The top Australian forex brokers are ASIC regulated offering forex trading platforms from MetaTrader 4 to cTrader with ECN broker spreads from 0.0 pips keeping Australian forex trader costs low while providing a range of financial services including CFDs offering from currency pairs, indices to Bitcoin.
View the forex broker Australia comparison below.
By Justin Grossbard / Updated: Monday, February 17th, 2020
Top 8 Australia Forex Brokers
The best ASIC regulated Australian forex brokers are based across eight key categories.
Pepperstone – Overall Best Forex Broker In Australia
Pepperstone offers Australians the choice of the two most popular fx trading platforms globally.
1) MetaTrader 4
The MetaTrader 4 (MT4) forex platform is the most popular worldwide due to its ease of use, charting and the ability to execute trades easily. The tool speciality is currency trading either manually, with automation or copy trading facilities. MT4 features include:
Navigator & Market Watch Windows with 85 indicators
Unlimited chart configurations and analysis tools
The ability for automated trading (Expert Advisors)
2) MetaTrader 5
The MetaTrader 5 (MT5) platform is similar to MT4 but focuses more on CFD trading. For example, Pepperstone clients can trade Share CFDs with MT5 but not with MT4. It was built off MQL5 language with the main MT5 features including:
6 types of pending orders (MT4 has 4 types)
Depth-of-Market (MOM) and economic calendar included
Fast multiple back-testing facilities
Primarily used by expert Australian forex traders, this forex platform is commonly used by day-traders. Expert strategies that utilise automation are executed for financial services with other features:
Detachable next-generation charting with level II pricing
Fast execution entry speeds to make quick trades online
Automated options through the cTrader dedicated platform
The forex platform comparison table below shows the functionality of these two platforms.
Adjustable Session Times
Depth Of Market Functionality
Historical Data Access
Windows MAC Linux
Windows MAC Linux
Windows MAC Linux
All forex platforms offered by Pepperstone have a demo account. Each demo account is loaded with $50,000 of virtual funds to simulate forex markets. This demo account can be transitioned to a live account at any time. To learn more about these accounts view our demo page.
Platform Enhancements Made By Pepperstone
What makes Pepperstone exceed other Australian forex brokers is their smart trader tools. This is available to all traders who choose MetaTrader 4 as their forex platform and have a deposit of at least AUD 500.
The 10 smart trading applications shown below give Pepperstone MT4 trader the edge, helping trade smarter with detailed insights into currency and CFD markets. These tools assist forex trading with expert trade execution and management, advanced alarms, decision assistance as well as broadcast features providing market information to traders. These tools are designed for both those new to trading and the most experienced traders.
The ‘top 10’ Pepperstone smart trading tools designed for currency trading are:
MT4 Alarm Manager This feature helps set up notification and alerts of events that may impact currency markets. This tool can be automated to send alerts via SMS or e-mail.
MT4 Connect Get quick access to RSS news feeds, trading guides and an economic calendar through this centralised portal. The portal also allows trades to get access and fund their account.
MT4 Correlation Trader This tool shows the correlation of an asset vs other markets to provide insight into exposure to the market. This helps determine the position of open trades based on the correlation of those trades.
MT4 Market Manager This compact tool helps traders get access to features without opening the MT4 program. This includes account information, the ability to make orders and advanced monitoring tools.
MT4 Excel Real-Time Data (RTD) RTD is an excel tool that allows spreadsheets to be generated and analysed through a connection to MT4. Both price and account data can be accessed and VBA programming can build financial models.
MT4 Trade Terminal Position analysis combined with fast trade execution combined with advanced stop-loss orders are features of this all-in-one application. This allows fast advanced trading for that on-the-go.
MT4 Sentiment Trading This tool allows individual markets to be read through their sentiment rating. Historical sentiment features can also be viewed against market prices to further understand trading markets.
MT4 Session Map This tool allows traders to view market sessions in real-time to see what markets are open when overlap occurs and events/news related to those markets. This can help identify peak liquidity in markets.
MT4 Stealth Orders Using this trading feature, pending order trades can be hidden from the market. This means that rather than make a standard limit or stop order, only once the price is reached the trade is executed.
MT4 Trade Simulator Get Profit and Loss results combined with analysis of forex trading strategies. A trader can simulate how this trade would have performed based on historical market data and can be manual or automated trades.
