The Best Forex Brokers and Platforms
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Warren Buffet was famously quoted for saying, “I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.” This kind of confidence is necessary if you plan to play the foreign exchange or forex markets.
Currency trading is an exact science in some cases, and most traders focus on EUR/USD pairs. While Warren Buffett only gets involved in currency markets occasionally, he provides some insights via this interview on forex trading. In addition, it’s also about understanding clusters of good luck and bad luck.
But before you dive head-first into the wild world of fx trading, it’s important to ask yourself a few questions:
Do you want to bet on Euro and USD?
Do you want to look into other currencies?
The forex market offers a lot of benefits to traders who want a very liquid market. You can trade 24 hours a day from Monday to Friday. Are you ready and able to be switched on at all hours of the day?
In order to trade forex, you need an account with a brokerage that offers forex trading access. There are specific brokers for forex that may offer more benefits and trading tools specifically tailored to understand volatile currencies.
The best forex brokers have a customizable dashboard that lets you track each and every currency that matters to you. We’ve tested the top 38 forex broker platforms in the US and around the world, and put together this short list of our most-recommended brokers.
Based on low costs, trading tools, currency evaluation, and real-time data, we chose the following as the best forex trading platforms.
7 Best Forex Brokers – My Reviews
Since the global foreign exchange market is the largest in the world and most actively traded, there are different ways to rate each brokerage.
One type may be the best forex broker for beginners while others are better for advanced users. The most important factors include fees for spreads and commissions, trading platform software, charting tools, customer support, education, currency research, and reliability.
1. IG Group: Best Overall Broker for Forex Trading
Whether you are looking to trade in CFDs or currencies, IG has a huge selection of over 16,000 markets. With the ability to trade in forex, cryptocurrency, individual equities, stock sectors, and commodities, you can use IG for pretty much everything in forex.
- Advanced web-trading platform
- Considered safe, and is regulated by the FCA in the UK, and more globally.
- Low spreads for popular forex pairs
- Over 16,000 markets
- No copy/social trading platform
- Steep inactivity fee after 2 years
IG has been around forever, and interestingly, was the first of its kind at the time. Today, IG is a leading forex provider, with competitive fees, superb educational material and research, and a huge variety of assets.
IG has a minimum of 0.6 pips for EUR/USD trading, which is relatively low in comparison to the industry average of 70 pips. With this, you can trade on forex, cryptocurrency exchanges, individual equities, all stock sectors, bonds, and commodities.
You can also trade on interest rates through their mobile and browser-based platform. But note: there are steep, monthly inactivity fees after two years. See our IG review for more about their fee structure.
After the company’s expansion to the US in February 2019, U.S traders can now access IG US’s tools and services, however the product selection is currently focused on forex only.
The broker caters specifically to forex traders in several ways, including offering higher volume forex traders access to an aggressive rebate program.
While the company’s L2 Dealer offers professional forex traders direct market access (DMA) that bypasses IG’s dealing desk. This platform is easy to use and customizable.
In addition to being a leading forex broker, IG is the largest CFD dealer due to its trading revenue numbers. Most of the UK has a large number of financial spreads in CFDs. IG also offers six cryptocurrencies to trade as CFDs or spread bets but bitcoin has a 40-pip spread which is above the industry average.
Traders can relish in the company’s extensive educational material. DailyFX Forex University offers informative, and accessible information for all levels. Its touch of humour lifts what can be a complex subject. Traders can take enjoyment out of articles with titles including, Meet Your Subjects in reference to forex pairs, and How to Stay in School, a piece about risk management.
A useful article, Forex jargon will help beginner traders get to grips with the industry language used in an accessible way.
The IG Academy can help develop any traders knowledge of CFDs, spread betting, and forex trading. The courses can be completed in your own time, and includes interactive exercises and quizzes to liven it up and test your ability.
IG’s webinar archive includes an array of previously aired sessions, allowing you to catch up on ones that catch your eye, and if you want to add some into your schedule in the future you can visit the company’s webinar calendar to see all their upcoming sessions.
Customer support is helpful and friendly and can be contacted by phone, live chat, email, and social media, including Twitter. New clients and existing contacts have seperate numbers, and the team is available 24 hours a day Monday to Friday.
There is no social/copy platform available, or any client positioning data for forex, CFDs, or spread bets but traders should note that forex positioning data is available within the IG Client Sentiment at DailyFX.com.
Overall, IG is suited to both smaller traders and professional traders. There is a minimum deposit required if/when funding by card depending on the country and currency. For U.K traders it’s $250, and U.S traders it’s £250. If you’d like to give the platform a test drive, IG offers a demo account, or alternatively you can sign open a forex account in just 3 simple steps and get started on your forex journey.
