Do you have a knack for predicting shifts in exchange rates for foreign currencies? If so, you should consider entering the forex market, the largest and most liquid market in the world. Forex traders exchange every currency in the world at any hour of the day, five days a week—and some of them earn a handsome profit from it.
However, with so many forex brokers to choose from, finding a reliable broker that you can trust is no easy task.
Luckily, we’ve reviewed 13 of the best forex brokers in the industry to help you decide which one is right for you. We evaluated each forex broker on a variety of factors including trading platforms, spreads, features, financial instruments offered, reputation, and more.
After many hours of research and analysis, we compiled a list of the 5 top forex brokers for 2021.
Top 5 Best Forex Brokers of 2021
- XTB Online Trading: Best Overall Broker
- FXTM: Best for Lowest Fees
- IG: Best for U.S. traders
- Vantage FX: Best Deposit Bonus
- AvaTrade: Best Forex Trading App
#1 XTB Online Trading: Best Overall
XTB is our choice for the best forex broker of 2021. XTB is one of the largest exchange-listed FX brokers in the world and is regulated by several authorities, including the Financial Conduct Authority. XTB offers access to a variety of over 1,500 global markets including forex, indices, commodities, ETFs, and crypto.
Whether you’re a novice trader or an expert, you’ll love their award-winning trading platform thanks to its ease-of-use and superior execution speeds. Their trading platform is simple, but also intuitive, allowing you to manage your investments quickly and easily.
XTB offers 3 different platforms: Web, Mobile, and Desktop App. Their xStation web platform is easy enough to use for beginners but also has enough advanced tools to satisfy the more advanced traders. Their mobile app is available for both iOS and Android, giving you access to 1,500+ markets with the click of a button. The XTB desktop app has the same functionalities as the WEB version and is compatible with Windows and Mac.
A few of the XTB platform features we really like include customizable trading charts, risk-management features such as stop-loss, economic calendars, and access to market sentiments. If you’d like to try out the XTB trading platform, they offer a free demo account.
XTB offers clients a wide range of assets to trade including:
Forex – Over 45+ currency pairs with spreads as low as 0.1 pips.
Indices – Over 20+ of the top indices from around the world including USA, Germany, and China. Leverage for indices goes up to 1:500.
Commodities – XTB allows you to trade a variety of popular commodities including gold, silver, and oil with leverage up to 1:500.
Stock CFDs – You can trade CFDs on more than 1,500+ shares with ultra-fast execution and leverage up to 1:10. XTB offers low commissions with stock CFDs, starting at 0.08%.
ETF CFDs – XTB offers 60+ ETF CFDs with leverage up to 1:10, low commissions, and negative balance protection.
Cryptocurrency – XTB allows you to trade CFDs on many of the leading cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Dash, Litecoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Stellar.
XTB is one of the best forex brokers that you’ll find online. They are a regulated forex broker with over 15 years of experience and offices in over 13 countries including UK, Poland, Germany, and France. Their low spreads and high range of assets make XTB one of the most popular brokers to trade with.
- Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority
- Access to over 1,500+ financial instruments
- Simple trading platform that’s easy enough to use for beginner traders or experts
- Leading forex broker with over 15 years of industry experience
#2 FXTM: Regulated Broker With the Lowest Fees
Standing for ForexTime, FXTM came into existence as a global CFD and FX broker in 2011. Based in Cyprus, FXTM is regulated by the Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) and other financial authorities worldwide, including the FCA. Regulation by such top-tier entities makes FXTM a low-risk forex broker.
The different types of FXTM accounts will determine the exact fees you pay. The spreads are higher but commission-free in standard accounts, whereas ECN accounts charge a commission on lower spreads. FXTM only charges the commission for opening a position, though, and the amount can decrease if you trade more and/or hold a higher account balance.
FXTM builds most of the fees into the spread’s cost, and the fees are generally some of the best for trading forex. Plus, the company charges no deposit fees, and the inactivity fee is pretty reasonable: only $5 per month after six months of no trades. But beware: The fees are higher for CFDs.