Overall, Pepperstone Offers The Best Forex Platform Features
The combination of offering the two most popular forex trading platforms combined with the enhanced functionality of “smart trading tools” led to Pepperstone winning the category.
Pepperstone achieves up to 10x latency reduction and 12x improvements in Australia execution speeds when trading forex and CFD online due to:
1) Optic Fibre From Sydney To Wall Street
One of the key issues for Australian traders is the distance between the country and the trading hubs either in New York or London. Slow internet connections between continents mean that latency can be experienced when fx trading leading to ‘slippage’ which is the difference between the order made and the actual order received.
Pepperstone has overcome this issue by adopting infrastructure that offers a direct fibre optic cable from their Sydney data-centre to New York.
This has minimised the latency for Australian forex traders which is why advanced traders who make split-second decisions choose their ECN platform. This makes the platform perfect for traders that adopt both technical and fundamental analysis.
2) Edge Technology Including The Leading Servers
Optic fibre isn’t enough to ensure the fastest trades for an Australian forex trader as the server it connects to is just as important. To maximise server speeds Pepperstone partnered with Equinix which not only has one of the world’s best high-performance data-centre but is also less than 18 kilometres from Wall Street.
Edge technology also has created new tools for existing platforms such as MetaTrader such as ‘one-click-trading’ which ensures that as soon as a trade is made it goes straight to the market with no dealer or other external interference which may delay the trade.
Using MT4 or cTrader with the fastest infrastructure available for either platform and features to speed up trades led them to receive the maximum execution speed score of the forex brokers
Pepperstone’s ECN Broker Spreads And Fees
Pepperstone’s popularity is not solely due to their technology but their ECN currency trading environment. This is matched by IC Markets which also offer RAW ECN spread across their currency trading environments. The results are razor trading account spreads are one of the lowest.
It should be noted there are two accounts. The standard account has a larger spread determined by the forex broker and the market and is normally selected by beginner forex traders. The Razor is a market maker account with tight spreads and a flat commission of $3.50. This Pepperstone review focused on this Razor ECN forex broker account. View our spreads page to learn more about spreads.
Razor Is A Market Maker Account With No Dealer Intervention
It’s important to understand that Razor is a true ECN forex trading account. This is because Pepperstone allows traders to directly trade with liquidity pools making it a market maker with prices set by the market. The deep liquidity pools the account has access to are in New York for MetaTrader or London for cTrader. Overall, quotes come from up to 22 major banks and ECNs which allow during liquid periods tight spreads to be as low as 0.1 pips for AUD USD.
2) Their Price Improvement Technology (PPI)
PPI technology intelligently routes currency trading orders to detect liquidity hot-spots to ensure optimal pricing for Australian traders. In simple terms, when you place a trade and the market moves in your favour (between placing the trade and it’s execution) the PPI technology detects the movement and when possible, fills the order at the improved level. This does not involve re-quoting but rather the traders just receives the improved price.
You can learn more about these accounts on the Pepperstone choosing account page There is also the option for trading across 13 stock indices. There are no commissions on CFD trading and no dealing desk.
The Razor market maker account (ECN forex broker account) is recommended due market-based tight spreads and low commissions leading to lower brokerage costs. This account also provides the fastest execution speeds offered by the FX broker
Customer Service & Client Satisfaction Of Pepperstone
Pepperstone is a relatively new Australian forex broker compared to some global players but in Australia has quickly gained a dominant market share. They have a strong customer service team in Australia of individuals who actually trade themselves making them an excellent choice of intermediate to expert traders.
This was acknowledged in when Investment trends survey of 15,000 Australian forex traders ranked Pepperstone number 1 in:
Overall Client Satisfaction
Pepperstone’s Australia customer support team is based out of Melbourne. There can be the possibility of talking to an overseas customer support team during off-peak periods such as Friday night.
The main forms of customer support including:
1) Live Chat
Pepperstone uses the Zendesk live chat interface to communicate with customers. This is available during the same hours as the call centre team. Our team used Pepperstone’s live chat several times and found that we could engage with an agent within 5 minutes and the operator was helpful with in-depth knowledge. Overall, live chat was the fastest was to get the answer and assistance we needed when making this forex broker review.
