2015 by the Swiss Central Bank, their UK entity had to close down their operations.
Alpari is an ECN broker which means that they offer Straight Through Processing (STP) of their client’s orders. This means that on these ECN accounts, traders are getting close to the market rate on some pretty low spreads.
They accept clients from all around the world and have translated their website into 11 different languages. Their largest group of traders are those that are based in the Russian speaking regions.
Despite their reach, there are some countries that Alpari cannot accept clients from. These include the likes of the United States, Iran and Canada.
Is Alpari Regulated?
Yes and no.
Although Alpari is based in St Vincent and the Grenadines, they do not appear to be licenced by any governmental entity. This is because this country does not require their brokers to register with a financial authority.
However, Alpari is a member of the financial commission. This is a Forex industry body that is based in Hong Kong. They are a self regulating and external dispute resolution (EDR) body. Below is the page listing Alpari’s membership.
The Alpari Certificate from the Financial Commission
This body will operate independently and deal with disputes that are raised by the traders. They have a maximum coverage per complaint of $20,000. This could be disbursed by clients who can prove that the broker was acting dishonestly.
Of course, this is not as sound as governmental regulation.
This is because the agency does not require the broker to meet minimum requirements in terms of reporting, capital buffers other client protections.
Having said that, there are a number of other protections that Alpari provides their clients. These include the following:
- Segregated Funds: This means that client funds are stored separately from those of the brokers main accounts. This protects client funds in the even that the broker was to go under
- SSL Encryption: All of the communication with the Alpari site is done through a secure SSL connection. This means that your financial data will not be compromised
- Partnerships with Banks: Alpari has established a relationship with a number of important banks in order to facilitate the smooth movement of funds.
So, although they do not have the backing of some governmental regulator, there are protections and dispute resolution mechanisms in place to deal with it.
Leverage and Assets
Alpari has a pretty respectable selection of Forex assets that you can trade on the platform. This includes all of the major FX pairs and a number of minor pairs.
Benefits of Alpari & Asset Coverage
They also offer clients the chance to trade spot metals and commodity CFDs. However, these are quite lacking in terms of the individual assets. They only offer two metals pairs to trade and only have oil and natural gas in their commodity pile.
For those stock traders who want to use Alpari, you can trade their index CFDs. Unfortunately though, they do not make a market in single stock assets. If you wanted to trade your favorite companies then you will have to head on over to 24option.
Finally, Alpari also has cryptocurrency CFDs. Below is a list of the pairs that they make a market in (USD):
Let’s take a closer look at the leverage / margin requirements.
Margin & Leverage
When you trade at Alpari, you are trading on margin and with high degrees of leverage. In other words, the amount of funds that you need to cover a position is only a mere fraction of the size of said position.
There is a wide degree of leverage limits that you can trade at Alpari. At the upper end of the spectrum, your max leverage is 1,000:1 which is not something that we have seen anywhere before…
The actual leverage limits that you will get will vary according to the asset in question and the account that you have. However, here are the max leverage limits for the separate asset classes:
- Forex: 1,000:1
- Spot Metals: 500:1
- Commodity CFDs: 33:1
- Index CFDs: 50:1
- Crypto: 2:1
Leverage levels appear quite reasonable but are really quite substandard for cryptocurrency at only 2x leverage. If you wanted to trade crypto with more leverage then you could consider the likes of Prime XBT.
Of course, to manage the risk on the platform, Alpari will adjust the leverage limits based on the size of the position that you take on. Below is a table with these max leverage numbers on major forex pairs.
Max leverage For FX Based on Position Size
Note: 📝These are for the ECN accounts, you can see standard account leverage here.
The above table is only for the majors but you there will be stricter limits for the minor pairs and the metals. The limits will be even stricter as you move onto CFD assets and will end up at 50% margin across the board for Crypto CFDs.
If you want to see more specific leverage limits for the asset that you would like to trade then you can view them on their margin requirements page.
