Trader Group

Monetary Market Advisors

Best Forex Brokers: Choose the best Trading Platform

Best forex brokers banner

This guide will help you pick the Best Forex Broker that is fit for you. Trader Group has carefully analyzed the top brokers in the currency trading niche.

Forex brokers provide an online trading platform for currency traders on the Foreign Exchange market. Most brokers do not charge a registration fee or any monthly fees, but they do take commissions – usually in the form of a spread markup (a hidden charge automatically applied to every trade).

Warning for US residentsU.S. Residents: It is illegal for offshore brokers to solicit potential USA clients. If you reside in the U.S., you must pick an NFA regulated broker from this list. You may find temporary loopholes with non-U.S. brokers that accept U.S. residents, but it is merely a matter of time before the CFTC will fine them and blacklist their website in the USA.

Top Forex Brokers

There is no absolute winning brokerage since there are many factors to consider. Every broker has its advantages and disadvantages.

For the brokers listed below, we compared their popularity, rating, reputation, platform, and country availability. We paid special attention to the transparency and honesty of the brokers’ advertising on their website and how they execute trades. We also looked at how well the brokers comply with the regulation and laws of their domiciled country.

Broker Description Rating Website (secure link)
FX Choice
  • Regulated by IFSC in Belize
  • $100 USD initial deposit minimum
  • 200:1 leverage
  • Minimum position size: micro lot (0.01)
  • EUR/USD Spreads: from 0.5 pips
4.5 / 5
"Best offshore broker"
"Immediate support chat replies"
"Good spread"
Official Website
Our review
Traders Way
  • Not regulated - but very reputable
  • No minimum deposit
  • 1000:1 leverage
  • Minimum position size: micro lot (0.01)
  • EUR/USD Spreads: 2 pips
4.3 / 5
"Offshore broker benefits"
"Excellent leverage and hedging"
"Accept Credit Cards"
Official Website
Our review
Global Prime
  • Regulated by ASIC in Australia
  • True ECN trades
  • $500 AUD minimum initial deposit
  • 1:200 leverage after risk approval
  • EUR/USD Spreads: 0.4 pips
  • Minimum position size: micro lot (0.01)
4.2 / 5
"Less than 24-hour withdrawals"
"Honest and trusted"
"Extremely transparent operations"
Official Website
Our review
FXCM
  • Various regulations - redirects to your country
  • Discontinued in the USA in 2017
  • $50 minimum deposit
  • 200:1 leverage
  • 1k lot size minimum
  • Spreads from 1.5 pips for EUR/USD
3.7 / 5
"Excellent 24/5 chat"
"Top notch executions"
"Reliable mobile platform"
Official Website
Our review
LMFX
  • Domiciled in Macedonia
  • Not regulated - but very trustworthy
  • $50 minimum deposit
  • 1000:1 maximum levearge
  • Spreads from 0.0 pips (with the fixed commissions option)
3.7 / 5
"Offshore broker accepts all clients"
"MT4 platform works well with EAs"
"Very low spreads option"
Official Website
IC Markets
  • Regulated by ASIC in Australia
  • No minimum deposit
  • 500:1 leverage
  • Minimum position size: micro lot (0.01)
  • EUR/USD Spreads: 1 pips
4.0 / 5
"Stable and easy-to-use interface"
"Very good support"
"Great transparency of fees"
Official Website
Our review
Dukascopy
  • Regulated by FINMA in Switzerland
  • ECN trade execution
  • $5,000 minimum deposit
  • 200:1 leverage
  • Minimum trading size: 1000 instruments
  • EUR/USD Spreads: 0.2 pips
4.0 / 5
"Active trading community"
"Uncluttered platform"
"Support for scalping, spike trading, and news trading"
Official Website
Our review
Tickmill
  • UK subsidiary is regulated by the FCA
  • Seychelles subsidiary is regulated by the FSA
  • $25 minimum initial deposit
  • 500:1 leverage
  • Minimum position size: micro lot (0.01)
  • Spreads: 1.6 pips
  • Demo and Live accounts are identical
4.1 / 5
"Same-day withdrawal processing"
"Honest and trusted"
"Competitive commissions"
Official Website
Our review
FXTM - ForexTime
  • Regulated by CySEC in Cyprus
  • $5 minimum initial deposit
  • 1000:1 leverage
  • Minimum position size: micro lot (0.01)
  • EUR/USD Spreads: 2 pips
3.5 / 5
"Very fast withdrawals"
"Weekly webinars for beginners"
"Accept small deposits"
Official Website
Our review
Tradeview
  • Regulated by CIMA in Cayman Islands
  • ECN trades
  • $100 minimum initial deposit
  • 1:400 leverage
  • EUR/USD Spreads: 0.7 pips
  • Minimum position size: mini lot (0.1)
3.9 / 5
"Trade execution is almost perfect"
"Low spreads"
"Good support"
Official Website
Our review
XM Forex
  • Regulated by FCA, CySec, and ASIC
  • STP execution of trades
  • $5 minimum initial deposit
  • 1:888 leverage
  • EUR/USD Spreads: 1.8 pips
  • Good mobile platform
3.4 / 5
"Perfect stop-loss executions"
"Urgent withdrawal option"
"Professional support team"
Official Website
Our review
HotForex
  • Regulated by FSC in Mauritius
  • $50 minimum initial deposit
  • 1000:1 leverage
  • EUR/USD Spreads: 0.3 pips
  • Does not accept clients from Canada or USA
3.4 / 5
"Lowest slippage"
"Quick support"
"Tightest spread"
Official Website
Our review

