Forex Broker Reviews
Not even legends in the caliber of a Larry Williams or a Martin Schwartz will have much luck in currency trading if the broker is unwilling to cooperate – it has an overwhelming role in determining what type of experience you will have as a forex trader. The lack of clear rules and precedents creates great opportunities, but also huge risks for the unprepared.
But aren’t there always two sides to a story? To help our visitors avoid the dark side of forex, we have carefully screened the best offers in the online brokerage business and prepared a selection of some of the most reputable and efficient brokers for your exclusive benefit. If you have any plans to explore the exciting world of currency trading, we are sure that you will find our list an invaluable guide in the crowded and sometimes shady world of the forex brokers. We recommend reading our listed brokers’ review pages for user reviews, e.g. Etoro or Plus500 review page.
The Top 10 Forex Brokers for Beginners
Trading with the right forex broker is critical to success in the international currency markets. As a currency investor, you may have specific platform, tool, or research needs that should be met. Understanding your investment style can help determine which FX broker may serve as the best forex broker for you.
Our team here at ForexBrokers.com has assembled a quick guide to some of the top online forex brokers. In each individual FX broker summary, we highlight where each broker stands overall and against its competitors.
This review will surface the most important features and/or benefits of selecting one forex broker over another, including discounted commissions, differences in trading account requirements, available research tools and trading platforms, as well as the quality of customer support.
Best FX Brokers for Forex Trading
Here’s a breakdown of some of the best foreign exchange brokers available for online fx trading.
Saxo Bank logo Saxo Bank – 5 Stars
Saxo Bank finished 1st in our 2018 Annual Review of 43 brokers. Its competitive pricing, access to a wide range of markets, multiple regulatory licenses, and innovative trading platforms provide forex traders around the glove an all-around excellent offering.
IG logo IG – 5 Stars
Rated as our Most Trusted Broker of 2018, IG Received 5 Stars and second overall in our 2018 Review. IG also finished #1 for Offering of Investments (5 Stars) and Education (4.5 Stars). In total, IG placed Best in Class for seven of the eight review categories.
CMC Markets logo CMC Markets – 4.5 Stars
CMC Markets finished #1 for Commission & Fees as well as Active Trading and provides traders access to the most currency pairs of any fx broker.
Forex.com logo Forex.com – 4.5 Stars
FOREX.com earned 4.5 stars Overall and finished Best in Class in seven main categories. The firm’s parent company, GAIN Capital, remains one of the largest forex brokers in the United States and caters to global forex traders of all experience levels.
Interactive Brokers logo Interactive Brokers – 4.5 Stars
Ranked #1 for Professional traders, Interactive Brokers is known for its diverse offering of investments. Founded nearly 40 years ago, clients can trade on more than 120 market centers in 26 different countries, and deal in forex, CFDs, stocks, options, ETFs, futures, bonds, and more.
TD Ameritrade logo TD Ameritrade – 4.5 Stars
Available to US residents for forex trading, TD Ameritrade ranked #1 for Customer Service and Platform Technology in our 2018 Review. The broker’s thinkorswim platform provides one of the most powerful charting applications, offering nearly 400 technical indicators.
IG logo Dukascopy – 4.5 Stars
Dukascopy Bank boasts the most robust offering of desktop and mobile platforms, helping it finish #1 for Platform & Tools and #1 for Mobile Trading. Dukascopy also finished Best in Class for Commission & Fees, Research, Social Copy Trading, and Active Trading.
Choosing the Best Forex Brokerage
Here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind when choosing the best online forex brokerage for currency trading.
- Regulation: Not all regulatory jurisdictions and licenses are created equal for international forex and CFD Brokers. Investors should know which country their broker is based in and which country’s laws apply to their account. To avoid fraud, it is critical to use a broker that is well-known and well-regulated. To quickly identify brokers you can trust, reference the Trust Score we provide on each broker’s review page.
- Company Policies and History: As part of every investors due diligence process, steps to help ensure account security should include verifying a firm’s regulatory licenses and its legal obligations in safeguarding client monies. It’s also important to review the customer agreements, read up on the company’s history, and make sure their primary offices are located in a well-respected country, if not your own.
- Range of Markets Offered: It’s always important to determine which markets or individual trading products (currency pair or stock symbol) you want to trade, then check to make sure they are offered. Also check to make sure the products you want to trade are available in your region. See section, “Best offering of Currency Pairs, CFDs” below.