When you are trading with such high degrees of leverage, the fees and spreads on can make or break your profitability.
So, how does Alpari compare?
Alpari does not charge any trading fees or commission but they will charge a spread on the assets that you are trading. This is the spread between the bid and the offer in the order books.
These spreads differ according to the type of account that you set up (see below). The table below has the minimum spreads you can get on the different account types:
- Nano MT4: Fixed from 0.2
- Standard MT4 & MT5: Float from 0.3
- ECN MT4: Fixed from 0.1
- Pro ECN MT4: Float from 0
- ECN MT5: Float from 0
So as you can see, the Pro MT4 ECN and the ECN MT5 accounts have spreads that start at close to zero. However, if you do have one of these accounts then you will have to pay a standard lot commission of $16.
Take note though that these are the minimum spreads that you will pay and it will differ according to the assets you are trading. As an indication, below are the spreads and swaps (in pips) on the individual assets at Alpari:
|Asset||Minimum Spread||Swap Long||Swap Short|
The swap fee is a standard charge that brokers will pass on to the client. It is the cost of keeping a position open overnight and can be thought of as a financing or “overnight” funding fee. The rollover takes place between 23:55 and 00:05 (EET).
Take note 📝: Forex and Spot metals positions held overnight on a Wednesday will incur triple storage charge.
Deposit & Withdrawal Fees
In terms of the fees charged on deposits / withdrawals, it will depend on the type of funding that you do decide to use and the type of currency that you will be funding in.
The below table will give you a breakdown of the fees that you will be charged based on funding type:
|Bank Wire||EUR, USD||Your bank||Ameriabank: 0.1% (min 13 USD / 10 EUR, max 30 USD / 22 EUR)|
|Mastercard||EUR, USD||2.5%||1.2% + 2.90 EUR|
|China Union Pay||CNY||0%||0%|
|Neteller||USD, EUR||Transfer in USD: 4%
Transfer in EUR, INR, BRL: 2.5%
|Webmoney||USD, EUR||0% + 0.8%
(max 50 USD / 50 EUR)
(max 50 USD / 50 EUR)
These fees seem a bit high for us. This is especially at a time when we are seeing other brokers providing free funding / withdrawal options.
Take note 📝: Crypto funding is also an option for funding only. Network fees will apply.
If you are going to be paying in a currency that is different than the one that you are funding in then it will have to be converted by Alpari. They have a handy currency conversion tool that you can get in your account.
We were quite impressed with the range of accounts at Alpari. Overall, there are 6 different accounts for you to choose from.
These differ according to a number of factors including the type of platform, minimum trade size and processing type. They have standard accounts, pro accounts and their ECN no dealing desk accounts.
Below are all of the account options that you have at Alpari.
Sample of live account differences
With all of these accounts, you require 50% of the hedged margin in order to open or maintain a hedged position on the same instruments in the same account. They also have a standard minimum lot size / trade increment of 0.01 across the accounts.
Take note 📝: The Pro.ecn.mt4 and ecn.mt5 will charge you a lot commission of $16.
When it comes to the speed of the execution, if you are on an ECN based account then the order will be executed in the market. However, given that you are operating through a dealing desk on the standard accounts, the order is executed instantly.
Finally, for those of you of the Islamic faith, Alpari does offer shariah compliant accounts. With these accounts, the swap component is removed.
Alpari Demo Account
Of course, if you do not want to risk your funds at first on a live account then you can always opt for the free demo account on offer at Alpari.
This gives you the opportunity to try out the broker in a non-threatening way with demo funds. Not only can you familiarize yourself with the platform but it also allows you to get a better sense of whether the broker is good for you.
Required Information for Alpari Demo
Alpari offers a demo version on each one of their accounts accept for the Nano account. These demo accounts can be used for an unlimited period of time and you are allowed to refill your demo funds once they have been depleted.
Warning ⚠️: Demo accounts that have not had any activity for over 10 days will be closed.