2. CMC Markets: Best Budget Option
As a publicly-traded company with regulations in four tier-1 jurisdictions, CMC Markets is considered a safe and low-risk forex and CFD brokerage. It’s also considered the most low-cost option for forex and active trading.
- Highly competitive pricing for low-cost commissions
- Vast and diverse product catalog
- Offers liquidity rebates to active traders that surpass at least $25 million in notional trading volumes each month
- Guaranteed stop loss orders available
- Real-time news and sophisticated order types
- Limited security features
- No copy or social trading platform
- High US index for CFD spreads
CMC Markets is best suited to active traders as well as beginners. The platform has a variety of educational resources and tools to help you learn about forex trading and CFDs, and a responsive and helpful customer service team.
However, the firm also caters to more advanced and active traders who want to take advantage of their 0.7 pip minimum for Forex.
The truth is, CMC Markets has a low spread offering with very low trading costs overall. With its highly competitive pricing, the average spreads for EUR/USD go as low as 0.7 pips and typical spreads out to 0.81 pips. That said, this information can change so, make sure to check out the fees section yourself for any updates.
In addition, active traders are a focus for CMC Markets and are looked after. A liquidity rebate ranging from $5 to $10 million is available for those who trade at extremely high volumes. There’s also VIP discounts available for high net worth clients.
Traders also like the Guaranteed Stop-Loss Order (GSLO) that CMC Markets offers. This means that you can set risk thresholds for all of your positions, and you are guaranteed to close the trade exactly as you specify. While most brokers charge for GSLOs, CMC Markets actually refunds this cost to you.
You don’t need any minimum balance to trade with CMC Markets, and a demo account is available to practice trading before signing up to a live account. The platform provides you with charting tools and over 79 technical indicators.
You can also access pattern recognition and social-trading tools on the Next Generation platform, but it’s a little behind on the main platform. You can switch over to their MT4 platform for automated trading, but this area has a higher learning curve.
3. OANDA: Best for Seasoned Active Traders
If you have been forex trading in the US, then you know OANDA. It’s one of just two brokerages available in the US. It also serves customers in Canada, UK, Singapore, and Australia. In addition, it has the reputation of being the most trusted retail forex platform.
- Open a trading account with just $1
- Very safe and regulated under FCA, CFTC, IIROC, ASIC, and Monetary Authority of Singapore
- Offers a traditional broker spread and on average a less expensive raw spread
- Slow support response on average
- Little to no new education resources, very disorganized
- Research and trending news is fragmented
OANDA has been around since the beginning of retail forex. While it was developed within academia, the company has grown and built a reputation for being a trustworthy exchange.
As a forex broker, it has more product offerings, better technology, and a dedicated customer base that spans the globe. Since OANDA has been around since the 1990s, they have the most historical data and offer the latest trading technology for forex traders.
You don’t need to have an account minimum to trade with OANDA. The quality of trade executions is considered high by most traders, and it has clear pricing and fee structures, which make it more trustworthy overall as a forex broker. You can access a variety of apps online and via mobile, including their MetaTrader 4 app.
4. London Capital Group: For those Who Want More Asset Classes
You can never lose more than the amount you have on deposit with London Capital Group, and you can trade in a variety of asset classes including all indexes, forex, cryptocurrencies, bonds, commodities, and stocks.
- $0 account minimum
- Instant sync between app and browser-based version
- LCG has the best analysis and insight tools for forex
- Mobile app is sleek and easy-to-use
- No third party tools or API
- No testing or automated strategy options
LCG’s main strength is that you can trade a variety of asset classes globally, and they do not charge commissions. The broker is well known for forex and cryptocurrency exchanges, but it also has a very competitive low spread. With a number of ways to access their online brokerage, you also never have to worry about losing track of your investments.
With its mobile app and browser platform, LCG is one of the more high-tech forex platforms available for mobile. However, they lose some points because they don’t offer a way to test strategies or automate your orders. That said, they do provide other benefits. For example, account holders can never go into the negative due to the company’s protection.
LCG is also ranked pretty highly for their customer service options. You can chat or call with their customer support team, and they are quick to respond to most requests.
5. Saxo Bank: Best App and Web Platform for Forex
If you can afford the $10,000 minimum deposit, then Saxo Bank offers an excellent trading platform with amazing research tools, 40,000 different assets to trade, and competitive pricing.
- Very low risk brokerage with six tier-1 jurisdictions
- 40,000 trading instruments across forex, CFDs, stocks, ETFs, and mutual funds
- SaxoTraderGo is the top web-based platform with more trading tools and research capabilities than most other brokerages
- Top-notch customer service
- Even at low level, Saxo Bank requires $10,000 minimum deposit to join their brokerage
- Platinum members must deposit $200,000 while VIP accounts must have $1,000,000
Out of all the forex brokerages, Saxo Bank is probably the most exclusive, but due to its low-risk, highly trusted platform, it’s considered to be one of the best by today’s forex traders. You can trade in forex with 182 currency pairs and 35,000 CFDs. It also offers social trading and copy trading. However, there is no cryptocurrency trading allowed.