FXTM’s currency pairs constitute four base currencies: EUR, GBP, USD, and NGN (only available to Nigerian traders), and the broker also offers stock and cryptocurrency trading.
Creating accounts on FXTM is as easy as pie: It takes only $10 and one day. While FXTM accepts clients from all over the world, exceptions exist. A disclaimer reads: “FXTM brand does not provide services to residents of the USA, Mauritius, Japan, Canada, Haiti, Suriname, the Democratic Republic of Korea, Puerto Rico, Brazil, the Occupied Area of Cyprus and Hong Kong.”
FXTM doesn’t have an original trading platform, but its MetaTrader platforms are highly customizable and offer a host of features, including a clear fee report, order confirmation, and price alerts. And depending on where you live, you can attend FXTM’s in-person forex seminars for even more guidance.
- Regulated and licensed broker across multiple jurisdictions
- Award-winning broker with over 2 million clients worldwide
- Variety of financial instruments including forex, CFDs, commodities, crypto, and stocks
- Instant execution, no hidden commissions, and tight spreads
#3 IG: Best for U.S. Traders
IG’s expansive selection of forex pairs and easy access for U.S.-based traders makes it an obvious choice for anyone interested in the forex market. IG US takes user-friendly trading to the next level with minimal spread fees, accessible customer service, and a mobile app for on-the-go trades. Additionally, the IG Academy provides beginners with all the information needed to implement trade strategies, while trading veterans can deepen their knowledge of advanced tactics.
While IG also offers CFD trading for global clients, its US trading platform has become the premier forex marketplace for U.S. citizens. With the exception of residents of Ohio, US clients can trade an extensive list of forex pairs and enjoy no upfront commissions, a free demo account to get started, and more.
Unlike other forex trading platforms that intimidate users with countless options, the IG US platform offers beginners and advanced traders an intuitive, easily navigable interface. Clients can browse available pairs, make bids, and enhance their trading knowledge with a few clicks of the mouse.
The IG US trade platform provides unmatched flexibility as well. Choose between the browser-based trading platform and mobile trading apps to browse spreads and make bids on your schedule. As a bonus, clients can experience the IG platform for free with a complimentary demo trading account before activating a live account.
While global users can leverage CFD trades, U.S. clients may only access the foreign exchange market. That said, IG boasts an impressive catalog of offerings. IG’s US forex spread provide clients with more than 80 currency pairs in several categories, including:
- Major pairs
- Minor pairs
- Exotic pairs
- Regional pairs, including Scandinavian and Australasian
- Emerging market pairs
Additionally, the minimum spread for major pairs on IG’s trading interface begins at an appealing rate of 0.8 pips, with typical spread values ranging between 0.9 and 5.4 pips.
IG US doesn’t charge any initial commissions on trades. The competitive fees and spread costs make it simple to get started, while trade commission charges depend on the “cross” between the bid and asking price.
Overall, IG US offers an intuitive and user-friendly trading platform for U.S. clients interested in the forex market. There’s no competing with IG’s low account minimum, competitive fees, and easy access for US-based traders.
- Regulated by the NFA
- Available to U.S. traders
- Spreads from 0.8 pips on EUR/USD and USD/JPY
- Free demo account
- No up-front commissions
- Powerful forex trading platform
- Enhanced MT4 access
- Natively-designed mobile apps for all devices
#4 Vantage FX: Good Trading Platform with 50% Deposit Bonus
Originally founded as MXT Global in 2009 and rebranded in 2015, Australia-based Vantage FX is one of the best forex brokers for getting the most out of your initial deposit.
To claim your 50 percent deposit bonus, you need to submit an opt-in form and make a deposit between $200 and $500 within 10 business days of creating your account. Then you can convert the bonus to real money when you trade. And guess what? You’ll never have to pay deposit fees.