There is 24-hour support via a 1300 number (or an international number for traders outside of Australia). This is available from Monday through to Friday. There is also a telephone number for their Shanghai and Dallas office.
Each Pepperstone call-centre location also has an e-mail contact. This is the slowest way to send enquiries and get a response but it’s useful for long enquiries that require attachments.
The award-winning customer service offered by Pepperstone is ideally suited for intermediate or advanced Australian forex traders. Those new to forex, on the other hand, may want to consider Plus500.
Cryptocurrency Trading With Pepperstone
Pepperstone’s forex platform allows CFD cryptocurrency trading with up to 5:1 leverage, fast execution speeds, no commissions and low spreads including the following:
The most popular cryptocurrency in 2020, this blockchain technology allows diversification from traditional financial markets. The market capitalisation in 2020 is over $65 billion USD and has become one of the most traded elements on the markets.
Now the third most valuable cryptocurrency (Ripple is 2nd at the start of 2020), this serves more industries and purposes giving it a competitive edge. Key uses of Ethereum include blockchain application platforms through to smart contracts.
“Digital Cash” (shortened to Dash) focuses on enhancing anonymity and processing speeds of cryptocurrency. Dash is used worldwide as an efficient payment system. This popular use has led to increased liquidity and volatility within the asset class.
This was launched after Bitcoin in 2011. The aim was to speed up transactions with the use of a simpler algorithm. The result has led to its increase in popularity and market capitalisation. This has made it a great alternative to Bitcoin to trade. More can be found on their P2P site.
By offering 5:1 leverage on mainstream cryptocurrencies, Pepperstone enhances the potential profits or losses of this volatile sector.
Other Key Pepperstone Features
Pepperstone Group Limited is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission with the AFSL number 414530 while in the UK they trade as Pepperstone Limited with FCA 684312. Pepperstone also offers the maximum Australian forex broker leverage of 500:1. The high risk this leverage level is not suitable to all traders and losses can exceed deposits made. It’s best to understand the risks associated with high leverage before trading forex.
Summary Of Why Pepperstone Is The Best Australian FX Broker
Pepperstone Group Limited is the ASIC regulated body for Australian forex traders with AFSL 414530.
Pepperstone won most of the categories that benchmark brokers from customer service, forex platforms, execution speeds to high leverage.
With low spreads and commissions intermediate to expert traders should consider the broker.
The overall rating is based on review by our experts
10 / 10
10 / 10
10 / 10
7 / 10
Range of Markets
8 / 10
10 / 10
EUR/USD Lowest Spreads = IC Markets
CFD Brokers have three main trading costs:
The benchmark spread rate is the Euro / US Dollar (EUR/USD) currency pair. The top forex brokers publish their average spread rate for EUR/USD and IC Markets has the lowest rate of any Australian forex broker.
IC Markets = 0.1 pips
Pepperstone = 0.16 pips
IG = 0.36 pips
AxiTrader = 0.44 pips
ThinkMarkets = 0.50 pips
Plus500 = 0.60 pips
City Index = 0.70 pips
CMC Markets = 0.81 pips
The spreads above are applicable for the most popular Raw Spread account (formally known as the true ECN account) for MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5. IC Markets archives these low spreads by not been a market maker and having STP with large liquidity pools. While the account isn’t called the true ECN account, the spreads are set by the market which is why over 10 currency pairs minimum spread is 0.0 pips including the EUR/USD, GBP/USD and AUD/USD.
As shown above, the commission of IC Markets main raw account is $3.50 per lot, per side. If the base currency is set for the Australian dollar then the commission is AUD $3.50 while US dollar base currency customers pay a higher commission rate of USD $3.50. Other key commission rates are for GBP base currency customers GBP 2.50, Euro base currency customers at EUR 2.75 and Singapore Dollar base currency SGD 4.50.
The third main trading fee component is deposit and withdrawal fees. IC Markets have a $200 minimum deposit fee and from this amount to large transactions, there are no additional fees. This applies for both withdrawals and deposits.
The reason that IC Markets don’t state there are no fees is that a number of financial institutions (eg banks) charge their own fees and NAB who IC Markets utilise charge $20 for International Wire Transfers. Overall though, IC Markets doesn’t directly charge deposit or withdrawal fees further making them one of the lowest fee brokers.