The only thing that you will need to do in order to get access to the demo account is to submit your email address and other personal information. They will send you the demo login details to the email that you provided.
One of the most important criteria for a Forex trader is no doubt the types of trading platforms that you will be using.
Alpari makes use of Metatrader technology which was developed by the Metaquotes company. These platforms are the most widely used third party platforms at brokers. They are also well known to millions of traders worldwide.
Metatrader has developed two platforms for these purposes and they are the MT4 and the MT5.
This is the most well known and longest running of the two Metatrader platforms. It was developed for leveraged Forex trading and is packed with tools and functionality that professional traders love.
For example, there is advanced charting with numerous drawing tools at your disposal. There are are also a plethora of technical analysis studies that you can plot below your charts.
User Interface of Alpari MT4 Platform
To augment these analysis tools, the MT4 platform has a range of different order types that you can use to strategically enter / exit positions. For example, you can place a number of different stop losses both fixed and floating.
There are also other third-party plugins that Alpari has included in the MT4 platform. One of these is the Autochartist trade analysis tool that will alert you to potentially profitable setups (covered below).
Moreover, the MT4 platform has its own programming language (MQL4). You can use this to code your own Expert Advisors (EAs) on the platform. EAs are trading scripts that will run 24/7 and trade automatically.
The MT4 platform is available on a number of different devices. You can trade it through your web browser, on a PC, Mac or through a mobile device using the Metatrader applications.
This is the next generation trading platform by Metatrader. It allows you to trade a number of different CFD instruments on top of the traditional Forex assets that you can trade on the MT4.
The trading interface has also been completely revamped. For example, when it comes to charting you have additional timeframe options. Whereas the MT4 has 9 timeframes the MT5 has up to 21.
MT5 Platform for Alpari. Source
Metatrader has also included a market depth chart and economic calendar right on the platform. The former is helpful to determine the order flow whereas the latter will help you time your trades around important announcements.
You also have more optionality when it comes to placing orders on the MT5. In the new platform you have over 6 different types of pending orders that you can place vs. only 4 on the MT4.
Finally, the MT5 has a completely different programming language for the EAs. It uses MQL5 which is more advanced. It is used to implement a positional system and you can code a wide range of custom indicators. Of course, this would require some traders to learn a new coding language which does take time.
As is the case with the MT4, you can trade with the MT5 on a number of different platforms and devices.
Alpari Mobile Apps
Alpari provides their traders with a number of mobile apps.
Firstly, there is the official Alpari mobile app. This allows you to administer your accounts, fund / withdraw, view the latest economic news as well as the latest Apari market analysis. This is available in iOS and Android.
Alpari Mobile App. Source: Google Play Store
When it comes to trading, you will use the MT4 and MT5 mobile apps mentioned above. These are the most popular trading apps available on the market and have been downloaded over 11 million times.
These apps have hundreds of features and you can place orders with one-touch functionality. You can monitor open positions, view charts and studies as well as monitor the performance of your EAs.
So, should you use the apps?
We would always opt for the PC based version of the software. It is really hard to chart on a mobile device and the connectivity of mobile networks can sometimes be shoddy. However, if mobile trading is your only option then you can’t really go wrong with the MT4 / MT5 app.
Funding / Withdrawal
If you have used a demo account and want to trade for real then you will need to fund a live account.
Alpari has a range of funding options that will satisfy most clients in different countries. Moreover, when you are opening your account then you can choose between denominating it in USD, EUR and GLD.
To fund your account, you will head on over to the deposit section on your admin panel. There you will be presented with the available options.
Methods of Account Funding at Alpari
So, if you are looking to get your funds to the broker in the shortest period of time then you are probably best suited to use their web wallets or credit card options.
Note 📝: Their payments office is open Mon-Fri 06:00 – 15:00 GMT
It is also worth pointing out that if you are going to be transferring funds between accounts and a currency conversion takes place, then Alpari will try to convert the rate at close to market. You can see the rates on this currency conversion tool.
