Beware! FASTFX is an offshore broker! Your investment may be at risk.
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FASTFX is a forex brokerage registered in South Africa. It provides the MT5 trading terminal and a generous leverage of up to 1:500. Furthermore, there is a wide range of trading products from which to choose and a required minimum deposit of $100 which is about the industry average. The spread on EUR/USD is 2.5 pips which is quite high and certainly a disadvantage for traders.
FASTFX regulation & safety of funds
The brokerage gives conflicting corporate information on its website which is one of the warning signs we are dealing with an unregulated brokerage. Supposedly, the companies behind the brokerage are from South Africa and are registered with the names FASTFX LTD and FASTFX LLP, at least this is the information in the terms and conditions of the brokerage. Forex trading is quite thoroughly integrated within the regulatory framework and it falls under the regulatory oversight of the local Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) which keeps and regularly updates a registry of regulated entities. Going through it we could not find any mention of such a company which leads us to conclude that the brokerage is not licensed by the authorities in South Africa.
However, the brokerage further states that it is actually registered in Dubai where online Forex trading is also quite popular. Central Bank of United Arab Emirates is in charge of the oversight of Forex trading in the country and after a thorough search on its registry as well, we can safely state that FASTFX is not regulated by any governmental body whatsoever.
Nonetheless, the brokerage does provide the MetaTrader 5 platform which still supports most of the well-familiar features of its predecessor. It has the same great charting package and support for technical analysis indicators and automated trading systems (EAs) as its predecessor. Through a demo account we got a look at the platform. Here is a screenshot:
On it we see a very favorable spread of just 0.9 which is quite below the industry average of a pip and a half, however, on the website of the brokerage we read the following:
As you can see – the supposed spread on the demo account corresponds with the spread offered by only the most expensive, premium account which requires a minimum deposit of the staggering 10 000 dollars. Actually, according to the brokerage itself the spread on the most basic account is 2.5 which certainly isn’t as favorable. All in all, the conflicting information on the website and the lack of regulation inclines us to suspect that potential clients of the brokerage may be open to substantial risk.
We urge traders to exclude such risk in trading by only associating with brokers regulated by prestigious regulatory agencies, such as the FCA and CySec, which require compliance with a number of strict rules that give significant assurance for the security of the clients funds.
The segregation of accounts is among the rules which are especially important in the trading world, because it drastically lowers the risk of possible commingling.
Another is the participation in a compensatory scheme by which the client’s losses will be covered in the unlikely case the broker goes bankrupt or attempts to swindle traders.
FastFX deposit/withdrawal methods and fees
As is often the case with unregulated brokerages – we couldn’t discover any information regarding the payment methods supported by the brokerage. We only read in the terms and conditions that withdrawals via wire transfer and credit cards are accepted. We further read that the brokerage charges a dormant account fee. Here is a screenshot:
Accounts that have been inactive for more than 12 months will be charged $25 fee which is by no account excessive. However, due to the obscene amount of scamming in online Forex trading, we always advise traders to put up only the required minimum deposit, instead of risking a bigger amount with no certainty. Afterwards, they may also try to withdraw a small amount in order to check for any unexpected fees or delays. Such fees and delays are usually the signs of a scammer.
How does the scam work?
Unfortunately, the possibility of a scam looms over almost every trade in forex, especially if you are dealing with an unregulated brokerage. That is why we believe traders should be acquainted with the methods of a scam. Here is how it would typically go about:
Through clicking an ad with promises for fast money, you will be redirected to a website such as Bitcoin Evolution or Crypto Cash where registration will require you to give your address, email and phone number. After sharing your personal information, you will being receiving calls from brokers, compelling you to invest with them and win big. After a few minutes hearing their pitches, you decide to deposit some $200-250. And just like that – the scammers take a fat commission from this initial deposit.
After they are done with you, senior scammers begin working you into putting even more money. They say it’s the only way to profit from trading even more. After making the mistake of investing even further, you’ll begin wanting to get out of this and withdraw what you have left.
Unfortunately, the con-artists have no such thing in mind. They will now begin persuading you to wait it out and not withdraw right now. The motive here is quite straightforward – traders have a limited time window for filing a chargeback with their bank and get their money back. The “recovery department” will simply want to mislead you into missing this crucial period and, along the way, losing any chance you might have of getting the money back.
What to do when scammed?
As was mentioned above, scamming is quite the common in the trading world and, sadly, even you might suffer from it. In such an unfortunate case there still may be some available options for you.
You may contact your bank or credit card provider and file a chargeback. Furthermore, due to the high instances of fraud – both Visa and MasterCard have decided to sidestep scammers as best they can in Forex trading. The first thing we have seen so far is that MasterCard has increased the previous time period of six months for filing a chargeback to a year and a half with their rival Visa expected to follow suit in December.
If, however, you have provided the broker with your credit card details, immediately cancel your credit card.
If you have given information regarding your online banking pass – you should switch it asap!
Beware of potential calls from self-described “recovery agencies”! They prey on scammed and vulnerable traders who are desperate to recover their losses. They will require an “up-front” payment to help you, but after paying them, no such help will be coming your way!