Summary Of Why IC Markets Have The Lowest Spreads
IC Markets is the lowest spread ASIC regulated MT4, MT5 and cTrader with AFSL number 335692. Only those looking for Iress platform should consider a different broker (FP Markets).
With ECN spreads matched with low commissions and no deposit/withdrawl costs, IC has the lowest trading fees.
IC Markets is recommended for those looking for a low fee retail investor accounts with a low minimum deposit requirement of $200.
Risk management features for different trading conditions
Why The Plus500 Forex Platform Is Ideal For Beginner Forex Traders
Trading CFDs from Bitcoin, forex to commodities can all be done on the one trading platform with Plus500. There is a downloadable Windows 10 Trader or a WebTrader for shared devices. As shown below there are also apps for Windows Phones, Android, iPhone and iPad devices. This makes the trading experience relatively similar regardless of the device a trader uses.
The Plus500 Mobile Platform
Investment Trends runs a client survey of CFD traders annually and found that Plus500 had the best mobile platform. This was based on the ease of use, functionality and range of contract for difference tradable.
Risk Management Features Offered By Plus500
Trading CFDs involves a high level of risk due to leverage which in Australia is up to 300:1 (Plus500AU Pty Ltd). Other regions such as Cyprus (CYSEC) and the UK (FCA) have lower leverage. For beginner forex traders to manage higher leverage, Plus500 has three key risk management features including:
Limit and Stop Loss (closes a position once a profit or loss limit is set) – No charges
Guaranteed Stops (guarantees a position will not lose more than a defined amount) – Extra spreads applied
Trailing Stops (closes a position when a trade moves in the wrong direction by a set number of pips) – No charges
It should be noted that another risk management feature is negative balance protection only offered by a handful of brokers like easyMarkets. This ensures a Plus500 online trader never loses more than their deposit no matter what the trading conditions. For a beginner forex trader, this is an excellent feature to have.
Conclusion Of Why Plus500 Is Ideal For Beginner Forex Traders
Plus500 provides a trading experience ideal for beginners with an easy to use trading platform, a large range of tradable CFDs (such as Bitcoin) and risk management features. Plus500AU PTY LTD is the ASIC subsidiary for Australian forex traders holding the AFSL number 417727. They are regulated in several other locations such as South Africa (FSCA), NZ and the UK with an FCA licence (formally FSA).
AxiTrader is the only Australian broker that has a $0 minimum deposit on both their standard a pro account types (often referred to as the ECN broker account). There are also no setup costs as shown below when opening either MetaTrader 4 account.
The deposit methods for funds are shown below and their availability for forex traders in Australia vs overseas. It should be noted that some credit card providers may view payment to AxiTrader as a cash advance. This may lead the provider to charge additional fees so it’s worth calling them to confirm if this will be the case.
Electronic Funds Trander (EFT)
Bpay (Australian Dollars)
China Union Pay
Other AxiTrader Features
The AxiTrader overall trading fees are one of the lowest of the forex brokers. This includes their EUR/USD spreads which our analysis showed were the 4th lowest. Their commission is $3.50 USD per side ($7.00 per round trip). Only Pepperstone had a lower commission rate of $3.50 AUD when a trader chooses the Australian Dollar as their base currency. AxiTrader is ASIC regulated holding the AFSL number 318232.
Summary Of AxiTrader’s Trading Conditions
AxiTrader is ideal for those looking for low trading fees and lower exposure with the option of a small deposit. With a $0 initial deposit requirement, no opening fees, deposit or withdrawal fees, they provide the most flexible trading conditions for an Australian trader.
eToro offer specialist services suitable for some individuals looking for:
eToro has a unique platform that has inbuilt social trading functionality. With over 300 million trades done on eToro up to 2020, there is a large community that interacts on their social network. This allows traders to discuss strategies, ideas and decisions on their social feed. The social trading functionality exists on the desktop and mobile platform.
A social trading opportunity eToro offers are copy trading. This allows an individual to select a trader based on past behaviour (such as returns and risks). The individual will then make the same trades (copy trades) making the same profit or loss percentage. The reason by eToro has the most popular copy trading facility is that traders are rewarded when others follow them.
eToro offers a range of CFDs from crypto, EFTs, Indices, Stocks, Currencies to Commodities. These are all tradable on the one platform with a range of leverage. An example is 17 cryptocurrencies from Bitcoin, Ethereum to Ripple.