- FX Trading Tools & Platforms: Which platforms and trading tools are available for the products you are considering? Are compatible with your web browser, computer operating system, or mobile smartphone, or any other devices you are planning to use for trading? See section, “Best Forex Trading Platform” below.
- FX Analysis and Global Market Research: Available research tools for scanning, analyzing, and overall conducting technical and fundamental analysis will vary from broker to broker. See section, “FX Research” below.
- Forex spreads, commissions, and overall trading costs: For forex trading, spreads and any round-turn commissions will make up the all-in cost to complete (open/close) each trade. The same generally applies to CFDs, in terms of bid/ask spreads plus any per trade commission. See section, “Lowest Trading Costs” below.
- Order Execution: Available execution methods can depend on whether the broker is a principal dealer acting as a market-maker, and/or if they are an agency-only broker relying on third-party dealers (liquidity providers). Other execution methods, policies, conditions, or available order types can vary (including premium or free trade protection tools such as guaranteed stop-loss orders, fill-or-kill or fill with within a maximum deviation range) can vary from broker to broker.
- Order Type and Execution: Some execution methods or order-types may incur negative or positive slippage. This means orders will fill but the fill price could be better or worse than requested. Since each broker is different, some firms may re-quote an order with a new price for you to accept (or reject) in the case the price has changed.
- Customer Service: Customer service is important. The scope and quality of support can be a major differentiator across online FX brokerages, ranging from the speed and overall quality of assistance to the availability across global trading hours and international markets. See section, “Customer Service” below.
- Education: Currency trading can be complex. Even seasoned investors are constantly learning to expand their breadth of currency markets. The disparity between currency brokers that provide thorough, high quality education, and those who do not is vast. See section, “Education” below.
Lowest Trading Costs
- Open a TDA FX brokerage account!
- CMC Markets – 5 Stars
- Saxo Bank – 4.5 Stars
- IG – 4.5 Stars
- Dukascopy – 4.5 Stars
- GAIN Capital (FOREX.com) – 4.5 Stars
- TD Ameritrade – 4 Stars
- City Index – 4 Stars
Forex trading costs are not easy to break down. Reasons why trading costs can be impacted: bid/ask spreads can vary across venues (because forex is decentralized), forex spreads may be either fixed or variable (floating), and variable spreads may widen or narrow (vary) at different rates across brokers.
Furthermore, execution policies vary across firms in terms of how orders are handled (slippage/rejections), even when all else is equal. Brokers may be acting as market makers (dealers) to execute your trades and/or may be acting as agents for execution (relying on other dealers to execute). Forex spreads may include a round-turn commission.
Forex trading, which involves exchanging one currency for another on the foreign exchange market, isn’t for the faint of heart or the inexperienced. No investment is without risk, but forex tips the risk meter further with its rapid trading pace and high leverage, which means investors can quickly lose more than their initial investments. Of course, that means you can also profit at the same speed, which — combined with liquidity — is what attracts investors to currency trading.
When selecting your forex broker, you should consider trading platforms and tools, the number of currency pairs offered, leverage maximums, customer service and, of course, costs. But comparing costs is tricky in forex trading: While some brokers charge a commission, many advertise no commissions, earning money in the bid-ask spread — the difference between the price a broker or dealer is paying for the currency (the bid) and the price at which a broker or dealer is selling a currency (the ask). Brokers essentially roll their fees into that spread, widening it and pocketing the excess.
That’s just one reason why the search for the best forex broker is a complex one. Another is that there are a variety of brokers out there, many of them unregulated or only regulated in countries outside of the U.S. For our list of best currency trading brokers, we considered only those that are regulated by the National Futures Association and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
If you’re aware of the risks here and still prepared to dive in, here are NerdWallet’s top picks for the best brokers for forex trading. (Thinking you want to dive out instead? Trading stocks might be more your speed — here are the best brokers for that.)
One suggestion: All of these brokers offer free demo accounts so you can test the market with virtual dollars. Dip a toe in with some play money before you dive in with your own cash.
Best brokers for forex trading overall
These brokers combine reasonable costs with strong trading platforms and a large selection of currency pairs.
