What are the best forex broker and trading platforms?
Cash is the most in-demand asset in the world. As a result, liquidity in global currencies is relatively high. With constant trades going back and forth, currency values rise and fall throughout the day.
Foreign exchange, or forex traders, aim to capitalize on that movement.
By trading currency pairs, like euros and U.S. dollars (EUR/USD), forex traders make their trades much like stock traders. The idea is to buy low and sell high, making a profit on the spread between the low price and the high price.
Through the use of margins, these traders buy and sell large amounts of currency, greatly expanding their potential for gains through their forex trading activities. However, if you want to trade forex, you’re going to need to choose a trading platform as a home for your trades to take place.
Best Brokers for Forex Investing
Perhaps you’ve read articles and watched videos and been intrigued by the large profits that are often created in the forex market. Once you’re ready to get involved in the currency market, all you need is a brokerage that gives you access to the high-pace financial market to try your hand.
Not all brokers are created equal. After all, these are private companies that have the ability to set their own pricing, provide their own unique features, and create their own platforms with the tools that they see fit for forex traders.
As a result, you’ll find many differences from one forex broker to the next. Here are the top forex brokers to consider.
Competitive Pricing, Top-Notch Tools, a Quality Mobile App, and Access to Cryptocurrency
Founded in 2001 toward the end of the dot-com bubble, Forex.com became one of the pioneers in the online currency trading space. The company quickly grew to be a leading online broker, a status it continues to hold today. The company designed its trading platform to cater to both institutional and retail investor accounts, of which it has more than 200,000 to date. Here’s what members love about Forex.com:
- Low Minimum Deposit. If you’re interested in getting into the currency market, you won’t have to break the bank to do it. With Forex.com, you can start a new trading account with a deposit of as little as $100, or 100 units of the currency you choose as your base currency, offering low-cost entry into the space. However, it is recommended that new users deposit $2,500, or 2,500 units of their home currency to provide more flexibility and diversification for risk management.
- Demo Account. Currency trading is a learned process. It’s important that you do your research and take the time to test your theories before risking your hard-earned money on your first trade. Several FX brokers provide demo accounts, giving you the ability to practice and perfect your trading strategy absolutely free. Forex.com was one of the first to provide this type of trading tool in the forex market.
- Quality Charting. Your currency trading experience will largely depend on the trading tools that are available to you. One of the most important trading tools in the forex trader’s toolbox is real-time charting. Making money in the forex market requires detailed technical analysis, which Forex.com makes simple with all of the indicators and functionality you’ll need to make educated trades.
- CFDs. There are two ways to go about trading forex: through trading forex pairs like U.S. dollars and British pounds (USD/GBP) or by trading contracts for difference (CFDs). CFDs are more complex instruments represented by contracts between the investor and the broker, under which the difference between the entrance and exit price is provided to the investor as the profit or loss. Forex.com offers CFDs for both currency pairs and commodities, allowing you to diversify asset classes.
- Customer Support. Any time you engage in financial services, it’s important that you have a customer support team that’s ready, willing, and able to answer any questions you may have. As one of the pioneers in online forex trading, the customer support team at Forex.com is well-educated, well-trained, and potentially best in class. Simply put, if you have questions, you’ll get answers.
- Regulatory Oversight. Forex.com is a registered futures commission merchant (FCM) and retail foreign exchange dealer (RFED) with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The online broker is also a member of the National Futures Association (NFA), offering an increased level of regulatory oversight.
- Cryptocurrency Trading. Crypto trading, or the trading of cryptocurrencies, is becoming a more and more important part of currency trading. Bitcoin rose to record highs in early 2021, and more of the same is expected going forward. If you’re looking for a quality broker to use in order to get your hands on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Forex.com may be a perfect fit.
- Quality Mobile App. Everything is done on the go these days, from gaming to communicating and, yes, even forex trading. The Forex.com mobile app is available on Apple and Android devices, and includes all the trading tools, market research, and functionality that you’ll enjoy when using the company’s web-based platform.
