Tickmill UK: An ongoing review

Useful reviews of forex brokers are hard to find, so I thought I’d post my ongoing thoughts about my new broker, Tickmill UK.

For the past six monts I’ve been using XM.co.uk as my broker. I’ve been broadly happy with them, but their spreads on the currencies I trade are pretty poor, especially on the GBPCAD, which is 2-3 times higher than most other brokers. I looked at their ‘Zero’ account, but for some weird reason they don’t offer a GBP account of that type. And contrary to their website, my account manager was not at all interested in a ‘custom solution’. So it was time to shop around.

I wanted an FCA regulated broker offering lower spreads and a GBP account. Because I trade movements on the H1, and exclusively use pending orders, I thought a commission account might be the way forward. I very nearly opened a ‘Prime’ account with Admiral Markets (who have somehow managed to maintain a 4 star rating on FPA), but while I had no problem with the minimum deposit, I did have a problem with the minimum position size (1 mini lot); my typical position size is larger than that, but I want the freedom to manage my risk however I see fit. And while I do not currently open long term positions, the minimum lot size would effectively prevent me from doing so.

So, I decided to check out Tickmill UK. I had seen positive references to them on this forum, and I liked their website. Their ‘Pro’ account seemed exactly what I was looking for. As part of my due dilligence, I called up their customer service, and spoke to ‘Olga’. While she did not sound terribly pleased to hear from me, there was no telephone tree to navigate, and I was not placed on hold before getting through to her. She answered my questions about their commission model (it’s a flat percentage with no minimum), and I went on to open my account with them the following day.

As you would expect, they asked me to verify my identity and address. I uploaded the required documents, and was somewhat surprised at how restrictive they were; as I bank online and don’t pay any utilities, I struggled to find address documents that would qualify, and I suspect some people will struggle to get verified at all.

In the past, brokers have verified my identity within minutes of the documents being uploaded. However, after a few hours of receiving no verification, I called Olga back to see if there was a problem. Apparently, they are swamped with applications, and verification takes 24 hours.

If she had left it at that it would have been fine. However, she proceeded to try and convince me that 24 hours is a really good turnaround. At that stage I had to point out that none of the previous four brokers that had verified me had taken more than an hour. I hate it when people try and convince me that an obvious problem is not, in fact, a problem. I’d not been irritated with Tickmill she tried that. I had simply assumed that half their staff was on holiday, which is not unreasonable for the time of year.

It has now been several days, and my documents have not yet been looked at. This is not a case of verification being rejected, but simply not processed. Given the weekend and then the holidays, I suspect it will be late next week (at the earliest) before my verificaion comes through.

Appalling customer service does not make for an auspicious start. Still, I’m telling myself that they have to cut something to get their spreads & commission so low, and I’ll only need to deal with this once.

If I ever actually get to trade with Tickmill UK, I will update my review with futher thoughts.

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Nice overview. I guess they’re strict because of FCA requirements, not their own laziness. And from the point of common sense the more broker wants to scam you the faster it will verify your account to prompt you to deposit money.

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So Tickmill took a look at my documents on the 27th, nearly a week after I submitted them. They approved the passport, but not the proof of address. I’ve asked my bank to send me out a paper statement (I typically bank online) just so I can verify my address.

I often have to comply with European anti-money laundering rules, so I’m fairly sympathetic regarding Tickmill’s appoach here. I’ll have to see if they deal with the bank statement (once I receive and submit it) any faster than they did the passport.

yeah you could have problems with supplying correct proof of address, I faced same issue and it took me two days to get the translated document from a bank where my address was shown.

Better to spent a couple of days more rather than realizing you traded with scam broker later.

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My account was verified today, the first day after the holiday period, which seems reasonable enough. I transferred my starting balance to the account via credit/debit card, and that went through smoothly, with no fees being payable.

Interestingly, Tickmill is set up to have a single user account, with multiple trading accounts linked to the user account. So although I have opened a ‘Pro’ account - low spreads, commission - I could also open a ‘Classic’ - wider spreads, no commission - as well, and use the different accounts for different styles of trading.

