Warren Buffet was famously quoted for saying, I always knew I was going to be rich. I dont 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 viathis interview on forex trading. In addition, its also about understanding clusters ofgood luckand bad luck.
But before you dive head-first into the wild world of fx trading, its important to ask yourself a few questions:
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. Weve 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 asthe best forex trading platforms.
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.
Whether you are looking to trade in currencies or CFDs, IG has been the name in forex trading for over 40 years. With the ability to trade in forex, cryptocurrency, individual equities, stock sectors, and commodities, you can use IG for pretty much everything in forex.
Very trustworthy, regulated by IIROC, FCA, ASIC, CFTC, and Monetary Authority of Singapore
Access traditional broker spreads or use a raw spread with a commission model
While IG has been around forever and is largely considered the best place to trade in forex due to its historical data and number of assets you can trade, there are a few issues plaguing its older platform. For example, if you are a beginner, you may not like the way IG operates since its interface is clunky and there arent as many educational resources as with other brokerages.
IG has a minimum of 0.6 pips for EUR/USD trading. However, IG is great because it allows you to 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.
Its also the largest CFD dealer due to its trading revenue numbers. While CFDs are pretty risky, if you know what youre doing, you may earn a profit. Most of the UK has a large number of financial spreads in CFDs. However, IG has opened up to the US as of February 2019. Now it can offer low spreads and low-cost commissions.
Click here to open Forex broker with IG Group.
As a publicly-traded company with regulations in four tier-1 jurisdictions, CMC Markets is an incredibly safe and low-risk forex and CFD brokerage. Its also considered the most low-cost option for forex and active trading.
Highly competitive pricing for low-cost commissions
Offers liquidity rebates to active traders that surpass at least $25 million in notional trading volumes each month
CMC Markets is probably the best for 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. However, its also great for those who have higher skills in trading and want to take advantage of their 0.7 pip minimum for Forex.
The truth is that CMC Markets has a low spread offering with very low trading costs overall. With its highly competitive pricing, the average spreads for EURO/USD go as low as 0.7 pips and typical spreads out to 0.81 pips. This is the latest data for October 2019.
In addition, active traders are treated a little bit better by CMC Markets. You get a liquidity rebate ranging from $5 to $10 million for those who trade at extremely high levels.
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 dont need any minimum balance to trade with CMC Markets, and it offers VIP discounts if you are extremely active. The platform provides you with charting tools with over 79 technical indicators. You can also access pattern recognition and social-trading tools on the Next Generation platform, but its 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.
Click here to open Forex Trading Online with CMC Markets.
If you have been forex trading in the US, then you know OANDA. Its 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.
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
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, 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 dont 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.
Click here to open Online Forex Trading & Forex Broker with OANDA.
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.
LCGs 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 dont 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 companys 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.
Click here to open Online Forex Broker with London Capital Group.
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
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, its considered to be one of the best by todays 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 wont 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, youll get over 55 technical indicators for charging and about 20 different drawing tools, which includes Auto Chartists trade signals. Youll 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.
Click here to open Forex Broker with Saxo Bank.
You can trade with nearly 80 currency pairs on TD Ameritrade, but its 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
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 , 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 Ameritrades 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.
Click here to open How to Trade Forex with TD Ameritrade.
There are so many options to trade on . Its also the preferred platform for CFD traders. With a number of different trading tools and lots of research options, m 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
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.
Click here to open Forex Trading Online with FOREX.com.
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.
If you conduct a search for forex, you may see a lot of sponsored ads at the top for odd brokerages that dont make it onto our top forex broker list. This is because they are probably scams and dont have any tier level jurisdictions. Its important that a forex platform be compliant and regulated so that you know its 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 isnt 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 brokers 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 its not located within the US, UK, Australia, Canada, or Singapore, you run the risk of getting scammed like those who worked with theseChinese forex brokers.
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.
With better charts, analysis tools, automated traded, and backtesting, you can become a better trader. However, its 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.
You typically wont 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. Its the same for CFDs as well in terms of bidding and asking spreads plus a commission for each trade.
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.
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.
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 its easy to get into. You dont want to lose money because you signed up for an active trading platform that relies on hotkey algorithmic bidding if you dont know what that means.
There are some benefits to trading on the forex versus the stock market. For one, its 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 its low cost to trade on forex in comparison to options and stocks.
While there is some risk, its 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, its 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 isnt 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 its 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 dont 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. Its up to you to do the research on which one will earn you a profit.
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.
Tim FriesTim Fries is the cofounder of The Tokenist. He has a B. Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Tim is also the co-founder of Protective Technologies Capital (protechcap.com).
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