If social trading is important to you or you want to copy a past trader then eToro is the recommended Australian broker for you. Note that eToro has some unique fees including withdrawal fees to consider before joining the broker.
Some traders will only choose from a range of forex brokers that also offer share trading. Having such a broker with a range of markets means they don’t require multiple accounts to trade different products. Two of the larger brokers in Australia are CMC Markets and IG and it’s no surprise that these offer currency and stockbroking services. CMC Markets as shown below offers active investor trading from just $9.90. This is significantly lower than popular stockbroking firms such as CommSec.
When choosing a platform, it is a good idea to select a CMC Markets platform that allows share trading. This is because not all platforms allow both CFD and stockbroker services. IG Markets offer L2 Dealer which allows both stockbrokers, forex and CFD trading options. View more on currency brokers that offer these services.
The most popular forex brokerage trading firm in Australia based on the range of markets, accessibility, popularity and ease of use is IG Markets. Research company Investment Trends awarded IG Markets as the number one online FX provider by primary relationships in the:
2017 FX Report
and 2017 CFD Report
IG is an industry leader when it comes to providing top graded services to retail traders. The level of professionalism offered by IG is confirmed by a large number of clients who opt to speculate on the forex exchange rates via a wide range of trading platforms, including:
Proprietary web-based trading platform
Mobile Apps and tablets
MetaTrader 4 (MT4)
Advanced platforms or Specialist platforms (ProRealTime, L2 Dealer)
Over 178,000 retail traders from around the world enjoy trading on over 80 forex currency pairs and an additional 16,000 other markets (shares, indices, commodities, cryptocurrencies, etc.).
IG offers Variable Spread Model
On the most popular currency pairs, the AUD/USD and EUR/USD the minimum spread is 0.6 pips. However, since IG offers a variable spread model, the real spread widens being affected by:
Time of the day
During news and economic reports
The hallmark of the variable spread model is that you can have commission-free trading. To have a better view of the total trading costs, we’re going to expose the average spreads as calculated for the 12 weeks ending 31st May 2019. For example, the average AUD/USD spread is 0.76 pips respectively 0.70 pips EUR/USD average spread. For a complete spread review, please study the table below.
Direct Market Access
For sophisticated investors, IG offers Direct Market Access (DMA) without dealing desk intervention. Traders must be aware that having access to IG Forex Direct comes with higher costs. The commission charged by IG is progressively applied via a volume-based scheme. For low volume traders, the commissions are quite high and in the long-term can eat from your profits. Below you can view the complete commission-based scheme charged by IG Markets.
For example, if you generate less than $100 million in volume per month, IG Markets will charge you $60 per $1 million traded. Compared to Pepperstone and IC Markets, IG comes lower in our star scoring system. On the plus side, the average spreads offered by IG are kept lower via Forex direct. The spreads from the table below are derived directly from the biggest banks in the world.
Summary of Why IG is the Most Popular Forex Broker
IG Markets is the world’s oldest foreign exchange broker and has been favoured by many Australian traders due to its rich history in serving retail clients of all backgrounds. When choosing a forex broker, it’s best to opt for a regulated FX provider. IG Market’s is well-regulated by worldwide financial watchdogs from Australia, UK and USA.
Lowest Cost Cryptocurrency CFD Broker = City Index
Australian traders have the option to trade cryptocurrencies with City Index. A live trading account at Citi Index will give you access to 8 different cryptocurrency pairs with the lowest trading fees. The following CFD cryptocurrency trading instruments can be traded on the WebTrader and the advanced trading platform AT Pro:
Bitcoin (can be traded against USD, AUD, EUR and GBP)
Aussies can speculate on the Bitcoin price movement via CFD trading without owning the underlying digital coin. Additionally, Bitcoin fanatics aren’t required to go through the tedious KYC process to open an exchange account or owning a Bitcoin wallet. The City Index leverage for Bitcoin trading is also very attractive. The maximum amount of leverage offered for cryptocurrency trading is 400:1 (by default is set to 200:1, but upon request, it can be increased).