More complicated that I want to get, but for someone who likes to scalp while also holding longer term positions, that could be quite useful.

Update - A minor quibble.

I trade on both Android and PC. Like many brokers, Tickmill has a slightly customized version of the Metatrader 4 program, which I downloaded and installed onto my PC. Although the demo server it defaults to is the UK server, the live servers it defaults to are somewhere else (presumably the US). This mean that actually finding and logging into my new Tickmill UK account on their PC software was much less intuitive, and much more complicated, than it needed to be. The server I was assigned simply did not appear on the drop-down menu, and typing in the server name didn’t work.

It was not until I was able to track down the server address and enter the address into their Metatrader clone that I was actually able to access my account. This is just a silly own goal by Tickmill UK; I should simply see a list of all their servers so that I can select the one that I have been allocated.

I opened my first live position with Tickmill UK today (I’d demo traded with them as part of my due diligence) and I have to say that I am very happy with the result.

I trade by looking for price compression and placing stop orders on either side of the compression, trying to catch the breakout. There are two primary ways to go wrong with this strategy.

First, you can have the breakout start in one direction, but then reverse in response to a news event. You minimize the risk of this by not trading around scheduled news.

Second, you can have a false breakout that nevertheless reaches your stop order, triggering your position, before reversing and stopping you out, forcing you to absorb a loss. The larger your spreads, the more likely this is to happen, and moving to Tickmill’s low spread, commission based ‘Pro’ account was all about reducing the risk of this second issue.

And in this case it worked as I had hoped it would. The 8:00 candle made a bullish push, only to reverse. However, thanks to the low spread, my position was not triggered, and I was able to catch the bearish impulse move a couple of hours later, netting 27.7 pips, less commission.

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Nice thorough review man. Could you share your mind more about the strategy? Looks simple yet very interesting and able to deliver results…

I’ve posted some details of my strategy in a separate thread so as to keep this one focused on Tickmill UK.

What is the limit of the lot size you are going to trade with them?

At the moment probably in the region of 0.1 lots, or one mini lot. Depending on how my new hit rate shakes out, I could push that up to closer to 0.2 lots.

Of course, if I stick with them while I grow my investment capital, that number will go up over time.

A few more observations.

My last broker would email me a transaction statement every month. Tickmill UK sends me a transaction statement within 24 hours of placing/closing a trade (not quite sure of the trigger, as my trades tend not to last more than a few hours). I already record everything in my trade journal, but this is a nice touch. Other brokers are often accused of deleting records, but that is clearly not going to be an issue with Tickmill UK.

I was a little surprised by today’s slippage, though. Tickmill UK is an ECN broker, putting orders through mechanically to their liquidity providers (hence the low spreads), so I knew that slippage would be something to look out for in a way that was not as necessary with a dealing-desk broker.

However, today’s slippage was 1.2 pips, on no news, and on a pending order! When trading 20ish pip movements on the H1, slippage on that scale seriously messes with your R:R ratio.

Fortunately, I noticed, adjusted my targets accordingly, and made my expected profit. But it was disappointing. I keep a closer eye on this going forward.

Edit:

In fairness, it does seem like there was some news, which I was unaware of at the time, and until now I had not felt slippage was a problem. I’ll continue to monitor my slippage over future trades, though, and update accordingly.

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What about bitcoin trading with them? Have you tried this so far?

I haven’t, although I am looking at both cryptos and precious metals. The trouble is, those move very differently from my usual currency pairs, and my current strategy is clearly inappropriate.

So I’m working on something specific to those instruments on a demo account. It’s still very early days, though, and unlikely to go live in the near future.

Hello! First of all I wanted to thank you for the great review. Not many people take their sweet time updating such a detailed description. Seems pretty fair to me until now, no major issues… Even though you stated more than once how their spreads are low… I was wondering if you could give some examples of it on an average of what you’ve been experimenting till now. I an manly interested in the London-NY session, but I’ll take any result.
Many thanks.

I’m glad this is useful; I know how hard it can be to find a decent broker.