This offer is available to MT4 STP, MT4 ECN, and MT5 accounts. Trading costs will depend on which account type you choose, but in general, the commission-based Raw ECN account is the ideal option for traders on a budget.
In addition to a hefty deposit bonus, Vantage FX provides traders of forex and CFDs with over 300 tradable instruments, a robust MetaTrader platform suite, multiple social trading platforms, and a mobile app. Vantage FX sets itself apart from other MetaTrader-only brokers by offering a wide range of add-ons and compatible tools from third-party providers such as Trading Central.
Besides materials from said third parties and the MetaTrader platform tutorials, Vantage FX boasts a Pro Trader library of more than 130 videos to help educate beginners.
Vantage FX holds an Australian Financial Services License (AFSL) with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). The FCA and one three-tier regulator also oversee the broker, making it average-risk. However, keep in mind that Vantage FX isn’t publicly traded and doesn’t operate a bank.
- Access to over 300+ trading instruments on MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5
- Leverage up to 500:1
- Free forex trading signals
- Mobile trading app for iPhone and Android devices
- 50% welcome bonus for new traders
#5 AvaTrade: Best Forex Trading App
Since 2006, Irish broker AvaTrade’s extensive trading tools have made it one of the industry’s top forex brokers. In particular, AvaTrade excels at copy trading through software such as ZuluTrade, DupliTrade, MQL5. A copy trading platform allows you to choose an expert trader to follow and then copy their trading movements for a monthly fee.
AvaTrade offers a wide range of automated trading platforms, including its proprietary WebTrader, AvaOptions, and award-winning AvaTradeGO mobile apps, as well as the full MetaTrader suite. AvaTrade provides a client-focused user experience across all these platforms, including a variety of tradable instruments (over 50 pairs offered) and a 24/7, 14-language customer support desk.
Among AvaTrade’s state-of-the-art trading features, you’ll find one-on-one training with a personal account manager. You won’t find many brokers offering that kind of dedication. AvaTrade also uploads daily market analysis videos to YouTube and provides a plethora of content on its educational website, The Sharp Trader, and even an ebook that clients can download for free.
Traders will benefit from AvaTrade’s seven regulations worldwide, including the Central Bank of Ireland, making it one of the best forex brokers for security. For instance, the broker holds clients’ money in segregated accounts for extra protection and fast withdrawals. Plus, 256-bit SSL encryption across the entire platform prevents credit card fraud and identity theft.
You’ll hardly have to worry about losing your money due to hackers when you use AvaTrade, and with $0 commissions, low spreads, and a minimum deposit of only €100, breaking the bank won’t be a concern either.
- Regulated in over 6 different jurisdictions
- 250+ instruments to trade including FX, crypto, and CFDs
- Variety of trading platforms to fit any experience level
- Multilingual customer service
What Is Forex Trading?
Short for “foreign exchange trading,” forex trading involves exchanging one currency for another in an effort to make a profit. Like stock prices, the exchange rate for different currency pairs fluctuates based on supply and demand as well as on the expectations that the foreign exchange market has of future events.
Forex traders can make money on currency pairs transactions in two ways. First, if you buy a currency and it goes up in value compared to the currency you sold for it, then you’ll earn a profit. In reverse, if you sell a currency that subsequently declines in value versus the currency you bought, you’ll come out of the trade with more money.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Forex Trading Platform
A well-known, properly regulated broker is crucial for avoiding forex scams. The regulatory framework will prevent any unsavory action from your forex broker, and if anything does happen, you can turn to legal recourse to settle the problem.
For instance, in the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) regulates most brokers.
Beware of forex brokers licensed offshore, especially in Belize, Vanuatu, and various island nations. The dispute-resolution systems there are often in name only, so the coverage offers you virtually no protections.
To check if a forex broker is regulated, find the register number in the disclosure in the footer of the broker’s homepage, then look up the firm on the regulator’s website to confirm the number.
First of all, consider whether you want a desktop trading platform, a mobile trading platform, or a web platform that you can use on any device that has Internet access.