As far as account types, there are classic, platinum, and VIP accounts. To join Saxo Bank, the biggest drawback is that you are required to deposit $10,000 just for an entry-level classic account.
The average spread for Saxo Bank was rated at 0.6 pips as of October 2019. Spread-only pricing is a major priority for this brokerage, so you won’t pay any commissions. However, for volume-based pricing, the commissions are different. You are expected to pay a commission of 0.5 pips in these cases. This is still relatively low for active traders who would primarily use this type of trade.
With a variety of tools like SaxoTraderGo and SaxoTraderPro, you’ll get over 55 technical indicators for charging and about 20 different drawing tools, which includes Auto Chartist’s trade signals.
You’ll have to subscribe and upgrade to gain access to SaxoTraderPro, but when you do there is a larger selection of trading features, including support for six monitors, streaming time and sales, and algorithmic, automated orders.
6. TD Ameritrade: Well-Rounded Platform for US Traders Only
You can trade with nearly 80 currency pairs on TD Ameritrade, but it’s the tools, research, and streaming data on the thinkorswim platform that makes this a top choice for US forex traders.
- Very stable and trusted platform, founded in 1975
- Best in class rating for platform and tools, mobile trading, and research
- Low-cost competitive pricing for forex traders
- US traders only
- No copy trading
- Does not offer MetaTrader compatibility
The cost to trade on forex with TD Ameritrade is based on spread alone. The broker recently ended all commissions for stocks and ETFs in October 2019. However, TD Ameritrade also provides a calculator that helps you estimate the cost to carry different currency pairs. This largely depends on the direction of the trade and order size.
Since TD Ameritrade uses GAIN capital, which is the owner of Forex.com, the spreads for EUR/USD contracts averaged at 1.06 pips. This is based upon data from October 2018 to September 2019. There is no minimum initial deposit, and you can access thinkorswim platform without a subscription.
The thinkorswim platform is TD Ameritrade’s best desktop-based program. With so many tools and research capabilities, you can streamline your trading and upgrade your skills. You can use the Forex Trader module to display rates for six different pairs or add more. There are 75 different forex pairs to choose from, and you can customize your dashboard as you like.
There are 382 technical indicators available for the charting tools. This is the most in the industry. There are also over 80 different strategies that trigger trading signals when a custom condition is set. You can also test trades in their simulator platform.
7. FOREX.com: Best Overall for Low Costs and All Investor Levels
There are so many options to trade on FOREX.com. It’s also the preferred platform for CFD traders. With a number of different trading tools and lots of research options, FOREX.com is the perfect platform for new and advanced forex traders.
- Very safe, publicly traded company with four tier-1 jurisdictions
- Variety of assets including most currency pairs, cryptocurrency, CFDs, and stocks
- Earned numerous awards for mobile trading, education, and low costs
- Competitive pricing for spreads and volume, which benefits active forex traders
- Includes advanced trading platforms and MetaTrader
- Slow customer service
- Pushes you towards agency execution and higher cost services
Typical spreads for FOREX.com via MetaTrader were 1.4 pips on the EUR/USD using data from the second quarter in 2019.
There was also an average spread of 1 pip during the third quarter for EUR/USD, but only for the non-MT4 platforms. If you are a high volume trader, FOREX.com has five tiers of pricing to suit your needs, which is highly customizable and praised by users.
Level one has a spread of 1.2 pips on EUR/USD exchange for traders who can maintain a balance of at least $10,000. Spreads are reduced as you upgrade to each level, so a level five must maintain a $500 million balance and that brings the spread down to 0.84 pips on EUR/USD pairings.
FOREX.com also provides dealer execution, and it never relies on third parties to make the trades. You can get higher quality trades because FOREX.com operates this way. In addition, the platform added Direct Market Access (DMA) accounts for US traders. Active traders in the US get higher discounts with this type of account as well.
What to Look for in a Forex Broker
If you want to trade on the forex, you should first consider how much you plan to trade in terms of money and volume. Some brokers offer bigger discounts to active traders, but you may also have to maintain a minimum balance.
Most of these conditions are clearly set when you sign up for an account, but other brokerages get tricky with their commission rates and fees.
Here is a look at what we use to decide if a forex brokerage is worth it or not.
Is the Forex Broker Trustworthy?
If you conduct a search for forex, you may see a lot of sponsored ads at the top for odd brokerages that don’t make it onto our top forex broker list. This is because they are probably scams and don’t have any tier level jurisdictions. It’s important that a forex platform be compliant and regulated so that you know it’s trustworthy.
