Forex Brokers Review
Wagering on the Forex Market
If you are considering currency trading, you should be an experienced trader who can handle financial losses. Because of the risk, forex trading is not suitable for most investors. If you have been an active day trader, you likely have the skill set to use forex successfully, or at least have an understanding of the risk involved.
On the other hand, the forex market is now more welcoming than ever to newer, lower-volume investors. While volume investors fuel the majority of the $4 trillion dollar-per-day market, lower-volume investors have increasing opportunities, too. In the past, minimum deposits were in the thousands; now you can fund a new account with as little as $100. With this low deposit requirement, you can test out a few services without risking large sums of money.
If you're trading from the United States, two good choices are MB Trading, which offers commission-free accounts, and ATC Brokers with its fixed commission rates and solid customer service. Traders based elsewhere in the world may want to investigate Dukascopy, a Swiss institution with a good reputation for transparency. We also offer articles about forex trading, profiling the good and bad of various brokerages, along with full reviews of the top forex brokers.
Forex Brokers: What to Look For
To help you make an informed selection, we compared trade details, brokerage types, funding options, trading platforms, and help and support.
Some forex brokers are lowering the barriers to entry by allowing you to open forex accounts with as little as $100, whereas in the past, minimum deposits were in the thousands of dollars. In terms of available pairs of currencies, even though the majority of forex trades involve just a handful of currency pairs, most forex brokerages offer from 30 to 60 pairs of currencies. So you if you are interested in a fairly rare pairing, confirm that it is available through the forex broker that you are considering. Be aware that the minimum trade lot size is 1,000 for most forex brokers, which means that your currency pair transaction must be for at least 1,000 of whatever currency pair you are buying or selling. Some brokers require you to trade in lot sizes of 10,000.
If you trade in the United States, the law of the land protects you from yourself by limiting your ability to leverage trades to 50 to one. (Leverage is money that you borrow from the broker in order to conduct larger transactions than your actual funds would allow. With a leverage of 50:1, you can conduct a $50 transaction with $1.) In Europe, you can leverage up to 400:1. Just remember that, although leverage multiplies your ability to make profits, it is a two-edged sword so it can also multiply the speed with which you lose money.
Brokerage & Funding Options
When selecting a broker, you have a choice of two types: a market maker or an Electronic Communications Network (ECN) broker. Each charges you in a different manner. Market-maker brokers take a percentage of the spread in value between the buying and selling price. Because that spread constantly varies, some nefarious market makers have been known to manipulate spreads artificially for their own gain. ECN brokers usually just charge a commission per transaction, and so have no incentive to game the bid-ask spread. Be sure to read all fine print and contract details before opening a new account, so you know what kind of broker you're dealing with. Also, be careful to note which governing agencies the broker is regulated and licensed by.
Before selecting a new broker, you should consider funding and payment options, along with all associated fees and interest charges. In our research, we found that withdrawing money from an account was trickier than depositing money into the account. Since it may take days or longer to retrieve your funds, you should not trade with money that you actually need in the short-term.
If you are a day trader, you do not have to worry about interest rates because you won’t be holding funds overnight. However, if you hold a position overnight, the broker will charge you interest. Since Islamic law prohibits interest, most brokers offer interest-free accounts for Muslims; these accounts charge a fee rather than interest. Brokers may charge other fees, including wire-transfer fees, margin rates and routing fees.
Most forex brokers use the MetaTrader platform with their clients, a popular trading platform that an experienced trader will likely already know well. You'll likely have access to MetaTrader both on the web and via mobile. All platforms are now web-based, although many brokers offer their own proprietary trading platforms as well.
Help & Support
Although nothing can replace extensive research and experience with a broker over an extended time, we did evaluate a few criteria to show you different brokers' levels of help and support. We compared how easy it is to contact the forex brokers and what kind of education they provide to clients. The best forex brokers offer telephone, email and chat support. The top brokerage services also provide documentation, videos and tutorials to help you learn how to minimize your risk.
Forex trading involves a high amount of risk, so we recommend that you educate yourself as much as possible before starting. Take advantage of the education provided directly from the brokers, market forums and our comparative reviews of different brokers.