It is also worth pointing out that Alpari will not credit your funds if you send them from a third-party account. Hence, the bank account / funding method has to be in your name.
Withdrawals are just as easy as deposits. You need to head over to the withdrawals section in your account where you can select the type of withdrawal that you would like to process.
Below are the list of the withdrawal options as well as the time that they are likely to take:
- Bank Wire: 2-3 Business Days
- Mastercard: 2 Business Days
- China Union Pay: 2 Business Days
- Neteller: 1 Business Day
- Webmoney: 1 Business Day
- Fasapay: 1 Business Day
- Ebanking: 2 Business Days
Note 📝: Alpari will only process withdrawals once your account is verified
Unfortunately, there are no crypto withdrawal options even though this is an option for funding. This is most likely because they would like to be able to identify the withdrawal recipients.
Similarly, as is the case with the deposits, you cannot withdraw your funds into a third party account.
Alpari Customer Support
For us, customer support is one of those pivotal litmus tests that we apply to a broker. So it was important that we tested this out at Alpari.
There are a number of ways in which you can reach the Alpari multilingual customer support team. They have support emails, live chat and direct support lines. These are helpful for those traders who would like to speak to someone on the phone.
Alpari Customer Support Contacts
Moreover, Alpari is one of the few global Forex brokers that we have seen that still allow telephone dealing. However, this is only available when you want to close the trades and not for opening.
Of course, this sounds really good in theory…
I tried to get hold of some support agents through their online chat function. Responses were slow and the chat connectivity broke a number of times. Moreover, it felt as if the agents were mostly reading from a script.
However, when I reached out to them via telephone, they were much more responsive and clued up. If you are going to be calling them then you will need to take note of their client support hours which are 6:00–19:00 GMT, Mon–Fri.
Pro Tip ✔️: There are a plethora of documents and FAQs online which could answer your question without speaking to customer support.
Finally, if you would like to call them but want to save costs then they have a dedicated Skype number as well as a Viber contact number.
Alpari runs an interesting cashback program. You can think of this as a trading loyalty program where you are rewarded for the volumes that you trade.
Alpari has named these “ALP” points and these can be used for a number of things on the Alpari platform. For example, you could exchange them for a number of different discounts and improved trading conditions. Below are some of the discounts.
Types of discounts with Alpari Cashback
All you will have to do is select one of these discounts and Alpari will give you a partial refund in a week.
Alternatively, if there is no discount that really tickles your fancy then you can always just swap them for cash. Alpari has an internal ALPUSD rate where you can exchange these points in your account dashboard.
NB 🚨:Be sure to read the terms and conditions attached to these
So in the end, the Alpari cashback program is a great way for you improve your trading conditions and earn extra cash.
Something else that we found a nice touch at Alpari was their trading competitions.
They have a number of these competitions that they run globally and are a fun and competitive way for their traders to put their skills to the test in a head to head leader-board style environment.
Example competitions at Alpari
These are also well attended and are run regularly run. At the time that we looked at these, there were three of these competitions running:
- Trader Wars: Quirky take on Star Wars. You will choose a faction and if you make it into the top 16 most successful traders then you will head on to the knockout stage. When we checked this the prize pool stood at $4,050.
- Formula FX: The shortest and most fast paced competition at Alpari. This is run for a single week and you can enter it as many times as you like. At the time we checked, the prize pool was over $1,620.
- Virtual Reality: This is probably the lowest risk competition at Alpari as you are not required to trade on your own live funds. This competition is run on demo accounts and winners in this competition will be entitle to real funds. At the time there was a prize pool of $2,190.
These seem quite exciting and Alpari keeps the list regularly updated. Of course, we would encourage you to make sure that you are familiar with all of the T&Cs before you start trading.
It’s always a nice touch when a broker includes additional educational resources and tools for their traders.