To see typical spreads, look at their list of forex pairs here, and then select the pair you are interested in from the list.

Keep in mind, those are Pro account spreads; Classic accounts will have higher spreads than that. You can open either account type as a demo account - which is a nice touch - so you can try both and see which you prefer. In general, though, the Pro account will be better for smaller movements, where the spread really matters, while the Classic account will be better on larger movements, where you can easily get the markets to pay your transaction costs.

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So far, I am very, very happy with the performance of my Tickmill UK Pro account. There have been a number of very close situations where a stop loss or pending order was not triggered (and eventually went on to be a profitable trade) because of how low the spreads are. In that regards, the account is doing everything I wanted it to do.

As a final test, I have today requested the withdrawal of my trading funds from my account. Assuming everything goes smoothly - and I have no reason to think it won’t - then I will report back with a final post for the thread. If Tickmill UK is going to try and grab my money, this would be their last chance to do so.

Edit: For completeness, I will report one other non-issue.

I was messing around on the members section of their website, and I went to ‘create account’ to see what the options were. Then, not actually wanting to create a new account, I hit ‘cancel’. Despite not having inputed any information (account type, account currency, etc), the website created a USD Classic account for me automatically.

I contacted Tickmill UK and spoke to ‘Natalja’, and explained what happened. I asked if they could delete the account, as I didn’t actually want it or ask for it.

Natalja started by telling me that the website could not possibly have done that. As before, this - the customer support reaction to my enquiry - irritated me in a way the initial problem had not. I pointed out that she was either calling me a liar, or too dumb to know how to navigate a website. She backed off, and then told me that FCA regulation means that they cannot delete an account once created. Which, I appreciate, is outside of their control.

Not a big deal, but it really underscores how bad their customer service is. They actively create disgruntlement where originally there is none.

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Hey Drekieyja, just wondering if you have any update about your withdrawal… Did everything run smoothly in the end? How long did it take them? And if I’m not being too personal, was it a large amount? Again thank you for the review!

Tickmill UK sent me an email saying that had processed the withdrawal less than 30 min after the request. However, it can take up to 8 working days for the funds to hit my bank account - which is nothing to do with Tickmill, of course - and I need to wait for that to happen before I can confirm the sucessful transfer.

As for the amount, it was a four figure test sum, rather than my full trading balance.

0.1-0.3 on EURUSD during London-NY dealing. Use pro account to get lower spreads and fixed commission.

I checked my bank account today and I can see that the balance transfer from my Tickmill UK trading account has been received. So, it took about 30 min for Tickmill to process the request, and two days for it to reach my bank. I have no problem with that.

Overall, I’m satisfied with Tickmill UK. Their customer support is terrible, but the brokerage service works as advertised. I have found the low spread, commission based ‘Pro’ account to be exactly what I am looking for, as the smaller spreads make it easier for me to use tight stops when trading H1 movements. Next week I will be moving my trading balance over to my Pro account, as I feel my ‘due dilligence’ of the broker is complete.

While I’m happy to answer any questions people may have, I consider the review finished. I won’t be updating the thread further unless something changes.

One final note for anyone who has read this review and is considering a Pro account with Tickmill. When you open your account, you will be asked if you have an Introducing Broker (IB). If you do, and you enter that broker’s IB number, you get a permanent 5% discount on your commission payments for that account.

Now, I looked high and low for an Introducing Broker so I could get that 5% discount, as anything that reduces transaction costs is a good thing. For whatever reason, I couldn’t find one, which sucks. Now that I’ve decided to stay with Tickmill UK, I’ve also registered as an Introducing Broker, so if anyone wants an IB number for the discounted commissions, feel free to message me.

Full disclosure: IBs are ‘incentivised’ to recommend Tickmill. You can read all the details here. They actually want IBs to push the Classic account - the rewards for the Pro account are far lower - but you should still be aware of the potential conflict of interest associated with my offer of an IB number.

Regardless, I hope anyone considering Tickmill UK - especially new traders - finds this review helpful.

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