When deciding what company to work with in the world of finance, it brings peace of mind to know that you’re working with one of the leaders of the space. That’s what you get when you trade forex with Forex.com. The company is one of the pioneers in the space and has led the way in innovation throughout its growth, leading to trading tools and functionality that are second to none.
2. Interactive Brokers
Low Minimum Deposit, Low Spreads, and Low Commissions; Among the Best Charting Tools on the Market
Interactive Brokers was founded in 1978, and they do far more than offer forex trading. They’re one of the most well-respected stockbrokers on Wall Street today. With a pedigree in the investing and trading world, it only makes sense that currency traders are piling into the trading platform like crazy. So, what’s driving them in?
- Low Minimum Deposit. For quite some time, Interactive Brokers had one of the highest minimum deposits in the investing space, requiring a minimum of $10,000 to open an account. In 2019, the company did away with the high minimum deposit, dropping it from $10,000 to zero. So, with this broker, you can start with any amount of money you’d like.
- Low Spreads. In some cases, forex brokers will hide fees in price spreads. Interactive Brokers promises it doesn’t take part in hidden price spreads, providing low spreads that equate to higher potential profits.
- Low Commissions and Margin Costs. On currency trades with monthly trade volumes under $1 million, Interactive Brokers charges a 0.20 basis point commission, or 0.0020% per transaction, which is in line with the average among discount online brokers. Those fees shrink substantially, falling to 0.08 basis points, or 0.0008%, when monthly currency trade volumes increase to $1 billion or more. In terms of margin interests, cost depends on the currency being traded and ranges from 2.5% to 12.7%.
- CFDs. As with Forex.com, Interactive Brokers offers CFD trading. However, their CFD trading is more intuitive, including not just currencies and commodities, but also traditional investment instruments like stocks.
- Quality Charting. Interactive Brokers offers quality charting capabilities, a must-have trading tool for those trading currencies.
- Cryptocurrency Trading. As cryptocurrency becomes more popular among investors and traders alike, more brokers are hopping on the bandwagon. Interactive Brokers is one of those firms, offering access to Bitcoin and other popular cryptocurrencies.
- High-End Customer Support. As one of the most well-respected brokers on Wall Street — not just in forex trading, but in the market as a whole — Interactive Brokers has a world-class customer service team that’s ready to answer any questions you have.
- Regulatory Oversight. As a U.S. stockbroker, the firm is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The broker is also regulated by the CFTC and is a member of the NFA.
- Quality Mobile App. As trading on the go becomes more prevalent among today’s newer market participants, mobile trading apps are becoming more important. The Interactive Brokers mobile app, IBKR Mobile, provides all the research, analysis, and trading tools that you would expect to see when working in currency markets.
With a strong history on Wall Street, originally working as a broker for products traditionally found on major stock exchanges, Interactive Brokers made a name for itself in the world of finance. As forex trading became more popular, the company dove in headfirst, becoming a leader in that space as well.
Investors who choose to use Interactive Brokers have access to traditional stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and mutual funds, while gaining access to forex, CFDs, and cryptocurrency all in the same place. Moreover, with some of the lowest spreads and lowest commissions on the market, the firm has become a favorite among some of the most active traders in various asset classes.
3. TD Ameritrade
All the High-End Technical Tools You Need to Be Successful in the Forex Space
TD Ameritrade is another well-known stockbroker on Wall Street. Founded in 1975, TD Ameritrade has decades of history serving the investing community. Like Interactive Brokers, as currency trading became more of a hot topic, the company jumped in, seeing an opportunity to add new services to its portfolio. Today, TD Ameritrade is one of the top forex brokers on the market.
- thinkorswim. The trading platform at TD Ameritrade is known as thinkorswim. The platform was developed by traders for traders, meaning it’s equipped with all the tools and functionality that successful traders expect when they log into their platform. Not to mention, it offers copy trading features that allow you to copy professional traders. Moreover, the platform has a uniquely effective layout, providing a user experience that’s unmatched by any other broker in the forex industry.
- Cryptocurrency Is Coming. Recently, TD Ameritrade announced a partnership with ErisX, a regulated cryptocurrency exchange. As a result, the company expects to launch cryptocurrency trading abilities in the near future.