Most forex brokers are publicly traded and have jurisdiction in the US, UK, Canada, Singapore, and Australia. You should keep an eye for any brokerage that looks too good to be true and isn’t based in one of these five countries.
Most forex brokers post their account security measures, initial deposit requirements, account levels, and regulations on their websites, but you also want to verify the broker’s regulatory licenses. Also, what does it do to safeguard your money from scam artist forex traders?
Lastly but most importantly, where is the company located? If it’s not located within the US, UK, Australia, Canada, or Singapore, you run the risk of getting scammed like those who worked with these Chinese forex brokers.
How Many Assets Can You Trade
Forex brokers should be open to all currency pairs and allow you to trade in cryptocurrency as well, but that might not be important to you if you are strictly a EUR/USD trader. Some brokers also include forex in addition to stocks, ETFs, options, mutual funds, commodities, and securities. You should always check the list of assets and currency pairs before signing up.
FX Broker Platform Technology and Trading Tools
With better charts, analysis tools, automated traded, and backtesting, you can become a better trader. However, it’s also about the interface and whether you can access these tools across all platforms including your phone.
Most brokers today have a mobile app, but does it let you do everything that you can on a desktop or browser-based platform? In addition, how secure is the platform? Some FX trading platforms use a VPN to protect your privacy at all costs.
Forex Spreads and Trading Costs
You typically won’t pay any commissions for most brokers at the moment, particularly in the US. However, forex trading is based on the all-in cost to the final completed order, or the open to close spread.
Each trade consists of these spread costs, plus any round-turn commissions that are also charged. It’s the same for CFDs as well in terms of bidding and asking spreads plus a commission for each trade.
Reliable Trade Execution
Active FX traders know that your data and orders must be timed pretty accurately. The execution method matters a lot to those who trade on the forex because poorly executed traders always result in a loss. Free trade protection tools can guarantee stop-loss orders at most modern FX brokers.
When something goes wrong with a trade or if the app is bugging out, you want to be able to contact someone right away. While 24/7 customer service every day of the week is almost unheard of, there are some brokerages that have this chat service.
Phone support is the best way to get help when you have a complicated problem, but not all brokerages offer this support. Most of all, the response time is the most important. You want to know that you can get assistance, and if you choose a global exchange in another time zone, you may be out of luck if something goes wrong.
Expanding Your Education
Most brokerages supply some knowledge base materials, but there are others that go beyond this to provide a ton of research tools and educational courses. For example, TD Ameritrade allows you to use a paper money simulator to help you test and learn different trading strategies.
You can also get step-by-step guides for FX trading. When searching for an FX broker with education, all you need to do is check out their support pages and look at customer satisfaction ratings.
Beginners vs. Advanced Traders
Some platforms have easy setup features, hover tips, educational courses, and testing tools to make it easier for beginners to get started with forex. Then, there are platforms with customizable automated strategies that require extensive knowledge of scripting languages.
Before you jump into a platform because it is praised by forex traders, you should look at reviews and see if it’s easy to get into. You don’t want to lose money because you signed up for an active trading platform that relies on hotkey algorithmic bidding if you don’t know what that means.
Should You Try Forex Trading?
There are some benefits to trading on the forex versus the stock market. For one, it’s the largest financial market. You can trade 24 hours a day, Monday through Friday.
If you want to be a very active trader and study currency pairs, you can jump right into it without much capital. Most brokerages require little to no account minimum, and it’s low cost to trade on forex in comparison to options and stocks.
While there is some risk, it’s largely mitigated by choosing a trustworthy broker and testing out strategies before you invest actual money. The forex market is quite large with 183 currency pairs in some cases.
With large volumes trading, it’s highly liquid as well. You know that someone will trade with you, and you can even automate your trades based on certain buy and sell conditions to make it more profitable.
Forex isn’t really owned by anyone. There never will be a single company controlling the market. This levels the playing field for everyone. There are no middlemen since it’s also decentralized. When you trade, you trade directly with another trader on the forex. The retail broker simply acts as a facilitator.
However, you do have to learn about spreads, transaction costs, and currency pairs. You also have to follow trends for emerging cryptocurrencies and accept that there is a high amount of risk when you invest largely in certain currencies that don’t follow the pattern you thought they would. Most forex brokers have a small cryptocurrency offering for established digital currencies, but there are others that open it up to a variety of crypto. It’s up to you to do the research on which one will earn you a profit.
Wrapping Up: Which is the Best Forex Trader?
With easy access to tools and low transaction costs, we still think IG is probably on top as the best platform. However, CMC markets are best for those who want access to more currency pairs and educational tools.
If you are an advanced trader, OANDA is likely the best option because of its trade execution and transparency when it comes to pricing for active traders.