The forex market is the most liquid market in the world, and therefore there is a lot of speculation revolving around the forex market. To begin with forex trading, one needs an online broker, and therefore you need the best forex brokers because a lot of money is at stake. Trading with a trusted forex broker is very crucial for success in international currency markets. As a trader, you may have some specific needs related to which platform you want to trade; understanding your investment style will help you to hit upon the best forex broker that will suit your needs.
You may find a lot of information regarding the best forex brokers in the internet, but if you are not cautious you will land up with scammers, who sound as genuine as original forex brokers, but their intentions are not genuine; they are always after your money and will dupe your money without even letting you access the real market. Therefore, the first step in your forex trading journey of becoming a successful Forex trader is to pick up the best forex broker. Here are some important factors that a forex trader should consider before partnering with a broker so that they don’t lose money to fraudulent brokers.
Factors to Consider While Picking up the Right Broker
1) Regulatory Compliances
As the forex market is an OTC (Over the Counter) market that is not backed by any central exchanges, it is very difficult to regulate the high-risk forex market. To make the trade execution easy and reliable for the investors and also to protect the investors so that they don’t lose money, the U.S. government has introduced a regulatory framework. It requires all financial service providers to be a registered member of an authorized exchange. In the U.S., the main regulatory agency that regulates forex trading is NFA or the Natural Futures Association. Another regulatory agency for regulating forex trade is CFTC or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. However, for the U.S. traders, NFA is the apex regulatory organization.
The NFA, founded in 1982, is a self-regulatory and non-profit organization that ensures that all the U.S. forex brokers are operating with transparency, integrity, and in compliance with the regulatory requirements. To help traders verify the regulatory status of a broker, the NFA has introduced a verification system BASIC or the Background Affiliation Status Information Center where interested traders can log in to check whether the broker he has chosen is an approved broker.
2) Account Details
The best forex brokers will offer you different account offerings pertaining to the types of accounts, ease of deposits and withdrawals, leverage and margin, commissions and spreads, or initial deposits.
Commission and Spreads – All forex brokers earn huge profits from the spreads or from the commissions that they charge on your trades. However, there are firms that charge no fixed commissions from the traders but compensate the commission by using steeper spreads, that can either be fixed or floating, based on the market volatility of the asset classes. Therefore, as a trader, you will always want to partner with the best forex broker that allows the lowest spreads. But at the same time, it is equally important to watch out for the marketing techniques.
Don’t go for duping advertisements; instead, do your own homework and compare the costs that the different brokers offer. A lower spread that is advertised on the website does not guarantee you that you will get your best deal and not lose money. Most traders make this mistake of selecting the best broker just by focusing on the offerings of low spreads; the displayed average spread does not guarantee that you will get the specific order type that you are looking for. Therefore, it is quite natural for a trader to choose a broker that offers the lowest commissions and the best spreads to reduce the high risk of losing money.
Deposits and withdrawals – A good forex broker allows the investors to deposit money and withdraw their earnings in a hassle-free manner. If a broker causes trouble for traders to withdraw their earnings, and eventually they lose money, beware, because brokers have no reason to withhold your money.
Leverage and Margin – The next criteria to choose the best broker is to consider whether the leverage caps correspond to the trading volume that you intend to invest. Leverage is basically a credit extended to the traders by their brokers. To manage a trading account, it is very important to be aware of the leverage allowances provided by the brokers. It allows traders to trade significant volumes with a relatively small initial investment. All Forex traders have access to different leverage caps depending on their jurisdiction that they trade in. Leverage can range anywhere from 2:1 to 1000:1, or more, and the leverage caps are based on the volatility of the asset classes that the traders intend to trade in. The traders should also choose the leverage caps that coincide with their individual risk tolerance levels and high risk of losing money. Professional investors choose brokers with higher caps on the maximum leverage, whereas retail customers are recommended to maintain low leverage caps.
Therefore, always remember to use your leverage cautiously while choosing the best broker. Though it can significantly boost your profits from small initial investments, it can also be the reason for you to lose money.
Versatility in the types of accounts offered – Before one chooses the best forex broker, he should be aware of the various types of accounts offered by the broker. A good brokerage firm provides its customers with a wide range of account types based on customers’ level of experience, their trading style, and the volume that they intend to trade. Therefore, before a trader partner with a broker, he must go through a brief questionnaire with the broker to let him know about the type of accounts he wants; the broker can also get an idea about the work and can weigh his competence to trade higher volumes with more leverage. There are other account types like the micro and mini accounts suitable for first-time traders where they can start trading with a small initial investment.