- Low-Cost Trading. While the zero-commission wave has spread to most online stock platforms, that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to forex brokers. However, TD Ameritrade is breaking the mold by offering zero commissions on forex trades as well as relatively low spreads. Like others, the company bakes relatively minimal fees into spreads. Interest on margins ranges from 7.5% to 9.5%.
- Compelling Charting. As a leading stockbroker in the United States, the company had its charting technology down well before it entered into the forex market. The trading tools offered by TD Ameritrade are on par with or better than any other broker’s tools on this list.
- CFD. As with other all-inclusive brokers, TD Ameritrade offers CFD trading on a wide range of underlying assets, ranging from currency pairs to commodities, stocks, and ETFs.
- Regulatory Oversight. As a U.S. stockbroker and an active broker in the forex market, the company is regulated by FINRA, the SEC, and the CFTC, and is a member of the NFA.
- Customer Care. All the companies included on this list have excellent customer service. TD Ameritrade’s exemplary customer service team fits the bill as one of the top in the industry.
- Educational Resources. Whether you’re trading forex, stocks, or any other available asset with this broker, you can rest assured that they have a vested interest in your success and make quality educational resources available to all users.
- Intuitive Mobile App. As with other mainstream and online brokers, TD Ameritrade created an intuitive mobile app as investors began to make their moves in the market on the go.
TD Ameritrade is one of the most highly respected brokers on Wall Street and in the currency market today. All in all, it’s hard to argue against the value of the company’s research tools, trading tools, and high-end experience you’ll experience when working with the brokerage.
4. CMC Markets
A Highly Technical Trading Platform With Among the Best Market Research Available, Intuitive Charting, and Access to MetaTrader4
CMC Markets is yet another highly reputable brokerage firm that got its start decades ago as a stockbroker. Based in the United Kingdom, CMC Markets is a name known around the world. The company offers online stock trading, forex, CFDs, cryptocurrency, and spread betting. Here are the key benefits members of CMC Markets enjoy:
- Zero Minimum Deposit. CMC Markets doesn’t have a minimum deposit to speak of. Whether you’re interested in trying your hand in the market with $5 or $500,000, CMC Markets is a strong option.
- Compelling Market Research. CMC Markets offers some of the most in-depth market research available through any broker today. This provides a significant strategic advantage, as knowledge is power in the stock market.
- Intuitive Charting. All brokers on this list have compelling charting features. However, few hold a candle to the charting features found at CMC Markets. The company offers all the indicators you would expect and then some.
- MetaTrader 4 (MT4). CMC Markets is supported by MetaTrader 4, one of the most compelling and popular forex trading platforms, developed by MetaQuotes.
- CFDs. As with others on this list, CMC Markets offers CFDs as well as other investment vehicles, setting the stage for even more opportunities beyond forex.
- Regulatory Oversight. CMC Markets is regulated by Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority as well as the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, or FCA.
- Low Spreads & Margin Rates. CMC Markets is known for providing low spreads, increasing profits for forex traders. When spreads are high, prices must move more to reach profits. When spreads are low, profitability is more easily achievable. Moreover, margin rates are competitive to say the least, offering just 3.3% margin interest on most currency pairs.
- Top of the Line Mobile App. In an on-the-go world, CMC Markets makes trading easy with a compelling mobile platform called CMC: CFD Trading.
5. Ally Invest
A Long History of Providing Quality Financial Services Across the Board
Ally Invest, a subsidiary of Ally Financial, is a company with a strong history of serving customers with compelling financial products since the early 1900s. In 2005, Ally Financial founded Ally Invest to give investors all the tools they need to be successful in the stock market. Since then, the company has grown to be one of the top investing and trading platforms online. Some of the perks investors enjoy when working with Ally Invest include:
- Low-Cost Trading. Ally Invest doesn’t charge a commission for trading forex, but does make money off the spread. Nonetheless, the fees are minimal with a spread that’s comparable to other discount trading platforms.