Below you can view a close comparison between trading cryptocurrencies and owning cryptocurrencies.
Note: Cryptocurrency shorting is only available for Bitcoin and Ethereum.
CFD Trading Fees on Cryptocurrency
City Index offers some of the lowest cryptocurrency trading fees starting with spreads from:
$35 on Bitcoin
AUD 55 for BTCAUD
The market-leading pricing offered by City Index is derived from multiple cryptocurrency exchanges. The robust pricing model used by City Index produces a volume-weighted average price, which is why the Bitcoin spreads are among the lowest in the industry.
When placed side-by-side with other Australian-based brokers, only CMC Markets has competitive spreads on cryptocurrency that start from $37, while IG Markets offers a $40 Bitcoin spread. The total financing cost for trading Bitcoin is $39.32 for buying Bitcoin respectively $33.56 for selling Bitcoin. For a complete review and a full comparison of the total costs on cryptocurrency trading, please study the chart below.
MetaTrader 5 is the most popular for CFD trading (eg Shares) and the best broker is IC Markets
cTrader is preferred by algorithmic traders with Pepperstone recommended
How do Forex Brokers make their money?
A forex broker main source of income is charging a spread or commission or a trade. While a buy and sell order will have a natural spread, forex brokers make money by widening this spread. ECN forex brokers avoid this income stream and rather charge a flat commission based on the trade volume.
How does the forex market work?
With over $5 USD trillion traded daily, the forex market is larger than any other financial market. There is no central trading location when currency trading with forex brokers both as market makers or through ECNs (electronic communication networks) buying and selling currency globally.
The ‘top 10’ foreign currencies traded (totalling 100%) are:
44% = United States Dollar
16% = Euro
11% = Japanese Yen
6% = British Pound
4% = Australian Dollar
3% = Swiss Franc
2% = Chinese Yuan
1% = Mexican Peso
1% = Swedish Krona
1% = New Zealand Dollar
The Chinese Yuan is the fastest-growing currency and is moving up the foreign currency table fast. You can read more about market growth of fx trading with our article.
About Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) Brokers
To help start trading with the right CFD broker we have collated brokers that only have Australian Securities And Investments Commission regulation (ASIC regulated). This means they hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) for the financial instruments offered. Australian traders should only consider these regulated brokers to avoid scams that are normally associated with unregulated brokers. Below shows our forex brokers Australia regulated list updated in 2020.
Australian Forex broker
MT4, Multi-Account Management
MT4, AT Pro
CMC Next Generation
AFSL No. 238054
Core Liquidity Markets
MT4, Multi-Account Trader
MT4, Multi0Account Manager , CQG FX
MT4, FOREX Trader PRO
MT4, IRESS Suite
MT4, NinjaTrader, Trading Station
MT4, Personal Multi-Account Manager
MT4, FIX API, MAM/PAMM
Hantec Markets Australia
MT4, Interbank Direct
MT4, MT5, cTrader
MT4, L2 Dealer, ProRealTime
MT4, IRESSTrader, MaxxTrader
MT4, MT5, cTrader
MT4, Phillip CFD Trader
CFD Trading Platform Only
Royal Financial Trading
MT4, Rubix Prime
MT4, Social Trader
MT4, Trade Interceptor
MT4, MT5, MarketTrader
While the ASIC regulated forex broker table above only have Australian regulated foreign exchange brokers, several other tables look at online brokers based on key requirements ranging from ‘low fees’ to ‘high leverage’. We also focused on other CFD providers such as FP Markets, GO Markets, FXCM, AvaTrade and IG Markets for those looking for more than just currency trading. Most of these forex trading platforms are nationally regulated as the authors rated higher brokers that offered Australians the higher level of security. If you’re located in a location such as the USA, these brokers may not be able to cater for you and other regulators brokers such as NFA are more suitable.
Forex Brokers Data Accuracy
This Australian foreign exchange broker comparison was based on individual brokers websites. Without the use of feeds or automation, the authors were able to give a more informed decision but it can lead to inaccuracies occurring. This is mainly due to foreign exchange brokers changing information (such as their average spreads) without notice. Please inform the authors if you see an inaccuracy. To ensure forex traders make the right decision we traders to broker websites to join so they can make a final check. At this point, the trader should verify the information found on this site to ensure the broker meets their requirements.