Alpari is no exception in this regard and they have got a whole host of material that could help inform your trading. While a great deal of this material is positioned at beginner traders, they do have some tools that the intermediate / advanced traders can use.
Let’s take a closer look at these.
Forex Market Reviews
These are research pieces that are published on a daily basis. They are a combination of written reviews as well as video pieces. These seem pretty comprehensive and the author / presenter knew what they were talking about.
The videos are also a nice touch as they can be run in background when you are conducting your analysis. Some of them were a bit difficult to understand on account of the accent of the presenter which is slightly unfortunate.
No forex trader can be successful unless they have effective tools that help them conduct their fundamental analysis.
Alpari has included a number of additional resources and news sources in their fundamental analysis section. These include the following:
- Economic Calendar: Forex calendars help inform you of the most important economic news that is approaching. This helps you to either hedge your risk around these events or to conduct some event driven trading.
- FX Wire Pro: Get the latest market moving economic news the moment that it hits the wires. FX Wire pro is one of these premium services which pushes these updates globally.
- Macro Indicators: This is a comprehensive glossary that will break down some of the key macroeconomic indicators and what they mean.
- Holiday Schedule: Just as important as knowing when important economic news will be released is knowing when there are upcoming national holidays. Country specific indices won’t be trading and these holidays impact on liquidity of Forex markets more generally.
- Global Interest Rates: Country specific interest rates and the relative difference between them are big factors in the Forex markets. This gives you a comprehensive overview of these global rates.
While the tools above will help inform your trading on a fundamental level, Alpari also has tools that will help you from a technical analysis perspective.
Autochartist is one of the most effective technical analysis web applications and MT5 plugins. If you trade with Alpari then you have access to both the app and the plugin.
The web application is a tool that will scan the market and observe all of the important levels automatically. It will then try and help predict the most likely outcomes. You can either use it to augment your own analysis or you can use it to develop completely new strategies.
Autochartist Alpari Plugin
If you are using the MT5 plugin then you can define your base parameters and the plugin can help send you signals when important levels are broken. You can run the plugin simultaneously across a range of different markets as well.
The Autochartist app and plugin are actually quite intuitive to use and were developed to be an easy way for beginner traders to improve on their strategies. There are also a whole host of online guides and resources that you can use to better understand the tool.
What We Didn’t Like
Of course, our Alpari review could not really be complete unless we didn’t list some of the things that we did not like and that warrant improvement.
Firstly, we were quite disappointed to see that there was no way to trade single stock CFDs. You can only trade index CFDs which are not ideal for those people who want to trade companies instead of the broader market.
We were also not too happy with the leverage on the cryptocurrency CFDs. 2:1 is some of the lowest that we have seen and is even lower than a number of the most risk averse cryptocurrency exchanges.
In terms of the research coverage, there appears to be way more focus on the Russian speaking geographies than there is on English speaking geos. They need to beef up their trading analysis and videos to tap this group of traders.
We also did not like the fees that they charged on deposits / withdrawals. The broker space is highly competitive and nearly all brokers these days will make these free. If Alpari wants to continue providing the best service then they need to reconsider this.
Finally, the lack of a regulatory licence is disconcerting for us. Yes, they are a member of the financial commission but without a governmental body watching over them, clients cannot be certain that you are fully protected.
Overall, we found Alpari to be a reasonable and transparent broker that has low spreads with an attractive array of assets to trade (apart from their equity assets).
Moreover, they have some of the most attractive Forex leverage levels and provide their traders with the best trading technology to do the job. They have reasonably strong support with a range of other tools and goodies.
Of course, there are a few things that we think need to be improved. These can be addressed and are completely within the hands of Alpari to improve upon. Brokers that act on constructive criticism are the most respectable.
So, should you consider Alpari?
If you are looking for an established broker with very high leverage and low spreads then you could consider it.
Warning ⚡:Trading with leverage is very risky. Make sure that you take adequate risk management steps when entering positions
Feautred Image via Alpari