- Top-Notch Trading Platform. Ally Financial has more than a century of experience serving customers in the world of finance, and it has leveraged that expertise in its Ally Invest trading platform to create a leading consumer experience. The platform not only includes top-of-the line charting capabilities, it is jam-packed with information, including in-depth research reports. The trading platform also features a probability calculation with compelling accuracy.
- Charting. In order to be listed as one of the best forex brokers, the company must offer top-notch charting, and Ally Invest definitely fits that bill. The real-time charts you find on the trading platform feature all the indicators that the most successful forex investors expect to see when making their trades.
- CFDs. Ally Invest also offers CFD trading in both currencies and commodities.
- No Minimum Deposit. Whether you’re starting with $5 or $5,000, Ally Invest will not turn you away. There’s no minimum deposit on the platform.
- Regulatory Oversight. Ally Invest is regulated by the Cypress Securities and Exchange Commission, also known as CySEC.
- Low-Cost Trading. Like most forex trading platforms, Ally Invest doesn’t charge a commission on trades. Instead, it adds a small fee into the spread when you trade. Margin rates are also some of the lowest in the industry, ranging from 5.5% on larger transactions to 7.75% on smaller transactions.
- Access to Mobile App and MetaTrader 4. Finally, you can’t be a top trading platform in 2021 without offering a mobile trading app. The Ally Invest app is functional, but some reviewers say the user experience is hindered by the layout. Nonetheless, Ally Invest also is supported by MetaTrader 4, a top trading platform among forex traders.
Ally Invest has earned its position as a member of the cream of the crop in forex, the stock market, and finance in general. Through more than 100 years of service to the financial community, the company has been an innovator in the provision of compelling financial services in the United States.
Consider the Following When Trading Forex
If you plan on trying your hand in the world of forex, it’s important that you understand what you’re getting yourself into. Trading forex is a different process than investing in stock and, according to The Balance, many forex traders lose money, especially new traders.
Much of this lack of success can be attributed to a lack of understanding of how the forex market works. Some of the most important factors you should consider before diving into the market include:
- Forex Is High Risk. Forex trading is a high-risk concept. Because currency is always in demand, volatility is the norm in the market. This volatility makes planning entrance and exit moves more difficult and increases the risk of sudden losses. Moreover, the fluctuations in values of currency are minimal. To make any real money in the space, you’ll need to trade on margins, which adds increased risk and cost.
- Always Look for Regulatory Oversight. There are several brokers that offer forex trading platforms. However, many of these brokers are unregulated or underregulated, which could result in you getting involved in a scam with little recourse. Before working with any forex broker, make sure they’re regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and are members of the National Futures Association (NFA) in the United States, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the U.K., or regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) in Australia. These regulators help to ensure that you’re not the next victim of foreign exchange market scams.
- Central Bank Changes Drive Currency Prices. The Federal Reserve in the United States, European Central Bank in Europe, and the Bank of England in the United Kingdom largely have control over economic movements in their respective countries. These central banks adjust interest rates, purchase bonds, and make monetary policy decisions in their respective regions. Any time a central bank makes a change to monetary policy, their currency values are likely to react.
- High Volatility Is a Gift and a Curse. Forex traders love volatility. Sharp movements in one direction or another give these traders the opportunity to make money quickly. As much as volatility is exciting to these traders, it should also be scary. Volatility isn’t a directional term that says a currency pair will go up or down. It means the moves in any direction are likely to be rapid. Therefore, when the price falls, and your bet is in the upward direction, significant losses may be the result.
- Diversify Your Trading Instruments. Due to the high risk associated with trading currencies, diversification is an absolute must. Never risk more than 2.5% of your entire portfolio’s value on a single trade.
Although it’s important to consider the risks associated with forex before diving in, there’s no denying that the currency market has provided a path to riches for plenty of investors.
If you plan on trying your hand in the space, one of the most important moves you will make is choosing the right brokerage to work with. Your broker should have top-of-the-line charting, research, and trading tools, come with regulatory oversight, and have a successful record of service to the financial industry. The brokers listed here fit that bill to a T.