Note that the spreads constantly fluctuate because exchange rates change. This applies in particular for more volatile currencies.

You can safely choose any of the brokers listed above. They have licenses from government supported regulations, and offer very competitive features. In fact, most larger brokers offer tighter spreads, faster order executions, and more reliable platforms.

Deposit Bonus Warning

warning about bonuses from forex brokersMany brokers attempt to attract new clientele by offering Deposit Bonuses, No-Deposit Bonuses, or Welcome Bonuses. This bonus is not real money and cannot be withdrawn. It is only as good as a Demo Account with virtual playing money.

If you see a broker offering a bonus or a reviewer promoting “Claim Bonus” buttons, please ignore those options.

A big bonus (for example a 100% bonus on the initial deposit) is neither good nor bad. It is a Demo Account, which is offered by everyone. Brokers are not going to give you free money.

For more information about the terms and conditions of forex bonuses, see this page.

Forex Broker for your Skill Level

Every Forex broker has its own pros and cons. We found that selecting the correct broker should depend on your trading skill level. Most brokers often tend to reward traders that contribute a higher initial deposit or those who have a larger trading volume.

Before deciding which broker to pick, categorize yourself as one of the following:

Beginner Experienced Advanced / Expert
Initial deposit $0 to $1,000 $1,000 to $10,000 $10,000 or more
Demo Account Required Recommended Optional
Trading volume $100 $1000 $10,000 or more
Lot size Nano (100 units) or Micro (1,000 units) minimum Mini (10,000 units) minimum or less Standard (100,000 units) minimum or less
Leverage 1:10 1:50 1:100

Higher leverage is very risky.

Commissions

Since the trade is smaller, it is best to have lower commissions.

Average

At higher trades, commissions are negligible.

Spread

With smaller trades, spread is negligible.

Average

Since the trade is larger, it is best to have a tighter spread.

Education

Forex trading education + platform tutorials

Platform tutorials

Brief platform documentations

The best Forex broker differs from person to person. The table above guides you to the next step in selecting the correct intermediary.

From the table above, you will see that Spread and Commissions are two of the biggest differentiators between the broker categories. To find out why, read this quick example.

Brokers that offer tight spreads usually charge a fixed commission for every trade or lot. Brokers without commissions charge higher spreads.

Brokers by Country

Map of forex brokers by countryDue to strict forex regulations in many countries, some brokers limit the registration of potential customers to exclude or include certain locations. Almost every country has a regulatory authority, but only the United States of America restricts its citizens to only trade under its own regulatory systems (NFA or CFTC). This is the reason why many brokers do not accept U.S. residents; some even block their website entirely.