Then there are two more account types named the ECN account and the demo account. ECN accounts are based on the type of order execution. First-time traders generally go for demo accounts as they can try out different trade strategies without the fear of losing their money (as it allows traders to try virtual trading with virtual money).
Trading software – As far as the trading platform and software are concerned, traders must choose their brokers as per their trading requirements. Generally, the best US forex brokers offer two types of trading platforms, proprietary or the in-house platforms built by the broker. The other is generic or the white-labeled platform designed by a third party that just uses the broker’s branding, such as its logo. Therefore, it is very important for the trader to widely choose the trading platforms that the broker offers. Then there are other categories like the desktop platform, web trader, MetaTrader 4, or the mobile app that traders must choose accordingly depending on their requirements. The MetaTrader4 platform is the desktop platform that the traders easily download and install on their desktop computers. Contrarily, if the traders do not want to download and install the software, they can use WebTrader that allows the traders to access the brokerage firm using a web browser. The Mobile Trader allows the traders to use the platform using a mobile compatible app to enable the traders to always keep themselves updated with the recent developments taking place in the financial world. Before choosing any platform, the traders must ensure that the platforms are user-friendly and comprise all the necessary trading tools like charting indicators, direct live support, economic calendar, etc.
3) Fast Speed of Order Execution
The speed of order execution is another important thing to consider while choosing forex brokers. It is very important that your broker fills your orders at lightning speed and at the most competitive price. The average order execution speed for the best Forex brokers should be as fast as 0.001 seconds.
However, it is also true that the greater the order execution spread, the more difficult it is to realize a profit. How frequently a trader trades a particular Forex pair also play a crucial role in successful forex trading. For example, major forex pairs like EUR/USD, or GBP/USD, or EUR/GBP have comparatively tighter spreads than pairs like MXN/TRY.
4) Currency Pairs Offered
This is yet another important thing to consider while selecting forex brokers. Though there are a lot of currency pairs available for trading, only a few get attention. Therefore it is important to trade those currency pairs that have the greatest liquidity. The major currency pairs are dollar/Japanese yen (USD/JPY), or the U.S. dollar/Swiss franc (USD/CHF), or the Euro/U.S. dollar (EUR/USD and the British pound/U.S. dollar (GBP/USD).
5) Robust Customer Service
As Forex trading occurs 24 hours a day, therefore the brokerage firm should have a robust customer dealing desk working at the backend. It is important for traders to consider whether a broker allows a live discussion with the customer dealing desk rather than installing a time-consuming auto attendant to cater to the traders’ needs like information about spreads, leverage, regulatory compliances, and other company details.
Top 10 Forex Brokers
Here is a list of the top 10 trusted foreign exchange brokers that you can rely upon.
IG is amongst the top trusted brokers all across the world for trading forex. It has been serving good since its inception in 1974 by Stuart Wheeler “as the world’s first spread betting firm. This forex broker provides a wide range of tradable products at competitive rates. The trading platform also provides traders with excellent trading tools and industry-leading foreign exchange trading education.
The mobile version of the trading platform is also very praiseworthy, and it reflects the functionality of the platform’s browser-based counterpart, which is the best thing when it comes to online trading apps.
IG is a part of a publicly-traded conglomerate IG Group Holdings Plc, that empowers adventurous people to access opportunities in the forex markets. It operates a regulated bank and is authorized under 6 tier-1 (high trust) regulators, 3 tier-2 (average trust) regulators, and 1 tier-3 (low trust) regulator. Among the tier- 1 regulators are the following:
- ASIC or the Australian Securities & Investment Commission
- JFSA or the Japanese Financial Services Authority
- MAS or the Monetary Authority of Singapore
- FINMA or the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority
- FCA or the Financial Conduct Authority
- CFTC or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Unlike most other foreign exchange trading platforms, IG allows U.S. forex traders and therefore has been ranked the best foreign exchange trading platform by the US traders.
Low spread costs, robust customer service, and education along with a wide range of offerings, actionable research, and operational user interfaces make this forex trading platform well-suited for online traders. Also, there are no withdrawal fees and the only high commission that the platform charges from the traders are for CFD accounts.
However, this forex broker is also not free from criticism. Though this forex broker accepts US clients, it does not provide protection to the U.S. clients as it does to the UK or the EU clients. Also, there is no guaranteed stop-loss feature activated for the US clients. The IG platform also does not allow copy trading that most of the first-time forex traders would find it convenient to follow. Then there is a $12 inactivity fee charged by this forex broker, but that activates only if any account has been dormant for continuous two years.