Commission: Both spread markup and commission ($50 per one million units)
Maximum leverage: 50:1
Account minimum: $0
Currency pairs: 70+
Minimum trade lot: None
Commission: Spread markup
Maximum leverage: 50:1
Account minimum: $50
Currency pairs: 80+
Minimum trade lot: 1,000
The best currency traders combine value with selection and high-quality tools, and OandA and Forex.com hit all those notes. Each offers a wide range of currency pairs, low account minimum, the maximum legal leverage of 50:1 and low minimum trade lots. Both brokers offer spread markups, but OandA just recently moved to also offering commissions and at an attractive rate, $50 per million units. Each broker offers multiple trading platforms, including the popular MetaTrader 4. The brokers also offer Sunday-to-Friday customer support, with Forex.com opening a few hours earlier on Sunday and staying a few hours later on Friday than OandA.
In many respects OandA and Forex.com are evenly matched, but here are a few things that set them apart. Spreads are an important part of the cost equation for forex traders, so it’s important to keep those as narrow as possible. On this score, OandA consistently had the lowest spreads in our analysis, which compared forex brokers’ live spreads on the seven major currency pairs over the course of a week. Its recent addition of commission pricing should be more customer-friendly, too. Forex.com’s spreads were not too far behind in second place, but even small spread differences add up for active traders. On its side, Forex.com should appeal to active traders with its recently introduced cash rebate program, part of what has made the number one forex broker by client assets as of November 2017.
Best brokers for beginner currency traders
These brokers stand out for their educational resources and trader support.
If you’re just jumping into the forex market, you want a broker that can provide educational resources and customer support to get you started. Forex.com has broad customer support, along with a wealth of videos, webinars and guides to help you learn the basics. But even though Forex.com is listed as best for beginners, don’t think it’s not a high-calibre option for experts, too.
Most forex brokers offer 24-hour trader support five days a week, Sunday at 5 p.m. Eastern time through Friday at 5 p.m. Eastern. But Forex.com gets started at Sunday 10 a.m. and runs through Friday midnight. Costs may be slightly higher here — Forex.com exclusively uses spread markups that came out a bit wider than the competition in some of our tests. The company also charges accounts with one year of no trading activity or open positions a $15 monthly data fee; customers can opt to temporarily disable the account to avoid that fee. One note: Forex.com is owned by GAIN Capital, which also provides services to Ally.
Ally also provides useful educational resources and support for beginners, and forex traders can piggyback on Ally’s reputation for customer service. Ally is a good pick if you’ve already got an account there and are looking to trade multiple products in a single place (stocks, options, currency and others), or would simply like to try your hand at currency trading. Ally uses a spread markup, and its spreads were consistently above those of Forex.com and OandA. Ally functions as an introducing broker to GAIN Capital, which acts as the account holder and trade counterparty at Ally Invest, and so Ally likely must pass on an additional layer of costs, via a wider spread, to its own traders.
Best forex trading platforms and tools
TD Ameritrade offers a choice of high-quality trade platforms and advanced tools.
TD Ameritrade is hard to beat with its much-loved thinkorswim trading platform, which allows users to trade not just currency, but also a range of other investment products. The platform is professional-level, with advanced technical analysis capabilities and the ability to create custom forex pairs, and TD Ameritrade has an equally robust mobile app, Mobile Trader. Thinkorswim also offers up $200,000 of play money for practice with its paperMoney feature. One drawback: The platform is advanced enough that new traders can easily get overwhelmed.
In addition to all the other positives that made it one of our best overall picks, Forex.com offers a number of platforms for traders, allowing users to choose the one they’re most comfortable with. In addition to offering MetaTrader 4, the broker also offers its flagship platform FOREXTrader, which is available in browser, desktop and mobile versions. Forex.com also just added the Ninja Trader platform to its line-up as well as TradingView for users to chart currencies, provide technical analysis and develop a trading plan.
Best brokers for low-cost forex trading
In our analysis, these brokers offered the most value.
The costs associated with forex trading can be hard to suss out, as we noted earlier. Low-volume traders can often save money with a broker that marks up its spreads but charges no commissions, as long as those markups are competitive. OandA publishes both live and historical spreads on its website, and came out the clear winner in our analysis for the lowest spreads on major pairs. While the company charges a monthly inactivity fee of $10, it only kicks in after a year of no activity, so it’s hardly a dealbreaker.
High-volume traders may benefit from a commission-only broker. On this count, ATC Brokers’ flat commission pricing looks like a clear winner. The company prices its commission round turn (in other words, for both sides, when you buy and sell) and charges $1.00 per 10,000 units. One caveat: Though the broker allows trades as small as 1,000 units, that $1.00 is a minimum commission.