Once you decide how you plan on completing your trades, the exact trading platform you choose will depend on personal preference since many trading platforms offer similar services but look and feel very different. The good news is that many trading platforms are configurable so that you can tailor them to your needs.
Since the platform will be the central hub for your trading experience, you want to make sure you choose one that’s easy to use and comes with all the trading tools you want, such as advanced charting options, futures pricing, live news feeds, diverse order types, and automation—just to name a few.
If you’re just getting into trading forex, you probably don’t want to deposit a large sum of money right off the bat. For most new, small-time forex traders, it’s a risk they can’t afford to take. The minimum deposit for most forex brokers ranges from $10 to $1,000 USD, so look for a broker that offers trading options on the cheaper end of the spectrum if you want to trade forex without risking your life savings.
Fees (Commissions and Spreads)
When trading forex and CFD assets, you pay for the broker’s services through spreads and commissions. One forex broker may charge you significantly less than another for the same trade, so it’s important to compare online brokers’ fees before making your decision.
A spread is the all-in cost to complete each trade. The spread may be fixed or variable. A variable spread will change depending on the traded asset, volatility, and available liquidity. In addition to the spread, the broker may charge a commission based on the amount you trade.
Either way, make sure you also read the fine print for “hidden” fees for withdrawals, inactivity, and overnight financing charges.
Forex is just one of many types of financial instruments—that is, assets—that you can trade. These assets can be cash, shares, bonds, or physical commodities like oil, gold, and agricultural products. When choosing an online broker, make sure that it supports the instruments that you want to trade.
Deposit and Withdrawals
Since forex trading involves regularly moving funds to and from the broker, you want to make sure that you can do this quickly—and, ideally, cheaply. Take a look at the deposit and withdrawal methods that the forex broker supports to determine if they allow the use of credit cards or whatever payment method you prefer and how long the transfer will take.
You also want to keep an eye out for sneaky withdrawal fees. Those will add up over time.
Most credible brokers let you create a demo account so that you can try out their platforms risk-free before buying. If you take advantage of this opportunity, you’ll get a chance to determine whether or not the online broker is a good fit for you. Feel free to open demo accounts with multiple brokers to help you make your decision.
Plus, a demo account allows you to familiarize yourself with the platform—helping you avoid potentially costly errors—and test different strategies.
Keeping your money safe should always be a top priority. Some forex brokers might give you more confidence than others due to the regulator, where the broker is licensed, and the user data security measures it has in place. For example, one forex broker may be FCA-regulated while another is merely registered. Regulation will keep your investments safer.
You also want to look for additional layers of protection, such as two-factor authentication, that will bring you peace of mind.
Can You Trade CFDs on Forex Pairs?
A CFD (contract for differences) is an agreement between an investor and a CFD broker that says they must exchange the difference in the value of an asset between the time the contract opens and closes. The buyer never actually owns the asset, instead receiving money based on its price change.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money. More often than not, retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs, so you should consider whether you understand how CFDs work before you take the high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage.
While CFD traders enjoy some advantages, such as accessing assets for a lower price than the outright purchasing cost, that high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage makes us wary of this type of financial instrument.
As long as you choose a broker that supports CFD trading, you can trade forex and CFD instruments together. However, be sure to read our official advertiser disclosure below:
You should also be aware that CFDs are complex instruments that come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Large portions of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider how well you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.
Can You Trade Forex in the U.S.?
Yes, you can trade forex in the United States as long as you use a U.S.-compliant broker. Look for brokers regulated by either the SEC or the CFTC, as well as international brokers that are accessible to Americans. As we mentioned earlier, Forex.com is an excellent option for U.S.-based traders.
Understanding Forex Regulation
Global supervisory bodies set standards with which all forex brokers under their jurisdiction must comply, including:
- being registered and licensed with the regulatory body
- undergoing regular audits
- communicating changes of service to their clients
Ultimately, the goal of regulation is to ensure that currency trading is fair for all parties involved.