2) CMC Markets
CMC Markets or simply CMC is another name in the list of top forex brokers. The CMC is a publicly-traded company for trading forex that came into existence in 1989. This foreign exchange trading platform has successfully adapted to the emerging online brokerage landscape.
CMC Markets serve all types of traders, starting from the novice retail traders dipping their toes very cautiously into the online trading for forex, CFD accounts, or spread betting, to the experienced veterans seeking exposure to a broad array of assets.
The broker service is backed by an excellent customer service team who is always ready to step forward to fix any trade-related issues faced by the traders. The online broker also imparts quality education to the traders through seminars, webinars, or online study materials. The only downside of this online broker is that the CMC brokerage services do not allow for any backtesting and charges high spreads for certain stock indices.
Forex.com is one of the top oldest forex brokers in the US and is listed on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange). It is the subsidiary of the parent company named GAIN Capital. This forex broker is best suited for first time traders who look for low forex-trading fees. However, this broker is not a perfect platform for trading CFDs, but trading currency pairs is undoubtedly the best option when trading via this platform. The best thing about this broker is that there are no inactivity or withdrawal fees associated with trading on this platform. As soon as a forex trader registers on Forex.com, he is assigned with a powerful trading toolkit that will help him throughout his entire journey with Forex.com.
Both the website version and the mobile version have informative news feed along with customizable charting tools that will aid the traders in trading CFDs and forex. Opening an account is also easy and has to be done digitally; it usually takes 1-3 working days to verify to start trading. The minimum deposit on Forex.com is $50, which is one of the lowest in the history of forex broking services.
Besides this advantage of pricing, Forex.com is also known for the education that the platform imparts to the traders. There are both online video tutorials for all levels of forex trading experience, as well as a detailed trading course on how to use the trading platform. Then there is also a provision of a demo account that can be used by the traders conveniently to test their skills of trading CFD accounts or forex without fearing about losing money; it allows traders to use virtual currency while trading.
4) TD Ameritrade
This is the best trading platform for forex can stocks. It is one of the top 10 forex brokers in the US that has been serving the U.S. clients since 1970. It allows competitive forex trading fees to the traders, and on top of that, it charges no activity fees on dormant accounts, unlike most other trading platforms. There are also no withdrawal charges levied on the traders to withdraw their money whenever they wish to. There is no minimum deposit to start trading on this platform.
TD Ameritrade has a user-friendly interface that can be used by anyone to wish to trade forex or other stocks online. Apart from forex and stocks, interested traders can also try their hands-on ETFs, bonds, etc. The mobile app of TD Ameritrade is fully functional and at par with the browser-based as well as desktop trading platforms.
Though TD Ameritrade is more focused on catering brokerage services to U.S. based clients, their services are also available through Singapore, China, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.
This broker also provides a demo account for the traders who can use the account with virtual currency for test trading of forex or other products. It has a website that has all the necessary information on how to trade on this platform and the relevant do’s and don’ts necessary for successful trading.
5) Interactive Brokers
Interactive Brokers is a publicly-traded company that is very popular amongst professional forex traders and CFD traders. Though it does not operate a bank, the platform is authorized under 6 tier-1 (high trust) regulators;
- IIROC or the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada
- SFC or the Securities Futures Commission
- JFSA or the Japanese Financial Services Authority
- FCA or the Financial Conduct Authority
- MAS or the Monetary Authority of Singapore and
- CFTC or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
This global multi-asset brokerage firm came into existence in 1977 and is listed in the NASDAQ under the ticker name IBKR. The Interactive Brokers trading platform is mostly suited for professional traders who are already aware of how such trading platforms work amidst the high risk of losing money. Therefore, the education that this platform imparts to it traders do not include preliminary contents, but include content about time-tested strategies; how to improve forex trading, or how to come out from the trading complexities without disturbing the entire trading strategies implemented.
The desktop platform offers a variety of advanced trading toolkits for the professional traders. Similarly, the IBKR Mobile app also has plenty of useful features for professional traders but lacks features that can aid traders in their everyday forex trading, which is a downside of this platform. Another negative point is that MetaTrader is not available as an alternative option. Products like futures and options can also be traded using this platform. Interactive Brokers platform is available in over 125 financial markets across 31 countries all over the world.
Oanda is yet another popular U.S. based forex broker in the list of top 10 US brokers that offers competitive spreads, deep market liquidity, and no commissions. It offers a wide ray of useful features, advanced analytical forex tools. The platform always keeps the traders updated with forex news, forex trading videos, and MT4 plugins from OANDA and other associated partners. There is also a provision for a free demo account that the traders can register into and test trade using virtual currency.
