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The global foreign exchange (forex) market is the largest and most actively traded financial market in the world, by far. When looking for the best forex broker, both beginners and experienced traders generally look for several key features and benefits. Among the most important of these are fees (including spreads and commissions),trading platform(s)(including software, web-based, mobile, charting and third-party platforms), customer support, trading education along with currency research, and trustworthiness.
Our list of the top brokers for forex trading:
Note: There are now only three forex-only brokers currently operating in the U.S. All three are represented on this list. Our winner, IG, is one of the largest brokers in the world but only just re-entered the U.S. market officially in February 2019. The other two brokers who operate in the U.S. are OANDA and m.
IG has been in the forex and CFD business for over 40 years. The company offers access globally to a comprehensive product line that includes forex, stock indices, individual equities, stock sectors, commodities, cryptocurrencies, bonds, and interest rates on a variety of professional-grade web-based and mobile trading platforms.
IG is the largest CFD dealer (based on trading revenue) with the largest number of active financial spread betting accounts in the UK. As noted, the company just began serving U.S. clients once again, in February 2019 (IG had operations in the U.S. previously before leaving). Its size allows it to offer some of the lowest spreads and commissions in the industry. IG Group is a FTSE 250 company with more than 185,000 clients worldwide.
Regulated by the CFTC, IIROC, FCA, ASIC, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore
Trade with a traditional broker-spread or the typically less expensive raw spread plus commission model
Research and news resources are only available by launching external web pages or applications
Educational offerings are fragmented and disorganized
Customer service representatives are knowledgeable but slow to respond. Hold times were unusually long.
CMC Markets offers competitive spreads that widen with larger trade and bet sizes. Dedicated sites for professionals and institutions highlight their commitment to higher skill and commitment levels, but it would be nice to see higher level perks, including rebates and the free API interface, offered to retail accounts. Even so, all account holders gain access to guaranteed stop losses, free bank wire withdrawals and other advanced features, lifting the broker into the top tier in several review categories.
OANDA is one of the earliest pioneers of the retail forex industry. Having roots in academia, the company built its reputation, product offerings, technology, and customer base to the point now that its one of only two forex-only brokers in the U.S., and also serves customers throughout the U.K., Singapore, Canada, and Australia. Since the companys inception back in the 1990s, OANDA has been at the forefront of retail forex, offering the latest trading technology and services to a global customer base.
Key points about OANDA include the fact that it has a $0 minimum for live accounts, which is not too common for any type of broker, including forex-specific brokers. Also, the company is well known for its quality of trade execution and transparency when it comes to pricing and fees. Finally, OANDA has long focused on its trading technology, which includes its proprietary web-based and desktop platforms, as well as mobile and MetaTrader 4 options.
Accounts can be opened for as little as one dollar
Regulated by the CFTC, IIROC, FCA, ASIC, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore
Offers both a traditional broker spread and the typically less expensive raw spread plus commission model
Education and webinars were fragmented and disorganized
LCG provides access to a broad selection of CFDs and spread betting instruments across several different asset classes including forex, indexes, cryptocurrencies, commodities, bonds, and individual stocks. They offer competitively low spreads and no commissions. LCG also provides account holders with the benefit of negative balance protection (so traders will never lose more than the amount they have on deposit).
Connection between the app and the web version on the desktop was instantaneous
LCGs analysis and insights are higher quality than average
No way to integrate third party tools into their platform
XTB provides access to a variety of markets such as forex, shares, indices, metals, commodities and even cryptocurrencies. The company is regulated in the UK and registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
XTBs spreads, trading costs, and account fees were about average for the industry overall; however, forex spreads were consistently better than average. A custom trading platform, xStation 5, and MetaTrader 4 were available for the desktop along with mobile applications.
XTB offers access to more than 3000 trading markets
Traders can explore the available markets through searching tools
Guaranteed stop losses are only available on the basic account type
Forex.com, the primary brand of publicly-traded GAIN Capital (NYSE: GCAP), is also one of the first forex-specific brokers on the scene. Within the past several years, the company has acquired several businesses, some in the U.K. This includes the well-established CFD, forex, and spread-betting company, City Index. Because of this and other acquisitions, GAIN Capital has been able to acquire customers from across the globe and is an industry leader in most markets. This includes the U.S., where it currently edges out its primary competitor, OANDA, in terms of customers assets.
Forex.com has been busy at work in the past few years upgrading and revamping its trading platforms and related systems. As a result, the companys technology, both for Forex.com and City Index, are one of its primary strengths. Additionally, GAIN Capital employs a global team of market analysts that provide clients with useful and constantly updated market insights. Besides the usual forex and CFD markets (outside of the U.S.), Forex.com also offers bitcoin for trading.
Access to forex, shares, bonds, indices, cryptocurrency, and commodity CFDs
Custom web and client trading platforms as well as MT4
Research coverage by global research team for U.S., European, and Asian markets
Guaranteed stops may be available for a fee on some markets
Lots of educational resources but navigation to and from these sources is tricky
Pepperstone is an Australian broker based out of Melbourne. It offers competitive, full-featured trade execution through multiple platforms, including MetaTrader 4, browser-based entry, and mobile devices. Customers can choose among 80 tradable instruments in 72 asset classes (including forex, index CFDs, commodities, metals, and cryptocurrencies) across the globe through a diverse range of account types that include commission-free execution and active trader benefits. An AUD $200 minimum deposit supports small trading accounts; extensive research and educational resources build users skill levels and profit-opportunity recognition.
EUR/USD and index CFD executions offer industry-leading rates
MetaTrader 4, cTrader, WebTrader, and mobile access
Multiple liquidity venues with no dealing desk to trade against clients
Unclear which volume tiers will reduce execution costs
Investopedia is dedicated to providing investors with unbiased, comprehensive reviews and ratings of online brokers. Our reviews are the result of six months of evaluating all aspects of an online brokers platform, including the user experience, the quality of trade executions, the products available on their platforms, costs and fees, security, the mobile experience and customer service. We established a rating scale based on our criteria, collecting over 3,000 data points that we weighed into our star scoring system.
In addition, every broker we surveyed was required to fill out a 320-point survey about all aspects of their platform that we used in our testing. Many of the online brokers we evaluated provided us with in-person demonstrations of their platforms at our offices.
Our team of industry experts, led byTheresa W. Carey, conducted our reviews and developed this best-in-industry methodology for ranking online investing platforms for users at all levels.Click here to read our full methodology.