In the United Kingdom, the largest forex market globally, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates forex brokers. Since the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) imposes strict rules on Europe-regulated brokers, you can feel confident choosing any forex broker that the FCA or other bodies in the continent regulate.
Other top-tier regulators around the world include:
- CySec (Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission)
- ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission)
- IIROC (Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada)
- JFSA (Japanese Financial Services Authority)
However, keep in mind that because CFDs are complex instruments, they often face fewer regulations.
Other Forex Brokers to Consider
Founded in the U.K. in 1992, Saxo Bank is licensed in six tier-one jurisdictions, making it a low-risk choice for forex traders. With whopping 40,000-plus instruments to trade, including over 9,000 CFDs, Saxo Bank is one of the most comprehensive brokers out there.
In addition, Saxo Bank offers user-friendly trading platforms, extensive market research, reliable customer service, and generally excellent pricing.
However, while U.K. residents only have to deposit £500 to start trading on Saxo Bank, don’t overlook one caveat for traders from other countries: the bank requires a minimum deposit of USD 10,000. If you can afford to take that much money out of your bank account, then you’ll enjoy the services that Saxo Bank provides.
Advanced forex and CFD traders will appreciate Interactive Brokers’ sophisticated trading platforms, including its Client Portal, Desktop Trader WorkStation (TWS), and mobile app.
Regulated by the SEC and FCA, Interactive Brokers boasts a huge share of the forex market, covering 134 markets worldwide. If you live in the United States or just like to trade in the U.S. market, you’ll appreciate that IB offers no commission on U.S.-listed stocks and ETFs.
That said, Interactive Brokers—like Saxo Bank—requires a $10,000 minimum deposit that applies to commissions for the first eight months, followed by a $2,000 minimum. And with maintenance and inactivity fees as well, that’s a pretty steep cost for a small-time trader. Therefore, IB best serves advanced, active, and well-funded traders like professionals and institutions.
Since 1989, the U.K.-based CMC Markets has served multi-asset traders worldwide with its comprehensive Next Generation trading platform and trading costs that are measurably lower than the industry average.
The trading platforms that CMC Markets offers provide innovative trading tools, quality research, and an all-around fantastic user experience whether you’re using CMC Markets on a desktop or a mobile app.
And since four tier-one jurisdictions alongside two tier-two jurisdictions publicly trade and regulate CMC Markets, this company is a low-risk option for new traders. Unfortunately, though, CMC Markets doesn’t accept U. S. clients.
Unlike Saxo Bank and CMC Markets, TD Ameritrade actually caters to U. S.-based traders, both novice and veteran. With nearly 80 currency pairs, TD Ameritrade has enjoyed its status as one of the largest discount brokers in the United States for over 40 years.
Don’t believe us when we say “discount”? TD Ameritrade offers a fixed trading commission, no minimum deposit, no platform fees, and no data fees.
At TD Ameritrade, professional traders will appreciate the broker’s technologically advanced ThinkOrSwim platform and its powerful investment tools. At the same time, a vast library of educational resources on the TD Ameritrade website will help new traders get into the game.
The SEC publicly lists and regulates TD Ameritrade.
Can Beginners Trade Forex?
Absolutely: Any beginner can enter the world of forex trading. We recommend setting up at least one demo account to learn the tricks of the trade before you risk losing your money. And with all of the educational resources that online brokers provide, you can gather solid investment advice that will help you become a pro.
As for CFDs, though, we strongly discourage beginners from engaging in CFD trading until they truly understand how CFDs work.
The Bottom Line – Is Forex Trading Right for You?
In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you can afford to take the high risk of losing money in pursuit of a big payday, especially in the case of CFDs. If you decide to proceed in trading forex currency pairs, we hope our reviews will help you find the best forex broker for your needs.
What are you waiting for? Choose the best forex broker for you to start trading currency pairs and CFDs today!
The reviews and statements published here are those of the sponsor and do not necessarily reflect the official policy, position or views of Observer.