Other advantages of using the Oanda platform is heavily discounted speed, a free subscription with a partner platform, and free wire transfers.
More than forex trading Oanda is best suited for API (“Application Programming Interface) trading. API trading means using an advanced algorithm to automatically place the trades on behalf of the traders. There are only a few platforms that provide API trading, and Oanda is one of them. Traders can use the Algo Lab to create their own trading algorithms and implement them into the Oanda platform.
Interested traders can trade at a very competitive price at Oanda. Also, there are no withdrawal fees or a minimum deposit to start trading on this platform. The entire process is digital, and therefore the interested traders can begin their trading within a few minutes. The only downside of this brokerage firm is that it offers a very limited product line; only forex and CFD accounts can be traded in this platform.
The desktop platform of Oanda has all the required features like ease-of-use, functionalities, customizability, etc., only the price alert feature is missing. However, if the trades use the mobile version of the platform, they will get the price alert feature there.
There are plenty of educational resources starting from training videos to webinars to educate the traders about using the platform for forex trading. Therefore, Oanda serves as a good choice for beginners and tech-savvy traders who do not mind the limitations in the products offered by the platform.
7) Ally Invest
Ally Invest stands tall in the list of top forex brokers for US securities. The platform provides immense benefits to the traders like competitive pricing, advanced forex trading tools and an easy-to-use interface. The platform charges no transaction fees, and also it has no minimum initial deposit. Therefore, it’s easy for beginners to get started with forex trading, while seasoned traders can reap the benefits of commission-free trading on eligible U.S. securities. Ally Invest provides a robust trading platform for forex traders, options traders, active traders, and those looking for commission-free trades on eligible US securities.
It provides traders with comprehensive research and robust educational resources. The brokerage firm has 24/5 market access and also provides the trades a free demo account to practice virtual trading and or for testing various investing approaches. Therefore, it has successfully earned a reputation as one of the top low-cost forex brokers.
However, on the downside, Ally Invest is not so competitive with mutual funds, and those looking for a no-transaction-fee mutual fund, can move on to some other broker.
Another very popular forex broker for US securities is Nadex. It offers low fees and requires a minimum deposit to start trade on its platform. It is a fully regulated platform under the apex regulatory bodies of the US. The Nadex exchange does not charge any commission fees or inactivity fees (for dormant accounts) from the traders, but there is a set fee of $1 charged per contract. There is also a transaction fee of $25 per transaction for both domestic and international transactions.
The Nadex platform focuses on imparting education to its traders and offers study materials to help traders understand how to explore and acquire the assets they intend to. Nadex offers 5 free eCourses to the registered traders that focus on various topics like trading binary options, forex, etc.
Nades has a very knowledgeable and helpful customer support team that can be reached anytime between 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM ET, Monday to Thursday through phone or email. There is a U.S number provided to every trader that can be accessed only in case of emergencies.
9) ATC Brokers
ATC Brokers Ltd is a popular brokerage firm registered by CIMA or the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority that aims to protect traders from the high risk of losing money that exists in the financial market. It provides trading opportunities to both retail and institutional investors. ATC brokers offer enhanced MT4 technology through its proprietary platform named MT Pro. MT Pro combines traditional MT4 with a wide range of features that help to optimize the traders’ trading experiences.
Fxglory is another reputed online broker that came into existence in 2011 and has successfully made its position amongst the most respected forex brokers of the world. The brokerage firm offers its clients a reliable and accessible trading environment based on modern technologies along with high-class services. Traders can access the MetaTrader 4 platform where they can trade forex by using advanced trading tools in the global forex market.
At FxGlory, the clients get the opportunity to enter the Forex market after undergoing comprehensive trading analysis. There is also a robust customer support team who can be contacted 24 hours a day and five days a week through online consultation.
Which Is the Most Reliable Forex Broker?
There cannot be one parameter to justify whether a broker is reliable or not. However, checking the credibility of the broker indicates its reliability to some extent. A broker can be considered reliable if it is registered under the apex regulatory organizations of the world. If a broker is not registered and dupes away with your money, then there is no way that you can track the broker and recover your money.
Which Mt4 Broker Is the Best?
ATC broker is amongst the best mt4 brokers of recent times. Others in the list include XTB, OctaFX, and Swissquote.
What Is the Best Forex Broker for Beginners?
eToro, OANDA, Forex.com are amongst the best forex brokers for beginners.
Are Forex Brokers Reliable?
Yes, forex brokers are reliable if they are registered under any regulatory bodies of the world.