Any other trader outside that is not a USA citizen, is able to pick a broker based on its regulations. Some brokers operate their brand with divisions in several countries to comply with different regulations.

The table below lists brokers by countries based on their head office location and regulations. Some brokers restrict registration to their country of origin, others do not.

Country Main Regulator Strictness
USA
USA-Flag
The National Futures Association (NFA) ran by The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Extremely strict List of Brokers
Canada
Canadian-flag
The Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) Very strict List of Brokers
United Kingdom
UK-flag
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Moderately strict List of Brokers
Australia
Australian-flag
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Moderately strict List of Brokers
International
International-flag
Cyprus (CySec), Switzerland (FINMA), Belize (IFSC), Cayman Islands (CIMA), Mauritius (FSC), Japan (JFSA), Singapore (MAS), UAE - Dubai (DFSA), Germany (BaFin), South Africa (FSB). Less strict List of Brokers

Strict regulations are meant to minimize losses, but in turn, they also restrict trading potential. In certain countries, all brokers need an active license from the regulation to be in business. This system prevents scam and fraud in this industry.

Trading Platform

MetaTrader4 screenshotThe software that the broker is running on is something for you to consider. The most popular platform is MT4 (MetaTrader 4), and it is be supported on 97% of all forex brokers.

Some brokers offer MT5. It is not a successor to MT4. It is different, not better. We suggest you stick with the industry standard unless you know what you are doing.

Additionally, if you are considering using forex robot in the future, it will most likely be designed for the MT4 platform.

The user interface, however, can differ between different brokers. When suggesting our ‘Top Brokers‘ lists, we took that into consideration. The interface should be easy to use and offer mobile phone and tablet flexibility.

Interface Features

The best forex brokers often offer various other features in addition to currency trading. Some things you can look for:

  • Forex education and learning center.
  • Automatic signals, notifications, and alerts.
  • Live streaming of relevant news.
  • Scalping and hedging options.
  • Charting capabilities.
  • Automated robot or Expert Advisor (EA) integration (permission depends on the broker).
  • The trading potential of other assets such as: stocks, CFDs, indices, options, and commodities.

Currency Pairs

Top forex brokers allow you to trade with a wider range of currency pairs. All brokers will probably let you trade the Majors:

  • EUR/USD
  • GBP/USD
  • USD/JPY
  • AUD/USD
  • NZD/USD
  • USD/CHF
  • USD/CAD

The Major pairs are a lot less volatile than the Minors and account for 85% of all trades. The top brokers we listed also allow you to trade on Minor pairs. Those include:

  • Crosses: a different combination of Major pairs. For example EUR/GBP.
  • Exotics: those are currencies of emerging markets. For example the Thai Baht.

Demo Account

If you are a beginner, make sure you practice dealing with a demo account or very small lot (or position) sizes (lot = order value). This is particularly true if you are not familiar with the broker’s interface or trading process. Most of the brokers we recommend offer demo trading accounts.

Deposit and Account Balance

The minimum initial deposit requirements also vary. If broker security is your limiting factor, then it should not matter when you choose a trustworthy broker because you would always have the option to withdraw your money.

A higher account balance gives more flexibility to take risks. Although some brokers can allow a smaller account balance minimum, they can automatically categorize your account in a preset bracket (mini, standard, or VIP). With the higher end accounts, you get tighter dealing spreads, ability to waive some fees, additional features, and priority support.

Trusted Brokers

The broker you choose should have a high reputation or be licensed by a third party regulator. Forex fraud happens from time to time with smaller, less reputable companies. Read our complete article on forex scam, coming soon.

We encourage you to follow our guides and stay away from unknown brokers that nobody recommends. All the brokers we list are very trustworthy.

Market Maker vs. STP or ECN

TL;DR – Never choose an account labeled as Market Maker or Dealing Desk (DD).

