How to find the best forex broker?
Finding the best forex broker for your needs takes some research. Hundreds of online brokerage firms now compete for your account, so plenty exist to choose from. Check out our recommended top list below.
Finding the best forex broker that has a fast execution capability, a reliable trading platform and which can be trusted with your account deposit might be the first things you will want to assure yourself of. Other sweeteners can include account opening bonuses and other features like mobile trading and SMS market alerts.
Basically, you want a forex broker you can trust to handle your money and your trades so that you can get on with the business of trading forex without worries. Anyway, to make the process of finding a broker simpler, the list above covers most of the key comparison points between forex brokers so that you can be better prepared for a successful search.
In the end of this page you will find many more brokers that did not make the top list, you can still read our reviews of them and give your comments on them or share your experience from them.
But first we will go through some of the criteria and features you should look for when searching for the best forex broker for you.
Most reputable online forex brokers take the step of submitting to regulation by one of the main financial regulatory agencies operating in their home country. Sometimes, they will even be regulated by more than one agency. Such regulation provides you with the security of knowing the broker’s operations are being overseen by an independent authority with the goal of keeping the business honest.
Is there a benefit to where a broker is located?
Location can make a big difference, especially if the regulatory regime in the country is top of the line. The most advantageous location has to be reserved for UK brokers, since London is the center of the foreign exchange business.
Forex Trading in the UK
Early in the last century, nearly 50% of the world’s foreign exchange was conducted using the Pound Sterling. Today, daily forex trading turnover in the London market represents 41% of the world, more than double that of the United States at 19%. If you choose a reputable UK broker, then you can be assured that the firm can draw upon a broad pool of experienced and professional staff in the UK.
From a regulatory perspective, UK forex brokers must also comply with one of the strictest regulatory bodies around, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Once again, the pool of UK staff will be very aware of best business practices and related compliance issues, another reason to choose a UK broker, if at all possible. One must, however, be due diligent when choosing a broker that claims to have offices in London, since the marketing aspect of this location has caused many overseas brokers to set up a "shell" presence in the UK to gain your trust, but without the benefits listed above. If you prefer a UK broker, then make sure that they are headquartered in London and have a significant presence there.
When you either enter or store vital personal information online, it can be subject to falling into unfriendly hands that may use it for their own personal gain. Accordingly, a top priority when choosing a broker is that they encrypt all data entered into online forms using industry standard SSL-encryption or better.
Another key issue involves the safe storage of data so that it will not be lost in case of disaster. Many online forex brokers use duplicate data farms with high security to assure the safety of your account information.
Many day trading strategies become unsuccessful over the long term if your account does not have access to competitive dealing spreads. The spread is simply the difference between the bid price and the offer price for a particular currency pair and should be no greater than five pips in the majors and major crosses, with wider spreads often seen in the minor crosses and exotic currencies.
Commissions and Fees
Sometimes brokers are not content just to have you dealing on their spreads. In this case, they might charge a commission or fee for each transaction. Sometimes these are calculated on a per transaction basis or on a volume dealt basis. Additional fees might be involves in making withdrawals or deposits, so be sure to check that information to minimize your transaction costs.
Most forex brokers handle the basic market, stop and limit order types. Nevertheless, some brokers also offer support for OCO (one-cancels-the-other) and trailing stops. If either of these more specialized order types would be suitable for your trading plan, then be sure that your chosen broker supports them and make sure that you fully understand the limitiation of these different order types.
Since more currency pairs often means more opportunities to profit, you will want to make sure that your forex brokers offers all of the pairs you might be interested in trading. Some traders also like to have access to precious metals like Gold and Silver, in addition to oil, especially if they will be trading the commodity currencies like AUD and CAD whose exchange rates can depend on commodity price fluctuations.
Unless you are just interested in opening up a demo or practice account with the forex broker, they will usually require a minimum deposit to be made for you to get started trading forex. Often, the more money you place on deposit, the more features you have access to or the tighter your dealing spreads become. Make sure that you research the broker thoroughly before sending a deposit.
Account types vary considerably between brokers, but most offer demo accounts for practice trading, mini accounts for newer traders with a low minimum initial deposit, standard accounts for more experienced traders with a moderate deposit, and finally VIP accounts for larger initial deposits.
Also, the features offered with each account type vary quite a bit among the various forex brokers, so be sure to see which reputable broker will offer you the best deal for the initial deposit you have available to you.
Leverage refers to how much of a position you can control with a certain amount of funds allocated to it. Forex brokers currently offer leverage rates of as high as 500 to 1. What this means is that you can control a $50,000 trading position with just $100 allocated from your portfolio. Note that in the U.S. the maximum leverage is 50:1 for majors and 20:1 for minors.
Naturally, amplifying your risk by using leverage can result in larger gains, as well as larger losses, so be sure to use leverage wisely and avoid trading beyond your means.
Even though forex transactions are exchanges and not purchases of an asset like a stock or commodity, when the exchange rate moves, it creates credit risk for the counterparty showing a gain on the transaction. As a result, most forex brokers require that their clients place a certain amount of funds on deposit to cover such potential losses. This is known as the broker’s margin requirement.
Since margin requirements vary among brokers, you will want to make sure that the broker you choose has guidelines you can live with. Also, some brokers automatically close out trading positions when the amount of margin in your account is exceeded by trading losses, or according to other criteria, so be sure to understand such the implications of such policies for your trading business.
Most of the better forex brokers offer their own proprietary trading platforms for you to use to execute forex transactions with and to keep track of the market. These usually either take the form of web-based platforms that use access via your Internet browser or client-side platforms that you download to, install and run on your personal computer.
In addition, some brokers support independent trading platforms like the popular MetaTrader 4 platform that can be obtained free of charge and which many commercial forex trading robots are designed for.
Some forex traders require the convenience of trading and keeping in touch with the forex market via their mobile phone or other mobile device. Many brokers provide such services, so if this is important to you, check out what each broker offers in this regard and whether their software will work with your device.
Forex traders increasingly wish to automate their trading plans or algorithms to free up their time for other endeavors. They often do this by using a programming language to write down their decision process in an algorithmic format that can then automatically be executed by forex trading platforms that support this capability.
If you think you might want to automate your trading plan, check to see with brokers you are considering to see if they support this type of trading and how they do so.
Many brokers offers SMS or other types of market alerts to their customers. If you think this might be important to your trading business, look for this feature.
Those new to forex trading will want to have better access to both dealing support and technical support. See what services each broker under consideration provides and whether it will suffice for your purposes.
Newer traders often require educational materials about the forex market and trading in general to get started trading forex on the right foot. If this is important to you, research what the brokers you are considering have to offer in this regard.
Also, many brokers provide sophisticated news feeds, like Reuters for example, as well as proprietary market commentary and other timely information.
Dealing Desk Access
Some traders like to speak to a personal dealer or advisor at the broker in order to obtain inside market information and advice. Others like to be able to make transactions over the telephone in a pinch. If either of these options makes sense for you, inquire with your potential brokers whether dealing desk access will be available to someone with your anticipated initial deposit.