Brokers need to get the latest and most accurate prices for all their currencies. When a broker is a Market Maker with a Dealing Desk, it means that they set the currency pricing themselves as they wish.

Brokers that use Non-Dealing Desk (NDD), Straight Through Processing (STP), or Electronic Communication Network (ECN) technologies automatically get their pricing information from several trustworthy sources without human intervention.

Choose a broker account that uses – NDD, STP, or ECN.

Withdrawal of Funds

The broker that you choose needs to have the withdrawal method that is appropriate for you. Some common methods:

  • Bank Transfer
    • Local Bank Transfer: this is the best option if it is offered for your country.
    • International Wire Transfer: could cost $10 to $100 USD from your broker – plus an additional charge from your bank to receive the payment.
  • Credit Card: transfer funds through the Visa or Mastercard networks to your personal account.
  • E-wallet: Neteller, Skrill, WebMoney, Payza, OKPay, or PayPal (rarely supported). A percentage fee is charged by all payment providers and will be passed on to you.
  • Bitcoin: this is a very new method of withdrawal and deposit, so don’t be too picky with this option.

Broker processing time is usually 24 hours. Additional processing time may be required on the receiving end. The funds can only be withdrawn into the account from which they were deposited.

Slippage

Forex-broker-slippage-exampleSlippage is when the order is executed at a price that is different from the price that was initially requested. In most cases, this is not a result of attempted fraud. Slippage can have a positive or an adverse effect (as mentioned here). The speed of order executions should be very quick. Some slippages or requotes are acceptable (especially on stop-loss orders), but those should not be happening very often.

The brokers we list on Trader Group rarely experience any slippage.

Negative Balance Protection

Negative balance can happen if you leverage your trades. Beginners should keep leverage under 1:10. For traders that are not careful with this feature, ethical brokers offer unique protection features that prevent your account balance from dropping below 0. Unfortunately, this feature is not very common.

Customer Support

Not all brokers offer 24/7 customer service. The forex market, however, is open 24 hours a day and 5 days a week (6 days if you count time zones from different countries). The quality of customer service is not directly reflective of the broker’s trust level, but it is always nice to know that if something goes wrong with your order execution, you can always contact your broker.

Consider the different ways to contact their support:

  • Phone: Is it toll-free? Are they fluent in your desired language? What is the wait time?
  • Email: What is the response time? Are the responses unique to your case?
  • Ticket system: How long does it take for the staff to respond? Is there a priority setting?
  • Live chat: Is it always available? Is it only bait for new customers?

Additional Tips

The following tips may be overkill for most people. However, if you chose an unregulated broker that we haven’t reviewed, make sure you do the following:

  • Read all the fine print: although you should always be familiar with any contract you sign, this is particularly important when dealing with unknown brokers. Additionally, read the terms and conditions of the regulatory body for your broker.
  • Contact their customer service: check the response time and the helpfulness of their staff. You may also ask questions about anything you do not understand in the terms and conditions you read in the previous part. Warning: some brokers have different customer service agents for traders who have already deposited their money.
  • Bonus conditions: if the broker baited you with a favorable bonus, read carefully what you need to do to be eligible for it.
  • Fees: be familiar with all the potential fees they can charge you. Look carefully at the fund withdrawal fees and account closure or inactivity charges.
  • Withdrawal of funds: in addition to the fees, check the withdrawal conditions and waiting times.

Our Evaluation Methods

When creating our list for the top forex brokers, we evaluated all the popular brokers. That is, we took all the forex brokers that have significant publicity in reliable and independent resources. We signed up for their demo accounts and traded on their platforms for at least 10 hours. We used computers, tablets (Android), and mobile phones (Android and iOS).

We played around with all their trading features. We traded various currency pairs, tested the stop-loss function, created watchlists, and created alerts and notifications.

We also looked at the built-in resources. Those include charting tools, technical indicators, forex education, platform training, and forecasting capabilities.

Some brokers take their educational resources a step further and provide weekly webinars and an updated blog. They share new forex trading strategies that are up-to-date with the current market.

Updated: October 18, 2017 — 9:08 pm

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trader Group © 2017